The restoration of shepherds and flocks (Jer 33:12-33:13)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘In this place

That is a waste,

Without human beings

Or animals,

In all of its towns,

There shall again

Be pastures

For shepherds

Resting their flocks.

In the towns of the hill country,

Of the Shephelah,

Of the Negeb,

In the land of Benjamin,

In the places around Jerusalem,

In the towns of Judah,

Flocks shall again pass

Under the hands

Of the one

Who counts them.’

Says Yahweh.”

Despite the wasteland that did not have humans or animals in any of its towns, there would be once again pastures for shepherds to bring their flocks. As in the preceding chapter, this restoration would take place in the hill country of Judah, in the towns of the Shephelah, the old Dan territory next to Benjamin, in the Negeb, the semi arid land southeast of Jerusalem near the Dead Sea, in the Benjamin territory, around the city of Jerusalem, and in the towns of Judah. Flocks and shepherds would once again pass by with a shepherd counting them. However, there was no mention of the northern territory from the old northern Israelite kingdom and its tribes.

Tobit and Anna are worried about their son (Tob 10:1-10:7)

“Now, day by day, Tobit kept counting how many days Tobias would need for going and returning. When the days had expired and his son did not appear, he said.

‘Is it possible that he has been detained?

Or is it possible that Gabael has died?

Perhaps there is no one to give him the money?’

He began to worry. His wife Anna said.

‘My child has perished.

He is no longer among the living.’

She began to weep and mourn for her son.

‘Woe to me!

My child,

The light of my eyes,

That I let you make the journey!’

But Tobit kept saying to her.

‘Be quiet and stop worrying, my dear.

He is all right.

Probably something unexpected has happened to him.

The man who went with him is trustworthy.

He is one of our own kin.

Do not grieve for him, my dear, he will soon be here.’

She answered him.

‘Be quiet yourself!

Stop trying to deceive me.

My child has perished.’

She would rush out every day. She would watch the road her son had taken. She would heed no one. When the sun had set, she would go in and mourn and weep all night long, getting no sleep at all.”

Tobit and his wife Anna were getting anxious about their son Tobias. Tobit was counting the days and how long it would take to go to Rages and return. Now by his calculations, the time for his return had passed. He thought that it was possible that he had been detained. Maybe Gabael had died and there was no one who knew about the money. He was worried, but Anna his wife was grief stricken. She kept weeping and mourning. She believed that Tobias was dead. She was mad that he even let him go on this journey. Tobit, although worried, tried to calm her down. He said that maybe something unexpected had happened. He certainly was with a trustworthy person, who was related to them. He turned optimistic and said that Tobias would soon be home. She got upset at Tobit and told him to be quiet. She felt that he was deceiving her and that Tobias was already dead. She would sit outside every day and look at the road that Tobias had taken. Then at night, she would go inside, weep, and mourn all night long. She was not getting any sleep.

 

Tobias sends Raphael to get the money (Tob 9:1-9:6)

“Then Tobias called Raphael and said to him.

‘Brother Azariah,

Take four servants and two camels with you!

Travel to Rages!

Go to the home of Gabael!

Give him the bond!

Get the money!

Then bring him with you to the wedding celebration.

You know that my father must be counting the days.

If I delay even one day I upset him.

You are a witness to the oath that Raguel has sworn.

I cannot violate his oath.’  

So Raphael with the four servants and two camels went to Rages in Media. He stayed with Gabael. Raphael gave him the bond. He informed him that Tobit’s son Tobias had married, so that he was inviting him to the marriage celebration. So Gabael got up and counted out to him the money bags, with their seals intact. They loaded them on the camels. In the morning they both got up early and came to the wedding celebration. When they came into Raguel’s house, they found Tobias reclining at table. He sprang up and greeted Gabael, who wept and blessed them.”

The time between Ecbatana and Reges was about 11 days one way. It would have been difficult to get him back for the wedding celebration. I do not understand why Tobias did not send Raphael back to Nineveh to get his parents to come to the wedding celebration. Where did Raphael get the 4 servants since he and Tobias were alone? Probably Raguel gave them to him with the camels. Anyway, the trip was very quick. Raphael stayed overnight and then set out the next day. Gabael gave the money to Raphael after counting it out. He accepted the invitation to the wedding. Gabael wept when he saw and greeted Tobias.