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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Raphael

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RAPHAEL (‘God has healed’) is the good angel of Tobit. In Tob 3:17 he is sent to heal Tobit, by restoring his sight; to give Sarah, daughter of his kinsman Raguel, to his son Tobias for wife; and to prevent the demon Asmodæus from adding him to the seven husbands he has already killed. In Tob 5:4 ff. he appears as ‘brother Azarias ’ to accompany Tobias on his journey to Media. Tobit despatches them with the parting ‘May [God’s] angel go with you’ ( Tob 5:16 , cf. Tob 5:21 ), and they start with their dog (a favourite subject with the great painters). In Tob 6:3 ff. he directs Tobias to take the heart, liver, and gall of a fish, manages the marriage, binds the demon, fetches money from Rages, and heals Tob 12:12-20 gives his description of himself, a passage which probably became the groundwork of later speculations. (1) He is one of the seven ‘angels of the presence’ ( Luke 1:13 , Revelation 8:2 [ Revelation 1:4 ?], Enoch 90). So in Enoch 20.3 he is one of the ‘watchers,’ the ‘angel of the spirits of men.’ The conception is usually traced to Persian influence; cf. the seven ‘princes of light’ of Zoroastrianism. (2) He is an intermediary, bringing the memorial of prayers before God ( Revelation 8:3 ). The doctrine of the Divine aloofness made it hard to conceive that man could have direct access to the ear of God, any more than a subject could enter into the presence of an Oriental monarch, or that He could interfere directly in the petty affairs of men. See Angels. (3) He is also a guardian angel, being present at Tobit’s good deeds, and the companion of Tobias. The long-maintained disguise is a unique feature; the ‘eating and drinking’ is explained as an illusion ( Tob 12:19 ). (4) He is true to his name, ‘the healer’; cf. Enoch 10.7, where he is ordered to bind Azazel (so 54), and heal the earth which the angels have defiled; and 40.5, where he is ‘set over the diseases and wounds of the children of men.’ (5) In Enoch 22 he is a guide in Sheol; in 32, in Paradise.

C. W. Emmet.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Raphael'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/r/raphael.html. 1909.

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