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.