Tobit 6

Chapter 6

Catch of a Large Fish. 1 The youth left together with the angel, 2 and the dog followed them out of the house and accompanied them. They journeyed until nightfall and then camped beside the Tigris River. 3 When the youth went down to bathe his feet in the river, a large fish leapt out of the water and tried to swallow his foot. He cried out, 4 but the angel said, “Take hold of the fish and don’t let it escape.” The youth took hold of the fish and pulled it to the shore. 5 The angel then said to him, “Cut the fish up and take out its gall, heart, and liver. Keep them with you, and throw out the entrails, for the gall, heart, and liver can be used as medicines.” 6 The youth cut the fish up and set aside the gall, heart, and liver. He broiled and ate part of the fish, salting the rest so that it could be used on the journey. Afterward they continued their travels together until they drew near to Media.

7 Then the youth posed this question to the angel: “Brother Azariah, what medicinal value can there be in the heart, liver, and gall of the fish?” 8 [a]He replied, “As far as the heart and liver are concerned, when you burn them and the smoke rises in the presence of someone, man or woman, who is afflicted by a demon or an evil spirit, that affliction will disappear for good and will never plague that person again. 9 As regards the gall, if you anoint the eyes of someone where white patches have appeared on them and then blow on those patches, the eyes will be healed.”

10 Raphael’s Counsels. When they had entered Media and were drawing near to Ecbatana, 11 Raphael said to the youth, “Brother Tobiah!” He answered, “Here I am.” Raphael went on: “Tonight we must stay in the home of Raguel who is a relative of yours. He has a daughter named Sarah, 12 but aside from her he has no other son or daughter. Since you are her next of kin, you above all others have the right to marry her and to inherit her father’s goods. This girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful, and her father is a fine man.”

13 He continued: “Since you have the right to marry her, listen to me, brother. Tonight I will speak to her father and secure his approval to have her betrothed to you. When we return from Rages, we will hold her marriage celebration. I know that Raguel has no right to refuse your request or to betroth her to another man without incurring the death penalty as decreed in the Book of Moses. He clearly understands that you above all other men have the right to marry his daughter.

“So listen to me, brother. Tonight we will speak about the girl and arrange for her to be betrothed to you. And when we return from Rages, we will take her with us and bring her to your home.”

14 However, in reply to Raphael, Tobiah said, “Brother Azariah, I have heard that she has already been given in marriage seven times, and that each of her husbands died in the bridal chamber. The very night that they entered her room, they died, and I have heard people claim that it was a demon who killed them. 15 Therefore, I am afraid. The demon does not harm her because he loves her, but he kills any man who tries to approach her. I am my father’s only son, and if I should die, I fear that the resulting grief would bring my father and mother to their grave—and they have no other son to bury them.”

16 Raphael retorted, “Have you forgotten your father’s instructions to take a wife from his family? Now listen to me, brother. Do not worry about this demon. Take Sarah in marriage. I know that this very night she will be given to you in marriage. 17 When you enter the bridal chamber, take some of the heart and liver of the fish and place them on the burning incense. 18 When the demon smells the odor that will arise, he will flee, and never again will he be seen near her.

“Then, before you go to bed with her, both of you must first stand up and pray. Beseech the Lord of heaven to grant you his mercy and protection. Do not be afraid; she was set apart for you before the world was created. You will save her, and she will go with you. Undoubtedly by her you will have children who will be like brothers to you. Do not worry!”

When Tobiah heard Raphael’s words and learned that Sarah was his kinswoman, related through his father’s lineage, he was filled with love for her, and his heart became set on her.[b]

Footnotes

  1. Tobit 6:8 See verse 17 and especially Tob 8:3; 11:4, 11f. The therapeutic powers of the entrails of fish were recognized by ancient medicine, but here, it is a question of the divine assistance through the medium of the angel.
  2. Tobit 6:18 The Vulgate develops these concepts further: the angel instructs Tobiah to abstain for the first three nights; then to come together with his bride because of the desire for children more than the desire to follow the sexual impulse.

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