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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary


Verse 1

Tobias, "good God," (Tirinus) is styled Tobis, by the ancient Latin version and St. Ambrose, and Tobit by the Greek and Syriac. These copies and the Hebrew give a genealogy which does not agree. (Calmet) --- Grabe's edition, "The book of the words (or transactions) of Tobit, Son of Tobiel, son of Ananiel, son of Adouel, (manuscript has Nave) son of Galael, (manuscript, Gamael) of the seed of Asiel, of the tribe of Nephthali, ( 2 ) who was made captive in the days of Enemessar, king of the Assyrians, from Thisbe, (manuscript, Thibe) which is on the right properly (manuscript, of Kudis; Haydock) or Cades, capital (Calmet) of Nephthali in Galilee, above Aser. I, Tobit, walked in the ways of truth and of justice all the days of my life." (Haydock) --- Nehemias and the prophets frequently speak of themselves in the first person. The truth of the history is the same. (Du Hamel) --- Beyond, or behind; ( post; Haydock) as the Hebrews speak with reference to a man turned towards the east. Hence this way would be on the west, and Sephet on the north.

Verse 2

Salmanasar. When Osee was conquered, in the year of the world 3283. See 4 Kings xvii. 6. --- Truth. His constancy in the observance of the true religion was so much the more wonderful, as he was rich, and lived among the wicked. (Calmet)

Verse 3

Kindred. Greek adds, "who went along with Ninive."

Verse 4

Younger. "Very young," (Haydock) or the youngest of those who administered their own affairs. The parents of Tobias were deceased. (Calmet) --- Greek, "when I was young in my country, in the land of Israel, all the tribe," &c.

Verse 5

All, or the greatest part; (Haydock) for some still feared God; (chap. ii. 2.; Worthington) and the Greek of chap. v. 14 or 19 informs us that Ananias and Jonathan accompanied Tobias. (Haydock) --- Greek is more diffuse. (Calmet) --- ( 4 ) "All the tribe of Nephthali, of my father, departed from the house of Jerusalem, which city had been chosen from all the tribes of Israel, for all the tribes to offer sacrifice; and the temple of the tabernacle of the most High was sanctified, and was built forever; ( 5 ) and all the tribes, apostatizing together, sacrificed to Baal, to the heifer; (Complutensian edition, to the power of Baal) and the house of Nephthali, of my father, likewise. ( 6 ) And I alone went frequently to Jerusalem, at the feasts" (Haydock) of the Passover, &e. (Menochius) --- The other versions are nearly similar. (Calmet) --- But we cannot specify all these variations. (Haydock) --- The number has induced some to conclude, not improbably, that there were two originals; (Tirinus) the Syriac by the elder, and the Chaldee by the younger Tobias. (Justiniani.) --- But this is destitute of proof. (Calmet)

Verse 7

Strangers. See Deuteronomy xiv. 28., (Menochius) Leviticus xxvii. 30. (Calmet) --- Greek, "And the third I gave to whom it belonged, as Debbora, my father's mother, ordered me, as I was left an orphan by my father; ( 9 ) and when I was," &c. (Haydock)

Verse 9

Man. The Jews married young: but the time was not fixed. (Calmet) --- After. Greek, "Tobias." They always style the father Tobit. (Haydock)

Verse 11

Ninive, called Ninus by Pliny, &c. (Menochius) --- It was so large, as easily to receive a whole tribe, which was sold for slaves. (Calmet)

Verse 12

Meats, such as had been immolated to idols, (Menochius) or were forbidden to the Jews. (Calmet)

Verse 14

And he. Greek, "I was his marketter," (Haydock) to provide provisions for the palace. "He set me over all he had, till the day of his death." (Munster.) --- But this Hebrew author has probably exaggerated the matter, to make Tobias appear as great as he could. These editions add no more, continuing, ( 15 ) "And I went into Media, and I deposited with Gabael, or Gabelus," &c.

Verse 16

Rages means "rupture," by frequent earthquakes, and was (Menochius; Calmet) the residence of the Parthian kings, in spring, (Atheneus xii. 2.) in the mountain, separating their country from Media. --- Honoured for his salary. (Calmet)

Verse 17

Money. People might formerly make use of what was merely deposited in their hands. (Ulpian.) --- The old Latin version has, "I committed to him ten talents in gold."

Verse 18

Time. Salmanasar reigned fourteen years; seven after the captivity, which to people in distress would appear long. (Calmet) --- Greek, "And after Enemessar was dead, Sennacherib, his son, reigned in his stead; and his ways ceased, (or his high roads were stopped) and I could no longer go into Media." (Haydock) --- We find nothing in history to confirm this stoppage: (Calmet) but it might be in consequence of the wars. (Houbigant) See the preface. (Haydock) --- Israel. This hatred was augmented, after the unfortunate expedition into Palestine. (Calmet) (Menochius) (4 Kings xix. 35.)

Verse 19

Goods, under Sennacherib; though he was now deprived of his place. (Calmet) --- Greek, Syriac, and Hebrew insinuate, that this happened under his predecessor. (Haydock)

Verse 20

Slain, by order or connivance of Sennacherib. (Menochius) --- Tobias buried the dead, out of charity, and the belief of a future resurrection. Hence arises the respect for tombs and the relics of the saints. (Calmet) --- The pagans imagined that the souls could not rest till their bodies were interred. (Homer, Virgil vii., &c.) (Calmet)

Verse 23

Loved him, even of the Assyrians. The Jews were not able to afford him shelter. (Menochius)

Verse 24

Forty. Arabic, twenty-five; Greek and Syriac, fifty; other Greek copies, fifty-five days. Fagius says Tobias was hidden nineteen days. It seems, therefore, we should date these forty-five days from the return of Sennacherib. --- Sons. See 4 Kings xix. 37., and Isaias xxxvii. 38. (Calmet) --- Greek adds, "and they fled to the mountains of Ararat, and Sacherdoc, (our Assaraddon) his son, reigned in his stead; and he appointed Achiachar Anael, the son of my brother, over all the accounts of his kingdom, and over all his government. And Achiachar petitioned for me; and I came to Ninive. But Achiachar was cup-bearer, (Alexandrian manuscript, receiver of wine) and keeper of the ring, and governor and keeper of accounts; and Sacherdonosos gave him the second place. But he was my nephew. And when I returned to my house, and my wife Anna, and my son Tobias, were restored to me, at the feast of Pentecost," &c. (Haydock) --- This seems contrary to ver. 23. Yet the Hebrew copies agree in this particular, and mention the dignity of Akikar. But we may judge what credit these additions deserve. (Calmet) --- They merit some attention, as they may be original. See Preface. (Haydock)

Verse 31


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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Tobit 1". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.