The book of Tobit is composed of interesting mysteries. The story of Tobit is only one of them. Sarah and Raphael make it look more like a dream, when in reality it’s a true story.
Before we dive into the mysteries, let’s get to understand how the events unfolded.
The book of Tobit is one of the deuterocanonical books found in the Catholic Bible. Tobit narrates his life by giving us a brief of his faithfulness to God. The story of Tobit, however, takes an undeserving twist at some point!
Tobit was the most faithful in his family. He regularly went to Jerusalem to celebrate religious festivals according to the Law of Moses. Tobit also practiced his faith by supporting the needy. As the Bible tells us, “Faith without action is dead!”
When Tobit lived in exile in Nineveh, the emperor respected him. This was largely due to his strict adherence to the commands of the Lord. The emperor gave Tobit a job. He was in charge of purchasing all the emperor's supplies.
Tobit regularly visited a place called Media to buy the emperor’s supplies. There was a time when Tobit went to a place called Rages in Media and left some bags of silver coins with someone by the name of Gabael. When the emperor died, Tobit was unable to go back to Media. Getting back his money proved to be impossible as it became dangerous to travel on the roads to Media.
Tobit fell out with the new emperor, who was the son of the previous emperor. The emperor carelessly shot people, and Tobit secretly buried them. Out of anger, the emperor seized everything Tobit owned.
Tobit reunited with his wife Anna and son Tobias when his nephew rescued him from captivity.
It’s evident Tobit was a righteous man.
Now, let’s see what transpired in the whole story of Tobit.
Tobit’s Abrupt Blindness
One evening, Tobit went to sleep in his courtyard. He did not know sparrows were on the wall right above him. Since it was a hot night, he did not cover his head. The warm droppings of the sparrows fell into Tobit’s eyes. A white film formed in Tobit’s eyes.
Tobit saw many doctors who tried to rectify his eyes. Unfortunately, the treatment worsened his eyes until he finally got blind.
Poor obedient Tobit remained blind for four years as his wife fended for the family. Anna once came home with a goat and Tobit suspected she had stolen it. Anna was not happy at her husband's insinuation. There was an uproar between the two of them. Tobit felt insulted. He fervently prayed over that situation.
Sarah’s Marriage Troubles
Miraculously, the same day Tobit prayed after an exchange of words with his wife, Sarah also got insulted by one of her father’s servants.
Sarah was unable to keep a husband. She had been married to seven men but the evil demon Asmodeus killed each of her husbands before the marriage picked up.
Her father’s servant called her “a husband killer.” She even wished for her death!
What an insult during Sarah’s lowest moment!
Sarah retreated with the intent of committing suicide. On second thought, she decided to pray to God for death! Sarah was tired of humiliation.
Tobit and Sarah were miles away from each other but God simultaneously heard their prayers.
Wasn’t that a miracle? The story of Tobit is a true example of God working out things for those who love Him and live according to His purpose.
Angel Raphael Appeared
God made arrangements right from Tobit’s home, to Raguel’s home, and used the angel Raphael to accomplish His mission. Surprisingly, none of the characters in the story of Tobit knew he was an angel!
God had instructed the angel to unblind Tobit, arrange a marriage between Tobias (Tobit’s son) and Sarah, and expel the demon Asmodeus from Sarah!
Tobit had been praying in the courtyard while Sarah went upstairs to pray. As much as they were miles apart, they finished praying at the same time. Tobit went back to his house from the courtyard while Sarah walked back downstairs!
Now, let’s look at the events of the story of Tobit step by step.
Tobit Sends His Son Tobias to Media
The finances in Tobit’s family had gone down. Remember, he was blind for four years.
Tobit gave his son Tobias some life hacks before he sent him to Media. He remembered the money he had left with Gabael in Media and wanted Tobias to collect it.
It had been twenty years since Tobit left Gabael with his money. Tobias went out to look for someone he could travel with to Media as advised by his father Tobit.
Immediately he stepped out, he met Raphael who happened to understand Media so well! Tobias and Raphael stopped over at River Tigris at sunset on the same day. Tobias caught a fish as instructed by Raphael, cut it, and removed its gall bladder, heart, and liver. Raphael mentioned those parts would be used as medicine. All this while, Tobias did not know Azariah was Angel Raphael!
Tobias was curious!
He asked angel Raphael, who had introduced himself as Azarias, what diseases these parts would cure!
The angel replied, “The heart and liver can be burnt and used to chase away a demon or an evil spirit that is tormenting someone. The attacks will stop immediately, and the person will never be troubled again. You can use the gall bladder to treat someone whose eyes are covered with a white film. Just rub it on his eyes and blow on the film, and he will be able to see again (Tobit 6: 7-8).”
I wonder how Tobias reacted to this?
Although Tobias had not known Sarah, he must have thought of his father’s blindness; the white film in his eyes!
The story of Tobit began to get interesting!
Raphael Takes Control of Tobias
Tobias did not know of any marriage arrangements until the angel mentioned it. They only had one mission to accomplish, to get back the money from Gabael!
Tobias, however, got convinced by any proposal from Raphael.
Raphael discussed a marriage proposal between Tobias and Sarah with her father Raguel in his house. Miraculously, he consented as earlier suggested by Raphael!
The angel had instructed Tobias to place the fish's liver and heart on burning incense. When Tobias and Sarah entered the bedroom where they spent the night, Tobias executed the plan. The smell drove the demon Asmodeus away from Sarah.
Angel Raphael followed the demon and bound his hand and foot.
Tobias prayed before they slept and to the amazement of Sarah’s parents, they woke up alive the next morning.
Raguel (Sarah’s father) praised the Lord. He then launched a celebration that lasted for two weeks. Raguel promised to give Tobias half of his wealth as he returns home. He also guaranteed Tobias he will inherit the other half of Raguel’s wealth when he and his wife Edna (Sarah’s mother) die.
Tobias did not want to disappoint his father-in-law, Raguel. He couldn’t leave his new-found wife Sarah. Tobias, therefore, sent Raphael to collect the money from Gabael. They both returned to celebrate the wedding feast.
Meanwhile, Tobit and his wife Anna got worried back at home. There was no means of communication. They just had to wait for their son to return. Anna began to blame Tobit as Tobias had overstayed. She thought he was dead.
Tobias Goes Back Home with His Bride Sarah
Sarah’s parents blessed their union and released them. Together with the angel Raphael, disguised as Azariah, they went back home.
As they got near Nineveh, the angel reminded Tobias of his father’s condition. He assured Tobias his father Tobit would be able to see again. Raphael instructed Tobias on how to use the gall bladder for his father’s treatment.
Tobit praised the Lord for his ability to see again.
Tobias broke the news of his marriage to his parents as he praised the Lord at the top of his voice. Tobit welcomed his son's wife with joy. The people of Nineveh, including Tobit’s nephews, were excited at Tobit’s ability to see again.
The Miraculous ending of The Story of Tobit
Tobit reminded Tobias to keep to the promise of paying Raphael, his companion. Tobias did not mind paying Raphael half of what he brought back with him as a way of appreciation.
Raphael asked them to tell everyone what the Lord had done. He then reveals who he was as follows: -
“Tobit, when you and Sarah prayed to the Lord, I was the one who brought your prayers into His glorious presence. I did the same thing each time you buried the dead. On the day you got up from the table without eating your meal in order to bury that corpse, God sent me to test you. But he also sent me to cure you and to rescue your daughter-in-law, Sarah, from her troubles. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand in the glorious presence of the Lord, ready to serve Him (Tobit 12: 12-15).”
Tobit and Tobias got terrified to realize they were dealing with the Lord’s angel. They trembled with fear but the angel calmed them and instructed Tobit to write down everything that happened.
Then Raphael disappeared into the sky. Tobit and Tobias could no longer see him. They began to sing praises and give thanks to the Lord.
Tobit and his wife Anna died later. Tobias and his wife Sarah went back to Media where they lived with Sarah’s parents, taking care of them. Raguel and his wife Edna later died and Tobias inherited Raguel’s estate as earlier planned.
In case you need to understand the story of Tobit further, click here.
Why the Story of Tobit is more than just a Story
I have read the story of Tobit many times. Each time I read it; I get thrilled. I get so excited at the miracles of the Lord and ask myself a number of questions!
The fact that God connects us to people and things we need is unbelievable until we figure out the story of Tobit. Distance is never a barrier.
When Jesus says yes, nobody can say no!
How God works out ways for two praying parties simultaneously is still unbelievable!
I realize there is always an angel walking us through everything we do. But the question is whose angel? Would God send his angel to help us do something wrong, or rather commit sin?
It’s amazing how God can change our lives. Imagine Tobit’s family was devasted. As he remembered the money, he had left in Media two decades back, God positioned an angel to not only get it back but rebuild the family.
Tobit got healed!
Sarah was delivered!
Tobias got a wife God had cleansed of the demon Asmodeus! Sarah was pure!
Tobit’s family enjoyed comfort once again!
The angel Raphael worked things out from start to finish!
God sent angel Raphael to Tobias. Tobias used the angel’s instructions to heal Tobit and Sarah. It’s a hierarchy of four beings. One needs help. Another is positioned to help. Then there is the mystery of the angel, and finally, God himself.
How we behave today determines what will happen to us tomorrow. The story of Tobit is a true reflection of the presence of the Lord among His people. God uses people to save other people.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel.