Tobit (Tob 1:1-1:2)

“This book tells the story of Tobit son of Tobiel, son of Hananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, of the descendants of Asiel, of the tribe of Naphtali. In the days of King Shalmaneser of the Assyrians, he was taken into captivity. Tobit was taken from the town of Thisbe. This town was south of Kedesh, in Naphtali, in Upper Galilee, above Asher, toward the west, north of Phogor.”

This book is about Tobit. It is not in the Hebrew Bible, but is in the Greek Septuagint. Thus it is here, since I am following the structure in the Bible of Jerusalem. Who is Tobit? He was from Naphtali in the north region of Galilee. This was east of Asher near Manasseh at Kedesh. This is the only mention of any of Tobit’s ancestors, Tobiel, Hananiel, Aduel, and Gabael. There is one mention of Asiel in 1 Chronicles, chapter 4. There is no other mention of Thisbe or Phogor in biblical literature. King Shalmaneser V probably ruled Assyria from 727-722 BCE at the time of King Hoshea of Israel, the last king of Israel before the captivity. This would put this in the 8th century BCE at the time of the Assyrian captivity. It probably was his successor, King Sargon (710-705 BCE) who completed the captivity. The other Babylonian kings mentioned in the biblical literature were King Tiglath Pileser III (729-727 BCE) and Sennacherib (689-681 BCE). Nevertheless, the context is the northern Israel captivity by Assyria. Tobit must have been important to be deported in captivity, because they left the poor people behind.

The towns of the Gershonites (1 Chr 6:71-6:76)

“To the Gershonites were given out of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with its pasture lands and Ashtaroth with its pasture lands. Out of the tribe of Issachar were given Kedesh with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, and Ramoth with its pasture lands, and Anem with its pasture lands. Out of the tribe of Asher were given Mashal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, and Hukok with its pasture lands, and Rehob with its pasture lands.   Out of the tribe of Naphtali were given Kedesh in Galilee with its pasture lands, Hammon with its pasture lands, and Kiriathaim with its pasture lands.”

Here are the details about the towns given to the Gershonites, based on Joshua, chapter 21. From the half-tribe of Manasseh the Gershonites got 2 towns. 1 was the refuge town of (1) Golan as in Joshua, but the other was (2) Ashtaroth and not Beeshterah that was mentioned in Joshua. There were 4 towns given to the Gershonites from the tribe of Issachar, (1) Kedesh, (2) Daberath, (3) Ramoth, and (4) Anem. Only Daberath is the same as in Joshua. Here Kedesh takes the place of Kishion. Ramoth takes the place of Jarmuth. Anem takes the place of En-gannim. There were 4 from Asher, (1) Mashal, (2) Abdon, (3) Hukok, and (4) Rehob. Here 3 of the 4 are exactly the same as in Joshua. Only Hukok takes the place of Helkath, which sounds close enough. Finally the 3 towns of Naphtali were (1) Kedesh in Galilee, (2) Hammon, and (3) Kiriathaim. Kedesh is the same but there are differences as Hammon takes the place of Hammoth-dor, while Kiriathaim takes the place of Kartan in Joshua.