Walk Through The Bible
St. Barnabas Parish
Wulff and Baillou Hill Roads
Nassau, New Providence,
12th September 2006
Introduction to The Book Of Tobit
Position: 1st Book of the Apocrypha
Author: Unknown, thought to be a Jew living in the Diaspora
Theme: Be Good, Do Good
General Outline of the Story
The story takes place in the city of Nineveh where Tobit, an exiled Jew, is appointed to some
high post in the Assyrian government. As a result of his charitable work among his fellow Jews,
especially in burying the bodies of those who were executed, he loses his job, his property, and
eventually his sight. After a row with his wife, he prays for God to let him die.
At the same time in the city of Ecbatana one of Tobit’s kinsfolk is praying the same prayer.
Sarah is possessed by a demon that has killed the last seven husbands that she has married on
their wedding night.
Both of them need divine intervention; so God sends the Angel Raphael in disguise as a “fellow
Tobit remembers that he gave a large sum of money to a relative at Rages in Media, so he sends
his son Tobias to get it. But before Tobias leaves, his father offers him some words of godly
advice. They hire the “fellow Jew” as a guide.
After a day’s journey they come to the Tigris River where the angel advises Tobias to catch a
fish and remove three of its internal organs.
On arriving at Ecbatana, the angel suggests that Tobias marries Sarah and by using two of the
internal organs of the fish he is able to exorcise her of her demons. He sends Raphael on to
Rages to get the money while he enjoys a 14 day wedding celebration.
The three return to Nineveh not only with money in hand, but also the final fish organ which is
used to cure his father’s blindness. When they try to offer the money to Raphael he gives them
some counsel and then he reveals his identity. Tobit compiles a long Psalm of Praise. After a
long life of charitable deeds, Tobit calls Tobias to his deathbed and makes a prediction about the
future of the city of Nineveh. Tobias must leave if he is to have a future.
The author, by telling the story shows us that God:
a. Is just and merciful
b. Judges men rightly
c. Is compassionate
d. Is perfect in knowledge
e. Is powerful
f. Intervenes in human affairs
g. Dwells in heaven and in His temple
h. Is King and Lord.
Yet at the same time He expects His people to be loyal to Him and others. Their lives must be
marked with integrity, honesty, and charity. They must be people of prayer, observing the
commands of God with patience and fidelity. God guards against assimilation with non-Jews and
keeps them away from certain dietary uncleanness. They must reverence Him in all they do, and
do good deeds that will please the Lord. “What you hate, do not do to anyone!!!” (4:15)
1. Tobit 1:1-22 Regardless of What others May Be Doing; You do what is Right!!!
a. 1-2 Tobit’s genealogy is important to show that his heritage is pure.
b. 3-9 He even made sure that he walked in the ways of the God of Jerusalem and did not
follow the practices of his own people. He is very generous in the performance of his
duties. He refused to worship the golden calf that was set up in Bethel.
c. 10-20 Even in exile he maintained his integrity and uprightness. He not only kept the
dietary laws, but he preformed other acts of charity, even burying the dead. He is found
out by one of the inhabitants of the city and reported to the king who takes away
everything from him.
d. 20-22 The king who has been trying to create havoc in Tobit’s life, now finds himself in
serious trouble as two of his own sons kill him!!!.
2. Tobit 2:1-15 Do Good and Be Prepared to Catch Hell while You are doing it!!!
a. 1-6 Tobit has just been restored to his family who have prepared a banquet for him. Yet
he insists that they find some poor person to share this meal with them. His son discovers
yet another dead body, and without thinking Tobit goes into action to bury it. He must
wait for the Feast to end so that he could carry out the burial. The food of mourning is not
the feast that has been prepared for him.
b. 7-10 He is derided by his neighbours who tell him that he still has not learnt his lesson
about burying bodies. In his weary state he falls asleep in the courtyard and the birds’
droppings make him blind. The doctors make it worse.
c. 11-14 In his blindness, Tobit is suspicious of the generosity shown to his wife. His
honesty will not allow him to eat what he believes has been stolen. His wife’s response is
enough to drive her husband to despair.
3. Tobit 3:1-17 It’s Praying Time!!!!
a. 1-6 Tobit prays in a typical Jewish pattern. He begins by praising God’s justice and
mercy and admits that his forefathers have sinned and brought judgment upon
themselves. Finally he prays that death will come to him so that he may no longer have to
deal with the distress and insults that he has had to endure during his life time.
b. 7-15 On the same day that Tobit prayed his prayer, Sarah’s maid begins to taunt her of
the fact that her seven husbands have died without her even conceiving an heir. She was
about to commit suicide, but she decided not to for the sake of her father. Yet the pain is
more than she can bear - she still prays that the Lord will take her life.
c. 16-17 Both prayers are heard and divine intervention is sent by God in the person of
Raphael who is to give Tobit his sight back and make sure that Sarah re-marries to
Tobit’s son, Tobias.
4. Tobit 4:1-21 Be Holy even if the World in which you Live is Not!!!
a. 1-4 Tobit is concerned about his soon to be widow and his son, and what will happen to
them after his death. Tobias must honour his mother despite what has transpired in the
b. 5-11 Tobit gives Tobias some sound words of advice. He must reverence the Lord above
everything else and make sure that he walks in the way of the Lord.
c. 12-21 His life must be marked by holiness when it comes to his sexuality and he must
love only his kinfolk when seeking out a wife for himself. He must be careful in his
business dealings, and lead a disciplined life. His life must be marked by generosity and
respect for both the living and the dead. He must allow the Lord to direct his path.
5. Tobit 5:1-22 The Lord will Provide!!!
a. 1-3 Tobias points out the difficulty of his mission: how will he be known by Gabael who
does not know him???-and how will he find his way to the city in Media??? His father
gives him part of a bond document that will match the other half that is being kept with
b. 4-9 Tobias meets Raphael who is in human form. God has provided someone to be his
guide. Tobit wants to put the young man to the test to see if he is trustworthy.
c. 10-14 Tobit puts Raphael to the test. His skepticism and bitterness is met by the positive
hopefulness of the young lad. It is only when he learns that the lad is his kinfolk that he
readily accepts him.
d. 15-17 Raphael, (or Azariah=God has helped!!!) is hired and they begin the process of
preparing for the journey. It is time to say good-bye.
e. 18-21 His mother begins to grieve for the safety of her son, but his father believes that
God will carry him and bring him safely back by divine assistance.