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Monday, 16 March 2015

On Tobit Again, And Authority in Disobedience

Adding to the meditations on the book of Tobit, one of my favorite books in the Bible, these few thoughts continue a theme on the family.

Tobias' journey with the Archangel Raphael is a walk into manhood. He must leave his parents, meet people he has never met, and in the process, kills a huge fish which would have eaten him, (no small feat), delivers a woman from a demon and becomes a new head of household by redeeming money and inheriting much from his new father-in-law.

Now one part of this tale, which I have never heard discussed or preached, is that the demon, Asmodeus, had control over the girl, Sarah, because of her father. 

Here is the key passage. Raphael is explaining the situation in the kinsman's house, including the fact that Tobias is destined by Jewish law to marry Sarah. From Chapter 6:

10 When he entered Media and already was approaching Ecbatana,[c] 11 Raphael said to the young man, “Brother Tobias.” “Here I am,” he answered. Then Raphael[d] said to him, “We must stay this night in the home of Raguel. He is your relative, and he has a daughter named Sarah. 12 He has no male heir and no daughter except Sarah only, and you, as next of kin to her, have before all other men a hereditary claim on her. Also it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions. Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful, and her father is a good man.” 13 He continued, “You have every right to take her in marriage. So listen to me, brother; tonight I will speak to her father about the girl, so that we may take her to be your bride. When we return from Rages we will celebrate her marriage. For I know that Raguel can by no means keep her from you or promise her to another man without incurring the penalty of death according to the decree of the book of Moses. Indeed he knows that you, rather than any other man, are entitled to marry his daughter. So now listen to me, brother, and tonight we shall speak concerning the girl and arrange her engagement to you. And when we return from Rages we will take her and bring her back with us to your house.”
14 Then Tobias said in answer to Raphael, “Brother Azariah, I have heard that she already has been married to seven husbands and that they died in the bridal chamber. On the night when they went in to her, they would die. I have heard people saying that it was a demon that killed them. 15 It does not harm her, but it kills anyone who desires to approach her. So now, since I am the only son my father has, I am afraid that I may die and bring my father’s and mother’s life down to their grave, grieving for me—and they have no other son to bury them.”
16 But Raphael[e] said to him, “Do you not remember your father’s orders when he commanded you to take a wife from your father’s house? Now listen to me, brother, and say no more about this demon. Take her. I know that this very night she will be given to you in marriage. 17 When you enter the bridal chamber, take some of the fish’s liver and heart, and put them on the embers of the incense. An odor will be given off; 18 the demon will smell it and flee, and will never be seen near her any more. Now when you are about to go to bed with her, both of you must first stand up and pray, imploring the Lord of heaven that mercy and safety may be granted to you. Do not be afraid, for she was set apart for you before the world was made. You will save her, and she will go with you. I presume that you will have children by her, and they will be as brothers to you. Now say no more!” When Tobias heard the words of Raphael and learned that she was his kinswoman,[f] related through his father’s lineage, he loved her very much, and his heart was drawn to her.
Here are the plain facts: one, the father of Sarah is the cause of the deaths of the seven young men; two, this is because Raguel has disobeyed the laws of kinship by giving Sarah's hand in marriage to men who are not in the extended family line with the legal right to marry her-they are not from the same tribe; three, the demon, Asmodeus, enters into the picture because of the disobedience of the father--if the father was in obedience, Asmodeus would have no power over Sarah; four, Raguel knows this, which is why he has a burial hole dug in the middle of the night--he is ashamed of his own part in the attacks of Asmodeus, but wants to cover this fact up; five, Raguel does not trust in God, as he forgets or purposefully sets aside the idea that Tobias would be protected from a demon, as he, Tobias, is in order, is the real husband of Sarah; six, Raguel would have incurred death, but the death penalty fell on the seven young men instead without Raguel repenting-these men "wore" his sin; seven, Raphael, who is teaching Tobias about the sacredness of both the law of kinship according to Moses, and the laws of marriage, tells the young man how to release Sarah, who has been blamed unjustly for the presence of this demon, Asmodeus. She is freed when a real protector takes over her life in the order of the Jewish law and allows God, through Raphael, to enter into this spiritual warfare.

I shall write more on this later, but it is clear that Asmodeus is allowed to attack Sarah because she is not protected by her own father. 
This ties in with my previous post on the synod. The attack of this devil, who hates marriage and works when those in authority ignore the laws of marriage, is now attacking the very institution of marriage in the Church because of the disobedience of those in authority-some bishops and some cardinals. Raguel reminds me of those kings and generals before and during WWI who did not care how many of the best and brightest men of Europe went out of the trenches into death. In fact, Raguel thanks God in his prayer after the discovery that Tobias is alive, that he, Raguel, did not incur what was going to happen to him! What a selfish man....see verse 16 of Chapter 8.
Like Tobias, we need to learn how to be obedient in order for the Church, the Bride of Christ, to be healed. When the heads of our families, including our Church family chose disobedience, we all suffer. When the laws of marriage as set up by Christ are ignored, the entire Church suffers.
I repost the link to my thoughts on the demon here named and the synod, from last October.
Too bad about the wings on the angel in some art, but I like the little white dog here--either a Westie, or Maltese, or a Poodle...

To be continued....