Tobit 7

Chapter 7

Raguel Welcomes His Guests. 1 As they entered Ecbatana, Tobiah said, “Brother Azariah, take me directly to our kinsman Raguel.” So he brought him to the house of Raguel, where they found him sitting beside his courtyard gate. They greeted him first, and he replied, “Greetings to you, too, my brothers. You are welcome, and I wish you good health.”

When he brought them into his house, 2 he said to his wife Edna, “This young man truly resembles my kinsman Tobit.” 3 Then Edna asked them, “Where are you from, brothers?” They replied, “We belong to the descendants of Naphtali, who are now in exile at Nineveh.” 4 “Do you know our kinsman Tobit?” she asked, and they answered, “Yes, we do.” “Is he well?” she inquired. 5 “He is alive and well,” they replied, and Tobiah added, “He is my father.”

6 Raguel leapt to his feet and, with tears in his eyes, he kissed him, saying, 7 “God bless you, my child. You are the son of a good and noble father. But how tragic it is that such an upright and charitable man has lost his sight!” He then embraced his kinsman Tobiah and wept. 8 His wife Edna also wept for Tobit, as did their daughter Sarah.

Sarah Is Given in Marriage to Tobiah. 9 Afterward Raguel slaughtered a ram from the flock and gave them a warm welcome. When they had bathed and reclined to eat, Tobiah said to Raphael, “Brother Azariah, please ask Raguel to give me my kinswoman Sarah in marriage.” 10 Raguel overheard this and said to the young man, “Eat and drink and be merry tonight, for no one else but you, my brother, has the right to marry my daughter Sarah. In any event, I do not have the right to give her to anyone else, since you are my closest relative.

“However, my son, I must frankly reveal the truth to you. 11 I have previously given her in marriage to seven of our kinsmen, and they all died on their wedding night when they entered her chamber. But for the moment, my child, eat and drink, and may the Lord show kindness in dealing with you both.” Tobiah answered, “I will neither eat nor drink anything until you give me what is mine.”

Raguel said to him, “I will do so. She is yours, in accordance with what is prescribed in the Book of Moses, and heaven itself decrees that she be given to you. Take your kinswoman; from now on you belong to her and she belongs to you. She is given to you from today forever. May the Lord of heaven look upon you favorably tonight, my child, and grant you mercy and peace.”

12 Then Raguel summoned his daughter Sarah, and when she came to him, he took her by the hand[a] and gave her to Tobiah with these words: “Take her as your wife in accordance with the law and the decree written in the Book of Moses. Take her and bring her safe and sound to your father. And may the God of heaven bless both of you with peace and prosperity.” 13 Then, after summoning her mother and instructing her to bring him a scroll, he drew up and affixed his seal to a marriage contract[b] stating that he gave Sarah to Tobiah as his wife according to the decree of the law of Moses. 14 Afterward they began to eat and drink.

15 Later on, Raguel called his wife Edna and said, “My sister, get the other room ready and bring her there.” 16 She went and made the bed in the room as he had instructed and brought Sarah there. After weeping over her, she wiped away her tears and said, 17 “Have courage, my daughter. May the Lord of heaven turn your grief to joy. Have courage, my daughter.” Then she departed.

Footnotes

  1. Tobit 7:12 Took her by the hand: the Vulgate stipulates that the father should place the hand of his daughter in the hand of her spouse. This gesture is unknown to the Bible; used in the marriage ceremonies of Greeks and Romans, it has passed into the Christian rite. God of heaven: an expression of late post-Exilic times that intends to stress the sublime character and the power of God (see Dan 2:18-19, 37, etc.). And . . . prosperity: the Vulgate (Tob 7:15) gives a fuller blessing whose words have been included in the Nuptial Blessing in the marriage rite: “May the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob be with you; may he join you together and fulfill his blessing in you.”
  2. Tobit 7:13 Marriage contract: the Mosaic Law did not contemplate marriage certificates, but they were introduced by custom; examples of them are found in the fifth century B.C. among the Aramaic papyri of Elephantine.

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