Tobit a Jew of the tribe of Naphtali, who strictly observed the law and remained faithful to the Temple service at Jerusalem (1, 4-8), was carried captive to Assyria by Shalmaneser. While in captivity he exerted himself to relieve his countrymen, which his favorable position at court (ἀγοραστής, 1,13, "purveyor") enabled him to do, and at this time he was rich enough to lend ten talents of silver to a countryman, Gabael of Rages, in Media. But when Sennacherib succeeded his father, Shalmaneser, the fortune of Tobit was changed. He was accused of burying the Jews whom the king had put to death, and was only able to save himself, his wife, Anna, and his son Tobias, by flight. On the accession of Esar-haddon, he was allowed to return to Nineveh, at the intercession of his nephew, Achiacharuts, who occupied a high place in the king's household (1, 22); but his zeal for his countrymen brought him into a strange misfortune. As he lay one night in the court of his house, being unclean from having buried a Jew whom his son had found strangled in the market-place, sparrows "muted warm dung into his eyes," and he became blind. Being thus disabled, he was for a time supported by Achiacharus, and after his departure (read ἐπορεύθη, 2, 10) by the labor of his wife. On one occasion he falsely accused her of stealing a kid which had been added to her wages, and in return she reproached him with the miserable issue of all his righteous deeds. Grieved by her taunts, he prayed to God for help; and it happened that on the same day Sara, his kinswoman (6, 10, 11), the only daughter of Raguel, also sought help from God against the reproaches of her father's household. For seven young men wedded to her had perished on their marriage-night by the power of the evil spirit Asmodsus (q.v.); and she thought that she should "bring her father's old age with sorrow unto the grave" (3, 10). So Raphael was sent to deliver both from their troubles. In the meantime Tobit called to mind the money which he had lent to Gabael, and dispatched Tobias, with many wise counsels, to reclaim it (ch. 4). On this Raphael (under the form of a kinsman, Azarias) offered himself as a guide to Tobias on his journey to Media, and they "went forth both, and the young man's dog with them," and Anna was comforted for the absence of her son (ch. 5). When they reached the Tigris, Tobias was commanded by Raphael to take "the heart, and liver, and gall" of "a fish which leaped out of the river and would have devoured him," and instructed how to use the first two against Asmodaeus, for Sara, Raphael said, was appointed to be his wife (ch. 6). So when they reached Ecbatana, they were entertained by Raguel, and, in accordance with the words of the angel, Sara was given to Tobias in marriage that night, and Asmodaeus was "driven to the utmost parts of Egypt," where "the angel bound him" (ch. 7, 8). After this Raphael recovered the loan from Gabael (ch. 9), and Tobias then returned with Sara and half her father's goods to Nineveh (ch. 10). Tobit, informed by Anna of their son's approach, hastened to meet him. Tobias, by the command of the angel, applied the fish's gall to his father's eyes and restored his sight (ch. 11). After this Raphael, addressing to both words of good counsel, revealed himself, and "they saw him no more" (ch. 12). On this Tobit expressed his gratitude in a fine psalm (ch. 13); and he lived to see the long prosperity of his son (14, 1, 2). After his death Tobias, according to his instruction, returned to Ecbatana, and "before he died he heard of the destruction of Nineveh," of which "Jonas the prophet spake" (14. 15,4).
III. Historical and Religious Character of the Book.
1. There are three theories about the reality of this story.
(1.) The opinion that this book records proper history was universally held by the Christian Church up to the time of the Reformation, and has even since been maintained by bishop Gray (A Key to the 0. T. p. 620, etc., ed. 1857), Welte (Einleit. p. 84 sq.), Scholz (Einleit. 2, 594 sq.), and most Roman Catholic writers. In support of this opinion may be urged,
a. The minute account which it gives of Tobit's tribe, his pedigree, place of birth, the time in which he lived, his family, his condition and employment, his captivity, poverty, blindness, recovery, age, death, and place of burial (1, 1, 13, 20, 21; 2, 10; 11:13; 14:11-13);
b. The exactness of the historical remarks about the Assyrian kings (1, 2, 13, 15, 21), without deriving the names Ε᾿νεμέσσαρος (=Shalmaneser) and Σαχερδονός from the Old Test., as well as the correctness of the geographical points (1, 14; 2, 21; 3, 7; 6:1, 11); c. The impossibility of tracing the main: features of the narrative to any Old Test. prototype, and of explaining them on the hypothesis of fiction. The obscure place Thisbe is given as Tobit's place of birth (1, 2), and many minute particulars of his life are described which have in themselves nothing whatever to do with the plot, and which can only be accounted for on the reality of the events. On the other hand, Bertholdt (Einleit. § 579) has given a summary of alleged errors in detail (e.g. 1, ,2, "Naphtali," comp. with 2Ki 15:29; 2Ki 6:9, Rages, said to have been founded by Sel. Nicator), but the question turns rather upon the general complexion of the history than upon minute objections, which are often captious and rarely satisfactory (comp. Welte, Einleit. p. 84-94).
(2.) The opinion that it is a moral fiction was first thrown out by Luther (Vorrede aufs Buch Tobia [Bible, ed. 1534]), and has since been maintained by Rainold (Censur. 1, 726), J. A. Fabricius, Buddens (Hist. Eccles. 2, 489), Paul Faginus, Eichhorn (Einleit. p. 401 sq.), Bertholdt (Einleit. 5, 2477 sq.), De Wette (Einleit. § 309), Gutmann (Die Apokryphen. p. 143), Ewald (Gesch. d. V. J. 4:233 sq.), Fritszche (Kurgef. exeget. Handb. z. d. Apokryphen, 2, 14 sq.), Davidson (The Text of the O.T. Considered, p. 1001), Vaihüger (in Herzog's Real-Encyklop. s.v. "Tobias"), Gratz (Gesch. der Juden, 4:180 [2nd ed. 1866]), etc. In support of this opinion it is urged-a. The narrative is completely isolated; and though the events pretend to have occurred before and shortly after the fall of Nineveh (B.C. 606), no other document written at a later period refers to them. It bears a strong likeness to the tales of the Thousand and One Nights, with the obvious exception that the writer has a considerable acquaintance and sympathy with the writings of the Old Test. He writes in a pleasing style, and with a good deal of power. But he is clearly at variance with the sacred books of the holy nation on important points both of fact and principle. Tobit's age, his wife's, who died after him, and that of his son are much beyond the ordinary limit of old age in his day, and bring us back to the times of the patriarchs. He was fifty-eight years of age when he lost his sight, in the reign of Esar-haddon, and lived one hundred years after that time. Now, if, according to Rawlinson, Esar-haddon began to reign B.C. 680, Tobit must have survived the fall of Nineveh (B.C. 625 or 606), of which, he is made to prophesy (14, 4). He also takes no account of Sargon, who comes-in between Shalmaneser and Sennacherib. He removes to Ely-mais, and yet is found at Nineveh (11, 16), though he does not intimate his return, unless it be in 3, 17, where he speaks of coming home. b. The name Tobit does not occur in the Old Test., and belongs to a later age. c. The form, spirit, and tone of the narrative show that it belongs to a very late period. The doctrine of good and evil spirits (3, 8; 6:14; 8:3; 12:15), the ascription of human lusts to spiritual beings (vi, 14), the notion of the seven presence-angels bringing the prayers of the pious before the Divine throne (12, 12, 15), the marriage instrument (כתובה), and the legal benediction pronounced over tie wedded pair (7, 13, 14), are of post-Babylonian origin... 1. The stories of the angel Raphael in a human form giving a false account of himself as being a kinsman of Tobit (5, 12), of Tobit becoming blind in both eyes by the falling of some dung of sparrows (2, 10), and of the marvelous fish (6, 2-5) are beyond all matter of fact. The modes of repelling evil spirits and curing blindness betray a superstitious or trifling mind. The angel is made to feign himself a man, a Jew of a family known to Tobit, and to be the voucher for the false charms which are introduced. Although the extraordinary character of the details, as such, is no objection against the reality of the occurrences, yet it may be fairly urged that the character of the alleged miraculous events, when taken together, is alien from the general character of such events in the historical books of Scripture; while there is nothing exceptional in the circumstances of the persons, as in the case of Daniel, which might serve to explain this difference.
(3.) The view that the narrative is based upon a real occurrence preserved by tradition, but poetically embellished to suit the spirit of the time in which it was written, is maintained by Arnald, Dereser, Ilgen, Keil, etc. The fact that there are different recensions and embellishments of the story, and that the Midrash Tanchuma (pericope האזינו) gives an independent version of it, seems to show that it was traditionally handed down from the time when the occurrence took place. It is quite possible that some real occurrences, preserved by tradition, furnished the basis of the narrative, but it does not follow by any means that the elimination of the extraordinary details will leave behind pure history (so Ilgen). As the book stands it is a distinctly didactic narrative. Its point lies in the moral lesson which it conveys, and not in the incidents. The incidents furnish lively pictures of the truth which the author wished to inculcate, but the lessons themselves are independent of them. Nor can any weight be laid on the minute exactness with which apparently unimportant details are described (e.g. the genealogy and dwelling-place of Tobit, 1, 1, 2; the marriage festival, 8:20; 11:18, 19, quoted by Ilgen and Welte), as proving the reality of the events, for such particularity is characteristic of Eastern romance, and appears again in the Book of Judith. The writer in composing his-story necessarily observed the ordinary form of a historical narrative.
2. The religious character of the book is one of its most important and interesting features, inasmuch as it shows the phases of faith which obtained prior to the advent of Christ, and explains many points in the New Test. Few probably can read the book in the Sept. text without assenting to the favorable judgment of Luther on its merits. Nowhere else is there preserved so complete and beautiful a picture of the domestic life of the Jews after the Return. There may be symptoms of a tendency to formal, righteousness of works out; as yet the works are painted as springing from a living faith. The devotion due to Jerusalem is united with definite acts of charity (1, 6-8) and with the prospect of wider blessings (13, 11). The giving of alms is not a mere scattering of wealth, but a real service of love (1, 16, 17; 2, 1-7; 4, 7-11, 16), though at times the emphasis which is laid upon the duty is exaggerated (as it seems) from the special circumstances in which the writer was placed (12, 9; 14:10). Of the special precepts one (4, 15, ὃ μισεῖς μηδενὶ ποιήσης) contains the negative side of the golden rule of conduct (Mt 7:12),.which in this partial form is found among the maxims of Confucius.
But it is chiefly in the exquisite tenderness of the portraiture of domestic life that the book excels. The parting of Tobias and his mother, the consolation of Tobit (5, 17-22), the affection of Raguel (7, 4-8), the anxious waiting of the parents (10, 1-7), the son's return (9, 4; 11), and even the unjust suspiciousness of the sorrow of Tobit and Anna (2, 11-14) are painted with a simplicity worthy of the best times of the patriarchs. Almost every family relation is touched upon with natural grace and affection: husband and wife, parent and child, kinsmen, near or distant, master and servant, are presented in the most varied action, and always with life-like power (1, 22; 2, 10, 13, 14; 5, 14, 15, 17-22; 7,3-8, 16; 8:4-8; 10:1-7; 11:1-13; 12:1-5, etc.). Prayer hallows the whole conduct of life (4, 19; 6:17; 8:5-8, etc.); and even in distress there is confidence that in the end all will be well (4, 6, 14, 19), though there is no clear anticipation of a future personal existence (3, 6).
The most remarkable doctrinal feature in the book is the prominence given to the action of spirits, who, while they are conceived to be subject to the passions of men and material influences (Asmodaeus), are yet not affected by-bodily wants, and manifested only by their own will (Raphael, 12:19). Powers of evil (δαιμόνιον, πνεῦμα πονηρόν, 3, 8, 17; 6:7, 14, 17) are represented as gaining the means of injuring men by sin, while they are driven away and bound by the exercise of faith and prayer (8, 2,3). On the other hand, Raphael comes among men as "the healer" (comp. Dillmann, Das Buch Henoch, c. 20), and, by the mission of God (3, 17; 12:18), restores those whose good actions he has secretly watched (12, 12, 13), and "the remembrance of whose prayers he has brought before the Holy One" (12, 12). This ministry of intercession is elsewhere expressly recognized. Seven holy angels, of whom Raphael is one, are specially described as those "which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in aid out before the glory of God" (12, 15). It is characteristic of the same sense of the need of some being to interpose between God and man that singular prominence is given to the idea of" the glory of God," before which these archangels appear as priests in the holiest place (8, 15; 12:15); and in one passage "the angel of God" (5, 16, 21) occupies a position closely resembling that of the Word in the, Targums and Phlilo (De Muet Norn. § 13, etc.). Elsewhere blessing is rendered to "all the holy angels" (11, 14, εὐλογημένοι as contrasted with εὐλογητός; comp. Luke 1, 42), who are themselves united with "the elect" in the duty of praising God forever (8, 15).
This mention of "the elect" points to a second doctrinal feature of the book, which it shares with Baruch alone of the Apocryphal writings, the firm belief in a glorious restoration of the Jewish people (14, 5; 103, 9-18). But the restoration contemplated is national, and not the work of a universal Savior. The Temple is described as "consecrated and built for all ages" (1:4), its feasts are "an everlasting decree" (ver. 6), and when it is restored the streets of Jerusalem shall say, "Blessed be God which hath extolled it forever" (13:18). In all there is not the slightest trace of the belief in a personal Messiah.
Comparisons have often been made between the Book of Tobit and Job, but from the outline which has been given it is obvious that the resemblance is only superficial, though Tobit 2:14 was probably suggested by Job 2:9-10, while the differences are such as to mark distinct periods. In Tobit the sorrows of those who are afflicted are laid at once in prayer before God, in perfect reliance on his final judgment, and then immediately relieved by Divine interposition. In Job the real conflict is in the soul of the sufferer, and his relief comes at length with humiliation and repentance (Job 42:6). The one book teaches by great thoughts; the other by clear maxims translated into touching incidents. The contrast of Tobit and Judith is still more instructive. These books present two pictures of Jewish life and feeling, broadly distinguished in all their details, and yet mutually illustrative. The one represents the exile prosperous and even powerful in a strange land, exposed to sudden dangers, cherishing his national ties, and looking with unshaken love to the Holy City, but still mainly occupied by the common duties of social life; the other portrays a time of reproach and peril, when national independence was threatened, and a righteous cause seemed to justify unscrupulous valor. The one gives the popular ideal of holiness of living, the other of courage in daring. The one reflects the current feeling at the close of the Persian rule, the other during the struggles for freedom.
IV. Original Language, Versions, Condition of the Text, etc. —
1. The whole complexion of the book shows that it is of. Palestinian origin, and hence many have assumed that the languages in which the traditional story was first written down were Hebrew and Aramaic. Indeed, Jerome tells us that he made his Latin version from the Aramaic in one day, with the assistance of a Jew, who, being skilled in both Hebrew and Chaldee, dictated to him the import thereof in Hebrew ("Exigitis, ut-librum Chaldaeo sermone conscriptum ad Latinum stylum traham, librum utique Tobiae quem Hebraei de catalogo divinarum Scripturarum secantes his quae Hagiographa [Apocrypha] memorant, manciparunt. Feci satis desiderio vestro, non tamen meo studio. Et quia vicina est Chaldseorum lingua sermoni Hebraico, utriusque linguae pertissimum loquacem reperiens unius diei laborem arripui, et quidquid; ille mihi, Hebraicis verbis expressit,-hoc ego accito notario sermonibus Latinis exposui" [Praf. in Tob.]). This has been thought to be corroborated by the fact that some of the difficulties in the Greek text can be removed on the supposition of a Hebrew original. Thus ἔκχεον τοὺς ἄρτους σου ἐπὶ τὸν τάφον τῶν δικαίων (4:17), which has no sense, seems to be a mistranslation of לחמ ִבקרב הצריקי שלח; the translator, by a transposition of the last two letters, having read בקבר instead of בקרב and ִשפ instead of שלח, as is evident from the antithetical clause, "Land give it not to the wicked," in harmony with the traditional injunction להחזיק ידי עוברי עברה אסור, it is not lawful to strengthen the hands of the transgressor. So also καὶ εὐλόγησε Τωβίας τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ (9, 6) may be accounted for only the supposition that it is a mistranslation of the Hebrew ויבר ִטוביה את אשתו. The correct rendering of it requires that either Gabael should be taken as the subject — i.e. "and he (i.e. Gabael) saluted Tobias with his wife" — or that both Tobias and his wife should be the subject — i.e. "and Tobias and his wife saluted them," i.e. the two comers, Azarias and the servant. See also. 5, 11, 12, 18; 6:9; arid for the Hebraizing style, 1, 1; 13; 3, 5; 5, 14; 14:19; De Wette, Einleit. § 310; Gratz, Geschichte,: 4:466 (2nd ed.). On the other hand, superior clearness, simplicity, and accuracy of the Sept. text prove conclusively that this is nearer the original than any other text which is known, if it be not, as some have supposed (Jahn and Fritzsche doubtfully), the original itself. Indeed, the arguments, which have been brought forward to show that it is a translation are far from conclusive. The supposed contradictions between different parts of the book, especially the change from the first (1-3, 6) to the third person (3:7-14), from which Ilgen endeavored to prove that the narrative was made up of distinct Hebrew documents, carelessly put together, and afterwards rendered by one Greek translator, are explicable on other grounds; and the alleged mistranslations (3:6; 4:19, etc.) depend rather on errors in interpreting the Greek text than on errors in the text itself. The style, again, though harsh in parts, and far from the classical standard, is not more so than some books which were undoubtedly written in Greek (e.g. the Apocalypse); and there is little, if anything, in it which points certainly to the immediate influence of an Aramaic text. (1, 4, εἰς πάσας τὰς γενέας τοῦ αἰῶνος; comp. Ephesians 3:21; 1, 22, ἐκ δευτέρας ; 3:15, ἵνα τί μοι ζῆν ; 5:15, τίνα σοι ἔσομαι μισθὸν διδόναι ; 14:3, προσέθετπ φοβεῖσθαι, etc.) To this it may be added that Origen was not acquainted with any Hebrew original (Ep. ad Afric. 13); and the Chaldee copy which Jerome used, as far as its character can be ascertained, was evidently a later version of the story. On the other hand, there is no internal evidence against the supposition that the Greek text is a translation. The Greek offers some peculiarities-in vocabulary: 1, 6, πρωτοκουρία, i. . e. ἡ ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κουρῶν, De 18:4; De 1; De 7, ἀποπρατίζομαι; 1, 21, ἐκλοιστία; 2, 3, στραγγαλόω, etc.: and in construction, 13:7, ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι τὴν μεγαλωσύνην ; 12:4, δικαιοῦσθαί τινι; 6:19, προσάγειν τινί (intrans.); ver. 6, ἐγγίζειν ἐν, etc. But these furnish no argument on either side.
2. There are extant different Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Hebrew texts of this book, differing more or less from one another in the details of the narrative; but yet, on the whole, so far alike that it is reasonable to suppose that all were derived from one written original, which was modified in the course of translation or transcription.
Besides the Greek text of the Sept. which was adopted into this version because it was that-of the Greek Church, there is a recension, one fragment of which (1:1-2, 2) is contained in the Cod. Sinaiticus (or Cod. Frid. Augustanus, ed. Tischendorf [Leips. 1846]), and another (6:9-13) in. the last three MSS. (44, 106, 107) of Holmes and Parsons.
Of Latin translations we have the ante-Hieronymian version, which was first published by Sabatier (Bibliorun Sacrosrum Latince Versiones Antiquae, 1743) from two MSS. of the 8th century, and which, according to the investigations of Fritzsche (p. 1 sq.), is mostly made from the recension of the Greek text, but partly (vi, 15-17; 7:15-18; 8:14-17; 12:6- 9, 11-22; 13:6-18) also from the common text, while 10:1-11,.19 is from a mixture of both texts. In this edition of the Vetus Latina, Sabatier also published, in the form of notes and as various readings, two other codd., one being of the same age as the MSS. of the ante-Hieronymian version, belonging to the library of St. Germanuts (No. 15), and concluding (13, 12) with Explicit Tobijustus; and the other belonging to the Vatican (No. 7). The text of the latter differs so materially from the other MSS. that it is regarded as an independent version, though emanating from the same Greek source. It is less barbarous and more fluent in style, as well as more explicit its renderings, and it is to be regretted that it has survived as a fragment, containing only 1, 1-6; 12 (Bibl. Lat. 2, 706). There also, existed another Latin version, as is evident from the quotations of this book contained in the Speculum of Augustine, which Angelo Mai has published (Spicilegium Romanorum, 9:21-23). As to the Vulgate Latin version, Jerome tells us, as we have seen, that he made it in one day from the Syro- Chaldaic. It differs very materially from the Greek, and is evidently derived from a different form which this traditional story assumed in a different part of the country. The treatment of the text in this recension is very arbitrary, as might be expected from the above account, which Jerome gives of the mode in which it was made; and it is of very little critical value, for, it is impossible to distinguish accurately the different elements which are incorporated in it. It is evident that in this process Jerome made some use of the Old Latin version, which he follows almost verbally in a few places: 3, 3-6; 4:6,7, 11. 23, etc.; but the greater part of the version seems to be an independent work. On the whole, it is more concise than the Old Latin; but it contains interpolations and changes, many of which mark the asceticism of a late age: 2, 12-14 (parallel with Job); 3, 17-23 (expansion of 3, 14); 6:17 sq. (expansion of 6:18); 9:11, 12; 12:13 ("et quia acceptus eras Deo, necesse fuit ut tentatio probaret te" ).
The Syriac version is made from the two different recensions of the Greek; 1, 1-7, 9 being a translation of the common Greek text of the Sept.; while 7:10, etc., is from a text represented by the above-named three MSS. (44, 106,107) of Holmes and Parsons, according to the marginal annotations in Usher's MS.
Neubauer has lately discovered a Chaldee version among the MSS. of the Bodleian Library, which may prove to be a copy of that to which Jerome refers as the basis of his version.
There are four Hebrew versions of this book, the one first published in Constantinople, 1517; then with a Latin translation by Paul Fagius, and adopted in Walton's Polyglot (Lond. 1657), vol. 4. It is a free translation of the common Greek text, made by a learned Jew in the 12th century. The second is that first published with a Latin translation by Sebastian Minister (Basle, 1542; then again in 1549, 1556, 1563), and has also been inserted in Walton's Polyglot. This Hebrew version is more in harmony with the
Vetus Latina; and the author of it, who was a Jew, is supposed to have flourished in the 5th century. The: third Hebrew version was made from the common Greek text by J. S. Frinkel (Leips. 1830); and the fourth is by J. Siebenberger — it was published in Warsaw, 1840, with a Judaeo- German translation, a Hebrew commentary, and an elaborate Hebrew introduction.
As to the versions of the Reformation, Luther made his translation from the Vulgate; the Swiss-Zurich Bible (1531) is also from the Vulgate.: Coverdale (1535), as usual, followed the Zurich version, SEE COVERDALE; and he again was followed by Matthew's Bible (1537), Lord Cromwell's Bible (1539), — Cranmer's Bible (1540), and the Bishops Bible (1568). The Genevan version (1560) is the first made from the Greek, and our present A.V. (1611), as in most cases, followed the Genevan version, though this was interdicted by James I.
3. The first complete edition of the book was by Ilgen (Die Gesch. Tobi's …mit…einer Einleit. verssehen [Jen. 1800]), which, in spite of serious defects due to the period at which it was published, contains the most full discussion of the contents. The edition of Fritzsche (Exeget. Handb. [Leips. 1853], vol. 2) is concise and scholar like, but leaves some points without-illustration, In England the book, like the rest of the Apocrypha, seems to have fallen into neglect.
V. Author, Date, and Place of Composition. —As 12:20 tells us that Raphael, before his disappearance, commanded Tobit and his son Tobias to record the events; of their lives; and, moreover, since Tobit, in the first three chapters, speaks in the first person, while (ch. 13) his prayer is introduced by the statement Καὶ Τωβὶτ ἔγραψε προσευχὴν εἰς ἀγαλλίασιν καὶ ειπεν; the Church universal, up to the time of the Reformation, believed that Tobit himself wrote this book (B.C. cir. 600) as far as ch. 14; that 14:1-11 was written by his son Tobias; and that 12:12-15 was added by -the editor of this document immediately after the death of Tobias. This opinion is shared by bishop Gray, Prideaux, and others, who modify it by submitting that it was compiled from the memoirs of Tobit and Tobias; while Ilgen maintains that 1, 1-3, 7; 13:1-8, were written by Tobit in Assyria, B.C. 689; 3, 8-12, 2-22; 14:1-15, were written in Palestine, B.C. cir. 280; and that from these two Hebrew documents the Chaldee version was made B.C. cir. 120, which Jerome translated into Latin. Modern critics, however, conclude, from the whole complexion of the book, its angelology, theology, etc., that it is a post-Babylonian production, and that it was -written by a Palestinian Jew. But these critics differ very materially about the precise date when the book was compiled, as will be seen from the following table:
The Catholic Church—Bishop Gray, Ilgen B.C. 689-600 Ewald 350 Herzfeld 300 Bertholdt 250-200 Eichhorn A.D. 10 Fabricius 100 Grätz 130
But though internal evidence leaves it beyond the shadow of a doubt that the book was compiled after the Babylonian captivity, yet the arguments adduced by Gratz (Geschichte, 3, 466, 2nd ed.) to prove that it was written after the destruction of the Temple, and during, the persecutions of Hadrian, are inconclusive. The reference to the destruction of the Temple (13, 10, 16; 14:4) is designed to refer to what took place in the reign of Zedekiah, when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem and burned the sanctuary (2 Kings 25). The other remark of this learned historian-viz. that the bread of heathens (ἄρτος τῶν ἐθνῶν=פת נכרים), of which Tobit speaks (ver. 1, 10), was first interdicted shortly before the destruction of the Temple by Titus is based upon restricting the term ἄρτος to actual bread, whereas it signifies food generally, and this was prohibited long before the Christian era (comp. Da 1; Da 5). Indeed, the book is singularly devoid of the stringent Halachic expansions of the Mosaic enactments which obtained in later times: it contains no allusion whatever to the rewards in a future life, and has no reference to the party-strifes which were so rampant at the time of Christ, traces of which might naturally be expected in it if it had been written in or after the time of Christ. It is therefore most probable that the book was written B.C. cir. 250-200.
VI. Canonicity and Authority. —Like the other deutero-canonical books, Tobit'was, never included in the canon by the synagogue. This is established beyond the shadow of doubt, not only from the list of the Hebrew Scriptures given by the Jews themselves in the Talmud (BabaBathra, 14), but from the oldest catalogues of the canon furnished by Christian fathers, such as Melito, Origen, etc. Indeed, Origen distinctly states that neither Tobit nor Judith was ever received h, the Jews as Sacred Scripture- ῾Εβραῖοι τῷ Τωβίᾷ οὐ χρῶνται (Ep. ad Affric. § 13; comp. De Orat. 1, 14).
It was, however, different in the Greek Church, where the text of the Sept. was received as canonical. There appears to be a clear reference to it in the Latin version of the Epistle of Polycarp (c. 10, eleemosyna de morte liberat; Tobit 4:10; 12:9). In a scheme of the Ophites, if there be no corruption in the text, Tobias appears among the prophets (Iren. 1, 30,11).. Forming part of the contents of this version, Clement of Alexandria quotes Tobit 4:15; 12:8,-as taken from - ἡ γραφή, Scripture (Strom. 2, 23,139). But though Origen himself also quoted it as Scripture, yet it is ranked by Christians among such as were read to the catechumens, and contains a plainer and less elevated doctrine (In Numbers Homil. 20). Even Athanasius, when writing without any critical regard to the canon, quotes Tobit as Scripture (Apol. c. Arian. § 11, ὡς γέγραπται, Tobit 12:7); but when he gives a formal list of the sacred books, he definitely excludes it from the canon, and places it with other Apocryphal books among the writings which were to be read by those who were but just entering on Christian teaching, and desirous to be instructed in the rules of piety" (Ep. Fest. p. 1177, ed. Migne). This distinction, however, between canonical and apocryphal afterwards disappeared, to a great extent, in the Greek Church, as is seen from the fact that Bar-Hebraeus places Tobit among the sacred books in his Nomocanon of the Antiochenian Church (Mai, Script. Vett. Nova Collectio, 53; comp. Fritzsche, p. 18).
In the Latin Church Tobit was regarded with greater sacredness. Cyprian often quotes it as Holy Writ (De Opere et Eleemosynis Liber). Hilary cites it to prove the intercession of angels (In Psalm 129:7), and tells us that some Christians added both Tobit and Judith to the other two-and-twenty canonical books to make up their canon of four-and-twenty books (Prol. in Psalm 15). Lucifer quotes it as authoritative (Pro Athan. 1, 871). Augustine includes it with the other Apocrypha of, the Sept. among "the books which the Christian Church received" (De Doctr. Christ. 2, 8). This is expressed still more distinctly in the Speculum (p. 1127, C., ed. Par. 1836): "Non sunt omittendi et hi [libri] quos quidem ante Salvatoris adventum constat esse conscriptos, sed eos non receptos a Judaeis recipit tamen ejusdem Salvatoris ecclesia." The preface from which these words are taken is followed by quotations from Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and Tobit. In this Augustine was followed by tie mass of the later Latin fathers. Ambrose, in especial, wrote an essay on Tobias, treating of the evils of usury, in which he speaks of the book as "prophetic" in the strongest terms (De Tobia, l, 1; comp. Hexcem. 6:4). Jerome, however, followed by Rufinus, maintained the purity of the Hebrew canon of the Old Test., and, as has been seen, treated it very summarily.
The third Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), Innocent I (405), and the councils of Florence (1439) and Trent (1546), declared it canonical. Indeed, in the old Roman Missal and in the Missal of Sarum there is a proper mass of Raphael, the archangel, and it is ordered in the prefatory rubric that the office be celebrated for pilgrims, travelers, sick persons, and demoniacs. This is followed by two short prayers, one addressed to God and the other to Raphael (comp. Arnald, Dissertation on Asodcus).
As to the Reformed Church, though Luther was the first who separated the deutero-canonical from the canonical books, yet he entertained the highest opinion of the book of Tobit. "If it is history," says the great Reformer, "it is fine holy history; but if fiction, it is indeed right beautiful, wholesome, profitable fiction, and. play of an ingenious poet.... It is, therefore, profitable and good for us Christians to read this book as the production of an excellent Hebrew poet, who treats not on frivolous, but solid, matters" (Vorrede zum Buche-Tobia, in his translation of the Bible, ed. 1534). In the Anglican Church the book of Tobit is looked upon with still greater favor- 4, 7-16 is quoted in: the Homilies as the counsel of the holy father Toby (On A In2s-deeds, pt. 1); 4:10 is cited as a lesson taught by "the Holy Ghost in Scripture" (ibid. pt. 2)-; and 12:8 is adduced to show that the angel Raphael, told Tobias that "fasting used with prayer is of great efficacy" (Of Fasting, pt. 2). Passages of Tobit are also incorporated in the liturgy; 4:7-9 is among the passages used at the offertory; 3, 3, according to the Latin Vulgate, is introduced into the litany; 6:17, according to the Vulgate, is alluded to in the preface to the Marriage Service; while in the prayer following immediately after the versicles and responses in the same service in the First Book of Prayer of Edward VI, the following sentence is used: "And as thou didst send the angel Raphael to Thobie and Sara, the daughter of Raquel, to their great comfort, so vouchsafe to send thy blessing upon these thy servants" (Parker Society's ed. p. 131)..
VII. Commentaries. —The following are the special exegetical helps on this Apocryphal book: Fagius, Tobice Liber (Isny, 1542, 4to; also in the Lond. Polyglot, 1657, fol.); Miinster, סֵפר טוֹבַי (Basle, 1542, i549,1556, 1563, 4to; also in Walton's Polyglot); Drusius, Tobias Graece (Franeck. 1591, 8vo; also in his Criticae Sacrae); Senarius, In Libros Tobie, Judith, etc. (Mainz, 1610, fol.); Drexel, Tobias Illustratus (Mun. 1611, 1.2mo); Sanctius, In Libros Ruth, Tobias, etc. (Lugd. 1628, fol.); Justinian, Tobias Illustratus (Colossians 1629, fol.); Van Mauden, Tobias Delineatus (Antw. 1631, fol.); Βίβλος Λόγων Τωβίτ, etc. (in the eds. of the Apocrypha, F. ad M. 1634,1757, 8vo; by Augusti [Leips. 1804, 8vo]; Apel [ib." 1836, 8vo]); Celada, Conmmenztarius in Tob. fist. (Lugd. 1644, fol.); Anon. Tobie, Judith, et Esther, avec Explication (Paris, 1688, 8vo); Van der Hardt,Emnigma Tobice, etc. (Helmnst. 1728, 4to); Aden, סֵפֵר טוֹבַיָּה.(Amst. 1736, 8vo); Sabatier, Liber Tobit (in the Vetus Latina [Par. 1751, fol.], vol. 1); Seller, Pred. üb. d. B. Tobias (Munich, 1780, 8vo); Le Clerc, Liber Tobice (Par. 1785, 8vo); Bauer, Das B. Tobias Erklar (Bramb. — Wiirtzb. 1787, 1793. 12mo); Eichhorn, Ueb. d. B. Tobias (in his Bibliothek, 2, 410-440 [ Leips. 1787-1800 ]); Ilgen, Die Gesch. Tobi's (Jen. 1800, 8vo); Hbpfner, Historia Tobice Graec (Viternb. 1802, 4to); Dereser, Tobias, Judith u. Esther erklar (Frankfort-on-the Main, 1803, 1833, 8vo); Paur, Das B. Tobias bearbeitet (Leips. 1817, 8vo); Van Ess, Liber Tobice (Tub. 1822, 8vo); Frainkel, Das B. Thobi (in his כּתוּםַים אִחֲרוֹנַיםִ [Leips. 1830, 8vo]); Siebenberger. חִיֵּי טוֹבַיָּה (Heb. translation and commentary [Warsaw, 1839, 8vo]); Guttmann, Die Apokr. des A. T. (Altona, 1841,8vo); Cittadini and Bottari, Libri di Tobia, Giuditta, e Ester (Ven. 1844, 8vo); Fritzsche, Die Biicher Tobi und Judith (vol. 2 of the KurzgeJf exeg. Handb. [Leips. 1853,8vo]); Reusch, Das B. Tobias erklart (Freib. 1857, 8vo); Sengelmann, Das B. Tobit erklart (Hamb. 1857, 8vo). SEE APOCRYPHA.