Friday, January 10, 2014

The Apocrypha Assessment: Tobit 2

Tobit resumes his story. He returns to his family, sits down to a holiday dinner, and sends his son Tobias out to invite a poor person in to share it with them. Tobias returns with news that another Jew's murdered body is lying out in the marketplace. Tobit leaves his dinner untouched and retrieves the body. He eats and then buries the body after sunset. Then he sleeps in the courtyard. (The footnote in the Harper Collins Study Bible points out that touching the body makes Tobit ritually unclean which might be why he sleeps in the courtyard but why was he able to eat in his house? Interpreter's Commentary suggests either that the rules were relaxed for Jews in the Diaspora or that the food he ate wasn't that prepared for the festival and thus not holy.)

While he is sleeping in the courtyard, sparrows poop on Tobit's eyes. He develops cataracts and despite 4 years of treatment by doctors goes blind. Then he gets testy. His wife Anna supports the family by weaving. Her employers reward her with a goat. Blind Tobit, obsessed with being righteous, is sure the goat is stolen and he and his wife have words. The argument they have sounds like a real marital spat.

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