The Book of Tobit

PART ONE ON THE BOOK OF TOBIT

The Book of Tobit, a purely fictional piece of Old Testament literature, was declared unworthy of the canon of sacred books of Judaism by the rabbis of Jamnia about 100 A.D., and so removed from the canon, along with six other books and parts of two others, as the rabbis abandoned the Greek language canon familiar to Jesus known as the Septuagint in favor of the Hebrew language Masoretic text of the canon. The Protestant reformers followed suit in the 16th century, by removing the same books, including Tobit, from their versions of the Old Testament, thus adopting a canon which Jesus would have regarded as different than the one He knew.

Therefore, only the Catholic Old Testament sets forth the same collection of Scriptures which had been familiar to Jesus.

Catholics should be proud that our Bible includes Tobit, for it is one of the most amazing books in the Bible. I was gratified to receive e-mails from two members of this site about Tobit. I think that perhaps the Spirit was whispering in their ears…

The entire Book of Tobit speaks at two levels, the plaintext level familiar to all who study the book, and the sensus plenior level constructed largely out of what are call “word pictures” built out of common Bible “types.”

I’ll focus in on Tobit 6 to illustrate just how amazing the book is.

PART TWO ON THE BOOK OF TOBIT

In Tobit 6, after Tobit has been blinded in a strange way, his son Tobiah, dispatched to recover family savings in another city to tide them over, commences his journey, unaware that the man who has volunteered to accompany him, Azariah, is the angel Raphael in disguise.

Man Type = “God,” “representative of God,” “empowered by God.” E.g.’s: “Boy,” “Tobiah,” “angel.”

Dog Type = “wrongdoer.” E.g.’s: Dog.

Darkness Type = “God’s condemning judgment.” E.g.’s: “Nightfall”

Three Type = “will of God,” “commandments.” E.g.’s: Tigris River.

Dirty Feet Type = “sin.” E.g.’s: feet which are “washed.”

River Type = “salvation.” E.g.’s, “river.”

Fire Type = “a special presence of God.” E.g.’s: “Broiled.”

Salt Type = “hungry for salvation.” E.g.’s: “salted” fish.

Oil Type = “grace.” E.g.’s: “Gall.”

Blindness Type = “lack of faith.” E.g.’s: Tobit’s blindness.

Fish Type = “damnable soul in the Sea of Damnable Souls’; sometimes used to symbolize Christ in the 2 Corinthians 5:21 form.

2 When the boy left home, accompanied by the angel, the dog followed Tobiah out of the house and went with them. The travelers walked till nightfall, and made camp beside the Tigris River.

3 Now when the boy went down to wash his feet in the river, a large fish suddenly leaped out of the water and tried to swallow his foot. He shouted in alarm.

4 But the angel said to him, “Take hold of the fish and don’t let it get away!” The boy seized the fish and hauled it up on the shore.

5 The angel then told him: “Cut the fish open and take out its gall, heart, and liver, and keep them with you; but throw away the entrails. Its gall, heart, and liver make useful medicines.”

6 After the lad had cut the fish open, he put aside the gall, heart, and liver. Then he broiled and ate part of the fish; the rest he salted and kept for the journey.

7 Afterward they traveled on together till they were near Media. The boy asked the angel this question: “Brother Azariah, what medicinal value is there in the fish’s heart, liver, and gall?”

8 He answered: "As regards the fish’s heart and liver, if you burn them so that the smoke surrounds a man or a woman who is afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, the affliction will leave him completely, and no demons will ever return to him again.

9 And as for the gall, if you rub it on the eyes of a man who has cataracts, blowing into his eyes right on the cataracts, his sight will be restored."

MORE LATER

I love Tobit too, and believe it is inspired, but the rabbis at Yavneh (Jamnia) never removed it from the Canon… it wasn’t in the canon of most Jews, probably because it was written in Greek (not the "sacred language’ of Hebrew.) Some Jews may have accepted it as inspired, but not canonical, since the Palestnain Jews decreed which books were canonical and which were not. Synagogues in the Mediterranean folowed the decisions of Yavneh.

[quote=adventistnomore]I love Tobit too, and believe it is inspired, but the rabbis at Yavneh (Jamnia) never removed it from the Canon… it wasn’t in the canon of most Jews, probably because it was written in Greek (not the "sacred language’ of Hebrew.) Some Jews may have accepted it as inspired, but not canonical, since the Palestnain Jews decreed which books were canonical and which were not. Synagogues in the Mediterranean folowed the decisions of Yavneh.
[/quote]

People are questioning if Jamnia really defined the Jewish Canon:

catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0409fea4.asp

catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0409fea4sb.asp

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