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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recommendation: Tobit (dry outline)

The Book of Tobit is an apocryphal book- I believe, without glancing, that it falls in the middle section of the Old Testament, coming to rest before Psalms in the Douay-Rheims bible. It was an ancient book, read for entertainment by slaves in captivity- that is, the Babylonian exile. I'd love to share it, but I cannot do it justice. But I will attempt a basic Reader's Digest preview so I can hopefully get people to look it up. Redemption, faith, and miracles are the biggest themes.

Part I brings us to Tobit, a good man, loves his wife. The first part is from Tobit's point of view.
Tobit was a pious Hebrew, who by letter of Law, provided proper burials for those killed by the King. Who promptly sent him into exile and stole his property. After the King died, he went home. He could not avoid burying someone murdered in the street, and he buries them. By Letter of Law, he is unclean (see Leviticus.) He does not go into his home, but sleeps against a wall outside. He is blinded by birds, whose emissions cause his eyes to form cataracts.
All of this strains his marriage.

Part II is in third person.
We meet the sad and suicidal Sarah, who has lost 7 husbands, before consummation, to the murderous demon, Asmodeus. Her maids taunt her: "Why do you beat us? To shut us up? You are the one who kills them!" There is a long, pained prayer for death. \

Part III begins with the Archangel Raphael, no half-shell, but all the warrior and helper, disguised as a typical young man. He is sent to help poor Sarah, and to cure Tobit.
He agrees to accompany Tobias, Tobit's son, to Media, where his Tobias's uncle holds money Tobit had deposited with him for safe-keeping.
Raphael, aka Azariah, and Tobias set off, with Tobias's dog in tow.

Part IV
-A large fish attacks.
-Azariah/ Raphael urges Tobias to kill it, and gives certain instructions. They keep the heart, liver and gallbladder, to make "medicines".

Part V: Upon arrival, Azariah informs Tobias of Sarah, whom, as her cousin, in those days, had a right to her hand.
The father tries to dissuade at first, but Tobias is victorious. Tobias and Sarah marry.
Following instructions, he leaves a gift for Asmodeus. Burned fish liver.
The father, assumes Tobias will be the eighth fatality, and digs a grave secretly while this goes on.
Asmodeus is so disgusted by the smell of fish liver, he flees to "Lower Egypt"-more likely, at what that time, seemed like the end of the earth. Raphael fights him there.

Part VI: Surprise and happiness at removing the demonic horror, and at Tobias being alive.

Part VII: Tobias, Sarah, and Azariah/Raphael return home.
Using fish gall, Tobias heals his father's blindness. They all live happily ever after, Raphael reveals himself and goes home himself. Tobit is happy and sings a song of praise.

Raphael and Tobias, L-R, with important plot points
It is not good to make an outline... so much is lost. I can give you the nitty-gritty in a bing-bang-boom moment, but the book has it fleshed out beautifully. I am certain copies exist all over, so you don't have to buy an extra bible if you don't want.

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