Tobias in Ecbatana (Tob 14:12-14:15)

“When Tobias’ mother Anna died, he buried her beside his father. Then he and his wife and their children returned to Media. He settled in Ecbatana with Raguel his father-in-law. He treated his parents-in-law with great respect in their old age. He buried them in Ecbatana of Media with honor and magnificent funerals. He inherited both the property of Raguel and that of his father Tobit. He died highly respected at the age of one hundred seventeen years. Before he died, he heard of the destruction of Nineveh. He saw its prisoners being led into Media, those whom King Cyrus of Media had taken captive. Tobias praised God for all he had done to the people of Nineveh and Assyria. Before he died, he rejoiced over Nineveh. He blessed the Lord God forever and ever. Amen.”

After the death and burial of his mother Anna, Tobias with his wife and children returned to Ecbatana to be with the parents of his wife Sarah. He treated his elderly in-laws well, and buried them correctly. He then inherited both the estates of his father Tobit and his father-in-law Raguel. It made sense to return to Ecbatana, so that his wife could be with her elderly parents. Before Tobias died, King Cyrus took over Nineveh and Assyria. In fact, Tobias praised God for the Persians and King Cyrus. There definitely was a strong tendency to favor the Persians over the Assyrians and Babylonians. He died blessing God forever, so that it was fitting to end with an Amen.

Tobias tells Tobit about his successful journey (Tob 11:15-11:15)

“Tobias reported to his father that his journey had been successful. He had brought the money. He had married Raguel’s daughter Sarah. She was indeed on her way there, very near to Nineveh.”

Everything was good. Tobias told his father about his great successful journey. He had the money from Rages. He was now married and his new bride was on the way to their house right now.

 

The parting of Tobias and Sarah (Tob 10:13-10:13)

“Tobias parted from Raguel with happiness and joy. He praised the Lord of heaven and earth, King over all, because he had made his journey a success. Finally, he blessed Raguel and his wife Edna.

‘I have been commanded by the Lord

To honor you all the days of my life.’”

Tobias left Raguel very happy. He praised the Lord of heaven and earth. God had made his journey a success. He then, in turn, blessed his new in-laws, Raguel and Edna. He was going to honor them all the days of his life.

Tobias wants to go back home to his father Tobit (Tob 10:7-10:10)

“Now when the fourteen days of the wedding celebration had ended that Raguel had sworn to observe for his daughter, Tobias came to Raguel and said.

‘Send me back!

I know that my father and mother do not believe

That they will see me again.

So, I beg of you, father, to let me go

So that I may return to my own father.

I have already explained to you how I left him.’

But Raguel said to Tobias.

‘Stay with me, my child!

I will send messengers to your father Tobit.

They will inform him about you.’

But Tobias replied.

‘No!

I beg you to send me back to my father.’

Raguel promptly gave Tobias his wife Sarah, as well as half of all his property, male and female slaves, oxen and sheep, donkeys and camels, clothing, money, and household goods.”

Tobias wanted to go home to his father and mother after the 14 day wedding celebration. Raguel wanted him to stay with him. He said that he could send messengers to his father to let him know that everything was okay with Tobias. Then, things got a little testy. Tobias said no. This is reminiscent of Jacob when he tried to leave Laban with his wives in Genesis, chapter 30. Tobias was insistent. He wanted to go home to his father. Finally, Raguel said okay. He then gave him Sarah as his wife, plus half of all that they owned. He apparently was a fairly rich man. He gave Tobias, male and female servants, all kinds of domestic and transportation animals, as well as clothing, money, and household goods. This would be quite a caravan.

 

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.

The preparations for the wedding feast (Tob 8:18-8:21)

“Then Raguel ordered his servants to fill in the grave before daybreak. After this, he asked his wife to bake many loaves of bread. He went out to the herd. He brought in two steers and four rams. He ordered them to be slaughtered. So they began to make preparations. Then he called for Tobias. He swore an oath to him in these words. ‘You shall not leave here for fourteen days, but shall stay here eating and drinking with me. You shall cheer up my daughter, who has been depressed. Take at once half of what I own. Return in safety to your father. The other half will be yours when my wife and I die. Take courage, my child. I am your father and Edna is your mother. We belong to you as well as your wife, now and forever. Take courage, my child.’”

Raguel had his servants fill up the grave that he had dug before morning. He did not know that Tobias had chased away the evil spirit. He asked his wife to bake many loaves of bread. He took 2 steers and 4 rams from his herd and had them slaughtered. The he asked Tobias to take an oath. Tobias had to stay for a 14 day wedding festival, where he would eat and drink. This was twice as long as the usual 7 day wedding festival. This is somewhat reminiscent of the marriage of Rebecca and Isaac in Genesis, chapter 24. Tobias was to cheer up his new wife Sarah because she was depressed. In fact, Raguel was giving half his possessions to Tobias now and he would inherit the rest at the death of himself and his wife Edna. He asked him to take courage and return safely to his father.

Digging the grave for Tobias (Tob 8:9-8:14)

“However, Raguel arose. He called his servants to him. They went and dug a grave. He said.

‘It is possible that he will die.

We will become an object of ridicule and derision.’

When they had finished digging the grave, Raguel went into his house. He called his wife Edna.

‘Send one of the maids to have her go in to see if he is alive.

But if he is dead,

Let us bury him without anyone knowing about it.’

So they sent the maid, lit a lamp, and opened the door. She went in, and found them sound asleep together. Then the maid came out. She informed them that he was alive and that nothing was wrong.”

Raguel decided that he was going to dig a grave that night. He got some of his servants and they dug the grave. He was going to the hide the body so that no one would know that Tobias had died. He did not want to be ridiculed. When the grave was done, he went into see his wife. He wanted her to get a maid to look and see if Tobias had died like the other 7 husbands. If he had died, they were going to bury him immediately. The maid went into the bedroom and found them both alive, but sleeping. She then informed Raguel and his wife that there was nothing wrong. This was a busy night for everyone.