The marriage contract (Tob 7:11-7:13)

“However, Tobias said.

‘I will neither eat nor drink anything

Until you settle the things that pertain to me.’

Raguel said.

‘I will do so.

She is given to you

In accordance with the decree in the Book of Moses.

It has been decreed from heaven that she be given to you.

Take your kinswoman.

From now on you are her brother.

She is your sister.

She is given to you from today and forever.

May the Lord of heaven, my child,

Guide and prosper you both this night.

May he grant you mercy and peace.’

Then Raguel summoned his daughter Sarah. When she came to him he took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias, saying.

‘Take her to be your wife in accordance with the law

And the decree written in the Book of Moses.

Take her!

Bring her safely to your father!

May the God of heaven make your journey

Prosperous with his peace.’

Then he called her mother. He told her to bring writing material. He wrote out a copy of the marriage contract. This said that he gave her to him as wife according to the decree of the Law of Moses.”

Tobias said that he was not going to eat or drink anything until this matter was settled. The marriage contract is between Tobias and Raguel, and not between Sarah and Tobias. Raguel makes all the arrangements. Raguel agreed to give his daughter to Tobias according to the Book of Moses. It is unclear what Book of Moses this is referring to. The only possible reference might be the marriage of Isaac in Genesis, chapter 24. After all the arrangements were made, finally the daughter Sarah appeared. Then there was the famous giving of the hand of the daughter from the father to the groom, the man. In this case, Sarah had no consent. She simply did what her father wanted her to do. In fact, the mother was not even present. She was called in to get some writing materials. Then Raguel wrote out the marriage contract according to the Law of Moses. This clearly was a legal written contract with nothing to do with romantic love. Tobias was to bring his new bride home to his father.

Raphael makes a plan for Tobias and Sarah (Tob 6:10-6:13)

“When they entered Media, they were already approaching Ecbatana. Raphael said to the young man. ‘Brother Tobias!’ He answered. ‘Here I am!’ Raphael said to him.

‘We must stay this night in the home of Raguel.

He is your relative.

He has a daughter named Sarah.

He has no male heir.

He has no daughter except Sarah only.

You are as next of kin to her.

You have before all other men a hereditary claim on her.

Also it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions.

Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful.

Her father is a good man.

You have every right to take her in marriage.

So listen to me, brother.

Tonight, I will speak to her father about the girl,

Thus you may take her to be your bride.

When we return from Rages,

We will celebrate her marriage.

For I know that Raguel can by no means keep her from you

Or promise her to another man

Without incurring the penalty of death,

According to the decree of the Book of Moses.

Indeed, he knows that you, rather than any other man,

Are entitled to marry his daughter.

So now listen to me, brother!

Tonight we shall speak concerning the girl.

We will arrange her engagement to you.

When we return from Rages,

We will take her and bring her back with us to your house.’”

They do not mention the time frame, but it would have taken a few days to get to Media. Raphael told Tobias that they were going to spend the night at the house of Raguel, since he was a relative of Tobias. Raphael explained that Raguel had a beautiful only daughter. Since Tobias was the next of kin, he was entitled to marry her. No one else had such a good claim on her as he did. This is based on the Book of Moses, without indicating which book, perhaps Numbers, chapter 36, about the family with no sons. However, there was nothing about a death penalty in the biblical books. Somehow there was the levirate law that the next of kin had first rights on a woman as was laid out in Deuteronomy, chapter 25, with the brother’s right to marry the widow of his brother. This was prevalent in the book of Ruth. They would be engaged now. Then they would get married after they came back from Rages. Raphael was going to make all the arrangements with her father.