The Wisdom Instructions in the Book of Tobit 3110255340, 9783110255348

Despite the resurgence of scholarly interest in the Book of Tobit in recent years, an important aspect of this deuteroca

289 17 3MB

English Pages 388 Year 2017

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

The Wisdom Instructions in the Book of Tobit
 3110255340, 9783110255348

Table of contents :
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Integrity of the Book of Tobit
1.1 Indications of Redaction
1.1.1 Tobit 13 and 14
1.1.2 The References to Ahiqar
1.1.3 The Shift in Narrative Point of View
1.1.4 The Textual Traditions of Tobit The Priority of GII The Semitic Language of Tobit
1.2 Diachronic Analyses of Tobit
1.2.1 Józef T. Milik
1.2.2 Paul Deselaers
1.2.3 Merten Rabenau
1.2.4 Critical Problems with Diachronic Analysis
1.3 Indications of Narrative Integrity
1.3.1 The Dynamics of Allusion Extra-biblical Influences on Tobit Biblical Influences on Tobit
1.3.2 Narrative Signs, Designs and Resolutions
1.3.3 Literary and Theological Reasons for Narrative Shift
1.4 Conclusion
Chapter 2: The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11
2.1 The Textual Situation of Tobit 4
2.1.1 The Wisdom Instructions of Tobit 4 as Insertions
2.1.2 The Original Incorporation of the Instructions
2.1.3 A Case of Scribal Error in Transmission
2.2 Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tobit 4
2.2.1 Narratological Considerations Tob 4:3-4 Tob 4:5-19, 21
2.2.2 Imperatives and Vetitives
2.2.3 Suggested Structure The Lex Generalis The Leitwort in the Instructions The Inclusio
2.3 The Hortatory Words of Rafael in Tob 12:6-10
2.3.1 The Two Chief Instructions of Rafael Tobit and Fasting ‘Prayer with Truth’ and ‘Almsgiving with Justice’
2.3.2 Proclaim the Words of God
2.4 Tobit’s Farewell Instructions in Tob 4:8-11
2.5 Conclusion
Chapter 3: The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Instructions
3.1 Tobit as an Ancient Novel
3.1.1 Genre Suggestions
3.1.2 A Tale of Two Genres
3.2 Story and Discourse
3.2.1 The Shape of the Story The “How” and the “What” of Tobit The Five Narrative Movements The Ultimate State of Lack in the Narrative Narrative Structure and the Wisdom Instructions
3.2.2 The Characterization of Tobit
3.2.3 Repetition as a Literary Device Varied Repetition Similar yet Different
3.3 The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions
3.3.1 Tobit’s Wisdom Discourse and Plot Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions as Preparatory for the Journey “To be or not to be”: The Character of Tobias as Key The Plot as an Illustration of a Sapiential Conviction
3.3.2 Allusive Strategy and Tobit’s Instructions The Book of Tobit and Exodus The Variations and their Significance
3.4 The Narrative Role of Rafael’s Instructions
3.4.1 From Ignorance to Knowledge
3.4.2 Rafael as Wisdom Teacher
3.5 The Gospel of Ahiqar According to Tobit
3.5.1 The Story of Ahiqar
3.5.2 The Function of the Story of Ahiqar The Story of Ahiqar as a Validation of a Teaching Variations on a Theme
3.6 Conclusion
Chapter 4: The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit
4.1 The Wisdom Tradition in Israel
4.1.1 The Development of the Wisdom Tradition in Israel Popular Wisdom Wisdom Activity in the Court and in the School The Wisdom Tradition after the Exile
4.1.2 The Book of Tobit and the Wisdom Tradition
4.2 Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit
4.2.1 The Sapiential Appeal The Epistemological Assumption The Validity of the Wisdom Tradition
4.2.2 The Family as Context
4.2.3 The Prominence of Divine Providence The Movement of the Divine Hand The Metaphor of ‘the way’
4.2.4 The Formation of the Habits of the Heart
4.2.5 The Fear of God
4.3 Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit
4.3.1 Wisdom and National History
4.3.2 Prayer and the Wise
4.3.3 The Nexus of Act/Character and Consequence The Doctrine of Retribution Divine and Human xxxevlehmosu,nh
4.4 Conclusion
Chapter 5: Tobit and Wisdom in Exile
5.1 A Question of Purpose
5.1.1 To Edify
5.1.2 To Entertain
5.2 The Sapiential and Cultic Traditions
5.2.1 The Increasing Prominent Role of Wisdom
5.2.2 Compromise?
5.2.3 Tobit and the Law of Moses
5.3 Tobit in Exile?
5.3.1 Tobit’s Deuteronomic Explanation of Exile
5.3.2 Exile as an Interim Time
5.3.3 Exile as Root Metaphor
5.3.4 Boundaries Unbound
5.4 Wisdom in Exile
5.4.1 Practices that Foster Unity and Identity Genealogy as Constitutive of Identity Acts of Solidarity Preferential Option for the Disposition of the Believer
5.4.2 Instruction in the Wisdom of the Fathers Education in Wisdom Wisdom as Link Across Time and Place The Superiority of God’s Wisdom
5.5 Conclusion
General Conclusion
Index of Modern Authors
Index of References

Citation preview

Francis M. Macatangay The Wisdom Instructions in the Book of Tobitȱ

Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies Edited by

Friedrich V. Reiterer, Beate Ego, Tobias Nicklas

Volume 12

De Gruyter

Francis M. Macatangay

The Wisdom Instructions in the Book of Tobit

De Gruyter

ȱ ȱ ȱ ȱ


ISBN 978-3-11-025534-8 e-ISBN 978-3-11-025535-5 ISSN 1865-1666 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at © 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York Printing and binding: Hubert & Co GmbH & Co KG, Göttingen Printed on acid-free paper Printed in Germany

Preface The Book of Tobit has always enjoyed great popularity among the deuterocanonical books. Perhaps this is due to the figure of the angel Rafael, one of the most venerated of angels in the Catholic Church, and to the novelistic style of storytelling that is filled with fine and subtle touches of irony. The story of Sarah and her seven husbands, all killed on their wedding night and her subsequent marriage to Tobias comes to mind. In terms of content, the book seems to address a wide variety of teachings and themes (patience in tribulation, the importance of interior worship, family-related virtues, the value of almsgiving, the cult) but the main purpose seems to highlight the loving providence of God in favor of the just. Over the past thirty years, the interest of scholars in this book has grown as publication of numerous commentaries, monographs, and articles attests. To cite as examples, Géza G. Xeravits – József Zsengellér (eds.) The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition Theology (JSJSup 98), Leiden – Boston, Brill, 2005; Jeremy Corley – Vincent Skemp (eds.), Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit. Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M. (CBQ.MS 38), Washington D.C., Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2005 (half of the volume is dedicated to Tobit); Mark Bredin (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London – New York, T&T Clark, 2006 and the most recent commentary in Italian by Marco Zappella, Tobit. Introduzione, traduzione e commento (Nuova versione della Bibbia dai testi antichi 30), Cinisello Balsamo (MI): San Paolo, 2010. It is worth noting that the first of the cited works are the acts of the first international conference on the Book of Tobit held at Shime‘on Centre for the Study of Hellenistic and Roman Age Judaism and Christianity in the Hungarain city of Pápa in May of 2004. The present work of Francis M. Macatangay, a young priest of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas, USA, and who currently teaches Scriptures at the University of St. Thomas School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary, belongs to this group of researches on the Book of Tobit. It is a very interesting study that will certainly become a point of reference for all those interested in this deuterocanonical text. This is a monograph on a subject so far touched upon only in some commentaries and essays, that is, the sapiential tradition in the Book of



Tobit, which is concentrated on the wisdom instructions of chapter 4 (also known as the Testament of Tobit) and to which Tob 12:6-10 and 14:8-11 can be added. By using a synchronic method, the author succeeds in establishing the significance and function of these sapiential texts in the narrative thread of the book. The purpose, however, goes beyond the analysis of the importance of the instructions for the narrative. The author also proposes to establish the importance of the sapiential instructions for the Jews who lived in the Diaspora. To quote the author’s own words, “The wisdom perspective became the most accessible avenue for teaching Jews in the Diaspora how to survive by remaining faithful to their religious tradition. Using the medium of an entertaining narrative, the author desired to educate those living in the dispersion on how to preserve their identity as members of God’s chosen and on how to maintain a personal relationship with God” (p. 298). I am very honoured to present this volume on the Book of Tobit. I cannot emphasize enough its unquestionable originality, academic rigor, and profound theological reflection. I warmly thank Francis M. Macatangay for his contribution and I hope that his work as teacher and scholar of the Scriptures continue to bear much fruit.

Núria Calduch-Benages Rome, Feast of St. John the Evangelist, December 27, 2010

Acknowledgements This volume is a slightly revised and updated version of the S.T.D. dissertation I presented to the Department of Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in June of 2010. Prof. Dr. Núria Calduch-Benages served as my advisor. During the process of research and writing, she was more than a sage who provided me with wise advice and profound questions to consider. She was like the angel Rafael whose meticulous and efficient but gentle guidance kept me from stumbling or being devoured by ominous fishes and demons along the way. To her, no amount of thanks would be enough. Moltes gràcies! Thanks are also due to Prof. Dr. Bruna Costacurta, my second reader, for her helpful and insightful suggestions, and to Prof. Dr. Michael Maier for his gracious facilitatation of the defense. On Holy Saturday of 2006, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, informed me that he was sending me to study Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. My heartfelt and profound gratitude goes to him for releasing me from pastoral duties in the archdiocese and granting me the opportunity to study the inspired word of God in a city that, even after four years of residency, continues to mystify me. Before and during this time of academic endeavor, I have deeply appreciated the constant support and encouragement of Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, Bishop Vincent M. Rizzotto, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Msgr. Chester L. Borski, Frs. Leon Strieder, Sean Horrigan, John Rooney, Steve Nguyen and Brendan Cahill, and Dr. Sandy Magie. My classmates Fr. Wayne Wilkerson and Fr. Kirby Hlavaty also deserve thankful notices, the former for allowing me a relaxing stay in his rectory during my Houston visits, and the latter for sending me selections of fiction which, oftentimes, saved my sanity. Helpful librarians are important to befriend when doing research. In this regard, I would like to offer my thanks to the library personnel of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Fr. Robert Young of the Casa Santa Maria Library of the Pontifical North American College was also unstinting in his assistance. I would be remiss, however, if I do not mention in a special way Ms. Laura Olejnik, Ms. Joanne Yantosca and the staff of the



Cardinal Beran Library at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Texas for fulfilling every article and book request I made across the miles in the process of research and writing. The present form and shape of this research is due to the patience, kindness and generosity of a number of good friends. Fr. Andrew Robinson SSL has been a tireless reader from the word go and his insightful comments and editorial help are much appreciated. Fr. Peter Groody and Ms. Teresa Stevenson charitably lent me their expert editorial hands. The computer-savvy Fr. Peter Dugandzic provided liberal assistance in formatting the entire document into a presentable one. Mr. Rodrigo Yepes also offered generous technical help. For their invaluable gifts of time and talent, I am deeply thankful. I would also like to thank Dr. Friedrich V. Reiterer and Walter de Gruyter for including this manuscript in the Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies series and to Dr. Albrecht Döhnert, Sabine Krämer and Ulrike Swientek for their editorial suggestions. In the kind of work that is predominantly solitary, ascetic even (“a lonely and eremitic occupation,” in the words of the British novelist David Lodge), it is always a source of great comfort to experience the care and thoughtfulness of friends and family. I am grateful to my brother priests at the Casa Santa Maria, my home away from home in Rome, especially to Msgrs. Francis Kelly and Joseph Goering, Frs. Thinh Pham, Pablo Gadenz, Mark Ott and Gerald Goodrum, for their support and prayers. The many wit-laced and levity-infused conversations delighted me to no end. I also thank my very kind, generous and faithful friends from around the globe, especially those from Houston, Texas, whose material and moral support never ceased during my studies. Lastly, I would like to offer a from-the-bottom-of-the-heart thank you to my parents, Ben and Medy, to. fwj twn ovfqalmwn mou, and the first to instruct me in the ways of wisdom; to my siblings Marizel, Ferdinand, Mylene, and Marites; and in-laws Al, Marion, Jerieme, and Gabby, for the gift of home, for steadfast love, for abiding prayers, and for their constant concern and support. Perhaps more than anything else, it was my dad’s and brother-in-law’s invariable questioning about when I would finish my writing over our weekend Skype conversations that constantly reminded and prompted me to try to reach for the finish line. It is to them that I dedicate this work. In the course of writing, I often invoked the intercession of the Seat of Wisdom before the Throne of the Most High and asked for guidance from the archangel Rafael. They both took me by the hand, and never let go.

Table of Contents Preface ......................................................................................................... v Acknowledgments .................................................................................... vii Abbreviations ........................................................................................... xiii Introduction ..................................................................................................1 Chapter 1: The Integrity of the Book of Tobit...........................................7 1.1 Indications of Redaction ...............................................................8 1.1.1 Tobit 13 and 14 ...............................................................................8 1.1.2 The References to Ahiqar ............................................................10 1.1.3 The Shift in Narrative Point of View .........................................12 1.1.4 The Textual Traditions of Tobit .................................................13 The Priority of GII .........................................................................14 The Semitic Language of Tobit ..................................................16 1.2 Diachronic Analyses of Tobit .....................................................18 1.2.1 Józef T. Milik .................................................................................19 1.2.2 Paul Deselaers ..............................................................................20 1.2.3 Merten Rabenau ...........................................................................21 1.2.4 Critical Problems with Diachronic Analysis ............................23 1.3 Indications of Narrative Integrity ..............................................24 1.3.1 The Dynamics of Allusion ..........................................................25 Extra-biblical Influences on Tobit ..............................................26 Biblical Influences on Tobit ........................................................29 1.3.2 Narrative Signs, Designs and Resolutions ...............................34 1.3.3 Literary and Theological Reasons for Narrative Shift ............40 1.4 Conclusion ....................................................................................43 Chapter 2: The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11 ....................................................................................45 2.1 The Textual Situation of Tobit 4 .................................................47 2.1.1 The Wisdom Instructions of Tobit 4 as Insertions ...................47

x 2.1.2 2.1.3 2.2 2.2.1 2.2.2 2.2.3 2.3 2.3.1 2.3.2 2.4 2.5

Table of Contents

The Original Incorporation of the Instructions ........................49 A Case of Scribal Error in Transmission ...................................50 Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tobit 4 .......................................................................53 Narratological Considerations .................................................. 54 Tob 4:3-4 .......................................................................................56 Tob 4:5-19, 21 ................................................................................60 Imperatives and Vetitives ...........................................................64 Suggested Structure .....................................................................67 The Lex Generalis...........................................................................74 The Leitwort in the Instructions ................................................95 The Inclusio ....................................................................................98 The Hortatory Words of Rafael in Tob 12:6-10 ......................101 The Two Chief Instructions of Rafael ......................................102 Tobit and Fasting .......................................................................104 ‘Prayer with Truth’ and ‘Almsgiving with Justice’ ...............106 Proclaim the Words of God ......................................................108 Tobit’s Farewell Instructions in Tob 4:8-11 ...........................111 Conclusion ..................................................................................113

Chapter 3: The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Instructions.................115 3.1 Tobit as an Ancient Novel ........................................................116 3.1.1 Genre Suggestions .....................................................................117 3.1.2 A Tale of Two Genres ...............................................................118 3.2 Story and Discourse ..................................................................121 3.2.1 The Shape of the Story ..............................................................122 The “How” and the “What” of Tobit ......................................123 The Five Narrative Movements ...............................................125 The Ultimate State of Lack in the Narrative ...........................128 Narrative Structure and the Wisdom Instructions ...............129 3.2.2 The Characterization of Tobit ..................................................130 3.2.3 Repetition as a Literary Device ...............................................134 Varied Repetition ......................................................................136 Similar yet Different .................................................................137 3.3 The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions ............................139 3.3.1 Tobit’s Wisdom Discourse and Plot .......................................140

Table of Contents

xi Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions as Preparatory for the Journey ............................................................................142 “To be or not to be”: The Character of Tobias as Key ..........144 The Plot as an Illustration of a Sapiential Conviction ...........154 3.3.2 Allusive Strategy and Tobit’s Instructions ............................156 The Book of Tobit and Exodus .................................................157 The Variations and their Significance .....................................159 3.4 The Narrative Role of Rafael’s Instructions ...........................166 3.4.1 From Ignorance to Knowledge ................................................167 3.4.2 Rafael as Wisdom Teacher ........................................................169 3.5 The Gospel of Ahiqar According to Tobit ..............................171 3.5.1 The Story of Ahiqar ...................................................................171 3.5.2 The Function of the Story of Ahiqar ........................................173 The Story of Ahiqar as a Validation of a Teaching ................173 Variations on a Theme ..............................................................175 3.6 Conclusion ..................................................................................177 Chapter 4: The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit ......179 4.1 The Wisdom Tradition in Israel ...............................................182 4.1.1 The Development of the Wisdom Tradition in Israel ...........186 Popular Wisdom ........................................................................188 Wisdom Activity in the Court and in the School...................190 The Wisdom Tradition after the Exile .....................................199 4.1.2 The Book of Tobit and the Wisdom Tradition .......................201 4.2 Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit ................................209 4.2.1 The Sapiential Appeal ...............................................................210 The Epistemological Assumption ............................................212 The Validity of the Wisdom Tradition ....................................214 4.2.2 The Family as Context ...............................................................217 4.2.3 The Prominence of Divine Providence ...................................221 The Movement of the Divine Hand .........................................223 The Metaphor of ‘the way’ .......................................................225 4.2.4 The Formation of the Habits of the Heart ..............................226 4.2.5 The Fear of God ..........................................................................231 4.3 Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit ...........234 4.3.1 Wisdom and National History .................................................235 4.3.2 Prayer and the Wise...................................................................238

xii 4.3.3 4.4

Table of Contents

The Nexus of Act/Character and Consequence .....................241 The Doctrine of Retribution ......................................................244 Divine and Human evlehmosu,nh .................................................248 Conclusion ..................................................................................252

Chapter 5: Tobit and Wisdom in Exile ..................................................255 5.1 A Question of Purpose ..............................................................256 5.1.1 To Edify .......................................................................................257 5.1.2 To Entertain ................................................................................259 5.2 The Sapiential and Cultic Traditions .......................................262 5.2.1 The Increasing Prominent Role of Wisdom ...........................263 5.2.2 Compromise? .............................................................................265 5.2.3 Tobit and the Law of Moses ....................................................267 5.3 Tobit in Exile? .............................................................................270 5.3.1 Tobit’s Deuteronomic Explanation of Exile ...........................271 5.3.2 Exile as an Interim Time ...........................................................275 5.3.3 Exile as Root Metaphor .............................................................277 5.3.4 Boundaries Unbound ................................................................282 5.4 Wisdom in Exile .........................................................................283 5.4.1 Practices that Foster Unity and Identity .................................286 Genealogy as Constitutive of Identity.....................................287 Acts of Solidarity ........................................................................290 Preferential Option for the Disposition of the Believer ........292 5.4.2 Instruction in the Wisdom of the Fathers ...............................293 Education in Wisdom ................................................................293 Wisdom as Link Across Time and Place .................................295 The Superiority of God’s Wisdom ...........................................296 5.5 Conclusion ..................................................................................299 General Conclusion ..................................................................................301 Bibliography .............................................................................................305 Index of Modern Authors .......................................................................345 Index of References ..................................................................................353


Anchor Bible Asociación Bíblica Española Freedman, Anchor Bible Dictionary. The Anchor Bible Reference Library Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums Arbeiten zur Literatur und Geschichte des Hellenistischen Judentums Analecta Biblica Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts relating to the Old Testament. Analecta Gregoriana Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament. Augustinianum Anderson, The Books of the Bible. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium Biblica Bibel und Liturgie Biblische Notizen Biblical Theology Bulletin Bauer/Marböck/Woschitz, Bibeltheologisches Wörterbuch. Bible et vie chrétienne Biblische Zeitschrift Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche The Cambridge Bible Commentary Catholic Biblical Quarterly



The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature Davies/Finkelstein, The Cambridge History of Judaism. La Civiltà Cattolica Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity Currents in Research: Biblical Studies Compendia rerum iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum Porter, Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation. Hayes, Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation. Clines, The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Yearbook Discoveries in the Judean Desert Dead Sea Discoveries: A Journal of Current Research on the Scrolls and Related Literature Cheyne/Black, Encyclopaedia Biblica. Klauck, Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception. Dunn, Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Freedman, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Schiffman/Vanderkam, Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Skolnik/Berenbaum, Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ephemerides theologicae lovaniensis Forschungen zum Alten Testament Forms of the Old Testament Fontes et Subsidia ad Bibliam pertinentes Forschung zur Bibel Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments Koehler/Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Mays, Harper’s Bible Commentary. History of Biblical Interpretation Series The Heythrop Journal Harvard Semitic Studies The Harvard Theological Review




Harvard Theological Studies Hebrew Union College Annual Interpreting Biblical Texts Buttrick et al., The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Interpretation Journal of the American Academy of Religion Jewish Apocryphal Literature Journal of Biblical Literature Journal of Jewish Studies Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages Jewish Quarterly Review Journal for the Study of Judaism Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism Journal for the Study of the New Testament: Supplement Series Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplements to JSOT Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha: Supplement Series Library of Hebrew Bible Journal of Theological Studies Library of Second Temple Studies Nueva Bíblia Española Neue Echter Bibel Altes Testament Keck, The New Interpreter’s Bible. New International Commentary on the Old Testament van Gemeren, New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis. Brown/Fitzmyer/Murphy, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Novum Testamentum Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis Österreichische Biblische Studien The Old Testament Library Old Testament Message Old Testament Studies



Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Parole di Vita Parola spirito e vita Quaestiones Disputatae Revue biblique Revue de Qumran Rivista Biblica Revue d’histoire et de philosophie religieuses Recherches de Science Religieuse Ricerche Storico-Bibliche Revue Théologique du Louvain Studien zum Alten und Neuen Testament Scripture Bulletin Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Liber Annuus Society of Biblical Literature Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series Studies in Biblical Theology Septuagint and Cognate Studies South Florida Studies in the History of Judaism Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah Studia Patavina The Bible Today Kittel/Friedrich. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Botterweck/Ringgren/Fabry, Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Jenni/Westermann, Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Vetus Testamentum Supplements to Vetus Testamentum Veröffentlichungen der Wissenschaftlichen Gessellschaft für Theologie Word Biblical Commentary Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament



Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft Zeitschrift für die wissenschaftliche Theologie


Introduction The Book of Tobit tells the uplifting story of a pious man who lived a precarious existence while exiled with his wife Anna and son Tobias in Nineveh. Despite his exilic fate, Tobit walks in the ways of truth and righteousness, performing almsgiving for his deported and departed contemporaries. After burying the corpse of a dead fellow Israelite, a tangible and paradigmatic deed of mercy in the narrative, Tobit rests in the courtyard under a tree and bird droppings fall upon his eyes, causing incurable blindness. Tobit is unable to work, suffers financial hardship and after a mocking reproach from his wife, turns desolate. At the height of his despair, he turns to God and prays that God would send him to his everlasting home. With death imminent and a desire to secure his family, Tobit recalls a large sum of money he entrusted to a cousin in Media. He sends his son Tobias to retrieve the deposit. Before Tobias departs, Tobit prepares his son for the journey by giving him a set of practical wisdom counsels and by asking him to find a knowledgeable and experienced traveling companion. Tobias finds his guide in the angel Rafael under the guise of a distant kinsman named Azariah. From the angel Rafael, Tobias discovers another reason for the journey. With angelic prodding, Tobias has become “as if a blind boy who had been turned so gently in a different direction that he did not know his destination had been changed.”1 Tobias learns about Sarah, a kinswoman, whose fate is as bad as his father’s: the lovely Sarah has had seven dead husbands, pushing her to wit’s end and despair. Asmodeus, the demon obsessively in love with Sarah, killed all of them on their wedding night. Tobias finds out that he is to marry Sarah, as this has been decided in heaven. As the two travel along, Tobias encounters a giant fish that almost devours him. With Rafael’s instructions, Tobias gets hold of the fish, draws it to the riverbank, guts it and saves the fish heart, liver and gall per Rafael’s orders. Rafael tells Tobias that these parts will help cure


The phrase comes from Flannery O’Connor’s short story entitled “Parker’s Back.”



his father’s blindness as well as banish the demon Asmodeus from the bed chamber on his wedding night. Tobias’s journey ends in success: he comes home married to Sarah and doubly enriched. Placing the fish gall on his father’s eyes, Tobit is cured. Rafael then reveals both his own identity and mission as well as the divine design that underlines the events in the story. Before the interpreting angel departs, he gives them a series of admonitions that echo those of Tobit. He commands Tobit and Tobias to praise God and to acknowledge all his works, to which Tobit responds by singing a long canticle of praise that speaks of a future return and the glorious rebuilding of Jerusalem. The story ends on a happy note, with more given to Tobit and his family and almost everything restored – almost, as the problem of exile remains yet to be resolved. The story of the reception and interpretation of the Book of Tobit is equally colorful.2 Despite Tobit’s disputed canonical status, the book has found favor and popularity among readers and interpreters for the artistry of its storytelling, for its wisdom counsels, and for its consoling message. Jewish interest in the book was strong from early Judaism to the medieval period.3 The presence of Tobit at Qumran shows that the book was indeed well-regarded at an early stage. As part of the rise of Jewish nationalism and ‘the secularist rebellion against rabbinic authority’ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Book of Tobit and other Sefarim Hitzoniyim, or ‘the outside books,’ were then reclaimed as essential texts of the Jewish literary heritage.4 In the Christian tradition, the early church fathers mined the book for its themes, practical instructions and moral lessons as biblical warrants for catechetical, polemical and doctrinal claims. The patristic writers presented Tobit as a worthy example and symbol of the Christian life.5 The patristic references to Tobit also gave the book a role in the early church’s attempt to define its relationship with the Old Testament. Later Christian authors such as Isidore of Seville and Venerable Bede interpreted the Book of Tobit not in historical but in


3 4 5

For a survey of interpretation of the Book of Tobit, see POEHLMANN, Tobit, Book of, 2:577-581. For a recent survey of studies on Tobit, see SPENCER, The Book of Tobit in Recent Research, 147-180. Cf. SIMPSON, The Book of Tobit, 1:198. Cf. also DE LANGE, Apocrypha, 103. Cf. GOLDMAN, Tobit and the Jewish Literary Tradition, 90-98. Cf. GAMBERONI, Die Auslegung des Buches Tobias, 56-72; DRIUSSI, Il libro di Tobia nella letteratura cristiana antica, 59-98; 171-191.



allegorical terms.6 In fact, iconographic representations of Tobit from the third to the fifth centuries match and parallel the symbolic reading of the book.7 Found on frescoes in catacombs and on sarcophagus reliefs, the portrayal of Tobias holding a fish became rich ‘types‘ or representations of Christ and the sacramental life in Christ in the Eucharist and in baptism. This figurative approach resulted in the wisdom sayings of Tobit 4 and 12, once a favorite source of citations, yielding to reflection on particular details and sequences of the story. With its persistent theme of divine assistance in the midst of pain, Tobit has enjoyed a special place in the religious piety of the Christian believer. In Florentine Renaissance, Tobit and its motif of divine guidance on a danger-ridden journey inspired a number of artistic works commissioned for liturgical and devotional purposes.8 In liturgical celebrations, various prayer books for the rite of matrimony often referred to the marriage of Tobias and Sarah as a model.9 In fact, an extract from the Book of Tobit is still one of the proposed readings for celebrating the sacrament of marriage in the Roman Catholic Church. In any case, the wisdom instructions seemed to have declined in appreciation as the wonderful episodes of the story became more ingrained in the imagination of readers and believers. The last thirty years have seen a growing scholarly attention to the Book of Tobit. One can no longer say these days that interest in the Book of Tobit is primarily disinterest,10 as Paul Deselaers did in introducing his extensive source-critical study of the book in 1982. In his monograph of 1994, Merten Rabenau critically revisits the work of Deselaers by employing a similar diachronic analysis but proceeding 6

Cf. GAMBERONI, Die Auslegung des Buches Tobias, 103-122. Driussi points out that trinitarian and christological interpretations of Tobit, considered as an historical book, started to appear in the works of Clement and Origin of Alexandria. DRIUSSI, Il libro di Tobia nella letteratura cristiana antica, 95-98. 7 For a discussion on how Tobit’s fish evolved from funerary symbolism to sacramental catechesis, see DOIGNON, Tobie et le poisson dans la littérature et l'iconographie occidentals, 113-126. On the early representations of Tobit, cf. DRIUSSI, Il libro di Tobia nella letteratura cristiana antica, 219-233. 8 Cf. HART, Tobit in the Art of the Florentine Renaissance, 72-89. For a survey of other artistic works and musical compositions inspired by the Book of Tobit, see BAYER, Tobit, Book of: In the Arts, 20:13-14. Rembrandt also drew inspiration from the Book of Tobit, illustrating almost every event in the story with drawings, etchings and paintings. HOEKSTRA, Rembrandt and the Bible, 164-195. 9 Cf. METZGER, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, 40-41. For the use of Tobit in the liturgy, see COMIATI, Il libro di Tobit nell’odierna liturgia, 227-231. 10 DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 15: “Das Interesse am Buch Tobit ist weithin ein Disinteresse.”



from a different textual assumption. Both scholars have argued for a core story that was later redacted in a number of literary stages. From the other side of the Atlantic, scholarly interest in Tobit favors a synchronic approach. Irene Nowell uses narrative criticism in her 1983 study of Tobit, investigating the literary technique of the book and showing how such artistry conveys the book’s theological concerns. In 1984, Patrick Griffin focused on the six prayers in Tobit, analyzing how they contribute to the theology and the narrative movement of the book. Recently, in 2007, Geoffrey Miller combined historical-critical and literary methods of biblical interpretation to explain the view of marriage in Tobit.11 Alexander Di Lella, who stressed the textual influence of Deuteronomy on Tobit, directed all these dissertations at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. In light of the discovery of the Tobit fragments at Qumran, a couple of recent works on the texts of Tobit have also been published. Under the direction of Joseph Fitzmyer, Vincent Skemp compared the Vulgate of Tobit with its other ancient textual witnesses. Michaela Hallermayer, in her detailed 2008 study of the textual traditions of Tobit under Armin Schmitt, concluded, among other things, that Tobit’s original language is Semitic and that the Sinaiticus is closer but not equivalent to its Semitic Urtext. Major commentaries by John Craghan, Heinrich Groß, Carey Moore, Beate Ego, José Vílchez, Helen Schüngel-Straumann, Joseph Fitzmyer, Robert Littman and Marco Zappella also appeared during this period. Scholars such as George Nickelsburg, Will Soll, Helmut Engel, Amy-Jill Levine, and Devorah Dimant published seminal articles on Tobit. Lawrence Wills, Erich Gruen and David McCracken recently emphasized the role of humor in the Tobit narrative. In 2004, the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books devoted its study to Tobit. Various papers, treating themes such as the afterlife, food, prophecy and marriage in the book were published under the title The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology (eds., G.G. XERAVITS – J. ZSENGELLÉR). In 2005, a number of scholars honored the noted scholar of intertextuality Alexander A. Di Lella on the occasion of his 75th birthday with a festschrift entitled Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit (eds., J. CORLEY – V.T.M. SKEMP). As the title indicates, half of the volume are articles on Tobit that examine the book’s intertextual relationship with other biblical passages. Finally in 2006, a book 11 Miller’s doctoral work is being published as a volume in the series Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies. The references in this work are to his dissertation.



entitled Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (ed. M. BREDIN) collected twelve essays using a variety of perspectives and methodological approaches, resulting often in fresh and interesting readings of Tobit. Despite this emergent interest in the Book of Tobit, the wisdom instructions of Tobit 4 have remained largely ignored for one reason or another. The wise sayings of Tobit 4 are certainly treated in various commentaries on Tobit, but no extensive study of them exists. In an essay, Manfred Oeming uses Tobit 4, along with Job 31, as starting points for exploring the shape of ethics in later Judaism. Rabenau does devote the second chapter of his monograph to the wisdom instructions. For the most part, however, his analysis mostly compares the instructions in Tobit 4 with similar admonitions found in Jewish-Hellenistic wisdom literature to show redactional work and Hellenistic influence on the said chapter. There remains still some disinterest in this key passage in Tobit. In light of the lack of an extensive treatment of such an important section in the Book of Tobit, the present study is a humble attempt to fill in the lacuna. The exegetical method used for examining the instructions in Tobit 4 is, for the most part, synchronic, which is particularly conducive for investigating narrative texts, of which Tobit is a prime example. With insights from narrative criticism, the research attempts to understand the significance and function of the wisdom instructions, or the Didache, in the book’s narrative world. The study proposes to read Tobit’s wisdom discourse as a vital component in the literary expression of the author. Moreover, the organic role of the wisdom instructions in the author’s literary design is a pointer to their important function in the socio-historical world that the narrative supposes, which is the world of Diaspora living. Put simply, the study situates the instructions within the social realities of Second Temple Judaism, providing a glimpse into how the wisdom tradition of Israel became an essential avenue for shaping the identity of those outside the land during the postexilic period. The Book of Tobit, with its lengthy series of wisdom counsels, reflects some particular realities of such a milieu. The study is articulated in five chapters. The first chapter argues for the narrative integrity of the Book of Tobit. In chapter 2, the focus shifts to a detailed study of the instructions in Tobit 4 and a structure for the wisdom sayings is proposed. The third chapter investigates the function of the wisdom instructions in the narrative, after which, the tradition of wisdom and its validity in Tobit is examined in the fourth chapter. The final chapter assesses the importance of the wisdom



discourse of Tobit 4 for the Diaspora as it is viewed from the inside looking out. There are certainly episodes and passages in the Book of Tobit that would satisfy the searching curiosity and interest of readers far more than Tobit’s long wisdom lecture that reflects the defining moral and religious code that Tobit wants Tobias to acquire and put into practice. However, if the symmetrical structure of the narrative is any indication, then the role of the wisdom discourse cannot be but significant. As Tobit’s canticle of praise at the end of the story shows, a truly perfect happy ending for the suffering people of God will happen only in the kairós of time. In the meantime, as the story begins to march from chaos towards that promised plenitude of a glorious and paradisiacal future, Tobit’s sapiential discourse in the beginning of the narrative hints at the belief that Wisdom is a steady hand, a sure companion, and an unfailing guide and compass along the journey.

Chapter 1 The Integrity of the Book of Tobit The Book of Tobit1 is a rich tapestry of a story woven from various threads of traditions and influences. “Dark and lighthearted humor, serious theological reflection, cross-cultural borrowing, and a creative appropriation of Israel’s sacred traditions”2 mesh and intertwine to form the warp and woof of a narrative that pivots on the stories of two exilic families3 afflicted with misfortunes which are all later resolved thanks to God’s providential orchestration of events. The author weaves together Jewish and non-Jewish literary elements to craft an entertaining, encouraging and edifying story about Jewish life in the Diaspora, demonstrating that God always responds to the righteousness of his people, albeit sometimes in ways not immediately evident. Given the presence of several types and sources of materials for the story, it is little wonder that literary critics have questioned the integrity of Tobit. Some scholars are convinced that the book achieved its present shape only after a long process of interpolations.4 Along its literary course, the core narrative grew and accrued from a variety of sources 1

2 3


In this study, I will use the Greek-derived name Tobit as most modern translations of the book render it. In GII, the Sinaiticus recension, the name of Tobit is spelled Twbiq and Twbit in GI, the Vaticanus/Alexandrinus/Venetus recension. It is a translation of the Semitic name ybwj which is a hypocoristicon, a shortened or pet name for either hybwj which means “Yahweh is my good,“ or laybwj which means “God is my good.“ MOORE, Tobit, 99-100; VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 56; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 92-93. Cf. also PIKE, Names, Hypocoristic, 1017-1018. In the Vetus Latina, the name appears as Thobis and Tobias in the Vulgate. Milik may well be the first to mention that in the Qumran fragments of Tobit the name of the father is ybwj while the son is called hybwj. MILIK, La patrie de Tobie, n.2, 522. NICKELSBURG, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah, 30. That the story does not gloss over domestic crises exhibits a dose of realism. For a discussion of the familial tensions in Tobit, see CALDUCH-BENAGES, El Libro de Tobías, una historia de familia, 49-60; PETRAGLIO, Tobit e Anna: Un cammino difficile nella crisi, 385-402. In the estimation of Kaiser, the diachronic analyses of Deselaers and Rabenau, whose works are discussed below, have clearly shown that Tobit, as it currently is, reflects an extensive literary development. KAISER, The Old Testament Apocrypha, 35.

The Integrity of the Book of Tobit


and traditions as redactors worked and reworked the story for specific purposes. The apparent incongruities in the narrative are alleged to be the natural consequence of such redaction history. Had the Second Temple period Jewish author of Tobit employed the postmodern practice of thorough footnoting, the matter would have been easily settled. As it stands, there does initially seem to be some validity to the claim that Tobit underwent significant accretions and expansions. In other words, whether Tobit is a product of considerable additions by an assortment of redactors or essentially a work of one author will be the concern of the chapter.


Indications of Redaction

Certain elements in the narrative, such as the eschatological tone of Tobit 13–14, the references to Ahiqar (cf. Tob 1:22; 11:18 and 14:10), the change in narrative voice, the intrusion of two cases of speeches and extensive proverbial admonitions in Tobit 4 and 12, formal instances of religious prayer, an angelic character in a folktale that is about a journey and a marriage, along with the textual pluriformity of Tobit, have all provided grounds for source critics to question the original integrity of the book.5 Narrative inconsistencies, such as the opposing claims of Tob 2:1 and Tob 1:20, and the sequentially awkward episode involving Anna and her goat in Tob 2:11-14,6 are also alleged to reveal minor rips and tears in the fabric of the story, thereby demonstrating a later redactional work. We now examine some of the substantial evidence for such an assertion.


Tobit 13 and 14

An oft-cited argument for additional layers in the narrative is the presence of Tobit 13 and 14. With the concluding banquet in Tobit 11 and the angelic revelation in Tobit 12, the plot at this point has stirred the reader to expect Tobit’s personal praise and thanksgiving for sight



FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 42. Zimmermann also points out elements that seem to indicate the evolution of a long process of storytelling. ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 11. Cf. AUNEAU, Écrits didactiques, 358. ZAPELLA, Tobit, 14-15, notes that the lack of attention to narrative details is intentional. The false notes make for a charming story.

Indications of Redaction


restored and salvation received. Yet the reader encounters an ostensibly anti-cathartic exhortation to national confession of sins in the hopes of receiving God’s mercy. Tobit also predicts the majestic rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple and the restoration of the Dispersed to the homeland. As such, these chapters are probably “mere appendices.”7 Furthermore, the hymnic praise of chapter 13 seems to address practically nothing of the personal experiences of Tobit and his family as recounted in the narrative.8 At the same time, the rest of the story does not echo or refer to this eschatological orientation which dominates the psalm. The said chapters stand out for their apocalyptic imagery and Zion theology.9 Thus, its link to the rest of the narrative that is so personal is difficult to ascertain.10 In fact, David Flusser dismisses the relevance of chapter 13 to Tobit, classifying it as the ‘earliest evidence’ of a Second Temple period eschatological psalm, a genre that arose from Israel’s yearning for release from the shackles of foreign rule and from Israel’s end-time hopes tied to Jerusalem.11 7

ROST, Judaism outside the Hebrew Canon, 62-63. The author, however, notes that the style of chapter 14 conforms to the rest of the narrative. 8 Groß suggests that since the psalm goes far beyond the experiences of Tobit and his family and reflects some literary affinity with 1 Sam 2:1-10, 2 Sam 22:8-51, Jon 2:3-10 and Jud 16:1-17, it probably existed independently and was later inserted into the story. GROß, Tobit.Judith, 51. Cf. also RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 67-93, where he reconstructs the psalm’s possible formation history and insertion in Tobit. Gamberoni has also expressed surprise that the eschatological element of hope for return after the exile found in Tobit 13 is not mentioned even in passing earlier in Tob 4:12. GAMBERONI, Das ‘Gesetz des Mose’ im Buch Tobias, 231. 9 Wikgren states that the chapter contains an “incipient apocalypticism.“ WIKGREN, Tobit, Book of, 661. NICKELSBURG, Stories of Biblical and Early Post-Biblical Times, 46, notes some parallel apocalyptic motifs in Tobit. With the psalm’s allusion to Isaiah’s apocalyptic imagery (cf. Isa 2:2-5; 54:11-13; 55:5; 62:2), Feldman thinks that Tobit speaks of the apocalyptic act of Gentile conversion in the time of times when there is no need for Jewish missionary activity. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World, 290. For a contrary view, see DONALDSON, Judaism and the Gentiles, 42-45. 10 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 42-45; 413-417. 11 FLUSSER, Psalms, Hymns and Prayers, 556. For the author, the main content of such a psalm is the eschatological vision of the New Jerusalem using several biblical passages. Other instances of eschatological psalms include Bar 4:5–5:9 and Sir 36:1-17. Fitzmyer, however, dismisses Flusser’s judgment. FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 26-27. Whybray thinks that Tobit’s writing of a psalm of praise and thanksgiving represents “a kind of substitute for a sacrifice of thanksgiving which he was unable to offer“ in exile, making it “more likely to have been intended from the first simply to be devotional poetry to be read by individuals.“ WHYBRAY, The Wisdom Psalms, 157158. For Goettmann, Tobit 13 is a royal and prophetic hymn that echoes Isaiah 54 and 62 and which completes the cycle of seven prayers in Tobit. GOETTMANN, Le chant de joie du prophète Tobie, 19.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

Frank Zimmermann, considering the chapters from a narrative point of view, asserts that a later editor added chapter 13 as a suitable hymn of praise that is in sync with Tobit’s character and history, and appended chapter 14 to provide a pleasing finale to the simple story in Tob 1–12.12 Lawrence M. Wills has pronounced a more severe judgment on the presence of Tobit 13 and 14 in the narrative, claiming that the difference in narrative mood along with redactional inconsistencies, when compared with the spirited core story of the family’s adventures and misadventures in chapters 2–12, reveals the hand of a clumsy redactor.13 John J. Collins likewise believes that the frame of the story – chapter 1 with its accent on Tobit’s piety towards Jerusalem, and chapters 13 and 14 with their eschatological emphases – are subsequent accretions to the foundational narrative because the Jerusalem-oriented concerns evident in these passages are not pertinent to the main story and are unnecessary for its conclusion.14 In other words, the basic storyline, which centers on the Tobit clan and its righteous suffering, can stand on its own without further elaboration or narrative brackets. Tobit is a very personal story and communal or national colorations in the narrative are nothing other than glaring signs of subsequent additions.


The References to Ahiqar

Within the aforementioned narrative frame, there are references to Ahiqar.15 Some scholars have posited that the appearance of Ahiqar’s name in both the opening (cf. Tob 1:21-22; 2:10) and concluding sections (cf. Tob 14:10) of the Tobit narrative, argues for later expansion.16 Lothar Ruppert suggests that the final redactor of Tobit brought the 12 ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 24-27; 112. The author further makes the now dubious claim that these chapters were added to the core story as late as 70 C.E. after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. 13 WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 86. According to him, the addition of themes such as Jerusalem, piety and persecution was made in order to configure Tobit to such wisdom heroes like Daniel and Joseph. 14 Cf. COLLINS, The Judaism of the Book of Tobit, 25, who notes that the opening and closing sections of the story reflect a Judean editing. 15 For the Story of Ahiqar, cf. LINDENBERGER, Ahiqar, 479-507 and VANDERKAM, Ahikhar/Ahiqar, 113-115. 16 That Ahiqar has an absolutely new image or profile in Tobit demands explanation. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 25; 438-448. Cf. also the comments of PRIERO, Tobia, 2627; TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 157; KOTTSIEPER, Ahiqar, Book of, 658-662.

Indications of Redaction


renowned Story of Ahiqar into the core story of Tobit to stir in the reader or listener some sort of reminiscence of the Joseph story. After the editor had interpolated Ahiqar, the configured traditional Tobit materials generated similarities to the story of Joseph in Genesis 37, 39– 50.17 By transforming the sage and statesman Ahiqar into a nephew of Tobit, the redactor intended to strengthen the aspect of Heilsgeschichte in the transmitted narrative, actualizing, as it were, the lesson extracted from the original experience of the people: as God had shown in the figure of Joseph, God would produce a leader who would save his people from the folly of Diaspora existence.18 It is also possible that the insertion of Ahiqar into the story is designed to stress the value of compassion and mercy.19 The reference to Ahiqar is a way of exhorting those in high and influential administrative positions to help their fellow Jews in the Diaspora in a manner akin to Ahiqar’s commitment to help Tobit in a time of need.20 Similarly, Paul Desaelers asserts that the redactor viewed and defined the 17 The parallelism between Ahiqar and Joseph is more pronounced if the reading is based on 4QTob196 than in the Greek or Old Latin versions. NAB and NRSV translate the problematic Greek expression ‘kate,sthsen auvto.n o` Sacerdonoj ekv deute,raj’ as “Esarhaddon reappointed him.“ Fitzmyer says that Ahiqar’s status is more clearly described in 4QTob196: Ahiqar is not simply confirmed or appointed a second time but is actually next or second to the king, that is, as the prime minister. FITZMYER, Tobit: 196-200, 8-9; IDEM, The Aramaic and Hebrew Fragments of Tobit, 674-675. Against the Old Latin and Greek textual readings, 4QTob196 is clearly a better reading from a narrative angle: Esarhaddon remunerated the excellence of Ahiqar under Sennacherib’s reign with an even higher office in his own administration, making Ahiqar second to him. WISE, A Note on 4Q196, 568-569. Thus, just as Joseph was second in command to Pharaoh (Gen 41:43), so was Ahiqar second to the Assyrian king. CORLEY, Rediscovering Tobit, 25. Just as Joseph provided for his family in time of famine and poverty, so did Ahiqar provided for his kinsman Tobit in hard times. According to Niditch and Doran, however, the stories of Ahiqar and Joseph are not exactly alike. Although both follow the typological pattern of “the success story of the wise courtier,“ there is nevertheless a difference between the two stories on account of the theological nuance in Joseph: “whereas the wise man usually succeeds as a result of his own wisdom, Joseph says that he is able to find an answer to Pharaoh’s problem only because of the help of God.“ NIDITCH/DORAN, The Success Story of the Wise Courtier, 187. 18 Cf. RUPPERT, Zur Funktion der Achikar-Notizien, 236-237. Moore, however, dismisses as erroneous Ruppert’s claim that the Ahiqar references are from the hand of a later redactor. MOORE, Scholarly Issues in the Book of Tobit, 75. 19 Cf. ERBT, Tobit, 4:5111-5117. For Ego, the function of the Ahiqar story in Tobit is to illustrate the validity of the theory of retribution. EGO, Buch Tobit, 894. 20 Cf. SCHMITT, Die Achikar Notiz bei Tobit, 31. The author also notes that the example of the wise Ahiqar demonstrates that a Jew is capable of serving pagan rulers in the Diaspora without losing Jewish identity.

The Integrity of the Book of Tobit


relationship of Ahiqar to Tobit in terms of his act of solidarity in Tobit’s time of adversity, a major theme in the narrative.21 Finally, to the degree that the story emphasizes family and Tobit’s relative success at court, enough to accumulate a large sum of money, there may be validity to the claim that the story of Ahiqar was brought in to underscore the familial rather than the personal aspect of Tobit’s success in the royal court.22 The story also contains passing references to Ahiqar’s nephew, Nadab. In Tob 11:19, the text describes Nadab as a beloved cousin who enjoyed the wedding festivities. However, in his dying speech in Tob 14:10, Tobit characterizes him as a villain who betrayed his uncle, a textual reference that agrees with the original Story of Ahiqar. The discrepancy in the descriptions may indicate the editorial work of separate authors.23


The Shift in Narrative Point of View

The sudden narrative switch from Tobit’s own voice in Tob 1:3 to an omniscient, third person point of view in Tob 3:7, has also led to suspicions of significant redactional activity.24 Some suspect that, at the time the present text was produced, there may have been several versions of the story that were available as a whole or in part. Since the pseudepigraphic and autobiographical text was deemed more valuable, the redactor utilized and combined it with the third person story by providing a bridge. Thus, in crafting a bi-narrative text of Tobit, the redactor revealed signs of drawing from multiple sources.25 In fact, a noticeable narrative discrepancy in Tobit may be due in part to “split narration” or change in narrative perspectives. In Tob 21 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 428, where the author identifies the following chiastic structure in the passage where Ahiqar is introduced: 1. Achikars Verwandschaft mit Tobit (1:21b) 2. Achikars Stellung bei Asarhaddon (1:21b) 3. Achikars Intervention zugunsten Tobits (1:22a) 2‘. Achikars Stellung bei Asarhaddon (1:22b) 1‘. Achikars Verwandschaft mit Tobit (1:22b) 22 GRABBE, Tobit, 737. See also TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 153-157. 23 Cf. WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 87-88. 24 Although Bertrand maintains the narrative coherence of Tobit, he nonetheless subscribes to the view that this shift in narrative point of view is attributable to redaction. BERTRAND, Le chevreau d’Anna, 272. 25 Cf. MILLER, The Redaction of Tobit and the Genesis Apocryphon, 54-56.

Indications of Redaction


1:6,26 Tobit describes himself as a pious Jew who often goes alone to Jerusalem to worship. In Tob 5:14, recounted by the omniscient narrator, Tobit mentions that kinsmen Ananias and Jathan accompany him when he goes to Jerusalem. It is also somewhat odd that when speaking in the first-person in Tob 1:10-11, Tobit failed to mention the fact that his wife and son were with him when he was deported, considering that both his wife and son have such a substantial role to play in the third person section of the narrative.27 Careless redaction from separate sources may well explain such narrative incongruities. In addition to being narrated from a first person perspective, the tone of the first chapter differs from that of the main narrative. The first chapter exudes a level of seriousness evident in the writer’s sober but sturdy attempt to connect burial of the dead, persecution and vindication, and in the legend-like veneration of the wisdom and piety of the character Tobit. This supposedly shows that a redactor different from that of the main narrative, which is dominantly folkloric, fantastic and even funny, may be at work.28


The Textual Traditions of Tobit

The complicated textual history of Tobit makes matters worse. The differences in the surviving texts are alleged to indicate significant layers of redactional work.29 From manuscript evidence, Tobit is preserved in a number of textual documents that vary from one another.30 The 26 Tob 1:6, kavgw. mo,noj evporeuo,mhn pleona,kij (GII: polla,kij) eivj Ieroso,luma evn tai/j e`ortai/j kaqw.j ge,graptai panti. tw/| Israhl. As the text stands, however, it is worth noting that the Greek adverb pleona,kij/polla,kij which means ”frequently” or “several times” rules out the apparent inconsistency since Tobit’s statement can be taken to mean that he went to Jerusalem alone several times, with the implication that there were some occasions when his two kinsmen accompanied him. However, DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 14, claims that Tobit’s statement to have gone alone to Jerusalem, is “not strictly true.” 27 Jerome must have noticed this lack of narrative detail and smoothened it out since the Vulgate (all in third person) reads: “igitur cum captivitatem devenisset cum uxore sua et filio in civitatem Nineve cum omni tribu sua.” See SKEMP, The Vulgate of Tobit, 47-48. 28 WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 83-85. 29 Cf. for instance, WOJCIECHOWSKI, Assyrian Diaspora as Background, 6. 30 Cf. WEEKS/GATHERCOLE/STUCKENBRUCK, The Book of Tobit, which provides a compendium of the texts from the principal and medieval traditions. Cf. also WAGNER, Polyglotte Tobit-Synopse, which also offers in parallel columns the main Greek, Latin, and Syriac textual traditions.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

questions this raises are: which of the textual traditions better preserve the original form of the Book of Tobit? Consequently, do various versions necessarily prove significant redaction? Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek and Latin recensions or translations were the earliest evidence of textual witnesses that preserved the entire text of Tobit.31 GI, the shorter Greek recension, is a text preserved in the Vaticanus, Alexandrinus and Venetus codices. GII is the longer Greek recension found in the Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth/fifth century which C. von Tischendorf discovered in the library of St. Catherine’s monastery in 1844. There is also an intermediate or mixed recension called G III, described as “a compromise between the other two Greek recensions, but basically related to GII”.32 Although these categories make for academic convenience, it has to be remembered nevertheless that a few of the Greek mss of Tobit cannot be classified with facility according to the categories of GI, GII, and GIII due to Sonderlesarten or special types of readings found in them.33 The Priority of GII Tobit scholars have long debated which textual witness better reflects the Urtext of Tobit. Many agree that GI, the shorter recension, with its summarizing tendencies34 and idiomatic Greek, is a reworking of GII. The GI redactor abridged GII by polishing and eliminating many of the

31 A detailed discussion of the various mss and textual traditions of Tobit falls beyond the scope of the study. Fitzmyer provides a readable and easy to follow discussion of the scholarship on the textual history of Tobit in his commentary. FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 3-17. Also helpful are accounts in SCHÜRER, The History of the Jewish People, 3:227-230; MOORE, Tobit, 53-64; OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 60-65; LITTMAN, Tobit, xixxxv; ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 26-29. For recent treatments, see the monographs of TOLONI, L’originale del libro di Tobia and HALLERMAYER, Text und Überlieferung des Buches Tobit. 32 FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 5. 33 Cf. NICKLAS/WAGNER, Thesen zur textlichen Vielfalt im Tobitbuch, 141-153. The authors have compared the papyrus fragment 910, GI and GII of Tob 2:2-5, 8 and concluded that few of the Greek mss have special types of readings. For further discussions of GIII, cf. WEEKS, Some Neglected Texts of Tobit, 12-42. 34 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 7: “Die generelle Linie des Bearbeiters liegt in einer Textkürzung.“ Cf. also THOMAS, The Greek Text of Tobit, 468-469.

Indications of Redaction


latter’s Semiticisms.35 In short, the long Greek version or GII better resembles a Semitic forebear. This claim finds further support in the Qumran fragments, which generally tend to correspond with the long Greek recension.36 With this in mind, it has been suggested that G II, along with the Vetus Latina supplying the lacunae in Tobit 4 and 13 in the longer recension, can be employed to restore the Urtext of Tobit.37 A more nuanced suggestion states that though GII is closer to the Semitic Vorlage, it is nonetheless insufficient to reconstruct the original text of Tobit even with the help of the Vetus Latina and the Qumran fragments.38 The difficulty in recreating the Urtext of Tobit may be due to the fact that GI can equally be from a Semitic Vorlage. It is likely that the major Greek recensions attest to two independent textual traditions and that both 35 Zimmermann enumerates instances when GI either closely follows or contracts the Sinaiticus text. ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 33; 39-41. Using literary analysis, Simpson gathers “overwhelming evidence“ to demonstrate that GI is a modification of GII. He notes that the former reflects general presuppositions and ideas, historical conditions, religious customs and theological developments subsequent to the latter. SIMPSON, The Chief Recensions of the Book of Tobit, 519. Vattioni endorses similar reasons for preferring GII. VATTIONI, Studi e note sul libro di Tobia, 241-284. Employing statistical or word-count analysis, Thomas tries to show that GI is a revision of GII. THOMAS, The Greek Text of Tobit, 465-471. Moore dismisses Thomas’s method of argumentation as fundamentally flawed. MOORE, Scholarly Issues in the Book of Tobit, 70. Hanhart thinks that the priority of GII is likely. HANHART, Text und Textgeschichte des Buches Tobit, 21-37. For scholars who base their studies on the priority of GII, see VUILLEUMIER, Le livre de Tobit, 7; RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 57; SCHNUPP, Schutzengel, 45; ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 279; MILLER, A Study of Marriage in the Book of Tobit, 7-12. For scholars who believe in the priority of GI, see DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 19-20; GROß, Tobit.Judit, 5; KOLLMAN, Göttliche Offenbarung, n.5, 290-291. 36 Milik first reported that the fragments generally agree with the Sinaiticus. MILIK, La patrie de Tobie, 522; IDEM, Dix ans de découvertes dans le désert de Juda, 29. Fitzmyer affirms this claim in his translation and publication of the Qumran Tobit fragments. FITZMYER, Tobit (DJD), 19:2; IDEM, The Aramaic and Hebrew Fragments of Tobit, 655-675). Nicklas and Wagner argue however that “die Tobit-fragmente aus Qumran müssen nicht als Zeugen für die Priorität von S interpretiert werden. Vielmehr lassen sich Indizien aufzeigen, die auf eine freie und vielfaltige Überliefierung des Tobit-Buches bereits in der semitischen Ursprache hindeuten.” NICKLAS/WAGNER, Thesen zur textlichen Vielfalt im Tobitbuch, 151. 37 Cf. BUSTO SAIZ, Algunas aportaciones, 53-69. Cf. also ZIMMERMAN, The Book of Tobit, 41, who sees the need for an eclectic text for Tobit, and DIMANT, The Book of Tobit and the Qumran Halakhah, 122, who notes that the Vetus Latina should be employed as a corrective and supplement where the Sinaiticus is lacking. 38 Cf. HALLERMAYER, Text und Überlieferung des Buches Tobit, 186-187. She notes that no other biblical book before Christ is as polyglot as Tobit.

The Integrity of the Book of Tobit


preserve original readings.39 Finally, certain textual differences between the Sinaiticus and the Vetus Latina indicate that the Sinaiticus text is not necessarily equivalent to the ‘original’ long Greek version.40 The Semitic Language of Tobit In which language was Tobit originally written? With the discovery of five Qumran fragments of Tobit, the current scholarly consensus leans toward Semitic as the original language of the book. Unfortunately, with four fragments in Aramaic (4Q196–4Q199) and one in Hebrew (4Q200),41 the finds at Qumran did not settle once and for all whether the Semitic language was Hebrew or Aramaic. 4QpapToba ar 4Q196 Fr 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14i 14ii

Psg 1:17 1:19-2:2 2:3 2:10-11 3:5 3:9-15 3:17 4:2 4:5 4:7 4:21-5:1 5:9 6:6-8 6:13-18 6:18-7:6

4QTobb ar 4Q197 Fr




2 3 4i 4ii 4iii

4QTobc ar 4Q198 Fr


4QTobd ar 4Q199 Fr


4:21-5:1 5:12-14 5:19-6:12 6:12-18 6:18-7:10 1

4QTobe 4Q200 Fr


1i 1ii

3:6 3:10-11






39 Cf. PRIERO, Tobia, 8-11. Cf. also TOLONI, L’originale del libro di Tobia, 63-83; COOK, Our Translated Tobit, 156-157; VELCIC, The Significance of the Relation of 4Qtobite fr. 6 with Greek Texts, 158-160. 40 Cf. WEEKS, Some Neglected Texts of Tobit, 23-24. 41 Milik first stated that three Qumran fragments were in Aramaic and one in Hebrew. MILIK, Dix ans de découvertes dans le désert de Juda, 29. In the latest publication of the Tobit Qumran fragments, Fitzmyer, building on the pioneering work of Milik, identifies four in Aramaic (4Q196-199) and one in Hebrew (4Q200). FITZMYER, Tobit (DJD), 19:1-76; IDEM, Hebrew and Aramaic Texts of Tobit from Qumran, 419-423. Cf. also SCHMITT, Die hebräischen Textfunde, 566-582; FRÖHLICH, Tobit against the Background of the DSS, 55-58. For an evaluation of Fitzmyer’s work on the fragments, see MORGENSTERN, Language and Literature in the Second Temple Period, 130-140.

Indications of Redaction 4QpapToba ar 4Q196 Fr 15

Psg 7:13

16 17i 17ii 18 19

12:1 12:18 - 13:6 13:6-12 13:12-14:3 14:7

4QTobb ar 4Q197 Fr 5

Psg 8:17-9:4

4QTobc ar 4Q198 Fr

1 2


14:2-6 14:10(?)


4QTobd ar 4Q199 Fr




4QTobe 4Q200 Fr 4 5

Psg 10:7-9 11:10-14

6 7i 7ii 8

12:20 - 13:4 13:13-14 13:18 - 14:2 (?)

There are scholars who believe that Greek Tobit descended from Hebrew Tobit.42 Others think that it is more likely that Aramaic is the original language of Tobit even though definitive proof for it is nonexistent.43 In the end, it is doubtless difficult, if not herculean, to ascertain based on lexical criteria which language first gave expression to the story of Tobit since all that the Qumran fragments confirm is the fact that Hebrew and Aramaic were the two commonly spoken languages which could have easily exerted mutual influence over each other during the time of Tobit’s writing.44 Such manuscript complexity and textual pluriformity of Tobit does not militate against the integrity and unitary composition of the book. 42 Cf.BEYER, Die aramäischen Texte vom Toten Meer, 134-147. Some have claimed that Tobit 13 was originally written in Hebrew while Tobit 1–12 and 14 were originally in Aramaic. HARL/DORIVAL/MUNNICH, La Bible Grecque des Septante, 85. Wise has also expressed doubts over Aramaic as the original language of Tobit. WISE, A Note on 4Q196, 566. Cf. also SIMONSEN, Tobit-Aphorismen, 2-4; PRIERO, Tobia, 10-11; ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 42. 43 Cf. MILIK, Dix ans de découvertes dans le désert de Juda, 29; EISSFELDT, The Old Testament, 585; ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 145-149; THOMAS, The Greek Text of Tobit, 471; HARRINGTON, Invitation to the Apocrypha, 12. Fitzmyer and Moore offer detailed arguments for the priority of Aramaic and offer specific examples. MOORE, Tobit, 33-39; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 22-25; IDEM, The Aramaic and Hebrew Fragments of Tobit, 670. Cf. also MORGENSTERN, Language and Literature in the Second Temple Period, 139-140; TOLONI, L’originale del libro di Tobia, 107-120; VANDERKAM/FLINT, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 184-185. 44 Cf. HALLERMAYER, Text und Überlieferung des Buches Tobit, 175-179. Ego believes that though Aramaic is likely, it is still difficult, if not impossible, to determine the language of the Urtext of Tobit: “Eine definitive Entscheidung aufgrund rein sprachlicher Kriterien erscheint außerordentlich schwierig, wenn nicht gar unmöglich. De facto finden sich im aramäischen Text genauso hebräischen wie in der hebräischen Version lexikalische Aramaismen, so daß dies letzlich nicht als Kriterium für eine Entscheidung herangezogen werden kann. Das Aramäisch der Zeit des Zweiten Tempels war insgesamt stark vom Hebräischen beeinflußt.” EGO, Buch Tobit, 880881.

The Integrity of the Book of Tobit


Despite an assortment of textual versions, the story as a whole remains intact. Indeed, there are textual variants that highlight particular theological facets or tendencies in the story,45 but no significant narrative detail is changed, deleted or added so as to affect, or alter, the plot and the course of the entire story.46 Three factors may in fact account for the variety or fluidity of the Tobit textual traditions: a) the different manuscripts may reflect the transmission of the story in its diverse telling and retelling, a prominent feature in an oral culture,47 b) its non-canonical status allowed early copyists and translators to have a freer approach in translating and transmitting Tobit, perhaps similar to the attitude of Jerome when he did the Vulgate translation of Tobit,48 and c) the variety of Greek versions may simply point to a certain dissatisfaction with the first translation.49 No matter, the various manuscripts substantially preserved and stuck to the entirety of Tobit’s story.


Diachronic Analyses of Tobit

In diachronic analysis, the main concern revolves around how a particular text has developed through time. This type of analysis involves separating the text to its constituent parts and positing certain stages of growth or periods of development in the history of the text. The interest of diachronic analysis is the origin, formation and evolution of the text. Moreover, by examining the text as a historical object, diachronic

45 Cf. for instance STUCKENBRUCK, Angel Veneration and Christology, 164-167; IDEM, The Book of Tobit and the Problem of Magic, 258-269 and EGO, Textual Variants as a Result of Enculturation, 371-378. 46 Cf. PFEIFFER, History of New Testament Times, 276: “All that can be said of the original work, now beyond recovery, is that it probably did not differ substantially from the story told in Codex Sinaiticus.” 47 In his analysis of the differences between 4Q200, S and BA of Tob 13:18–14:2, Doran concludes that the difference is typical of an oral culture in which some details of the story vary in the retelling. DORAN, Serious George, or the Wise Apocalypticist, 259. Nicklas and Wagner also make this observation: “Ist die Textgeschichte des (literarischen) Tobit-Buches einzig anhand von Parametern schriftlicher Tradierung zu erfassen oder wirken Phänomene mündlicher Überliefierung – unter Umständen auch in Form einer „second orality“ – in der literarischen Prozess der Textuberlieferung mit hinein?” NICKLAS /WAGNER, Thesen zur textlichen Vielfalt im Tobitbuch, 158. 48 Cf. ERBT, Tobit, 4:5117. Cf. also NICKLAS/WAGNER, Thesen zur textlichen Vielfalt im Tobitbuch, 151. 49 Cf. WEEKS, Some Neglected Texts of Tobit, 24.

Diachronic Analyses of Tobit


analysis attempts to uncover the concealed history that lies behind the text.50 Using this type of analysis, a number of scholars have posited various layers of composition in the Tobit narrative.


Józef T. Milik

Following the findings at Qumran, Józef Tadeusz Milik proposed a double stage composition for Tobit. The first redaction was done in the northern region of Palestine in Samaria and the second in Jerusalem.51 Milik starts by noticing the topographic indications in Tob 1:2, which states that Tobit is a native evk Qisbhj h[ evstin evk dexiw/n Kudiwj th/j Nefqalim u`pera,nw Asshr ovpi,sw o`dou/ dusmw/n h`li,ou evx avristerw/n Fogwr. Referencing the location notices made by the Anonymous Pilgrim of Bordeaux and by Eusebius in his Onomasticon, Milik identifies Qisbhj as the present-day Tubas, a small Palestinian village that lies southwest of Teyasir (Asshr) and Wadi al-Far’a in the upper hills of Samaria and some twenty kilometers northeast of Nablus. After the first redaction, Thisbe was considered the original homeland of Tobit. That Tobit comes from the village of Thisbe reflects the hagiotopographic link of the prophet Toba to Tubas and Teyasir, which is equivalent to Aser, Villa Tob of the Anonymous Pilgrim of Bordeaux. In Judg 11:3, 5, 34, Mizpah, which is located in the West Bank, is identified as the land of Tob. In 2 Sam 10:6-8, the retelling of the involvement of the people of Tob with the affairs of the Ammonites imagines the land of Tob to denote the regions of Shechem and Bethshan. However, excavations have revealed that the urban center had moved to the Transjordan territory of ’Iraq al-Amir and it is this region to which the biblical stories concerning the land of Tob may in fact refer. This territory of course became the place of origin and sphere of influence of the aristocratic Tobiad family52 that flourished in the Persian and the Ptolemaic empires. Milik maintains that some events the family of Tobit experiences in the story echo the traditions regarding the

50 Cf. HOLLADAY, Contemporary Methods of Reading the Bible, 1:128-136. 51 Cf. MILIK, La patrie de Tobie, 522-530. However, as Doran rightly points out, Milik “alludes to the teasing problem that Tobit is a northerner and the obvious similarity to the Tobiads, but he does not provide a satisfactory analysis of the whole work.” DORAN, Narrative Literature, 298. 52 Cf. MAZAR, The Tobiads, 137-145; 229-238; JI, A New Look at the Tobiads in ’Iraq alAmir, 417-440. Cf. also TCHERIKOVER, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews, 126-142.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

Tobiads, the civil rulers of the area who also exerted an extensive influence in Jerusalem. In light of this, the initial narrative was a court story produced in Samaria during the late Persian or Hellenistic period to enhance the prestige and piety of the national and aristocratic Tobiad family before an Aramean-speaking people. Later, due to the success of this simple and edifying story written for the Samaritan Diaspora, a Judean redactor revised the narrative and produced a more orthodox version, adding details oriented towards the Jerusalem cult.53 A winning Samaritan story was adapted into a Judean milieu.


Paul Deselaers

Paul Deselaers proposes a more complex redactional history for the Book of Tobit. Employing literary criticism as a means for source analysis, Deselaers believes that the narrative tension, incoherence, contradiction, repetitions, syntactical and stylistic differences are signs of an editorial hand. According to him, the basic narrative about Jewish family life in the Diaspora, originally composed in Greek of the G I type54 in Alexandria in the mid-third century BCE, underwent a literary evolution consisting of three successive stages. The first redaction involved the addition of the sapiential instructions in Tob 4:3-19 and 12:6b-10 and the hymn in 13:1-9a, to which the following were likewise inserted later: 2:11-14; 3:6; 5:1-2, 18-23; 6:7-10, 13, 15b, 16b-18a; 7:10b-11, 15-17; 8:6, 16, 17b; 8:20–10:7; 10:12-13, 14b;

53 Nickelsburg criticizes and dismisses Milik’s hypothesis as problematic. While the names Tobit and Tobias can be related to the Tobiad family, the story is self-contained and is meaningful in itself. Further, Tobit’s gaze upon Jerusalem is in keeping with his character, not a prior lack or defect that needs to be addressed by a later hand. NICKELSBURG, Tobit and Enoch, 68. Dimant also finds Milik’s analysis unpersuasive, stating that the lack of references to any Samaritan locality implies the absence of anti-Samaritan polemics as Milik has suggested. DIMANT, Tobit in Galilee, n.7, 349. 54 Deselaers argues that Greek is the original language of Tobit and Vaticanus is the best available text of the Greek recensions. Written in Egypt, Tobit has no Semitic Vorlage. The said recension is the basis of his source analysis. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 335. For this reason, Fitzmyer rejects Deselaers’s effort and dismisses his theory as something “spun out of whole cloth by someone who had not seen the Semitic texts of Tobit.” FITZMYER, The Aramaic and Hebrew Fragments, 671. In his commentary for Geistliche Schriftlesung, Deselaers continues to hold on to his original view. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 9.

Diachronic Analyses of Tobit


11:7-9; 12:3, 6b-14; 12:19–20, 22 and 14:1-2. Most likely edited in a Wisdom school heavily steeped in the Torah and the Prophets, the purpose of the first redaction was to emphasize the figure of Tobit as sage and medium of revelation. The second stage of literary development introduced the figure of Ahiqar in a Greek form of the Sinaiticus type in 195 BCE. The redactor’s raison d’être for referencing the popular story of Ahiqar is to accentuate the need for acts of solidarity, a constant theological theme in the story. The final redaction, dating from 185 BCE, appended texts that contained references to Jerusalem, as well as eschatological and apocalyptic materials such as 13:10b-18. In all likelihood, the Jerusalem priestly circle was responsible for the insertion of materials with apocalyptic eschatology in the hope that they would serve as propaganda for the Jews in the Diaspora against the Hellenistic tendencies of the Seleucid kings. The adjustments were intended either as a voice of warning before the religious conflict or as an encouragement to live authentic Judaism as a form of living resistance against every human rule.55


Merten Rabenau

Irene Nowell rightly points out that a key defect of Deselaers’s source analysis lies in his questionable assumption that the Vorlage of the text of Tobit is Greek, when overwhelming evidence seems to indicate that the book was originally Semitic.56 Cognizant of this flaw, Merten Rabenau has proposed a history of the development of Tobit based on GII since it reflects better the Semitic Vorlage.57 Using literary criticism, Rabenau argues that a coherent core story of Tobit exists, consisting of angelic direction and guidance based on patriarchal stories and biblical

55 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 374-500. 56 Cf. NOWELL, Review of Das Buch Tobit, 306-307. Besides being highly speculative, Deselaers’s study involves “inevitable problems of subjectivity and circular reasoning in determining the basic layer.” For further comments, cf. IDEM, Narrative Technique and Theology, 37-39. Reiterating Nowell’s point, Ego has also stated that the analysis of Deselaers is problematic by virtue of treating GII as secondary. EGO, Buch Tobit, 890. Cf. also. GRABBE, Tobit, 737. 57 If source analysis has to use the original text in order to reach valid conclusions, then Rabenau’s project, although based on GII considered closest to a Semitic Urtext, is equally questionable as Deselaers’s.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

prototypes.58 The events of the narrative converge to reveal a story of guidance, or Führungsgeschichte59, in which God keeps and directs his pious ones in marvelous ways. Rabenau follows Milik’s suggestion by arguing that the kernel of the narrative, anchored in Jewish life in the Diaspora, was most likely originally written in Aramaic in Samaritan Palestine in the third century BCE.60 This basic story has undergone three editorial expansions, most likely undertaken in Jewish circles. The first redaction, with its ethicizing tendency and emphases on burying the dead and doing deeds of charity for the poor, along with its transformation of Tobit into a Galilean devotee of the Jerusalem cult and Temple, reflects the time of the Maccabees, and can thus be dated between 147 and 141 BCE. The second revision includes references to Ahiqar, an emphasis on the centrality of family, and a juxtaposition of Anna’s faintheartedness against Tobit’s misfortune. The inner Jewish tensions evident in the second expansion make it datable to 140 BCE.61 The final redaction, focusing on law and piety, adds insertions such as 1:3-8 and 13:6, 9-18, as well as various glosses on the text. This last stage of literary development dates to the last third of the second century BCE.62

58 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 100-104. While both Deselaers and Rabenau argue for a four level redaction, Otto Kaiser claims that Tobit underwent at the very least a three level expansion beginning with a core narrative followed by an Ahiqar recension and then a final retouching in Jerusalem. KAISER, The Old Testament Apocrypha, 35. 59 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 94: “Wir haben durch den literarkritischen Durchgang in der Tat eine Grundschicht mit einer kohärenten Erzählung gewonnen. Sie ist spannend, besitzt einen durchlaufenden Faden, ist in sich schlüssig und in allen ihren Teilen aufeinander bezogen.” 60 Rabenau agrees with Milik’s proposal that Tobit’s original hometown was Thisbe. A Judean redactor transformed him into a member of the tribe of Naphtali, a region that later subscribed to the Jerusalem temple. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 149. 61 This second redactional layer of the Tobit narrative is interesting from the point of view of feminist exegesis because of the enhanced interest in the narrative role of women. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Review of Studien zum Buch Tobit, 388. 62 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 148-190. According to the author, the first expansion consisted of 1:16-17; 4:14b-19, 21; 12:11-14; 13:1-8 and 14:8-9, 10, 15. The second redaction included 1:15, 18, 19-21, 22a; 2:1, 8, 11-14; 3:6; 5:18–6:1; 6:13*, 14-16, 18; 7:7; 8:21; 10:4-7, 12 and 14:11. The third edition inserted 1:3, 4-8, 10-12, 18; 21b, 22b; 2:6, 10b; 3:17; 5:3, 14; 7:11, 12; 8:3b, 11, 18; 12:19-20; 13:9-18 and 14:3b-7. The author also provides a German translation with different typesets that indicate the various expansions.

Diachronic Analyses of Tobit



Critical Problems with Diachronic Analysis

The aforementioned studies employed diachronic methods to analyze the narrative composition of Tobit. However, two chief problems lie at the heart of such tradition-critical analysis. First, if indeed the Urtext of Tobit is Semitic, then the Greek recensions cannot serve as the basis for diachronic analysis. As Beate Ego has warned, sound conclusions based on stylistic differences or diverse tendencies using source critical analysis can only be made using the original text.63 In the case of Tobit, the Semitic textual evidence is unfortunately very fragmentary. The second problem with diachronic methodology applied to narrative texts is its heavy dependence on the assumption that a narrative is absolutely consistent.64 Seemingly straying themes or varying threads of ideas are taken as obvious indications of redactions. However, given a variety of themes in a narrative text, using the criterion of coherence of themes in a complex work is a weak, if not useless, means for detecting various editorial layers.65 As Lester L. Grabbe adds, “the general acceptance that the text has a long history behind it does not mean that that history can easily be sorted out now.”66 Furthermore, tensions in the flow of the story do not logically imply later expansion or insertion. Themes that cohere do not necessarily entail compositional layers or stages.67 When applied to ancient narratives the method has limitations, for it is based on contemporary 63 Cf. EGO, Buch Tobit, 890: “Da literarkritische Untersuchungen zunächst einmal bei dem semitischsprachigen Original anzusetzen haben, dieser aber nur sehr fragmentarisch auf uns gekommen ist, steht eine definitive Lösung des Problems noch aus.” 64 DORAN, Narrative Literature, 297. Cf. also GUNN/FEWELL, Narrative in the Hebrew Bible, 8: “Significant expression of ideological tensions or factual contradictions within a single work was deemed unlikely, if not impossible … In short, underlying most source criticism has been an aesthetic preference for rationalistic, literal reading of literature.” 65 Cf. LUST, Review of Das Buch Tobit, 134: “One wonders whether an artful composition like the book of Tobit may not have assembled many more disparate materials in its original draft.” The statement implies a process of editing that trims the text. 66 GRABBE, Tobit, 737. 67 Nickelsburg poses these questions: “The first question involves the issue of simplicity versus complexity. Need we reduce the heart of a book to a single theme or set of themes, or can an author’s composition embrace a number of related and sometimes disparate matters? The second question has often been raised since the development of biblical source criticism. Can we impose modern standards of coherence and narrative flow on ancient texts? And if we wish to do so, does the alleged carelessness of the editor not suggest that an author, too, can be careless?.” NICKELSBURG, Review of Studien zum Buch Tobit, 349.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

and biased notions of consistency and narrative flow.68 Perhaps ancient authors are not as academically tidy as modern biblical scholars are. Therefore, examining a story as complex as Tobit via source analysis can be shaky and doubtful. Synthesis has to complement such analysis. At best, the method can yield illuminating insights on certain details. In the end, however, the entire Tobit narrative can find its beauty, sense and meaning when viewed as an intricately woven fabric of a story from a variety of colorful threads.

1.3 Indications of Narrative Integrity As a matter of fact, there are certain literary and theological factors that indicate the original integrity of the text. Admittedly, the literary materials in the narrative are heterogeneous. Nevertheless, Tobit is a rich, composite and consistent narrative with an intimate unity,69 indicating that the book is not a draft that has undergone several editorial enhancements. As George Nickelsburg has correctly observed, the author of Tobit had crafted “a complex but well-integrated story that depicts real human beings and their emotions in life-like circumstances and that uses plots and characters to carry traditional themes from the Bible and ancient folklore.”70 Indeed, Tobit “has its own structure, integrity, and message, which go beyond the mere sum of possible antecedents.”71 In the judgment of many scholars, the author may have fused or assembled his narrative from disparate documents, but he fashioned them into an intricate, interconnected and artistic whole.72 Moreover, the author intended his work to be perceived as a unity by presenting it

68 Alter has described the traditional methods of biblical scholarship as “excavative,” assuming an unexamined modern aesthetic. ALTER, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 2021). Cf. also SPENCER, The Book of Tobit in Recent Research, 174. 69 Collins notes that Tobit is a coherent story with diverse elements. COLLINS, The Judaism of the Book of Tobit, 23. 70 NICKELSBURG, Stories of Biblical and Early Post Biblical Times, 40. 71 GRABBE, Tobit, 737. 72 For the view that Tobit is an artistic and a small literary masterpiece, see VON RAD, Wisdom in Israel, 47; DELCOR, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Hellenistic Period, 2:475; AUNEAU, Écrits didactiques, 360; GRINTZ, Tobit, Book of (EJ), 20:13. For a contrary view, see ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 39-40. For a modest estimation of Tobit’s literary quality, see SCHULLER, Tobit, 272; VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 38; DORAN, Serious George, or the Wise Apocalypticist, 260.

Indications of Narrative Integrity


as bi,bloj (cf. Tob 1:1).73 In its original composition, Tobit is a ‘real narrative continuum,’74 as the following indications show.


The Dynamics of Allusion

The narrative of Tobit brims with allusions to literary traditions both inside and outside of the Hebrew Bible. “To allude” is to evoke a previous text in the new by recasting, by the signaled use of citations, motifs, patterns and verbal clues, and by the employment of suggestive analogies such as situational similarities or correspondences.75 In other words, allusion is a literary device which simultaneously activates two texts by the use of signals such as those mentioned above in order to refer to an independent external text.76 The use of allusion indicates the purposeful act of a writer in using bits and pieces of the literary tradition as building blocks for the new text in order to enter into a dialogue with earlier texts, rendering them in the process with a fresh significance.77 Behind an allusion is an authorial intention with its network of references. As a literary work, it comes as no surprise that the literary element called allusion pulls the diverse materials of the story together. The allusive play knits the narrative into a brighter, tighter and fuller fabric. The craftsman of Tobit evoked antecedent literature, recycling biblical and extra biblical traditions to create his narrative. The unknown Jewish author was an alert writer who built on his reading, definitely drawing from diverse materials known to him and consciously choosing literary themes and motifs with a familiar or popular appeal.78 That the writer referred to them in the story, whether obviously or obliquely, means that he not only possessed a passing familiarity with standard literary texts but was also highly culturally literate, able to 73 Cf. WIDMAN, Herstellung und Vertrieb des Buches in der griechisch-römischen Welt, 580: “Jede Handschrift ist eine Einheit für sich. Mit jeder Abschrift, die genommen wurde, vermehrten sich die Möglichkeiten der Textvarianten, wenn menda, Schreibfehler stehen bleiben.” 74 The phrase is borrowed from ALTER, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 11. 75 For further discussion, cf. ALTER, The Pleasures of Reading, 111-140. 76 Cf. DIMANT, Mikra in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, 410. 77 Cf. SOMMER, Exegesis, Allusion and Intertextuality, 486-487. For further discussion of literary interrelationships in a given text and how later writers interpret and comment on the canons of a given literary tradition, see O’DAY, Intertextuality, 1:546-548; KOPTAK, Intertextuality, 325-332. 78 GREENFIELD, Ahiqar in the Book of Tobit, 329.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

retain cognitively some of the major texts of the culture. The supposed textual parallels and sources that scholars have identified for Tobit may in fact be allusive references in Tobit. There was a hand steeped in streams of traditions that deliberately and carefully fashioned the various and familiar literary fabrics into a new and harmonious whole, the seamless textual garment which is the Tobit narrative. Extra-biblical Influences on Tobit The diversity of the author’s influences contributes to the complexity and richness of the Tobit story. From folkloric tradition, a number of tales have been suggested as constitutive components of Tobit.79 Vivid tags given to common folk themes and motifs reflected in the narrative include the Grateful Dead, the Poison Maiden, the Monster in the Bridal Chamber, the Two Brothers and the Dragon Slayer.80 Many scholars have asserted that Tobit utilized the combined folktales of the Grateful Dead and the Bewitched Bride which the author adapted and transformed to conform to Jewish piety.81 The tale of the Grateful Dead tells the story of a dead man who returns from the realm of the dead to reward the man who found and buried his corpse. In the tale of the Unlucky Bride, the hero and companion travel to the suffering princess, with the hero obtaining a magic sword along the way to slay the cause of the princess’s affliction. Whatever the particular tale is, Tobit exhibits a classic folk or fairy tale plot in which a hero goes on a long

79 For a review of early studies focusing on folktales employed in Tobit, see SIMPSON, The Book of Tobit, 1:187-194; PFEIFFER, History of the New Testament Times, 269-71. Cf. also ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 5-12. For an analysis of Tobit and some of the folktales in Tobit using Vladimir Propp’s morphology, see BLENKINSOPP, Biographical Patterns in Biblical Narrative, 37-46; NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 53-60; MILNE, Folktales and Fairy Tales, 35-60; SOLL, Tobit and Folklore Studies, 39-53; IDEM, Misfortune and Exile in Tobit, 209-231. For related discussions, see AUNEAU, Écrits didactiques, 359-360; MOORE, Tobit, 11-14; NAVARRO PUERTO, El libro de Tobías, 409-410; VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 39-40; OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 2123; SPENCER, Tobit, 1-2; DESILVA, Introducing the Apocrypha, 70-72; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 36-40; MAZZINGHI, Tobia, 18; ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 284. 80 For reservations about the presence of folktales in Tobit, see SCHÜRER, The History of the Jewish People, 3:226; GRINTZ, Tobit, Book of, 20:13. Cf. also VIRGULIN, Tobia, 13; GRABBE, Tobit, 737; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 41. 81 Cf. EISSFELDT, Introduction to the Old Testament, 584; DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 2-7; DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 268-270; 280-292; NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:979. Cf. also GUNKEL, Das Märchen im Alten Testament, 98-101.

Indications of Narrative Integrity


journey with a special companion to find a remedy for the family misfortune and returns home married to a damsel saved from distress.82 Since the Turkish tale The Blind Padisha with Three Sons shows closeness to Tobit, Wills has identified it as a narrative parallel.83 The Egyptian Tractate of Khons has also been mentioned as a narrative influence.84 Some have also suggested that Greek classics such as Homer’s Odyssey85 and the legend of Admetus and Apollo86 provided narrative backgrounds for Tobit. J. Schwartz has surmised that the Greek comedies of Menander and the apocryphal story Joseph and Aseneth influenced Tobit by showing some linguistic affinities and parallels between Tobit and the said works.87 Finally, Nickelsburg, analyzing certain elements such as liturgical vocabulary, eschatology, angelology, and ethics, has proposed that Tobit and 1 Enoch are “distant cousins with a recognizable resemblance.”88

82 Cf. SOLL, Tobit, Book of, 1318. Ernst Renan first acknowledged and stressed the importance of folktales for the study of Tobit. RENAN, Histoire des origines du Christianisme, 6:560-561. 83 Cf. WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 74-75, who asserts that the tale of a blind father sending his son on an adventurous quest to find cure for blindness is in fact closer to the core story of Tobit than the Tale of the Grateful Dead. 84 For a contrary view, cf. SCHÜRER, The History of the Jewish People, 3:227 and GLASSON, The Main Source of Tobit, 276. 85 Cf. FRIES, Das Buch Tobit und die Telemachie, 54-87. For a recent defense of this position, see MACDONALD, Tobit and the Odyssey, 11-40; NICKELSBURG, Tobit, Genesis and the Odyssey, 41-55; TOLONI, Echi omerici nel libro di Tobia, 5-35. For doubts whether the author of Tobit is at all indebted to the Odyssey, see PFEIFFER, History of the New Testament, 271. 86 Cf. GLASSON, The Main Source of Tobit, 275-277. For a criticism of this view, see OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 23. 87 Cf. SCHWARTZ, Remarques littéraires sur le roman de Tobit, 293-297. However, both BERTRAND, Le chevreau d’Anna, 269-274 and GRUEN, Diaspora, 317, find the adduced evidence unpersuasive. Perhaps, one cannot claim more than the fact that both works reflect and share the same Hellenistic spirit. If indeed “the genre of epics is passé” and “elegant miniaturism is ideal,” reflecting the historical “shift of emphasis away from public collective involvement … to private and individual concerns” during the Hellenistic period (cf. GREEN, The Hellenistic Age, 58), then Tobit, along with Joseph and Aseneth and the comedies of Menander, breathed in the same Hellenistic air, both operating from such tendencies. 88 Cf. NICKELSBURG, Enoch and Tobit, 54-68; IDEM, The Search for Tobit’s Mixed Ancestry, 343-345. Doran, however, is not convinced that a genetic relationship between Tobit and Enoch does exist apart from the fact that “for both authors, God controls history, and there are angels of whom there is a specific group of seven and one of them is called Raphael.” DORAN, Serious George, or the Wise Apocalypticist, 258.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

Without a doubt, the composer of Tobit alludes to the well-known Ahiqar tale by naming a character in the story, Tobit’s nephew, Ahiqar (cf. Tob 1:22; 14:10). The allusion in fact frames the Tobit narrative. Because of its significant presence in the beginning and in the conclusion of Tobit, the reference to Ahiqar is not a casual but an important and integral structural component of the story.89 Additionally, the tale of Ahiqar can function as a foil for Tobit,90 as a sort of shorthand for lending authoritative support to the historical claims of the narrative,91 and as a way both to strengthen the narrative’s emphasis on evlehmosu,nh and to explore the significance of this practice.92 It is also likely that the active evocation of Ahiqar serves to bring the Tobit story within the former tale’s sapiential orbit. In some ways, Tobit is a story about retribution and the consequences of arrogance and disobedience, as well as a story about the importance of education through wise sayings. The evoked tale of Ahiqar functions as one of the basic textual references for the alluding Tobit story,93 giving resonance to these narrative concerns and interests. This allusive function of Ahiqar explains why the tale’s relationship to Tobit is not as direct.94 Whatever the extra-biblical dependence of Tobit is, it seems that the author incorporated secular and popular elements in the interest and service of his story. They were altered in order to accord with and to preserve the religious orthodoxy of its characters.95 The affinity of Tobit to these folktale motifs suggests the author’s attempt to evoke them actively in a thoroughly religious story in order to fashion new meaning for and from them. Instead of viewing these literary antecedents as

89 Cf. KÜCHLER, Frühjüdische Weisheitstraditionen, 366-367; GRABBE, Tobit, 737; TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 147-153; ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 23. 90 Cf. GREENFIELD, The Wisdom of Ahiqar, 47. 91 Cf. MILLARD, Judith, Tobit, Ahiqar and History, 197-198. 92 Cf. WEIGL, Die rettende Macht der Barmherzigkeit, 212-243. 93 Barr considers the tale of Ahiqar the “intellectual source” of Tobit. BARR, The Question of Religious Influence, 218. 94 For a brief comparison of Ahiqar and Tobit, see NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 62-65. For a more extensive treatment, see TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 141-165. For the view that Tobit has little to do with Ahiqar, see ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 44-45 and RUPPERT, Das Buch Tobias, 109. 95 COOGAN, The Old Testament, 535. Cf. also CHESTER, Citing the Old Testament, 154: “Scriptural passages are drawn upon at least partly in order to help adapt and accommodate these non-biblical sources to the specific purposes of the book and the distinctively Jewish themes that the story is concerned with.”

Indications of Narrative Integrity


indicative of some hypothetical development96 or as parallel sources on which the craftsman of Tobit directly depended, it is more helpful to view the presence of these ancient tales as forming part of the author’s literary strategy of allusion. His original listeners or readers would have chuckled with delight at the recognition. Biblical Influences on Tobit More importantly, it is instantly manifest that the author of Tobit is highly proficient in Hebrew Scriptures.97 As a devout Jewish author writing for a Jewish audience, it is only logical that his principal source of inspiration be Israel’s sacred scriptures and traditions.98 For example, even the topographical names are allusive.99 He frequently refers to the Law of Moses, especially those that pertain to marriage and family.100 The author, relying heavily on the Law and the Prophets as resources and guides for his narrative, enters into a discourse with his past scriptural tradition in order to craft a narrative that responds to the needs of his readers.101 In other words, the scripture is the imaginative core from which the story flows as the narrative amplifies its own distinct significance. Tobit is particularly seeded with deliberate allusions to the patriarchal stories; the story radiates the atmosphere of patriarchal traditions found in Genesis 24, 29–35 and the Joseph cycle. 102 They function as the primary templates or analogues for Tobit. In terms of narrative outline,

96 For instance, Tobit’s dog is considered a remnant of a folktale. ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 10; MOORE, Tobit, 197-198. For a contrary view, see DUMM, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 623; VUILLEUMIER, Le livre de Tobit, 24; COLLINS, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 545; MILLER, Attitudes toward Dogs in Ancient Israel, 499. 97 PFEIFFER, History of the New Testament, 265. Cf. also ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 284; GRABBE, Apocrypha, 18; ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 16-18. 98 VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 39. 99 For an analysis of the topographical references in Tob 1:2 as allusion, cf. DIMANT, Tobit in Galilee, 347-357. 100 Cf. GAMBERONI, Das ‘Gesetz des Mose’ im Buch Tobias, 229. According to Bertrand, the dialogues in Tobit, such as that between Tobit and Anna concerning the goat in Tobit 2 and that between Tobit and Rafael in Tobit 5, are ways to highlight scriptural echoes. BERTRAND, Le chevreau d’Anna, 269-274. 101 CRAGHAN, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Jonah, Ruth, 132. 102 Cf. AUNEAU, Écrits didactiques, 360; RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 107-114; ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 17.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

Tobit follows the story of Joseph.103 The betrothal type scene,104 which is a common biblical type-scene employed in the marriage quest of Isaac in Genesis 24 and of Jacob in Genesis 29–35, functions as an evocative model for the journey and marriage of Tobias to Sarah.105 Tobias’s trip from Nineveh to Ecbatana with Azariah/Rafael in Tobit 6 is said to allude to Isaac’s journey with his father Abraham to Mount Moriah in Genesis 22.106 These situational similarities suggest that Tobit has regenerated a number of principal plots from Genesis. The character and narrative role of Rafael likewise brings to mind various patriarchal stories in Genesis 18, 19, 32 as well as episodes in Joshua 5, 6, 13, and 2 Samuel 24.107 As counterparts, the women characters in Tobit call to mind the matriarchs.108 Tobias’s struggle with the fish while traveling is said to refer to the primeval struggle between Eve and the serpent in Genesis 3,109 while the wedding prayer in Tobit 8, which directly quotes Genesis 2, alludes to the creation story. The constant narrative references to burial of the dead likewise come from Genesis. This book contains more mention of this noble practice than any other scriptural book – a strong indication that the author em103 Cf. RUPPERT, Das Buch Tobias, 113-117. The author points out verbal echoes such as the use of euvodo,w in Gen 24:7 and Tob 5:17, Gen 39:3, 23 and Tob 7:12 and certain narrative parallels such as the father (Jacob/Israel-Tobit) sending the son (BenjaminTobias) into a foreign land (Egypt-Media) with a companion (Judah-Azariah) where they encounter a relative (Joseph-Raguel) in order to resolve a problem (famine-poverty). That burial has a significant role in the story of Joseph, that it situates two scenes in two locals namely Egypt–Canaan, that it looks to the future God-guided return to the homeland of the tribes of Israel, are some further narrative instances why the story of Joseph functions as a type for Tobit. 104 For a discussion of biblical type scenes, see ALTER, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 5152. Cf. also MARTIN, Betrothal Journey Narratives, 505-523. 105 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 292-303; SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 129-131; VAN DEN EYNDE, One and One Journey Makes Three, 277-279. For a detailed comparison of the journeys of Tobias and Jacob, see NICKELSBURG, Tobit and the Odyssey, 46-48 and MILLER, God’s Role in Marriage, 140-143. 106 Novick labels this literary phenomenon “biblicized narratives.” NOVICK, Biblicized Narrative: On Tobit and Genesis 22, 755-764. For a variation on the character of Sarah in Genesis reflected in Anna, see SCHULLER, Tobit, 273. 107 NAVARRO PUERTO, El libro de Tobías, 416. 108 NOWELL, The Book of Tobit: An Ancestral Story, 6-7. For a recent exploration of the typical biblical movement from barrenness to fertility, see HAVRELOCK, The Myth of Birthing the Hero, 154-178. 109 Cf. BRODIE, The Mystery of Tobit, 1630, who thinks that the struggle of Tobit “looks like a rewriting of the Genesis struggle.” According to Bede the Venerable, the huge fish “represents the ancient devourer of the human race, i.e. the devil.” CONNOLLY, Bede: On Tobit, 46.

Indications of Narrative Integrity


ployed Genesis as an antecedent literary model for style and content.110 By referencing a biblical book which depicts burial of the dead as a constitutive mark of the piety and sensibility of the patriarchs, Tobit acquires a decisively patriarchal portrait. The Genesis materials and patriarchal references serve particular purposes. The allusions to Genesis can show God’s abiding providence in the Diaspora111 and can symbolize the creation of a new Israel.112 By drawing from Genesis 24 and 29, the author emphasizes family solidarity and the importance of preserving Jewish identity in the Diaspora. This is evident in the encouragement of marriage within the tribe as a patriarchal practice and example worthy of emulation (cf. Tob 4:12). Moreover, when exile threatened the promise of a great nation, Tobit’s actualization of the story of Joseph, which highlights a Jewish individual and family in a foreign land, provides direction, hope and support to the dispersed by calling to mind that everything hinges on a single individual and family and the individual’s fidelity to the law for the divine promise to attain fulfillment.113 The theological concerns of Deuteronomy also pervade the story.114 In particular, the doctrine of Deuteronomy 28, regarding blessings for obedience to and curses for disobedience of covenantal laws and the consequences for fidelity and apostasy, suffuses the entire narrative from beginning to end such that John Craghan labeled Tobit as “Deuteronomy Revisited.”115 Deuteronomic elements relative to the virtuous life, expressed in parent-child relationship, respect for women, care for the poor and the practice of prayer enjoy more than a passing reference in the story.116 Stock deuteronomic words and phrases such as ‘with your whole heart’ and ‘the good land’ are picked up and used in Tobit. The theme of exile and return found in Deut 30:1-10 resonates in Tobit

110 ABRAHAMS, Tobit and Genesis, 349-350. Cf. also the comments of BERTRAND, Le chevreau d’Anna, 272-273 on the patriarchal portrait of Tobit. 111 WEITZMAN, Allusion, Artifice, and Exile, 59. 112 MILLER, God’s Role in Marriage, 143. 113 CHESTER, Citing the Old Testament, 156. 114 For an examination of deuteronomic expressions and themes in Tobit, see DI LELLA, The Deuteronomic Background of the Farewell Discourse, 380-389. 115 CRAGHAN, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Jonah, Ruth, 132. See also the comments of ROTA SCALABRINI, L’Angelo necessario, 878; 881-883. 116 Cf. NAVARRO PUERTO, El libro de Tobías, 417.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

13–14.117 Finally, Alexander di Lella shows that Judges 13, a deuteronomistic book, echoes thematically and textually in Tobit.118 The activation of Deuteronomy in Tobit evokes the situation in which earlier descendants prepared for entrance into the land God had promised them. The author of Tobit used deuteronomic themes in order to encourage and console the Jewish people in the Diaspora by emphasizing the affirmative facets of their religious and social experience and by reassuring them that God’s faithfulness, mercy and aid has not abandoned them.119 With Deuteronomy as a textual co-presence, the reader grasps the claim that God’s promises still hold firm and the people’s obedience and fidelity is still sought as they await their future re-entry into the good land. Sapiential texts such as Job,120 Psalms,121 Proverbs and Sirach also exerted considerable influence on Tobit. In addition to the fact that both Tobit and Job are given patriarchal portraits and that the central action in both stories of innocent suffering are given narrative frames (Job 1:1– 2:13; 42:7-17; Tob 1:1–3:17; 12:1–14:15), Tobit employs motifs and contents found in Job, thereby making Job a literary model evoked in

117 For example, “with your whole heart” (Tob 2:2; 4Q196), “from the good land” (Tob 14:4), “in the land of Abraham” (Tob 14:7) among others. Cf. HOFMANN, Die Rezeption des Dtn im Buch Tobit, 319-320. The author contends that with the deuteronomic grounding, the book of Tobit may be considered a Programmschrift, by which Jews in the Diaspora can be linked to Palestine, for the purpose of financial support for the Jerusalem cult, or as a Propagandaschrift, by which Jews in the Diaspora can be encouraged to return to Palestine, which seems to be the motivation of the eschatological perspective with respect to the gathering of the tribes of Israel in Jerusalem (p. 325-326). 118 For points of contact, patterns and echoes that demonstrate the activation of the two texts, see DI LELLA, The Book of Tobit and the Book of Judges, 197-205. 119 CHESTER, Citing the Old Testament, 156-157. Cf. also KIEL, Tobit and Moses Redux, 84-98 and DI LELLA, The Deuteronomic Background, 380-381: Tobit had “the same intuitions as the final redactor of Deuteronomy, viz., encouragement of the dispersed people and exhortation to remain true to the faith.” 120 For a discussion of the textual dialogue between Job and Tobit, cf. PORTIER-YOUNG, “Eyes to the Blind”, 14-27 and TOLONI, La sofferenza del giusto, 38-58. 121 Cf. NICKLAS, Denn der Herr kennt den Weg der Gerechten, 61-73. For a discussion of the influence of the Psalms, specifically its influence on the textual transmission of Tobit, see RYAN, The Psalms and the Book of Tobit, 28-42.

Indications of Narrative Integrity


Tobit.122 Further, light and darkness imagery, a sapiential staple, is widespread in both books.123 Maxims on practical behavior, found in Proverbs and Sirach, also managed to find their way into Tobit (cf. Tob 4:13 and Prov 11:2; Tob 4:10 and Prov 10:2; Tob 4:7 and Sir 4:4-5; Tob 4:18 and Sir 6:34-36; Tob 4:11 and Sir 29:12; 40:24; Tob 12:10 and Sir 18:21). Finally, the Prophets, oftentimes directly quoted (cf. Tob 2:6 and Am 8:10), also left their imprint on Tobit (cf. Tob 13:11 and Mic 4:2, Isa 2:2-3; 60:1-14; Zech 8:22; Tob 14:3 and Nah 2:3–3:19). As the above discussion implies, Tobit involves an elaborate and complex literary referential play whereby canonical episodes are echoed and biblical passages recalled. To appreciate Tobit more fully requires an extensive, if not a photographic biblical memory.124 Tobit is, in short, a decidedly allusive text. The biblical allusions equip the reader with the external knowledge hinted at internally in the texts for proper reading and interpretation.125 For instance, the claims of Tobit throughout the story, namely that God has blessed him with relative success in the court because of his faithful obedience to the Law in Tob 1:12-13, that God has judged Sennacherib because of his blasphemies in Tob 1:18, and that his misfortune is due to sins and eventual restoration due to God’s mercy in Tob 3:6, 13 and 14,126 are Deuteronomy-derived external knowledge that provides the reader or listener with a theological frame of mind for interpreting the story and its relevance to their situation.

122 Cf. DIMANT, Mikra in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, 417-419. The motifs include: the hero is pious and righteous (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3; Tob 1:6-12, 16-17; 2:2-5), he is prosperous (Job 1:2-3; Tob 1:13), he is deprived of his possessions (Job 1:14-19; Tob 1:15-20), he is crippled by illness (Job 2:7-8; Tob 2:9-10), his wife works for others (Job 31:10; Tob 2:11-14), he is provoked by his wife (Job 2:9; Tob 2:14), he prays and wishes to die (Job 3; Tob 3:1-6), his final vindication and restitution of health and wealth (Job 42:11-15; Tob 14:2-3), he dies in old age, blessed with offspring and wealth (Job 42:16-17; Tob 14:11-12). Pfeiffer has earlier suggested that the author drew on Job for the Tobit story. PFEIFFER, History of the New Testament, 267-268. Cf. also DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 378-379. Nickelsburg reports Strugnell’s remark that Tobit is “the story of Job told from the viewpoint of Job’s friends.” NICKELSBURG, Judgment, Life-after-Death, and Resurrection, 145. 123 NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:982. 124 Cf. MAZZINGHI, Tobia, 17. For Tobit’s possible intertextual connection to the New Testament, see SKEMP, Avenues of Intertextuality, 43-70. 125 VAN DEN EYNDE, One Journey and One Journey Makes Three, 280. Cf. also STEUSSY, The Vitality of Story in Second Temple Judaism, 212-241. 126 Di Lella claims that the prayers in Tobit 3 also echo the deuteronomic elements found in Tobit 13 and 14. DI LELLA, Two Major Prayers in the Book of Tobit, 95-115.

The Integrity of the Book of Tobit


The author of Tobit employed an allusive strategy in crafting his narrative to illustrate not only that he breathed biblical air 127 but also that he assumed his original listener’s knowledge of his literary references. He skillfully combined the popular and the secular with the religious to get his message across. One can imagine the author working at his beat-up wooden desk, dipping his pen in many inkpots – synthesizing, recasting, and evoking eclectic traditional materials and multiple literary models128 in order to address the folly of exile. Therefore, one can doubtless reiterate Frank Zimmermann’s observation that “in the loom of the Tobit tale, the woof comes from the folklore of mankind, and the warp and the pattern, the vitality and the color come from the religious experience of the Jewish people.”129 There is no doubt that a variety of Jewish and non-Jewish influences shaped our present Tobit. The shaping, however, did not occur across time but at a point in time. Tobit is not a product of multiple redactions and significant additions but of multiple influences as indicated by the proliferation of allusions and network of textual references. It is a narrative crafted and told by a skillful storyteller with a keen comic sense and wholly aware of his reader’s cultural sensibilities. In a way, the author of Tobit is more like a poet who weaves than a scholar who picks through the piles of thread rent by the nib of his pen.


Narrative Signs, Designs and Resolutions

There are a number of indications that the author originally incorporated Tobit 13 and 14 into his composition. The Qumran finds suggest that Tobit 13 and 14 form part of the narrative, for all fourteen chapters of Tobit are attested in the fragments.130 If the story of Joseph indeed functioned as a biblical template for the story line of Tobit, then Tobit 13 and 14 are to be considered as materials the author would have originally used for his narrative, for they echo or allude to certain narrative elements in the story of Joseph. In Gen 47:27–48:22, as the Joseph cycle comes to a close, Jacob, after having summoned his sons and grandchildren to his deathbed, issues a testament in which he asks for 127 DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 6. 128 NICKELSBURG, The Search for Tobit’s Mixed Ancestry, 348. 129 ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 12. 130 This only confirms that Tobit 13 and 14 formed part of the narrative at a very early stage. Admittedly, it still leaves open the possibility that they were not part of the original composition.

Indications of Narrative Integrity


an honorable burial and predicts the restoration to the homeland. Moreover, Jacob in Genesis 49 gives a final poetic speech about the future as does Tobit in Tobit 13.131 From a narrative consideration, the story of Tobit finds its denouement in chapter 12: Tobit is healed of his blindness and Sarah gets married to Tobias without incident, thereby making the eschatologically oriented chapters 13 and 14 unnecessary. However, the ultimate problem of the narrative, that of exile, the Ur-misfortune, remains to be solved.132 Tobit 13 and 14 thus become essential in addressing this concern. In these chapters, Tobit is convinced that there will be a resolution to the exilic situation of his people. If truly God has restored his sight and given his son Tobias newfound wealth, “if God had done all that for Tobit and his family, how much more, concludes Tobit, will God do for his people and his Holy City?”133 Tobit’s personal experience of God as healer gives him confidence that God will heal the brokenness of Israel.134 It is here, then, that “the relationship between the personal and the collective comes to the fore.”135 In some fashion, the return from the dispersion and the rebuilding of a glorious Jerusalem referred to in these chapters point to a theological and narrative catharsis for the ultimate collective problem posed in so personal a story. In an analysis that utilizes Vladimir Propp’s morphological approach to the study of folktales, Will Soll shows the necessity of Tobit 131 NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:981. 132 Collins is likely off the mark when he comments that “the problems that generate the core story of Tobit, are neither exile nor guilt, but the arbitrary suffering of innocent people.” COLLINS, The Judaism of the Book of Tobit, 29. In fact, there is a prevalent narrative insistence that it is precisely the wider situation of exile that perpetrates the sufferings of innocent people such as Tobit and Sarah. In the final analysis, exile is the fundamental cause of their misfortunes. 133 MOORE, Tobit, 284. DE LONG, Surprised by God, 76, notes that the praise motif in Tobit connects the individual or personal aspects in the story with the communal. 134 Cf. HAAG, Das Tobitbuch und die Tradition von Jahwe, 23-41. Cf. also DESELAERS, Jahwe – der Arzt seines Volkes, 296 and NICKELSBURG, Stories of Biblical and Early Post-biblical Times, 43: “In light of his new-found health, he utters a hymn of praise to the God who will also save Israel. Surely the captivity and the dispersion are God’s punishment for Israel’s sins, but they are not the ultimate punishment. Thus Tobit applies the formula ‘scourge - have mercy’ several times to Israel’s present situation and future destiny (13:2, 5, 9; cf. 14:5). The fact that the formula occurs in parallel literature most frequently in connection with the nation suggests that the author’s application of it to Tobit’s own suffering may be secondary, and that the problem of the captivity and dispersion and the hope for a re-gathering of the people are foremost in his mind.” 135 PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:37.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

13 and 14. Soll claims that, unlike fairy tales, Tobit situates its tale neither in a timeless once-upon-a-time nor in a mythical land. Rather, the story has a more specific historical setting, namely the eventful years of 700 BCE and the enduring exile. This concrete historical detail creates a horizon of shame, abnormality, dislocation and a sense that things and time are out of joint. This has a profound effect on the narrative. Even after following all the moves of the sequence of Propp’s system from ‘villainy’ or ‘lack’ to ‘lack liquidated,’ a more chronic lack, the situation of exile, remains. This misfortune of greater magnitude is yet to be cleared up by a merely anticipated and prophesied resolution 136. Here then, in Tobit 13 and 14, lies “the juncture of a fairy tale source and deuteronomic theology.”137 The deuteronomic ethos and reading of history provide a resolution that the secular tale cannot, by its nature, confer. Using allusion as the basis of his analysis, Steven Weitzman also argues that Tobit 13 enjoys an inherent narrative link to Tobit 12 in accordance with the narrative logic found in the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 31–32. The two texts enjoy narrative resemblance and intertextual links, a plausible indication of the allusive strategy the author employed in his composition. Moreover, the grouping of deuteronomic features at the end of the narrative in Tobit 12–14 brings to mind the end of the Pentateuch in the same way that the narrative motifs from Genesis recall its beginning. The intratextual allusions in Tobit assist in the evocation of the entire Pentateuchal history for the purpose of addressing the dispersed existence of his Jewish audience. While the selective use of patriarchal episodes implies God’s care for his people beyond the confines of Canaan, the author, in the allusion to the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 31–32, at the end of his story, proffers a literary guarantee for the promise that the sojourn in exile is almost over and that restoration to the homeland will soon come. Indeed, the narrative pattern of Israel’s history as discerned in Genesis continues into the exilic present. But the allusion to the Song of Moses at the end of Tobit suggests that this current state will reach a finale similarly prescribed by the Pentateuch, Israel’s return to the land.138 In his analysis of Tobit as a ‘divine comedy,’ J.R.C. Cousland, contending that the author paints a chaotic and dystopic world in his story in order to emphasize the systematic restoration of the divine order 136 SOLL, Tobit and Folklore Studies, 50-51. 137 Cf. SOLL, Misfortune and Exile in Tobit, 209-231. 138 Cf. WEITZMAN, Allusion, Artifice, and Exile, 49-61.

Indications of Narrative Integrity


and hierarchy that has been upturned,139 implies that Tobit 13 and 14 cohere with the logic of the entire narrative. The Tobit story involves three inversions of the divinely sanctioned order as found in Genesis. The first is the inversion of the relation between men and women as established in Genesis, whereby Anna assumes the man’s role after Tobit becomes blind,140 and Sarah’s unfruitfulness is a fault not of her own making but of Asmodeus, an allusion to the dysfunctional relationship of giants cavorting with the daughters of men in Genesis 6. The second involves the inversion of the divinely ordered cosmos where humans have dominion over living creatures, but who, in Tobit, are now miserably subjected to the powers of birds and fish. The role of Rafael is to reinstate the divine order and ensure that justice prevails:141 normal relation between man and woman, and subjection of living creatures to humans as defined in Genesis. The third, which is the central inversion in the book, is the scattering of the people of Israel under foreign rule. With Tobit’s experience of God’s intervention in the restoration of things inverted and subverted in his world, Tobit can sing and hope that, despite the sins of Israel, God will also put things back into order, restoring his temple and bringing his dispersed people back to their homeland.142 From a more symbolic perspective, Gianfranco Ravasi offers the insight that the story of Tobit employs a dominant narrative symbol that is spatial, which happens to have a structural function as well in the story. The use of the metaphor ‘journey’ or ‘road trip’143 which can take on the meaning of ‘road to happiness’ or ‘happy life,’ enhances this 139 Having noted the differences and similarities between Job and Tobit, Portier-Young echoes some of Cousland’s conclusions, stating that the restoration in Tobit is not only individual but communal, a notable difference from Job. In other words, “just as the author of Tobit develops the theme of chaos common to Job and Tobit to symbolize the condition of exile, so the author expands this theme of restoration to include the restoration of Israel.” PORTIER-YOUNG, “Eyes to the Blind”, 26-27. 140 Day makes a similar observation, claiming that Tobit’s “family structure cannot absorb such a shift in power relationships.” DAY, Power, Otherness, and Gender, 118. 141 In a modern retelling of the Tobit tale, the American novelist Frederick Buechner also sees the role of Rafael as one commissioned by God to set things right. Told from Rafael’s voice, Buechner writes: “I took her (Sarah’s) prayer in my left hand and Tobit’s in my right and carried them both to the Most High where I set them down at his feet as softly as the snow falls. “Now go back,” was the command I heard like the rushing of wind through a forest. ‘Set everything right’.” BUECHNER, On the Road with the Archangel, 26. 142 Cf. COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error?, 548-552. 143 Deselaers considers h` o`do,j or the way a significant leitmotif or Leitwortstil in Tobit. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 343-348.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

governing symbol. Synthetically, the scenes of the story are distributed between two spaces or locales. The first scene, of exile, is situated in Nineveh (Tobit 1–2) and Ecbatana (Tobit 3) while the second major scene, of journey, leads the reader from Nineveh to Ecbatana (Tobit 4– 9) and back (Tobit 10–14). The road from Nineveh to Ecbatana and back is not purely topographical; it is a journey of the soul from bitterness to joy. Tobit moves from despair and inability to praise God in Tobit 3 to lavish praise of God in Tobit 13, a mark of his physical and spiritual transformation from blindness to sight.144 The hopeful hymn of Tobit 13 then is the final chorus that concludes the adventure and the journey, which provides a fitting ending from the point of view of theology, while Tobit 14 provides an apt ending from the point of view of narrative.145 In addition to the spatial movement of the narrative, the leitmotif o`do,j or ‘way’ governs the entire Tobit story. The motif functions with a double meaning: the way of humans, and thus, the way of all life, and the way of God with humans.146 With this leitmotif and the spatial configuration of the Tobit narrative, Helen Schüngel-Straumann, following the lead of Helmut Engel, also sees a concentric scheme in the core story of Tobit 4–14 where the young Tobias is the central actor. A detailed introduction about the father, Tobit, in Tob 1–3 and an epilogue that closes the book in Tob 14:2b-15 function as narrative brackets for the main story line. In the said chapter frames, Tobit is the principal actor.147 The wedding of the young Tobias to Sarah, which binds the fate of the two families, is at the center of the main story.148 The episode functions as the pivot around which the various narrative threads of

144 Cf. DE LONG, Surprised by God, 93; ROTA SCALABRINI, L’Angelo necessario, 876. 145 Cf. RAVASI, Il cantico della misericordia, 74-75. Despite such analysis, the author still entertains the possibility that Tobit 13 enjoys a certain autonomy. 146 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 106-107 and SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 48. 147 Cf. FITZMYER, Tobit, 303. Fitzmyer suggests that because of these chapters, in which Tobit is the principal character, “one sees the reason why the book is named after him rather than after his son, who was so prominent in the central portion of the story.” 148 Cabezudo Melero has also stated that the wedding of Tobias and Sarah, with three chapters devoted to it, occupies a prominent and central place in the core story of eight chapters. CABEZUDO MELERO, Historia Episódica, 62-63.

Indications of Narrative Integrity


the story revolve. The concentric construction of the core of the story found in Tob 4:1–14:2a can be laid out as follows:149 A The Words of Instruction of Tobit B The Journey from Nineveh to Ecbatana C The Wedding in Ecbatana B' The Journey from Ecbatana to Nineveh A' The Words of Praise of Tobit

Tob 4:1-21 Tob 5:1–7:8 Tob 7:9–10:13 Tob 11:1–12:22 Tob 13:1–14:2a

Tobit 13 is not simply tacked on to the narrative by a rectifying hand. The careful construction in which Tobit’s words of instructions are balanced by his words of praise suggests narrative integrity. Further, after linking his own suffering with his people in Tob 3:1-6, it is only fitting that the restoration of Tobit’s riches paradigmatically links with the restoration of all of Israel in Tobit 13. With a theological concern as guiding principle, the author has employed tale patterns and materials at his disposal and composed his narrative. The narrative arrangement reflects a conscious literary plan and a firm theological purpose. Finally, that these chapters are apocalyptic and eschatological does not mean that it is inconceivable to find them sitting alongside other materials in one document. While scholarly and heuristic categories of eschatology, apocalyptic, narrative and wisdom imply separation and clear distinctions, this may not have been the case with ancient writers during the Second Temple period. Tobit, along with texts contemporary to it, such as Sirach, Baruch, Wisdom of Solomon, Daniel and 1 Enoch, is a text that “complicates categories,” employing the idiom of sapiential and prophetic texts in the interpretation of Mosaic traditions and operating from a prophetic eschatological worldview inspired by Second and Third Isaiah to address current situations. When the focus is on the distinction between the sapiential and the apocalyptic as a thing in itself, the failure to view them as interrelated parts of an organic whole, as they were originally thought in the world from which 149 Cf. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 37-38. Engel has earlier showed that Tobit is skillfully built after a Ringkomposition or chiastic pattern, with the wedding at the center of the entire narrative structure. ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 279-282; IDEM, Auf zuverlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit, 89-92. Although more detailed, Schnupp nonetheless follows this structure. SCHNUPP, Schutzengel, 35-36. Further, Nowell notes that “the hand of a writer is seen in the carefully crafted style, simultaneous parallel scenes, and interwoven plots.” NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 43. Cf. also VUILLEUMIER, Le livre de Tobit, 20; VIRGILI DAL PRÀ , Tobia, 1437.

The Integrity of the Book of Tobit


they had come, arises.150 Since apocalyptic literature have features that are found in sapiential texts, and wisdom literature displays an emergent concern with the eschatological time of times, a clean separation between Jewish wisdom and apocalypticism cannot be maintained when viewed from such a syncretistic environment.151 Within this historical and literary milieu, it is not anomalous that the author of Tobit would include apparently diverse materials and employ various genres in his narrative. Consequently, genre analysis and the ensuing categorization of Tobit 13 as an instance of an eschatological psalm genre cannot be a reliable means for distinguishing or dating its source. From these perspectives and considerations, Tobit 13 and 14 form an organic and indispensable part of the narrative. One can agree with Allen Wikgren and many others that these chapters offer no irrefutable support against the general narrative cohesion and integrity of the Book of Tobit.152


Literary and Theological Reasons for Narrative Shift

The shift in narrative points of view is also found in Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Hosea 3 and Acts 16. According to Shimon Bar-Efrat, “it is not obligatory for a certain point of view to be maintained consistently throughout a narrative.”153 In actuality, such narrative shift is an ancient narrative device that allows the narrator, instead of the author, to bear responsibility for the authenticity of his claims to truth:154 nobody could refute what Tobit had said about himself and his own experiences but anyone could challenge, refute, and even embarrass the author, had he told the same things about Tobit. Indeed, with a bit of a swagger, Tobit presents himself as the model par excellence of piety and righteousness, a character trait of Tobit that needs to be established firmly for the

150 Cf. NICKELSBURG, Wisdom and Apocalypticism in Early Judaism, 715-732. 151 NICKELSBURG, Wisdom and Apocalypticism in Early Judaism, 717. Cf. also DIMANT, The Qumran Manuscripts, 34-35, where the author claims that the Aramaic fragments such as Tobit, 1 Enoch and Testament of Levi, are more uniform in theme in that “they contain almost exclusively visionary pseudepigraphic compositions, testaments and narrative-aggadic works” while the Hebrew fragments of Tobit, Ben Sira, and Jubilees are patterned on various biblical forms and styles such as narrative, legal, prophetic, psalmodic and sapiential. 152 WIKGREN, Tobit, Book of, 4:661. 153 BAR-EFRAT, Narrative Art in the Bible, 15. 154 PERRY, The Ancient Romances, 326.

Indications of Narrative Integrity


problem and moral of the story to work. No one but Tobit as first-person narrator is answerable to such self-praise. Since the first person perspective is a limited one, partial and monocular by nature, the plot of Tobit demands that a shift into an omniscient perspective take place when the scene changes, so that the facts crucial to the story but which are unavailable to the I-narrator can be told.155 In other words, the author’s plan to craft a literary parallelism between Sarah’s and Tobit’s miserable fates would require such a shift.156 Having chosen to use both points of view to tell his story, the author of Tobit gained “the advantage, in the first part, of self-revelation through the first-person narrative as well as the advantage, in the second part, of distanced, omniscient perspective.”157 This narrative technique of juxtaposing two levels of knowledge, the characters’ and the reader’s, which produces varying expectations as well as ironies and charming ambiguities, is a common literary practice in ancient Greco-Roman, Jewish and Christian literature that deals with divinities appearing in human form.158 The shift in narration is intended for dramatic purposes to enhance narrative interest.159 But the shift in narrative style is not only a literary technique to weave in the story of Sarah; it also has a theological purpose. The limitation in Tobit’s point of view highlights the fabric of God’s providential design that, although hidden, is still at work as the rest of the story shows. The reader is then provided with the advantage of a divine standpoint in viewing Tobit’s plight 160 that Tobit the narrator and character does not have but will later discover as the story unfolds.

155 NOWELL, The Narrator in the Book of Tobit, 28. According to Bow and Nickelsburg, the shift is not only a conventional nicety. Its goal is to distance the reader from the character Tobit. BOW/NICKELSBURG, Patriarchy with a Twist, 128. 156 FITZMYER, Tobit, 44. Cf. also BERTRAND, Le chevreau d’Anna, 272. For the parallelism, see NICKELSBURG, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah, 30. 157 Cf. MCCRACKEN, Narration and Comedy in Tobit, 407. With the split narration, however, Tobit has run the risk of being an unreliable narrator. This shift in narration uncovers the humor in the story. Tobit is thus a «comic egoist». At worst, Tobit is exposed as a liar by the omniscient narrator! 158 PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:37. 159 Cf. NAVARRO PUERTO, El libro de Tobías, 412: “El cambio de la primera a la tercera persona se debe a consideraciones literarias, tales como que el narrador describe acciones y pensamientos, de los cuales Tobías mismo no está al tanto en el tiempo de la acción.” Zapella also notes that the change in points of view brightens up the story. ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 13. 160 Cf. COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error?, 540.


The Integrity of the Book of Tobit

If indeed point of view is a factor that accords unity to a work,161 are the two narrative perspectives in Tobit as poles apart as they seem? In an analysis of the narrator in Tobit, Nowell argues that the ‘he’ can easily substitute for the ‘I’ of the first person section without creating problems, because there is in fact a similarity in stance between the narrator in 1:3–3:6 and the narrator in the rest of the narrative, namely, an omniscient and ‘apersonal stance’ from above, through which the narrator observes the action of the characters.162 The omniscient voice assumes what the first person voice has previously stated 163 and in fact knows more than Tobit as character. The points of view, although split, are not radically different. This “angle of narration” therefore blends into one general viewpoint the multiplicity of vistas of the characters in the story, especially that of Tobit as narrator and protagonist. Both voices divulge a narrator who enjoys omniscience.164 Finally, the author, in resorting to split narration, was deliberately imitating the Story of Ahiqar, a source of his narrative that is likewise told from an autobiographical point of view. Due to the popularity of this story in antiquity,165 Tobit’s author transformed Ahiqar into a relation of Tobit. The purpose was not only to enhance Tobit’s status and prestige166 but also to arrogate sapiential authority for his own work. The similarities, along with the first person narrative of Tobit, are intended to evoke the narrative structure of the Ahiqar tale: (a) both texts start with a title and a mise-en-scène in the third-person point of view (Tob 1:1-2 and Ahiqar 1-5), (b) which segues into a first-person account (Tob 1:3–3:6 and Ahiqar 6-78), (c) that integrates wisdom instructions

161 For fuller discussion of narration and points of view, see BAR-EFRAT, Narrative Art in the Bible, 13-45 and BERLIN, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, 43-82. 162 NOWELL, The Narrator in the Book of Tobit, 29. Cf. also IDEM, Narrative Technique and Theology, 161-162. 163 PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:37. Cf. also VAN DEN EYNDE, Narrative Function of Prayer in Tobit, 528. 164 For further comments regarding the omniscient point of view, which is typical of biblical stories, see STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 90-93. 165 Greenfield has argued that the similarities and contrasts between Tobit and Ahiqar would be evident to an informed reader in antiquity. GREENFIELD, Ahiqar in the Book of Tobit, 331;334. Nowell also notes that the author of Tobit presumes his reader’s general knowledge of the Story of Ahiqar. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 62. 166 Cf. VIRGULIN, Tobia, 15; CRAGHAN, Esther,Judith,Tobit,Jonah,Ruth, 132; FITZMYER, Tobit, 122.



(Tob 4:3-21 and Ahiqar 79-109).167 In short, the split narration is not an indication of careless redaction but is a shrewd literary maneuver that in fact forms part of Tobit’s dynamic of alluding to the story of Ahiqar. As it happens, such a literary model fits and supports his theological purposes nicely.

1.4 Conclusion A number of elements in the text argue for the integrity of the Tobit narrative. First, the scores of allusions enhance the intimate unity in Tobit. The presence of allusion in Tobit reveals that the author of Tobit is familiar with traditional literary texts and possesses mastery of his biblical traditions. The dependences are better viewed as influences or literary models alluded to, rather than sources used or parallels that reflect interpolations and editorial reworking. These literary antecedents were referred to for the sake of the original audience who would have recognized them with delight.168 That the author knew how to entertain and edify his original listeners and readers by incorporating traditions familiar to them, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, is more convincing than redactional activity to explain how our present Tobit came to be. Second, the structure of the narrative indicates a well-conceived design, not a draft left to the hands of redactors to gather additions and insertions along its literary way. Along with allusion, the carefully constructed and concentric literary structure of Tobit confirms an authorial hand behind the narrative. Finally, the theological problem of exile pulls all of the story’s diverse elements into one cohesive whole. In sum, Tobit displays a formal and theological unity. Admittedly inconclusive in the strictest sense, these indicators nonetheless point to a “holistic and integrative”169 poetic process that formed the story of Tobit.

167 COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error?, 541. In the judgment of Dancy, however, the story of Ahiqar is not successfully integrated or “never properly worked into Tobit.” DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 6. 168 Cf. PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:36: “All of the alleged dependences represent the kinds of things in the story that appealed to its readers.” 169 NICKELSBURG, The Search for Tobit’s Mixed Ancestry, 347.

Chapter 2 The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11 The reader is left in no doubt that the sayings in Tob 4:3-19, 21 are instructional, thanks to the “father-son” motif at the beginning of Tob 4:3.1 Instruction given to a beloved son by an authoritative father-figure is a genre typical of much sapiential literature.2 Content-wise, the collection in Tobit 4 concerns existential attitudes and ethical maxims that make for a virtuous and consequently, a successful life, which is one of the foremost themes of wisdom writings. In other words, the Didache or the extensive ethical exhortations in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10



Using direct discourse, GI evidences the father-son address more precisely than the Sinaiticus. In Tob 4:3, GI has Tobit speaking his words to his son directly with kai. kale,saj auvto.n ei=pen paidi,on, while the Sinaiticus opens the instructions in a less direct but more elaborate fashion with kai. evka,lesen Twbian to.n ui`o.n auvtou/ kai. h=lqen pro.j auvto,n kai. ei=pen auvtw/|. In 4Q200, the vocative ynb is used. WACHOLDER/ABEGG, A Preliminary Edition, 2; FITZMYER, Tobit (DJD), 19:65. In any case, it is clear in both the Greek recensions and the Qumran Hebrew fragment that Tobit the father addresses his words to his son Tobias, a literary feature of sapiential literature. According to Wright, the purpose of using this literary device in wisdom literature is to proffer the same parental authority to the reader in order to influence his or her behavior and values. WRIGHT, From Generation to Generation, 25-47. Cf. for instance Prov 1:8-19; 2:1-22; 3:1-12, 21-35; 4:10-13; 5:1-6; 6:20-23; 7:1-13; Sir 2:1; 3:17; 4:1; 6:18. Deuteronomy also contains references to the responsibility of parents to instruct their children regarding God’s law (cf. Deut 4:9, 6:1-2; 31:12-13; 32:46). Among Second Temple Jewish literature, this is found in The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. KEE, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, 1:775-828. Examples of ancient Near East wisdom literature that employ this literary technique include the Story of Ahiqar, LINDENBERGER, Ahiqar, 2:494-507; the Egyptian Instruction of Amenemope, the Instruction of Ptahhotep, the Instruction of Any and the Dua-Khety and the Sumerian Instruction of Suruppak. HALLO, The Context of Scripture, 1:110-126; 569-570; LICHTHEIM, Ancient Egyptian Literature, 1:61-80; IDEM, Ancient Egyptian Literature, 2:135-163. The Counsels of Wisdom also begins with an address to a son. LAMBERT, Babylonian Wisdom Literature, 106-107. For a quick overview of ancient Near East wisdom literature, see CALDUCH-BENAGES, Sapienziali, Libri, 1252-1254.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

and 14:8-11 can be reasonably described as instances of Jewish sapiential literature.3 Detailed and copious, the first collection of wisdom instructions comes from the mouth of Tobit himself after his prayer for death in chapter three and before the journey of his son Tobias to Media in chapter five. The second set in Tobit 12 reiterates some of Tobit’s own counsels, but this time Rafael utters them. The angel enjoins upon Tobit and Tobias certain commands before ascending to heaven. This collection comes after Rafael has completed his mission and is to be understood in light of the revelation of Rafael’s true identity. The final group of instructions, located at the closing chapter of the story, echoes Tobit’s main concern which was first expressed in his original instructions. Before he sleeps the sleep of the just, Tobit delivers a valedictory speech, which teaches that acts of compassion or almsgiving do not result in futility but in salvation. Functioning as a teaching story within a teaching story, Tobit employs the tale of Ahiqar and his nephew Nadab to show the efficacy of heeding one of his chief counsels. The analysis of the textual situation, structure and content of the sapiential sayings of the aforementioned sections will be the focus of this chapter. Although Tob 12:6-10 and Tob 14:8-11 will be treated separately, the bulk of the analysis will nevertheless concentrate on Tob 4:3-19, 21, since the two later sections basically reiterate and reinforce the instructions of the first collection. In the discussion of Tobit 4, references to the other two pericopes will be made as and when it seems pertinent. The chapter will not be devoted to a broad analysis of the Ancient Near East and Old Testament wisdom background or parallels of each instruction except when it is significant.4 The chapter has a twofold purpose: first, it will argue that Tob 4:319, 21 was not a redactional insertion but formed part of the original composition. Secondly, it will demonstrate that a certain order can be discerned in the seemingly arbitrary choice of sayings. It will show that



Cf. FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 34. Cf. also OESTERLEY, An Introduction to the Books of the Apocrypha, 42; PAUTREL, Tobie, 13; ESTRADÉ/GIRBAU, Tobit – Judit, 24; LORETZ, Roman und Kurzgeschichte, 325; EISSFELDT, The Old Testament, 584; ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 60; NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 796; GILBERT, La sapienza del cielo, 14-15; SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 98. For an extensive investigation of the Ancient Near East and Old Testament background of Tobit’s exhortations, see RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 27-66. Commentaries, such as Moore’s, also point out a number of parallels found in other wisdom literature. MOORE, Tobit, 163-180.

The Textual Situation of Tobit 4


Tobit’s instructions to his son have one universal guiding principle or instruction which is realized in turn by three general norms.

2.1 The Textual Situation of Tobit 4 Codex Vaticanus treats Tobit as a wisdom book while Codex Sinaiticus regards it as an historical one.5 Conceivably, chapter four’s more copious collection of sapiential exhortations in Vaticanus, which belongs to the GI group of textual recensions, is a factor that may explain the divergence in the placement of Tobit in the said codices. Sinaiticus is the preferred text for analysis because it is judged to be closer to the Semitic Urtext of Tobit. The said codex is the long Greek recension with the shorter version of the fourth chapter of Tobit, as it omits some of the sapiential instructions.6 The GII recension has two textual lacunae, namely Tob 4:7-19b and 13:6-10b.


The Wisdom Instructions of Tobit 4 as Insertions

The variations in chapter 4 among the extant texts of Tobit prompted suggestions that this particular paraenetic section of Tobit has accumulated interpolations over time. Other instructions, notably the ones without motivational or explanatory clauses in Tob 4:14b-18, result from insertions. The thesis is that, gradually, more and more words of wisdom have been attributed to Tobit, of the kind which different



According to Delcor, the uncertainty as to the genre and purpose of Tobit may have contributed to the differing placement of the book. DELCOR, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Hellenistic Period, 2:474. Note also the observations of ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 10. In Miller’s opinion, the book of Tobit represents an intermediary stage between the historical and the sapiential. MILLER, Das Buch Tobias, 7. As Wills notes, the Vaticanus text, which has a much more extensive list of instructions, enjoys a different relationship with the story. Additionally, because the collection of instructions in the Sinaiticus is shorter, Tobit 2–12 cannot be considered a wisdom narrative. The Sinaiticus version is “too short or too specific to the context to have a separate teaching value.” The purpose of the sayings is merely to characterize the protagonist and to stress the irony in the story. Without all the proverbial instructions, the whimsical and the fantastic get emphasized in the book. WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 89-90.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

editors wished to instill in the minds of readers.7 The apparent instability of the text of Tobit 4 may be due to its very nature as a collection that may or may not follow a certain system. As a compilation of sapiential counsels, a copyist can easily append to, remove from or enlarge the set without necessarily harming, changing or creating problems not only for the collection itself but also for the story.8 In fact, the narrative framework of chapter 4, according to Groß, is so designed that a later editor can insert without effort certain injunctions or general principles of life, before Tobit finally addresses the issue of the money entrusted to his cousin Gabael at Rages in Media and sends his son Tobias for its retrieval.9 Following Milik’s proposal that the social background of Tobit is the Tobiad family, Wills has asserted that the dissemination of the values of the patronage system, a significant piece of the social economy of the ancient Near East in Greco-Roman times, motivated the insertion of sayings that deal with the importance of almsgiving as well as other instructions proper to a well-heeled young man who may in the future become a benevolent benefactor of, or guardian to, a poor client.10 Deselaers has also claimed that the proverb-like instructions in Tob 4:3b-19, 21 were not original to the Tobit story, having been interpolated as part of the first expansion of the basic story in order to give the Tobit narrative some sapiential shade.11 Lastly, Rabenau, following the claim 7

Cf. ERBT, Tobit, 4:5116. The author also cites Jerome’s Vulgate as a particular example of inserting other exhortations. However, other than changes in wording, formulation and the deletion of the counsel to marry a kinsman, as a whole, the instructions in the Vulgate follow and are similar to those found in the Vetus Latina, GI and GII. For a comparison of the Vulgate version of Tobit 4 with the Greek texts and Vetus Latina, see SKEMP, The Vulgate of Tobit, 126-155. 8 Dancy includes what I call the “no-effect-on-the-narrative” principle as a reason, along with two others, namely a weak link between verses 6 and 7 and Tobit’s final testamentary speech in chapter 14, for why this long section of sayings can be counted as something that did not originally belong to the story. But the author also cites a counterargument for each. DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 30. 9 GROß, Tobit.Judit, 25. Cf. ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 60; MANFREDI, Un frammento del libro di Tobit, 178. 10 Cf. WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 89; 190-191. He divides the instructions into three categories: sayings that deal with almsgiving, those that stress marriage within the tribe (endogamy), and injunctions for a wealthy gentleman. For a discussion of this value among Jews in the Diaspora as reflected in epigraphic sources, see RAJAK, Benefactors in the Greco-Jewish Diaspora, 373-391. 11 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 50; 380-392. Auneau follows Deselaers’s lead, claiming that Tob 4:3b-21 is a secondary insertion that sharpens the sapiential tone of the story. AUNEAU, Écrits didactiques, 355.

The Textual Situation of Tobit 4


of James E. Crouch that Jewish propaganda during Hellenistic times employed not only a number of laws from the Torah which had universal application but also included unwritten laws of Greek ethics,12 has proposed that only Tob 4:14b-18 are insertions on account of its form and content. The first redactor, who may have been aware of a tradition of Jewish apology and propaganda that used unwritten laws of Greek ethics, may well have inserted these short injunctions without explanations under the category of paidei,a in order to fashion a short description of Jewish ethics as part of his missionary goal.13


The Original Incorporation of the Instructions

While these proposals do not exceed the limits of plausibility, the nature of a compilation is such that it can be difficult ultimately to determine which particular saying in the collection is the end result of a later redactional touch. It is just as conceivable that the author of Tobit incorporated into his original work the instructions that he thought would serve his story well, drawing from a variety of collections of proverbial instructions or influences, both oral and written, which were circulating during his time. As the Qumran discoveries demonstrate, a lively tradition of wisdom writing was in evidence during the Second Temple period.14 The fact of the matter is that this plethora of proverbial instructions found a new home and context in the Book of Tobit. The author of Tobit, even before the redactor, could have easily availed of various instructional materials and typical texts from his tradition and used them to tell and shape his story. To cite some examples, it is probable that the Instruction of Ankhsheshonqy drew from Demotic collection of individual sayings in molding the instructions, similar to the fashionable literary activity in Greece from the fourth century and throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods to collect and excerpt popular, wise and memorable sayings from Greek poets and philosophers.15 Such gnomic collections enjoyed wide circulation. Further, the collection of proverbs in Ahiqar 12 CROUCH, The Origin and Intention of the Colossian Haustafel, 96-101. 13 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 51-65; 149-150. 14 Cf. for instance, HARRINGTON, Wisdom Texts, 2:976-980; AITKEN, Apocalyptic, Revelation and Early Jewish Wisdom Literature, 181-193. 15 Cf. LICHTHEIM, Late Egyptian Wisdom Literature, 27-28; HEATON, The School Tradition of the Old Testament, 41-44; 92. Cf. also GEMSER, The Instructions of ‘Onchsheshonqy and Biblical Wisdom Literature, 134-160.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

is said to have taken over sayings originally collected from family wisdom of the middle class, reworked and expanded later.16 Qoheleth, who was likely active during the early Hellenistic period, may have engaged in the activities of teaching, ordering, examining and editing certain collection of sayings.17 With good reason one can entertain the idea that such models also served for the collection in Tobit.18


A Case of Scribal Error in Transmission

The absence of Tob 4:7-19b in Sinaiticus can be attributed not to redactional intentions but to accident in transmission. That Sinaiticus may have had a similarly detailed collection of instructions can be partly demonstrated by MS 319. This eleventh century minuscule, which also belongs to the GII family of recensions, contains the verses of Tob 4:719b omitted in Sinaiticus. The Vetus Latina, which closely follows Sinaiticus, also contains these missing verses.19 The Hebrew Qumran fragment 4Q200, which also bears family resemblance to the long Greek version, witnesses likewise to the presence of some lost verses, namely Tob 4:3-9.

16 Cf. KOTTSIEPER, The Aramaic Tradition: Ahikar, 115-116. Lindenberger dates the Elephantine manuscript of Ahiqar to the 5th century BCE, although it is possible that the combined text of narrative and sayings existed for at least a century before the said date. LINDENBERGER, Ahiqar, 2:482. Kottsieper thinks that the sayings can be dated to the beginning of the 7th century BCE, if not earlier. The story was added later to frame the proverbs as is commonly found in later traditions. KOTTSIEPER, The Aramaic Tradition: Ahikar, 109-124. This implies that the author of Tobit would have likely known the Story of Ahiqar in this arrangement in which the narrative forms a frame for the sayings. 17 Cf. PERDUE, Sages, Scribes and Seers, 8. 18 Crouch claims that the the Stoic schema of listing social duties, in which sayings or ethical precepts that deal with various relationships are formulated in a code, could have easily influenced the collection of sayings in Tobit 4, despite its very Jewish flavor. CROUCH, The Origin and Intention of the Colossian Haustafel, 74-83. 19 Cf. MOORE, Tobit, 161-162; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 5, 163-180; WAGNER, Polyglotte Tobit-Synopse, xxi; LITTMAN, Tobit, 10-15. In light of the discussion above, some authors assert that Vetus Latina and GI can be used as textual guides to compensate for this particular textual lacuna in Sinaiticus. Since the Vetus Latina generally follows the Sinaiticus, some translations of Tobit 4 for liturgical purposes have relied upon the Old Latin instead of the GI recension. AUWERS, Traduire le livre de Tobie, 183184. However, one has to keep in mind that there is a considerable variation in the textual tradition of the Vetus Latina. Found in 18 manuscripts, the Old Latin is not a single textual entity. GATHERCOLE, Tobit in Spain, 5-11.

The Textual Situation of Tobit 4


Further, the textual witness of GI reports the presence of a long collection of exhortations. If this textual tradition of Tobit is indeed an abridgement of the long Greek version, it is odd that the collection was not subjected to scribal scissors. In other words, MS 319 may in fact reflect, or even preserve, the intact state of the Greek long text before the said verses accidentally fell away from the manuscript. All of this may well conspire to indicate that the omission of Tob 4:7-19 in the Sinaiticus could have been simply due to a copying error or “scribal carelessness.”20 What might the error have been? In a possible instance of homoioteleuton, it is likely that the copyist got confused and his eyes mistakenly jumped from one verse to another, since euvodwqh,sontai is in Tob 4:6 and the same verb euvodwqw/sin is in Tob 4:19.21 In the same way, the scribe could have simply associated the objective fact stated in kai. pa/sin toi/j poiou/sin th.n dikaiosu,nhn in Tob 4:6 with the subjective reason for such act expressed in dw,sei ku,rioj auvtoi/j boulh.n avgaqh,n in verse 19.22 Such may explain why vv. 7-19 dropped and disappeared from the Sinaiticus text. Looking at Tob 4:3-19, 21 in both GI and GII recensions, one notices that, on the whole, the collection of instructions is similar. The organization of the sayings in both recensions are not entirely or remarkably different. In fact, the entirety of Tobit’s counsels in GI are found in GII via MS 319 with the sole exception of the instruction on

20 Cf. WEEKS/GATHERCOLE/STUCKENBROOK, The Book of Tobit, 13. According to Hanhart, the lacunae in the Sinaiticus seem to be a copying error, a “Fehler eines Abschreibers,” which can be filled and consequently restored using the Old Latin and MS 319. HANHART, Text und Textgeschichte, n.2, 17. Littman comments that “in general MS 319 omits iota subscripts, and has a number of incorrect accents when h stands alone. Because of iotaization, epsilon iota is often rendered with an iota. It is uncertain why S neglected to copy this section.’ LITTMAN, Tobit, 89. See also FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 169-178. Interestingly, Schüngel-Straumann uses GI rather than MS 319 to translate Tobit 4 in her commentary. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 97. For a critical evaluation of this commentary, cf. SCHMITT, Ein Kommentar zum Buch Tobit, 28-32. 21 Cf. LITTMAN, Tobit, 89. The author hastens to add that it is possible that Tob 4:7-19 did not originally belong to the narrative, having been “simply inserted since it contained additional maxims on righteousness.” To the mind of this writer, however, there are good reasons as mentioned above that decrease the likelihood of such possibility. 22 Cf. SIMPSON, The Book of Tobit, 1:211. The author also entertains the possibility of a lost mss page.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

moderate wine-drinking given in Tob 4:15b.23 Indeed, there are some words added or deleted and some changes in formulation, but generally speaking, Tob 4:3-19, 21 of GI agrees with MS 319.24 In GI, for instance, Tob 4:14b reads kai. eva.n douleu,sh|j tw/| qew/| avpodoqh,setai, soi, “if you serve God, you will be rewarded,” while MS 319 reads kai. o` misqo,j sou ouv mh. auvlisqh e`a.n douleuvsh|j tw| qew| evn avlhqei,a|, “and your reward will not be delayed if you serve God in truth.”25 In GI, Tob 4:19 is shorter, stating only that o]n eva.n qe,lh| tapeinoi/ kaqw.j bou,letai while in GII 319 a contrastive parallelism is created by o]n a'n qe,lh| auvto,j u`yoi/ kai. o]n a'n qe,lh| ku,rioj tapeinoi/ e[wj a[|dou katwta,tw. Though the wording in GI is slightly altered in keeping with its tendency to condense and avoid unnecessary verbosity, the core and the sense of the sayings nonetheless remain the same. Moreover, MS 319 preserves the general order of the injunctions as found in GI. Given the fact that collections are not necessarily systematic, this lessens the likelihood of redactional activity on Tobit 4. Had there been later insertions, the order would likely have been changed or dissimilar at least, for some other belatedly inserted sayings would have interrupted the general order. Finally, with the story’s popularity, Tobit’s charge at the end of his discourse, to remember these commandments and not let them be erased from the heart, could credibly have discouraged redactional activity. It is doubtful that eager hands of later redactors deleted or inserted moral injunctions that they wanted to impress upon readers with Tobit as their mouthpiece. In this study, the textual point of departure will be the Sinaiticus and MS 319. 23 The Codex Regius of the Vetus Latina, which is generally believed to be the closest to the long Greek text and which influenced other Latin traditions, preserves this particular instruction. However, another Vetus Latina codex, the Alcalà Bible or the Complutensis 1, considered “the most expansive version of all the extant Old Latin texts,” and described as a paraphrase, omits the instruction on moderate drinking. WEEKS/GATHERCOLE/STUCKENBROOK, The Book of Tobit, 22-25; 146. For a fuller discussion of the direct and indirect traditions of the Old Latin, see AUWERS, La tradition vieille latine du livre de Tobie, 1-21; GATHERCOLE, Tobit in Spain, 5-11. It is a bit perplexing, however, that Fitzmyer includes this instruction on wine-drinking, claiming that “GI agrees with MS 319.” FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 175-176, when Wagner and Littman leave this particular instruction out in their reproduction of MS 319. WAGNER, Polyglotte Tobit-Synopse, 44; LITTMAN, Tobit, 12-13. Jerome also did not include this counsel in the Vulgate. Since avoiding drunkenness is consistent with his views, it is likely that its absence in the Vulgate was not a deliberate omission but a reflection of the Aramaic text Jerome claimed to have used. SKEMP, The Vulgate of Tobit, 144-145. 24 For more detailed comparison, cf. FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 163-180. 25 Cf. WAGNER, Polyglotte Tobit-Synopse, 44.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


The textual witnesses give credence to the possibility that Tob 4:319, 21 formed part of the original Tobit narrative.26 It is also plausible that the author of Tobit, who could have obtained the instructions from an assortment of collections in a written document or from an oral tradition, incorporated relevant sapiential sayings into his original narrative as part of his pedagogical strategy of focusing the moral of the story. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the author of the composition would observe his very own exhortation in Tob 4:18 to seek advice from the wise and not to think lightly of any counsel which could be valuable. In this case, it would have been wise sayings and instructions that he would have found useful for his narrative and theological purposes.

2.2 Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21 Prima facie, the compilation of instructions in Tobit 4 may seem disordered or unsystematic.27 Yet, like the Solomonic collections in Proverbs 10–29 that appear at first sight to have no rationale for the arrangement of the sayings, the collection of exhortations in chapter four of the Book of Tobit does display a semblance of coherence and it is governed by an internal logic. There is an underlying order that glues the sayings together. This section will analyze the formal and narrative features

26 Niebuhr comments that the connection of the paraenetic section to the rest of the story is an element that shows the original integration of the instructions to the narrative. According to him, “diese paränetische Tradition bestimmt aber nicht nur die Abschiedsrede Tobits, sondern auch zahlreiche Züge der Erzählung und die Haltung des ganzen Buches. Umgekehrt beeinflussen die Erzählung und der paränetische Gehalt des Tobitbuches die Formulierung der einzelnen Weisungen der Mahnrede. Die Verknüpfung der geprägten paränetischen Zusammenstellung mit der Tobiterzählung geschah bereits während der Entstehung des Tobitbuches selbst und durch dessen Verfasser. Es handelt sich also nicht um eine literarisch abzuhende Bearbeitung.” NIEBUHR, Gesetz und Paränese, 206. Cf. also OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 171: “Man gewinnt den Eindruck, daß die Verknüpfbarkeit mit der Story das Auswahlkriterium für die Tugendtafel war. Vielleicht darf man umgekehrt sogar behaupten, daß die ganze Erzählung keinen anderen Sinn hat als den, die Ethik von Kapitel 4 zu illustrieren und zu bestätigen.” 27 Vílchez notes that there is no organizing principle in the collection. VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 99. Oeming also thinks that the series of sayings is not logical. OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, n.29, 169. Cf. also ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías. Judit.Ester, 60.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

that hint at the order and system of the collection of instructions in the said chapter.


Narratological Considerations

After a pointed quarrel with his wife Anna, which resulted in insulting the very foundations of his beliefs,28 Tobit becomes desperate. In extremis, he prays for God to deliver and grant him death, echoing the sentiment of Sir 30:17 that death is preferable to a bitter life. Convinced that God has heard his prayer, and remembering the considerable sum of money on deposit with a cousin (a fact previously mentioned in Tob 1:14b but conveniently forgotten until now to allow Tobit’s wife to work), Tobit summons his son and gives him some sage advice the way David instructed Solomon before dying (cf. 1 Kgs 2:2-9). Tobit also acts like the father in the Book of Proverbs and thus receives a portrait of a

28 This narrative episode in Tob 2:11-14 is usually taken to mean that Anna pointedly criticized the basis of Tobit’s lifestyle, posing the ultimate question whether God actually rewards the righteous. Either his good works are irrelevant or God is not what Tobit believes God is. DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 23; MOORE, Tobit, 135-136; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 141. Van den Eynde notes that Anna’s question is really a challenge for Tobit to be at the receiving end of charity and righteous acts, after having done it to others. VAN DEN EYNDE, Narrative Function of Prayer in Tobit, n.8, 530. Mazzinghi remarks that Tobit’s strict religious fidelity makes him incapable of receiving a gift: the religious principles which should give him peace of mind turn out to be a source of anxiety. MAZZINGHI, La sofferenza dell’anziano Tobi, 86. Nowell observes that charity does not really begin at home for Tobit. NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:1005). Other commentators, with the mention of Dystros, draw attention to Tobit’s desire to celebrate the Paschal feast in accordance with the law, making sure that the goat is without blemish. BERTRAND, Le chevreau d’Anna, 270-271; VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 80-81. An e;rifoj, ”kid, goat,” is a typical “payment” in the Scriptures. In Judg 13:15, Manoah offers to prepare a goat for the angel after having received the good news of the birth of a son. In Gen 38:17-23, Judah is willing to pay Tamar a kid for sexual relations. In Tobit, the goat thus creates a suggestio falsi of infidelity on the part of Anna. ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 59. In a more foreboding fashion, a kid has also served as an instrument of deception. Judah, for example, camouflaged the disappearance of his brother Joseph from his father Jacob by smearing Joseph’s tunic with blood from a slaughtered goat in Gen 37:29-35. The Midrash interprets the connection between Judah’s episodes with Joseph and with Tamar in this manner: Just as Judah deceived his father with a goat, so Tamar deceives him with a goat. Bereshit Rabba 84:11,12. Cf. also ALTER, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 10-12. If indeed Tobit has an allusive relationship with the Joseph narrative from Genesis 37–50, Tobit might have reasons to be suspicious of Anna’s poor goat!

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


sage.29 It is the existential situation of impending death that forms the background and impetus for the father’s admonitions.30 On the other hand, the departure of Tobias to get the money is as equally significant a narrative setting. With the use of the verb u`podei,knumi ‘to declare’ in Tob 4:2 and 4:20, two references to Tobit’s telling his son about the money intercalate the instructions. Consequently, the recovery of the money becomes a major motivation for the life-transforming but perilous journey of the young Tobias. This information about the money is linked to Tobit’s prayer for death by the temporal reference evn th/| h`me,ra| evkei,nh| ‘on that day’ in Tob 4:1, thereby forming a link between Tobit’s two relevant actions of remembering the money and praying for death, making them appear contemporaneous.31 From a narrative point of view, the death of Tobit looms. To an extent, it is beyond his control; its timing is uncertain but its inevitability is assured. The fear of impending death prompts Tobit to send his only son on a long and dangerous trip to recover the money, a crucial arrangement before Tobit’s time runs out. Both actions involve departure. The first action is a necessary narrative condition for the second. The second action, however, is more definite than the first. With the consequences of his possible death in mind, Tobit proffers specific and pragmatic instructions. With the journey of Tobias in view, he also gives a series of exhortations.32 Death and departure, two of

29 Described in the early chapters as a patriarch, Tobit 4 now portrays Tobit as a wise man. He has been reduced to poverty yet he still owns a large amount of money, ten talents of silver in fact. With his words of counsel, he remains wealthy, though in a spiritual sense, offering his son his own trove of treasures. At this point in the story, his figure recalls the popular Stoic saying “only the sage is rich.” 30 For a discussion of death as the occasion for paraenesis, see PERDUE, The Death of the Sage and Moral Exhortation, 81-109. Westermann, however, is correct in pointing out that Tobit’s death on the horizon is not the immediate context of his speech to his son. WESTERMANN, Roots of Wisdom, 93. But, as Bertrand declares, Tobit’s prayer for death is an indispensable element to the progression of the narrative. Without it, there would not be a pretext for the sapiential instructions, the recovery of the money, and consequently, the marriage. BERTRAND, Le chevreau d’Anna, 271-272. 31 Cf. FITZMYER, Tobit, 628. 32 The Vulgate is the only textual version that explicitly states that Tobit commands Tobias to get the money. The other mss only imply that Tobit gives such a direct instruction. As Fitzmyer notes, this gives the impression that Tobit is more interested in educating his son in the fear of the Lord. FITZMYER, Tobit, 179.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

life’s paramount events, contextualize Tobit’s instructions.33 His directions are proper to each circumstance. In this regard, the collection of instructions in Tobit 4 is a hybrid of testamentary 34 and pedagogical exhortation, prescription and paraenesis. From a narrative perspective, the entire set of Tobit’s initial injunctions cannot be simply categorized under the single genre of a deathbed speech.35 Tob 4:3-4 As soon as the child lends him his ears, the first thing Tobit commands Tobias to do is to bury him properly since Tobit believes that his own death is imminent.36 Having been concerned with burial of the dead at the beginning of the story, it is not unexpected that Tobit should ask his son, in a manner that recalls Jacob’s final charge to his sons in Gen 49:29-32, to bury him where his ancestors are interred,37 and to give him and his wife proper burials after their deaths (cf. also 4 Macc 16:11). Foreseeing his passing after praying for it, he makes the necessary arrangements for his wife as well. 33 The claim of Crouch that this collection of instructions is not related to the immediate context is questionable at the very least. CROUCH, The Origin and Intention of the Colossian Haustafel, 75. Yarbrough classifies the instructions as a literary topos but admits nonetheless that they reflect the morality taught to the young. YARBROUGH, Parents and Children, 43-44. Moore claims that it is to the author’s credit that “his characters are often living examples of their proverbs.” MOORE, Tobit, 166. 34 Cf. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 95: “Denn solche Ermahnungen haben ihren Ort entweder vor dem Tod eines Vaters (Patriarchen) oder vor einer langen Reise, deren Ausgang ungewiß ist.” Cf. also ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 282. 35 Cortés claims that Tobit 4 cannot be strictly considered a farewell discourse since it lacks one particular element, the prophetic prediction, which is found only later in Tobit 14, making it the first complete testament in the OT. CORTÉS, Los discursos de adiós, 102-108. Cf. also FITZMYER, Tobit, 629, who describes Tobit’s lecture as “a cross between a farewell discourse and a sapiential exhortation, with a group of maxims inculcating the virtues of the life that Tobit has himself been leading.” 36 The Vaticanus simply states qa,yon me while the Sinaiticus reads qa,yon me kalw/j qualifying the command with the adverb “well” or “properly.” According to Littman, proper burial means burial “with due rites.” LITTMAN, Tobit, 87. 37 In Jacob’s case, the charge to bury him is the last and final instruction to his sons. In the case of Tobit, however, the burial command comes as his very first instruction. According to Crouch, burying the dead is part of the Greek ethic. Although the duty is not entirely Greek, the special attention given to the duty of burying the dead in Tobit may nevertheless reflect Hellenistic influence. CROUCH, The Origin and Intention of the Colossian Haustafel, n.9, 74. Situating the provenance of Tobit in Egypt as a novel of apologetics, Schwartz hints at the possibility that the theme of burial is a polemic against Egyptian mummification. SCHWARTZ, Remarques littéraires sur le roman de Tobit, 297.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21

57 Imminent Death as Narrative Motive Tobit gives Tobias two parallel admonitions regarding his mother [“honor her – do not abandon her”; “do what is pleasing to her – do not grieve her”] (cf. Tob 4:3-4). In a way, Tobit entrusts his wife to the care of his son, practically asking Tobias, the light of their eyes and the staff of their hands,38 to take care of his mother who, when widowed39 and old, will need his protection and patronage.40 Certainly this is in keeping with Tobit’s attitude since he himself has taken care of widows by giving a third tithe for their support (cf. Tob 1:8). It is clear that these two exhortations of Tobit to his son in Tob 4:3-4 are specific to the narrative situation in which a father desires to take care of some important business before he departs from this world. His particular instructions are immediate to the circumstances of family life and love, speaking directly to the concerns and the context at hand, namely, his burial and the care of his wife after his death. These two instructions are immediately and clearly related to the impending death of Tobit. These two injunctions are person and time-specific, i.e., they depend on the lifespan of Tobias’s parents. Once his parents are gone, the admonitions expire. Whereas the subsequent instructions are qualified by the phrase pa,saj ta.j h`me,raj sou, the specific instruction regarding his filial duty to his mother is naturally limited to pa,saj ta.j h`me,raj th/j

38 For a brief history of this expression from Greek culture to the Vulgate, see BERTRAND, Un bâton de vieillesse, 33-37. 39 Along with orphans and strangers, widows in the biblical world live a precarious existence and need a male patron. Defense of widow was viewed as a task of God, the ruler or of a male individual (cf. Exod 22:21-23; Deut 24:17-21; Isa 1:16; Ps 146:9; Job 31:16-17). The care for widows was also a concern in ancient Egypt, being a part of the king’s responsibilities as evident in the didactic Egyptian literature The Teaching for King Merykara 10, where the king of Egypt advises his son, the future king Merykara on how to be a good king: “Do what is right, to endure on earth; Calm the weeper, do not oppress the widow. QUIRKE, Egyptian Literature, 114. The Instruction of Amenemope VII.15; XXVI.8-10 has also two prohibitions for the protection of widows: “Do not be greedy for a cubit of land, nor encroach on the boundaries of a widow;” “Do not pounce on a widow when you find her in the fields and then fail to be patient with her reply.” HALLO, The Context of Scripture, 1:117; 121. For a recent and in-depth comparison of the social, economic and legal status of widows between Israel and ancient Egypt based on written and pictographic sources, see GALPAZFELLER, The Widow in the Bible and in Ancient Egypt, 231-253. See also FENSHAM, Widow, Orphan, and the Poor, 161-171. 40 Cf. NIEBUHR, Gesetz und Paränese, 205: “Die Mahnung, die Mutter zu ehren, ist angehängt an die Aufforderung, den Vater zu begraben, wenn er gestorben ist.”


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

zwh/j auvthj, ‘all the days of her life.’ This implies that Tobias is to enact the five verbs that Tobit employs in his admonition as long as his mother lives: to honor her, not to forsake her, to do what is pleasing to her, not to grieve her, and to remember her. Tobit’s command has a specific content or understanding: in Tobit’s absence, Tobias has to ensure the provision of care for his mother in her old age.41 And when the time comes for the death of his parents, Tobias is to give them proper burial.42 Since the instructions are applicable only for a certain time, Rafael reprises neither of these instructions in Tob 12:6-10 but, logically, Tobit as he lays dying, does refer to the duty of burial in his final instructions in Tob 14:10. The Application of a Typical Sapiential Instruction Although suited to this particular episode in the Tobit narrative, the admonition to honor one’s parents is nevertheless a common topos in wisdom literature. It is, of course, one of the Ten Commandments (cf. Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16; 27:16), which features prominently in the biblical sapiential corpus.43 The Book of Proverbs has a number of maxims on honoring father and mother (cf. Prov 19:26, 20:20; 23:22; 28:24, 30:17). After a series of sayings on fear of the Lord in the programmatic second chapter of Sirach, Ben Sira runs a string of sayings on filial duties towards parents in Sir 3:1-16, as if to indicate that the daily practice of respect for parents concretely manifests fear of the Lord on the part of the disciples in search of wisdom.44 Tobit repeats the instruction on honoring a father and remembering a mother’s birth pangs in Sir 7:27-28, a piece of advice that echoes the reason for the counsel in Tob 4:4. Respect for parents is also a prominent concern in sapiential texts of the ancient Near East. For instance, the Sumerian proverb collection The Instructions of Suruppak admonishes the son not to speak an arrogant word to his mother, not to infringe on the rights of his parents and 41 Cf. JUNGBAUER, “Ehre Vater und Mutter”, 170-175. 42 The time reference is more evident in Vaticanus. The two concerns or instructions are framed within a specific period, with Tobit’s death as point of reference and departure. In Tob 4:3, Tobit says, paidi,on eav .n avpoqa,nw qa,yon me kai. mh. u`peri,dh|j th.n mhte,ra sou while the Sinaiticus simply reads qa,yon me kalw/j. 43 For a discussion of the wisdom reading of this commandment, see PRATO, Giovani e anziani, 127-153. 44 Cf. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Un gioiello di Sapienza, 162-163. According to SchüngelStraumann, Tobit 4 also shows an intimate link between fear of God and honor of parents. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 98-100.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


to pay attention to the words of his father.45 In a Syriac version of the Story of Ahiqar, the son is ordered not to cause the curses of his parents to fall upon him.46 The demotic Instruction of Ankhsheshonqy, written as an instruction for his son by Ankhsheshonqy while in prison for secretly conniving against Pharaoh, contains a number of sayings regarding the proper treatment of parents.47 The sixth chapter of the demotic wisdom composition Instruction of Papyrus Insinger also deals with right behavior toward parents.48 The Egyptian sapiential Instruction of Ani counsels the son to treat his mother well on account of the sacrifices she endured on his behalf, stating that “though thy filth was disgusting, her heart was not disgusted, saying: ‘What shall I do?’ … Do not give her cause to blame you, lest she raise her hands to God and he hears her cries.”49 The amplifying reason Tobit provides Tobias in his exhortation to treat his mother well in Tob 4:4 runs along the same lines. In sapiential texts like 4Q416 2 iii 15-19 at Qumran, honor of parents is also greatly encouraged since it will lead to long life.50 Other Hellenistic Jewish writings equally commend filial duty to parents.51 Philo claims that impiety of act and word against parents deserves the penalty of death.52 For him, to dishonor parents is tantamount to dishonoring God, “for parents are the servants of God for the task of

45 Cf. ALSTER, The Instructions of Suruppak, 258 L-262 F, 49. This Sumerian wisdom literature is alleged to be addressed by the wise man Suruppak to the son of a ruler, who presumably will become the future king. The admonitions given, however, are generally practical, the overall purpose of which is to prepare any man to live a life of prudence in society and to master control over his own household, not necessarily a royal one. Alster also notes that the figure of Suruppak, the Sumerian sage, was later eclipsed by the seemingly more popular figure of Ahiqar the sage in the post-Babylonian tradition. This may be due to the lifelike elements that narratively frame the sayings in the latter. ALSTER, Wisdom of Ancient Sumer, 31-45. 46 Cf. CONYBEARE/HARRIS/LEWIS, The Story of Ahikar, 62. 47 Cf. Instruction of Ankhsheshonqy 6.6; 13.8,18; 16.24; 21.23; 23.18; 24.18. Glanville issued the first English translation of this demotic Egyptian text in 1955. In his introduction, Glanville characterized this sapiential composition as elementary, suited for “the guidance of a peasant farmer.” GLANVILLE, Catalogue of Demotic Papyri, xiv-xv. Lichtheim’s work on this text criticizes Glanville’s description as simplistic and offers improvements in translation. LICHTHEIM, Late Egyptian Wisdom Literature, 1-92; IDEM, Ancient Egyptian Literature, 3:159-184). 48 Cf. LICHTHEIM, Late Egyptian Wisdom Literature, 112;197. 49 Inst. of Any vii.17-viii.1, ANET, 420-421. 50 Cf. GOFF, The Worldly and Heavenly Wisdom of 4Q Instruction, 73-76. 51 Cf. The Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides, 8; Jubilees 7:20; T. Reuben 4:5. 52 Cf. PHILO, De Hypothetica 7:2.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

begetting children.”53 Josephus likewise enjoins upon his readers to honor their parents.54 These textual examples demonstrate that the author of Tobit applied a common wisdom theme and instruction to a specific situation dictated by his narrative need. For Tobit, proper burial for parents and a son’s care for a widowed mother are concrete behaviors that show honor of parents. Consequently, honor of parents manifests the fear of the Lord (cf. Tob 4:21). Such familial concerns may also reflect, or be a window to, the social realities at the time of the book’s writing. Since these instructions in Tob 4:3-4 pertain and respond directly to the consequences of Tobit’s expected death, they perform a separate function from the rest of the instructions in Tobit 4. Tob 4:5-19, 21 The subsequent instructions in Tob 4:5-19, 21 open with a sudden change in theme.55 They do not automatically flow from the immediate narrative context of imminent death. Indeed, Tobit could have easily given these instructions without death as a narrative motive. Like Ahiqar who prepares Nadab for the succession of office by wisdom instructions,56 Tobit prepares Tobias for his future journey by giving him the admonitions in Tob 4:5-19, 21. Here in Tob 4:5-19, 21, Tobit identifies and puts in flesh the training on righteousness he says he received from his grandmother Deborah (cf. Tob 1:8) and now hands the same to his son. In a way, Tobit ultimately prepares his son to succeed him as head of the household. Further, their formulation gives many of the exhortations a general character and applicability. 53 Cf. PHILO, De Decalogo, 106-120. Philo declares that those who disregard their parents are enemies of both sides of the law: “in the divine court, of impiety because they do not show due respect to those who brought them forth from non-existence to existence and in this were imitators of God; in the human court, of inhumanity. For to whom else will they show kindness if they despise the closest of their kinsfolk who have bestowed upon them the greatest boons, some of them far exceeding any possibility of repayment? For how could the begotten beget in his turn those whose seed he is, since nature has bestowed on parents in relation to their children an estate of a special kind which cannot be subject to the law of ‘exchange’? And therefore, the greatest indignation is justified if children, because they are unable to make a complete return, refuse to make even the slightest.” 54 Cf. JOSEPHUS, Contra Apionem, II. 206-207. 55 DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 383. 56 As Alonso Schökel points out, Ahiqar gives Nadab his counsels before he retires from office in order to prepare his nephew, and not when Ahiqar is dying. ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 60.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21

61 Education as a Narrative Motive The temporal phrase pa,saj ta.j h`me,raj sou ‘all your days’ introduces the first instruction “remember the Lord and refuse to sin and transgress his commandments.” This time qualifier signals that this is not a rule of life to be enacted or fulfilled only once. Rather, the introductory phrase indicates that this is a universal principle for living that involves constant practice. It is a broad instruction to be heeded and embodied in certain actions and behavior over the course of a lifetime. Its practice is not specific to any context, nor does it depend on any condition except the life and days of Tobias whom Tobit, as father, is attempting to mold. Strictly speaking, the two admonitions in Tob 4:3-4 are Tobit’s last-minute commands to a son prompted by his situation, but the rest of the counsels can be considered Tobit’s way of teaching or educating his son on the paths that lead to a virtuous and successful life.57 In Tobit’s mind, these principles are the pearls of wisdom his son needs to treasure in order to find his bearing in the world and live his life in righteousness and truth. A lifetime of effort, not merely a certain period of it, has to ratify these sapiential exhortations. One can say that Tobit presents a program for life to Tobias as he ventures out of the homeland into the wide world. While the first set of sayings is tied to the looming death of Tobit the father, the second set of instructions can easily be connected to the upcoming departure and long journey of Tobias the son. In the narrative world of Tobit, the voyage that follows Tobit’s admonitions takes on the significance of self-definition and development from adolescence into adulthood on the part of the young Tobias. Certainly, education by wisdom instructions is an essential preparation for entrance into the world of adults.58 With a character arc that spans eight chapters from Tobit 5–12, Tobias undergoes a rite of passage from a docile son into a responsible husband who returns to the homeland after his

57 According to Aristotle, paternal authority has a powerful influence on the education of the young, saying that “the instruction and habits prescribed by a father have as much force in the household as laws and customs have in the state, and even more, because of the tie of blood and the children’s sense of benefits received; for they are influenced at the outset with natural affection and docility. Moreover, individual tuition, like individual treatment in medicine, is actually superior to the public sort.” ARISTOTLE, Nichomachean Ethics, X.9, 1110. 58 According to Priero, it is after receiving these instructions that Tobias becomes mature and ready to enter adult life. PRIERO, Tobia, 83. Cf. also the comments of XERAVITS, Tobiah’s Journey, 93.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

voyage to succeed his father in this veritable roman d’apprentisage.59 The quest of Tobias fits the pattern of legends: separation from the familiar into a region of supernatural wonder, initiation in which fabulous forces are encountered and victory is won, followed by a life-enhancing return, in which the hero has the power to bestow boons on his fellow human beings.60 Whereas the first group of Tobit’s instructions is a matter of setting up pragmatic arrangements via the application of a common sapiential theme, the latter series of sayings is more a matter of education and character construction.61 Proverbial Instruction as a Pedagogical Method In the ancient world, the use of proverbs was a pedagogical means by which certain values were fostered and proper breeding was cultivated.62 Copying out or reciting proverbs was a way of initiating the 59 Baslez notes that such adventures constitute and characterize ancient Greek novels, the purpose of which is to transmit a model of education. BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, n.3, 31. 60 Cf. CAMPBELL, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 30-36. From a psychological perspective, Tobit’s wedding to Sarah is a version of a rite of passage that confronts the fears associated with death and sex which are intimately connected in primitive societies. The successful episode with the fish, thanks to Tobit’s docility to Rafael’s guidance, shows that Tobit is not yet an autonomous man who can create. It functions however as a prelude to the success of the conquest of the bride. BARRÍA IROUMÉ, El matrimonio de Tobías y la sexualidad, 675-697. Drewermann thinks that this is a psychological process of individuation, an interior journey an individual needs to make to achieve health and salvation. DREWERMANN, Il cammino pericoloso della redenzione, 45-89; IDEM, Gott heilt, 359-404. For a critical evaluation of Drewermann’s approach and insights, see LAVOIE, La légende de Tobit, 415-420. For a psychoanalytical reading of Tobit, see CHARLAND, Le jeune Tobias et son ange, 19107. 61 The education of the son is also a common theme in ancient Near East wisdom literature. For instance, the tenth instruction of The Instruction of the P. Insinger 8.21–9.20 exhorts the father not to weary of instructing the son. LICHTHEIM, Ancient Egyptian Literature, 3:192-193. In The Teaching of a Man for his Son, the father instructs the son to “hear my voice, do not avoid my words, do not untie your heart from what I tell you.” QUIRKE, Egyptian Literature, 102. In The Instruction of Ptahhotep 42-43, the idea of maturity expressed as old age results from listening to the father’s instruction: “How beautiful it is when a son receives what his father says, old age is achieved for him by it. He who acts according to what is said is the one who loves hearing. How good when a son listens to his father… if the son of someone receives what his father says, there can be no wavering for any of his plans.” QUIRKE, Egyptian Literature, 99. The Instruction of Any introduces the possible failure of paternal education only to be refuted at the end. LICHTHEIM, Ancient Egyptian Literature, 2:135-146. 62 Cf. GREENFIELD, Ahiqar in the Book of Tobit, 332.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


student into “the moral consensus of the community.”63 Like Ahiqar who teaches his nephew through proverbial instruction so that he can be wise and capable of succeeding him in court, Tobit employs the proverbial tradition as the medium of education for Tobias so that Tobias can assume the responsibilities of being a father of a family. Tobit is of course teaching his son in the same way that his grandmother Deborah taught him when he was orphaned (cf. Tob 1:8).64 Tobit thus transmits to his son Tobias his ‘philosophy of life’ forged from his own and his ancestors’ experiences.65 After all, the collection of sapiential sayings is predominantly a series of advice on how to comport oneself and behave toward God and one’s neighbor, all essential aspects of adult life. In particular, Tobit’s charge to Tobias to develop the discipline of caring about other people and to sacrifice and engage in selfless service for them is an indispensable component of adulthood. As material for instruction, the collection is intended to function as Tobias’s built-in compass in a disordered world of exilic living, a set of practical advice on how to navigate the highways and byways of life away from home. With money and instructions, Tobit is in effect leaving his son both a financial and a sapiential legacy. Truth and justice become Tobias’s inheritance. Before his death, Tobit gathers Tobias and his grandchildren and addresses them in Tobit 14.66 One can imagine, however, that the author, in a feat of narrative bravura, is also daring to address his audience. It is as if Tobit is looking over Tobias’s shoulders, and those of his grandchildren, and is addressing his readers with admonitions 63 HEATON, The School Tradition of the Old Testament, 92. 64 De Vaux states that mothers provide the basics of education, especially moral formation, but as the boy matures into manhood, the father takes over his instruction. Providing the son religious education is one of the father’s most sacred of duties. DE VAUX, Les Institutions de l’Ancien Testament, 82-85. Cf. also YARBROUGH, Parents and Children, 41-49; BLENKINSOPP, Sage, Priest, Prophet, 23-28. 65 Priero comments that the sage advice of Tobit is intended to form his son Tobias as a living image or copy of the father. Since the instructions reflect certain aspects in the father’s life, the image of the father in the son survives and is prolonged not only in the physical sense of blood and name but also in a moral sense. PRIERO, Tobia, 77. This idea, of course, is already present in Ben Sira when he states in Sir 30:2-5: “He who educates his son makes his enemy jealous, and shows his delight in him among his friends. At the father’s death, he will seem not dead, since he leaves after him one like himself, whom he looks upon through life with joy, and even in death, without regret.” Cf. also CRENSHAW, Education in Ancient Israel, 3, who notes that such approach is the father’s bid for immortality. 66 This is clearly evidenced in GII, which has the plural paidi,a in the address but not in GI, which uses te,knon and paidi,on.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

before going to his grave, desiring to hand on the wisdom of his experience and the traditions of the past as a guide for pious living. Tobit wills his philosophy and program of life to future generations of readers who presumably will replicate and continue his own values,67 the observance of which leads to a happy outcome, as Tobit’s life shows.


Imperatives and Vetitives

One immediately notices that the sapiential instructions of Tobit are not indicative sayings or proverbial statements typical of older collections of materials such as those found in Proverbs 10–22, 25–29.68 An essential element of Tobit’s advice is the imperative. Except for the typical sapiential image ‘the way,’ the statements in Tobit 4 are generally devoid of powerful imagery or use of metaphoric language. Like most sentences in the instruction genre, Tobit’s counsels are direct and plain because their primary purpose is to avoid ambiguity and communicate with authority.69 Tobit’s instructions are hortatory, expressed as positive exhortations and negative injunctions, admonitions and prohibitions. The prohibition typically utilizes the negative particle mh,, followed by an aorist subjunctive verb in the second person singular when it is directly 67 In Wright’s opinion, this possibility of putting readers at the end of the chain of transmission in Tobit is weak. He notes that, unlike other testamentary literature that has explicit command for transmission such as T. Levi 4.5 and T. Benj 10.4, in which written texts are handed down, Tobit does not transmit a written legacy to his grandchildren. WRIGHT, From Generation to Generation, n.47, 46. This is misleading, however, for the narrative of Tobit gives the impression that the book is written by Tobit himself, since Rafael, before his ascension, instructs him to “write down all these things that have happened to you” in Tob 12:20. Thus, Tob 12:20 hints at the purpose of the book – to record what happened to Tobit, to convey the presence of God, and thus to praise and acknowledge God. This could very well be the written legacy Tobit wants to transmit to his grandchildren and readers! 68 Westermann has argued that imperative sayings or hortatory proverbs that have been expanded indicate a later development, since it is likelier that proverbial or indicative statements were altered for didactic purposes. This type of sayings became more prominent in the later period, as exemplified in Proverbs 1–9. WESTERMANN, Roots of Wisdom, 85-94. Miller also states that the instructions are typical of late wisdom literature. MILLER, Das Buch Tobias, 57. Murphy notes that when the issue is teaching or inculcating a value, the variation between the two genres, saying and command/prohibition, lies in psychological factors involved in persuading another. MURPHY, Wisdom Literature, 6. 69 Cf. MCKANE, Proverbs, 22-23; 139-140.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


addressed to Tobias except in three instances when it precedes an aorist jussive or an imperative third person as found in Tob 4:14a, “let not the pay be delayed,” 15b “let not evil accompany you,” and 16c “let not your eye be envious when giving.” Put differently, the vetitive ‘do not’ with a subsequent verb expresses such precepts. It is therefore a negated admonition, or a negative command. An admonition balances the prohibition. This creates an antithetical sentence structure, or more accurately, a ‘positive-negative’ parallelism between two instructions.70 Since the admonitions are addressed to his son, they normally employ verbs in the present imperative active second person singular.71 Although they enjoy an authority of their own, these admonitions and prohibitions do not operate as apodictic laws or direct commandments do.72 Hence, the antithetical parallel between the admonition and the prohibition is usually followed by an amplifying reason that persuades, motivates and justifies. The subordinate conjunction dio,ti meaning ‘because’ frequently introduces this motive clause. To illustrate, Tob 4:8 exhorts Tobias to give alms in proportion to what he has. This is paralleled by a negative injunction “do not be afraid to give alms,” followed by two justifications, namely, “for you are storing up a good treasure for yourself against the day of necessity” and “because almsgiving saves you from death and keeps you from going into the darkness.” These instructions generally observe a tripartite pattern: they consist of an imperative and a vetitive which normally form a positive-negative parallelism, followed by motivating explanations.73 The binary statements expressed in terms of admonitions and prohibitions reflect the dichotomy often found in sapiential literature. This penchant for polarities articulated in the wisdom idiom of the two ways is a teaching device that aids in telling apart the paths of the fool and the wise, the wicked and the righteous. The antithetical statements 70 The term is borrowed from BERLIN, The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism, 56-57. This parallelismus membrorum which can be synonymous, synthetic or antithetic, is the basic form of sentence literature or Weisheitsspruch which forms a substantial part of wisdom literature. NEL, The Genres of Biblical Wisdom Literature, 139-142. 71 Although the instructions are addressed in the second person, they may have existed before. In this case, they were not originally intended to be addressed to Tobias. As it appears in the narrative, however, the addressee is no other than Tobias himself. 72 PERDUE, Proverbs, 30. 73 The Instructions of Papyrus Insinger as well as The Instructions of Ankhsheshonqy has commands with amplifying reasons. LICHTHEIM, Ancient Egyptian Literature, 3:159217; IDEM, Late Wisdom Egyptian Literature, 2; MCKANE, Proverbs, 117-150.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

inculcate the lesson that the wise will succeed but the foolish will perish. The imagery of the two ways was common to both Jewish and early Christian instructions.74 It is employed in Proverbs (cf. Prov 9:118; 10:5, 20-32; 11:5-6; 12:2-7; 14:22), the Psalms (cf. Ps 1; 53:2-6; 92:6-16) and the Book of Sirach (cf. Sir 6:18-22; 20:1-20; 21:11-25) as well as in ancient Egyptian didactic literature.75 Moses, speaking like a true sage, presents the law in Deuteronomy in the context of the two ways. As a guide for correct choice and decision, Moses tells the people that obedience to the law leads to life and prosperity while disobedience to death and adversity (cf. Deut 28:1-68; 30:15-16). It is also evident that the exhortations of Tobit utilize the language of the two ways: Tobit tells his son in Tob 4:5b, “do not walk in the ways of unrighteousness, for those who do what is true shall prosper.” This language of opposites finds its syntactical expression in the imperatives and the vetitives, the do’s and don’ts, of Tobit’s instructions. There is, however, a set of instructions in Tobit 4 that do not follow this literary pattern, namely Tob 4:14b-18. Although these verses continue to employ antithetical statements, Tob 4:14b-18 is nonetheless a group of concise admonitions and prohibitions without justificatory explanations.76 They are composed as a monostich or a single-line precept which is said to be a characteristic of Hellenistic sayings.77 These pithy adages that include the ‘Silver Rule’ may have been part of popular international proverbial wisdom. Accordingly, Tobit 4 can be categorized under two general headings: those admonitions and prohibitions that include amplifying reasons (Tob 4:5-14a, 19) and those that omit them (Tob 4:14b-18).

74 Cf. NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 796. According to the author, the theology of the two ways is based on the Old Testament covenant theology, whereby “life and death are blessings and curses, the rewards and punishments dispensed by God to those who obey or disobey the stipulations of the covenant.” For further discussion, cf. IDEM, Resurrection, Immortality, Eternal Life, 144-174. 75 Cf. LICHTHEIM, Late Egyptian Wisdom Literature, 62-63. Nickelsburg points out that 1 Enoch 91:4; 94:1-4 also employ the two ways. NICKELSBURG, Stories of Biblical and Post-Biblical Times, n.46, 41. 76 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 51-65. 77 Cf. LICHTHEIM, Late Egyptian Wisdom Literature, 22-28.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21



Suggested Structure

If Tobit indeed possesses a discernible narrative design, then the elements that constitute the story can be assumed as products of careful thought and selection. Furthermore, if the author of Tobit originally incorporated instructions from various sources into his narrative, then his choices of proverbial exhortations would not have been haphazard, without rhyme or reason. Rather, some sort of rational ordering would have dictated the author’s pick of what to include. The author would have arranged them in a way that coheres or makes sense. Moreover, the culture of ancient Near East considers good formulation and reasonable ordering of speech as expression of wisdom.78 If this is the case, then it is misleading to assert that the instructions are an unsystematic series of exhortations.79 Rather, there has to be an underlying order or a perceptible structure in the author’s list or compilation of the different instructions. Any explanation of the order of the exhortations and the admonitions obviously has to account for the presence of each statement. In his monumental study of Tobit, Deselaers has identified a concentric structure in the instructions of Tobit 4 based on formal and thematic parallelisms among the exhortations. According to him, there are four parallelisms on the practice of righteousness, two parallelisms on the theme of endogamy, two parallelisms on the theme of love of neighbor, and four parallelisms on the theme of education. In order to have four parallelisms on the theme of righteousness, he groups vv. 9 and 11 together as the fourth instance. Also, the two parallelisms on endogamy and love of kinsmen are not limited to the instructions alone but extend to the justification of the instructions. Finally, Tob 4:16 constitutes two of the four parallelisms on the theme of education. The parallelisms create a chiasm. He gives the following schema:80

78 Cf. LEBRAM, Jüdische Martyrologie und Weisheitsüberlieferung, n.89, 117. 79 Cf. OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 31; OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, n.29, 169: “Der Aufbau der Reihe scheint nicht besonders logisch.” Cf. also ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 60, who thinks that it is impossible to determine the key to its composition. 80 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 380-392. In his recent commentary in Geistliche Schriftlesung, Deselaers still maintains the chiastic structure of the collection of instructions in Tobit 4. IDEM, Das Buch Tobit, 80.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11


B: Four Parallel Instructions on the Practice of Righteousness


All your days, my child, remember the Lord your God and do not wish to sin or transgress his commandments.


Perform righteousness all the days of your life and do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing.


Give alms from your possessions and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when making it.


If you have many possessions, give alms proportionately; if few, do not be afraid to give alms according to the little you have.


A good treasure you will lay up for yourself on the day of necessity. An excellent offering before the Most High is almsgiving for all those who practice.


Guard yourself, son, against every kind of porneia and take a wife from the seed of your fathers Do not marry a foreign woman who is not from the tribe of your fathers, for we are sons of prophets.


Love your brothers and in your heart do not behave arrogantly toward your brothers and the sons and daughters of your people by not taking for yourself a wife from them.

C: Two Parallel Instructions on the Theme of Endogamy

C': Two Parallel Instructions on Love of Neighbor

For in arrogance there is destruction and great disorder.

B': Four Parallel Instructions on the Theme of Education


Watch yourself, son, in everything that you do and be disciplined and educated in all of your conduct.


From your bread, give some to the hungry and from your clothing, give some to the naked.


That which is surplus to you, give as alms and do not let your eye begrudge your giving of alms.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21

A': Closing Instruction


At all times, bless the Lord your God and from him, ask that your ways be straight.


And now my son, remember my commandments and do not erase them from your heart.


There are at least three reasons why the proposed chiastic structure is suspect.81 First, it has to be remembered that Deselaers has based this structure on GI. Generally speaking, GII via MS 319 agrees with GI. There are, however, certain formulations in G II that might change the nature of some of the parallelisms he has identified. For example, Tob 4:7a is parallel in GI but not in GII because the second line mh. fqonesa,tw sou o` ovfqalmo.j evn tw/| poiei/n se evlehmosu,nhn “do not let your eye begrudge your giving of alms“ is found only much later in Tob 4:16b in the GII recension. Likewise, the absence of the word avdelfo,j in Tob 4:13b in GII puts into doubt the strict parallelism between the two instructions on love of brother/neighbor. In fact, the parallelism is not quite clear unless one includes the amplifying reason for the injunction. The parallelisms found in the abridged GI may not necessarily apply to the collection as may have been originally preserved in G II. Second, the chiastic pattern of the collection gives particular emphasis to the theme of endogamy and love of neighbor, as both themes take center stage. As Deselaers admits, Tob 4:12a-13 forms the kernel of the instructions82. It is certainly true that the main plot of Tobit pivots on the wedding of Tobias and Sarah. However, endogamy is arguably not the central lesson of the narrative.83 It is simply one of the teachings in the book. In fact, one can even make a case that doing deeds of mercy and acts of righteousness is the encompassing focus of Tobit84 and endogamy is simply a concrete instance of righteousness. As Tobit

81 Oeming likewise finds the chiastic pattern Deselaers has proposed «nicht einsichtig» especially because vv. 5a and 19c (incorrectly identified by Oeming as v. 19b), in his opinion, do not form a pair. For him, vv. 5 and 21b belong together. OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, n.29, 169. 82 DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 388. 83 Miller, for instance, acknowledges that though Tobit gives particular attention to endogamy and marriage, the main message of the story is to encourage fidelity to God. MILLER, A Study of Marriage in the Book of Tobit, 5. 84 Cf. ENGEL, Auf zuverlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit, 93-94. Cf. also PRIERO, Tobia, 15.

The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11


catches his dying breath, he is still hammering home the redeeming value of such acts. A final reason for the dissatisfaction with Deselaers’s chiastic structure for Tobit 4 is the disregard for the integrity of the text. For instance, the instruction on moderate wine drinking in GI Tob 4:15b as well as the strange instruction “make an offering of bread and wine on the grave of the righteous” are not accounted for in this schema. The supposed parallelism also does not capture the instruction on the worker’s wages (cf. Tob 4:14a). In fairness, Deselaers has argued that the core story of the book of Tobit underwent three stages of literary development. But it is precisely for this reason that the problem arises – he can rearrange the text in order to come up with parallels or dismiss and exclude other statements that do not fit his universe of parallelism as redactional elements that disrupt the system and cohesion of the collection.85 If indeed there is some pattern to the collection of sayings in Tobit 4 as we have it, the integrity of the text has to be respected and taken into full account. Engel has proposed a structure that uses GII and deals with the text as it is. Unlike Deselaers, Engel includes Tobit’s burial instructions as well as the exhortation to Tobias to honor his mother as part of his schema. He considers the entire section as Tobit’s testament, which functions as the opening bracket of the chiastic structure of the narrative with Tobit’s canticle of praise in Tob 13 as the enclosing bracket. Although Engel does not make a strict distinction between farewell discourse and sapiential exhortations, he nonetheless considers Tob 4:3-19, 21 a key text in the narrative. Thus, Engel proposes the following structure:86 STRUCTURE ACCORDING TO HELMUT ENGEL 4:3-19 – The Testament and Instructions of Tobit to his son Tobias 4:3d-487

Instructions regarding Parents


*Instructions regarding God: to do righteousness and avoid unrighteousness

85 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 29-30. 86 ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 281; IDEM, Auf zuverlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit, 90. He also notes that the vv. 6b-16 creates an inclusio with the use of the important word “righteousness”, thrice in vv. 7-8 and twice in v. 16. 87 Engel starts with Tob 4:3d since it is the start of the instructions proper. Before the first instruction qa,yon me kalw/j, v. 3 states: a) kai. evka,lesen Twbian to.n ui`o.n auvtou/ b) kai. h=lqen pro.j auvto,n c) kai. ei=pen auvtw/.|

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


Mercy/Almsgiving/Love of Neighbor as Actualization of Righteousness: 6b-11, 12-13, 14a, c, d, 15a, b, 16


Other Exhortations: to show solidarity with the bereaved and to seek good counsel (which ultimately comes from God)


*Instructions regarding God: Praise the Lord, your God, at all times.


Tobit’s long speeches in Tobit 4 and 13 enclose the central section. The long wisdom lecture is in turn framed by references to the money entrusted to a cousin in Tob 4:1-2 and in Tob 4:20-21. The structure that Engel lays out for Tobit’s first lengthy address has the merit of delineating the theocentric aspect of the instructions, while the otherdirected instructions of vv. 6b-16 take the central focus. An inclusio of exhortations regarding duty towards God delimits the collection. With the heavy concentration of instructions regarding almsgiving located in between, the righteous relationship with one’s neighbor is subsumed under one’s righteous relationship with God. In other words, the structure immediately makes evident that proper relationship with God manifests itself in acts of compassion and righteousness toward one’s neighbors. The schema shows that the summa of the instructions lies in the performance of service to God and others. It is clear that the pivot of the structure Engel has proposed revolves around the notions of truth, almsgiving and righteousness – concepts that are first found in the introductory verses of the narrative (cf. Tob 1:3). In fact, the structure is chiefly thematic in that Tobit 4 is the development of these three principal notions, with the attitude of evlehmosu,nh as the exemplary and reliable way of righteousness. The structure shows that Tobit’s instructions are primarily the Verwirklichungen or the concrete realizations of righteousness.88 While this structure clearly demonstrates the themes or concerns that give some sort of coherence to the set of instructions, it does not really capture the specificity of the instructions and the logical flow of the enumeration. It does not show how or why these instructions are in fact the Verwirklichungen of righteousness. It does not point out which particular instructions are concrete and which are general. If there is some kind of logic or cohesion to the plethora of exhortations, the above schema does not exhibit it. Moreover, Tob 4:17-18 seems to be 88 Cf. ENGEL, Auf zuverlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit, 92-98; IDEM, Das Buch Tobit, 286-288. Cf. also OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 170.

The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11


out of place in this structure. The above ordering makes these couple of exhortations appear as if they were mere insertions that failed to take into account the counsels before and after them. If theme is determinative of the structure, these two instructions appear to be the odd-man out. In this structure, it is hard to make heads or tails of these two exhortations. Some indicators do show that there is an über-instruction, the ground of all the exhortations, from which the rest of the instructions proceed. The exhortations flow from the general to the concrete. There are three general instructions and each general exhortation is realized by injunctions to specific behavior or attitude. To conclude his instructions, Tobit reminds Tobias to remember and keep the commandments in his heart, to fear God, to avoid sin and to do what is good before God, thus echoing his universal principle at the end. In this regard, the following structure is proposed, with the justification for the structure given afterwards. SUGGESTED STRUCTURE FOR TOBIT 4:3-19, 21 4:3-4

Specific instructions on proper burial and honor of mother THE UNIVERSAL INSTRUCTION


All your days, remember the Lord and be unwilling to sin and transgress his commandments. General Instruction Proper I Practice Righteousness always!


All your days, do righteousness and do not walk in the paths of unrighteousness, because those who practice truth will prosper in their works. Concrete behavior that displays the practice of righteousness


Injunctions on almsgiving/works of compassion


Injunctions against porneia and on love and proper treatment of neighbor General Instruction Proper II Be disciplined in all your conduct!


In all your deeds, control yourself, and in all your conduct, be disciplined, and what you hate, may you do not do to anyone, and let not evil accompany you on your way.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


Concrete behavior that exhibits discipline and control 4:16

Injunctions on good behavior towards the needy


Injunction on keeping wise counsel General Instruction Proper III Bless the Lord at all times!


In every occasion, praise the Lord, your God. Concrete behavior that shows praise of God


From the Lord, ask that your roads and paths be straight and your plans prosper.


[Seek the counsel of God] for every nation does not have good counsel, God will give good counsel to them. The Lord raises whom he wishes and humbles whom he wishes to the lower part of Hades. Summing Up

4:19d, 21

Remember these commandments and do not let them be erased from your heart. Fear not that we have become poor; good things will belong to you if you fear God, flee from all sin, and do that which is good before the Lord.

One notices immediately that the concluding parallel instruction in verse 19d refers not only to the preceding instructions but also to the so-called universal principle, thereby forming an inclusio. This inclusio, however, does not create a chiastic structure, but simply delimits the collection of ethical exhortations.89 For didactic purposes, Tobit alludes to his universal instruction as he concludes his series of admonitions and rounds it off with a wisdom call to fear God, a principle that is generally equivalent to the observance of God’s law including honor of parents, and the practice of justice and truth.90 Most importantly, there are three major realizations of the universal principle, which can be called General Teaching Proper. They speak of duty towards God, duty towards neighbor, and duty towards the self. Admittedly, phrasing it 89 Cf. however, H. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 104, who claims that the instruction to praise God concludes the entire discourse. For the author, the inculcation of piety towards parents in the beginning and towards the Giver of all life in the end brackets the entire sapiential speech of Tobit. 90 Cf. ESTRADÉ/GIRBAU, Tobit – Judit, 51.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

in this manner may make it appear that the duties are clearly demarcated from each other. This can be misleading since a deep religiosity pervades all the instructions as indicated by Tobit’s first exhortation to remember God. It has to be noted at the outset that underpinning Tobit’s exhortations is a profound religious devotion. In turn, this trifecta of general teachings finds concrete manifestations and specific expressions in the behaviors that Tobit admonishes his son to engage in. At the end of the chapter, Tobit concisely reiterates the foundation of his beliefs. The Lex generalis In his commentary on Proverbs, Leo G. Perdue observes that moral instructions customarily follow a general literary pattern. The father-son address introduces the teaching proper, which is then followed by other admonitions that are oftentimes coupled with justifications or explanatory clauses that may express cause, consequence, condition, motive or purpose. The exhortations are concluded by a teaching that summarizes, or an inclusion that refers back to the initial admonition.91 One detects a similar literary structure in Tob 4:3-19, 21. As noted above, Tobit the father continues to address his son after taking care of immediate business. In Tob 4:5a, the deeply pious Tobit predictably opens his sapiential instructions with a positive admonition pa,saj ta.j h`me,raj sou paidi,on tou/ kuri,ou mnhmo,neue ”child, remember the Lord all your days.”92 This is paralleled by a negative precept in which Tobit urges his son to refuse to sin and break the Lord’s commandments. Central to Tobit 4, Tobit specifies what the verb ‘to remember’ exactly entails by enumerating very practical admonitions.93 The verb mimnh,skomai and its cognate mnhmoneu,ew translate the Hebrew rkz ‘to remember,’94 which is a verb that conveys a distinctively Hebrew category95 and a word that is employed so heavily in Deuteronomy to the extent that a ‘theology of remembering’ can be drawn from the book.96 91 Cf. PERDUE, Proverbs, 29-30. 92 GI adds tou/ qeou/ h`mw/n to read «pa,saj ta.j h`me,raj paidi,on kuri,ou tou/ qeou/ h`mw/n mnhmo,neue». A similar change is evident in Tob 4:21. 93 Cf. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 100. 94 In 4Q200 fragment 2, which corresponds to Tob 4:3-9, the verb rkz (rwkz) in fact appears in line 3 or Tob 4:5. BEYER, Die aramäischen Texte vom Toten Meer, 138; WACHOLDER/ABEGG, A Preliminary Edition, 2; FITZMYER, Tobit, 19:65. 95 CHILDS, Memory and Tradition in Israel, 11. 96 Cf. MICHEL, mimnh,skomai, 4:675; CHILDS, Memory and Tradition in Israel, 51-56.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


This is why Tobit’s admonition quickly calls to mind the deuteronomic injunction not to forget the Lord by neglecting his precepts (Deut 4:9; 6:12; 8:11, 19). In fact, in addition to this opening instruction, the act of remembering is paired with the observance of God’s laws in other places in Tobit. In the first person narrative, Tobit claims that he refrained from eating the food of Gentiles while others were doing it because he remembered the Lord with all his heart (cf. Tob 1:12). He reminds Tobias to remember the example of his forefathers when it comes to marriage (cf. Tob 4:12b). In Tobit’s desperate prayer in Tob 3:3-4, he implores the Lord to remember him and not to punish him for his and his ancestors’ sins because he did not observe God’s commandments. Just as Tobit asks in prayer that God remember and look favorably upon him although he has failed to heed his laws, so now Tobit instructs his son to remember God and refuse the sin of violating God’s decrees. It seems that the narrator of Tobit has carefully read and learned the theological import of remembering from Deuteronomy.97 Remembering in Tobit is a consequential verb, a verb that demands doing more than the action it signifies. With the proverbial phrase pa,saj ta.j h`me,raj sou introducing and qualifying this initial exhortation, the instruction of Tob 4:5a is given a wide-ranging character. As the very first precept, it functions as the central concern and focuses the succeeding instructions. Therefore this instruction can be viewed as a summary, the summit, even, of all the instructions that Tobit gives in his sapiential discourse. In light of this, remembrance of the Lord and observance of his commandments serves as the universal teaching, the general principle or rule of life, the fundamental advice, the Grundlage of the entire set of instructions.98 The verb mnhmoneu,ew also figures prominently in Tobit’s farewell speech in Tobit 14. Tobit predicts in Tob 14:7 that all the sons of Israel, ‘who are saved in those days,’ and ‘who remember God faithfully,’ will

97 Cf. DI LELLA, The Deuteronomic Background of the Farewell Discourse, 384-385. 98 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 383; VON NORDHEIM, Die Lehre der Alten, 2:10-11; NIEBUHR, Gesetz und Paränese, 206. Cf. also ARNALDICH, Tobit, 787; NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:1015; EGO, The Book of Tobit and the Diaspora, 49. Oeming considers all of v. 5 as the fundamental instruction. OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 169.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

be gathered and will come to Jerusalem.99 Later, when Tobit gives his final instructions, he gives his son and grandchildren a series of commands: to serve God faithfully, to do what is pleasing in his sight, to do what is right, and to give alms. This series of instructions culminates in his command to keep God in mind and to bless God’s name at all times with sincerity and with all their might (cf. Tob 14:9). Definitely, remembering or being mindful of God is a vital element in Tobit’s worldview. In Tob 12:6-10, the exhortation to remember God is not as directly declared as in the other two pericopes. After calling Tobit and Tobias in private, the archangel Rafael commends them to bless God and to acknowledge before people of good will that which God has done for them. The verbs euvloge,w ‘to praise, extol, bless’ and evxomologe,w ‘to confess, acknowledge’ dominate the action of Rafael’s instructions, with the latter verb used four times in just two verses, Tob 12:6-7. This is further reinforced by two other verbs in the same verses, which have synonymous meanings, namely u`podei,knumi ‘to show, declare’ and avnakalu,ptw ‘to uncover, unveil.’ Thus, the first section of Rafael’s admonition concentrates on extolling God and acknowledging his works. Undoubtedly, the instruction to acknowledge God and his works allows an unambiguous association with the principal instruction to remember God in Tob 4:5a. This act of remembering God is in fact concretized in writing a book (cf. Tob 12:20). Biblically speaking, to acknowledge the past deeds and marvels of God is to keep God actively at the forefront of one’s memory; to remember God’s saving deeds is equivalent to a call to praise (cf. 1 Chron 16:8-12; Ps 105:5). The remembrance of past events of God’s redeeming works in Israel’s history is not simply a mental recall or a means to relive the past. Rather, memory provides the link to the past, and through remembrance, the present generation encounters the divine commandments as a saving event, which when obeyed, allows them to share in their ancestors’ experience of redemption. In the lament Psalms that speak of exile such as Psalm 42 and 137, the believer, with99 The Sinaiticus reads pa,ntej oi` ui`oi. tou/ Israhl oi` sw|zo,menoi evn tai/j h`me,raij evkei,naij mnhmoneu,ontej tou/ qeou/ evn avlhqei,a| evpisunacqh,sontai. In this recension, there is a parallelism in the two descriptions of the people of Israel with regard to their relationship with God: mnhmoneu,ontej tou/ qeou/ evn avlhqei,a| and oi` avgapw/ntej to.n qeo.n evpV avlhqei,aj. The Vaticanus does not have this correspondence. The Vaticanus simply reads carh,sontai pa,ntej oi` avgapw/ntej ku,rion to.n qeo.n evn avlhqei,a| kai. dikaiosu,nh| poiou/ntej e;leoj toi/j avdelfoi/j h`mw/n, dropping the first and significant description mnhmoneu,ontej tou/ qeou/ evn avlhqei,a.

Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tob 4:3-19, 21


out the traditional recourse to God, feels strongly his separation from God and encounters God through the means of memory. The act of remembering becomes an act of grasping after the divine reality behind Israel’s salvation history, ultimately an act of prayer to God.100 With remembrance as a principal instruction, it seems that the exiled Tobit also relies upon the medium of memory to encounter God. In Tobit’s perspective, remembrance is intimately connected with right action and proper conduct. For instance, when Tobit admonishes his son to honor his mother, he tells Tobias to remember the many things his mother has experienced on his behalf. When he directs his son to take a wife from his kinsmen, he reminds Tobias that his forefathers took one of their own for a wife. In Tob 6:16, Rafael pacifies the fear that could inhibit Tobias from acting properly towards Sarah by telling him to remember the words of his father about taking a wife from among his family. Hence, just as the occasion for the instruction is provoked by remembering the money in Rages, so Tobit’s exhortations themselves employ the act of remembering as motivation for proper action and behavior. The collection of admonitions is based on the logic of remembering: Remember this, therefore do this, or, do not do that. Remembrance, which facilitates the encounter with God in the present, entails a certain course of action, for “the awareness of God’s presence forms the foundation for discerning and doing what is good.”101 In the act of remembering, that which is recalled becomes a current and persistent reality which in turn directs the will of the person accordingly. From a Jewish frame of mind, thought and action are not separate events but form part of one totality. For instance, in Num 15:39, when an Israelite sees the tassels on his garments, he remembers that they are associated with God’s law. That which is remembered obliges him to act thus.102 No wonder Moses takes pains in Deuteronomy to remind the people not to forget the Lord God by neglecting his commandments and decrees (cf. Deut 8:11, 14, 18). From a biblical perspective, remembering determines the conduct of the person who

100 Cf. CHILDS, Memory and Tradition in Israel, 55-65. 101 NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:1015. 102 Cf. EISING, rkz zākhar, 4:66.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

remembers.103 To keep God constantly before one’s eyes determines one’s life, for it means seeking the divine presence vigorously in one’s life and doing faithfully what such a presence requires. Hence, forgetfulness of God leads to wickedness that deserves Sheol (cf. Ps 9:18). Another aspect of biblical remembering pertains to “present realities that have a formative character for existence.”104 Since remembering is both a memory and an event, thought and volition at the same time, it is usually ‘a dynamic phenomenon’ that transforms the situation of the believer.105 Not only is keeping God in mind primarily determinative of Tobias’s conduct, but it also forms and transforms his character and person. To observe the instruction to remember God will therefore redound to his overall growth and maturity as a pious person. In this regard, the deuteronomic idea of remembering the Lord is the über-instruction, the central and significant value from which the other sayings flow. Tob 4:7-19 expounds and develops the Lex generalis, that is, what it really means to remember the Lord and to follow the will of God through his commandments.106 Three major sapiential exhortations proceed from the universal instruction. The first is the exhortation to do righteous acts and not to tread the paths of unrighteousness in Tob 4:5b-6, the second is the instruction to control and discipline oneself in Tob 4:14c-15, and the third is the admonition to ask and bless the Lord in Tob 4:19a-c. A generalizing expression introduces or qualifies all these admonitions. In the case of the first, pa,saj ta.j h`me,raj th/j zwh/j sou ‘all your days’ is employed. The second is qualified by evn pa/si toi/j e;rgoij sou ‘in all your deeds’ and evn pa,sh| avnastrofh/| sou ‘in all your conduct.’ The final major admonition uses the phrase evn panti. kairw/| ‘in every occasion.’ These indicators mean that these instructions have an encompassing or general character, waiting to be specified. Not only do these ethical 103 For instance, in Deut 15:15; 16:12; 24:22, the formula ~yIr"+c.mi #rh;-lK' tae² ~yhiêl{a/ rBEd:y>w: “and God spoke all these words,” followed by the ten commandments. The Septuagint translates thus: kai. evla,lhsen ku,rioj pa,ntaj tou.j lo,gouj tou,touj. 207 Cf. Midrash Exodus XXVIII.5-6, 335-336. 208 BLENKINSOPP, Wisdom and Law in the Old Testament, 86. For Zappella, the verb deiknu,w has an apologetic thrust, that is, the observance of the wisdom of God expressed in his laws makes visible the greatness of God. ZAPPELLA, L’immagine dell’elezione, 187; 194.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

Asmodeus, who is responsible for the deaths of Sarah’s seven husbands, are both achieved by following the words and instructions of Rafael.209 As he enters the bedroom in Tob 8:2, Tobias remembers the words of Rafael and places the liver and the gall of the fish over live coals, with the smoke, or most likely, the stench, causing the demon to run away to Egypt. In Tob 11:1-14, Tobias listens to Rafael’s directions as they hurry along home, and following them to the letter, applies the proscribed cure and eases Tobit his father into the light. Rafael, for all his angelic status, does not perform deeds of wonder. He simply persuades and advises Tobias on what to do and gives him clear directions along the journey step by docile step. Miracles happen when Tobias obeys his words. It is the word-guided, direction-based actions of Tobias that lead to the resolution of all the problems in the narrative. The words of Rafael are the divine guidance while Tobias is the human instrument. In short, the narrative portrays Rafael to be a giver of advice and provider of information but not a wonder-worker.210 Since the angel Rafael is God’s mediator or alter-ego when dealing with humans,211 one can say that the pedagogical words of God will never cease to make wonders when obeyed and observed. This would have a special significance for the Tobits of the Hellenistic world. It would have encouraged them in the midst of difficulty and anxiety to remain faithful to the words of God, declaring them visibly by faithful observance. With the divine words enfleshed in acts of righteousness and compassion, those who suffer, literally find in such deeds the comfort and the healing presence of their God.

209 For the different theological tendencies evident in GI and GII recensions of the episodes concerning Sarah and Asmodeus, see EGO, Textual Variants as a Result of Enculturation, 371-378. 210 Cf. SCHNUPP, Schutzengel, 67-72. Cf. also GRIFFIN, The Theology and Function of Prayer, 169. As Nowell appropriately observes, the work of Rafael is primarily one of advising and instructing. NOWELL, The “Work” of Archangel Rafael, 228-231. She also notes that most of the materials written regarding the journey are the instructions of Rafael, which can be grouped into three: a) instructions on preparing the fish, b) information on the curative properties of the fish parts, and c) instructions on Tobias’s marriage to Sarah. NOWELL, Jonah, Tobit, Judith, 32. 211 Cf. MOORE, Tobit, 274.

Tobit’s Farewell Instructions in Tob 14:8-11


2.4 Tobit’s Farewell Instructions in Tob 14:8-11 As soon as Tobit’s long canticle of praise ends in Tob 14:1, the narrator moves the scene to Tobit as he gives a farewell discourse at the dusk of a blessed life. Surrounded by Tobias and his sons,212 Tobit prophesies the downfall of Nineveh. He charges Tobias to take his children and hasten off to Media. Like Jacob on his deathbed, he foretells the dawning of a new age when God’s house will be rebuilt in Jerusalem,213 all the scattered righteous of Israel will be gathered together, and all the peoples of the earth will worship God. He then gives some instructions similar to the ones in chapter four but formulated more concisely. Just as his models, Moses and Ahiqar, give two sets of instructions in their respective narratives, so does Tobit in his tale.214 The story ends with Tobit’s desire for proper burial alongside his wife, and his prophecy regarding Nineveh, all fulfilled, and with Tobias living a life replete with heavenly favors. According to Enric Cortés, there are three elements that constitute a final testament. First, there is the summons of the dying, then his admonitions and finally, his prophetic vision or prediction.215 The prophetic vision is clearly absent in Tobit 4. However, all three elements are found in Tobit 14. In Tob 14:3-4, Tobit echoes the prophecies of Nahum against Nineveh, thus supplying the prophetic vision lacking in Tobit 4. Further, Tobit only believes that he is dying in Tobit 4 whereas Tobit 14 explicitly states that he summoned his sons and gave them these instructions before his death. Tobit gets another chance at a testament and he gets it right this time. In his farewell discourse, Tobit does not engage in a lengthy set of instructions. Rather, he provides only the kernel of his advice in Tobit 4. Time is of the essence when death knocks at life’s door. Lest Tobias forgets, he reminds his son to bury his mother alongside him. More 212 In 4Q196 and Vetus Latina, Tobias has seven sons. In GI, only six. 213 Tobit reflects a critical attitude towards the Second Temple, implying in Tob 14:5-6 that it has a provisional character, as opposed to the positive attitude of Ben Sira towards the Temple. KNIBB, Temple and Cult in Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphal Writings, 408-409. 214 Moore observes that Tobit is like Moses, who gives two testaments in Deuteronomy. MOORE, Tobit, 293. In addition, many versions (Slavonic, Armenian, Syriac and Arabic) of the Story of Ahiqar have Ahiqar giving two sets of ethical injunctions, one at the beginning and one at the conclusion of the story. 215 Cf. CORTÉS, Los discursos de adiós, 54-70. As von Nordheim also acknowledges in his two volume work on the testament genre, Tobit 4 is not a true testament. VON NORDHEIM, Die Lehre der Alten, 2:12.


The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11

importantly, he instructs those around his deathbed to serve God faithfully while waiting for the return to the homeland. It is a command which revolves around three areas: theological – to do what is pleasing in God’s sight216 and to remember and praise God; personal – to make every effort at righteous behavior; and communal – to assist one’s neighbors by deeds of evlehmosu,nh. Tobit evidently emphasizes the deuteronomic teaching that those who do wrong and commit sin will disappear from the land but those who repent and do right will receive accordingly.217 God scourges, but, in the end, God will once more offer his gift of mercy to those who return to him with all their heart and soul. Tobit instructs the members of the household he is about to leave behind to transmit to their children the values of remembering and praising God in the doing of avlh,qeia, dikaiosu,nh, and evlehmosu,nh (cf. Tob 14:9). By instructing them in righteousness, Tobias and his children are to be a memorial to Tobit’s life. As a parting shot, he cites the example of Ahiqar and his nephew Nadab to illustrate the value of his teaching.218 After all, the maxim “to him that does good, what is good shall be recompensed; and to him who does evil, what is evil shall be rewarded,”219 located at the conclusion of the Syriac version of the Story of Ahiqar,220 aligns consistently with Tobit’s principle that human righteousness will be repaid with divine righteousness.

216 This is the first instruction in GII Tob 14:9. It is in the second person plural. In GI, however, after the typical kai. nu/n, Tobit’s command is su. de. th,rhson to.n no,mon kai. ta. prosta,gmata kai. gi,nou fileleh,mwn kai. di,kaioj i[na soi kalw/j h=| “keep the law and the commandments and be merciful and just that it may be well for you.” It is addressed only to Tobias. 217 Cf. DI LELLA, The Deuteronomic Background of the Farewell Discourse, 381-382; MOORE, Tobit, 20-21; SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 180; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 36. 218 Tobit employs the story of Ahiqar to demonstrate the quintessence of his teaching. STRAUSS, Weisheitliche Lehrerzählungen im und um das Alte Testament, 388. 219 Cf. CONYBEARE/HARRIS/LEWIS, The Story of Ahikar, 84. 220 Lichtheim’s study of the Instruction of Ankhsheshonqy implies the antiquity of the collection of the Ahiqar materials in Syriac and other versions, concluding that the author of the demotic instruction was familiar with the Story and Wisdom of Ahiqar in a version that is closer to the Syriac and other translations than to the fifth century Elephantine text. LICHTHEIM, Late Egyptian Wisdom Literature, 13-22. For a discussion of the transmutations of Ahiqar born out of different ideologies and rhetoric, from the Aramaic Elephantine version to the different ancient versions and their relationships with each other, cf. FALES, Riflessioni sull’Ahiqar di Elefantina, 39-60. Cf. also the discussion in KOTTSIEPER, Die alttestamentliche Weisheit im Licht aramäischer Weisheitstraditionen,128-159.



2.5 Conclusion From a narratological perspective, Tob 4:3-19, 21 is a mixture of testamentary and sapiential exhortations. Tobit gives specific instructions that deal with the consequences of his death. But in more important respects, Tobit presents in his general exhortations a program for life, giving these instructions and precepts to Tobias as he leaves for a lifechanging journey. Profoundly influenced by deuteronomic ideals, Tobit’s instructions have as basic ground the remembrance of the Lord. This universal principle is instanced by three general instructions namely, the practice of righteousness, the practice of education and discipline, and the practice of prayer and praise. In turn, Tobit points out and upholds certain behaviors that concretize the three general instructions. The main motive for heeding the exhortations is the deuteronomic principle that human righteous deeds will be compensated with divine righteous actions. The instructions of Rafael in Tob 12:6-10 and Tobit’s farewell discourse in Tob 14:8-11a repeat and thus demonstrate the heavy importance of Tobit’s initial wisdom lecture. With these three general instructions, Tobit reinterprets the fundamentals of what it means to fulfill the remembrance of the Lord in the land of exile and death. In Tobit’s mind, three things are constitutive of fidelity to God and his laws while expectantly waiting for the future restoration of the exiled to the homeland; they are the practice of righteousness expressed primarily in material works of charity, education in the wisdom of God, and prayer and praise of God.

Chapter 3 The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions Stories have the incredible and uncanny ability to leave an indelible imprint on the human mind. Dry facts and statistical data are quickly forgotten, but anecdotes of human interest, once heard or read, do not easily unravel in the finely fashioned fabric of the brain. Perhaps it is because narratives are how we connect the seemingly disparate parts of life and make sense of the disjointedness of existence; they endow human experiences with a unity and shape.1 Perhaps it is because narratives are naturally adept at depicting human life and behavior. Through the character in the story, the reader can have vicarious experiences by living a particular destiny or imagining another way of being in the world. The story sketches the availability of possibilities. Perhaps it is because human consciousness is nothing other than a narrative-processing layer that underlies human experiences. For whatever reason, stories stick; they are readily remembered, they do not let go that easily. Hence, good stories make excellent vehicles for inculcating morals and reinforcing beliefs that the spinner of the tale thinks are of prime significance. It is not surprising to find that narrative is the most characteristic mode of biblical speech.2 Storytelling involves certain devices and techniques suited to meet particular ends. In casting his narrative, the author of Tobit employed sapiential instructions as part of a narrative strategy or plan in telling his story. Specifically, the narrator’s choice of narrative rhetoric includes the repetition of the Didache in three strategic places in Tobit. One can even say that the author has interspersed these practical wisdom counsels at critical junctures in the course of the story to serve as a kind of guide for the implied reader in interpreting the narrative. The way the story of Tobit is told is crucial to its meaning.

1 2

Cf. MACINTYRE, After Virtue, 217-219. MUILENBURG, The Way of Israel, 24.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

Many Tobit commentators have underappreciated the presence of these instructions in the story. Even those who have positively assessed the role of the proverb-like teachings in Tobit 4 have given them only a passing nod, asserting that Tobit’s speech serves to characterize and show the protagonist’s piety and fidelity to the law.3 Most have contended that the exhortations are tangential, disruptive even, to the story, claiming that the Didache in Tobit 4 slows down “the accelerating tempo” of the narrative.4 There is however, a need to account for their presence in the narrative design of the author. How does one make sense of these oftentimes parallel and repetitive units? It is the contention of this chapter that the role of the instructions in the Tobit story has yet to be given the narrative credit it rightfully deserves. In light of this, the goal of the chapter is to examine the function of the instructions in the narrative world of Tobit. Out of a myriad of possibilities, the writer deliberately decided to mark carefully certain phases of his narrative with wisdom discourses. Since the author deemed the inclusion of these instructions necessary in shaping and telling his story, this narrative element is not incidental but purposeful. To dismiss these wisdom speeches, which are essential parts of the author’s literary expression, as superfluous is to raise the question as to the competence of the writer as a literary artist. Aside from the obvious fact that these instructions elevate the didactic tone of the narrative, the chapter will attempt to point out some possible reasons why the author thought it important to incorporate them at key places in the story as part of his narrative design. The chapter will examine how the instructions contribute to the overall movement of the narrative and how they are integral to their immediate narrative setting.

3.1 Tobit as an Ancient Novel Various literary forms appear in Tobit. The easily recognizable literary units include genealogy, historical information, autobiography, court story, instructions, prayers, hymns, psalms, folktale motifs, legendary conflicts, demonology, angelophany, prophecies, apocalyptic and

3 4

NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 117. Cf. MOORE, Tobit, 174-176; AUNEAU, Écrits didactiques, 358. VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 110, notes that the discourse interrupts the narration while PAUTREL, Tobie, 13, describes the instructions as ornamental.

Tobit as an Ancient Novel


testament. How does one account for the use and presence of these distinct literary forms in Tobit?


Genre Suggestions

Scholars have given a number of suggestions regarding the genre of Tobit. They describe Tobit as a fictional story,5 an edifying legend,6 a sapiential haggadah,7 a fictional didactic story,8 an aretalogy or a celebratory account of divine marvels,9 and a didactic journey story.10 On account of the facts that Tobit is longer than a short story, and that it portrays the development of characters and situations rather than simply reveal them, the genre novella has also been ascribed to Tobit.11 The only difference in the various classifications lies in how to qualify its fictional status. These genre characterizations clearly indicate that the Book of Tobit is not to be perceived as history. Rather, the work is seen as a fictional creation, but one that may reflect a historical background12 and in fact witness to the historical responses of Judaism to the realities of Diaspora life.13 With many literary forms included, several scholars argue that romance, or the more embracing term ‘novel’14 best describes the

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

12 13


Cf. VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 36-37. Cf. GOETTMANN, Tobie, 9; ROST, Judaism outside the Hebrew Canon, 63; OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 16. Cf. LAVOIE, La légende de Tobit, 416. Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 278; ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 285-286. Cf. ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 18-19, where the author notes that Tobit follows this genre, if not in style, at least in intention. Cf. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 39. Cf. LEE HUMPHREYS, Novella, 85-86; SCHMITT, Die hebräischen Textfunde, 569. For an extended discussion of all the suggested genres for Tobit, see DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 261-278. Cf. also MOORE, Tobit, 17-21; KA-MUNGU, Des ténèbres à la lumière, 49-55; VIRGILI DAL PRÀ, Tobia, 1437. Cf. the comments of DIMANT, Tobit in Galilee, 354-357. Cf. PRADO, La índole literaria, 373; PFEIFFER, History of New Testament Times, 284; GOWAN, Bridge Between the Testaments, 354. According to Grabbe, “Tobit is potentially the most helpful about conditions in which the exiles lived.” GRABBE, ‘The Exile’ Under the Theodolite, 91. See also ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 15-16. Broadly speaking, the two terms are equivalent. PERRY, The Ancient Romances, 3. Pervo, however, prefers the term “novel” instead of “romance” because the latter is narrower in scope and negative in connotation. PERVO, Profit with Delight, 103.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

literary genre of Tobit.15 A novel, after all, is syncretistic for it accommodates a number of diverse genres.16 With the involvement of divine figures and with the centrality of the quest in which the hero overcomes treacherous obstacles, Tobit is specifically categorized as a Greek romance.17 More accurately, Tobit is characterized as a pious novel that follows the rules of a Greek romance or novel and the ideals of oriental biblical traditions.18 In terms of literary form, novel as a genre designation for Tobit may be accurate since Tobit is a comprehensive narrative form that displays a level of cohesion by developing the interior lives and connecting the experiences of all the individual characters via its plot. Moreover, novels or romances are narrative expressions primarily intended for the sake of entertainment, religious instruction and for their own ends as stories.19 The problem arises when the novel is viewed as being for entertainment purposes only.20 Unlike most recent avantgarde fiction written as exercises in form and style, ancient novels almost always convey a definite message; they recommend to the reader ideals and a particular view of life, usually religious.21


A Tale of Two Genres

A part of Tobit can be characterized as a traditional tale of a hero. The core story in Tobit 4–12, which occupies a major and important portion of the narrative, describes in fact the adventurous and entertaining 15 Cf. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 42-51; BONORA, Libro di Tobia, 164165; MOORE, Tobit, 17-21. Cf. also HENGEL, Hellenism and Judaism, 1:110, who calls Tobit, along with Esther and Judith, a “narrative romance.” 16 According to Pervo, of all ancient genres, the novel is the most formless, “free from restriction and open to borrow whence it pleased and develop freely in response to changing times and tastes.” PERVO, Joseph and Aseneth and the Greek Novel, 172. Novels, by nature, resists formal definition. WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 6. 17 For a discussion of other features of Greek romance found in Tobit, see LITTMAN, Tobit, xxxiii-xxxiv. Cf. however, WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 1628. 18 Cf. BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 29-38. 19 PERRY, The Ancient Romances, 45. 20 For instance, Wills claims that a “persistent whimsy” guides Tobit and that the poetics of this light novel should make interpreters cautious with comparisons to more serious literature. WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 69. 21 PERVO, Joseph and Aseneth and the Greek Novel, 173. Cf. also IDEM, Profit with Delight, 102-104.

Tobit as an Ancient Novel


journey of Tobias. The odyssey of Tobias is the story around which the larger narrative is built: Tobit 1–3 provides the problematic situation that justifies the journey and Tobit 13–14 typifies a sort of a happilyever-after ending. Having conquered all kinds of trials and having saved the distressed characters in the story, all described in colorful and fantastic detail, the young Tobias comes out as the victorious but unlikely hero of the narrative.22 This quest that culminates in a marriage unifies the entire extended narrative of Tobit.23 According to Susan Niditch, such paradigmatic tales of heroes and journeys display conventional or formulaic structures that are open to improvisation.24 Further, the fact that the dramatis personae of Tobit are not merely personal but are representative of the collective, underscores an appropriation of a time-honored paradigm.25 This folktale plot common in conventional styles of composition is a serviceable formula that afforded the writer of Tobit a set of loose structural pattern to convey a message appropriate to the needs and tastes of his original reader.26 Despite the traditional blueprint, Tobit still feels fresh. Such characterization, however, is insufficient to capture the nature of the Tobit narrative. To reduce Tobit to a heroic tale is to ignore how the entire narrative is entitled, even built. The fact that the story is introduced as bi,bloj lo,gwn Twbiq, literally ‘the book of the words of Tobit,’27 should provoke further reflection. This title, which the Vetus Latina translates as ‘liber sermonum Thobi,’ may in fact reflect the intention of the author, but even if it does not, the title given to the work immediately colors the reader’s perception of the text. 22 Blenkinsopp acknowledges that structurally speaking, Tobias is the hero. The author, however, cautions that it is not as easy to pinpoint the protagonist in Jewish tales because of its focus on kinship. BLENKINSOPP, Biographical Patterns in Biblical Narrative, 38. Milne says that Blenkinsopp’s claim implies that Tobit and Sarah share the role of hero with Tobias but this is unlikely since Tobit and Sarah do not perform any functions considered heroic in Propp’s model. MILNE, Folktales and Fairy Tales, 48. Cf. also GUNKEL, Das Märchen im Alten Testament, 85-86. 23 BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, n.2, 30. 24 NIDITCH, Folklore and the Hebrew Bible, 5. Pervo claims that successful plots, incidents and motifs are employed because of their appeal to popular tastes. PERVO, Profit with Delight, 90. Milne tentatively assigns to Tobit the genre of a fairy tale. MILNE, Folktales and Fairy Tales, 51. Otzen posits the hypothesis that Tobit moved from a traditional fairy tale to a Jewish fairy tale. OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 15-16. Cf. also SOLL, Misfortune and Exile in Tobit, 209-219. 25 Cf. BLENKINSOPP, Biographical Patterns in Biblical Narrative, 41. 26 Cf. SOLL, Tobit and Folklore Studies, 39-53. 27 Soll claims that the title is an attempt to pattern the story after the sacred stories of Israel. SOLL, Misfortune and Exile in Tobit, 220.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

This description of the work is actually appropriate since the frames of the main story, namely Tobit 1–3 and Tobit 13–14, are predominantly the words of Tobit. Tobit 1–3 is told from a first person point of view, and the story therein recounted is literally the words of Tobit. Tobit’s prayer in Tob 3:1-6 and his long hymn of praise in Tobit 13 are his own words as well. Generally speaking, the nature of Tobit’s words in Tobit 1–3 and in Tobit 13 can be described as instructional. By recounting in his own words his own exemplary deeds of piety and righteousness in the former, and by singing a psalm of praise to God in the latter, Tobit is like a sage who edifies both by example and act of praise. Before the journey of his son, Tobit gives Tobias words of instructions. Tobit certainly waxes didactic in his farewell discourse in Tob 14:3-11. In short, the words of Tobit hover over and bracket the traditional tale of a hero. Without the tale, Tobit’s words are mere words – without content, illustration or narrative validity. Without Tobit’s words, the tale is just like any other tale. The title and the words of Tobit that dominate the narrative, unmask the author’s intent not only to entertain but equally to edify his reader and disseminate wisdom values. The lo,gwn Twbiq of this bi,bloj make the sapiential shading of the narrative more pronounced. This compositional style suggests a hybrid of genres, a mixture of tale and instruction, which the tag ‘sapiential novel’ may best denote. Tobit’s affinity to Ahiqar bolsters the description of Tobit as a wisdom novel.28 In a typical sapiential novel, a traditional popular story, which may already exude an admonitory or exemplary value, is employed as a foundational story that is then enhanced by a substantial amount of wisdom materials.29 The author has appropriated both literary types as suitable vehicles for the construction of something quite new and 28 Because of the similarities between Tobit and Ahiqar, Toloni claims that Tobit’s genre is between a novel and a didactic-sapiential romance. TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 159-164. Cf. ARNALDICH, Tobit, 771, who has earlier stated that in both texts, “hay mezcla de elemento narrativo y didáctico, prevaleciendo el primero en Tobit y el segundo en Ahikar. Cf. also ROTA SCALABRINI, L’Angelo neceessario, 879: “Il tono sapienziale emerge infatti da ogni pagina; ad es., l’ospitalità, tanto esaltata nel libro, e le pratiche giudaiche descritte e raccomandate, orientano chiaramente a definire questa operetta come romanzo sapienziale breve.” 29 PERVO, Joseph and Aseneth and the Greek Novel, 174. Gowan describes Tobit as a “short story of considerable charm embellished with typical proverbial wisdom.” GOWAN, Bridge Between the Testaments, 353. Grelot also describes Tobit as a sapiential novel. GRELOT, Les noms de parenté dans le livre de Tobie, 329. Cf. also DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 273-279.

Story and Discourse


unique30 in order to respond to the religious and cultural needs of the people in the Diaspora.31 In the Book of Tobit, the tale of Tobias and the words of Tobit are structurally and intimately related.

3.2 Story and Discourse Tobit commentators often note that the instructions in Tobit 4 bog down the plot of the story; they make the narrative seem disjointed. This mixing of wisdom speeches and narrative is dismissed as a crude error attributable to the writer’s incompetence. This scholarly complaint may in fact be due to modern literary sensibilities conditioned by tightly constructed narratives.32 Scholars and readers alike skim through the wisdom discourses because they are not structurally rewarding episodes. Such an attitude views Scriptures as literature in the modern conventional sense, whereby materials and writings that seemingly have nothing to do with the story, such as lists and wisdom exhortations, are not considered as vital elements or effective tools of literary expression but “unfortunate encumbrances”33 or as a “kind of parenthesis.”34 The list does retard the narrative thrust, but if Tobit wants to tell Tobias what he knows and what values define his life, he has to put it in list form; the list ensures that nothing is left out. Such negative assessment fails further to view the discourses in Tobit as events. If these wisdom speeches are considered as such, they are then designated like any event in the story as significant parts, constitutive elements that build up the logic of the narrative.35 As parts of

30 Cf. SOGGIN, Introduction to the Old Testament, 432, who observes that “the narrative abounds in original touches, often very attractive, and is a unique instance of its kind.” According to Hengel, Tobit, along with Esther, hints at a new phase in Hebrew literature. HENGEL, Judaism and Hellenism, 1:30. 31 According to Perry, old types or forms are simply patterns and building materials that the author employs. What is required for the creation of something new is the intention of the author and purpose of satisfying new spiritual and intellectual needs in a particular time, not the mechanical elements of the book such as plots or motifs. Without such a need, there will be no new significant literary forms. For him, why literary forms came about is more important than how they came to be. PERRY, The Ancient Romances, 8-43. 32 GRABBE, Tobit, 741. 33 Cf. ALTER, The World of Biblical Literature, 55. 34 Cf. VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 96. 35 Cf. POWELL, What is Narrative Criticism?, 35.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

the chronology of the story, the discourses are integrally related to their immediate narrative setting. More importantly, the charge that the list of instructions in Tobit intrudes and disrupts the flow of the narrative fails to recognize the distinction between what narrative critics call a story and a discourse. Story is the content of the narrative while discourse is the rhetoric of the narrative or how a story is told.36 To use the technical terms of narratology, the story is the signified, or what the narrative relates, while discourse is the narrative signifier, the manner in which the writer presents the incidents of the story, or “the totality of the mechanism by which a narrator composes a narrative.”37 In other words, the story that is told is different from how the story is told, which is the discourse or the choice of narrative strategy on the part of the storyteller. This implies that to tell the same story in different ways will produce different stories. The writer of Tobit includes the instructions as part of his own narrative plan and distinct literary expression. By considering the discourse of the narrative, one can discern how the author of Tobit directs the implied reader in understanding the story and its message.


The Shape of the Story

When fashioning a story, writers do not write ad hoc or “create their plots ex nihilo,” but usually employ typical patterns or conventional plots.38 In the ancient world especially, writers would avail themselves of all sorts of materials from their tradition and this ‘textual collage’ was accepted as “a matter of standard literary procedure.”39 Storytellers often cast traditional narrative materials into new forms. They use popular plots and serviceable patterns and tailor them to their concerns.40 A plot is of course the narrative sequencing of events or the organizing principle that connects the actions and episodes of the story for it to convey meaning. In the case of the Tobit narrative, the original 36 37 38 39 40

POWELL, What is Narrative Criticism?, 23. Cf. MARGUERAT/BOURQUIN, How to Read Bible Stories, 20-21. SKA, “Our Fathers Have Told Us”, 36. ALTER, The World of Biblical Literature, 15. As Propp notes in his study of fairy tales, the persistence of identical actions that involve different actors and that are executed in quite different ways is notable. PROPP, Structure and History in the Study of the Fairy Tale, 69.

Story and Discourse


writer, in order to craft his story, had recourse to plots involving reversal of fortune for God’s faithful, and the heroic quest. Yet the author of Tobit, taking up these well-known plots, fabricated a narrative quilt by employing his own distinctive rhetoric. Behind this narrative text is therefore an author who put his own personal stamp and expression on these timeless plots, motifs and themes. A quick glance at works of fiction will indicate that reversal of fortune and the transformative quest are the stuff and mainstay of storytelling from The Odyssey to The Lord of the Rings, from The Ugly Duckling to The Count of Monte Cristo. The “How” and the “What” of Tobit The narrative strategy or discourse of Tobit is more interested in the ‘how’ instead of the ‘what’ of the story. As early as Tob 3:16-17, the author uses prolepsis to foreshadow the ending of the entire story. By telling the reader at such an early stage in the story that the prayers of Tobit and Sarah have been heard, and as a response, God has sent his angel Rafael to heal the afflictions of both of them, the author has indicated that his concern and challenge to the reader lies not in the resolution of the problem presented in the story, but in the manner in which the problem is resolved. Since the reader has been informed at the beginning that God’s intervention falls in the favor of the characters, the attention is not on the suspense, which in the author’s view, has no decisive importance in itself.41 Everything has been determined at this moment, but how exactly this end will come about is yet to be discovered. Certainly, this prolepsis reduces the narrative tension and risks impairing the interest of the reader, but when the end is foretold at the outset, the reader can focus “more on the ‘how’ of the concrete narration than on the ‘what’ of the ‘story’.”42 In other words, another kind of 41 Cf. NAVARRO PUERTO, El Libro de Tobías, 411. As Pfeiffer also states, this narrative notice of divine intervention relieves the anxiety of the reader about the misfortunes of Tobit and Sarah but decreases the dramatic suspense. PFEIFFER, History of New Testament Times, 277. The narrator has already assured the reader of God’s absolute control of things on earth in describing Rafael’s mission after Tobit and Sarah’s prayers in Tob 3:16-17. PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:39. Echoing a similar judgment of ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 40, Fitzmyer claims that the story does not build up to a suspenseful climax. FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 34. Zappella notes that the purpose is for the reader to concentrate on the characters and discover the real deus ex machina that aligns the seemingly inextricable threads of the story. ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 13. 42 SKA, “Our Fathers Have Told Us”, 8.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

suspense, revolving around the question “how is it going to happen?” substitutes for the type of suspense that derives from the question “what will happen next?”. The narrative relies on curiosity, rather than on suspense or surprise.43 The writer of Tobit then takes his time to unfold the ‘how’ of the resolution. Focusing on the ‘how’ instead of the ‘what’ of the story affords the author of Tobit a chance to incorporate nicely the tradition of discourses typically given by patriarchs who believe they are at death’s door.44 As such, he feels free to insert an extensive list of instructions as part of his narrative strategy. From a theological perspective, this emphasis on the ‘how’ instead of the ‘what’ of the narrative may express the author’s hope and conviction that with God everything shall end well, despite appearances to the contrary. Where God is the protagonist, as biblical narratives go, the ‘how’ of the story becomes the storyteller’s playing field, for the end result is bound to be positive – God inevitably restores a troubled and chaotic universe, for God controls history and knows ”the news before it happens.”45 That the narrator offered and inserted a list of instructions is a way to discount forgetfulness and chaos; the list implies his belief in precision, formality and order as well as his understanding that things are not out of control. What remains to be seen then is how this end might transpire, or how God’s saving actions orchestrate seemingly random events and subsume human frailties and decisions to fashion something beautiful, good and liberating from them. In his choice of narrative rhetoric, the author of Tobit offers a vision of how God continues to abide and steer the course of history which will in due course come to a good end for his chosen people. From the point of view of the writer, the response to the question “how is it going to happen?” entails the considerable role of Tobit’s sapiential discourses. The narrative discourse reflects this theological commitment.

43 On these three narrative universals, see SONNET, L’analyse narrative des récits bibliques, 70-72. 44 Cf. MOORE, Tobit, 174; GRABBE, Tobit, 742. 45 Cf. AMIT, Reading Biblical Narratives, 112.

Story and Discourse

125 The Five Narrative Movements How does the author then narrate his story? If the classic quinary scheme or five successive moments of the story is followed,46 since the narrative progresses ‘in classic fashion,’47 then the initial situation or exposition of Tobit would consist of Tob 1:1–2:10, which narrates Tobit’s self-presentation as a righteous person who suffers the vicissitudes of exilic life, including loss of fortune as well as sight, with the added discomfiture of being supported by his wife. This feels like death for Tobit: everything worthwhile is taken from him (cf. Tob 5:10). Another exposition, that of innocent Sarah, parallels Tobit’s situation. She marries seven times but ends up only with dead husbands on the night of her marital consummation in Tob 3:7-8a. Without a husband in a patriarchal world she is as if dead. In fact, the introductions to these two stories relate “the events in close literary symmetry.”48 The exposition thus gives the necessary information and background to the deficit or problematic situation that the story will attempt to change or reverse. As in other Old Testament narratives, Tobit’s exposition involves initial calm that is gradually altered and forms the backdrop for the conflict that is highly detailed.49 Such presentations, which are usually descriptive and static, allow the reader to enter into the world of the story. In the Tobit strand of the story, the complication, or that which triggers the rise in dramatic tension, is located in Tob 2:11–3:6, whereby after suffering a scathing reproach from his wife Anna,50 who seems to be intent on compounding the sufferings of her husband,51 Tobit is so 46 For an illustration of the scheme, cf. MARGUERAT/BOURQUIN, How to Read Bible Stories, 43-45. It is also referred to as the pediment structure. AMIT, Reading Biblical Narratives, 48-57. Cf. also SKA/SONNET/WÉNIN, L’analyse narrative, 24-28; SONNET, L’analyse narrative des récits bibliques, 60-62. 47 Cf. NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 791. 48 There are four elements that correspond symmetrically to each other in the two stories: Tobit’s piety (2:1-7) to Sarah’s innocence (presumed, e.g., 3:14), his blindness (2:9-10) to her demon (3:8a), his reproach (2:14b) to her reproaches (3:7, 8b-9) and finally, his prayer (3:1-6) to her prayer (3:10-15). NICKESLBURG, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Misnah, 30. 49 Licht comments that the exposition of Old Testament stories are typically “longish and slightly elaborate.” LICHT, Storytelling in the Bible, 28. 50 On Anna’s character, see BOW, Anna 1, 49-50. 51 Cf. MOORE, Tobit, 135. Calduch-Benages also notes that, from a narrative point of view, the response of Anna provokes the prayer of Tobit. CALDUCH-BENAGES, El libro de Tobías, una historia de familia, 49. Gruen says that Tobit hardly emerges from this scene as an admirable character. GRUEN, Diaspora, 152.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

downcast he can only weep and plead with God to deliver him from his miseries by granting him death. In tandem with Anna’s reproach of Tobit is Sarah’s reproach by her maids. The complication begins in Tob 3:8b-15, where after the mocking reproaches of her servant,52 she is so aggrieved that she has decided to hang herself. Changing her mind, however, she prays to God on the same day Tobit raises his voice to God in prayer.53 But unlike Tobit, she does not request that God set her free by death, but that God deal with her as God pleases. The deriding reproaches as well as the prayers of desperation tighten the narrative tension. At this point, Tobit and Sarah feel the helplessness of their respective fates and the tortuous pangs of grief, isolation and loneliness.54 They are “two souls who wrestle with the apparent disarray of salvation history, like two ‘loose ends’ seeking the meaning of life.”55 They cannot even turn to their loved ones or neighbors for comfort and deliverance. They have reached the bottomless pit gnawing at them, and only God can extend a saving hand to rid them of their misfortunes. The things that go wrong in Tobit’s and Sarah’s world allow the possibility of plot and of character development. These two simultaneous situations of misery will be addressed in the third movement of the narrative which involves the transforming action. The goal of such action is to eliminate the difficulties or remove the disturbances announced earlier in the story.56 In the Tobit narrative, the transforming action takes the form of a long quest on the part of the

52 Sarah’s female servants accuse her of killing her husbands. The slaves also accuse Sarah of beating them (cf. Tob 3:9). According to Levine, the childless and unmarried condition of the young Sarah harms her and causes her to harm others. LEVINE, Diaspora as Metaphor, 112. Cf. also BOW, Sarah 2, 152-153; GLANCY, The Mistress–Slave Dialectic, 86-87: “The Book of Tobit condones the violence of a mistress against her slaves to the extent that Sarah’s abuse of her slaves is constructed as evidence of her nuptial sorrows rather than evidence against her character.” In his meditation on the Aqedah, Kierkegaard includes some reflections on Tobit and finds Sarah a profoundly tragic heroine. KIERKEGAARD, Fear and Trembling, 124-128. For an evaluation of Kierkegaard’s reading of Sarah, see PYPER, ‘Sarah is the Hero’, 59-71. 53 According to Reardon, Tobit’s and Sarah’s prayers, prayed on the same day and at the same time, would constitute a duet if performed as opera. REARDON, Under the Gaze of God & Angels, 41. On simultaneity in narratives, see SONNET, L’analyse narrative des récits bibliques, 68-70. For a discussion of how the prayers influence the plot, see VAN DEN EYNDE, Prayer as Part of Characterization, 527-536. 54 Portier-Young states that grief defines Tobit’s existence. PORTIER-YOUNG, Alleviation of Suffering in the Book of Tobit, 42. 55 DUMM, Tobit (Tobias), Book of, 96. 56 Cf. MARGUERAT/BOURQUIN, How to Read Bible Stories, 44.

Story and Discourse


hero.57 Tobias travels from Nineveh to Media to retrieve the ten talents of silver that his father entrusted to a cousin. This episodic plot, which entails the guidance of an angel, extends from Tob 4:1 to Tob 12:22. The author moves into this long and unifying narrative moment by incorporating a large group of instructional materials. Since Tobit’s instructions introduce this episodic quest of Tobias, it is reasonable to say that the instructions form part of the transformative action that addresses the imbalance in the narrative and rescues the characters from their anxiety-ridden world. The guidance of Rafael disguised as Azariah and the therapeutic gestures of Tobias culminate in the reversal of the unfavorable situation: Tobit sees the light, and Sarah, with an able and virile husband, foresees a bright future. The denouement of the Tobit narrative, which describes the effects of the transforming action on the characters, is in Tobit 12–13. The complicating reproaches of Anna and the maids, and the prayers for death and deliverance by Tobit and Sarah are symmetrically countered by a calm angelic speech. Rafael tells the protagonists that God has responded to their prayers, informing them of God’s concealed action, reestablishing them in a blissful and blessed state.58 Instead of death, God has restored them to life, and reproaches give way to praises. As Rafael reveals the hidden order behind all the events that bestowed boon upon Tobit and his family, he enjoins upon the protagonists the observance of certain maxims. In chapter 13, Tobit sings a joyful praise as a response to the angelophany and the disclosure of God’s initiative on their behalf. Tobit has been transformed from sorrow to joy, from despair to praise.59 Lastly, the final situation, which describes the new routine reality, is found in Tob 14:1-15. The initial deficit in the narrative is now terminated. A distinctive feature of endings, the story returns to a state that

57 After the sending of Tobias, Anna grieves over the absence of her son Tobias (cf. Tob 5:17-19). This episode finds a parallel in the Book of Jubilees where Rebekah likewise grieves over the departure of her son Jacob (cf. Jub 27:13-18). For a brief discussion of the parallel accounts, see ENDRES, Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees, 9597. 58 Cavedo asserts that the miraculous salvation of Tobit and Sarah has a special appeal to the nobodys of the world, the marginalized and the oppressed, or similarly, to those in the Diaspora. CAVEDO, La speranza del povero in Tobia, 320. 59 For De Long, Tobit’s praise points to a change not only in his circumstances but also in his character. In extremis, Tobit fails to praise. Now, with such an effusive praise, Tobit shows not only his physical but also his spiritual transformation. DE LONG, Surprised by God, 86.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

is static and serene.60 Tobit, presumably changed, lives his years of ease and Tobias enjoys the blessings of children and long life. The conclusion also tells of Tobit’s death and desire for an honorable burial fulfilled after a life of praising God and giving alms in the midst of prosperity. In the final moments of his earthly blessedness and bliss, Tobit gathers the members of his household and exhorts them to heed the principles that have governed his life.61 The Ultimate State of Lack in the Narrative The ending of Tobit, with the restoration of order in Tobit’s world, makes it appear that the story is closed. As such, the conclusion leaves nothing to the reader’s imagination.62 But in another sense, the ending does not really provide a satisfactory closure; it is incomplete. The narrative earlier hints at a more global problem that remains to be addressed. Although the story has come to its calm, a certain tension and foreboding still looms as Tobit asks Tobias to take his family and flee into Media (cf. Tob 14:3-4). In the initial exposition, the narrative makes references to the situation of exile (cf. Tob 1:2-3; 10). The opening sentences of the story already create “a tension between ‘homeland’ and ‘exile’ by contrasting the genealogical and local origins of Tobit with his exile by the Assyrians.”63 The narrative references to the reproaches (cf. Tob 2:14; 3:16; 8:10), which ultimately propel the narrative forward64 by precipitating the prayers of both Tobit and Sarah, are also indicative of the exilic condition (cf. Deut 28:25). All the problematic situations at the beginning of the story including Tobit’s reduced economic status and loss of sight, as well as the deadly threat of the demon Asmodeus to the marital bliss of the lovely Sarah,65 have been addressed and reversed except for the circumstance of exile.66 In the final stage of the narrative, all that the author can do is to hint at the possibility of reversal of the exilic state by appealing to the 60 Cf. AMIT, Reading Biblical Narratives, 37. 61 For an analysis of the exposition of Tobit based on how the narrative uses time references, see NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 90-99. 62 Cf. LICHT, Storytelling in the Bible, 27. 63 EGO, The Book of Tobit and the Diaspora, 42; IDEM, Heimat in der Fremde, 270-271. 64 Gruen says that the shame that results from insults is the driving force of the story. GRUEN, Diaspora, 152. 65 Collins adds Tobias’s need for a wife as another state of lack. COLLINS, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 545. 66 Cf. SOLL, Misfortune and Exile in Tobit, 209-231.

Story and Discourse


hidden and mysterious ways of a providential God and alluding to the eschatological day of salvation. There is yet to be an agreeable resolution to the disturbing condition of exile, but he has left this to the imagination of the reader, placing upon them certain responsibilities. As Tobit has done, so Israel is called to do in order to experience the deliverance Tobit and his family has experienced.67 With the author’s focus on the ‘how’ instead of the ‘what’ of the narrative, the narrator has shown his belief that a happy finale to the problem of exiled Israel will be attained. The rhetoric of his narrative points to the possibility, even the inevitability, that order will come from disorder. What the story cannot show, its discourse suggests. Narrative Structure and the Wisdom Instructions According to Engel, the episodic quest of Tobias, which is the principal and middle section of the Tobit narrative, observes a concentric or chiastic A-B-C-D-C'-B'-A' pattern.68 The story finds its center in the marriage celebration of Tobias and Sarah in Ecbatana in Tob 7:9b–10:13 (D). All the elements of the story are thus directed to this middle. This is framed by Tobias’s trips, first from Nineveh to Ecbatana in Tob 6:2– 7:9a (C) and second, from Ecbatana to his return home to Nineveh where Tobit is released from his blindness in Tob 11:1-19 (C'). These two trips are further bracketed by Rafael-related episodes, with the search for a guide and companion for Tobias in Tob 5:1–6:1 (B) as the first bracket, and the final encounter with Rafael and the offer of wages in Tob 12:1-22 (B') as the second bracket. In the last Rafael-related episode that hems in the long and transformative quest of Tobias, Rafael directs the protagonists to follow certain counsels. The journey of Tobias, therefore, begins and ends with words of instructions, from his father at the beginning of the journey and from an angel at the end of his voyage. Interestingly, Rafael’s dominant instruction is a call to praise, to which Tobit obliges with a long canticle of praise and thanksgiving in Tobit 13. Engel is correct in observing that the circle which encloses all the events in the quest of Tobias are the words of Tobit: his instructions to his son in Tobit 4 (A) before Tobias leaves home to retrieve the money on deposit with a cousin, and his canticle of praise and thanksgiving in 67 Cf. PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:41-42. 68 Cf. ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 279-282; IDEM, Auf zu verlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit, 89-91. Cf. also SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 37-38; BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, n.2, 30; SCHNUPP, Schutzengel, 35-36.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

Tobit 13 (A'). Tobias’s journey is bracketed by an admonition to obedience and a summons to praise, a movement which mirrors the canonical flow of the Psalms, since the book begins with a call to obedience in Psalm 1 and ends with a call to praise in Psalm 150, with various expressions of experiences of suffering and questions of God’s dsx in between.69 In this way, the narrative structure of Tobit articulates the shape of Israel’s faith. Certainly, the prologue, which presents the problematic state of the protagonists in the story, and the epilogue, which presents the restored state of the characters, frame the odyssey of Tobias. No matter how one structures the narrative movement of Tobit, one cannot help but realize that the Didache is organically embedded into the flow of the narrative.70 As a stylistic emphasis, a collection of instructions symmetrically envelops the beginning and the end of the micro-narrative involving the uncertain journey of Tobias. A smaller group of similar instructions concludes the entire Tobit narrative. The instructions do provide a certain structure to the narrative; they mark key transitions in the story. Their strategic spot in the narrative emphasizes their significant role. By framing the narrative, the discourses become central elements of the story.71 In fact, as the story progresses, the repeated instructions become briefer in detail and length, an indication of an inverse relationship between the wisdom speeches and the development of the narrative. When the story returns to its calm as it ends, Tobit’s instructions are reduced to their core. As part of the writer’s discourse, they are an element of the narrative that cannot be dismissed.


The Characterization of Tobit

Without going into the debate about whether biblical characters are fully developed or flat, one must note the portrayal of Tobit in the story. Unlike modern fiction in which many novels exist for the sake of the central character, Tobit exists for the sake of the story. Biblical narratives are ideologically peculiar in that they are “in fine and large the 69 Cf. BRUEGGEMANN, Bounded by Obedience and Praise, 63-92. See also OEMING, Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Key, 155-157. 70 According to Otzen, the instructions saturate the entire story. OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 32. Levine also notes that ethical concerns and religious instructions are all played out in Tobias’s journey. LEVINE, Teaching Jews How to Live, 46. 71 Cf. VON STEMM, Der betende Sünde vor Gott, 145.

Story and Discourse


development of a religious ideology – a theology that is paradoxically anthropocentric, a literature of preachment.”72 In light of this, the way Tobit is depicted exists on two levels: he is a complex and convincing flesh and blood individual who experiences fear and faith, joy and gloom, doubt and hope, confronted and confounded by a reality that defies human explanations. At the same time, he is a model and foreshadowing of persons and events in his people’s history. Tobit’s persona of a righteous sufferer in the midst of exilic life might well represent the collective experience and hopes of his people.73 Tobit’s misfortunes exemplify the travails of a nation in exile.74 Undoubtedly, the instructions as reported speech 75 in Tobit 4 help characterize Tobit as a prototypical Torah-observing Israelite who considers the education of his son a serious and sacred responsibility. His discourses in Tobit 4 and 14 also show Tobit as a wise man and an authoritative teacher of the law who is profoundly knowledgeable about the wisdom and the ways of his forefathers. As a young orphan, he was trained and initiated into the religious, moral and sapiential consensus of his tradition by his own grandmother Deborah.76 72 Cf. BRICHTO, Toward a Grammar of Biblical Poetics, 7-8. Damrosch claims that biblical writers often did not think they were writing literature. DAMROSCH, The Narrative Covenant, 33. Cf. however, the prudent evaluation of Alter who claims that biblical literature, because of the conventions and logic of literary expression, offers insights and pleasures that go beyond the limits of ideological or doctrinal purposes. Indeed, biblical writers instructed, keeping their focus on God and Israel, covenant and the commandments, but they also took delight in the formal, playful and imaginative conventions of storytelling. In other words, literary invention and religious and moral concerns are not to be opposed to each other, for literary craftsmanship is not simply for the sake of aesthetics. ALTER, The World of Biblical Literature, 25-46. Cf. also the assessment of SONNET, From Midrash to Rashi, 123-125. 73 In her discussion of Tobit’s prayer, Ego makes a similar observation, pointing out that Tobit’s acknowledgment of his sins contrasts with the writer’s portrayal of him as a pious individual. But a contextual consideration indicates that Tobit is to be viewed not simply as a private individual, but must also be regarded as a representative of his people. EGO, The Book of Tobit and the Diaspora, 45. Dancy considers Tobit and Tobias as both “realistic representatives of the Jewish people.” DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 5. Davis notes that Tobit mingles the personal and the national. DAVIES, Didactic Stories, 100. Cf. also VAN DEN EYNDE, Prayer as Part of Characterization, 528-530. 74 NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 791. Cf. also NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 116: “He is at one and the same time an individual and a symbol of the Jewish people.” 75 For the role of speech in characterizing individuals, cf. BAR-EFRAT, Narrative Art in the Bible, 65-77. 76 On women as teachers of wisdom, cf. CRAVEN, Women as Teachers of Torah, 275289.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

The writer further evokes Moses in his early portrayal of Tobit.77 Specifically, the instructional discourse aligns the character of Tobit with Moses the law-giver.78 As Moses gives two testaments, so does Tobit. Like Moses who delivers the pedagogy of God to the people of Israel as they prepare to enter the land, Tobit engages in some extensive didactic efforts for the sake of Tobias as he prepares for his odyssey. With a testament as he breathes his last, the ethical admonitions Tobit gives in the epilogue of the narrative conform him with the great patriarchs of Israel’s history.79 The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is of course a traditional example of this type of portrayal. Specifically, Tobit’s testamentary discourse replicates the persona of Jacob in Genesis 49. Moreover, Tobit’s insistence on one burial site for him and his wife Anna (cf. Tob 4:4) also carries some patriarchal overtones80 (cf. Gen 25:9; 49:29-31). This patriarchal portrait of Tobit extends from the beginning all the way to the end of the narrative. The testamentary discourse at the end of the book is neatly balanced by Tobit’s genealogy at the beginning of the story. The patriarchs are normally provided with genealogies in the Pentateuch. The middle section further evokes the biblical type-scene in which Abraham sends Isaac and a companion to search for a wife. A prophetic outlook also contextualizes the final instructions of Tobit in the closing chapter.81 Although he is dying, it is not so much death that motivates his exhortations as it did in the first two admonitions to Tobias. Nor are his instructions prompted by education and formation as the rest of his instructions are in chapter four. Rather, it is hope for a better future that textually precedes and colors the instruc77 In addition to his portrait as patriarch, Tobit is a Moses figure who begs the Lord to remember the way Moses did in Deut 9:27 (cf. DI LELLA, Two Major Prayers in the Book of Tobit, 114), who pleads the Lord to grant him death the way Moses did in Num 11:15 (cf. KIEL, Tobit and Moses Redux, 89), and who receives direction to write things down the way Moses did in Exod 34:27 (cf. Tob 12:20). Weitsman explores the similarities between Moses and Ahiqar in WEITZMAN, Lesson from the Dying, 383392. 78 Cf. CRAGHAN, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Jonah, Ruth, 139. 79 Cf. GROß, Tobit.Judit, 51; GAMBERONI, Das ‘Gesetz des Mose’ im Buch Tobias, 241. 80 Cf. ESTRADÉ/GIRBAU, Tobit – Judit, 50; EGO, Death and Burial in the Tobit Narration, 94-95. 81 Cf. CORTÉS, Los discursos de adiós, 102-108; NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 803; STRAUSS, Weisheitliche Lehrerzählungen, 388; GRABBE, Tobit, 747. Cf. also HENGEL, Judaism and Hellenism, 1:206, who claims that at this time, the sages acquired prophetic traits and the prophets were thought as inspired sages.

Story and Discourse


tions. After having experienced the mysterious and hidden presence of God in his life, Tobit stands on solid ground when he predicts with authority that God will continue to do wonders not simply for him or his family but also for his beleaguered people. The destruction of Nineveh is but the first pointer of the most amazing wonder such as has never been seen since the days of old when God liberated the Israelites from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. It is this hope, made firmer by tangible experience, which provides the ground and authority for his final instructions. Tobit’s experience cannot but confirm God’s pleasure with the values embodied in his injunctions. Thus, at the end of his life, brimming with hope, Tobit can utter these exhortations with confidence and authority knowing that guarding the teachings of his righteous predecessors in his heart has not been in vain. More prominent therefore is the image of Tobit in the mold of a prophet who dares give a challenge. Tobit gives voice to the prophetic call that as long as those around him apply themselves to the practice of his instructions with all their might and passion, righteousness and truth shall remain, thereby ushering in the hope that God will remember his people, with the consequence that the greatest manifestation of God’s mercy and marvels will materialize eventually.82 God continues to abide with his people when they live the way of truth and righteousness and do not forget solidarity with their brothers and sisters.83 Doing so is not pointless, for God will eventually match, if not exceed, the merciful deeds of his people with his own tender mercies. Like the prophets of Israel’s history, Tobit calls the exiled Israelites back to the remembrance of the Lord and everything that this entailed for him. And like them, he offers his people and readers hope. In the end, misery, personal or otherwise, cannot “prevent the believer who remains steadfast in the fear and love of God from experiencing the blessing of joy.”84 Guarding Tobit’s counsels in the heart will eventually lead to the eschatological day of redemption. The goal of righteous behavior and piety, which is a key component to the individual’s relationship with God and through which the believer obtains blessings, is ultimately corporate survival and salvation.85 This concern for the community’s continued existence through proper behavior is certainly prophetic. 82 Cf. for instance Isa 51:1-3, 7-8; 56:1-2; 59:1-14; 58:6-12. Cf. also ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 97: “cuando una ciudad perversa es castigada, el justo debe huir para ponerse en salvo; es la enseñanza de Lot en Sodoma (Gen 19).” 83 Cf. WEIGL, Die rettende Macht der Barmherzigkeit, 241. 84 DI LELLA, The Deuteronomic Background of the Farewell Discourse, 388. 85 Cf. DAVIES, Didactic Stories, 113.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

The characterization of Tobit as a patriarchal, wise, prophetic and Mosaic figure has powerful repercussions for the lessons of this sapiential novel. Since the instructions come out of the mouth of one patterned after such archetypal figures who, in the history of Israel, have been God’s instruments of revelation and promises, the narrator inspires in the reader an amount of respect, if not reverence for the main character. By portraying Tobit in such a fashion, the narrator attempts to claim patriarchal, prophetic, sage-like and Mosaic authority for the lessons and promises of his narrative. In this way, Tobit’s voice demands to be attended to seriously and his practical teachings command obedience.86


Repetition as a Literary Device

One discerns a pattern with regard to the sapiential discourses in the organization of the narrative. Following the folktale and biblical pattern of three, the instructions, or at least their essence, appear thrice in the Tobit narrative. The threefold repetition emphasizes not only the instructions themselves but also the significant role the instructions have for the narrative. With such triplication, one can even say that instruction is a recurring motif in the story. For this reason, they strongly “influence the shape of the whole, and any attempt to tamper with the repetitions means that the very character of the piece is changed entirely.”87 That the author utilized the device of repetition systematically and deliberately as part of his narrative rhetoric is in no doubt. But what is the relevance of thrice repeating the instructions in the course of the story? According to narrative critics, repetition is a powerful structural device.88 In biblical storytelling, this literary technique is usually em-

86 As Cousland argues, if Tobit is a mere figure of fun, or a comic character as commentators like Gruen or Wills take him to be, then Tobit’s statements are inevitably qualified and undermined. COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error?, 545. 87 LICHT, Storytelling in the Bible, 52. 88 For an extensive discussion of repetition in the Hebrew Bible, cf. LICHT, Storytelling in the Bible, 51-95; STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 365-440; POWELL, What is Narrative Criticism?, 32; FOKKELMAN, Reading Biblical Narrative, 121-122; SKA/SONNET/WÉNIN, L’analyse narrative, 35-37; SONNET, L’analyse narrative des récits bibliques, 83-89. According to Niditch, repetition of symbols, words, structure, syntax, content and thoughts is a salient feature of traditional literature. NIDITCH, Folklore and the Hebrew Bible, 9.

Story and Discourse


ployed for a purpose;89 repetition is not done for the sake of repetition. Otherwise, such device will only induce monotony thereby making the story needlessly boring, if not tedious. The device may have been dictated by the necessities of oral storytelling, since the teller of the tale or the listener cannot go back and turn the page.90 But just as likely, the repetitions may actually be a realistic recognition on the part of the author that learning and remembering has a curve and thus requires constant repetition. With regard to the knowledge of God and his ways, scriptural narratives often show that epiphanies and insights on the part of biblical characters, no matter how earnest, are usually shortlived, transitory illuminations followed subsequently by relapse into darkness.91 Human nature is such that constant reinforcement or reminders become indispensable especially where and when teaching is concerned. Repeated words and phrases can function as guides for the reader in understanding the narrative. Neither redundancy nor a simple aesthetic device, repetition is vital to literary insight by the way it draws attention to the similarity or dissimilarity of utterances in a story.92 For instance, the repetition of the terms h`me,ra ‘day’ and nu,x ‘night’ reveal significant splitting up of events in the story.93 Moreover, the technique “can first lull the reader into false expectations and then, through sudden variance, can introduce an element of startling surprise.”94 As an example in Tobit, the repeated references to Sarah’s lost husbands (cf. Tob 3:8, 15; 6:14-15) acquire a more ominous aura when Raguel finally adds the fresh information that all the dead husbands were kinsmen.95 In this regard, the possibilities of variations and differences through 89 ALTER, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 89. 90 Verbatim repetitions of phrases and lengthy passages are said to be typical of more ancient or primitive forms of narrative, since repeated elements are a powerful aid in oral composition and transmission. Licht also notes that repetitive patterns seem to function as the main anti-mimetic quality in biblical stories, i.e., repetition, by giving a story a geometrical type of aesthetics, counters the reproduction of reality or creation of an image of it. LICHT, Storytelling in the Bible, 62-64. Cf. however, RICOEUR, The Narrative Function, 192, in which the author explains mimesis as a “metaphor of reality” or a type of creative imitation instead of mere imitation of the actuality of the events, as Licht seems to imply. 91 Cf. STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 177-178. 92 BERLIN, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, 136. 93 Cf. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 103-104. 94 GUNN/FEWELL, Narrative in the Hebrew Bible, 148. 95 Cf. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 100-101. According to the author, there are five references to the dead husbands of Sarah in the course of the story. With each repetition, the emphasis shifts and the suspense heightened.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

repetition can foster and convey shades of meaning.96 In the case of the Tobit narrative, the repetition of the wisdom instructions is reiterative as well as varied. Varied Repetition The dissimilarities in the repetitions, also called varied repetitions, are evidently as telling as the similarities. In Tobit, some instructions are not mentioned in the succeeding repetitions. For instance, the reader wonders why Tobit’s instructions in Tob 4:14b for Tobias to control himself and be disciplined in all his conduct does not recur in Rafael’s exhortations in Tobit 12. One can surmise that at the end of Tobias’s odyssey, where Rafael’s instructions are located, Tobias has already proven himself disciplined and moderate in his behavior, thus exhibiting the fruits of his father’s educational endeavors in Tobit 4. With Tobias grown and mature, an exhortation to proper education is out of place. Such instruction is of paramount importance at the beginning of the quest but not necessarily at its finale; the exhortation on discipline and self-control has no narrative relevance in Rafael’s revelation.97 The same applies to the absence of instructions on endogamy in Rafael’s discourse. Certainly, this variation in the repetition emphasizes a particular aspect in the development of the narrative events. In another case, Tobit reminds Tobias once in his instructions in Tobit 4 to bless God at all times, but Rafael, in Tobit 12 repeatedly charges Tobit and Tobias to do so. The reader cannot help but inquire why Rafael has to insist on such a command. As is to be noted later, this emphasis has a narrative import. In Tobit 14, a new element, the reference to the story of Ahiqar, is introduced into Tobit’s set of instructions. For now, it will suffice to say that this embedded narrative as found in the epilogue of the story serves a summarizing or resumptive function. Further, some metaphors and expressions in the first group of exhortations are not picked up in others. For example, the metaphor of 96 Cf. LICHT, Storytelling in the Bible, 54. 97 Mazzinghi offers a different explanation. According to him, that Rafael mentions only a part of Tobit’s instructions is indicative of the different points of view in the narrative, that of Tobit himself and that of the narrator, which do not necessarily coincide. MAZZINGHI, La sofferenza dell’anziano Tobi, 85. This comment, however, is misleading since chapter 4, where Tobit’s instructions are located, is narrated by the third person narrator and not the character Tobit although the chapter is mostly the words of Tobit since it is a direct speech. His claim also implies that Rafael’s point of view is also the narrator’s point of view!

Story and Discourse


walking and the related image of the way are appropriately employed in the instructions Tobit gives before he sends Tobias on his way. These significant images, which give the reader subtle hints on how the story of journey will progress, naturally do not find their way into Rafael’s or Tobit’s final exhortations. At this point, Tobias, as well as the narrative, has traversed his way. Similar yet Different Even when the repeated instructions appear to be perfectly similar, the correspondence or equivalence does not share complete identity.98 For if the recurring instruction does not add anything to the first, the question of what it is doing exactly in the text arises.99 For example, Tobit’s saying that almsgiving delivers the giver from death in Tob 4:10 also recurs in Tob 12:9. Though repeated verbatim, they are not the same since these words are now spoken by a different character, Tobit in the first case and Rafael in the latter. The same saying also belongs to a different context. On the lips of Tobit at the beginning of the story, the words are instructive and justificatory, but from the mouth of Rafael at the end of the narrative, they are confirmatory. The same instruction in different contexts produces a different rhetorical effect. Tobit includes another reason for exhorting the practice of almsgiving in Tob 4:11: it is a good and pleasing gift or sacrifice before God, a sentiment that Rafael echoes when he mentions in Tob 12:9 that almsgiving purifies all sin. Having conceived of exile from a deuteronomic worldview as a punishment for the sins of the people,100 almsgiving makes possible the purging of sins before God. Since Tobit, in his prayer in Tob 3:3-5, has identified with the sins of his people and admits responsibility for collective guilt,101 the expiatory efficacy of almsgiving is shown by his latest narrative situation. In fact, Rafael appends another rationale for almsgiving to those that Tobit has already 98 Cf. STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 386: “Only in a world where all sources of information enjoy equal privileges, where neither God nor the narrator towers above the human agents, where every forecast comes true and every report is ideally accurate, where all accident, cross purpose, wishful thinking, and existential pressure have disappeared – only in such imaginary world, possible perhaps but certainly not biblical, can the iron law of semantic equivalence prevail in repetition.” Cf. also BRICHTO, Toward a Grammar of Biblical Poetics, 19; FOKKELMAN, Reading Biblical Narrative, 121. 99 Cf. STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 368. 100 Cf. EGO, The Book of Tobit and the Diaspora, 44-45. See also the discussion in 5.3.1. 101 NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 116; 123.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

provided in Tob 4:9-11, an amplifying reason that points to Tobit’s current enjoyment of an abundant life. According to Rafael in Tob 12:9b, those who engage in almsgiving will be filled with life. The addition of this particular reason for almsgiving alludes to a recent development in the narrative, for Tobit and his family are indeed benefitting from a wealthy and wondrous life at this stage in the story, which confirms the portrayal of Tobit’s character early in the tale as a tireless giver of alms, a pleasing offering to God. In his testament in Tob 14:9, Tobit admonishes the members of his family to bless the name of God, an instruction that Rafael also gives in Tob 12:6. After having experienced a life flowing with heavenly graces, Tobit’s instruction is uttered from the conviction that good things do proceed from God. At the end of the narrative, it is an encouragement to the reader to develop a doxological attitude. Rafael’s counsel, on the other hand, enjoys a different narrative purpose, which is to direct the attention of both reader and characters towards the role of God in the story and away from Rafael. What these examples show is that, since the situation has changed, and since the narrative has already traversed a linear development, the sense and function of the equivalent sayings have been modified. With the change in temporal reference and viewpoint, the repeated instruction finds a different semantic resonance. Mostly, however, the core or essence of the instructions remains the same when they recur. As such, their repetition is fundamentally reiterative. In this case, the repetition of the instructions functions not only to show their concerns, such as almsgiving, as central to the story but also to underscore some developing facet of the narrative.102 Moreover, since the discourses are direct speeches, the narrator yields the floor to the dramatis personae, allowing them to communicate with less interference from the narrator. Consequently, the story becomes more dramatic the more the writer allows the characters to speak for themselves. By showing or creating a scene, the writer intends it to contribute to the development of a certain aspect of the plot.103 Thus the poetical or rhetorical function of the repetitions in Tobit is to be found in each case “according to the nature and problems of the particular narrative event rather than in a defined pattern that can then be applied to the instances.104 It is to the analysis of the relationship of the

102 Cf. ALTER, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 97. 103 Cf. AMIT, Reading Biblical Narratives, 57. 104 Cf. BRICHTO, Toward a Grammar of Biblical Poetics, 19.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


repeated instructions to the narrative movement with regard to the plot that we now turn.

3.3 The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions Since the sapiential discourse of Tobit can be considered an event that forms part of the narrative, Tobit’s exhortations in chapter four have a purpose other than mere characterization of Tobit.105 It might be argued that the words of Tobit here are nothing other than the author’s way of sermonizing. It is often the case however that biblical narratives focus on the action rather than on character development.106 Considering that Tobit is a pious Israelite father, his discourse to train his son Tobias in virtue and wisdom would be comparable to a father writing a letter or an email overflowing with advice to his son. In other words, if Tobit were placed in real time and life circumstances, it is likely that he would have more or less uttered all these instructions; his wisdom speech does not belong to the realm of fantasy. Biblically, with his wisdom lecture, Tobit is like the father of Proverbs 1–9. Because Tobit’s verbal discourse is an action or an event, it is not isolated or disconnected from other events of the narrative – it helps lay down the adequate grounds for the resolution of the plot.107 When following a story, the reader attempts to comprehend “the successive actions, thoughts and feelings as having a particular directedness.”108 If the plot of a narrative is crafted as ‘a meaningful chain of interconnected events,’ accomplished through careful choices, then the wisdom discourse of Tobit has to “fit in logically with the planned development of the plot.”109 The wisdom discourse forms part of the narrative logic that is sequential and cumulative.110 It is therefore reasonable to state that the extensive proverb-like exhortation in Tobit 4 is intrinsically connected to the logical progression of the story by virtue of causation, or correlation, a principle that readers naturally suppose “whenever and wherever it helps the narrative to make sense.”111 In fact, the wis105 Cf. BAR-EFRAT, Narrative Art in the Bible, 95: “Speech as well as incidents almost invariably serves a number of purposes.” 106 SKA, “Our Fathers Have Told Us”, 17. 107 ABRAMS, A Glossary of Literary Terms, 140. 108 RICOEUR, The Narrative Function, 182. Cf. also AUERBACH, Mimesis, 11-12. 109 Cf. BAR-EFRAT, Narrative Art in the Bible, 93. 110 Cf. SONNET, L’analyse narrative des récits bibliques, 52. 111 POWELL, What is Narrative Criticism?, 42.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

dom discourse of Tobit 4 links the key transition from the role of Tobit to that of Tobias in the story. Central characters change; whereas Tobit is principal in previous chapters, Tobias takes the prominent role after the wisdom lecture in Tobit 4. Without a doubt, Tobias bridges the parallel plots involving Tobit and Sarah. In his canticle of thanksgiving and praise, Tobit twice remarks in his exhortation to the scattered Israelites that God scourges and then has mercy (cf. Tob 13:2, 5). Tobit has used this formula to describe God’s favorable action on his behalf in his prayer of praise after his healing (cf. Tob 11:15). With the application of the formula on a personal as well as a collective level, the narrator implies that Tobit’s hardships and redemption represent that of his people: just as Tobit is tested in his suffering (cf. Tob 12:14), so is Israel chastised in its suffering while in exile. But the mercy of God that Tobit has experienced serves as an assurance that the same divine mercy will restore the families of exiles back to their homeland in the eschatological age.112 In this regard, the discourse of the Tobit narrative is concerned with showing the ‘how’ of the movement from scourging to mercy on God’s part, and from misery to joy on the part of God’s exiled people. The revelation of Rafael at the end of the transformative quest hints at the role of the instructions in achieving the ultimate movement to mercy and joy. Tobit’s mnhmo,sunon or record of prayer and good works prompted or reminded God to extend his mercy once again, commissioning Rafael to deliver Tobit and Sarah from their burden. Instructions on works of righteousness and prayer constitute the substance of Tobit’s wisdom speech to his son. This indicates that a behavior which exemplifies righteousness and prayer, or which embodies the counsels of Tobit, forms part of the writer’s explanation as to how it might be possible for divine scourging to give way to divine mercy and correspondingly for the people’s suffering to turn into joy. The narrative pattern bears this conviction.


Tobit’s Wisdom Discourse and Plot

The plot of a narrative connects the individual episodes and the story as a whole. As a consequence, an event in the story cannot be viewed in isolation but must be considered in terms of how such an incident 112 NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 791. Cf. also EGO, Gottes Lob als Existenserschließung, 23. DE LONG, Surprised by God, 95-104.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


contributes to the whole. The story of Tobit employs a resolution plot.113 In this type of plot, the foremost question is ‘What will happen?’ since the order of events and its evolution are its significant concerns.114 In terms of its horizontal organization, which is the order or seamless chronological succession of narrated events,115 the narrator has deliberately chosen Tobit’s discourse in Tobit 4 to function as part of the plot. From a temporal perspective, Tobias’s heeding of his father’s teachings is the first action of the hero out on a quest. Indirectly at least, the sapiential discourse is part of a sequence of incidents that eventually tackles the narrative imbalance. Before the narrative passes from one state of affairs to its exact opposite, or moves from unhappiness to happiness,116 from a disordered to an ordered universe, from death to life,117 in a plot that involves reversal of fortune, the author incorporates the wisdom discourse as a preliminary event. The instructions will understandably have some effects on the pursuit that Tobias undertakes in order to transform the circumstances narrated at the beginning of the story from bad to good. A glance backwards allows the reader to recognize that an ending in which the conflicts of the story are resolved, with Tobit and Sarah released from their miseries, and the family fortune restored, requires that this event be a constitutive factor in the recounting of the story. The claim that the proverbial counsels are not immediate to the narrative circumstances or that the discourses enjoy only a decorative, external, loose or passing connection to the story line is rather misleading.118 The writer’s sense of the daunting mission that will take Tobias into foreign territories and the need for Tobias to be suitably ready is vividly conveyed by his reshaping of the instructions and their incorporation at the start of the young man’s quest. The instructions will contribute to the preservation of Tobias’s well-being and ensure his success at a higher rate. After all, the primary goal of parental instruc-

113 For further discussion of plots, cf. GUNN/FEWELL, Narrative in the Hebrew Bible, 101128; MARGUERAT/BOURQUIN, How to Read Bible Stories, 56-57; BAR-EFRAT, Narrative Art in the Bible, 93-140. 114 SKA, “Our Fathers Have Told Us”, 18. 115 Cf. FOKKELMAN, Reading Biblical Narrative, 78. 116 Cf. STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 172. 117 Nowell declares that this opposition is basic in Tobit. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 201-205. 118 See for instance, JENSEN, Family, Fertility and Foul Smell, 130; SCOTT, The Way of Wisdom, 94.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

tion, as Proverbs 1–9 shows, is to teach and impart wisdom, an important ingredient for any kind of success.119 A hero is not a mere noble gentleman, but one who shines with the radiant glory of wisdom. Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions as Preparatory for the Journey Chronologically speaking, Tobit’s wisdom discourse to Tobias is the first event in the micro-narrative that is the quest of Tobias. Like an athlete about to compete, if Tobias is to achieve a semblance of success in any undertaking, rigorous training is involved. In the same way, the likelihood of a triumphant odyssey, which in the case of Tobias is motivated initially by money, requires certain measures. The instructions of his father are the compulsory preparatory arrangements that will equip Tobias for the pursuit that he is about to embark on. It may also be akin to packing luggage120 a couple of days before departure and deciding which items are basic and necessary, and without which one cannot survive or simply even live as one journeys on one’s own. With a perilous journey ahead, it is impossible to know whether Tobias will even return to the warm embraces of his parents. From the point of view of the author then, this point in the story is an excellent time to introduce the young hero’s education via Tobit’s instructions 121 – Tobit now shares with his son the training he earlier received from Deborah (cf. Tob 1:8), the training that has so far enabled Tobit to navigate life. Having placed the scene at the initial stage in the temporal sequence of the story, the writer considers education and formation in the ways and wisdom of the fathers as an imperative aspect of preparation before Tobias is spatially transferred to the place where the object of the quest is located. It is in fact advice that the narrator places on the mouth of Tobit in Tob 4:14b-18 and which he dramatizes in this scene. Tobit tells his son to be educated and he starts that process with his instructions. His counsels are comprehensive since Tobit is aware that “plans fail when there is no counsel, but they succeed when coun119 Cf. MOSS, Wisdom as Parental Teaching, 433-434. Niditch and Doran maintain that in this type of tale, proverbial instructions are “lived out by the narrative’s cast of characters who do prove that wisdom is the key to success.” NIDITCH/DORAN, The Success Story of the Wise Courtier, 185. 120 In light of Tobias’s departure, it is apt to use the metaphor “valigia” (“luggage, suitcase”) for Tobit’s instructions to his young son as Gillini and Zattoni do in their pastoral reading of Tobit for married couples. GILLINI/ZATTONI/MICHELINI, La lotta tra il demone e l’angelo, 104-106. Vílchez notes that travel is a frequent theme in ancient literature. VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 41. 121 Cf. GRABBE, Tobit, 741.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


selors are many” (cf. Prov 15:22). So as not to stumble along the way like a blind man, Tobias has to follow his blind but wise father’s direction. Tobit’s discourse is naturally extensive, for as anyone who has ever prepared knows, all the bases need to be covered, especially where formation is concerned. The wisdom speech contains Tobit’s strong recommendations on how Tobias is to conduct himself while undertaking the journey. Tobit issues counsels on social, personal and religious relationships, the usual areas of wisdom concerns. The collection’s length with its three general principles seems to imply that shortcuts in life are not recommended, for they will only corrode character. One can therefore say that before Tobias leaves home to pick up the money on deposit with a cousin, his father hands him a bag full of instructions to be carried with him always if he is to find success in his endeavor. In a way, Tobit provides Tobias with something comparable to the sword and magical potions that heroes of legends are afforded before they set out on their quests in order to overcome the dangers posed by the enemies and which enable them to acquire the object of value and gain victory. In the case of Tobias in this rewritten traditional tale of a hero, it is proper Jewish education that serves as a potent weapon that helps guarantee accomplishment of the mission entrusted to him. This training in virtue and formation in the wise ways of God takes the form of sapiential instructions. The narrative thus presents Tobias’s education in wisdom, along with the entrusting of the document pertinent to the deposit (cf. Tob 5:1-3) and the search for a competent companion to travel with Tobias (cf. Tob 5:4-17), as necessary elements of preparation for the journey.122 These three narrative events are 122 Doré only hints at this link in his tripartite structuring of the narrative. He divides the story into three parts: first, Tob 1:1–3:17 presents the characters and their trials; second, Tob 4:1–12:5 narrates the voyage and marriage of Tobias; and third, Tob 12:6–14:15 recounts the revelation and the epilogue of the story. In the second part of the story, the instructions and the hiring of Azariah as a travel guide found in Tob 4:1–5:23 are grouped together as “le testament de Tobit et les préparatifs du départ.” DORÉ, Le livre de Tobit, 8. Vílchez also presents a tripartite structure for the narrative (albeit more detailed) and intimates this connection. According to him, travel in ancient times was always a true adventure in which it was never known how it would end. On account of this, Tobit, who launches his son into this adventure and never sure of his son’s return, gives him a series of instructions. VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 41-42. Ka-Mungu also includes the instructions as preparatory for the journey. KA-MUNGU, Des ténèbres à la lumière, 95. Cf. also NOWELL, Jonah, Tobit, Judith, 26; BEYERLE, “Release me to Go to my Everlasting Home”, 83.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

prolegomenous, with the wisdom instructions as a primary component. Now equipped with essential wisdom, Tobias is ready for the journey that concerns the major section of the narrative. “To be or not to be”: the Character of Tobias as Key In the opening stage of the story, the reader can actually detect a slight dramatic tension. How will Tobias accept the instructions of his father? Will he receive them with an open mind? Will his heart hear them? 123 Will he obey them? Will the father’s education transform the son into a wise adult (cf. Prov 4:20-23)? Instructions, after all, assume freedom on the part of the student and can be dismissed. And if Tobias sets them upon his heart, will they prove beneficial, even successful? With earlier textual references to the story of Ahiqar, the reader may recall that Tobias’s second cousin Nadab had been educated in the same manner in which Tobias is now being trained. In Nadab’s case, however, the education was wasted and bore no fruit, since Nadab succumbed to ambition and preferred unrighteous behavior, showing his lack of wisdom, and eventually leading to tragic consequences. However, this dramatic interest is only fleeting, since the following chapter opens immediately with Tobias’s positive response to his father’s instructions – no ifs and buts,124 saying instead that he will do everything that his father has commanded him (cf. Tob 5:1), perhaps intimating that it is folly to flee from his fate. By listening to and obeying the words of his father, who in Proverbs is considered the bearer and transmitter of wisdom from one generation to the next,125 Tobias becomes wise. After all, a wise person is described as one who has impressed upon the heart the accumulated insights of the ages on how best to live a full life. From this point on, the reader can relax a bit and cheer Tobias on, prepared to accompany him on his voyage, confident that no matter how perilous his long journey away from home might be, Tobias will achieve his goal. The sapiential discourse of the father and Tobias’s affirmative response to it, along with the hiring of a traveling companion,

123 According to Crenshaw, listening, which is an important aspect of education in wisdom, is equivalent to a wise response. CRENSHAW, Old Testament Wisdom, 24. On the role of listening in wisdom education, see also SHUPAK, Where can Wisdom be Found?, 277-278; GILBERT, La pedagogia dei saggi, 346-347; CALDUCH-BENAGES, Sapienziali, Libri, 1259-1260. 124 Cf. LACKMANN, Tobit und Tobias, 91. 125 This is the case in Proverbs 1–9 and in Prov 23:15-28. NGUYEN, “Figlio mio”, 206. Cf. also MOSS, Wisdom as Parental Teaching, 433-434.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


clue the reader to the possibility of a favorable outcome. The narrator’s early assurance of a happy result because God has heard the prayers of the afflicted in Tob 3:16-17 is faintly echoed in Tobias’s firm acceptance of a proper educational training. The instructions now mark the future hero as a wise person who will come to a good and rewarding end. Tobit 5–12 in fact repeats the verb u`giai,nw ‘to be well’ (cf. for instance, Tob 5:22; 6:9; 7:5, 12; 8:21; 10:6, 14; 12:3) and euvodo,w (cf. Tob 7:12; 10:11, 14; 11:15) as if they were motifs, implying that education in wisdom will ensure Tobias of well-being and return in full health. When the angel Rafael in the guise of Azariah is chosen as guide, every trace of doubt in the reader’s mind that everything will turn out well for the mission of Tobias is erased.126 The surprise of the narrative is that through this quest, everything turns out well not only for Tobias but also for the entire family of characters who receive rescue from their bereft existence. To an extent, the ending of the story is predictable, but the reader follows the story in order to discover if the conclusion is acceptable.127 What remains is the question of precisely how this happilyever-after ending will come to light. A feasible answer might assign partial responsibility to Tobit’s wisdom discourse and Tobias’s formation and education in wisdom. Another way of describing the significance of this scene in which Tobit educates his son is in terms of liminality. Tobias is about to be separated from the familial environment he has ever known. The inexperienced Tobias is about to enter a liminal phase of his life, the successful completion of which allows him full entrance into adult society. It is Tobias’s eventful journey away from home, one that is littered with persona-stamping challenges, that allows him to be ‘differentiated into full individuality.’128 His marriage to Sarah at the center of the narrative validates his adult status; just as Tobit marks his passage into adulthood by mentioning his marriage to Anna in Tob 1:9 as he fondly remembers the days of his youth in his homeland, so does Tobias’s marriage to Sarah affirms his adulthood. The purpose of Tobit’s instructions is to provide guidance so as to fashion a new person who,

126 According to Urbrock, the reference to the dog, which may be viewed as a type of an “earth-angel” or shadow guardian, at the start and conclusion of the journey is also a narrative indication of guaranteed success, especially after being paired with a nonearthly angel. URBROCK, Angels, Bird-Droppings and Fish Liver, 134. 127 Cf. RICOEUR, The Narrative Function, 182. 128 Cf. AUERBACH, Mimesis, 18.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

with a new set of values, is capable of living a new and mature life.129 The constant execution of his father’s precepts in everyday life marks Tobias as an adult, one who can eventually replace his father and lead the household. Narrative Causality Tobit has in fact assigned two tasks for his son Tobias to complete. The narrative states that Tobit’s remembrance of the ten talents of silver entrusted to a cousin triggers Tobit to call his son in order to ask him to take responsibility for the retrieval of the said sum. However, before Tobit directly commissions him to do so, he gives his son a series of instructions with remembrance of God as the principal concern. It is only after giving him this task or vocation to remember God all the days of his life that Tobit finally instructs his son to reclaim the money, as clearly stated in Tob 5:3. The two tasks are intimately related, and it stands to reason to claim that the success of the second assignment is equally essential as the accomplishment of the first task. As it appears, Tobit is sending his son to reclaim the money in Rages in order to alleviate the misfortunes that have come upon his family. In a way, one can read the parallel task of remembering the Lord that Tobit gives Tobias as having a similar purpose of alleviating the miserable condition of the exiled family. Considering that Tobias will be venturing into Gentile lands with Hellenistic values, this task may prove to be difficult, if not impossible. But Tobias has to keep in mind that the fulfillment of this task will contribute to the alleviation, if not the removal, of suffering in the same way that the retrieved money will secure his family against the whimsical blows of fate and the future. That Tobias has returned home safely and has restored the family prefigures and provides the guarantee for the future restoration.130 The relation of the sapiential exhortations to other events in the story is not spelled out explicitly. It may be considered a narrative lacuna or ellipsis that arrests the attention of the reader or invites the reader to engage in an interpretative process.131 When the writer does 129 Cf. PERDUE, Liminality as a Social Setting for Wisdom Instructions, 114-126. Perdue also notes that in the appropriation of the instructions, the community overcomes the threat of dissolution posed by death. IDEM, The Death of the Sage and Moral Exhortation, 99. Cf. also BLENKINSOPP, Biographical Patterns in Biblical Narrative, 4142; ROTA SCALABRINI, L’Angelo necessario, 878. 130 Cf. PORTIER-YOUNG, “Eyes to the Blind”, 27. 131 Cf. SONNET, L’analyse narrative des récits bibliques, 65-66; AUERBACH, Mimesis, 11.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


not make the connections obvious, or directly tell the reader, a hypothesis can be offered. Narrative critics usually posit that the reader can in fact infer a correlation, even a relationship of cause and effect between the events in the story.132 Since the movement of the plot is teleologically guided, loosely following the pattern of a heroic tale, Tobit’s discourse as an event and other events narrated in the episodic quest of Tobias are somehow intimately linked. Tobit’s instructions may be considered a variation on the traditional narrative pattern in which the hero achieves success via his wisdom or some other source.133 They are meant not only to embody the ways of his father when Tobias becomes the head of the household but also to guide him on the journey.134 The ellipsis then has to do with the stage of formation of Tobias. Textual proof lies in certain metaphors and verbal phrases that get employed only in Tobit 4 but not in the two subsequent sets of instructions in Tobit 12 and 14. As an example, the proverbial metaphor o`do,j is referred to thrice as found in Tob 4:5, 15 and 19, twice in combination with the verb poreu,omai, which means ‘to go, proceed, travel.’135 Another walking-related image, tri,boj which is ‘path,’ is also used in Tob 4:19. Since Tobias is about to venture to a foreign land to retrieve the money, the references to the way or path in the exhortations acquire a tone of significant foreboding. The instructions are about traversing a path, and not just any path, but the path that God has prescribed, for it is the path that leads to success. In Tobias’s education in wisdom, Tobit points out that the way of the wise is the way of God, which Rafael confirms. The teachings embody the mode of journey through life that finds divine approval. The instructions, as it were, are the divine road signs that guide the traveler into life. When Rafael tells Tobias that he knows the way to Media (cf. Tob 5:6), and when Rafael later responds positively to Tobit’s enquiry if he can show Tobias the way, literal and figurative meanings of ‘the way’ come into play. As an angel who stands for and before God’s presence, Rafael surely knows the way of God, and thus heeding his advice and his instructions can only lead to success. The ‘way’ is the dominant

132 Cf. POWELL, What is Narrative Criticism?, 40-42; GUNN/FEWELL, Narrative in the Hebrew Bible, 102; BAR-EFRAT, Narrative Art in the Bible, 93. 133 Such pattern is more common in court tales. NIDITCH, A Prelude to Biblical Folklore, 145. 134 Cf. PERDUE, Liminality as a Social Setting for Wisdom Instructions, 124-125. 135 For a discussion of this motif, cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 343-348. Cf. also BONORA, La famiglia nel libro di Tobia, 67-70.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

metaphor of the instructions in Tobit 4, as it also is in the subsequent story of Tobias’s odyssey. In addition, a couple of references to e;rgon, ‘work, deed,’ in Tob 4:6 attains a specificity and can allude to the work that lies before Tobias. Indeed, Rafael uses the word once in his exhortations in Tobit 12, but there, it clearly refers to the works of God 136 and enjoys a different narrative link. Lastly, the verb euvodo,w, ‘to guide well, prosper, succeed,’ appears twice in the collection in Tob 4:6 and 19. According to Tobit, those who practice the ways of truth and righteousness, which is apparently the result of having been trained in wisdom, will prosper, having been guided well, but that ultimately it is God who makes plans succeed.137 Indeed, Tobias informs his father upon his return home o[ti euvodw,qh h` o`do.j auvtou/, “that his way/journey was a success” (cf. Tob 11:15). In sum, the above images tie the instructions to the rest of the narrative: God has guided well the steps of Tobias. In his wisdom discourse, Tobit is laying the groundwork for a journey that achieves its goal. This quest will prove significant, necessary even, since it not only provides the solutions to all the conflicts presented initially in the narrative but also illustrates the how the providential ways of God unfold.138 If Tobias prepares well, and truly learns by heart to walk in the ways of God (cf. Deut 11:22), the instructions imply that his trip will meet success. By learning and following the ways of God, as they are encapsulated in his pious father’s instructions, he will be able to fulfill his mission.139 On the other hand, if he is unprepared, then his odds for surpassing the dangers which lie ahead are close to nil. This fear certainly reverberates in several scenes in the micro-narrative: in Tob 8:9-18, Raguel digs a grave for Tobias thinking that he is dead and in Tob 10:4-7, Anna, Tobias’s mother, speaks about her worry that her son has departed from the land of the living. Indeed, like Nadab, Tobias has witnessed the darkness of death face to face in marrying Sarah but unlike his cousin, he has overcome it. Thanks to the expert guidance of Rafael, Tobias does not stumble along the dangerous roads enabling him to bring about salvific aid both to his blind father and his damsel in distress. But one wonders if the direction 136 As Tob 12:22 clearly points out, the work of God refers to the healing that has taken place in the story. DESELAERS, Jahweh – der Arzt seines Volkes, 301-302. 137 Cf. also the comments of RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 106-107. 138 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 79, who calls the journey of Tobias the “Grundlegung der Heilung” of Tobit und Sara. 139 Cf. REARDON, Under the Gaze of God & Angels, 43.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


of Rafael is the only contributing factor that leads the story to its climactic change. The angel’s gentle and at times curious prodding of Tobias can indeed be considered a necessary element but not a sufficient condition for the resolution of the narrative, which is the hero’s bestowal of boons to the afflicted characters. As the reader realizes, Rafael, for all his supernatural status, does not perform miracles that enable Tobias to overcome the various obstacles along the way in order to achieve his goal. Rather, Rafael merely issues reminders, useful counsels, curious instructions and kind commands that direct the actions of Tobias.140 Certainly, the courage and cooperation of Tobias shown by deeds that fulfill the angel’s words and his proper execution of the wise instructions of his father steer the story to its positive resolution. The successful journey of Tobias is due not only to the guidance of an angel but more importantly to the effectiveness of practical wisdom.141 The narrative fact that Tobias is portrayed as docile in his relationship with his kinsman strongly suggests his compliance with his father’s instructions. By being obedient to Tobit, Tobias becomes wise and is literally a source of delight to his father (cf. Prov 10:1; 15:20; 23:24; 29:3),142 as the consequences of his journey later indicate. The discourse event of the narrative is formative of the character of Tobias. The story shows the hero to be a youth docile to wise teachings, with the covert but clear suggestion that his achievement of success obtains from the proper heeding and discharge of his father’s wise counsels. Wisdom, via Tobit’s exhortations, has intervened, and Tobias’s exercise of wisdom has led to deliverance. In addition then to the effective direction of the angel, one can count the instructional discourse of Tobit as a contributing factor to the success of the quest that brings about the reversal of fortune for the protagonists. As pointed out, heeding the instructions of the father is the first act of Tobias in his mission to retrieve a considerable sum of money. His educational and character formation furnishes him with 140 Cf. SCHNUPP, Shutzengel, 67-72. Cf. also NOWELL, The “Work” of Archangel Rafael, 228-231. 141 In his analysis of Esther as a historicized wisdom tale, Talmon claims that Esther is actually a portrayal of applied wisdom. Mordecai, a court scribe who resembles Joseph, Nehemiah and Daniel, ultimately achieves success by properly executing wise maxims. Esther, the adoptive daughter of Mordecai, also fulfills the role of a true sage who vanquishes the wicked Haman. Esther displays a tendency to inculcate abstract wise sayings by way of their pragmatic application in supposed historical situations. TALMON, ‘Wisdom’ in the Book of Esther, 432-455. Cf. also NIDITCH, A Prelude to Biblical Folklore, 126-145. 142 Cf. WHYBRAY, The Good Life in the Old Testament, 170-171.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

what is essential for survival outside the comfortable confines of home. Being wise is a prerequisite. Without a doubt, it is difficult to establish a direct and absolute link between Tobit’s instructions and the change of the knotty circumstances in the tale, for the narrator does not make overt statements about it. Indeed, its connection to the cancellation of the deficit in the story is at most implicit. However, the author saw fit to connect the sapiential discourse of Tobit to the sequence of events in the pursuit of Tobias. In this way, one cannot deny that Tobit’s wisdom speech helps in some form or other in the resolution of the plot by some causal logic. This causal link hinges on the character of Tobias, who is the most developed among the characters and who shapes the central event in the narrative.143 His character not only connects the parallel stories of Tobit and Sarah but also replaces Tobit’s in its leading role. Tobit 4 eases the change of central characters in the story. As the recipient of his father’s wisdom instructions, the character of Tobias is largely overshadowed by such exhortations, since speeches or words of other characters often bring to light “qualities of the person being addressed.”144 Tobias benefits from his father’s example and through Tobit’s instruction, matures from a docile, respectful, and inquiring child into a responsible, decisive and effective man.145 The instructions have shaped his character in a manner that recalls Hamlet’s declaration: “And thy commandment all alone shall live within the book and volume of my brain, unmixed with baser matter.146 The successful return home of Tobias is a strong confirmation of his identity, his way of life 143 According to Hoppe, Rafael is the central character in Tobit, since he holds the characters and the plot together. HOPPE, Three Angelic Biographies, 335. Because of the activity of God, Day considers God the main active character in the story. DAY, Power, Otherness, and Gender, 121-122. 144 Cf. BERLIN, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, 38-39; BAR-EFRAT, Narrative Art in the Bible, 64-65. 145 Cf. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 137-143. According to the author, the change in the character of Tobias happens almost at the center of the narrative, when he declares his independence from Rafael by taking responsibility for his own life and decisions as indicated in his refusal to eat and drink unless what belongs to him is set aside in Tob 7:11. From this point on, Tobias takes charge, making him ready to become “the instrument of healing” in the story. Tobias’s decision to leave Ecbatana out of concern for his parents despite Raguel’s protests shows that he has become an independent individual or a grown man (Tob 10:7). 146 The line is from Act I Scene 5 of Hamlet where Hamlet writes the commandment on a table. According to commentators, the reference to table and the commandment is an allusion to the OT scene where God bequeaths the Ten Commandments to Moses. GARBER, Shakespeare’s Ghost Writers, 149-153.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


and the values of the instructions. In short, Tobit’s counsels have transformed Tobias into a wise man, a character that conforms to, and continues his father’s. In this respect, the change from Tobit to Tobias as the leading character is hardly surprising. Tobit’s words lend the character of Tobias a sort of coherent inner life; Tobias’s heart has been impressed with only their imprint. Not only does the wisdom speech characterize Tobit the father; it defines the contours of the character of Tobias the son as well. In the literary character of Tobias, the narrative illustrates what is wise or normative character.147 Through the instructions and Tobias’s actions in the story, the reader discerns not only the courage but also the active devotion, the piety and the wisdom of Tobias, without which Tobit and Sarah would not have been delivered from their troubles.148 Ultimately, everything turns out well for the hero partially via his wisdom. With these considerations in mind, the answer to the reader’s question as to how Tobias will eventually achieve success in his search is two-pronged: by the guidance of an angel on the side of God, and by education in virtue and formation of character in the wisdom of the fathers on the part of Tobias. A certain irony is detectable in the relationship of one to the other. The first means is explicit to the reader although hidden to the characters themselves. On the other hand, the second means is explicit to the characters but implicit only to the reader. At any rate, both divine assistance and human efforts in virtue formation must go hand in hand for the positive change in the narrative situation to take place. In the end, Tobias acquires two guides or companions as he journeys: Rafael disguised as kinsman Azariah and Wisdom as embodied in his father’s counsels. Later in Tobit 12, the angelic and sapiential guidance merge in the figure of Rafael as he shows himself to be a conduit of wisdom when he ratifies Tobit’s teachings. Rafael certainly hints at his wisdom credentials as this wise angel of God (cf. 2 Sam 14:20) advises, persuades and instructs Tobias during their travel together. Education in Wisdom as Redemptive In terms of vertical organization which is a result of the vision or worldview of the author, the sapiential discourse contributes to the

147 In Brown’s opinion, wisdom literature usually employs certain definable literary characters in order to convey normative character. BROWN, Character in Crisis, 16. 148 Cf. MOORE, Tobit, 144.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

‘thematics and ideological unity’ of the narrative.149 Education or rsWm in the tradition of the fathers is one of the three most vital elements in remembering the Lord while away from home. With Tobit’s discourse, Tobias is schooled in the ways of his tradition and receives proper character training. It is now ingrained in his impressionable mind that faithfulness to the kind of life that actively remembers and seeks God’s presence in order to know and do what is good is rewarded with success. He has set it upon his heart not to forget the dangers of forgetting. He knows full well that failure to remember and observe God’s commandments leads to the path of darkness. It is Tobit’s instructions and Tobias’s education and observation of them that indirectly redound to the overall narrative shift from distress to satisfaction.150 Had Tobias not heeded his father’s advice, it is very likely that he would have ended up in the shadows like his second cousin Nadab. Since he has responsibly chosen the way of wisdom, the way of righteousness and truth by not allowing evil to accompany him on the way (cf. Tob 4:15), his journey has met with success. The instructions are not ‘shorthand reminders’ but display a decisive function in the formation of Tobias’s character.151 There are at least five textual pointers indicating the complete triumph of education in the character formation of Tobias, which demonstrates that Tobias was fit for the quest before he ventured out. First, he marries according to the counsel of his father even at the risk of death, and in accordance with his father’s advice in Tob 4:14, pays Rafael without delay. Second, his resemblance to his father is noted by others. In Tob 9:6, Gabael uses the same two adjectives to describe Tobias and his father Tobit when he lays his eyes on him. He addresses Tobias as a good and noble man, son of a good and noble man, just and charitable, ‘kale. kai. avgaqe, avndro.j kalou/ kai. avgaqou/ dikai,ou kai. evlehmopoiou/.’ Gabael later blesses God because he has seen that Tobit his cousin is so similar to Tobias. In his first encounter with Tobias in Tob 7:2, Raguel is less effusive than Gabael in his description but refers nonetheless to Tobias’s likeness to his father. Since the narrator portrays Gabael and Raguel as trustworthy characters, the reader can rely on their words. In these adjectives, one notices more than a passing reference to physical 149 Cf. FOKKELMAN, Reading Biblical Narrative, 78. 150 As Nickelsburg has observed, the narrative passage from misfortune to healing is to be interpreted in light of the instructions. NICKELSBURG, Stories of Biblical and Early Post-Biblical Times, 41. Zappella also notes the the discrete and tacit importance of Tobias’s formation and education in the resolution of the plot. ZAPELLA, Tobit, 12. 151 Cf. BROWN, Character in Crisis, 19.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


resemblances between father and son.152 Third, Tobias listens attentively to the words and directions of Rafael, executing them all along the way. As his father instructed, Tobias does not think lightly of any advice that can be useful (cf. Tob 4:18). He has in fact listened to them, even when they seem strange at first. Fourth, Tobias’s suggestion in Tob 12:2-3 to give Azariah half of the possessions he brought back with him is a sign of Tobias’s largesse, a virtue that Tobit wants inculcated in his almsgiving instructions. Finally, Tobias himself tells his father in Tob 11:15 that his way had been met with success ‘evpe,deixen Twbiaj tw/| patri. auvtou/ o[ti euvodw,qh h` o`do.j auvtou/,’ implying that the wise way Tobit taught his son has indeed been effective. In the discourse of the writer, therefore, the young Tobias needs to have moral maturity and knowledge of his heritage if he is to find absolute success in his quest. He has to be fully immersed in the wise practice of his ancestors, soaking up with a raging thirst the ways of God. Tobit provides Tobias with a pedagogy that stands on three elemental components of wisdom education:153 knowledge of the self (cf. Tob 4:14c), relationships with others (cf. Tob 4:5b-6) and relationship with God (cf. Tob 4:19). In theory, proverbial education makes the recipient wise and righteous, and one who is so educated contributes to the well-being of the family or the community. Tobias’s knowledge and formation is placed at the service of acquiring the object of value, which in this case, takes the initial guise of money but which turns out to be secondary when compared to the greater value of a proper marriage, a prelude to and an indication of the more excellent things that will fix Tobit’s broken world. By some causal link, one can presume that the instructions in the rsWm of Tobit as embodied in the character of Tobias have contributed to the movement from unhappiness to happiness for all the characters. Since the character of Tobias formed by the instructions has in some senses determined his fate as well as that of the other characters, these instructions are made indispensable by the narrative; the proverbial instructions are indirectly functional to the ecstatic resolutions of the plot. In light of this, one can hazard the generalization that the plot of Tobit is character-driven, since the character of Tobias furthers the plot and the resolution of the narrative threads.

152 In biblical narratives, indications of “nuanced individuality” such as the physical appearance of the characters are typically absent. ALTER, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 6-7. 153 Cf. DE CARLO, “Ti indico la via”, 153-156.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

In fact, when Rafael reveals his task and identity, he tells Tobit that when he did not hesitate to leave his meal in order to perform a good deed for a dead Israelite, God commissioned him to bring healing to Tobit and Sarah (cf. Tob 12:13-14). This implies that Tobit’s generous care for his fellow exiles has led to his salvation.154 Of course, Tobit’s practice of charitable work forms a major part of his exhortations to his son. Moreover, it is an emblematic concern of wisdom instructions. If Tobias has been shaped according to the image of his father via his father’s examples and exhortations, reproducing his father’s values, then it is not far-fetched to think that the very same values embodied in his father’s wisdom instructions have also directed the mission of Tobias to its salvific conclusion as ordered by God. The narrative demonstrates that wisdom has a saving function. The writer of Tobit holds an optimistic view of pedagogy, whereby the young can be trained successfully in virtue and wise conduct, which in the sapiential tradition is the key to abundance and long life. Coincidentally, this is a view that pervades most of Deuteronomy.155 The Plot as an Illustration of a Sapiential Conviction This is not surprising since plot, as a meaningful movement, addresses beliefs.156 The story as discoursed by the writer shows his sapiential conviction that those who entrust their works and plans to the Lord will succeed (cf. Prov 16:3; 20). Moreover, the writer is certain that the person who receives rsWm or training in wise conduct will be steered by sound guidance (cf. Prov 1:5). Our pious author is equally shaped, as Tobias was with Tobit’s deuteronomic instructions, by his prayers, in particular Ps 73:23-24, which states that God takes hold of the hand of the wise and the just, and with his counsel, guides and leads him to honor. Ps 32:8 also declares that the Lord gives counsels and shows the righteous the way he should walk. Ps 103:18 proclaims that the Lord’s beneficence is for “the children’s children of those who keep his covenant and remember to observe his precepts.” These ideas have also exerted an influence on later wisdom literature, such as the Wisdom of Solomon which echoes a similar 154 Cf. LEBRAM, Jüdische Martyrologie und Weisheitsüberlieferung, 118. 155 Cf. WEITZMAN, Song and Story in Biblical Narrative, 52-55. The author claims that only Deuteronomy 31–32 of the book has a pessimistic view of teaching. Despite best efforts on the part of teachers and sages, even God, some students can be recalcitrant and resistant to pedagogy. 156 Cf. KORT, Story, Text and Scripture, 20.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


confidence, claiming that it is by wisdom that paths of those on earth are made straight (cf. Wis 9:18).157 The book also claims that wisdom keeps the just man blameless before the Lord, makes his works prosper, conducts him by a wondrous road and saves the just in times of trial (cf. Wisdom 10).158 Indeed, similar Psalm prayers and references that influenced and formed the writer’s worldview are legion. The story shows that as Tobias travels through foreign territories, he is guided well (euvodo,w), indeed kept under the protection and direction of an angel (cf. Ps 91:10-13); God’s eye is literally on Tobias. The guidance of God through the instrumentation of Rafael and his words has yielded a rewarding conclusion to his odyssey. Such direction is presumably granted on account of the fact that Tobias has imbibed wisdom through his father’s sapiential exhortations thereby making him wise, righteous and open to discern the hidden movements of a mysterious God. One notes likewise a complementary relationship between Tobit’s words of exhortation and Rafael’s words of direction. At this point in the story, only the reader knows that Rafael is an angel sent by God. Tobias has no idea of the true identity of his kinsman Azariah. And yet, Tobias has observed every single piece of his advice. On the other hand, the reader recognizes that the instructions of Rafael to Tobias as they travel together form part of the divine guidance hidden from the eyes of the characters. Tobias does not have access to this knowledge. It is only later in the story that Tobias will discover the divine hand that directed all the events on the basis of Rafael’s revelation. Other than the words of the angel, all that Tobias has on the road are the instructions of his father. As pointed out, his compliance to his kinsman Azariah indicates that the young man has certainly applied his whole self to learning the wisdom of his father, setting it upon his heart. If Tobias can be so attentive and docile to a kinsman, one can hardly imagine the extent of his obedience to his father. One might even say that it is Tobias’s absorption of the words of his father that has stirred him not to dismiss but to listen to the valuable counsels of his kinsman with rapt attention. For Tobias, the instructions of his father provide the initial and perhaps only orientation for his life outside of

157 Cf. GILBERT, La structure de la prière de Salomon, 329-331. 158 According to Kee, Wisdom in Wisdom 9–10 is depicted as being at work not only in human history but specially in “the historical experiences of Israel, delivering the righteous and punishing the wicked.” KEE, Appropriating the History of God’s People, 50-54. Cf. also KOLARCIK, The Book of Wisdom, 5:518-526.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

the home. They mark the awakening of his self and the dawn of his religious enlightenment. As it turns out, the reader happens to share this knowledge since the storyteller, in a collusive play with his reader, has portrayed Tobit as a figure who radiates authority, a just man in the mold of Israel’s mediators. At the level of reader awareness, Tobit’s instructions carry an almost divine weight. Through them, the reader along with Tobias discerns that God also guides through prophetic and wise words. To attend to them even in the midst of misfortunes means a life of satisfaction and abundance in the long run. Just as the words of Rafael disguised as Azariah have contributed to the positive unfolding of events, so too have the words of Tobit. Since wisdom, embodied in the counsels of Tobit, consists in remembrance of and devotion to God, it can determine the fate of individuals. In addition to an angel, therefore, the God-bestowed gift of wisdom has become instrumental in the salvation of the characters from their miseries and misfortunes.


Allusive Strategy and Tobit’s Instructions

According to Paul Ricoeur, a narrative is not merely chronologically bound to episode after episode. To comprehend a story requires not only an understanding of the sequence of incidents included in the narrative as parts of a teleologically directed movement but also a global grasp of these events. This aspect of storytelling, which he calls a ‘configurational dimension,’ entails the recognition of a configuration or a pattern from a sequence of scattered events.159 To perceive the play of allusion in texts can certainly assist the reader in discerning or bringing together the particular pattern in a narrative. This is so since the use of an allusive strategy “requires that the sundry texts be put together, taken together, seen, even in their sharp variety, as an overarching unity.”160 The allusions the author employs helps the reader to figure out how the various elements fall into a decipherable outline or a meaningful whole. As noted in the first chapter, Tobit is a narrative text brimming with allusions. The writer was textually cognizant of the biblical materials and employed these antecedent literary traditions to form a narrative complex that is entirely his own. In the process of creating the 159 Cf. RICOEUR, The Narrative Function, 183-185. 160 ALTER, The World of Biblical Literature, 129.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


story, the author set into motion a delicate dynamic of allusion, referring to inherited texts and evoking the literary voices of his past. This the author did by revising, realizing, transforming, or transgressing them161 in order to describe Israel’s exilic present and expectations. It is therefore a teasing possibility that the large outline of the narrative of Tobit, but most especially the micro-narrative involving the journey of Tobias, alludes to the most memorable moment and the paradigmatic narrative of Israel’s journey and election as God’s people, the Exodus. This experience of liberation from bondage is so central and defining an experience in Jewish consciousness that it is unsurprising, almost natural, for the author of Tobit to allude to it, freely adapting the drama and injecting his story with some of its details.162 Like Isa 42:10-13 using Exod 15:1-8 and Wisdom 11–19 employing motifs from the plagues of Egypt, Tobit takes up motifs from Exodus. The traditional tale of a hero is now rewritten and reconfigured with Exodus in mind. Upon closer examination, a number of analogies and echoes in Tobit collude to suggest the Exodus event. This is partly because both are stories of incompleteness. In fact, the story’s conclusion, with its prophetic references to the rebuilding of Jerusalem (cf. Tob 13:16-18; Tob 14:5), connects Tobit with the end of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness, when it has not fully entered the land but has been granted only a prophetic glimpse of the kind of life they will have there (cf. Tob 14:4b-6). In this regard, it is not an overdrawn assertion to claim that Tobias’s voyage of self-discovery and character formation that has led to deliverance is an Exodus in miniature. The Book of Tobit and Exodus Both narratives are set outside the land of Israel.163 This place is construed as a locus of death and suffering. The prominence of dead bodies in the opening scenes of Tobit calls to mind the situation of death and mass murder in the first chapter of Exodus. Tobit’s statement that King Sennacherib killed many Israelites, whose bodies he buried (cf. Tob 1:17-18), readily recalls the decree of the pharaoh of Egypt to the 161 Cf. ALTER, The World of Biblical Literature, 108-109. 162 For a discussion of Gentile interest in the drama of Exodus, claiming that Greco-Roman writers neither reshaped nor misshaped the biblical event for polemical purposes, see GRUEN, Heritage and Hellenism, 41-72. 163 Weitzman has observed that many biblical passages alluded to in Tobit take place outside the land of Israel. WEITZMAN, Allusion, Artifice, and Exile, 60.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

midwives to kill all the boys born of Israelite women (cf. Exod 1:15-22). The verbal clues of killing and dying form the connection between the two states of affairs. Death-related activities and the consequent fatal blow of self-exile also color the protagonists of both narratives. Tobit, who works as a purchasing agent in the court of Shalmaneser, finds himself in exile when he learns that a certain citizen of Nineveh informed the king of his secret activity of burying the dead. Moses also flees from the court once pharaoh heard of Moses’s act of murdering an Egyptian. In other words, both exiles are due to behavior associated with death, interring dead bodies on the part of Tobit and killing on the part of Moses. That the writer of Tobit describes the exilic condition as a land of loss where death reigns supreme comparable to the situation in Egypt, which is remembered as the place of tombs (cf. Exod 14:11; 16:3), is no mere accident. Egypt is the land where Asmodeus, the killer of Sarah’s seven husbands, and thus the personification of death,164 resides having been bound there hand and foot by Rafael. Asmodeus, who is not always properly named but simply called a demon (cf. Tob 3:8, 17; 6:8, 14, 16), also recalls the pharaohs of Egypt who remain nameless though the midwives are named.165 Hence, it is not only in Egypt where the events do not correspond to the divine intention and design,166 but also in Tobit’s land of exile. The prayers of lament of Tobit and Sarah in Tobit 3 recall the lamentations in Exodus (cf. Exod 2:23-24; 3:6; 6:5). Both are cries that yearn for a divine response. Both laments are meant to stir God to remember his covenant and therefore to act in marvelous ways as a sign of his kindness to his people.167 When eventually God showed his dsx and the Israelites were delivered from the destruction of the Egyptians, Moses praised the Lord in a song that contained references to God’s mercy and God’s act of bringing the people to the mountain of inheritance, “the sanctuary which the Lord established” (cf. Exod 15:117). In the same way, after his family’s experience of redemption, Tobit sings a canticle of praise that also mentions God’s mercy and God’s sanctuary in Jerusalem (cf. Tob 13:1-18). Tobit’s confession of faith – that God is rich with steadfast mercy – finds its basis in Exod 34:7.168 164 EGO, Denn er liebt sie, 315. In Owen’s analysis of Asmodeus as a minor character, he claims that Asmodeus is the personification of selfishness and negative emotions such as unbridled lust, anger and jealousy. OWENS, Asmodeus, 277-288. 165 Cf. OWENS, Asmodeus, n.9, 279-280. 166 Cf. KORT, Story, Text, and Scripture, 27. 167 Cf. CRAGHAN, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Jonah, Ruth, 138. 168 Cf. SPIECKERMANN, ‘Bamherzig und gnädig ist der Herr’, 1-18.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


The notion of God as healer, which is found in Exod 15:26, is a theme that in fact pervades the Book of Tobit.169 In both narratives, God delivers in a way that is both marvelous and ordinary.170 The echoes of these Exodus motifs and themes in Tobit give the message that God will extend his beneficent care to those living outside the land just as he once took care of Israel beyond the boundaries of the land as they wandered in the wilderness.171 In terms of structure, the starkest parallel between the two narratives lies in the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to a land of promise and the passage of Tobias from his temporary homeland in Nineveh through the foreign lands of Ecbatana to Rages in Media 172 in order to reclaim the money entrusted by his father to a cousin. In addition to the outline of journeying into a place that holds the promise of redemption, bits and pieces of the long-ago trek of the Israelites through the desert to get to the land of milk and honey are palpable in Tobit. Obviously, a forward-thrust, telos-directed movement characterizes both the Tobit and Exodus plots. The Variations and their Significance Just as the Israelites experienced all kinds of divine kindness and wonders while on the way, so too does Tobias in his odyssey. The threatening waters of the Sea of Reeds became for the Israelites an instrument of salvation. In his allusive strategy, the writer plays a slight variation on it: there is no parting of the waters of the sea but a fish parts from its natural water environment, “avnaphdh,saj ivcqu.j me,gaj evk tou/ u[datoj” (cf. Tob 6:2). A menacing water creature, a fish jumping off the river to devour Tobias as he passes by, becomes instead the means of redemption for the protagonists in the narrative. The conquest of the fish, which may symbolize chaos, death and the powers of the deep,

169 Cf. HAAG, Das Tobitbuch und die Tradition von Jahwe, 23-41. Deselaers has earlier asserted that Tobit picks up this theme of God as healer from Exod 15:26. DESELAERS, Jahwe – der Arzt seines Volkes, 296. The importance of the notion of God as healer is clear in two verbs often used in Tobit: iva,omai “to heal” (cf. Tob 3:17; 5:10; 12:14) and u`giai,nw “to be in good health” (cf. Tob 5:14, 17, 21-22; 7:1, 5, 13; 8:21; 10:11, 13-14; 12:5). 170 For a discussion of this aspect in Exodus, see CHILDS, The Book of Exodus, 224-229; 237-239. 171 Cf. WEITZMAN, Allusion, Artifice, and Exile, 61; ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 284. 172 For a discussion of the geographical notices in Tobit, see BAUCKHAM, Tobit as a Parable, 159-163. Cf. also ZSENGELLÉR, Topography as Theology, 177-188.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

proves salvific.173 With a threefold repetition of the phrase hl'y>L")h;-lK' ‘all night’ in Exod 14:19-24, there is a narrative insistence that the crossing through the sea took place mostly in the evening. This miraculous deliverance from possible destruction and death is made all the more prominent by its night setting, a biblical motif that renders the narrative with a mood of menace and ill-omen.174 In the temporal references that deal with the journey of Tobias, the word nu,x ‘night’ characterizes the middle section of the narrative,175 thereby giving an equally persistent impression that his trip is mostly undertaken in the dangerous darkness of the evening. The Tobit narrative finds its center in the marriage of Tobias and Sarah, which marks the beginning of the new situation for both the families of Tobit and Raguel. A marriage, of course, is always symbolic of a beginning and of something new. In fact, the creation of man and woman as an intended pair in Genesis 1–2 is a scriptural episode that resonates in Tobit’s prayer on his wedding night.176 By recalling the past beneficence of God in his prayer, Tobias hopes that God will continue to pour his benevolence as he once did when he created man and woman and formed a covenant with his people.177 With the expulsion of the demon Asmodeus, the ‘Total Other’ who sows chaos and death, Tobias’s wedding further entails a return to order and life, for the threat to the continued existence of Israel is now removed. Having been told that the wedding has been foreordained by God (cf. Tob 3:17; 7:11), this event denotes a glimpse of the good things to come and a stage towards the accomplishment of God’s promises.178 In fact, the reference to the seven offspring of Tobias in Tob 14:3 may stand for the 173 On the symbolism of the fish, cf. COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error?, 547. Runyon says that the fish rising out of the water would have been more upsetting as it suggests not only a corpse that becomes unburied but also the father, who, according to GI, becomes blind because he sleeps like a fish, with his eyes open “kai. tw/n ovfqalmw/n mou avnew|go,twn” (cf. Tob 2:10). RUNYON, Canonical Variations on an Apocryphal Theme, 5-6. 174 For a discussion of this motif in three biblical destruction stories, cf. FIELDS, The Motif “Night as Danger”, 17-32. 175 Nowell observes that day dominates the first and last section of the story but night characterizes the journey of Tobias, the middle part of the narrative of Tobit. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 220. Cf. also IDEM, Jonah, Tobit, Judith, 33. 176 For a discussion of Tobias’s prayer, cf. GRIFFIN, The Theology and Function of Prayer, 163-185. Cf. also DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 149-152; 397-398; VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 151-152; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 238-252. 177 Cf. MILLER, God’s Role in Marriage, 138. 178 Cf. GOETTMANN, Le livre des sept merveilles de Dieu, 44.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


new society that results from the union.179 The marriage of Tobias and Sarah may then symbolize the creation of a new and restored Israel.180 With this ‘levirate’ marriage, God intends to perpetuate the household of the elect. Just as Abraham and Sarah brought forth Israel, so Tobias and Sarah would generate a new Israel. The marriage event decided in heaven shows God’s commitment to rebuild his people from the exiled families of Tobit and Raguel. In this wedding, one hears a distant echo of the covenant-making in Exodus (cf. Exodus 19, 24). Exodus, to some extent, is also a story of creation – that of God’s people. The story of God’s relationship begins of course in Genesis and reaches its defining moment in Sinai as told in Exodus. With the ratification of the covenant by the Israelites, God has fashioned them into a new people, ‘a kingdom of priests, a holy nation’ (cf. Exod 19:6). This Sinai experience marks their entrance into a special bond with God. Spousal terms often describe this new, intimate and exclusive relationship. In fact, Isa 62:5 employs the image of a young man marrying a virgin to what God intends to do to desolate Jerusalem. The wedding of Tobit and Sarah participates in the metaphorical portrayal of how God will once again act in order to rebuild and form his covenant people as God did in the wilderness. In short, nuptial images have been employed as metaphors for the covenant relationship of God with his people, with Hosea’s skillful use of marital infidelity to describe the broken relationship being the most memorable (cf. Hosea 2–3). In the same way that activities as ordinary and basic as eating and drinking accompany this creative moment of Israel’s history (cf. Exod 24:11), the description of post-wedding activities in Tobit is notable for two great feasts (cf. Tob 8:19; 11:18b), which in all probability involve a lot of eating and drinking. In the beginning of the story in Tob 2:1 furthermore, Tobit refers to a meal181 to celebrate Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, which is associated with the covenant-making on Sinai, since Passover is tied to the exodus event.182 The writer could have used a different or a simple meal as a setting for the events that led to Tobit’s blindness, but the author 179 NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:1026. 180 Cf. MILLER, God’s Role in Marriage, 143; BAUCKAM, Tobit as a Parable, 149-150. Cf. also KA-MUNGU, Des ténèbres à la lumière, 350. Faßbeck claims that the marriage extends the eschatological hopes beyond the restoration of just Israel and points to the new humankind freed from evil. FAßBECK, Tobit’s Religious Universe, 189-191. 181 For a discussion of food in Tobit, cf. JACOBS, Food and Eating in the Narrative of Tobit, 121-138. 182 Cf. NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:1001.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

took pains to specify the meal as a fine dinner for the Feast of Weeks. It is the same meal to which Rafael refers in his revelation that God tested Tobit when he did not hesitate to leave his food to perform burial for a dead man. What seems to be happening is that a cultic observance of a feast has given way to performance of a charitable deed as a commemoration of the historic covenant-making recounted in Exodus. By this good work, Tobit passed the test, for it is this particular act that ultimately uncovers the real commitments of Tobit. Works of righteousness seem to be now considered as actions that ratify and fulfill the covenant. In the Sinaiticus text, Tobit remains blind for four years (cf. Tob 2:10). This is admittedly a formulaic biblical number. An attuned reader, however, may realize that Tobit’s four years of blindness brings to memory the Israelites’ forty years of desert wandering 183 along with the connotations attached to the experience. A certain thread of biblical tradition interprets these wilderness years as a time in which the forefathers of Tobit tested and tried the Lord although they had seen his works (cf. Exod 17:1-7; Num 14:22; Ps 78:41,56; 95:8-11; 106:14) and had been explicitly commanded not to put the Lord their God to the test (cf. Deut 6:16). Israel failed to acknowledge the works of God, and so “became spiritually blind and then removed from the sight of Jerusalem’s glory.”184 In Exod 15:26 and Ps 81:8, however, it is God who chastised the people in the desert. In any case, the testing uncovers the lack of belief and confidence on the part of the people that God intends to fulfill his commitment. Tobit, for his part, persists in trusting in God, despite apparently glaring evidence to the contrary. In the Tobit tale, consequently, Tobit’s four years of blindness, which is a metaphorical recapitulation of the infidelity of Israel, is a time in which God tries and tests Tobit, as Rafael informs him in Tob 12:14. In the tradition of Exodus, divine chastisement is done for the sake of purifying his faithful servants and disclosing what is ultimately in their hearts (cf. Exod 20:20). Rafael’s disclosure of the hidden turn of events in Tobit’s life in Tob 12:13-14 implies that his acts of charity have delivered Tobit ultimately from death, which is in keeping with the narrative claim that almsgiving has an expiatory value and saves one from going into the abyss of darkness. Both narratives involve times of testing, as a way to divulge the extent of trust and commitment to God: whereas Israel failed despite having witnessed the works of God, Tobit surpassed the 183 Cf. GOETTMANN, Le chant de joie du prophète Tobie, 22. 184 LEVINE, Diaspora as Metaphor, 113.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


test because he remembered and trusted in God, as shown by his works of righteousness, despite loss of sight and even when he has yet to see the marvels of God. Furthermore, the guidance of Tobias by Rafael on his voyage to Media185 reminds the readers of the explicit statement in Exodus that God sends an angel as God’s presence to guard the people on the way and to guide them to the place God has prepared for them (cf. Exod 14:19; 23:20-23).186 Although God has specifically demanded that the people be attentive to the voice of his angel, the reader knows that the Israelites did not rise to the challenge on many occasions. The author of Tobit, however, revises and reverses this trend, by portraying Tobias with a compliant attitude toward Rafael, heeding the angel’s every advice, step by submissive step. With these minor modifications or variations, the writer seems to wear his revisionist tendencies on his sleeve. It might have to do with the fact that in Exodus, God appears repeatedly in the narrative, and speaks at length, thereby creating “a strong, direct tie between Yahweh’s words and happenings, between purpose and events.”187 In Tobit, however, God is a deus absconditus. Divine direction is concealed from the characters, projecting a bifurcation of events and divine purpose from the perspective of the protagonists. By narratively emphasizing the steadfast though unseen faithfulness of God, the writer has imposed at least half the burden or the responsibility of exit out of exile on the characters, and by implication, the reader. In resorting to a revised reading of some important pieces of the Exodus narrative information especially where the Israelites’ behavior and attitude to God is concerned, the writer manifests the conviction that the exilic present can be healed, but only if they return to God with all their heart and soul, for though God has scourged his people for their iniquities, he will again have mercy on them (cf. Tob 13:5). But the community has to keep the identity that was forged in their exodus experience and keep the distinctiveness of the nation even in the midst of exile so that the events and the divine design will once again be reconciled. Tobit’s instructions are the means to maintain such fidelity to the covenant.

185 Rabenau claims that Tobit is at core a story of guidance. He limits his discussion of Old Testament stories of guidance mostly to Genesis and does not include Exodus. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 100-115. 186 Cf. ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 284. On the accompanying angel in Exodus, see FISCHER, Moses and the Exodus-Angel, 79-93. 187 KORT, Story, Text, and Scripture, 26.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

God’s instruction of Israel, whom God has adopted as his son, comes only after the miraculous passage through the waters when the people arrived in Sinai. After the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, laws that are supposed to govern religious, social and communal aspects of behavior feature prominently in the rest of the Exodus narrative until the end of Deuteronomy. Legal prescriptions take the bulk of the text before Israel, through the leadership of Joshua, finally came to posses the land. Hence, this pedagogy is oriented towards the future possession of the land promised by God to Abraham. Furthermore, these laws continue the distinction-making, identity formation and boundary-setting that Exodus narrates starting from the fourth plague and which culminates eventually in the Israelites’ departure from the midst of the Egyptians (cf. Exod 8:19; 11:7). In Tobit, however, the education of Tobias by way of an extensive sapiential instruction comes at the very start of his journey. Tobit lays down before Tobias the essentials of religious and communal living before he departs. The response of Tobias in Tob 5:1, pa,nta o[sa evnte,talsai, moi poih,sw pa,ter “all that you have commanded me, I will do, father,” recalls a similar response uttered by the Israelites first after Moses told the elders all that the Lord had ordered him to tell them, “pa,nta o[sa ei=pen o` qeo,j poih,somen” (cf. Exod 19:7-8) and then, after he read aloud the book of the covenant to the people “pa,nta o[sa evla,lhsen ku,rioj poih,somen” (cf. Exod 24:7). Tobit’s set of instructions also distinguishes and seals the identity of Tobias, setting him apart in foreign lands as the laws in Exodus once did for the people of Israel. The writer’s variation of placing them before the journey and before knowing God’s presence in Tobit is significant, since the orientation of his instructions is the successful return home of Tobias, which from the writer’s point of view, is symbolic of his people’s return to the homeland. In so doing, the author of Tobit envisions a sort of re-education or re-formation of identity and reestablishment of righteousness among the exiled as a prelude to the future return to the land of their fathers, in the same way that the laws in Exodus and the rest of the Pentateuch function as a pedagogical overture to entrance into the Promised Land. All these textual echoes and reminiscences cannot be dismissed as mere coincidences. They strongly indicate that the writer has selectively remembered pieces of his past, re-contextualizing, rewriting, recasting and reshaping these bits of information by placing them into a fresh textual pattern,188 creating a web of links to Exodus in order to 188 Cf. ALTER, The World of Biblical Literature, 129.

The Narrative Role of Tobit’s Instructions


convey certain convictions. It goes without saying that Deuteronomy exercised a formidable influence upon the writer of Tobit. Yet, it is hard to imagine that it is the only major influence upon the author’s tendencies.189 The Pentateuch after all was considered sacred scripture when Tobit was written, as is indicated in several references in the story to the Book of Moses (cf. Tob 6:13; 7:12,13; 8:6). In such light, it falls within reason to assert that the author of Tobit reached backwards as far as Exodus and utilized its outlines and details in order to narrate his understanding of the current perverse plight of his people. Since “the bible has a general predisposition to see history as a chain of duplicating patterns,”190 it is plausible that the writer conceived the restoration and return of the scattered according to the exodus pattern: such a situation of death happened before, it is not something entirely new, and as in times past, God will see his people through when they reclaim their God-given identity as a people and remain faithful to the righteousness demands of the covenant. The writer alludes to Exodus as a form of narrative re-enactment. In an act of active dialogue, the writer employs various elements from this primordial experience to describe the shape of exilic living and the hopes that can be had based on such reading and re-appropriation of past events of history. It is not only during the days of exodus, but also in the erratic present, that God, whose ways are wise, is Lord of history. Accordingly, God’s precepts, as Tobit interprets them, still hold and still demand obedience. In the words of Rafael, the scattered elect of God are still to declare the words and make known the wisdom of God before all (cf. Tob 12:6b).191 If indeed Tobias and Sarah represent the founders of the new Israel and their marriage points to God’s promise of rebuilding his people, healed of their blindness and barenness, then the importance of the wisdom instructions for the formation of a people in a particular way of life comes into starker relief.

189 In terms of the writer’s theological tendency, Deuteronomy does exert a considerable influence, as many scholars have noted. Cf. the comments of KIEL, Tobit and Moses Redux, n.59, 98. In terms of narrative tendency, however, Exodus seems to have shaped the author’s literary expression and account of how a possible end to exile can be conceived. In this light, Zappella’s evaluation that Tobit does not employ Exodus to parse its election as God’s people is rather misleading. ZAPPELLA, L’immagine dell’elezione, 175. 190 Cf. ALTER, The Pleasures of Reading, 117. 191 It is interesting to note that 4QSapiential Work (4Q185) refers to the Exodus story in its admonition to pursue wisdom: “Draw wisdom from the power of God, remember the miracles he performed in Egypt” (4Q185, 14).


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

The verb that alters the course of Israel’s continued slavery and mortifying situation in Exodus is rkz – God remembers his covenant with Abraham (Exod 2:23-24).192 The ensuing narrative in Exodus proceeds to show the implications of divine remembrance for the future of God’s elect.193 The author of Tobit, however, revises the agent of remembering in his story as part of his ideological argument. This time, the writer places the burden of memory upon his human protagonists. Tobit charges his son to remember the Lord and his ways, which is the universal ground of all his wisdom exhortations. As is evident in the drama of God’s veiled providential aid to Tobit and his family, the writer acknowledges that God does not forget his people for it is not in his nature to forget (cf. Isa 44:21; 49:15-16). God continues to abide with his chosen albeit mysteriously. It is the people who frequently forget God and who disregard the hazards of forgetting, as Tobit’s prayer implies. If they remember God and God’s covenant with a life of righteousness and truth, they will relive and experience again the most marvelous moment of their past. Remembrance entails that they can hope to be brought out from the death-inducing land of exile into the holy land. Just as rkz on the part of God sets in motion a series of marvels that peaked with Israel’s deliverance and entrance into the land of promise, so too, it is hoped, that rkz on the part of God’s chosen people will prompt and launch divine interventions that will culminate in the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the restoration of his exiled people into their beloved homeland in God’s time.

3.4 The Narrative Role of Rafael’s Instructions Since there is a narrative ellipsis between the periods after the instructions and before the departure of Tobias, one can presume that before leaving home Tobias has followed his father’s sound instruction to pray that his ways be properly guided (cf. Tob 4:19), for indeed, an angelic companion in human guise has appeared to direct him along the way.194 The complex realization of God’s design, the manifestation of 192 Brueggemann notes the strategic position of these verses in Exodus, calling them a “pivotal marker” in Exodus. BRUEGGEMANN, The Book of Exodus, 1:705-707. 193 Cf. DURHAM, Exodus, 23-26, who states that God’s remembrance is linked to the future unfolding of God’s deliverance. Cf. also. CHILDS, The Book of Exodus, 32-33. 194 According to Pautrel and Lefebvre, the three Tobit passages on Rafael found in Tob 3:16-17, 5:22 and 12:12-15 are descriptions of the angel as healer, guide along the way and intercessor. PAUTREL/LEFEBVRE, Trois textes de Tobie sur Raphaël, 115-124.

The Narrative Role of Rafael’s Instructions


which has started with the response to the prayers of Tobit and Sarah, unfolds unforeseen along the way. The healing of Tobit’s blindness and the wedding of Tobias to Sarah eventually complete the mission 195 of Rafael whose name means ‘God heals.’196 Disguised as Azariah, a name which means ‘Yahweh helps,’ Rafael has now truly extended the help of God, after having healed the two protagonists beset with misfortunes. Indeed, Rafael personifies the message of redemption.197 For both families, at least, all’s well that ends well.


From Ignorance to Knowledge

It is said that quest narratives move in both the pragmatic and cognitive directions.198 The pragmatic aspect revolves around the order of doing but the cognitive aspect derives from the order of knowing. The former involves a resolution plot while the latter a revelation plot and they are typically intertwined, for the progress of the plot “through time correlates with a progress in knowledge.”199 The mission of Tobias to retrieve the money is a plot of resolution. But the writer has employed this type of plot to serve a greater purpose, for Tobias’s pursuit becomes an instrument of an increase in knowledge on the part of the characters. First, they discover that their supposed kinsman Azariah is in all actuality the archangel Rafael.200 Second, they find out after the events that the ever-providential God still controls the movement of history; they realize the hidden boundlessness of God’s mercy in the events that have transpired.201 They discover as true the claims of Psalm

195 Dion has argued that part of Rafael’s task is to divorce Asmodeus from Sarah, since lu/sai, the word used in Tob 3:17, is a technical term for ancient Jewish divorce. DION, Raphaël l’Exorciste, 405-408. Ego echoes this suggestion stating that lu/sai could mean “to dissolve.” EGO, Denn er liebt sie, 314. 196 The various theophoric names in the narrative of Tobit hint at a summary of the plot or events in the story. ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester, 47; DI LELLA, Two Major Prayers in the Book of Tobit, 96. 197 Cf. REITERER, An Archangel’s Theology, 273; HOPPE, Three Angelic Biographies, 335. 198 Cf. MARGUERAT/BOURQUIN, How to Read Bible Stories, 56. 199 STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 176. 200 According to Petersen, the question of Azariah’s identity is the last item in the narrative that needs to be dealt with. PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:41. 201 The characters and the reader are now on the same level of knowledge. For a discussion, cf. SONNET, L’analyse narrative des récits bibliques, 59. Baslez claims that the originality of Tobit lies in proposing a progressive discovery of God by employing the schema of an initiatory quest. BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 48.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

112, that those who delight in God’s commands, those who are gracious, merciful and just, will enjoy happiness and their prosperity shall endure forever. At this point in the story, the characters pass from ignorance to knowledge, albeit incomplete, of God’s inexplicable ways. While the first group of exhortations in chapter four contributes to the change of situation from bad to good, unhappiness to happiness, Rafael’s instructions contribute to the dramatic change from ignorance to knowledge on the part of the characters. As in apocalyptic stories, such discovery or insight is bestowed by an angel. The climax involves Tobias and Tobit’s discovery, and their bewilderment that God remains at work though in a secret and baffling manner.202 In a way, Tobit’s eyes have been healed of their blindness not only physically but also spiritually. With the white scales off his eyes, Tobit now praises God for he sees the more profound meaning of a Reality that continues to confound and confront him. Words of prayer in Tobit 3 give way to words of revelation in Tobit 12 after the journey which is in fact a progressive unearthing on the part of the characters of God’s plan and presence. With four references to kru,ptw ‘to hide, conceal’ in vv. 6, 7, and 11 and five instances of the use of evxomologe,w ‘to confess, acknowledge, declare, make public’ in vv. 6, 7, 20, 22, in addition to u`podei,knumi ‘to show, point out’ in vv. 6 and 11, and avnakalu,ptw ‘to uncover, unveil’ in vv. 7 and 11, the vocabulary of the chapter underscores the theological tension in the story. Up to this point, the divine activity is concealed from the characters though not from the reader. In this chapter that concludes the saga of Tobias, the characters finally come to know the hidden, or more accurately, the disguised presence of God in their midst and how the plan of God has subsumed all human plans.203 They find out that, in a manner that exceeds human imagination, God has woven from disparate strands a 202 Human ignorance is a typical mainstay of narratives. In the Scriptures, ignorance is a necessary condition for the plot and is usually the principle that drives the narrative for it opposes the omniscience of God with human limitedness. “No ignorance, no conflict; and no conflict, no plot.” STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 173. Because of his role in the discernment of God’s presence, Rafael is a necessary angel. ROTA SCALABRINI, L’Angelo necessario, 873-874; 876-877. 203 For instance, the original purpose of the trip which is to get the money on deposit with Gabael in Rages becomes more of an afterthought at the end of the journey. God seems to have another thing in mind, the wedding of Sarah and Tobias, as purpose for the journey as Rafael introduces the matter during the trip (cf. Tob 6:10-13). Cf. also Raguel’s statement in Tob 8:16 after fearing the worst and finding out that Tobias is alive: “It did not happen to me as I thought, but you have acted according to your great mercy.”

The Narrative Role of Rafael’s Instructions


marvelous blanket of mercy for his pious children. Unlike Tobit who has instructed Tobias only once to bless the Lord (cf. Tob 4:19), Rafael repeatedly commands Tobit and Tobias to praise God and acknowledge his works, for it is God who is ultimately responsible for proper and successful guidance.


Rafael as Wisdom Teacher

Stepping into the role of a wisdom teacher who provides access to comprehending the mysterious ways of the awe-inspiring God, Rafael gives Tobit and Tobias a series of sage advice before departure. The first section of Rafael’s wise counsels in Tob 12:6-7a focuses on the praise and acknowledgement of the works of God. As such, Rafael can be aptly called a teacher of the praise of God.204 Since Rafael cannot emphasize enough the importance of this instruction, this specific command makes the chapter abound with a vocabulary of praise and blessing. The reason for Rafael’s cantus firmus to glorify God in this chapter of revelation is to make sure that the transcendent character of God, rather than Rafael’s character, gets the proper recognition for all that has happened.205 It is the role of God, not the role of Rafael 206 that deserves credit. But with Rafael as Tobias’s guide and companion, the reader can easily entertain the thought that the story has a happy ending thanks to Rafael. With the characters still unaware, and with the reader possibly forgetting the earlier claim that Rafael is but an emissary sent by God in Tob 3:16-17, and the statement of Trito-Isaiah that it was not a messenger or angel but the Lord himself who saved his loyal people from their affliction (cf. Isa 63:8-9), there arises the risk of 204 Cf. EGO, Gottes Lob als Existenzerschließung, 21. The author adds that the praise of God in ancient Judaism is not simply a privilege of angels but is also a privilege given to humanity by God, uniquely binding humanity with God. Barker notes that holy angels are experienced on earth as teachers or messengers. BARKER, The Archangel Rafael in the Book of Tobit, 118-128. 205 Cf. EGO, The Figure of the Angel Raphael, 239-253. Another way of describing Rafael’s role is that of bridging the transcendence and immanence of God, keeping God close to the characters while also preserving the distance between them. HOPPE, Three Angelic Biographies, 335. 206 The role of Rafael can be read against an eschatological background or expectation. Rafael’s role may reflect the growing conviction in Judaism that salvation will eventually be achieved by a divinely appointed agent of God, or that God’s decisive action to establish his purposes in the world involves God’s wonder-working agents (cf. Dan 12:1; Sir 48:10).


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

misconstruing the favorable turn of events as Rafael’s responsibility. The angel knows better however, and demands that Tobit and Tobias know that he is a mere but effective instrument of God’s mercy. It is due to God’s initiative that all the good things have happened to Tobit’s family. With this instruction, Rafael withdraws from the limelight as he reveals his identity and mission and allows God to take the center stage in the whole drama. His repeated instruction to praise God directs all the attention to the Merciful One who is responsible for it all. To a certain extent, Rafael’s insistent demand that God be blessed counters Tobit’s prayer in Tob 11:14-15, in which angels are praised quite excessively alongside God. Rafael’s instruction to praise God, which follows his first-person statements of revelation, functions as a necessary narrative corrective to possibilities of misinterpretations. Rafael’s role as a divine instrument is not to eclipse in any way the role of God in the beneficent events that have happened in the story. With his exhortation to praise God, Rafael implies that the sole fitting predicate of euvloghto,j is God alone.207 In this way, the writer provided a direct narrative means so as not to compromise the strictly monotheistic orientation of the story. Since Rafael serves as the medium through which Tobit and Tobias pass from ignorance to knowledge of the concealed working out of God’s grace in their lives, Rafael’s exhortations confirm in effect the validity of, as well as confer a divine stamp of approval upon, Tobit’s earlier instructions. In fact, in his discourse, Rafael reaffirms the essence of the instructions of Tobit in chapter four, for Rafael’s instructions are really a variant of Tobit’s. From his angelic lips, the fundamental exhortation to almsgiving and prayer finds divine confirmation. Rafael notes that Tobit’s prayer and performance of merciful acts delivered him from death, for God sent Rafael to heal Tobit who prayed for death when Rafael brought before the throne of God a record of Tobit’s prayer and good deeds (cf. Tob 12:12-14). While wisdom literature often resorts to the personification of wisdom to grant divine provenance for sapiential claims, the narrative of Tobit uses an interpreting and guiding angel, one of the seven holy angels who enter and serve before

207 The Vaticanus and Alexandrinus mss have a shorter blessing, containing only one blessing of angels, as well as an addition of an account of God’s merciful activity towards Tobit. These later mss may have moderated the role of Rafael and placed more stress on God by resorting to some “protective measures” to ensure the monotheistic perspective of the book. STUCKENBRUCK, Angel Veneration and Christology, 164-167.

The Gospel of Ahiqar According to Tobit


the Glory of the Lord,208 to bestow divine authority upon the sapiential instructions of the story. In Tobit, the divine foundation of wisdom is rooted in the revelation of a divine messenger. Rafael’s repetition of Tobit’s instructions validates them as divine, and therefore universal. In short, Rafael is necessary not only to resolve the pragmatic but also the cognitive aspects of the plot. The reader thus progresses in the knowledge and awareness that Tobit’s wisdom instructions enjoy God’s seal of approval. Since the fate of exile is the final concern as suggested by the narrative, Rafael’s disclosure of divine providential actions, however puzzling, is certainly significant for the reader, for it makes the chaotic world of exile seem intelligible. His revelation functions as an assurance and his instructions as a type of divine guidance, motivating the scattered, encouraging them to remain in righteousness before God, whose hand continues to penetrate clandestinely through the muddled events and the changes and chances of history in order to deliver his people from their misery.

3.5 The Gospel of Ahiqar According to Tobit In his farewell discourse in Tob 14:8-11, Tobit admonishes the members of his household to observe the principles by which he has lived his life. With time short and death at the door, his instructions are concise and to the point. His approach to his former admonitions is now synthetic, stating their essence: serve God and do righteousness. However, a variation in terms of an added novelty is included in the set of instructions. This time, Tobit employs the story of Ahiqar and Nadab to illustrate and emphasize his concern. What is the function then of this variation? What role does it play in the conclusion of the story?


The Story of Ahiqar

A popular figure in the ancient Near East, Ahiqar is a wise scribe and counselor in the Assyrian court. Without a child to succeed him, Ahiqar decides to adopt his nephew Nadab whom he educates and “fills

208 For further discussion on angels of the presence in Tobit and other related literature, cf. BARKER, The Archangel Rafael in the Book of Tobit, 118-128.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

with instruction as with bread and butter.”209 After Nadab’s education, he is presented to Esarhaddon and eventually takes his uncle’s position in court. However, Nadab repays the kindness of his uncle with ingratitude by convincing the king that the old man is plotting to overthrow the throne by forging the name of Ahiqar in treasonable letters to neighboring kings. Furious at the betrayal, the king orders Ahiqar to be killed. By a stroke of good luck, however, the official who is supposed to execute the order happens to be a good friend of Ahiqar. It so happens that previously, Ahiqar had saved the official from death. Ahiqar consequently appeals to his gratitude and requests that the gesture be reciprocated. Instead of executing Ahiqar, the officer kills a slave in his stead, keeps Ahiqar in hiding and provides for him while in this condition. The Elephantine version of the story 210 breaks off abruptly at this point. In later and more developed versions of the story, the Egyptian king challenges the Assyrian king to send a wise man who can solve riddles and supervise the construction of a castle between heaven and earth. Distressed, the Assyrian king remembers Ahiqar and offers a reward to anyone who can bring back Ahiqar alive. Perceiving that the time has arrived, the officer who has been hiding Ahiqar, brings him to the despairing king, who upon recognizing Ahiqar, offers him profuse 209 CONYBEARE/HARRIS/LEWIS, The Story of Ahikar, 60. 210 For the tale of Ahiqar, its various versions and introduction to the story, see CONYBEARE/HARRIS/LEWIS, The Story of Ahikar, vii-118; NAU, Histoire et Sagesse d’Ahikar L’Assyrien, 145-258; LINDENBERGER, The Aramaic Proverbs of Ahiqar, 3-27; KOTTSIEPER, Die Geschichte und die Sprüche der weisen Achiqar, 320-347; VANDERKAM, Ahikar/Ahiqar, 1:113-115. Greenfield recounts the discovery of a tablet dating to the 147th year of the Seleucid era that explicitly contains the name of Ahiqar as one of the sages who occupied a high position in the courts of Assyrian and Babylonian kings. GREENFIELD, Ahiqar in the Book of Tobit, 330-331. However, he reports in another essay that although this has been disputed as fictional, the listing of the name of Ahiqar in a Babylonian tablet nevertheless testifies to the fact that the role of Ahiqar was “firmly entrenched in Babylonian tradition.”IDEM, Two Proverbs of Ahiqar, 195. Strugnell offers a convincing explanation that this cuneiform tablet drawn up in Uruk actually testifies to how a tale originally told about Esarhaddon of Assyria and Ahiqar is later modified and transferred to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, which, forming part of Nebuchadnezzar group of tales, then influenced the other versions of the Ahiqar tale. This happened because the name Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, was no longer recognizable to a Seleucid scribe, consequently transcribing his name as Niqqurusu’ with whom Ahiqar is associated in the tablet. In the story of Tobit, in the Elephantine version, and in the Uruk tablet, the error which presents Sennacherib as son of Esarhaddon, as attested in the other later versions, is not found. STRUGNELL, Problems in the Development of the Ahiqar Tale, 205-206. Cf. also MCKANE, Proverbs, 156-182.

The Gospel of Ahiqar According to Tobit


apologies and weeps for joy. He then reinstates Ahiqar into court and sends him to Egypt. Upon Ahiqar’s return from his adventures and incredible feats in Egypt, the king offers him a reward. Ahiqar, however, declines and only asks that he be allowed to discipline his ungrateful nephew Nadab. The nephew is imprisoned and beaten, and to add insult to injury gets to listen to the long reproaches and severe maxims of his uncle. After the speech, Nadab puffs up like a balloon and dies.


The Function of the Story of Ahiqar

In his final testament in Tobit 14, Tobit does not give the particulars of the Ahiqar story. The author assumes that the readers are familiar with this tale211 and, as a result, all that is needed is to create reminiscences.212 The mere mention of their names is like a screen icon that opens up to a narrative reality. Furthermore, from a narrative point of view, Ahiqar is Tobit’s nephew. By transforming Ahiqar into a relative, it becomes unnecessary to offer details of the narrative when talking about him with his child and grandchildren. Family members should know! Tobit therefore mines the story for its lesson, as a vindication of a teaching very close to his heart, namely the principle of reciprocity which is instanced in Tobit in acts of charity and compassion. The Story of Ahiqar as Validation of a Teaching Although the Ahiqar tale does not portray Ahiqar as a paragon of almsgiving, Tobit nonetheless presents Ahiqar as a person saved by almsgiving. In the tale, Ahiqar’s merciful act to an officer reverses his fate. Salvation has come to him at the moment of need thanks to a good deed. Ahiqar is provided for with bread and water as he once provided for Tobit in the hour of darkness. With his ‘charitable deeds’ of interceding for Tobit and providing him care, as well as Ahiqar’s kindness 211 In GI, the name of Ahiqar’s nephew appears as Aman. This is a possible indication that later Jewish readers were not as familiar with the story. MOORE, Tobit, 294. For a more detailed textual analysis of the differences in Tob 14:10 between GI and GII, see SCHMITT, Wende das Lebens, 177-183. For a consideration of which Ahiqar version influenced Tobit, cf. GREENFIELD, The Wisdom of Ahiqar, 43-52; TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 141-165. 212 Cf. KÜCHLER, Frühjüdische Weisheitstraditionen, 369-370; GREENFIELD, Ahiqar in the Book of Tobit, 334. Modern readers are not as familiar with the story for any type of reminiscence to take place, and hence, the general outline of the story is given.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

to his nephew – all of which Tobit seems to count as almsgiving213 – Ahiqar was literally saved from death and enjoyed a full life. Tobit can say that Ahiqar came literally into the light as he came out of underground hiding while Nadab his nephew went into the darkness. Emphasizing the foolishness of Nadab’s actions, Tobit appeals to poetic justice, alluding not only to the typical proverbial maxim that fools fall into the trap they themselves have set (cf. Prov 1:19; 26:27; Ps 7:16; 9:16; 35:8; 57:7; 141:10; Sir 27:25-27; Qoh 10:8), a saying that is also found at the end of the Syriac Story of Ahiqar,214 but also to Rafael’s aphorism in Tob 12:10 that those who commit sin and do wrong are their own worst enemies. What better way to remember a teaching than to encapsulate it in a story about family members! It is not just some story about some anonymous character. The family’s familiarity with the experience of Ahiqar and Nadab is a closer reality for confirming Tobit’s ethical precept. In other words, the author employs an instructive narrative, the tale of Ahiqar, within an instructive metanarrative, the tale of Tobit, in order to demonstrate the validity of this teaching215 and the saving power of the mercy of God. With the popularity of Ahiqar, Tobit’s direct and indirect allusions to the tale 213 In the Syriac version of the Story of Ahiqar, Ahiqar refers twice to his righteousness, in the “primitive sense” of almsgiving. First, when he starts castigating Nadab, he tells him that though he has been cast down, it is his righteousness that has saved him. Second, towards the end of the story, Ahiqar claims that God has kept him alive on account of his righteousness but destroyed Nadab due to his works (the way he treated his servants). CONYBEARE/HARRIS/LEWIS, The Story of Ahikar, 80; 84. In Tobit’s story, the charitable deed of Ahiqar seems to consist of his intercession on behalf of Tobit (cf. Tob 1:22) and his care and provision during Tobit’s blindness (cf. Tob 2:10). Ahiqar who is an Aramaean did not know the Torah but unwittingly participated in the act of God by truth, righteousness and almsgiving in his deeds. Because he is a model worthy of emulation, Ahiqar can henceforth be counted as a member of Tobit’s tribe. WEIGL, Die rettende Macht der Barmherzigkeit, 221-240. Cf. however, the comments of STRUGNELL, Problems in the Development of the Ahiqar Tale, 205: That Ahiqar is a Jew and that Ahiqar is delivered from death due to almsgiving are claims in Tobit that are not found in other versions, but they attest “not only to the beginning of the tale of Ahiqar’s calamities but also his deliverance from death and the deposition and execution of Nadin.” Cf. also the observations of TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 161-165; ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 23-24. 214 Cf. CONYBEARE/HARRIS/LEWIS, The Story of Ahikar, 84: He that diggeth a pit for his neighbour, filleth it with his own stature. For a discussion of the biblical parallels, cf. DI LELLA, A Study of Tobit 14:10 and its Intertextual Parallels, 497-506. 215 Nowell claims that using a story to teach within a story that teaches is an instance of theology of narrative. NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:1069. Fitzmyer notes that Nadab, as the villain of the Ahiqar tale, personifies what is wrong with Nineveh, the destruction of which is a lesson in retribution. FITZMYER, Tobit, 632.

The Gospel of Ahiqar According to Tobit


provide authoritative support to Tobit’s message.216 This is pedagogy through a story. In the end, the story of Ahiqar is the most excellent image and metaphor Tobit employs to convey his message regarding the value of evlehmosu,nh. Variations on a Theme The author of Tobit does this by embodying the sapiential language of the two ways in the stories of Tobit and Tobias on one hand, and Ahiqar and Nadab on the other. This is of course the idiom of his instruction in Tobit 4. Their stories now serve as concrete examples of lessons in terms of binary oppositions. On one hand, the stories of Tobit and Ahiqar are symmetrically parallel. Both are court officials who are thrown out of court and suffer as a consequence. Both employ proverbial instructions to provide their sons with the best classical education. Both fall out of the court’s favor with deleterious consequences for their socio-economic standing but after a time, both are restored to even greater fortunes on account of their righteousness.217 Both desire that their sons give them a proper funeral upon their deaths. In the Syriac version, Ahiqar entreats God to grant him a son to bury him, so that when he dies, the son may ‘cast dust’ on his eyes. After the king has decided to have him killed, Ahiqar pleads that his body be given a burial. Tobit is of course obsessed with burial of the dead. “Bury me well” is his first instruction to Tobias. He buries his dead kinsmen even if it means violating the will of the king, a politically subversive act that not only has reduced his economic and social status but has also led to his blindness. When informed of the marriage with the demon-threatened Sarah, Tobias’s main fear is that there will be no one to bury his parents if something unspeakable happens to him. 216 Cf. TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 163. 217 Tobit’s fulfillment of, and participation in righteousness, is explicit but Ahiqar’s is implicit. Since Ahiqar is not a Jew, it is this participation in righteousness that opens up the family structure of the Diaspora community, allowing non-Jews to be part of it. WEIGL, Die rettende Macht der Barmherzigkeit, 242. From a literary standpoint, the appearance of Ahiqar in Tobit as a Jewish sage reflects the literary process of assimilation and theologization of various foreign literary texts and compositional forms which were deemed suspect since biblical literature considers foreign cultures as threats to Israel’s belief in God (cf. Exodus 14–15, Deuteronomy 31–32). WEITZMAN, Song and Story in Biblical Narrative, 37-58; 124-131. Greenfield notes, however, that the polytheistic aspect of the tale of Ahiqar must have been purged at an earlier stage for Ahiqar to be an Israelite in Tobit. GREENFIELD, The Wisdom of Ahiqar, 51.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

On the other hand, the narratives of the sons create a positive-negative parallelism. The ingratitude of the adopted son functions as a Kontrastbild to the exemplary behavior of Tobias toward his father.218 While Nadab dismissed the instructions and failed to observe them, as indicated by his betrayal, ingratitude and foolishness, Tobias keeps the instructions of his father, as manifested in his behavior and the positive results it has brought about for the family. Nadab’s training in virtue has failed but Tobias has appropriated and internalized his. The contrast becomes more explicit in light of the theme of burial. At the end of the story, Tobias observes his father’s injunction and gives not only his parents but also his parents-in law a proper burial. Nadab, on the other hand, denies this last honor of a funeral and remembrance due his adoptive father even when the king has ordered him to do so.219 Nadab’s bad behavior earns him the eternal darkness but Tobias’s proper conduct merits him the covenantal blessings of a long secured life and children. Nadab belongs to the banned but Tobias to the blessed. As a conclusion to his valedictory address, Tobit tells his children what almsgiving does and what injustice does, thereby juxtaposing the two terms as opposites. Charity is a virtue that is opposed to injustice. Needless to say, this positive-negative parallelism illustrates how sons and grandchildren, and presumably the reader, must behave in righteousness while outside the land. Located at the conclusion of the story, the brevity of the instructions implies that nothing much remains to be said. For everything that needs to be said has been said in the progress of the story. Given at the summing-up stage of life, the instructions of Tobit function as a final reminder to the reader of the importance of observing them. This is the writer’s last attempt to convince the reader of the authority and validity of the instructions for living a pious life that is pleasing to God. His use of a ‘metadiegetic narrative’ or an embedded story, which is the tale of Ahiqar, does not only have a thematic and explanatory function but also has a persuasive function.220 The narrative of Ahiqar justifies 218 Cf. SCHMITT, Wende des Lebens, 177. Cf. also ENGEL, Das Buch Tobit, 284. 219 Cf. CONYBEARE/HARRIS/LEWIS, The Story of Ahikar, 71. Greenfield also points out that the Talmud identifies the role of a son as that of “the staff for the hand and a spade for burial.” Thus when Anna tells Tobit, “why did you let go of my son, the staff of my hands” in Tob 5:18, it is understood that she also refers to the other half of the statement. Her son Tobias is also responsible for her burial. GREENFIELD, Ahiqar in the Book of Tobit, 333. 220 For a discussion of the various functions of a narrative within a narrative, cf. SKA, “Our Fathers Have Told Us”, 47-53.



the claims of Tobit and illustrates the positive consequences for those who put his instructions into practice. In a way, Tobit subscribes to the view that it is possible to form character and teach virtue to another, against the pessimistic claim of Socrates that virtue is not teachable. As Tobit’s years of ease give way to a timely age to die, Tobit’s final instructions carry further authoritative weight for the reader since they are now backed by both personal experience and acquired insight. They become strong recommendations to the original audience as a way of ensuring a joyful ending to their current exilic fate. The conclusion of the narrative directs a special lesson to the reader: God continues to abide with his elect, and his people have to continue to remain faithful to him by observing the principles that have steered the conduct of Tobit and his family. With explicit and allusive references to Ahiqar, Tobit sends the traditional sapiential message that the righteousness of the just, concretized in acts of evlehmosu,nh, is salvific.221 In his farewell discourse, Tobit states plainly and simply that his Didache, if observed, can only lead to happy results, foremost of which is the possibility of return to the homeland. Such remembering of God will stir God’s remembering of his people. At life’s finish, Tobit does not issue a long list of instructions. He summarizes them, and concludes with a popular story, knowing all too well that the didactic technique of storytelling will leave a more memorable impact than a list of instructions. In the final analysis, stories and metaphors, rather than rules, form the individual. The Book of Tobit reflects and exemplifies such a claim.

3.6 Conclusion The literary expression or rhetoric the writer employed to tell the story of Tobit includes the threefold repetition of wisdom speeches, two from Tobit and one from Rafael. They play different narrative functions that emphasize various aspects in the movement of the story, indicating their significance. The first group of instructions is strategically placed at the beginning of the transformative action that involves the spatial transference of the young hero Tobias to a place that holds promise. The discourse is meant to be educational, with the goal of making Tobias wise and just. Tobias returns home with wealth beyond expectations, a beautiful wife and a cure for his father’s blindness. It is not only 221 Cf. LORETZ, Roman und Kurzgeschichte in Israel, 325; TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 165.


The Narrative Function of Tobit’s Wisdom Instructions

the expert direction of Rafael, under the guise of a kinsman companion, which steered the story to its resolution. This positive outcome hinges ultimately on the formation of the character of Tobias, which the extensive exhortations of his father have helped shape. The wisdom speech of Tobit not only reflects his character but also, in the end, the character of his son. They prepare Tobias for his peril-ridden journey towards maturity and wisdom so that he can continue his father’s legacy or eventually replace him as head of the household. At the end of this quest episode, Rafael reveals to Tobit and Tobias the secret divine design behind the seemingly haphazard complex of meaningless events that have happened in their lives. Through this disclosure, the characters finally move from ignorance to knowledge of God’s baffling ways. In his instructions, Rafael directs the attention of both characters and reader to the role and initiative of God. He confirms in the process the validity and legitimacy of Tobit’s earlier set of instructions. As Tobit lies dying, he gives a final set of instructions, employing the story of Ahiqar and Nadab as a parable to illustrate his fundamental concern. This embedded narrative functions as a final attempt to persuade the readers, whom Tobit addresses through his son and grandchildren, of the efficacy of heeding his wisdom instructions. With extensive allusions to Exodus, the narrative discourse shows that by bearing responsibility for the devout enactment of these wisdom exhortations, the scattered people of Israel can ultimately hope that their world, characterized by a painful divorce between divine promise and events, will eventually get restored and return to the way it should be. These wisdom counsels will further divine aims. With the story of Tobit and his family, the exiled families have been afforded a glimpse beyond the horizon of God’s ongoing intervention for their future restoration, when the ground on which they stand will no longer have to rumble and shift underneath them. Of course, this graced and privileged position that the narrative grants the reader includes the knowledge and the recognition that the sapiential exhortations are indispensable to the transformative experience of Tobit and his household.

Chapter 4 The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit Introduction

The group of writings composed of Proverbs, Qohelet, and Job in the Masoretic canon is the sapiential literature par excellence that encompasses and embodies the wisdom tradition of Israel. One of the chief and readily observable characteristics that is found in all of these canonical wisdom texts is that they exhibit no explicit Yahwistic interest in the divine interventions and salvific events that helped shape the history of Israel, such as the patriarchal promises, the Exodus, the Sinai covenant, and the Davidic kingdom.1 Only later wisdom writings like Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon found in the Septuagint address and remedy the lack of interest in Temple-related activities and the absence of references to the Pentateuch and prophecy.2 For years, this set



See for instance HAUSMANN, “Weisheit” im Kontext alttestamentlicher Theologie, 12. In Heaton’s view, the absence of references to national history is due to the editorial activities of the school tradition. The redactors eliminated and replaced the old notion of a God who acts in history with the notion of a God who reveals himself through the daily “experience of life in the world he created, regulated by the Law and guided by the Prophets.” HEATON, The School Tradition of the Old Testament, 189. On how these late wisdom books have acquired a heilsgeschichtlich shade, see KEE, Appropriating the History of God’s People, 44-54.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

of sapiential texts was viewed as a Fremdkörper,3 receiving neither the time nor the critical notice of Old Testament scholars. Additionally, a kerygmatic biblical theology that unreservedly embraced the centrality of Heilsgeschichte, the theme of covenant, and the recital of magnalia Dei in the Scriptures resulted in the relegation of this wisdom corpus to the fringes of biblical scholarship.4 Neither did the status of the latter group of writings as deuterocanonical or apocryphal help the case of wisdom.5 In contrast to the former days when wisdom enjoyed little scholarly attention, it has become commonplace nowadays to point out wisdom strands in many of the biblical texts like the Pentateuch, the prophets, and the psalms. This academic phenomenon stirred the eminent 3



Cf. STEIERT, Die Weisheit Israels, 85-102; 214-248. In the author’s view, the assumption that Proverbs is an alienum corpus is based upon the claim that wisdom writings owe more to Egyptian literature than they do the Bible; wisdom literature is in essence pagan (cf. for instance PREUSS, Einführung in die alttestamentliche Weisheitsliteratur, 10-30). This is a result of an overemphasis on the affinities between Proverbs and Egyptian wisdom literature. Steiert argues that Proverbs is in fact dependent on Israelite traditions such as Deuteronomy and Jeremiah. Murphy has also claimed that “the incompatibility of wisdom and Yahwism is a mere logical creation” since responsible character formation, the major concern of wisdom teachings, is a sign of responsible Yahwism. MURPHY, Wisdom and Yahwism, 118-119. Adams asserts that the issue is “whether one believes that insights into common human experience by means of an established genre (the instruction) are a useful supplement to other forms of biblical literature that emphasize special revelation, the unique intervention of Yahweh in Israelite history.” The Hebrew Bible’s revelatory aspects of Israel’s history do not prove that “sapiential discourse had a marginal status among ancient purveyors of Israelite religion.”ADAMS, Wisdom in Transition, 82-83. Although Wright acknowledges that Israel subjected the theological interest and base of international wisdom to the “fear of the Lord” and the understanding of good and evil from a covenant perspective, he nonetheless pronounces biblical wisdom literature as “too narrowly fixed,” resembling secular wisdom. WRIGHT, God Who Acts, 102-105. Barré has argued however that since the phrase ‘fear of God’ is present in other ancient Near East wisdom texts, it forms part of the wisdom tradition and is not due to prophetic or priestly influence. BARRÉ, Fear of God and the Worldview of Wisdom, 41-43. In a more positive appreciation of wisdom in the life of Israel, Childs asserts that wisdom, far from secularizing religion, is in fact a witness that carries its own theological integrity in that along with the Law, wisdom calls for fidelity to God and commitment to his divine order and serves as a guide for what constitutes proper and faithful response. CHILDS, Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context, 210-212. For a survey of continental scholarship on the wisdom corpus, cf. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Il kairós dei Proverbi, 287-298. According to Clements, the presence of wisdom in the Old Testament apocrypha “further endorses the sense that an ambivalent attitude existed towards wisdom.” CLEMENTS, Wisdom and Old Testament Theology, 272.



wisdom scholar Roland E. Murphy to ask, somewhat sardonically, the question “Where has Old Testament wisdom failed to appear?”6 Indeed, wisdom’s fate has been reversed. She can now be found instructing, issuing her invitation to learning to the young and the senseless not only by the city gates and on busy street intersections and from the top of the heights along the crowded roads (cf. Prov 1:20; 8:2-3; 9:3), but also in the nooks and crannies of various biblical and extra-biblical traditions. Wisdom has ventured beyond her conventional milieu. More than anything else, this shows that Israel has a distinct sapiential hermeneutic in her understanding of reality and relationships, both human and divine. She has another set of lenses through which to view the world and God. Such perspective may indeed define the unique realm of ideas or the distinct ‘intellectual tradition’ of Israel.7 In any case, the supposed occurrence of wisdom outside the sphere of what is traditionally understood as sapiential literature denotes that the wisdom tradition is a quiet though pervasive presence in the intellectual and cultural development of ancient Israel.8 The tradition often attributed to the sages has left some remarkable traces in the Book of Tobit. In addition to the narrative’s major preoccupation with the subtle persistence of divine providence in the lives of believers, the section of ethical exhortations contained in Tobit 4 and the set of maxims in Tobit 12 betray not only a strong influence from, but also a clear connection with the wisdom tradition. In order to express herself, Sofia here takes the form of Tobit’s paternal counsels and practical instructions to Tobias. This exemplifies the claim that Tobit forms part of ‘wisdom’s widening net.’9 With respect to its instructional

6 7 8


MURPHY, The Interpretation of Old Testament Wisdom Literature, 290. Cf. WHYBRAY, The Intellectual Tradition in the Old Testament, 70. As Brueggemann notes, the wisdom tradition is “not at all peripheral to the reflective life of Israel.” BRUEGGEMANN, The Epistemological Crises of Israel’s Two Histories, 85. DELL, Get Wisdom, Get Insight, 140. Cf. also GESE, Wisdom Literature in the Persian Period, 1:189, who claims that the the Hellenistic period witnessed to “more extensive overlaps” such that other literary works outside of the wisdom tradition “are strongly endowed with the features of wisdom literature, for example, Tobit and Baruch.”


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

genre,10 its emphasis on proper practical conduct and positive ethical values, and orientation towards success, Tobit 4 aligns itself and manifests certain continuity with the wisdom tradition of Israel. A thread of sapiential understanding and tradition courses through Tobit. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss and examine the sapiential elements in the Tobit narrative. It aims to study the role that the wisdom tradition and worldview played in the creation of its narrative. To do this, an investigation of commonly considered sapiential essentials that are particularly enshrined or assumed in Tobit 4 and 12 will be undertaken. Ultimately, the chapter will argue that the presence of factors central to the worldview of wisdom indicates that the craftsman of Tobit employed wisdom and its tradition to interpret, extend, recast and transform some of the older covenant claims. Tobit’s use of the wisdom tradition also displays the more expansive scope given to wisdom over time. In this regard, the Book of Tobit may be considered not only as a significant witness to the evolving interests of the sapiential tradition but also as a quiet but entertaining voice in the conversation regarding Mosaic traditions during the Second Temple era.

4.1 The Wisdom Tradition in Israel Defining the essence of the sapiential tradition in Israel is no easy task, for the tradition seems to have an ‘elusive presence’11 not unlike Lady Wisdom herself. According to R.N. Whybray, the wisdom tradition in Israel is nothing other than the informal intellectual tradition that arose out of an interest in the persistent problems of ordinary life by rich and like-minded farmers who were educated and literate. No social or professional institution acted as the bearer of the tradition, for the men who 10 Murphy acknowledges that wisdom can be expressed using a variety of literary forms. MURPHY, Wisdom Literature, 3-6. Crenshaw notes that wisdom is found in form and content, or in the use of typical forms of literary expression in order to articulate a particular and coherent worldview. “When a marriage between form and content exists, there is wisdom literature.” CRENSHAW, Old Testament Wisdom, 9-11. However, based on an examination of wisdom texts found at Qumran, Collins argues that instruction is more determinative of the wisdom tradition. Wisdom cannot be tied to content or equated to a single worldview. It is as instructional material that underpins and defines the coherence of wisdom literature. He concludes that attempts to associate wisdom with a particular point of view or to employ it in contrast to other viewpoints in Judaism are suspect. COLLINS, Wisdom Reconsidered, 278-281. 11 The phrase is from Samuel Terrien’s 1978 work entitled The Elusive Presence: Toward a New Biblical Theology.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


engaged intellectually with the questions of life participated in other traditions of Israel and “did not set themselves apart from their fellow citizens.”12 E.W. Heaton asserts on the other hand that the sapiential tradition is ‘the product of Israel’s schools.’ In other words, it is the classical tradition of Israel’s educated men. He hypothesizes that the authors’ very education was responsible for giving these so-called wisdom texts a unique character. Their distinction lies in the fact that the teachings of the educational establishment focused on the order of creation and appealed not only to a moral and reasonable faith indifferent to national history but also to the responsibility and equality of all that is created in God’s image and likeness.13 These descriptions of the sapiential tradition conjure up an image of detached reflection, confined to the ivory tower of the academe and devoid of practicality. The wisdom tradition of Israel, however, is anything but disinterested and impractical. These supposed intellectuals did not ponder the purpose of life for its own sake; the tradition was not a product of a felicitous scholarly exercise. Rather, wisdom is thoroughly religious and has often been employed to legitimize ‘institutions of wealth and power.’14 Moreover, these characterizations do not render full justice to one of the stated goals of sapiential instruction as found in Prov 1:2-7, namely the cultivation of virtues that foster and develop normative character. Wisdom and virtue are so conflated that to gain wisdom is to gain righteousness.15 Central to wisdom instruction and education is the ‘building of character,’ the formation

12 WHYBRAY, The Intellectual Tradition in the Old Testament, 6-54. Whybray has argued that the word ~kx does not refer to an office, function or job but to the human quality of being wise or intelligent. 13 HEATON, The School Tradition of the Old Testament, 4-5; 182-190. The author dismisses Whybray’s hypothesis of a book-writing class of farmers or an educated landed gentry as a tenuous and fictitious explanation for the biblical wisdom corpus. 14 PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 13. As Crenshaw also posits, it is likely that a few scribal guilds existed early on to assist the monarchy in propaganda and administration. CRENSHAW, Education in Ancient Israel, 85-113. Berquist also notes that much of the scribal work was to maintain and support the established institutions. BERQUIST, Judaism in Persia’s Shadow, 167. 15 As Fox notes, there is a causal link between the acquisition of wisdom and the ‘art of living right.’ FOX, Ethics and Wisdom, 79-80. Cf. also IDEM, Ideas of Wisdom, 620: “Wisdom is a configuration of soul; it is moral character.”


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

of moral and communal virtues, and the perfection of the ‘art of living right.’16 There is, however, despite the difficulties of characterizing the sapiential tradition, a “common consent that a wisdom tradition exists.”17 This claim is perhaps nowhere more evident than in scholarly discussions of wisdom influence upon other biblical texts.18 Any talk of influence already assumes something identifiable albeit indefinable. It presupposes the existence of a distinct tradition that can exert its force. It implies that wisdom has transmitted a particular worldview and ethos, and that characteristic literary texts lend the tradition its medium of expression.19 It also means that wisdom has become a window through which to view the claims of the other traditions. Certainly, the Old Testament wisdom corpus defines the parameters and the emblematic elements that constitute this tradition. This body of texts is the paradigmatic expression of Israel’s wisdom enterprise. Consequently, when 16 Although the five Hebrew verbs in the infinitive construct with the prefix lamed generally pertain to intellectual activity, love of wisdom is not only philosophical but also ethical. Brown argues that moral virtues such as equity, justice and righteousness necessary for the maintenance of community are the heart of proverbial concerns. BROWN, Character in Crisis, 29. Preuss notes that the instruction to be wise is also to be good, implying that a person has to strive to learn not only practical or intellectual behavior that leads to a successful life but also those values that lead to moral wellness. PREUSS, Old Testament Theology, 205. Cf. also CRENSHAW, Education in Ancient Israel, 1, 58; GOFF, Discerning Wisdom, 5; CALDUCH-BENAGES, Sapienziali, Libri, 1260. McKane, however, believes that the goal of the educational process is to develop intellectual rather than moral attitudes. MCKANE, Proverbs, 265. 17 GRABBE, Priests, Prophets, Diviners, Sages, 171. 18 According to Dell, the sapiential tradition exerted an influence upon the Hebrew Scriptures as it developed. DELL, Wisdom Literature, 429. 19 Cf. CRENSHAW, Method in Determining Wisdom Influence Upon ‘Historical’ Literature, 129-142. The author has provided methods for determining the presence of the wisdom tradition in other scriptural texts and has listed down four observations to keep in mind, but his third and fourth considerations are closely related that both can be collapsed into one. First, wisdom should not be defined either too narrowly or too broadly. He thus defines wisdom as the search for knowledge and awareness of the self as it relates to things, others and God. This quest for meaning involves nature wisdom or the mastery of the natural environment for the sake of survival and wellbeing, practical wisdom or the mastery of human relationships for the sake of societal order and harmony, and finally, theological wisdom, which involves theodicy. Second, the stylistic or ideological peculiarity present in wisdom literature can be used to identify the presence of wisdom influence. Third, nuances in meaning of words or use of motif as well as non-wisdom emphases outside the wisdom corpus necessitate explanation. Finally, wisdom’s history must be borne in mind. For further evaluation of the methodology for determining wisdom influence, see MURPHY, The Tree of Life, 97-102; WILLS, Observations on ‘Wisdom Narratives,’ 57-66.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


characteristic literary genre and epistemology, perspectives and expressions, theological insights and values, characteristic themes and ethos appear together, they constitute a ‘tested and efficient criterion for the identification’ of the presence or influence of the wisdom tradition.20 Furthermore, claims of sapiential shades in texts that are typically outside the sphere of wisdom imply not only the existence of the wisdom tradition but also the significant viability of the tradition. The wisdom enterprise has become such a formidable conversation partner that other major traditions can no longer avoid its insights. Instead of standing on the periphery, the proponents of the wisdom tradition actively engaged the prophets, priests and raconteurs of ancient Israel.21 Precisely because they were not sealed off from other traditions, a number of biblical traditions display a noticeable ‘reciprocal influence.'22 This interactive encounter allows for innovative assimilation and self-modification within the wisdom tradition.23 Moreover, the possibility of an interface between wisdom and other traditions may provide a window on the character and development of the wisdom tradition, which by nature cannot remain static. The occurrence of some traces of the wisdom tradition outside its usual domain may illustrate the unwitting cooperation of other traditions in the unfolding of the sapiential legacy of Israel.24 So what constitutes the wisdom tradition of Israel? Generally speaking, it is the tradition founded upon the questions, the concerns, the perceptions, the ethos and the values of the wise. It is the tradition that “contains the components of their worldviews, understandings of God and religion, insights into human nature, comprehension of so-

20 SHUPAK, Where Can Wisdom be Found?, 352. According to the author, the detection of the wisdom tradition in other biblical texts cannot be dismissed or explained away either by an argument that appeals to an absence of an agreed criteria for determining wisdom influence or the opinion that the wisdom worldview was shared by all Israelites. 21 CRENSHAW, Urgent Advice and Probing Questions, 2. Dell has also claimed that wisdom influence is in fact a demonstration not of separation but of integration with the rest of Israelite life. With the two dimensions of education and ethics as social contexts for wisdom, and its distinctive theological approach, wisdom is a mainstream tradition that is fully and truly integrated into the whole canon. DELL, The Book of Proverbs in Social and Theological Context, 7; 188-200. 22 MURPHY, The Tree of Life, 108. 23 BLENKINSOPP, Sage, Priest, Prophet, 15. 24 Cf. MORGAN, Wisdom in the Old Testament Traditions, 19; 27.

The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit


ciety and social institutions, and formative values.”25 As a culture forged and fostered by the sage, it involves “a shared perception of certain issues as of central importance and a broad understanding as to how they are to be addressed.”26 This does not mean uniformity. The wisdom tradition is bound instead ‘by certain family resemblances rather than by a constant essence.’27 It portrays a unique literary gestalt.28 The tradition is intuitively identifiable not only because of the distinctness of its genre, or because of the absence of references to the historical details of Israel’s faith, or because it has for its starting point human experience instead of revelatory knowledge but also because it has distinct contents or ‘separateness in its concerns.’29 Prominent among these concerns are retributive justice, orderly divine governance of creation, an individual’s relationship to God as expressed in daily life, educational discipline and ethical training. In Job 15:17-18, one finds an intention to transmit the observations and insights that constitute such an essential tradition.30


The Development of the Wisdom Tradition in Israel

For a particular tradition to matter, it normally needs a guiding hand – a social structure or class in many cases – that defines its distinctive form. It is often assumed that for a worldview to be communicated, a social context is necessary. That is why the uniqueness of the sapiential tradition is often connected to the question whether or not a group of sage-scribes or scholars with concerns different from the usual Israelite interests was responsible for the shape of the wisdom enterprise in Israel. In the scholarship on wisdom literature, various theories have been propounded to account for how the sapiential literature developed or when the sages employed proverbial tradition as their medium

25 26 27 28

PERDUE, The Sword and the Sylus, 102. BLENKINSOPP, Sage, Priest, Prophet, 14. COLLINS, Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age, 1. HAUSMANN, “Weisheit” im Kontext alttestamentlicher Theologie, 17-18. On the central themes of wisdom, see CALDUCH-BENAGES, Sapienziali, Libri, 1258-1260. 29 Cf. DELL, Wisdom Literature, 429. 30 Cf. CRENSHAW, Old Testament Wisdom, 35.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


for theological reflection.31 There is however a growing consensus that Israel’s sapiential tradition is a ‘product of sages from the tribal beginnings well into the Hellenistic period.’32 Certainly, various historical and political events such as the Babylonian exile conspired to influence the trajectory of the tradition. Social realities do not necessarily decide intellectual progress but they do influence them and thus cannot be overlooked.33 As Perdue has stressed, the writings of the sages reflect the historical and social circumstances of their time.34 If indeed the literature of the sages did not transcend its social loci but is somehow affected by the vicissitudes of history, then a certain organic and general development of the wisdom tradition can be identified. As the nation of Israel evolves, so does the wisdom tradition. For the purposes of this study, the course of the sapiential heritage of Israel can be provisionally understood as having evolved in three subsequent general stages.35

31 Whybray points out that though the three wisdom books are usually grouped under a single literary genre, which may point to a certain class as the Sitz im Leben for their composition and preservation, it has to be noted nonetheless that certain genre and thematic differences also exist among these wisdom books. The purpose of Job and Ecclesiastes may actually be to stir reflection and challenge orthodox ideas, distinguishing them from the more didactic goals of Proverbs. Thus, these wisdom books may not have been necessarily composed in the same social circles. WHYBRAY, Slippery Words, 7. On the other hand, it can also be claimed that the writers of Job and Ecclesiastes were still within the same circle but somewhat on the margins. Wellversed in the tradition, they were both engaged in the wisdom enterprise, yet challenged and critiqued it at the same time, pushing it to the limits. FOX, Qohelet and his Contradictions, 11, 79-120; MURPHY, The Sage in Ecclesiastes and Qoheleth the Sage, 263-271; IDEM, Qohelet’s “Quarrel” with the Fathers, 235-245. Dell notes that Job is part of a wider intellectual and spiritual quest usually associated with earlier wisdom tradition. DELL, The Book of Job as Sceptical Literature, 57-88. 32 PERDUE, Cosmology and the Social Order in the Wisdom Tradition, 457. For Muilenburg, the oldest layers of wisdom are very early. In fact, wisdom’s thread runs throughout the history of Israel’s literature and beyond into the apocryphal and the pseudepigraphic texts. MUILENBURG, The Way of Israel, 99. 33 GORDIS, Poets, Prophets, and Sages, 160. 34 PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 3. 35 Cf. DOLL, Menschenschöpfung und Weltschöpfung, 9-13; 75-81. Cf. also CLEMENTS, Wisdom in Theology, 22-24; PERDUE, Wisdom and Creation, 69-73; BLENKINSOPP, Sage, Priest, Prophet, 23-48; CLIFFORD, The Wisdom Literature, 48-49; CRENSHAW, Old Testament Wisdom, 77-79.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit Popular Wisdom The roots of biblical wisdom may have been traditional tribal wisdom.36 It is not unlikely that many proverbs circulated and were transmitted orally among ordinary and non-literate folks before there was a monarchical court or school of the sages to select, collect and preserve them in a written form. In fact, it would be naïve, even unrealistic to exclude the oral stage of sapiential instruction or to dismiss its continuity with its literary written stage.37 In his study of lvm, Otto Eissfeldt has noted two kinds of sayings considered as such: the folk proverb or Volkssprichwort and the wisdom saying, or the Weisheitsspruch. The folk proverb is usually an authorless and universally applicable one-liner drawn from daily activities of life. It is transmitted from one generation to the next and understood and known by common folks. On the other hand, wisdom sayings involve two parallel lines, have an artistic element, and are characteristically coined by the wise – a product of insightful reflection that comes from the Tief der Gedanken. Eissfeldt then identifies wisdom texts which he considers to have originated from folk proverbs and which were later expanded into two-line parallel sayings in order to conform to the standards of wisdom sayings. Many of the gnomic materials in Proverbs and Sirach started off as, and evolved from, short and simple folk proverbs.38 Jean-Paul Audet has likewise stated that the sapiential tradition traces its origin and development not from a pre-school but a preurban communal reality, such as the family, through which the wisdom heritage is transmitted in a form not unlike the testament. These unwritten laws (‘lois non écrites’) originally derived from the structure of a clan or a family. These proverbial sayings and cautionary parables assist in the maintenance of the cohesion and ethos of the community. As such, law and wisdom originally functioned in the

36 Cf. WESTERMANN, Roots of Wisdom, 5. 37 According to Clements, there is no doubt that the more literary and sophisticated world of the royal court absorbed elements of popular wisdom tradition. CLEMENTS, Wisdom and Old Testament Theology, 273. Cf. also MURPHY, Form Criticism and Wisdom Literature, 475-483. 38 Cf. EISSFELDT, Der Maschal im Alten Testament, 12-13; 45-52. See also WESTERMANN, Roots of Wisdom, 6-49.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


same fashion as moderators of behavior. They formed part of the tradition of domestic paideia.39 Examining the vetitives and the “thou shall not” commands in the Pentateuch, Erhard Gerstenberger has argued that Israel’s apodictic law has a clan wisdom background and origin: this type of precept, which employs a prohibitive command, came from tribal ethos (Sippenethos) and was intended to regulate the behavior of the clan under the authority and direction of the paterfamilias. It is conceivable that the father, the mother or the tribal elder embodies the figure of the sage who plays the roles of teacher, counselor, planner, judge and settler of disputes in such a setting.40 Since law and wisdom have their origins in instructions to a clan, family ethics intimately link law and wisdom. In the case of ancient Israel, the former eventually developed into Israel’s legal corpus and the latter, once collected and preserved by a group of the wise, became the formal face of the wisdom tradition.41 For his part, Hans-Jürgen Hermisson has dismissed all but the simple Aussage in Proverbs as originating from popular wisdom by arguing that their social location was the Weisheitsschule, since all the collections are basically literary texts. He concedes nonetheless that the simple sayings do not characterize a nomadic clan but a peasant community.42 Hermisson still acknowledges the possibility that literary wisdom may build on popular wisdom. In an analysis of proverb performance, defined as ‘the apt and purposeful transmission of a traditional saying in a social interaction,’ Carol R. Fontaine likewise situates the origins and use of wisdom in the oral setting of family and village life. Since the teachings of the wise demand understanding and internalization of content as well as the bringing into play of that content in quotidian contexts, the meaning of a proverb is shaped by its purposeful use in a given social context. This implies that traditional wisdom understood as sharp insights gleaned from astute observation and experience finds its Sitz im Leben in the 39 Cf. AUDET, Origines comparées de la double tradition de la loi et de la sagesse, 356, cites Tobit 4 as an example and states that “la sagessse est essentialement une paideia, une éducation, une initiation soutenue, à l’intérieur du cercle domestique, à un certain savoir-vivre et à un certain savoir-faire, dont les multiples préceptes, conseils et recommandations reposent sur l’expérience du passé, telle qu’on pouvait la retenir et la formuler à l’intérieur du cadre familial.” Nguyen has also shown that Prov 23:15-28 belongs to familial wisdom within Israel’s sapiential tradition. NGUYEN, “Figlio mio”, 10, 16, 290-295. 40 Cf. FONTAINE, The Sage in Family and Tribe, 155-164. 41 Cf. GERSTENBERGER, Wesen und Herkunft des apodiktischen Rechts, 70-130. 42 Cf. HERMISSON, Studien zur israelitischen Spruchweisheit, 66-68; 81-94.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

familiar ebb and flow of daily life and cannot be considered as the singular domain of the elite.43 Finally, by analyzing a number of contemporary tribal societies and their proverbs, Friedemann W. Golka has tried to illustrate that majority of Old Testament proverbs have much in common with sayings found in such types of communities.44 This anthropological comparison makes it very likely that such a proverbial tradition was already present in pre-monarchic, tribal Israel. In light of the above discussion, the first phase of the development of the wisdom tradition in ancient Israel probably drew upon the earliest traditions of popular wisdom. The extended family, clan or village was the setting for these traditional sayings understood predominantly as practical advice based on common sense, astute observations and experiences of everyday life. The function of popular wisdom was to provide guidance in conduct and to foster family and community coherence. Picturesque adages, images and metaphors from agriculture and both the natural and familial environments along with native wit, provided artistic expressions to wisdom instructions.45 Imaginative originality, common sense and ethical practicality thus characterized folk wisdom. Wisdom Activity in the Court and in the School The royal court and the burgeoning formalization of learning during the period of the monarchy marked the second stage of the development of the wisdom tradition. In all likelihood, it would have been under the guidance of royal administrators and scribes that wisdom sayings were selected, collected, reshaped, redacted, reinterpreted, preserved and transmitted to serve their purposes. The reference to the men of Hezekiah in Prov 25:1 may be taken to mean that “cataloguing of sayings was part of royal bureaucracy.”46 Circles close to the royal 43 Cf. FONTAINE, Traditional Sayings in the Old Testament, 139-170. According to the author, traditional sayings work because the recipient of the saying shares a common code with the source. If the recipient is not familiar with the culture’s proverbial stock and folk ideas, communication and persuasion fails. Because of its wide currency and aura of authority, the traditional saying finds its usual place in the commonality of daily interface. 44 Cf. GOLKA, The Leopard’s Spots, 10-11; 70-87; 109. For a critique of Golka’s position, see FOX, The Social Location of the Book of Proverbs, 234-235. 45 Cf. SCOTT, Folk Proverbs of the Ancient Near East, 417-426. 46 Cf. ADAMS, Wisdom in Transition, 64-65. Whybray thinks that the scribes of Hezekiah were somehow involved in the editing of some of the sayings at some point. WHYBRAY, The Book of Proverbs, 21.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


court and the temple, perhaps a professional class of the wise, gave the impetus to preserve the wisdom tradition in a literary fashion, incorporating simple sayings to the collection. Consequently, the wisdom heritage of Israel integrated some influences coming from neighboring cultures, which, in turn, stimulated reflection on and refinement of the wisdom legacy of the past. With creation theology as its base and with particular literary forms to express the teachings, “the rhetoric of wisdom points to a social group of sages who compiled and transmitted a developing sapiential tradition.”47 The significant factor that differentiates the first from the second general stage of wisdom development is its institutional matrix.48 The institutional reshaping of the wisdom heritage may have been dictated not only by the demand for training high-flying young men for civil service in the royal court but also by a concern to preserve a stable means of cultural formation or enculturation.49 This does not mean that school was limited to the court. Wisdom activity could have been taking place in several circles and educational contexts, both private and public.50 However, the royal and temple sponsorship of wisdom made sapiential activities an identifiable tradition worthy of transmission, transforming the so-called tradition of the wise into a force not only of influence but also of interaction and interface with other traditions.51 The ‘Solomonic Enlightenment’ In his analysis of the Thronnachfolge narratives, Gerhard von Rad has attempted to show that the historical writings represented an intellectual and theological advancement for Israel. These texts evince serious reflection on past historical events leading to the triumphs of the Davidic kingdom. They show history as a grand complex all the while viewed with a certain detachment – God’s involvement with his people is con47 PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 84. 48 DOLL, Menschenschöpfung und Weltschöpfung, 77. See also FOX, The Social Location of the Book of Proverbs, 227-239. 49 Cf. CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 8-13; 126. The author notes that gnomic materials or sayings collections were “a tool used especially in early education, not only to reinforce emergent writing and reading competencies, but also to socialize the youths in the basic values and worldview of the given culture.” 50 MORGAN, Wisdom in the Old Testament Traditions, 71. 51 According to Fox, wisdom sayings with king references ultimately “show that the court was the decisive locus of creativity.” FOX, The Social Location of the Book of Proverbs, 236.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

stant and all-encompassing rather than intermittent or limited to the cult or confined to miraculous events. He has singled out the reign of Solomon as the origin of this intellectual development. Israel’s statehood as well as active participation in international relations allowed for an intense commerce of spiritual, administrative, political and theological ideas to occur. In this climate, the Israelite court became a clearing house for wisdom pursuits, as the Egyptian courts had once been, thereby transforming the Solomonic era into an age of enlightenment, a time of a radical break from the early patriarchal code of living.52 The extent of diplomatic affairs in the time of Solomon explains the international flavor, particularly Egyptian, of Israelite wisdom. Drawing upon comparative texts from Egyptian wisdom literature such as the Instruction of Amenemope, von Rad has asserted that it is in the context of the royal court, or wisdom schools associated with it, where the early wisdom tradition, understood not merely as collections of maxims but also as a literary event, had originated and flourished. With heavy didactic leanings, the main purpose of early wisdom literature was to instruct and prepare young men to become future administrators or wise courtiers in the mold of Joseph.53 With its proliferation of wisdom instructions and maxims, the Book of Proverbs is usually taken as the best starting point for the examination of Israelite wisdom tradition. The multiple references to ‘wisdom’ and the adjective ‘wise’ in Proverbs demonstrate that this book is a foundational sapiential text.54 Further, Proverbs 10–29 is usually regarded as the oldest collection of sapiential literature in the Hebrew Scriptures. In this archetypal wisdom text, a number of collections are attributed to King Solomon (cf. Prov 1:1; 10:1). This textual ascription to Solomon, the description of Solomon as a king who possesses and 52 Cf. VON RAD, The Beginnings of Historical Writing in Ancient Israel, 201-204. For further discussion, cf. IDEM, Old Testament Theology, 1:48-56. 53 Cf. VON RAD, The Joseph Narrative and Ancient Wisdom, 292-300. The author asserts that the significant influence of wisdom in the literature of ancient Egypt is a phenomenon that is also likely true for the literature of ancient Israel. See also BRYCE, A Legacy of Wisdom, 57-210. For a recent evaluation of the view that Joseph is a model wise man, see FOX, Wisdom in the Joseph Story, 26-41. 54 Cf. ALONSO SCHÖKEL/VÍLCHEZ LÍNDEZ, Proverbios, 95. In Whybray’s count, the noun occurs thirty-nine times and the adjective forty seven times, and that they are present in almost every part of the book. In Proverbs, the word always denotes “life skill: the ability of the individual to conduct his life in the best possible way and to the best possible effect.”WHYBRAY, Proverbs, 3-4. Despite an array of sayings and maxims, the main topic of Proverbs is wisdom. FOX, Ideas of Wisdom in Proverbs 1–9, 613.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


exudes great wisdom in 1 Kgs 5:9-14; 10:1-10, and the alleged dependence of Prov 22:17–24:22 on the Instruction of Amenemope,55 are all taken as likely indicators of the historical link between the reign of Solomon and wisdom activity in the royal palaces.56 This means that the sponsorship of the Solomonic court facilitated the growth of a burgeoning sapiential tradition in Israel. Michael V. Fox refines the suggestion that the wisdom tradition, as evidenced in Proverbs, originated from the royal court, without necessarily pinpointing the Solomonic court. According to him, the king’s men, or learned clerks, were responsible for the selection and shape of the central collection in Proverbs since the sayings with royal references are not only about them but speak to and for them. They filtered the principles, sayings and coinages, folk and otherwise, that made the set. Wisdom literature is their work and it is this literary elite’s notion of wisdom that one discerns in the collection. The court served as the channel for the literary process that led to the Book of Proverbs.57 Although this explanation of the origin of early wisdom literature and tradition is still accepted by many scholars,58 some have started to question its assumptions. They think that the Solomonic age of enlightenment is legendary rather than historical: ditto the attribution of Proverbs to Solomon. They note the lack of biblical and archaeological

55 On the relationship between the Egyptian instruction Amenemope and Prov 22:1724:22, see WHYBRAY, The Structure and Composition of Proverbs 22:17–24:22, 82-96; HUNTER, Wisdom Literature, 55-57; MURPHY, The Tree of Life, 23-25; 159-168; NICCACCI, Proverbi 22,17–23,11, 1859-1891; NGUYEN, “Figlio mio”, 21-40; LAISNEY, L’Enseignement d’Aménémopé, 239-246. 56 For discussions of the Solomonic attribution in Proverbs, see SCOTT, Solomon and the Beginnings of Wisdom, 94-101; ALT, Solomonic Wisdom, 102-112; BRUEGGEMANN, The Social Significance of Solomon as a Patron of Wisdom, 117-132; CRENSHAW, Old Testament Wisdom, 35-44; CALDUCH-BENAGES, Sapienziali, Libri, 1255-1257. 57 Cf. FOX, The Social Location of the Book of Proverbs, 227-239. 58 Cf. for instance RENDTORFF, The Canonical Hebrew Bible, 363: “The collection and transmission … clearly occurred in court circles and their near environment, as is evident from the superscriptions to the two main parts of the book in 10:1 and 25:1.” Cf. also HEATON, The School Tradition of the Old Testament, 186. For van Leeuwen, Proverbs 25 exhibits a judicial context and has for its primary audience young men of the royal court, illustrating a tradition of “Judean royal ideology.” VAN LEEUWEN, Context and Meaning in Proverbs 25-27, 72-86; 146. Cf. also SHUPAK, Where can Wisdom be Found?, 352-354.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

evidence for such a sudden paradigm shift.59 Indeed, there are passages in Proverbs 10–29 that contain royal references (cf. Prov 16:1-10; 25:1-7). But the preoccupations that inspire such sayings could equally be rooted outside the royal confines in the popular imagination of ordinary folks,60 or they could even be due to foreign influences or to genre conventions. In other words, to posit an origin and composition of early Israelite wisdom tradition in the Solomonic court is not necessarily valid. With exaggeration, Stuart Weeks declares that one is hard-pressed to find “any material for which composition or redaction in the court must be supposed.”61 To be fair to von Rad, he did acknowledge later that with scanty court-related sayings in Proverbs, to view the book of Proverbs as a mere result of courtly knowledge for the purpose of training royal officials is highly suspect.62 Lastly, if the current Book of Proverbs is datable to no earlier than the early post-exilic period as many maintain, then the later section such as Proverbs 1–9 cannot have been compiled or written at a royal court or schools associated with it, since such institutions would not have existed at the time.63 If anything, the sayings and instructions in Proverbs suggest a variety of social contexts and backgrounds.64

59 Cf. WHYBRAY, Wisdom Literature in the Reigns of David and Solomon, 223-236. Cf. also WEEKS, Early Israelite Wisdom, 110-131, for a critique of the claim that Israelite administrative system is patterned after an Egyptian model, an evidence that is usually adduced for the origin of Israelite wisdom. 60 Murphy has also stated that it is not necessary to assume royal schools as the only source of the sayings. MURPHY, Form Criticism and Wisdom Literature, 482. Cf. GOLKA, The Leopard’s Spots, 35, where the author notes the ecclesiological implications of the claim that the roots of wisdom are found in royal circles: “Does Proverbs represent only the experiences of an intellectual elite, or does the book also voice the experiences of God and life found among very ordinary people? Have contributions from the latter layer of society also found their way into the canon of the Hebrew Bible, if only – but possibly deliberately – under the protection of Solomonic pseudonymity?” 61 WEEKS, Early Israelite Wisdom, 55-56. Cf. however, the more balanced evaluation of ADAMS, Wisdom in Transition, 70, suggesting that “’royal court’ can be used to refer simply to the king’s orbit and control, meaning the provenance of upper class administrators.” 62 Cf. VON RAD, Wisdom in Israel, 17. As Whybray also correctly observes, many sayings in Proverbs are concerned with matters of interest to the agriculturist rather than to the courtier. WHYBRAY, The Sage in the Israelite Royal Court, 138. 63 WHYBRAY, Proverbs, 9. 64 For a recent treatment of contexts in Proverbs, see DELL, The Book of Proverbs, 18-89; IDEM, Issues of Social and Theological Contexts, 229-240.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel

195 The School Tradition It has also been suggested that sapiential texts were composed and used as school textbooks. When societies develop, the transmission of tradition that makes for a cohesive society, as well as the education of the next generation, necessitate the creation of schools where a group of professional wise men or scribes teach.65 The wisdom texts of Israel display didactic concerns, which are alleged to reflect a school setting. Further, it is argued that the large number of literary productions and compositions in the Bible can be accounted for not by appeal to parental education but by reference to an extensive school system that was somehow modeled on the examples of neighboring Egypt and Mesopotamia.66 Using paleo-Hebrew epigraphic sources (ostraca and inscribed materials), biblical texts, and analogies drawn from other ancient Near Eastern societies, André Lemaire has tried to demonstrate that schools existed during monarchic times for the training of royal administrators and later on for general education. The inscriptions were thought to have originated from the classroom as elementary school exercises for alphabet learning and writing by apprentices who would later become civil servants.67 From the existence of schools responsible for training individuals to write and read, it is but a natural progression to posit the existence of schools with a class of the wise as an institution in Israel. The problem with archaeological evidence in support of schools as possible context for wisdom activity is that it is sketchy and its interpretation is prone to subjectivity; artifacts do not necessarily reveal the 65 According to Lemaire, the unification of Israel and Judah under David and the choice of Jerusalem as the royal capital were accompanied most likely by the birth and development of a royal school in Jerusalem for the purposes of training future administrators, maintaining Davidic or royal ideology and unifying the twelve tribes as one people. LEMAIRE, Les écoles et la formation de la Bible, 78. Cf. HERMISSON, Studien zur israelitischen Spruchweisheit, 129-132; VON RAD, Wisdom in Israel, 17-18. 66 Cf. HEATON, The School Tradition of the Old Testament, 1-44; 65-92. Shupak asserts that an educational framework contextualizes Hebrew didactic writings, claiming that the vocabulary of biblical wisdom books recall the ambience and didactic approach of the Egyptian schools. SHUPAK, Where can Wisdom be Found?, 349-351. Cf. also MCKANE, Prophets and Wise Men, 41-47. 67 Cf. LEMAIRE, Les écoles et la formation de la Bible, 32-33; 41-45. Lemaire prefers to use the word “didactic” instead of “sapiential” to describe the kind of teaching that goes on in the school. Didactic would include writing, rhetoric, history, geography, religion, cult and wisdom while sapiential would refer to practical counsels for life as well as ethical and philosophical teachings. Cf. also IDEM, Sagesse et écoles, 270-281; IDEM, Schools and Literacy in Ancient Israel and Early Judaism, 207-217.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

objective human history attached to them. As Lemaire himself readily admits, his conclusions are provisional, not least because the epigraphic sources used to prove the existence of schools are scarce and fragmentary68: they could just as easily point to private or family-based instructions instead of schools. A few inscriptions do not indicate the existence of a school in the same way that a single swallow does not a summer make. Golka maintains that education in the home in a manner similar to a master-apprentice system rather than school pedagogy was more likely. He believes that biblical evidence does not warrant the hypotheses that schools existed during the early monarchic period and that a professional class of the wise taught at these schools and engaged in wisdom-related activities as has often been assumed in the scholarship.69 Additionally, if wisdom texts were indeed school texts, one wonders why they present themselves as fatherly advice or invoke the magisterial authority of the father in their teachings.70 In fact, the only reference to a school, namely ‘bēt-midraš’ is in the Hebrew MsB of Sir 51:23, a late wisdom text, and indeed that term may

68 Cf. LEMAIRE, Les écoles et la formation de la Bible, 84: he refers to the epigraphic documentation as “très pauvre et très fragmentaire.” For a critical analysis of Lemaire’s position, see PUECH, Les écoles dans l’Israël préexilique, 189-203; HARAN, On the Diffusion of Literacy and Schools in Ancient Israel, 81-95. Grabbe points out that it seems “best to keep schools in mind only as a possibility to be tested but not as an institution to be taken seriously at the moment.”GRABBE, Priests, Prophets, Diviners, Sage, 173-174. 69 Cf. GOLKA, The Leopard’s Spots, 4-15. Lemaire later concedes that school system and structure in post-exilic times may not correspond to that of the pre-exilic times. However, ‘schools’ “existed wherever a teacher taught his knowledge to some students seated around him, in a room, under a tree, or in the corner of a court.” LEMAIRE, Schools and Literacy in Ancient Israel and Early Judaism, 211-212. But as Crenshaw notes, the absence of correction on these supposedly school tablets, unlike their Egyptian counterparts, lends this position to suspicion. CRENSHAW, Education in Ancient Israel, 106. Dell also points out that evidence of literacy does not necessarily translate into evidence for schools. DELL, Issues of Social and Theological Contexts, 232. Cf. however, DAVIES, Were there schools in ancient Israel?, 199-211, where he argues for some schools in city centers. 70 Cf. FOX, The Social Location of the Book of Proverbs, 232.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


or may not refer to an institutional place of learning or formal study.71 Since it cannot be unequivocally settled whether schools existed in preexilic times, the possibility that sapiential literature was composed to form part of the school curriculum is highly hypothetical.72 In the absence of direct textual evidence from the Bible, several scholars explain literacy and the educational enterprise in Israel by analogy and inference drawn from Israelite wisdom texts that parallel other ancient Near Eastern sapiential literature considered to be didactic documents.73 David M. Carr has argued in a recent study that separate public schools were not the norm and that education was not solely a matter of administrative or economic utility. Rather, the goal of education was class formation and enculturation.74 In Judah and in Israel, scribal education was not as large-scale or extensive75 as it was in neighboring countries. The more prominent model of learning was family-styled; an apprenticeship-based formation which in some cases 71 Some think that the term refers to a school or place of learning directed by priests. Cf. for instance, PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 74; CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 206-208. In fact, rsm tyb is more likely the original reading while the phrase yvrdm tyb is secondary, since the Geniza MsB is a retroversion from Syriac if compared with 11QPsa (11Q5). VAN PEURSEN, Sirach 51:13-30 in Hebrew and Syriac, 369-370. Cf. also SKEHAN/DI LELLA, The Wisdom of Ben Sira, 578; PUECH, La sagesse dans les béatitudes de Ben Sira, 10. The phrase appears in an acrostic poem that has erotic elements. Cf. for instance MURAOKA, Sir. 51, 13-30: An Erotic Hymn to Wisdom?, 166178, and the recent discussion of the poem in REYMOND, Sirach 51:13-30 and 11Q5 (=11QPSa) 21.11-22.1, 207-210. The eroticism arises out of the analogy of the pursuit of wisdom as a woman, a typical motif in wisdom admonitions. GOFF, Discerning Wisdom, 251. In this light, the phrase does not denote a school but should be read metaphorically. As Puech states, the invitation to lodge in the house of instruction takes up the house metaphor earlier used in Sir 14:24-27. PUECH, La sagesse dans les béatitudes de Ben Sira, 14. For Aitken, the invitation to a house of learning carries the rabbinic meaning of exegetical explication. To dwell in wisdom’s house is employed throughout Sirach in a figurative sense and may refer to the sage’s expounding of scripture in his work (e.g., Sir 14:20-27; 4:15). AITKEN, Hebrew Study in Ben Sira’s Beth Midrash, 27-37. 72 For an extensive discussion, see WEEKS, Early Israelite Wisdom, 137-151. 73 Whybray believes that the evidence for schools with professional scribes in Israel remains inconclusive even after comparisons with other neighboring countries like Egypt. WHYBRAY, The Intellectual Tradition in the Old Testament, 33-43. For a strong defense of the comparative approach in studying literacy and education in ancient Israel, see VAN DER TOORN, Scribal Culture, 51-73. Cf. also the conclusions of SHUPAK, Where can Wisdom be Found?, 349-351. 74 CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 115. 75 Cf. WHYBRAY, The Sage in the Israelite Court, 139. Whybray claims that formation in scribal schools is hereditary. The education of scribes may have been undertaken by fathers patterned after an apprenticeship model.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

also went beyond the household relationship of father to sons to include some other learners. The process of education involved both an oral and written interface. Students memorized and cognitively mastered ancient paradigmatic texts, writing them in the tablets of their hearts and minds and performing them publicly with the written text as a memory aid, the goal being the preservation and transmission of key ancient traditions to succeeding generations.76 Education intertwined oral, written and memorized elements. With an educational matrix that was oral-written,77 young men were initiated or socialized into the scribal class, the elite literati of society.78 Enculturation whereby traditional texts that define a culture and its worldview are passed on takes place by dual transmission: by material inscription and cognitive mastery.79 The second stage of the development of the wisdom tradition involves its literary shaping. Whether the institutional setting and origin of wisdom literature be the royal court or the school, it is clear that there is an educated class ultimately responsible for the preservation and transmission of wisdom texts. These men functioned as part of the royal bureaucracy80 and they selected, shaped, refined and collected proverbial sayings (cf. Prov 25:1; Prov 10–29). Who else would have had the capabilities and time for intense study, not to mention the means to engage in activities that go beyond the necessities of life other 76 Cf. VAN DER TOORN, Scribal Culture, 11-14; CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 8. 77 According to Niditch, “all Israelite literature is somewhere on that boundary where oral meets written.” NIDITCH, A Prelude to Biblical Folklore, xii. In another work, Niditch stresses the interaction between the oral and the literate in Israel’s literary history. IDEM, Oral World and Written World, 99-134. 78 Cf. CARR, The Rise of Torah, 42. 79 The implication of understanding ancient documents as primarily instructionalenculturational literature is the breakdown of the traditional distinction between ‘wisdom’ and other literature. As Carr argues, “if a given early Cannanite or Israelite scribe was trained in another culture’s literature, he would not necessarily just learn what we would term ‘wisdom’ literature. Rather, he (or occasionally she) would learn additional narrative, hymnic, and other materials as well. This kind of education does appear to have occurred for pre-Israelite scribes like those attested through finds in Amarna, Emar, and Ugarit, scribes who themselves could produce analogous, highly adapted, indigenous language counterparts to the foreign textual traditions they had learned.” CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 157. 80 Since there is no such thing as separation between church and state in ancient Israel, it is likely that the temple was equally a center of literacy as the king’s court, and that the temple school was not just a center of transmission but of composition as well. VAN DER TOORN, Scribal Culture, 80-89.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


than the educated elite (cf. Sir 38:24-25)? In all likelihood, a group of literati selected and copied, reshaped and transmitted most of wisdom literature to serve their enculturation purposes. These highly trained and learned men probably assembled the collection from various sources, “including both foreign instructions and popular sayings from across the socioeconomic spectrum, in an effort to compile an effective, accessible and colorful collection.”81 The Wisdom Tradition after the Exile The third stage of the wisdom tradition development took place after the momentous experience of exile.82 This catastrophic event reshaped Israel’s conventional ways of self-definition.83 It created a state of anomie that induced skepticism, pessimism even over traditional beliefs. Obviously, Israel needed to reformulate or redefine its traditions in the absence of its normal institutions and in the face of foreign ideals and practices.84 Wisdom needed to respond to this moment of crisis to avoid irrelevance; to ignore the need would be at the tradition’s peril. The sages, of course, never formulated their teachings as absolute truths but as general observations that respond to changing times, circumstances and the vagaries of human existence.85 The misfortune of exile had been a prime opportunity for scribes to augment, revise or recontextualize earlier tradition, especially when that tradition demanded a recasting of the paradigmatic communal texts that were kept on their tongues and incised on their hearts.86 In sum, rethinking, representation and re-evaluation marked post-exilic times.

81 ADAMS, Wisdom in Transition, 74. 82 According to Berquist, it is only during the post-exilic period that a professional class of sages existed “with joint and/or shared responsibilities for legal, governmental, and religious writing and also with international experience that wisdom demonstrated.” BERQUIST, Judaism in Persia’s Shadow, 169. This view, however, verges on the extreme. 83 For a discussion of the physical, psychological and social trauma of exile, cf. SMITHCHRISTOPHER, Impact of the Babylonian Exile, 7-36. 84 The rising Hellenistic philosophies and other teachings may have been another factor in the sapiential textual production during the post-exilic period. BLENKINSOPP, Sage, Priest, Prophet, 51-65. 85 PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 114. 86 Cf. CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 168: “Even if unable to access good written copies of the tradition, they could work from memory in building a new standard Israelite literature – one built on memorized building blocks of the old but addressing the need for new hope and rebuilding.”


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

In this regard, the tradition of wisdom may have been a truly viable support that sustained Israel in the throes of disorienting change. The absence of central institutions “necessitated the promotion of more flexible, and individually fostered, ways of maintaining the IsraeliteJewish tradition.”87 The exilic experience tested the tradition’s validity. By responding positively, wisdom became a major means through which Israel could impose sense upon everything that did not make sense and by which Israel could restructure the present anomaly. The tradition became an intellectual and moral compass for life after exile. Even as the sages questioned it, they showed that wisdom could be a valid perspective from which to consider earlier traditions.88 The educated elite of the period became actively involved through their literary works and oral instruction “in the efforts to shape the social and religious character of Judaism during the Second Temple period.”89 As the literati engaged in an intense reflection on and skeptical questioning of their wisdom legacy, the tradition matured and became ‘more literary,’90 as is evident in Job and in Qoheleth.91 The period of the Second Temple was a fertile time of re-signification, that is, rethinking and reinterpreting the emblematic documents which defined Israel and which were inscribed in the memories of the literary elite. The period witnessed various voices which interpreted the Mosaic tradition, and wisdom played a role. The post-exilic production of didactic texts as well as the combination of wisdom and apocalyptic in texts such as Daniel and 1 Enoch signals the growing influence of the sages and the scribes during the Persian and Hellenistic eras.92 Some texts, such as Proverbs 1–9, the highly theological and poetic introduction to the other Solomonic collections in the rest of the 87 CLEMENTS, Wisdom in Theology, 124. 88 According to Perdue, the priestly tradition looked to the preservation of the past while apocalyptic traditions looked to future liberation from captivity and restoration of the people of Israel as sources of comfort. PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 117. 89 PERDUE, The Vitality of Wisdom in Second Temple Judaism, 127. 90 DELL, Wisdom Literature, 429. 91 Cf. COLLINS, Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age, 13-15. According to Krüger, Qoheleth does not reject but champion realistic wisdom, in which the insights of the wise allow one “to see more clearly human limitations and the painful aspects of life.” KRÜGER, Qoheleth, 5. 92 PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 86. According to Ska, the role of the book as a privileged means of mediation between God and the people in Nehemiah 8, 2 Kings 22 and Exod 24:3-8 also attests to the increasing role of the scribe. SKA, La Legge come strumento, 139-144.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


book, are said to evince a stronger idealization or theologization of wisdom.93 There were also attempts to associate and synthesize wisdom and cultic piety evident in the correlation, if not identification of wisdom with the Torah in Sirach 24.94 In any event, the wisdom tradition in the post-exilic period demonstrated an attempt to address the crises of traditions that the catastrophe of exile precipitated. In the process, it evolved and reshaped itself as a way to stay prominent and pertinent to Israel’s re-negotiation of its self-understanding.


The Book of Tobit and the Wisdom Tradition

The Book of Tobit is a product of the post-exilic Second Temple period. With its references to the siege of Samaria by the Assyrians and to aivcmalwsi,a or captivity in the prologue of the narrative (cf. Tob 1:1-2), the reader is confronted right away with the problem with which the narrative intends to grapple, that of life in exile. Tobit is another testimony to the rich production of texts whose goal was to make sense of the irrational and anomalous experience of exilic existence. Keeping with the spirit of the times, the Book of Tobit reinterprets and rethinks many of its received traditions in order to adapt them to the problems of life in and after exile. The deuteronomic, the historical, the prophetic, the folkloric, the apocalyptic and the sapiential mingle together with ease in a narrative that attempts to provide hope and guidance for Diaspora Jews on how to remain true to their identity while away from home. The author forged these streams of antecedent literary traditions to provide some type of compass that will guide the people in the Dispersion on righteousness and truth, the path that leads to Jerusalem. The composer alchemized the substance of the various traditions in

93 Doll has called this phenomenon the “Theologisierung der Weisheit.” DOLL, Menschenschöpfung und Weltschöpfung, 10. Cf. GESE, Wisdom Literature in the Persian Period, 1: 211, who notes that wisdom acquires a heavy theological bent and a “stronger and stronger connection with the Israelite traditions of revelation… Piety as a whole must be fundamentally determined by these once separate but now combinded traditions. Cf. also DELL, Issues of Social and Theological Contexts, 236-240. 94 COLLINS, Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age, 15-17.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

order to produce and transmit something central in a new yet recognizable manner.95 One can only hazard a guess as to who gave voice and took stylus to papyrus to compose the narrative of Tobit. Carey A. Moore has claimed that nothing more than the statement that the author of Tobit was an observant Jew could be said.96 However, there are enough indications to show that the writer of Tobit was more than a pious Jew. The craftsman of Tobit came from the literary elite, most likely a sage or scribe-scholar97 who had the leisure, the competence and the

95 Most scholars date the composition of the book between late third century and early second century, although the arguments often adduced for the dating of Tobit are all very conjectural, even speculative. LITTMAN, Tobit, xxviii. Bickerman notes that the reference to the ‘drachma’ as a monetary unit reflects its increasingly common usage in the Persian era and thus the book must have been written somewhere around 400 and 336 B.C.E. He then reads Tobit to look at the various familial relationships and practices of middle class Jews in the Eastern dispersion at the close of the Persian Empire. BICKERMAN, The Jews in the Greek Age, 48-50; 57. Lebram thinks that the reference to four world kingdoms in Tob 14:4-7 and the absence of reference to Macedonia points to the late Persian era. LEBRAM, Die Weltreiche in der Jüdischen Apokalyptik, 329-331. Dancy notes that the name Tobias, Nehemiah’s enemy, would not have been a popular name during the time of Nehemiah circa 450 B.C.E., and the absence of any reference to the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes rules out a date after 200 B.C.E. DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 10. Unlike Sirach, Tobit makes no references to the Law and the Prophets as Scripture, thus positioning Tobit between 250 B.C.E and 180 B.C.E. not long before Sirach was composed. NICKELSBURG, Stories of Biblical and Early Post-Biblical Times, 45. For a discussion of the various suggestions, cf. OESTERLEY, An Introduction to the Books of the Apocrypha, 168-169; DORAN, Narrative Literature, 299; MOORE, Tobit, 40-42; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 50-52. 96 MOORE, Tobit, 39. 97 According to Davies, moral instructions were ultimately tied to the other genres produced by ancient scribes and that authors of this type of literature were members of the scribal class writing for the sake of their own class and the powers that be. DAVIES, Didactic Stories, 101-105. Fishbane uses the terms “sage-scholar” and “sagescribe” to describe the “axial transformation” that involves a shift from a culture based on direct divine revelations to that based on their study and reinterpretation. The sage-scribes, who were the curators of the former, ultimately wrote and handed down the divine words and the traditions as they were. On the other hand, the sagescholars who were the movers and shakers of the second shift used interpretation to extend the sacred word and tradition. FISHBANE, From Scribalism to Rabbinism, 339456). Bickerman also notes that for the sage, the Scripture is not simply a text for rational interpretation but “an oracle, full of hidden meaning.” BICKERMAN, The Jews in the Greek Age, 168-169. See also FISHBANE, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, 23-88; SONNET, From Midrash to Rashi, 111-127.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


capacity to engage in such interpretative and compositional activities.98 In fact, Rafael’s commission to write patterns Tobit after the image of a sage-scribe who desires to transmit certain teachings. Following the model that Carr has proposed, the writer would have been one who had cognitively ingested a variety of definitive textual traditions ranging from the patriarchal and the historical to the sapiential. Tobit’s storyteller displays a mastery of textual traditions even as he revises and transforms them. Needless to say, literary stories such as Tobit presuppose a refinement and a ‘high cultural level’99 on the part of the author. It is plausible that such a paradigm explains Tobit’s ‘mixed ancestry.’100 That the textual tapestry that is Tobit can be better explained not by imagining a cut-and-paste process of editing but by a scribal process of interpretative composition and critical engagement with the tradition finds support in the following ways: first, the narrative displays a skillful dynamic of intertextuality, alluding both to the canonical scriptures of Israel as well as to various folktales and legends of the time.101 The story also indicates a strong familiarity with the sapiential tradition, both national and international.102 For example, the creative use of the wisdom tale of Ahiqar is a clear illustration of how such a scribe drew on themes and models from ‘foreign education-enculturation texts,’ even as he crafted an original document exclusively suited to his intents and purposes.103 With a broad-based training aided by travel and

98 Scribes could have been members of the priestly class. SCHNIEDEWIND, How the Bible Became a Book, 195-202. At any rate, there is a tradition among the sages not only to transmit but also to transform. According to Fraade, it is the nature of ancient literature to be a “medium dedicated both to transmission and to transformation: its texts not only transmit received traditions from an earlier time, but simultaneously transform – for purposes of their own place and program in time – what they seek to transmit.”FRAADE, The Early Rabbinic Sage, 419-420. 99 MURPHY, The Tree of Life, 100-101. 100 Cf. NICKELSBURG, The Search for Tobit’s Mixed Ancestry, 339-349. 101 Cf. CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 79. Cf. also ROTA SCALABRINI, L’Angelo necessario, 877-881. 102 Cf. VAN DER TOORN, Scribal Culture, 103: “The scribes in training studied the classics through immersion in the text. The quotations of, allusions to, and stylistic affinities with the classics in the ‘secondary literature’ such as the nonbiblical writings from Qumran, the pseudepigrapha, and the New Testament betray a thorough knowledge of the written tradition.” 103 Cf. CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 158.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

familiarity with foreign languages, “the cosmopolitan spirit of scribal culture made it open to influences from the outside world.”104 Such synthesis and high level of intertextuality can be accounted for by the fact that the writer of Tobit belonged to the literary elite whose extent of proficiency and immersion in the defining documents of the culture was so deep that these texts were recalled from memory, thereby echoing the mastered texts in the new work. By building on well-known literary templates, the writer of Tobit reinterpreted and recontextualized some of the received traditions to deal with new circumstances. In post-exilic times, it was not uncommon for the literary elite and specialists to add to, recombine, and otherwise revise ‘elements of the Israelite-textual educational tradition.’105 This scenario is very likely in the case of Tobit, a work in which extensive traditions and crucial texts written on the tablet of the author’s heart and mind come out in subtle and reinterpreted ways. In this creative hermeneutic of re-signification, wisdom as an angle from which to view the traditional claims of the Mosaic covenant faith played a substantial part. Second, the Book of Tobit, with its long instructions, radiates a didactic or educational tone. The narrative validates the instructions, thereby making the story a narrative with a teaching point.106 This observation demonstrates the pedagogic intent of the book. The text of Tobit may have been inscribed for recitation and socialization in the same way that classical Greek education encompassed not only proverbial and gnomic materials but also Homeric epic narrative and dramatic texts,107 or in the same way that Egyptian educational texts such as The Eloquent Peasant, the Instruction of Merikare and the Instruction of Anksheschonqy included narratives.108 Tobit was a didactic tale that likely became part of the ‘educational-enculturation oral-written literature’ that was employed in the formation of a cultural memory that not only included but also responded to the tragedy of exile. The narrative 104 VAN DER TOORN, Scribal Culture, 53. Although Tobit admits of foreign influences, the composer seemed to be acutely aware of their proper place in his work. Tobit’s exhortation in Tob 4:19 can be taken as a polemic against other foreign wisdom. 105 CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 159, 290. According to Falk, this dynamics of composition in which Sacred Scriptures is extended is also observable among parabiblical texts found at Qumran. FALK, The Parabiblical Texts, 1-25; 140-153. 106 As Whybray observes, “the dramatization of gnomic teaching in the form of stories in order to strike the imagination or the conscience of the listener has always been a recognized educational method.” WHYBRAY, The Succession Narrative, 72. 107 CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 132; BICKERMAN, The Jews in the Greek Age, 171-172. 108 Cf. WHYBRAY, The Succession Narrative, 76.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


was likely performed publicly and orally, with a written text as memory aid. The Tobit story may have been transmitted and preserved within the context of educating those who lived outside the homeland to ensure continuity and ‘stable transmission’ of a key tradition not only ‘across time’109 but also across places. In fact, Tobit’s advice to Tobias before his departure to retrieve the money in a foreign territory “i;sqi pepaideume,noj” in Tob 4:14 can equally be taken as a self-referential sign of this likelihood. Although Carr cautions that this idea of written education-enculturation should not be pushed too far, it is nonetheless possible that Tobit was meant to be similarly educational for these reasons: a) the introductory verse ‘the book of the words of Tobit’ in Tob 1:1 can be taken to mean that the book had entered the stream of various kinds of literature that could be utilized for gaining and keeping wisdom, i.e., for education; b) the simplicity of the plot, the humor in the story, and the chiastic design of the narrative with words of admonitions that bracket it, serve ultimately to organize the oral-written material and make the book ideal for memorization and public performance; c) Tobit’s universal admonition to Tobias to remember to keep the Lord in mind throughout the days of his life in Tob 4:5 is a command of constant self-reminder akin to inscribing the advice on his young heart. In fact, at the end of his counsels, Tobit tells his son never to let his commandments be erased from his heart (cf. Tob 4:19); d) Rafael commands Tobit at a strategic point in the narrative not only to write all that has happened to him and his family into a book but more importantly, to proclaim to later generations all that they have experienced (cf. Tob 12:20b). These elements of reciting, writing and reminding are what Carr calls ‘forms of cultural circulation.’110 Their presence in Tobit points to the possibility that the Tobit narrative was meant for internalization and ingestion, that is, written in both heart and mind for oral communication as part of education and enculturation into a worldview and 109 CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 8. This does not mean, however, that the narrative of Tobit did not have an entertainment value. With its comic touches, its performance as a story would have been highly entertaining. But as Scott has noted, there is more to stories than entertainment, for they are cultural tools that form and confirm the values and purposes of their listeners. SCOTT, The Way of Wisdom, 75. Van der Toorn also claims that adventure stories such as Tobit and Judith were composed both for entertainment as well as for education. VAN DER TOORN, Scribal Culture, 25. 110 CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 135.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

as a way to transmit older but key traditions. The bestseller status and popularity of Tobit – as various translated copies and its eventual inclusion in the LXX attest – imply that later generations apparently listened to Rafael’s advice via Tobit. The chaotic circumstances of the manuscript traditions and the book’s presence at Qumran indicate that Tobit was later frequently appropriated or employed for enculturation. Third, the elucidation of the sense of the chief deuteronomic injunction to remember always the Lord points to a scribal composition. The professional scribes who have been trained by immersion in the classics and who therefore possess knowledge of scriptures such as Ezra are considered to be the scholars of the law “committed to the transmission, interpretation, and divulgation of the traditional scriptures they had received from their fathers and ancestors.”111 The reinterpretation of received traditions, in particular the Torah, implies that proper enquiry and exegesis of ancient sacred written texts become the very means of new instruction.112 With the author’s use of a long list of practical counsels prominent in the wisdom tradition to explain and expand the deuteronomic decree,113 and with the ensuing implied role of the wisdom instructions in the plot resolution of the central story that alludes to earlier narrative traditions, one can say that Tobit represents the very early stages in which wisdom was employed as a theological category or ‘hermeneutical construct’ from which to interpret some facets of the Mosaic tradition.114 The author reworks the deuteronomic decree by developing or supplying a content of wisdom counsels that are later claimed to be a genuine expression of the law, since their observance equals righteousness. Specifically, the sapientialization of the deuteronomic command in Tobit is an indication of a type of textual illumination or even halakhic understanding that functions as a kind of

111 Cf. VAN DER TOORN, Scribal Culture, 89, 96. According to the author, these scholar scribes did not only compose new works but also created many of the biblical texts. 112 FISHBANE, From Scribalism to Rabbinism, 440-456. The author states that the sacred text carries new revelations and exegesis is the way to access the divine will. Since the sages considered themselves the faithful interpreters and conduits of divine truths, the difference between revelation and interpretation is obscured. Cf. also FRAADE, The Early Rabbinic Sage, 419; SONNET, Inscribe the New in the Old, 139-141. 113 This hermeneutic move in Tobit probably corresponds to a category of literary transformation that involves the nomicization and ethicization of content whereby moral standards are used to reinterpret the traditum (cf. FISHBANE, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, 426-427). Cf. also SONNET, Inscribe the New in the Old, 130-141. 114 Cf. SHEPPARD, Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Construct, 13-18; 116-119.

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel


‘ongoing revelation.115 God’s life-sustaining word now resides within the wise teachings and counsels of Tobit. His wisdom lecture has become a vehicle for righteousness. With these instructions, Tobit defines the praxis of a Torah-guided life. The sapientialization of Torah piety in Tobit is also a possible reflection of the many variations on a deuteronomic theme during the Second Temple period.116 It is not unlikely that Tobit was part of the conversation on the interpretation of earlier biblical traditions. The sapiential interpretation of the deuteronomic admonition in Tobit 4 finds its revelatory authority in the words of Rafael in Tob 12:610. In particular, the angel’s instruction in Tob 12:6 tou.j lo,gouj tou/ qeou/ u`podei,knute which literally means “declare the words of God” can be interpreted as an authoritative approval of the scribe scholar’s exegetical elucidation of the deuteronomic command he placed on the lips of Tobit. The scribe scholar not only reinterpreted a central command in the Torah as it applied to new circumstances but also discretely provided a legitimate justification for such an hermeneutical act. In the context of the hortatory words of the angel, the scribe scholar acquired heavenly permission to engage in explicating or pointing out the words of God using the wise Tobit as his able spokesperson. Moreover, when Rafael reminds Tobias of his obligation to marry Sara, the angel employs ta.j evntola,j or commandments to refer to Tobit’s counsels (cf. Tob 6:16),117 as if to imply that a similar type of submission of will and intellect usually reserved for the revealed commandments is equally owed to Tobit’s exhortations. Through the words of Rafael, the sage-composer was able to present Tobit’s instructions as divine truths. The author of Tobit proffered a new rejoinder to the conversation on Mosaic traditions and claimed correctness for such a wisdom interpretation. It is very likely that a highly literate scribe-scholar composed, from a stream of traditions, the story that is now the Book of Tobit. With its

115 According to Brooke, some of the scriptural interpretation in the wisdom texts at Qumran can be viewed as halakhic exegesis, taking a ruling from the Torah and interpreting it in some specific fashion. BROOKE, Biblical Interpretation in the Wisdom Texts from Qumran, 208-211. 116 Cf. NICKELSBURG, Torah and the Deuteronomic Scheme in the Apocrypha, 227-228. 117 The other mss have me,mnhsai tw/n lo,gwn w-n evnetei,lato, soi instead of me,mnhsai ta.j evntola.j tou/ patro,j sou which is in the Sinaiticus. A quick search reveals that Deuteronomy has over 35 occurrences of its use to refer to God’s commands (cf. for instance, Deut 4:2; 5:29; 6:17; 7:9; 8:2; 10:13; 11:13; 13:5; 15:5; 16:12; 19:9; 26:13; 27:1; 28:1; 30:10).


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

didactic thrust indicated in the long sections of instructions, the narrative was likely intended for education118 more than entertainment. The writer re-signified and reformulated the worldview-forming and identity-shaping texts of the tradition by creating a new document, the goal of which was to form a cultural memory that included the experience of exile and dispersion, to provide guidance and instruction, and to transmit and transform the older traditions across time and place. In particular, the writer of the Tobit story reinterpreted the main Deuteronomic injunction “remember the Lord and his commandments” (Deut 6:7; 11:19) as it applied to the present state of tragedy, ultimately teaching the reader how to enact such remembrance. The practicality of the counsels indicates that Tobit employs wisdom to expand the deuteronomic command. As the narrative illustrates, Tobit’s commandments function as the initial and central focus of Tobias’s education and enculturation into the tradition of his ancestors. Based on a sapiential rereading of a fundamental Torah-command with angelic words to verify them, Tobit’s exhortations operated as if they were covenantal instructions that those in exile needed to observe so that they could encounter God and his marvels once again. Tobit’s creative hermeneutic could have encouraged the trend which placed increasing importance on the role of paidei,a or the instruction of wisdom in the life of the righteous. With revision being the heart of the creative process of re-signification, the author of Tobit adapted some of the familiar and fundamental insights of the wisdom tradition, employing them to reinterpret the traditional claims of covenant faith. It is of course unsurprising that a sage-scholar119 who belongs to the literary elite and who possesses cognitive mastery over a variety of traditions can come up with a new 118 Murphy comments that in so far as a teaching or didactic function is discernible, one may speak of wisdom in a narrow sense of education. MURPHY, The Tree of Life, 101102. 119 The role of the sage or scribe scholar is likely much broader than merely being limited to the sapiential texts themselves. For various explorations of this notion, cf. for instance, WHYBRAY, The Sage in the Israelite Royal Court, 133-149; CERESKO, The Sage in the Psalms, 217-230; TERRIEN, Job as a Sage, 231-242; MURPHY, The Sage in Ecclesiastes and Qoheleth the Sage, 263-271; FRYMER-KENSKY, The Sage in the Pentateuch, 275-287; MCCARTER JR. The Sage in the Deuteronomistic History, 289-293; BLENKINSOPP, The Sage, the Scribe, and Scribalism in the Chronicler’s Work, 307-315; COLLINS, The Sage in the Apocalyptic and Pseudepigraphic Literature, 343-354; GAMMIE, The Sage in Sirach, 355-372; NEWSOM, The Sage in the Literature of Qumran, 373-382; WINSTON, The Sage as Mystic in the Wisdom of Solomon, 383-397. That Torah piety in Tobit is sapientialized may point to a sage-scholar. Cf. OEMING, Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Key, 160.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


work that not only adapts, but also adds to, recasts, recombines, and revises the traditional paradigmatic texts and templates of the culture. Like any sage worth his title, Tobit transmits, but also transforms, the tradition. Indeed, the writer of Tobit has relied on the perspective of wisdom in his reading of the deuteronomic decree. In using wisdom, Tobit not only adapts its traditional insights but reflects as well the innovative claims of the sapiential tradition. It is this sapiential adaptation which we now discuss.

4.2 Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit The extensive paternal instructions in Tobit 4 and the set of maxims in Tobit 12 are clear indications of a strong wisdom tradition in the Book of Tobit. The employment of the instructional genre is a sapiential staple.120 But the genre is merely a preliminary pointer.121 Obviously, the contents and themes of Tobit’s moral instructions are also classic concerns of wisdom literature; human situations and human conduct have always been at the center of the sapiential worldview.122 Compassion to the poor, a main theme of Tobit, is a prominent concern in traditional wisdom (cf. Prov 14:31; 19:17; 21:13; 22:7). In the same way, Tobit’s counsels enjoin upon both the characters and the reader a certain policy of behavior, the way of righteousness. For Tobit, the admonitions 120 Tobit is first and foremost a narrative. The sapiential tradition does not typically employ narratives. However, it must be acknowledged that the wisdom tradition “is not without its narratival dimensions.” BROWN, Character in Crisis, 20. Cf. also HUNTER, Wisdom Literature, 250-251; ESTES, Fiction and Truth, 387-399. 121 As Moore suggests, the wisdom character is not limited to the Lehrrede or proverbial instructions found in Tobit 4, 12 and 14 or other wisdom genres employed in the narrative. The content cannot be separated from its form and vice-versa. Certainly this is “true of the book of Tobit; for it is the conduct, the conversations, and the thoughts and prayers of Tobit, Tobias, Sarah, and the others that give real meaning and content to the various wisdom genres of the book.” MOORE, Tobit, 19-20. Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 27-66; DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 380-392, for parallel wisdom sayings and instructions. Wills, even as he argues against too serious or elevated an interpretation of Tobit, admits that in its present form, “the category of didactic or sapiential novel” is appropriate to use. WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 92. 122 Cf. REARDON, The Wide World of Tobit, 37: “The moral teaching of Tobit shows endless parallels with both the Torah and Israel’s wisdom tradition.” Moore states that the primary focus is on the daily concrete, religious, ethical and sapiential features of being and doing good. MOORE, Tobit, 27. Cf. also NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 276-282.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

describe and embody the best way to live life – a typical wisdom topic, even while in exile. These wise words constitute the code of conduct Tobias has to heed in order to make the correct choices for leading a moral life and avoid calling death upon himself. Since Tobit’s counsels accord with standard sapiential thought, it is to wisdom tradition rather than the Pentateuch that the Book of Tobit gives its allegiance in Tobit 4.123 As is typical of wisdom literature, the story emphasizes the function and value of counsels in perfecting the art of righteous living (cf. Prov 13:16; 15:22). In contrast to wisdom texts, however, the story of Tobit does not only propose rules for a just life and exhortations on how to be righteous but it also presents a concrete figure of the just.124 The Tobit story also ends on a note of optimism, echoing the claim of traditional wisdom that the righteous can expect joy and well-being (cf. Prov 10:28; Job 42:7-17).125 The references to the wisdom tale and sayings of Ahiqar further anchor the narrative in the wisdom tradition.126 With the angelic order to write everything in a book, the sage-author of Tobit intends to hand on his teachings as is typical of the sapiential tradition.127 In addition, there are other elements to indicate the use of resources from the sapiential tradition in the crafting of the Tobit narrative. The focus on individual piety and the practicality of the admonitions points to traditional wisdom as a chief resource. This section thus investigates some of the elements of the wisdom tradition in Tobit.


The Sapiential Appeal

The tradition of the sages has its own distinct manner not only of expression but also of appeal. Unlike the priestly and the prophetic tradi123 Cf. OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 30-32; MOORE, Tobit, 204-205; IDEM, Tobit Book of, 6:590. In his examination of the relationship between Tobit and Ahiqar, Toloni concludes that “in Tobia buona parte degli elementi narrativi attinge al mondo della sapienza, oltre che al Pentateuco e ai Profeti.” TOLONI, Tobi e Ahiqar, 165. 124 Cf. METZGER, Introduction to the Apocrypha, 38. In his discussion of wisdom in stories, Scott includes Tobit as one of the “stories about sages and their sayings.” SCOTT, The Way of Wisdom, 92-95. Cf. also the discussion of Tobit as a weisheitliche Lehrerzählung inMÜLLER, Die weisheitliche Lehrerzählung im Alten Testament und seiner Umwelt, 77-98. 125 Gowan suggests that traditional, orthodox wisdom is practical, anthropocentric, individualistic and optimistic. GOWAN, Bridge Between the Testaments, 397-404. 126 Cf. DELL, ‘Get Wisdom, Get Insight’, 142. 127 Cf. WILLS, Observations on ‘Wisdom Narratives,’ 59.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


tions, the authority of the tradition of the wise is not based on divine revelation but on human knowing and the incisive perception of reality that can be subjected to critical scrutiny and verifiability. Wisdom begins with an experiential principle. Truth is grasped, or even revealed by way of knowledge, astute practical observation, rational analysis and lived experiences (cf. Prov 8:2; 16:4; 22:2; 29:13; Qoh 1:13-14).128 The wisdom tradition is stubbornly empiricist in its orientation and its epistemology relies on the human faculty of reason and the capacity for observation, drawing thus on the revelation of the senses.129 By instruction, the insights spawned by close observation of creation and social relationships are passed on to later generations for guidance and maintenance of social stability. Since wisdom has an anthropological and experiential focus, the wisdom tradition is understandably skeptical of revelation.130 This does not imply however that wisdom is diametrically opposed to divine revelation as an authority. Upon further reflection, wisdom is not searched for but sought only in God for only God “knows its source” and “understands the way to it” (cf. Job 28:23), implying that God alone is the ultimate source of true knowledge and insight. Furthermore, the sages personified wisdom in the feminine, one who speaks like God,131 as a way to claim for her divine provenance and authority, thereby making wisdom’s admonitions almost revelatory and thus universally efficacious. In speeches as Lady Wisdom, wisdom exudes the persona of a public and universal teacher who radiates divine 128 L.G. PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 5. In another place, Perdue states that “the sages came to their understanding of God and the moral life through ways of knowing that included memory, sense perception, reason, experience, and reflection.” Despite relying on their innate human capacities, the sages recognized their limits, thus allowing them “to deal with contingencies that defied efforts at rational explanation.” IDEM, Wisdom in the Book of Job, 76. 129 Cf. FONTAINE, Wisdom in Proverbs, 112-113. Cf. also DE CARLO, “Ti indico la via”, 4748; CALDUCH-BENAGES, Sapienziali, Libri, 1260. 130 Crenshaw lists three ways of acquiring knowledge according to the tradition of the wise. First, humans discover the truths God implanted in the created order by personal observation. Second, these truths in the form of creedal statements and reports from others are passed on and tested in the realm of experience by the generation receiving them. Third, they have an immediate encounter with the divine. CRENSHAW, The Acquisition of Knowledge in Israelite Wisdom Literature, 292-299. Cf. also Fox, Ethics and Wisdom, 76: “The primary axiom of Proverbs’ ethics is that the exercise of the human mind is the necessary and sufficient condition of right and successful behavior in all reaches of life: practical, ethical, and religious.” 131 Cf. VON RAD, Old Testament Theology, 1:444; SCHROER, Wisdom Has Built Her House, 27.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

attributes as she offers life and reward to the wise while warning of destruction and death to the fool (cf. Prov 1:23; 8:35).132 In the individual sayings, wisdom is qualified as generational, empirical, traditional, and parental. In her personification, however, wisdom becomes transcendent or universal, one that enjoys particular closeness to God.133 Such a personification allows wisdom to reach for a type of divine legitimacy, gradually moving away from its source in human experience.134 At the core of such a bold portrait is wisdom’s relation to, and manifestation in, the created world. Wisdom is still moored in everyday experience. She inserts herself after all in busy streets and invites her guests to her seven-pillared mansion for a home-cooked meal (cf. Prov 1:22; 9:1-6135). Observation of the quotidian and the empirical still underscores wisdom’s daring declarations. This is so because the sapiential tradition continues to hold that God still reveals his design and intention, but does it mainly through the created order; God teaches and utters his beneficent word by means of creation. Using creation as the ground for analogical statements that express certain truths, the sage finds ‘guidance for behavior.’136 Thus, every sapiential counsel is made trustworthy not only by the weight of tradition, the authority of parents, and the accumulated ethos of the ages but more importantly by the way the insight agrees with the divine plan as it once suffused the world at its creation.137 The Epistemological Assumption The Tobit narrative assumes and proceeds from this epistemological starting point. Tobit easily attains the likeness of a sage when he gives Tobias his teachings about life based on his own personal experiences and the accumulated wisdom he inherited.138 He himself admits that 132 Cf. PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 111. 133 Cf. FOX, Ideas of Wisdom, 629-630. 134 DELL, Wisdom Literature, 421. 135 In Prov 9:1-6, Lady Wisdom’s building a house is a metaphorical statement that is often interpreted to mean either a school or temple. It has also been taken to mean the establishment of the wisdom tradition in Israel by way of the book of Proverbs. BAUMANN, Die Weisheitsgestalt in Proverbien 1–9, 206-209. For a metaphorical interpretation of the passage, see SIGNORETTO, Metafora e didattica, 93-113. 136 Cf. GOWAN, Bridge Between the Testaments, 402. 137 CRENSHAW, The Wisdom Literature, 377. 138 Murphy notes that a wisdom thrust is clear “when recourse is made to tradition: this is what one has always said or done.” MURPHY, The Tree of Life, 102.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


one of the sources for his own virtue is the instructions he received from his grandmother Deborah (cf. Tob 1:8). Tobit’s instructions project a figure of a wise man who exhibits extraordinary understanding and knowledge of life, one who has reflected on and distilled the episodes of his life of faith into lessons that can be handed on to Tobias, such as those hinted at in Prov 4:3-5. Through these authoritative teachings, Tobit intends to shape the ‘self’ of his son. His counsels embody the values meant to be reproduced in the lives of Tobias and his children (cf. Tob 14:8-11). Behind Tobit’s advice stands not only his authority as father but also the ancestral ethos of his people. For example, Tobit believed that good things had happened to him because he remembered God with all his heart (cf. Tob 1:12), and he instructs his son to remember God all his days (cf. Tob 4:5). Behind his advice to his son to marry a kinswoman is the weight both of personal experience (cf. Tob 1:9) and also the experience of predecessors (cf. Tob 4:12-13). Tobit’s exhortation to protect the righteous weak arises from the wisdom conviction that anyone who extends a helping hand to the marginalized will receive blessings from God (cf. Prov 22:9; 19:17). Tobit counsels Tobias to seek the advice of every wise man and to display prudence while doing so (cf. Tob 4:18); to respect law and tradition (cf. Tob 4:5); to engage in self-control instead of instant indulgence of desires (cf. Tob 4:14); to fear the Lord and to do what is right before God (cf. Tob 4:21): all of which are injunctions that had so profitably benefitted his own forebears.139 Like the sages who sought to know the proper action for every occasion, the author of Tobit thought that the suitable ethical behavior for the exilic situation is righteousness to the poor, prayer and education in the ways of the Lord. Before bidding life goodbye, Tobit manifests a clear goal to transmit these instructions by giving a farewell discourse that encapsulates the essence of the counsels (cf. Tob 14:8-11). Deborah, Tobit and eventually Tobias are links in the chain of the wisdom tradition. The revelation of a divine basis to authority does not play a significant role in the narrative. In fact, the concealment of anything divine is de rigueur in Tobit: the angel Rafael is disguised as a relative of Tobit and the movement of the hand of divine providence lies hidden until the resolution of the story. That Tobit remains blind for most of the

139 As Fox notes regarding the role of parents and teachers, “The wisdom one gains from one’s parents and other teachers and applies to particular situations by one’s own faculties is all that is needed for attaining the good and blessed life.” FOX, Ethics and Wisdom, 88.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

story is no narrative accident; his blindness underscores the overall mood and perspective of the story. In exile, it is hard to see the divine design; God seems absent and thus revelation as source of guidance cannot be reasonably expected. At the surface of the story, all that the characters have to rely upon to maximize their chances of survival is keen observation and observance of that which has been handed on to them. Tobias follows Rafael’s every advice not because Rafael is an angel of God, since Tobias does not know Rafael’s true identity, but because Rafael is a well-travelled (cf. Tob 5:6, 10) 140 and a more experienced kinsman and companion. Tobias observes his father’s counsels on account of the weight of tradition and the authority of his father: if these principles are good enough for his father, they should be good enough for him! Obviously, the reputation and the figure of Tobit in the story also commend the wisdom contained. Education in wisdom has partly formed Tobit. Now the very same thing forms and guides Tobias. The divine bearing of Tobit’s instructions in fact remains latent until after Rafael has uncovered their significance for the transformative events in the narrative (cf. Tob 12:6-14). It is only within the dénouement of the story that divine revelation takes place. Even here, however, revelation is not guidance in a Torah-conceived fashion but divine confirmation of what has directed Tobit’s life and which Tobit in turn has taught, handing them on to his son as norms to guide his conduct. The story does not view Tobit’s instructions as revelatory knowledge. In Tobit, divine revelation is not the source either of the instructions or of their immediate authority but is merely a way to confer approval. The Validity of the Wisdom Tradition It is not enough that Tobit should rely on the authority of the wisdom tradition he apparently received from Deborah. The abiding validity and significance of the tradition has to be established. This is why the narrative is designed in such a way as to test and verify the claims of the tradition. It can be argued that the testing of Tobit, as divulged by 140 The wisdom book of Sirach places great emphasis on travel. Since travel enriches experience and curbs speculation, it can be a source of wisdom. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Dreams and Folly in Sir 34(31),1-8, 241-252. The narrative portrays Rafael as one like a sage who does not only speak instructions but has also done a fair amount of travelling (cf. Tob 5:5-6). Tobias too has become wise, thanks to his father’s instructions as well as his travel with Rafael.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


the angel Rafael in Tob 12:14, is in reality a testing of the sapiential tradition that Tobit embraces and embodies. Tobit’s wisdom heritage which defines his persona as a righteous figure is put to the test in the realm of human experience. Since Tobit suffers from exilic existence acutely manifested in various ‘instances of villainy’ in the story,141 it implies that the ultimate crucible for the wisdom tradition is the condition of exile. In his exhortations, Tobit devotes a large portion of his counsels to his son on a specific piece of advice: to engage in works of righteousness (cf. Tob 4:5b-11; 14-17).142 Consequently, it gives the impression that this particular instruction is a cardinal rule for pious living. But the incongruity between the advice and the preceding narrative episodes is starkly apparent. In the immediate narrative background, the reader realizes that the good act of not eating the food of Gentiles,143 which for Tobit is a wholehearted remembrance of the Lord, has led to a good consequence for Tobit, that of finding favor before the court of Shalmaneser and becoming a purchasing agent for the king (cf. Tob 1:12-14). Immediately after this scene, the story confronts the reader with the negative consequences of Tobit’s acts of evlehmosu,nh. As traditionally understood, the effect has to be directly congruent to the cause. Instead of blessing, however, Tobit’s charitable work of burying his dead kinsmen results in forced exile, confiscation of his properties and a decline in his finances (cf. Tob 1:16-20). Another act of burying the dead leads to another misfortune – Tobit’s blindness, which in turn elicits mockery from both his neighbors and his wife (cf. Tob 2:1-14). The hand of kindness has yet to extend its gentle touch upon virtuous Tobit, for misfortunes keep befalling him. Yet despite all the reversals of his fortune, caused ironically by the performance of evlehmosu,nh, Tobit seems to have stiffened his resolve. He still counsels his son to give alms to the poor and perform good deeds for they will not only bring success and deliver one from death, but they will also make God’s face to shine upon the doer of the deed (cf. Tob 4:6-7, 10). Although bewildered at his own misfortune, Tobit still holds on to his religious convictions. Tobit endorses these instructions 141 Cf. SOLL, Tobit and Folklore Studies, 51. 142 The other large section in terms of verses dedicated to a topic in Tobit 4 pertains to endogamy or marriage within kinship. Tobit is equally insistent on this particular advice. 143 In the Sinaiticus, the phrase h;sqion evk tw/n a;rtwn tw/n evqnw/n is repeated twice in Tob 1:10-11, creating a contrast between Tobit’s behavior and that of his kindred, thus emphasizing the significance of this pious observance.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

either because he has the backing of experience, observation and tradition, or because he has an insightful and profound understanding of the enigma or irony of his situation, which in Prov 1:6, is a task of a sage. Whatever the case may be, Tobit still hangs on to what has presumably been bequeathed to him despite the present experiential evidence that seemingly nullifies and even contradicts these sapiential counsels. Unlike a Job or a Qohelet, Tobit does not allow his grim situation and tragic experiences to come to blows with his belief in God’s covenantal justice. The narrative of course validates the tradition. When at long last the angel Rafael disclosed his identity, his exhortations to Tobit and Tobias confirm the truth of what Tobit has taught all along and transmitted to his son. The angelic discourse authenticates Tobit’s wise counsels, thereby not only affirming the divine gift of wisdom that enables one to reason and to know good from evil144 but also stamping with a heavenly approbation the tradition and its claims as embodied in the counsels and in the figure of righteous Tobit. The speech of Rafael is a narrative and didactic strategy to confer authority on the earlier counsels. With the angelic discourse, these counsels acquire normative weight. More importantly, since Tobit’s wisdom teachings supply the pragmatic content by enumerating the practical conduct that constitutes observance of a major deuteronomic injunction, it grounds acquired wisdom and the construction of personal ethics on revealed law, thereby giving his wisdom instructions an equally revered religious status.145 By establishing the ethical admonitions on a Mosaic instruction, or by basing them on a divine source, Tobit’s exhortations acquire in some ways the status of a divine discourse with Tobit as medium. The angelic revelation in Tobit 12 merely makes the implicit claim regarding the extension of Mosaic revelation in Tobit 4 explicit. With the angelic order to write, the book of Tobit with its instructions has indeed become an “indispensable means for correctly discerning the presence of God” and his divine will.146 The embodiment of wisdom in Tobit lies in the practical exposition and expansion of a deuteronomic command. This sapientialization of a deuteronomic decree eventually finds divine legitimacy through Rafael’s words. Rafael approves not only of education in wisdom as expression of fidelity to God but also of the exercise of wisdom as a sal144 Cf. CRENSHAW, The Wisdom Literature, 389; PERDUE, Wisdom in the Book of Job, 75. 145 Cf. SHEPPARD, Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Construct, 119. 146 ROTA SCALABRINI, L’Angelo necessario, 873.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


vific way out of seemingly hopeless adversities. With the narrative resolution partly due to the role of wisdom embodied by Tobit’s paideia, and with Rafael’s affirmation of Tobit’s proverbial counsels, there is no doubt that the wisdom tradition can be validly employed to interpret a central deuteronomic command.147 In the end, genuine wisdom, which is the almost mystical knowledge of the hidden design and purposes of God, is granted to Tobit and Tobias, now that they have walked the path of wisdom (cf. Tob 12:6-15). Indeed, it is this immediate and direct encounter with the Transcendent that provides another epistemological basis for Tobit’s convictions which wisdom underpins. The tradition of wise education is thus positively reinforced and established as a legitimate guide for how to interpret, actualize and practice the Torah.


The Family as Context

Wisdom instruction often takes place within the family. It is the context in which paternal pleas to heed the principles that have functioned as the moral compass of a life are made. Parents transmit valuable insights and hand on to their children the wisdom gleaned from a lifetime of experience.148 In Proverbs 1–9, this familial milieu is a prominent if not defining feature of the wisdom tradition (cf. Prov 2:1-5; 3:12; 4:1-5). It is first and foremost the instructions of a father or a mother that direct the child’s footsteps to the path of wisdom (cf. Prov 4:10-11). It is then natural that the introduction to the Solomonic collections in Proverbs closes with a tone of the familial by employing the metaphor of a house: Lady Sofia, like a parent reminding a child to follow the ways of wisdom, invites the youth to her home, a house she has personally built for instruction that ultimately leads to life (cf. Prov 9:1-6). In

147 According to Preuss, “Deuteronomy represents the first programmatic attempt to bring into close relationship the law of YHWH and wisdom.” PREUSS, Old Testament Theology, 2:204. Weinfeld has actually argued that the overlaps between deuteronomic legislation and sapiential counsels in Proverbs indicate that Deuteronomy comes from a class of scribal-sages. WEINFELD, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, 159-171; 244-319. According to Najman, the Deuteronomists actually established the model for authoritative interpretation and application of tradition to new situations. NAJMAN, Seconding Sinai, 19-40. Thus Tobit’s sapiential reading of a deuteronomic command is hardly a surprising hermeneutical move. 148 As Crenshaw notes, the words ‘father’ and ‘mother’ occur with high frequency “to warrant the conclusion that popular wisdom had its original context within individual families.” CRENSHAW, Old Testament Wisdom, 78.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

a way, the wisdom tradition stands quite alone in making the family a social and literary setting.149 The Tobit narrative clearly contextualizes the proverbial instructions of Tobit 4 in a familial situation. The father addresses his son and leaves Tobias with what he considers to be road signs that indicate the path of success in life. Although Tobit has worked as a purchasing agent for the royal court of Shalmaneser (cf. Tob 1:13-14), his instructions to his son contain no taste for royal concerns. The royal path for Tobit does not necessarily lead to a good and fulfilling life, as his experiences have shown. Since the narrative employs certain aspects and sayings from the legend and wisdom of Ahiqar – a court tale in which Ahiqar trains his adoptive son with sapiential instructions specifically for the purpose of assuming his high position in the royal court – it is striking that the tale’s influence upon Tobit completely excludes such royal associations and preoccupations. Tobit adapts the tale but does not assimilate its royal overtones.150 His training of Tobias forsakes royal ambitions. The court is peripheral to the vision of the Tobit story despite the strong influence of a court story. The world in which the Tobit narrative moves is predominantly confined to the family.151 Its genesis may have been the court tale but it immediately shifts its focus to the family.152 In fact, the first word of advice Tobit asks his son to comply with is to honor his parents and to perform a sacred family obligation, their burial (cf. Tob 4:3-4). Furthermore, every character is in fact a kinsman; Ahiqar the Syrian and Rafael the angel in human guise are somehow strangely related to

149 Perdue observes that “the family household, the different roles that existed in this institution and moral instruction about behavior and responsibilities are regarded as important, related themes in the wisdom tradition.” PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 55. Prov 22:6 and 4:1-4 instruct the father to train a child, but does not specify the precepts to be taught. Tobit specifies what needs to be taught to a son. On the familial ethos in Proverbs, see MOSS, Wisdom as Parental Teaching in Proverbs 1–9, 426-439; NGUYEN, “Figlio mio”, 290-295. 150 In studies of wisdom elements in biblical texts, the court setting is usually taken as a likely indicator of the wisdom tradition. WHYBRAY, The Succession Narrative, 71-72; TALMON, ‘Wisdom’ in the Book of Esther, 432-435. This rests on the assumption that wisdom texts were primarily for instructing royal or civil servants. 151 According to Soll, the Scriptures play a significant role in Tobit’s idea of family. SOLL, The Family as a Scriptural and Social Construct in Tobit, 166-175. Cf. also GAMBERONI, Das ‘Gesetz des Mose’ im Buch Tobias, 228; MCCRACKEN, Narration and Comedy in the Book of Tobit, 413; JENSEN, Family, Fertility and Foul Smell, 136; DIMANT, The Family of Tobit, 158-159. 152 Cf. DAVIES, Didactic Stories, 107.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


Tobit. Everyone calls everybody avdelfo,j.153 In this work, everybody belongs to one large but happy Jewish family.154 Even the instructions of Rafael, divine discourse though they are, remain confined to a single family, that of Tobit. The family is the micro-universe of the narrative. Why does the Tobit story define its world in terms of the popular wisdom-friendly setting of the household? First, Tobit’s personal story reflects and follows the pattern of the history of Israel. As such, Tobit’s family represents the community of Israel; the family of Tobit evokes Israel writ-small. His family serves a symbolic function of being a model for proper Jewish conduct, persuading the dispersed Jewish audience to adopt his examples and counsels.155 Moreover, the author views Jewish existence as ‘a family affair.’ Since burial of the dead, which is the foremost act of evlehmosu,nh in Tobit, is a family obligation (cf. Tob 4:4; 14:10-12), the focus on almsgiving or acts of charity toward the righteous poor of Israel implies that pious Jews have to treat other Jews as members of the family.156 Certainly, this notion of a nation as a family, even when scattered, proceeds from the divine promise of numerous descendants to Abraham (cf. Gen 12:2-3). The conception of Israel as a family bound by certain important familial obligations lies behind Tobit’s emphasis on this particular deed of righteousness. Second, the context of the family is a strong pointer to the glaring concern of the book, which is the dispersed existence of Israel. The scattered people had no temple to speak of, no institution to hold and bind them together except the family. In the absence of Israel’s traditional institutions, the family provided a secure and stable place for the expression of piety and the transmission of traditions. The family has

153 On this term as a Leitwort in the narrative and its importance for the theme of kinship in Tobit, see SKEMP, ’ADELFOS and the Theme of Kinship in Tobit, 92-103. As Wills points out, relational terms such as ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ occur with such high frequency (sixty-six times) that “the network of relations among these characters creates an extended family that threatens to take over all of Assyria.” WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 78. For a philological analysis of the word in Tobit and its possible meanings, see GRELOT, Les noms de parenté dans le livre de Tobie, 327-337. Cf. also DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 309-320. 154 Gruen calls this phenomenon in Tobit “endogamy with a vengeance.” GRUEN, Diaspora, 157. 155 CRAGHAN, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Jonah, Ruth, 130. 156 Cf. SOLL, The Book of Tobit as a Window, 274. Soll notes that the family loyalty in Tobit is loyalty to a whole nation conceived as family. Or as Craghan nicely puts it, “Jewish commitment to Yahweh is measured by Jewish commitment to the community of Yahweh.” CRAGHAN, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Jonah, Ruth, 134. Cf. also BOLYKI, Burial as an Ethical Task, 89-101.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

become the instrument of education and school for life while away from the land.157 Having survived the historical split, the family as an institution provided the most tangible and available means for fostering practices that shape and define identity. This is the reason why the post-exilic structure of the family became the dominant theological symbol for the community of Israel.158 Tobit resorts to the common popular wisdom motif of family not only in setting the exhortations of the story but also in limiting the universe of the narrative, since it is the family which functions as the first, if not the main venue for successful wisdom appropriation and normative character construction.159 The accumulation and nourishment of wisdom begins at home with the torah or instruction of the parents. In the case of Tobit himself, his grandmother Deborah taught him the ways of righteousness (cf. Tob 1:8). In some ways, the dispersed existence of Israel embodied in Tobit is similar to the period before the possession of the land and the united monarchy, when Israel lived according to the norms and codes of the clan. According to Carr, such a situation motivated ‘renewed focus on Israel’s pre-land traditions’ and the Mosaic Torah along with ‘radical reformulations’ of such traditions by various circles.160 In its historical setting and its allusion to the patriarchs, Moses and the Exodus, the story of Tobit indeed reflects a particular circle that appropriated many of Israel’s ancestral traditions. The values that both the narrative and the instructions in Tobit 4 champion such as charity, strong kinship ties, common resources, and defined social roles, foster familial solidarity and reproduce the conventional virtues often associated with communal living. Understandably, God for Tobit is “a family deity

157 According to Moss, the post-exilic redaction of Proverbs succeeds in moving the setting of the teachings from the Solomonic court to the individual Israelite household. The parents are now the successors of the king’s royal courtiers. MOSS, Wisdom as Parental Teaching, 436. 158 Cf. CAMP, Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbs, 246-250. 159 According to Brown, the familial ethos pervades Proverbs 1–9 as well as Prov 10:1– 15:32. The circle is later widened in the second half of the Solomonic collection to include relationships beyond the family, such as neighbor, friend and king. BROWN, The Pedagogy of Proverbs 10:1–31:9, 158-159. 160 CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 168. Another circle could be that of Sirach. See the analysis of Sirach 24 in which Sheppard claims that Mosaic traditions and deuteronomic themes such as allotment of land, rest and inheritance were reinterpreted in this Wisdom Hymn. SHEPPARD, Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Construct, 2171.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


who protected the household and was worshiped by its members,”161 a personal God who cares for the righteous and his family,162 a deity very much in the mold of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. With Tobit’s practical instructions, the storyteller radically reformulates a major component of the Mosaic Torah. The three general principles that define remembrance of God while outside the homeland are the given for covenant living; they constitute Torah-following on the part of the dispersed. By means of such a reinterpretation, Tobit reaches back to the early beginnings of Israel by employing its sapiential roots as main source for expressing what harmonious and faithful living entails for life in the exilic present. Tobit as the paterfamilias of the clan determines what actions make for avlh,qeia and dikaiosu,nh. Furthermore, the narrative proves that such an ‘exegetical illumination’ of a core deuteronomic teaching from a sapiential perspective will be redemptive.163 Just as wisdom played a role in the formation of his people in the remote past, so now the intervention or the way of wisdom will take his family into the fulfillment of that expected future as God’s chosen.


The Prominence of Divine Providence

One of the principal assumptions of the wisdom tradition holds that God sustains, governs and cares for all of creation. Divine providence continues “to vitalize the forces of life and give shape to the continuing structures of life.”164 There is a divine plan and purpose. There are no such things as accidents since things are subject to the will and actions of a governing God. The sages believe that God, having worded the

161 Cf. PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 55. 162 In his study of the portrait of God in Proverbs, Boström notes that the wisdom tradition also believes in a personal religion, i.e., one that is characterized by God’s presence, care and protection for the individual. BOSTRÖM, The God of the Sages, 213-235. 163 Fishbane notes that sage-scholars or authoritative teachers devoted their exegetical skills on the revealed Torah as a means of instruction through proper enquiry and interpretation. Mediated through exegesis, the authoritative reading of the Torah by teachers such as Ezra and Nehemiah provides ongoing revelation through the words of scripture itself, thus opening access to the divine will. FISHBANE, From Scribalism to Rabbinism, 440-443. In their interpretation of scriptures, the scribe-scholars became the new prophets and “repositories of the Word of God.” VAN DER TOORN, Scribal Culture, 104. 164 PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 6.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

world into order, attends to the destiny of his chosen and cares for them according to his own purpose.165 Genesis 1–3 introduces not only God’s governance of the world but also God’s care for, and reaction to the actions of, his creatures. After the story of the flood in Genesis 9, God exercises his will only in the context of covenant. The rest of Genesis shows how God guides the destiny of his people after establishing a covenant with Abraham. Exodus further demonstrates how God’s providence freed Israel from the shackles of slavery in Egypt. In the Sinai experience, God’s providential action for the sake of the people with whom he had chosen to forge a covenant finds its most tangible expression. In any event, much of Scripture views the providence of God always in relation to God’s covenantal relationship with his elect; God’s providence is ultimately bound to a community. By virtue of the covenant, God’s care and concern for his people was considered a basic axiom. The exile changed the traditional view of how divine providence works, as Jer 31:28-30 and Ezek 18:4 indicate. Since exile was a sign of a broken covenant, it was no longer possible to hold the covenant as a ground for the presumption of divine providence based on ancestry or belonging to a community. In other words, the providential hand of God would move primarily at the level of the individual person instead of the entire community of Israel.166 The sapiential tradition embraces this individualistic focus of divine providence. This is logically so since the tradition of the sages views divine providence more in terms of creation than in terms of covenant.167 Prov 16:9 states that “an individual may plot out his course, but it is the Lord who directs the person’s steps.” This means that the 165 In Prov 8:35; 12:2; 16:13; 18:22, the Hebrew !Acr expresses the notion of divine providence. The word can refer to what is acceptable before God or to the favor or goodwill of God or king that a person seeks. As Rogerson warns, the notion of divine providence in the Old Testament does not mean believing in a process guided by God towards a certain goal. It is rather that God controls the destiny of a nation. The notion of God providing stability and care was likely based on the model of, or an analogy with kingship. God, like a king, governs the world with justice. ROGERSON, Can a Doctrine of Providence be based on the Old Testament?, 528-543. Prov 14:35 and 16:13 may help illustrate such kingship analogy. 166 Cf. PFEFFER, Providence in the Book of Job, 56-57. 167 Cf. PERDUE, Wisdom in the Book of Job, 75: “The sages contended that the justice of God operated providentially in continuing creation and shaping human history.” Longman also notes that while ‘covenant’ and ‘covenant love’ (dsx) appear in the book, covenant is not a foremost theological theme in the book. LONGMAN, Proverbs, 56.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


journey of life entails many decisions and when the direction comes from the Lord, success is guaranteed along the way. This implies congruence between human strategy and divine guidance. This is not always the case, however. Prov 19:21, which states that “a man may have many designs or plans in his mind but it is the Lord’s plan that stands,” and Prov 20:24, which states that a person’s steps are decided by the Lord for “what does a person know about his own way?” both take issue with being open to uncertainties along the way; humans can plan but God can intervene and change the course of a life.168 Humans propose but God disposes. Ultimately, this means that the end result depends on the Lord, an outcome that may differ from what was imagined at first, for God alone, not humans, exercises absolute control (cf. Prov 21:31; 16:33).169 Whatever the case may be, these passages in Proverbs clearly convey the conviction that a person’s success and his destiny, is encompassed by God’s providence and guidance. The Movement of the Divine Hand The flow of the Tobit story illustrates these wisdom precepts and convictions. In fact, divine providence is said to be one of the fundamental claims of the narrative of Tobit.170 The providential hand of God in Rafael stitches the seemingly unrelated threads of events into a pleasing whole, demonstrating a divine plan. The story shows that the earthly fulfillment of divine plans requires the assemblage of 168 That God has universal knowledge of human designs, and his mysterious and hidden purpose can either frustrate or advance human plans is a strong conviction in Proverbs as well as in non-Israelite wisdom texts. WHYBRAY, The Succession Narrative, 62. 169 Cf. MURPHY, Proverbs, 121. According to Brown, these sayings provide wisdom with a clear theological point of reference while simultaneously revealing wisdom’s limitations. BROWN, The Pedagogy of Proverbs 10:1–31:9, 163-164. 170 Divine providence, God’s care for humans, is a core conviction of the story. NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:985; ROTA SCALABRINI, L’angelo necessario, 872. Cf. also BONORA, Tobia: Dio è provvidenza, 11-12: “L’angelo protettore, che guida e guarisce, è il segno-strumento della presenza buona e salvante di Dio”; DORÉ, Le livre de Tobie, 58: “Le livre de Tobie est un roman de sagesse pour célébrer la bonté de Dieu.” Dommershausen claims that Rom 8:28 (God works in all things to bring about good for those who love him) reflects the main theme of Tobit: “der Autor will aufzeigen, wie Gottes Vorsehung den gerechten Israeliten wunderbar führt.” DOMMERSHAUSEN, Der Engel, die Frauen, das Heil, 3-4. Cf. also NICKELSBURG, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah, 32; EGO, Buch Tobit, 893-894; TÁBET, Introducción al Antiguo Testamento, 442. According to Vílchez, the character of Rafael makes the providence of God palpably present in the story. VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 94-95.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

seemingly unrelated and implausible elements, including tragedy and sorrow.171 Rafael himself is God’s guidance. But even if divine providence were not basic to Tobit, there is no denying that the narrative subscribes to the sapiential conviction that God cares and desires life for his creatures. In his prayer in Tobit 3, Tobit plans to woo death by asking the Lord to end his miserable life. As soon as Tobit finishes lamenting his fate, he takes matters in his own hands by sending his son to Media in order to retrieve the money and thus provide for his family after his death. Despite the protestations of his wife, Tobit pursues the plan he has in mind. Tobias in turn becomes an agent of divine providence through his obedience, bringing healing both to Tobit and Sarah.172 In another scene, another character strategizes to escape reproach and embarrassment. Raguel, the father of Sarah, prepares a grave for Tobias after the wedding in order to avoid ridicule in the event that Tobias dies (cf. Tob 8:9b-12), as had happened with the other husbands of Sarah on the wedding night. Tobit and Raguel have planned for the arrival of death, but instead they receive the blessing of life. Unbeknown to these characters – but clear to the reader – God, through his angel Rafael, directs and guides all the events that will eventually culminate in the lead characters’ release from senseless suffering. These are but a few of many episodes which demonstrate that it is divine providence that directs and links all the events and characters in the story. It is only in light of godly guidance and plan that every seemingly irrational event makes sense for both character and reader. Coincidence, or things that just seem to happen in the story, is in fact disguised providence, or God guiding well and straightening the path. Sharing this wisdom conviction, Tobit reminds Tobias to ask the Lord to direct or straighten his path and to entrust his plans to God (cf. Tob. 4:19) before he sends his son on his way to Media. In effect, Tobit repeats the advice of the sage in Prov 16:3, exhorting the student to commit his work to God, so that his plans may be established. Indeed, the lives of the characters are viewed as a journey under divine guidance.173 God has made their paths straight.

171 REARDON, Under the Gaze of God & Angels, 42. 172 Cf. NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:985: “Individual lives are woven together in a common journey. The circle of interwoven lives widens from the individual (Tobit) to the larger family, to the whole people, and finally to all nations who will come to Jerusalem.” 173 Cf. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 221-229.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


Tobit’s blindness is equally a narrative ploy that emphasizes the concealed presence or mysterious design of God from a human point of view, giving the narrative a sort of theological frisson. Tobit remains a just and faithful follower of the faith despite groping in the dark, for he may not see or experience God but this does not mean that God has completely severed his ties with the righteous. To a certain extent, his incapacity to see has nothing to do with whether God is still active or not in the lives of his chosen. Tobit’s blindness is thus a mise en relief, stressing insight instead of sight, and placing in stark and luminous display Tobit’s firm belief in a God who comes to the aid of his righteous ones in order to give them unalloyed happiness, a conviction made all the more radiant by his blindness. Heaven’s plan and purpose still holds, despite God’s deafening silence and blinding absence, the realization of which requires far-seeing eyes. The Metaphor of ‘the way’ The Book of Proverbs widely employs the metaphor of ‘the way’ to imagine ethical behavior; for instance, Prov 16:25 view the laws as the prescribed paths to be followed through life.174 In its frequent use of expressions such as ‘walking the paths of righteousness’ (cf. Prov 2:7-8; 8:20), ‘ways of the wicked’ (cf. Prov 2:12), ‘straight paths’ (cf. Prov 9:15), ‘evil ways’ (cf. Prov 2:15), ‘keep my ways’ (cf. Prov 8:33), there is no doubt that ‘the way’ is a dominant symbol in this foundational sapiential text.175 The word ovdo,j or ‘the way’ is a dominant narrative motif and symbol in Tobit. In fact, the story of Tobit and Tobias is a story of how the ways of the just have led them to the way of God. The journey exemplifies the use of the road or the way in Tobit, illustrating the historical intricacies of God’s providence or how God ultimately has his ways.176 It is true that when Tobit first employs the image in Tob 1:3, describing his persona as one who “walked in the ways of truth and righteousness all his life,” the metaphor has an ethical sense similar to its use in Proverbs. As the story progresses, however, the metaphor acquires a broader meaning, one that includes getting caught literally on the road with an angel and in the multifaceted ways of God. The 174 Cf. LAKOFF/TURNER, More than Cool Reason, 10. 175 Cf. HABEL, The Symbolism of Wisdom in Proverbs 1–9, 131-157. See also the discussion of $rd and related terms in wisdom in DE CARLO, “Ti indico la via”, 37-46. 176 The word occurs 19 times in the Sinaiticus. The rest of the comments here follow the observations of Reardon. REARDON, Under the Gaze of God and Angels, 43-44.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

frequency of the metaphor’s occurrence links the ethical connotation of the image to the veiled divine providential activity that happens along the way in the story. First, it is the unsafe o`doi,, to Media, following Shalmaneser’s death, that prevent Tobit from going to the place where he deposited a good sum of money with a cousin (cf. Tob 1:15). This narrative development justifies Tobit’s command to Tobias to retrieve the money as well as to hire a companion on the way. Indeed, for much of Tobit 5–12, the divine agent Rafael advises and accompanies Tobias along the way. This central section shows that the Lord guides every improbable movement in the entire story. In this part of the narrative, the moral sense of the metaphor comes to the fore in that the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth (cf. Tob 3:2). This implies that, if Tobias is going to find success and prosperity, then he must live in accordance with the nature and activity of God, walking only in the ways of the Lord (cf. Tob 4:19) instead of the paths of wrongdoing (cf. Tob 4:5), just as his wise father has taught him. Near the end of his instruction, Tobit actually exhorts Tobias to ask the Lord that his ways be properly guided (cf. Tob 4:19). Indeed, the response to this prayer is the sending of Rafael, the embodiment of God’s providence in the narrative. But since God utilizes human and material agents to enact his providence,177 it could equally be true that the proper guidance and direction which the Lord grants Tobias in response to his prayer is in reality the wise counsels of his father. The use of the metaphor of ‘the way’ in the story thus exemplifies how human ways get taken into the mysterious way of God when the elect chooses to follow God’s ways of righteousness and truth, as spelled out in Tobit’s instructions.178


The Formation of the Habits of the Heart

Like any good sage who esteems the value of discipline, Tobit urges his son to practice paidei,a or rsWm as part of keeping God in mind. The purpose of rsWm, which “refers to all admonitions bearing an ethical and 177 Cf. NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:985. 178 Perdue notes that the admonitions of the sage embody the righteous order of life at work in creation, and their observance is but a way “to engage in behavior that would enhance the structures of life in creation, society and individual existence.” PERDUE, Wisdom in the Book of Job, 74-75. Tobit’s instructions can be described as life-giving structures of existence because they accord with God’s ways.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


religious message,”179 is to form virtuous character or to foster traits that shape who the person is and what the individual chooses to do (cf. Prov 1:3, 8). Through the use of reason and the willpower to conquer weakness and the dark passions aided by the discipline of study and the practice of righteousness,180 it is hoped that the untutored will develop and acquire the necessary habits of the heart that will place him on the path of life. By acquiring virtue, the apprentice with a moral cast determines what is virtuous in any given situation; he then does what is righteous and so attains life.181 Tobit exhorts Tobias to watch his behavior and to discipline his conduct at all times (cf. Tob 4:14). Such paidei,a or rsWm is meant to shape the contours of his normative character. Needless to say, character formation through education is a cardinal concern of the wisdom tradition. Tobias is to avoid negative traits and vices such as arrogance, adultery, unruliness and idleness. Proverbs, whose key preoccupation is the development of desirable behavioral patterns,182 does not lack for warning against such vices. The book asserts that character deficiencies such as laziness and idleness (cf. Prov 6:6-11; 10:4-5; 12:11, 24; 13:18; 14:23; 20:13) will result in poverty, which incidentally accords with Tobit’s thought that idleness is the mother of famine (cf. Tob 4:18). Arrogance or u`perhfani,a is likewise a harmful trait that Tobit warns Tobias to avoid. He is not to be insolent or presumptuous, for pride will bring him disgrace and humiliation but a lowly spirit will obtain him honor (cf. Prov 29:23). His warning against hubris immediately follows his commission to Tobias to find a prospective spouse who is kin. Tobias is to be obedient as to the choice of a wife, a trait Tobias

179 FOX, Ideas of Wisdom, 632. 180 PERDUE, Wisdom in the Book of Job, 77. See COLLINS, Wisdom Reconsidered, 281. 181 Cf. ADAMS, Wisdom in Transition, 10, 93-100. Noting the absence of interest in physical death and its consequences, the author suggests that ‘life’ and ‘death’ in Proverbs are ethical terms, indicating the development of the required attitude for a virtuous lifestyle. ‘Death’ is a qualitative description of behaviors that do not fall within the appropriate boundaries of human moral behavior. 182 Cf. BROWN, The Pedagogy of Proverbs 10:1–31:9, 153: “Proverbs 1–9 and 31:10-31 have been deliberately placed to exemplify the formation of moral character … the bookends of Proverbs trace the formation of moral character that culminates in the union between wisdom and her student, a movement that spans the process of maturation from receptive child to responsible adult, from dependent to patriarch.” For a survey of interpretations and the view that the woman of substance stands as a figure of wise Israel, cf. GILBERT, La donna forte di Proverbi 31, 147-167. For a discussion of wisdom as cultivation of moral behavior in Job, cf. PERDUE, Wisdom in the Book of Job, 73-98.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

displays even when he is in a state of anxiety, as Rafael reminds him of his father’s commandment (cf. Tob 6:16).183 If indeed Tobit’s command to find a spouse from their tribe is similar to the typical wisdom prohibition against the strange woman, then it is understandable why Tobit believes that arrogance in this matter of marriage will likely cause disorder and economic destitution. Proverbial wisdom ranging from Egypt to Mesopotamia to Israel warns constantly against illicit sexual relationships for they endanger family harmony and result in destruction, most likely due to violence unleashed by resentment due to jealousy (cf. Prov 6:24-35). Similarly, Tobit claims that improper marital relations will lead to disorder and poverty. The list of vices and a series of words with negative connotations (e.g., disorder or avkatastasi,a, worthlessness/ruin or avcreio,ththj, defect or evla,ttwsij) that follow Tobit’s exhortation to marry within their kinship exhibits Tobit’s distaste for pornei,a, defined as exogamy (cf. Tob 4:13).184 Tobit classifies marriage outside of the clan as that kind of pride that goes before a fall (cf. Prov 11:2). The goal of these instructions, whether against the strange woman of Proverbs or against women from other nations, is to preserve the religious, social and economic cohesion and values of the family.185 As the story demonstrates, Tobias becomes a prosperous man after he inherits half of his father-in-law’s possessions upon marriage to his kinswoman Sara. The story validates Tobit’s warning against arrogance, showing a clear instance when positive results ensue after the heeding of a father’s call to humility and obedience. By linking the practice of endogamy to virtue, by associating it with desirable behavior for the benefit of the family, Tobit seems to view with wisdom eyes the practice assumed to be decreed by Moses. In addition to obedience, Tobias is to exhibit a behavior that exemplifies moderation, self-control, charity, compassion, fairness, hospitality, prudence and piety. His admonitions with regard to these beha-

183 According to Christian, this practice does not actually accord with the Mosaic written law but is in fact a halakhic innovation meant to strengthen the exilic family, perhaps a legal innovation preceded by practice. CHRISTIAN, Reading Tobit Backwards and Forwards, 63-95. 184 For Mazzinghi, this improper relation or pornei,a is any sexual desire or passion that goes against the divine intention. MAZZINGHI, ‘Non per passione, ma con verità’, 95. 185 Cf. PITKÄNEN, Family Life and Ethnicity, 114. The author argues that in Tobit, marriage outside the bonds of kin “would risk both the purity of lineage and Yahwism.” Cf. also SOLL, The Family as a Scriptural and Social Construct in Tobit, 173-175; FAßBECK, Tobit’s Religious Universe, 179-180. See also NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 796.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


viors are intended to inculcate certain desired behavioral patterns, one that befits a person who serves the Lord in truth (cf. Tob 4:14b). Tobit exhorts Tobias to be fair and honest in his financial dealings with hired labor. The detailed instructions on charity and compassion to the poor, however, seem to justify the observation that for Tobit, the principal virtue to cultivate is generosity and mercy toward the deprived, a behavior that Proverbs also encourages (cf. Prov 14:21, 31; 19:17; 21:13; 22:9, 16). For him, the proper treatment of the poor functions as a kind of litmus test for determining righteous behavior. Deeds of charity, or the performance of evlehmosu,nh, directed to the downtrodden are akin to the observance of the law, the discipline that leads to righteousness. The practice of righteousness as embodied in works of charity toward the needy is a virtue that also fosters community.186 Tobit’s instruction regarding endogamy, which also forms part of that which constitutes righteousness, is intended to preserve the solidarity of the family and the community. The practice of righteousness is an otherregarding virtue, one that is oriented toward mutual support in the community. According to William P. Brown, the communal and moral values of righteousness, justice and equity comprise not only the center of the prolegomena but also the summit of the discourse in Proverbs.187 By emphasizing concrete actions that manifest righteousness, Tobit shares the perspective of Proverbs in allotting importance to the cultivation of a virtue that promotes community cohesion and preservation.188 The specific goal of paidei,a or rsWm then is to develop traits that maintain community solidarity. Like Proverbs, Tobit also deals with the virtue and the art of nurturing community cohesion. His concern, however, is more specific: community maintenance while in exile.189 The character development of Tobias and that of the implied young man in Proverbs invite comparison. The reader first encounters both characters nestled in the comforts of the home. They are docile and silent, passively listening to the instructions of their parents (cf. Tobit 4; Proverbs 1–9). They are then propelled into a larger world, the realm of 186 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 348-358. 187 Cf. BROWN, Character in Crisis, 23-30. 188 According to Nowell, three sets of relationships illustrate the virtuous life in Tobit: the relationship between parents and children characterized by instruction, obedience, respect and love; relationship between husbands and wives, and respect for women. Almsgiving and hospitality are the two virtues expressed outside of the family. NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:986). 189 Brown notes that Proverbs 1–9 also deals with a period of social distress, ‘a dissolute age in the eyes of some.’ BROWN, Character in Crisis, 45.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

dangers and choices: Tobias on a journey and the adolescent of Proverbs into the wider circles of social relationships. Outside their households, they have to adjudicate between the voices that vie for their attention (cf. Tobit 5–12; Proverbs 10–31). They are characters at a threshold. Will both liminal characters heed the words of wisdom given them, or will they come to ruin and death because they did not listen to the advice? Will they observe and incorporate these counsels in their lives and thus achieve an elevation of status? Will the instructions bring about an ‘ontological change’ in the moral fiber and nature of the ones addressed as ‘my son’?190 In the end, both are portrayed as responsible and dependable married adults. Tobias goes home married to Sarah, rich and ready to replace his father Tobit, able to take the reins as the patriarch of the family (cf. Tob 14:12-14). And the impressionable young man of Proverbs, having heeded and embraced personified wisdom who is the embodiment of a perfect spouse, is at the end of the book a man married to a woman of substance. Like an elder or a patriarch, he takes his place by the city gate, praises his wife, and enjoys the esteem of his confreres (cf. Prov 31:10-31). Definitely, nothing could be more different in terms of genre, but the drama of concerns manifest in the rhetoric and the pedagogical movement that the Books of Tobit and Proverbs express could not be any more alike: both texts are about character formation. Both start with a young man receiving instructions, taught in the art of communal living and family responsibilities, and end with a mature man who has successfully appropriated and accomplished them.191

190 A stage of liminality is a state of ‘betwixt and between’, in which individuals exist in a twilight zone, temporarily suspended or detached from the structures that have so far defined them. As observed earlier, marriage which plays a big role in both Tobit and Proverbs, is a rite of passage. The main purpose of such rites and instructions given during a liminal state is ontological: “The initiate is to be reduced to prima materia out of which is refashioned by means of the liminal experience and instruction a new being capable of living a new life with new behavior patterns after reincorporation.” Acceptance of the instructions then in both Tobit and Proverbs facilitates the successful passage of Tobias and the virtual adolescent from liminal state into entrance into society. They now function with new values and are ready to enjoy an elevated status in the community. PERDUE, Liminality as a Social Setting for Wisdom Instructions, 114-126. 191 This reading of Proverbs owes to BROWN, The Pedagogy of Proverbs 10:1–31:9, 150182; IDEM, Character in Crisis, 47-49. According to van Leeuwen, the purpose of the discourses is protreptic, i.e., to transform the untutored into a discerning, God-fearing and virtuous individual. VAN LEEUWEN, Liminality and Worldview in Proverbs 1–9, 113. Cf. also FOX, Ideas of Wisdom, 621.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit



The Fear of God

Tobit concludes his extensive counsels to Tobias saying, “do not be discouraged, my child, because we became poor. Many good things shall belong to you if you fear God, if you flee from sin, and if you do that which is good before the Lord your God” (cf. Tob 4:21). The father rounds off his advice with a final statement that includes a quintessential sapiential expression and insight, namely the fear of the Lord. In its context, Tobit’s instruction to fear God, fobhqh/|j to.n qeo,n, is an exhortation to behave in such a manner that is morally pleasing to God, one that displays obedience of the heart.192 It is ultimately the ground for Tobias’s success, affirming the claim of Ps 34:10 that “those who fear the Lord lack nothing.” His advice to fear God and to foreswear sin echoes Tobit’s universal principle with which he introduces his counsel. Tobit sees fear of God as remembering God and avoiding any breach of God’s laws, as Tobit specifies them in his teachings. A number of passages in wisdom literature declare that fear of the Lord and knowledge of God is the beginning of wisdom.193 In Prov 1:7; 9:10 and Ps 111:10, the fear of God is an epistemological principle or a matter of ‘theoretical interest,’ positing that the basis of authentic human wisdom is relational, i.e., a commitment to and knowledge of God and his ways.194 To appropriate genuine wisdom requires a methodological basis: fear of the Lord is a relational stance that starts the person on the road to true wisdom. The statement that all wisdom 192 According to Calduch-Benages, the ‘fear of God’ in wisdom literature is usually characterized by an ethical sense. In other OT passages, the meaning of the phrase can mean ‘fear of the numinous’ and ‘fidelity to the covenant’. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Timore di Dio, 1424-1429. 193 Murphy notes that fear of the Lord is the “basic motto of the sages which was at the same time intrinsic to Israelite faith.” MURPHY, Proverbs, 5. Cf. also WALTKE, The Book of Proverbs, 100-101. According to Becker, Proverbs does not strictly demarcate fear of the Lord from knowledge, wisdom, and understanding but considers it as a different aspect of an attitude the wisdom teacher has in mind. BECKER, Gottesfurcht im Alten Testament, 214-222. Shupak argues that fear of the Lord, identified as religious belief, is the result of the development from the idea of wisdom as acquired either by study, experience or transmission to the idea of wisdom as charismatic or as a divine gift. SHUPAK, Where can Wisdom be Found?, 271-272. For a recent survey of ‘fear of God’ in the Bible, see NGUYEN, “Figlio mio”, 210-219; CALDUCH-BENAGES, Timore di Dio, 1423-1431. 194 Cf. VON RAD, Wisdom in Israel, 69: “In the midst of teaching which is oriented towards individual, practical instructions, the statement is remarkable for its concentration on a question of principle … It contains in a nutshell the whole Israelite theory of knowledge.”


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

begins with the fear and knowledge of God certainly carries some practical or attitudinal ramifications. First, it means that the seeker of wisdom has to take a subservient stance or a position of humility, respect and loving reverence, in relation to God, since the individual not only has to recognize that the Creator God is the lone true source of wisdom but also has to accept his or her place in the cosmos.195 A person cannot be wise in his own eyes (cf. Prov 3:7). Rather, the individual has to acknowledge his or her own ignorance and turn to God constantly in fear and humility. Prov 15:33 could not be any clearer when it asserts that “the fear of the Lord is training for wisdom and humility goes before honors.” The discipline of wisdom encompasses and demands humility before it will grant praises. In another place, Proverbs equates humility with fear of God, claiming that such a disposition or attitude shall reap riches, honor and life (cf. Prov 22:4). Sirach expresses a similar sentiment, claiming that those who fear the Lord shall enjoy length of days, peace and perfect health (cf. Sir 1:14, 16, 18) 196 but a disposition of humility must first of all embody the person who fears the Lord (cf. Sir 2:17).197 To have this virtue of humility, in which the individual realizes his limits, sets the person on the path of wisdom. Second, the sapiential motto means that a truly wise person obeys and submits to the divine will, since God is the fountain of the knowledge of good and evil. To fear the Lord is to find and know God. Knowing God implies having searched his ways and his counsels (cf. Prov 1:29-30) and being attentive to his purposes. By so knowing, a 195 Cf. LONGMAN, Proverbs, 57-58; 100-101: “True knowledge begins with an acknowledgement that everything is created and sustained by God not only through revelation but also through experience, observation, and reason.” After a grammatical analysis, Zatelli concludes that the phrase connotes reverence, the right attitude of the just before God. ZATELLI, Yir’at JHWH nella Bibbia, 229-237. Costacurta notes that fear of God is indeed reverential respect, but the concept may also include emotional aspects of fear. COSTACURTA, La vita minacciata, 144-145. Cf. also BARRÉ, Fear of God and the Worldview of Wisdom, 42. 196 Calduch-Benages notes that fear of the Lord, along with wisdom and the Law, are the three basics or ‘pillars’ of Ben Sira’s theology. CALDUCH-BENAGES, I fondamenti della teologia di Ben Sira, 15-22. Cf. also DI LELLA, The Meaning of Wisdom in Ben Sira, 133-148. 197 For an analysis of Sir 2:15-17, see CALDUCH-BENAGES, Un gioiello di sapienza, 116137. In Sirach’s understanding, only the humble will enjoy intimacy with the Lord. The same relationship of ‘fear-love’ is also found between wisdom and the youth who follows her discipline. They are the two poles of the same behavior concretized in the observance of the precepts of the law. For a detailed analysis, see IDEM, En el crisol de la prueba, 189-225.

Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


God-fearer knows how to act in the world.198 Job says that “fear of the Lord is wisdom and avoidance of evil is understanding” (cf. Job 28:28; Prov 3:7) while Qohelet asserts that the last word is “fear God and keep his commandments” (cf. Qoh 12:13),199 which happens to be also Tobit’s last word to Tobias. The searcher for true wisdom then has to surrender his or her will to the will of Yahweh as articulated in the commandments. Fear of the Lord is wisdom because it orients and directs the ensuing action and knowledge of the individual. Fear of the Lord is an inner religious disposition that manifests concretely and externally in obedience to the Law,200 albeit never in a legalistic manner. In his parting advice, Tobit encourages his son not to fear poverty, but he does not say that it is the fear of the Lord that constitutes true riches.201 Rather, he commends that fear of the Lord has to orient and guide the actions of his son.202 Tobit employs the fear of the Lord as that methodological principle that will start Tobias on the right road. In doing so, polla. avgaqa, or many good things will be given him. In sapiential understanding, the good life includes length of days, wealth, honor, security and peace.203 In light of the narrative, however, the primary connotation of the phrase polla. avgaqa, is ‘beneficial occurrences,’204 which in Tobit eventually result in such wisdom rewards. In some ways, Tobit’s statement u`pa,rcei soi polla. avgaqa, eva.n fobhqh/|j to.n qeo,n serves as a narrative clue to the unfolding of the story: beneficial or providential occurrences unfurl because Tobit and Tobias have fear of the Lord in their hearts. Tobit, despite his bafflement at his fate, is 198 As McCann notes, ‘the way of the righteous’ is submission of the self to God’s sovereign claim upon the life of the world, and it is the commitment of the self to the embodiment of the divine will for justice, righteousness, and equity.” MCCANN, ‘The Way of the Righteous’ in the Psalms, 148. 199 For a discussion of the attendant problems with this passage, cf. KRÜGER, Qoheleth, 207-208. 200 Cf. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Un gioiello di sapienza, 137. 201 Cf. VÍLCHEZ, Tobías y Judit, 110. Basing his interpretation on Prov 15:16, which states that ‘it is better to have little with the fear of the Lord than to have great fortune with great anxiety’, the author argues that true riches lie in fearing God. Doré offers a similar reading. DORÉ, Le livre de Tobit, 28. 202 Abraham and Job are both described as possessing fear of the Lord (cf. Gen 22:12 and Job 1:1). According to Fitzmyer, Tobit’s advice to fear the Lord echoes these biblical personages. FITZMYER, Tobit, 180. 203 For a discussion of the good life in wisdom literature, see WHYBRAY, The Good Life in the Old Testament, 137-207. 204 Littman claims that the phrase could not be interpreted as referring to material wealth because of the absence of the article ta. which normally gives a phrase a concrete meaning. LITTMAN, Tobit, 95.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

justified to believe that their present poverty is a temporary affair, one that is bound to end if they persist in having the correct posture before God. Keeping the Lord in mind by observing his decrees manifests not only their trust in but also their fear of the Lord, and those who do so shall succeed and not be put to shame (cf. Sir 32:24; Ps 1:2-3), as the story so winningly illustrates. Tobit defines what it means to fear God, employing a negative and a positive statement: to fear God is to avoid sin and to do that which is pleasing before the Lord. The sense of the wisdom motto in Tobit therefore accords with a more nomistic understanding: fear of God entails submission to the divine law. A person who fears the Lord not only delights in but enacts the laws and precepts of the Lord (cf. Ps 112:1). Observance of God’s commandments, especially as they find expression in Tobit’s reinterpretation, makes not only remembrance of God but also fear of God explicit. A God-fearing individual, such as Tobit, manifests and embodies true wisdom.

4.3 Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit With reference to the discussion above, there is hardly any doubt that the composer of Tobit was familiar with the tradition of popular wisdom, adapting many of its essentials to redefine and reinforce orthodox teachings. Since wisdom naturally involves an inductive process, its worldview is inherently not a closed system.205 Indeed, Murphy considers as axiomatic the claim that “any gnomic conclusion relative to God and man needs a balancing corrective.”206 A closer examination will reveal then that some of the seeds that will bear fruit in later sapiential thought and tradition, especially in works like Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon as well as in some of the sapiential texts found at Qumran,207 are already sown in Tobit. The writer of Tobit displays an acute awareness of the ongoing concerns of 205 Cf. STEIERT, Die Weisheit Israels, 140. As Perdue also notes, the sapiential body of knowledge is open to new insights and revisions. Although the tradition shaped and transmitted by past generations is honored, new generations can nonetheless test the teaching using their own experiences and add insights spawned by their observations. PERDUE, Wisdom in the Book of Job, 74. 206 Cf. MURPHY, The Hebrew Sage and Openness to the World, 229. For further discussion of the axiom, cf. CRENSHAW, Murphy’s Axiom, 344-354. 207 On the connection between wisdom and Torah as well as wisdom and piety at Qumran, cf. GOFF, Discerning Wisdom, 298-303.

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


the wisdom enterprise in Israel. Since the storyteller employs the lens of wisdom to look at, comment on and narrate the plight of Tobit, to encounter these emerging sapiential concerns in the work comes as no surprise. In a way, Tobit may have encouraged further reflection on how these elements as viewed by wisdom correlate to the traditional faith claims of Israel.


Wisdom and National History

Later strands of the wisdom tradition witness to a more manifest linking of wisdom not only with the Mosaic Torah but also with the national history of Israel.208 A clear example is the praise of the fathers in Sirach 44–50 which utilizes the history of Israel as source of sapiential instruction.209 By identifying and enumerating the noble and virtuous heroes of history worthy of fame and honor, the Jerusalem sage illustrates his didactic intent, that is, to show that wisdom has played a clearly discernible role in Israel’s history through the deeds and virtuous performance of official functions of these men of dsx.210 Although the praise of illustrious men does not mention wisdom, many scholars 208 Whybray argues that there already exist in the Old Testament certain precedents for connecting wisdom and history on which Sirach builds his hymn. WHYBRAY, Ben Sira and History, 137-145. For a discussion of 4Q185 as an example of a Qumran wisdom text that combines wisdom and the national traditions of Israel, see GOFF, Discerning Wisdom, 122-145. 209 For an introductory discussion, cf. COLLINS, Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age, 97-111. Brown suggests that Sirach uses juxtaposition of opposites to encourage monotheistic faith. What distinguishes men of ds,x, from sinners is idolatry. The hymn is actually a polemic against the worship of false gods. BROWN, God and Men in Israel’s History, 214-220. 210 Cf. MACK, Wisdom and the Hebrew Epic, 160-161. In Goshen-Gottstein’s view, the purpose of the hymn of praise, divisible into two parts, is to offer a reflection on the meaning of the canonical division between Torah and Prophets. GOSHEN-GOTTSTEIN, Ben Sira’s Praise of the Fathers, 244-260. Ska also notes the authority of the canonical division evidenced in the hymn. SKA, L’éloge des pères, 181-193. With a more cautious reading, Wright argues that Sirach’s praise of the fathers exhibits not necessarily an awareness of the canon but a high proficiency in the textual traditions of Israel. WRIGHT, Biblical Traditions in Ben Sira’s Praise of the Ancestors, 183-207. Taking Sir 24:31-33 as a key passage for interpreting the hymn, Di Lella argues that since Israel possesses true wisdom by virtue of the Torah, the purpose is not to teach history but to offer ‘parenetic apologetics’, i.e., to encourage people to remain faithful to their religious heritage despite the assaults from Hellenism since God is not only active in the past but in the present as well. DI LELLA, Ben Sira’s Praise of the Ancestors of Old, 151-170.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

nonetheless contend that just as Sirach 24 particularizes or actualizes universal wisdom,211 so does Sirach 44–50 manifests instances of such wisdom by way of historical figures who are paragons of piety. Another late wisdom text, the Wisdom of Solomon, deliberately introduces the figure of wisdom into history. In Wisdom 9, wisdom plays an emphatic role in the epic history of Israel from Adam to Moses: God created man by wisdom (Wis 9:2) and wisdom saved the righteous (Wis 9:18).212 The Book of Tobit does not explicitly connect wisdom and national history in the same way as Sirach or Wisdom does. The connection is rather muted. However, the seeds of associating wisdom with history are recognizable in the narrative at least in two senses. First, the genres of story and wisdom instructions are combined. What is a story but a personal history, which in Tobit also stands in for national history? Indeed, Tobit is seemingly ‘the most individualistic of the didactic stories’ but “its didactic message still concerns Judaism and the Jewish people rather than the individual Jew.”213 The symbolic or parabolic function of Tobit’s personal history differentiates it from similar texts that mix instruction and narrative. With allusions to a number of Pentateuch episodes, the events that happened to Tobit and his family in the story certainly recall the fate and history of Israel, implying that the

211 Cf. ROGERS, ‘It Overflows Like the Euphrates with Understanding’, 114-121. The author argues that the Mosaic Torah and wisdom are closely correlated but not identical. Contrary to claims that wisdom is nationalized, the law as well as Sirach’s teachings, is really a medium of actualization or a concrete expression of wisdom but neither of them exhaust wisdom. Cf. also GOERING, Wisdom’s Root Revealed, 69-102, who distinguishes between general wisdom given to all and special wisdom given to Israel. He argues that wisdom in Sirach is neither entirely universal nor particularistic. Cf. however, DI LELLA, God and Wisdom in the Theology of Ben Sira, 13, who states that “for Ben Sira, wisdom is identified with the Law of Moses and resides in Israel, more specifically ‘in the holy tent’ in Jerusalem.” 212 From a literary and structural analysis, Gilbert concludes that the author compares Solomon’s building of the temple with creation. Only if wisdom plays a role in the life of the king the way wisdom does before God can the mission or the divine plan be accomplished, in Solomon’s and in every person’s vocation. GILBERT, La structure de la prière de Salomon, 326-331. 213 Cf. DAVIES, Didactic Stories, 107, 112. According to the author, “it may be an overstatement that the story of Tobit is purely symbolic; but the intertwining of personal and ethnic identities is so strong that one cannot avoid concluding that the problem of this book is less one of theodicy in the abstract or even as applied to the individual, than of the problem of the fate of the chosen people, Israel.” Cf. also FAßBECK, Tobit’s Religious Universe, 187-189; BAUCKHAM, Anna of the Tribe of Asher, 182-184; IDEM, Tobit as a Parable, 140-141.

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


story of Tobit is not merely personal; it is also collective, national history. Given the fact that the resolution of the plot takes place thanks to divine intervention through an angel and to the exercise of wisdom on the part of the main character, Tobit reflects an association or interaction between wisdom and Geschichte. The Book of Tobit teaches and imparts information not only by means of instructions but also by way of a personal history narrative.214 With wisdom through instructions and history through the story of the just simultaneously at play, the exercise of wisdom in the story in which Tobit’s family symbolizes the community of the elect acquires a heilsgeschictlich shade. By implication, the role of wisdom in the very personal story of Tobit is also to be assumed as present in the national history of Israel.215 Wisdom as embodied in Tobit’s instructions on ethical living will also play a part in the fulfillment of Tobit’s eschatological hopes of restoration. By exhorting righteousness, which is now defined by his wisdom counsels, and constantly referring to the ‘children of the righteous’ in Tobit 13, Tobit seems to imply that wisdom will have a future role in the renewal of God’s chosen community. Just as wisdom secured for Tobit and his family a happy ending, so wisdom particularly embodied in Tobit’s teachings, would do likewise for Israel (cf. Tob 4:7). Second, the connection between history and wisdom is nowhere more strongly indicated than in the doxological attitude that the wise is supposed to acquire and cultivate. Praise and the acknowledgment of God’s wonders is a genuine sapiential disposition.216 It is no wonder that, after Tobias applies the medicine made of fish gall which makes his father’s eyes smart, Tobit bursts into praise for the miracle which he has just experienced, blessing God and his holy angels (cf. Tob 11:1114). Filled with gratitude, Tobit actively voices out the reason for his praise, that God has had mercy upon him and released him from the scourge. This agrees with the biblical idea of praise as the enumeration and description of the great wonders that God has done.217 In Tobit 13, Tobit again responds to God’s marvels that his family has experienced by singing a long hymn of praise, repeating the same 214 Cf. WHYBRAY, Ben Sira and History, 141. 215 Bauckham notes tat Tobit’s solidarity with his people in Tobit 3 qualifies him “to function in the book both as a representative of Israel’s just punishment and as a representative of God’s merciful reversal of that punishment.” BAUCKHAM, Tobit as a Parable for the Exiles of Northern Israel, 147. 216 Sapiential texts from Qumran also emphasize this attitude of praise and worship. Cf. GOFF, Discerning Wisdom, 301-303. 217 Cf. LIESEN, “With all Your Heart”, 212.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

reason – God’s mercy – as the rationale for the thanksgiving. Rafael has of course instructed Tobit and his family to praise God for all his great and wonderful deeds (cf. Tob 12:6). This time, however, his praise is connected to the possibility of gathering the scattered elect of God back into the homeland. He enjoins upon his audience the sagacious attitude of gratitude because of his confidence that God will do for Israel what God has done for his family. Just as his particular family experienced the scourging and the subsequent mercy of God presumably in response to the observance of Tobit’s counsels, so it is hoped that the chosen community will one day receive God’s favor if they walk in the ways of truth and do what is right before God (cf. Tob 13:6). Just as following Tobit’s proverbial instructions has resulted in the release of Tobit and Sarah from senseless suffering, so it is hoped that the exercise of such wisdom counsels will provoke God to have mercy upon the exiled people of Israel. In this regard, the Geschichte of Tobit seems to nudge wisdom gradually to embrace and play a role in the salvific Geschichte of Israel.


Prayer and the Wise

Prayer is also a concern of the wise. Prov 15:8, 29 and 28:9 mention prayer while Prov 30:7-9 actually cites a prayer. In addition to the required moral and religious disposition for prayer, what typifies prayer as is evident in Prov 30:7-9, an early wisdom instance of prayer, is the request for good health and a comfortable life, one that is neither poor nor rich, so as not to be separated from God.218 But in later Persian times, when the sages expanded their focus on creation and providence to include the study of Torah, the cultivation of religious piety and devotion became an increasingly growing concern of Jewish wisdom, thereby making prayer and thanksgiving a central element of wisdom piety.219 The revered status of the Torah as a revealed body of instructions and source of continuing divine disclosure caused a shift in religious sensibility, a change that the sapiential tradition could not but reflect.220 In this case, the motivation for prayer is the awareness that

218 Cf. GILBERT, La prière des sages d’Israël, 228-231. For an analysis of these verses on prayer in Proverbs, see CALDUCH-BENAGES/PAHK, La preghiera dei saggi, 45-57. 219 PERDUE, The Sword and the Stylus, 195. 220 Fishbane notes that the sages believed that the grace to study and interpret the Torah is their divine inheritance. FISHBANE, From Scribalism to Rabbinism, 456.

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


what defines a sage, including his respected qualities and wise insights, comes as a pure and precious gift from God (cf. Sir 1:1). The prerequisite for gaining wisdom in later sapiential tradition was addressed in theological terms, i.e., wisdom is with and from God.221 Since God alone knows the whereabouts of wisdom (cf. Job 28:23-27) and “regulates the mighty deeds of wisdom” (cf. Sir 48:20), it is through prayer that the sage acquires the blessing of understanding and the profoundest of insights (cf. Wis 9:4; Sir 39:6).222 The Lord, who has made all things, bestows wisdom on those who fear him (cf. Job 28:28; Sir 43:35). Although endowed with God-given intellectual powers to achieve the good life by word and deed, the wise nonetheless needs to seek divine assistance and to respect divine freedom. The sage has to admit that human rationality is not sufficient to explain the mysteries of God’s will. It can also be said that the sages resort to prayer as the crucial guarantor against the apparent randomness and chance they perceive in the world, confident in their awareness that it is ultimately God who knows and controls human destiny.223 In any case, prayer becomes one of the primary duties of the wise in later wisdom tradition as reflected in Sirach (cf. Sir 15:9-10; 22:27–23:6; 39:5-8)224 and in the

221 Cf. VON RAD, Wisdom in Israel, 69. Cf. also GILBERT, La prière des sages d’Israël, 243: “Théologiquement, ce développement semble lié à une réflexion sur la sagesse même de Dieu. Si Dieu seul est le sage par excellence (Sir 1:8-9), il est clair que c’est de lui que l’homme peut recevoir la sagesse (Prov 2:6).” Cf. also CRENSHAW, Prophets, Sages & Poets, 14-19. 222 Cf. BICKERMAN, The Jews in the Greek Age, 168. 223 Cf. CRENSHAW, Old Testament Wisdom, 6. 224 Haspecker notes that Sirach mentions prayer as often as he does the law: “Wollte man zählen, so würde man feststellen, dass das Gebet in seinem Buch mindestens ebenso oft and breit zur Sprache kommt wie das Gesetz. Das ist um so bemerkenswerter, als der Hinweis auf das Gebet von der Thematik des Buches als der Lehre des rechten praktischen Verhaltens keineswegs so nahe liegen sollte wie der Hinweis auf das Gesetz als Verhaltensnorm.” HASPECKER, Gottesfurcht bei Jesus Sirach, 339-340. Calduch-Benages notes that though the sage cannot render God full praise due to God’s unfathomable mystery, praise, as a response to the mysterious works of God, is still the main duty of a sage. CALDUCH-BENAGES, God, Creator of All, 91-93. Analyzing the pericopes that deal with prayer in Sirach, Gilbert concludes that the Lord does not abandon those who pray to him, that sin and praise are incompatible, and that spontaneous thanksgiving for blessings received characterizes prayer. GILBERT, Prayer in the Book of Ben Sira, 117-135. Cf. also REITERER, Gott, Vater und Herr meines Lebens, 137-170.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

Book of Wisdom (cf. Wis 9:1-18).225 The experience of prayer becomes a vital component in the life of the sage. Like Job, the narrative portrays Tobit as one who is attentive to the practice of cultic devotion. Tobit goes on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the festivals, offers as sacrifice the first fruits of his field, the firstlings of his flock, and a tenth of his income to Aaronic priests in the temple (cf. Tob 1:6-8). He observes the feast of Pentecost (cf. Tob 2:1) and eats only kosher food (cf. Tob 1:10-11). Perdue notes that such cultic piety was a significant element of sagacious behavior in the wisdom tradition in so far as it shows a relationship with moral behavior.226 In the persona of Tobit, the righteous and the pious are intimately tied together. Tobit’s commendable practices of burying the dead (cf. Tob 1:18; 2:4) and caring for the poor (cf. Tob 1:16-17; 2:2) make his cultic devotion alive. His counsels in Tobit 4 join the spheres of cult and morality together. It stands to reason that Tobit’s counsels include an exhortation to prayer (cf. Tob 4:19). His first admonition to Tobias to honor his mother and father (cf. Tob 4:3-4) connects well with his last exhortation to pray to the Lord. According to Sir 3:5, the prayer of a person who honors his or her father will be heard. In addition, Tobit’s advice to his son to ask the Lord to direct his steps along a straight path finds a kin in Sirach’s counsel to pray to God to set one’s feet in the path of truth (cf. Sir 37:15). Sirach’s and Tobit’s advice are about discernment and direction when taking momentous choices in life. Tobit’s counsel to Tobias about asking the Lord to straighten his paths can also refer to particular guidance and direction in Tobias’s choice of a prospective wife. Whereas Tobit exhorts in a general fashion to seek and consult the wise (cf. Tob 4:18a), Sirach identifies the religious or conscientious man who keeps the commandments, and one’s personal insight or conscience as sources of guidance (cf. Sir 37:12-14). Tobit recommends openness to all sorts of useful advice (Tob 4:18b), while Sirach offers some precautionary measures for heeding them (cf. Sir 37:7-10). In the end, however, both counselors find it most important to conclude their advice with an exhortation to prayer (cf. Sir 37:15 and Tob 4:19). They are to turn to 225 Cf. GILBERT, La prière des sages d’Israël, 243. The author notes that the sages of Sirach and Wisdom display a more focused or a more ample reflection on prayer, especially as prayer connects to wisdom. Cf. also IDEM, La structure de la prière de Salomon, 301-331; IDEM, La preghiera nel libro della Sapienza, 157-175; ENGEL, Gebet im Buch der Weisheit, 292-312. For a short analysis of the prayers in Sirach and in Wisdom, see CALDUCH-BENAGES/PAHK, La preghiera dei saggi, 99-149. 226 Cf. PERDUE, Wisdom in the Book of Job, 82.

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


God’s guidance, granted in response to prayer, as the definitive and perfect counsel. Prayer precedes insight. Both Sirach and Tobit share the conviction that it is through prayer that a person acquires the critical understanding and wisdom needed as they discern life-changing decisions.227 The posture of prayer is the realization that God is the ultimate source of perfect insight. Like most of Sirach’s sapiential advice, Tobit’s invitation to prayer is bound to a concrete life situation which can be followed by everyone.228 Sirach advises the young to pray to the Lord when they are ill and recommends prayer to doctors while treating a patient (Sir 38:115). He advises prayer in times of economic distress (cf. Sir 4:6; 21:5; 35:13-18) and exhorts the sage to practice prayer for the gift of insight (Sir 39:6; 6:37). In the same way, Tobit tells Tobias to pray and ask the Lord to guide him at all times as he sets sail into foreign lands so that the mission entrusted to him will meet with success. Presumably, the young Tobias heeded the advice of his father: the practice of prayer is not foreign to him, as his behavior shows on his wedding night (cf. Tob 8:5-8). Indeed, Tobias is able to make the proper judgment regarding his choice of a friendly travelling companion and of a wife, thanks to divine guidance embodied in the counsels of his father. The wise know that only by God’s direction do all human undertakings achieve definitive success. In Tobit, all the characters that merit the adjectives ‘righteous’ and ‘wise’ have prayers constantly on their lips.


The Nexus of Act/Character and Consequence

Tobit believes that certain behavior, disposition or attitude carries a corresponding, necessary and predictable consequence. In his instructions, Tobit tells his son that success is granted to those who walk in righteousness (cf. Tob 4:6) and that the deed of turning one’s face away from the poor will merit the self-same action from God (cf. Tob 4:7). On 227 Cf. J.L. CRENSHAW, The Restraint of Reason, the Humility of Prayer, 221. According to Crenshaw, Sirach’s treatment of prayer demonstrates the journey of the importance of prayer in sapiential thinking. In the first attested prayer in the wisdom corpus in Prov 30:7-9, Agur confesses that he cannot attain knowledge and asks God for only two things: to put lying and falsehood far from him and to provide him with daily food. In Sirach, prayer has become the means to acquire true wisdom and knowledge. When Tobit directs his son to ask the Lord for counsel, he is ultimately telling Tobias that wisdom and insight comes as gift from the Lord. 228 Cf. CALDUCH-BENAGES/PAHK, La preghiera dei saggi, 104.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

the other hand, almsgiving and generosity to the poor will be amply rewarded. Certainly, Tobit thinks that Nadab’s fate is well-deserved (cf. Tob 14:10). Tobit adheres to and promotes the belief that righteous deeds and virtuous character will be rewarded with blessings while unjust actions and vices will receive condemnation. With retribution, Tobit spurs Tobias on to virtue. According to Klaus Koch, the claim that a character/act has a compensatory consequence governs the worldview of wisdom literature. Deed is destiny and character is fate. The system of things, or what Koch calls ‘a powerful sphere of influence,’ has been established and actions have built-in or automatic consequences. God simply ‘sets in motion’ and ‘completes’ the connection between an action and its consequence; he acts like a midwife assisting at birth to ease “the completion of something which previous human action has already set in motion.”229 This statement implies that God lacks the initiative and his role in human affairs is limited, if not negligible. There is no doctrine of retribution in Proverbs: God does not strictly reward good efforts nor punish evil acts. However, a combination of statements in Proverbs makes for a less facile categorical assertions for there are statements that connect the consequences of certain actions to God. If Proverbs can claim that “the horse is made ready for the day of battle but the victory is from the Lord” (cf. Prov 21:31), or that the Lord can reward the doer of a good deed (cf. Prov 19:17; 24:12) then the strict law of causation is denied and God’s free and direct intervention is affirmed. This ambiguity implies that the world of wisdom does not seem to be static or closed after all, for alongside sayings that seem to posit mechanical correspondence between act and consequence (cf. Prov 1:31; 10:4; 11:21; 26:27) are statements that link good and bad consequences with a God

229 Cf. KOCH, Is There a Doctrine of Retribution in the Old Testament?, 60-64. In making the argument, Koch starts by noting the meaning of ~lv in the piel in Prov 25:22, which means ‘to make complete’. Thus an action and its consequence have an inherent relationship to one another; God as a higher authority simply completes and fulfills the good action of a person. God does not reward or punish based on universally established norms. Cf. also GAMMIE, The Theology of Retribution in the Book of Deuteronomy, 1-12.

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


who is “directly involved in the weal and woe that humans experience.”230 Ambiguous statements appear side by side in Proverbs because the sayings in this collection are general and oftentimes exaggerated observations on life. As such, these statements are not meant to be taken as objective declarations or ‘reported facts’ on some order of the universe, but are intended to transmit and inculcate traditional values to the young.231 Their purpose is not to do reportage but to teach. Also, maxims that do not explicitly mention God do not imply that God neither exercises judgment nor enjoys an active role in the retributive process of reward and punishment.232 Sayings without God-references do not mean that God is not engaged at all. Despite such ambiguity,233 the ethical worldview of Proverbs espouses a broadly consistent nexus of deed/character and consequence (cf. for instance, Prov 2:20-22; 3:33-35; 6:12-15; 10:3-4, 24-25; 11:6-8, 30) because of its didactic or hortatory thrust. Despite the sage’s acknowledgment of diversity, Proverbs generally conveys the message that both the virtuous and the wicked will in due course get what they deserve; the righteous receive rewards and the wicked receive

230 According to Murphy, the maatization of Israelite wisdom has led to the conviction among scholars that the sages were in search of an order out there in the fabric of the universe which can be followed and reflected in ordinary life. This postulate of order is foreign to Israelite mentality. Indeed, there are ‘accepted regularities in the world’ or ‘customary way of doing things’ but these “accepted regularities are not the same as an ‘order’ that is envisioned as operative in the reality of everyday experience and as the goal of the wisdom enterprise. Analogies are not the same as order.” MURPHY, The Tree of Life, 116. Cf. also IDEM, Wisdom and Yahwism, 120-124. Gese constantly refers to ‘order’ while admitting that wisdom’s observations and perceptions of empirical reality cannot be reduced to abstract principles. GESE, Wisdom Literature in the Persian Period, 1:190. Cf. also the treatment of the subject in CALDUCHBENAGES, Sapienziali, Libri, 1257-1258. 231 Cf. BOSTRÖM, The God of the Sages, 125-126. For Adams, locating a systematic worldorder in Proverbs misses the point. The literature is primarily pedagogical meant to foster desirable character. Hence, “the nexus of deed and result is a function of the motivational nature of the material rather than a naïve theology based on world order.” ADAMS, Wisdom in Transition, 54-55. 232 Cf. BOSTRÖM, The God of the Sages, 90-133. 233 Such ambiguity may owe to the nature of Proverbs as a collection that underwent a series of redaction. BLENKINSOPP, Wisdom and Law in the Old Testament, 24-29; WHYBRAY, Composition of the Book of Proverbs, 157-165. Cf. also GOLDINGAY, The Arrangement of Sayings, 75-83; CLEMENTS, Wisdom and Old Testament Theology, 278-280.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

punishment.234 Since the goal is to shape and encourage desirable behavior patterns, the emphasis of the sayings lies on clear-cut distinctions between wicked and righteous character, virtue and vice, folly and wisdom. That there are two fundamental alternatives in lifestyle is clear not only in the dichotomy of metaphors and opposite images used such as the good and evil way, the wise and the fool, life and death, Lady Wisdom and Strange Woman but also in the warnings that steer the path of the untutored away from the seduction of the Strange Woman and into Lady Wisdom’s house. All of these thematic and rhetorical tactics are employed to show the alluring advantages of righteousness and the dreadful disadvantages of wickedness. The prevailing assumption is that only a God who is transcendent by virtue of his creative and sustaining work “can be entrusted with the ‘impossible’ task of dispensing justice to each individual and situation.”235 The Doctrine of Retribution Some scholars argue that the Book of Tobit takes as its basic conviction the workings of Tun-Ergehen-Zusammenhang.236 Indeed, his instructions in Tobit 4 assume this typology for reward and punishment. In his short testamentary discourse, Tobit finds time to narrate the story of Ahiqar in order to demonstrate the validity of retribution (cf. Tob 14:911). Tobit thinks that character and lifestyle certainly have consequences.237 For instance, Tobit asserts that character defects such as 234 ADAMS, Wisdom in Transition, 85. Perry also notes that this doctrine is common in the Hebrew Scriptures but “has a particular twist in wisdom literature. Especially in the form of the retribution meted out to the wicked, it is viewed as a fact of life, as a perfectly natural, predictable, almost fatalistic structure of reality. There is never a doubt that such a state of things derives from God, of course, but the stress is on the pre-existent universal moral mechanism rather than on providence and God’s explicit imposition of justice. By contrast, in many passages of the Torah, punishment is directly meted out by God.” PERRY, God’s Twilight Zone, 114-115. 235 BOSTRÖM, The God of the Sages, 145. 236 Cf. for instance, RAVASI, Tobia, 1584; NOWELL, The Book of Tobit, 3:985. According to Nowell, this belief, which is attested in Deuteronomy 28 as well as in Proverbs, fuels the conflict of the narrative. Tobit’s misfortune raises doubts regarding his beliefs. Cf. also IDEM, Narrative Technique and Theology, 231-232. Alonso Díaz argues that the healing of Tobit’s blindness should be seen from the perspective of retribution. ALONSO DÍAZ, Tobit curado de su ceguera, 71. 237 In Müller’s estimation, retribution is a built-in feature of wisdom stories or weisheitliche Lehrerzählung as a whole. MÜLLER, Die weisheitliche Lehrerzählung im Alten Testament und seiner Umwelt, 97-98. Cf. also PREUSS, Einführung in die alttestamentliche Weisheitsliterature, 159-160.

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


laziness and pride cause poverty and ruin (cf. Tob 4:13). On the other hand, to honor the practice of endogamy, as Tobit’s prophetic ancestors had done, will ensure blessings and prosperity (cf. Tob 4:12).238 He recommends the Silver Rule as a general principle, implying that a virtuous behavior will eventually earn beneficent rewards from others (cf. Tob 4:14c). More importantly, Tobit thinks that God plays a role in the retributive process. Tobit claims that those who live truth will find prosperity (cf. Tob 4:6) as a matter of general principle. The verse’s future passive euvodwqh,sontai implies that God is the agent who will reward those who practice truth. Tobias is to grant prompt misqo,j or payment to a hired worker for service rendered, as God does to those who serve him in truth (cf. Tob 4:14b), echoing the saying in Prov 11:18, which states that “those who sow righteousness will reap true rewards.” Finally, Tobit tells Tobias that he will eventually encounter beneficial things if he displays the fear of God in his heart and behavior (cf. Tob 4:21). In these instructions, Tobit holds the view that God is active in rewarding righteous efforts. The story validates these beliefs. This promise of reward may indeed be a potent motivation for Tobias to follow his father’s counsels, but Tobit’s miserable state speaks louder than his wise words. Tobit does not have a wicked bone in his body yet he has suffered one disgrace after another, first as an orphan, then as one who has lost everything but wife and son while exiled in Nineveh. To make matters worse, he has lost his sight and become unemployed. His virtue seems to have earned him nothing but poverty and agony, providing counterevidence to his claims. His wife Anna in fact tells him point blank that his righteous deeds have been futile for they have not merited him anything resembling a reward (cf. Tob 2:14).239 Moreover, the innocent and virtuous Sarah suffers from verbal abuse and lack of a husband for no other reason than a wicked demon’s misplaced and irrational liking for her. Sarah has a good character and yet suffers the bad fate of losing husbands.240 Tobit’s and 238 Skemp notes that the emphasis on endogamy is connected to the doctrine of retribution in the book. SKEMP, ’ADELFOS and the Theme of Kinship in Tobit, 100. 239 Noting that a character’s first words are indicative of the author’s intent to elicit moral inferences, Moore says that Anna’s very first words indicate not only that she is volatile but also that she is a “perceptive woman who raises, in effect, the crucial question in Tobit, namely, does it really pay to be good and to do good?” MOORE, Tobit, 136. 240 The adjectives fro,nimoj “sensible, wise”, avndrei/oj “manly, courageous” and kalo,j “beautiful, good” are employed to describe Sarah in Tobit 6:12. According to Nowell, Sarah’s “beauty is a symbol of her good character.” NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 240.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

Sarah’s misfortunes indicate that a strict character-consequence relationship is not entirely reliable as far as actual individual human experience is concerned. Like Job and Qoheleth, the Book of Tobit exhibits an awareness of the weakness of such an ethical model. The narrative does not evince the belief that retribution works in a mechanical way but it nonetheless indicates ambivalence toward the belief that God rewards the righteous and by implication punishes the wicked. Tobit promotes the sense that the logical consequence of believing in a strict relationship between character and fate is resignation, if not hopelessness. In his prayer in Tobit 3, Tobit is only able to petition and unable to praise God fittingly. In fact, nowhere in the prayer does Tobit use euvloghto,j, a word proper to the praise of God. Instead, he identifies himself with his ancestors who have disobeyed the covenant commandments of God.241 Since they did not tread the paths of truth and righteousness, they had been given over to plunder and became objects of calumny. In another place, Tobit’s identification of his suffering with that of his people is made clearer by his use of mastigo,w which means ‘to scourge’ or ‘to chastise.’ In his brief praise of thanksgiving immediately after his healing, he refers to his blindness as God’s scourging (cf. Tob 11:14). In his psalm of praise in Tobit 13, he employs mastigo,w to refer to God’s scattering of his people among the nations (cf. Tob 13:2-3).242 God, whose judgment is true in dealing with the sins of Tobit and his people, handed them the punishment they deserved. Tobit seems to accept that, as part of the covenant people, he himself deserves the ‘death’ that results from the many wrongdoings of God’s elect.243 If this is the case, that God punishes sins and transgressions of the collective but does not necessarily always reward individual righteous behavior, then Tobit has every right to despair, for he is in a depressing

241 Harrington entertains the idea that Tobit’s unwitting offense is his dismissal of Anna’s claim about the goat in Tob 2:14. HARRINGTON, Prayers in Tobit, 87. Gruen, however, seems to think that it is Tobit’s ‘pompous sanctimoniousness’ and ‘excessive swagger’ that led to his punishment by blindness. GRUEN, Diaspora, 151-152. 242 Nickelsburg notes that the author used this pattern of scourging and mercy, which is also found in 2 Maccabees 6 and in the Psalm of Solomon, to address the problem of theodicy. NICKESLBURG, Torah and the Deuteronomic Scheme in the Apocrypha, 227228. 243 In Tob 5:10 Sinaiticus ms, Tobit compares his blindness to lying in darkness like the dead who no longer see the light. Although living, he counts himself as dead: evn tw/| sko,tei kei/mai w[sper oi` nekroi. oi` mhke,ti qewrou/ntej to. fw/j zw/n evgw. evn nekroi/j.

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


and hopelessly vicious circle.244 Since the model may be true for the collective but breaks down on the level of the individual, Tobit can only behave as a man resigned to his fate, unable to glorify God. The only way out of the bleak circumstance of Tun-Ergehen-Zusammenhang is death. A final trip to the everlasting place is the sole release from this cruel chain of act-consequence. Or is it? The Tobit narrative employs certain strategies that respond to the limitations of the principle of retribution. First, God still rewards the good deeds of the righteous, although they may be tested for a time and thus experience a time of tears (cf. Tob 12:14). Like a disciplining father,245 God mastigoi/ or reproves the wise (cf. Prov 3:11-12;246 Jud 8:27). In fact, with the use of the same word to describe his sightlessness and his people’s landlessness, Tobit believes that his blindness and the exilic condition of his people are God’s scourging, or God’s discipline that can lead to wisdom. In the end, after passing through the valley of distress, rewards await the righteous. Tobit’s story believes in the possibility that God defers the reward until an opportune time in accordance with his own hidden providential purposes. Perhaps, such testing is an apt and God-willed opportunity to manifest the mysterious wisdom of God to others. 247 Second, Tobit’s righteous acts have in fact merited him an honorable reputation (cf. Tob 2:14; 7:7). As Rafael states, “little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness” (cf. Tob 12:8). Third, Tobit’s righteousness ensures that his legacy endures in his son Tobias, who also experiences and benefits from the rewards of Tobit’s own almsgiving.248 At the conclusion of the story, Tobit has reaped the rewards for virtuous behavior traditionally promised to the wise and the righteous. Tobit believed that his wholehearted service earned favors from God 244 According to McCann, this is ‘Wisdom’s dilemma’. Nothing more can be said after the conclusion that God has punished a sinful people since they got what they deserved. In a moral framework where God loses divine freedom, and where everything is determined by human behavior, “it simply becomes impossible to speak of anything like grace – a major dilemma!” MCCANN, Wisdom’s Dilemma, 20. 245 In both GI and GII of Tob 13:4, God is called father. The significant verbs mastigo,w and evlee,w are linked to the notion of God as father. For a discussion of this title for God in Tobit, see STROTMANN, Mein Vater bist du!, 24-58. 246 The Septuagint of this verse in Proverbs uses mastigo,w for the Hebrew xky meaning “to reprove.” In the Greek Prov 3:12, paideu,ei and mastigoi/ form a parallelism. 247 Cf. ZAPPELLA, L’immagine dell’elezione, 195 248 For a discussion of similar strategies in Sirach, see GREGORY, Like an Everlasting Signet Ring, 75-90.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

(cf. Tob 1:12-13) and he lived in prosperity to a ripe old age (cf. Tob 14:1-2). In addition, Tobias, the child of the righteous, not only experienced the blessings of children and a long life but also witnessed the punishment of God to the wicked Assyrian kings (cf. Tob 1:18) as he heard of the destruction of Nineveh (cf. Tob 14:15). The happy ending of the narrative is insistent that God truly does protect the virtuous; God guards and delivers those who walk in his ways and provides a blissful ending to their calamity. Divine and Human evlehmosu,nh Tobit does not radically break from or completely reject this inherited moral calculus.249 However, the book proposes one other amendment or variable to the equation in order to avoid such a sapiential cul-de-sac. Tobit upholds the principle of retribution and correlates it to the imitation of the divine disposition, intimating that there is a correspondence or reciprocity between a human deed and its divine response. He advocates the retributive model for deeds of evlehmosu,nh or acts of almsgiving. The mirroring of God’s ways relates to the principle of retribution in two ways: first, the poor proxy for God and giving them alms enacts and embodies God’s mercy and generosity and second, the almsgiver imitates God by enacting the principle of retribution.250 In Tob 4:7, Tobit instructs Tobias to give alms and, if he does not turn his face away from the poor, God’s face will not be turned away from him. Tobit here insists on a relationship between the almsgiver, the poor and God. The story of course assumes the claim that God is close to the poor who call on him. Tobit and Sarah, like the students of the Jerusalem sage Sirach who know their history and have learned their lessons well (cf. Sir 2:10-11251), implored the Lord in their poverty, and the Lord indeed saved them from distress. Scattered in Proverbs are sayings that exhort openness of hand and heart to the poor (cf. Prov 21:13; 14:31). Specifically, Prov 19:17 states that “he who has compassion on the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his good deed.” Since God enjoys a special relationship with the downtrodden and the widow, financial assistance to the poor 249 In the opinion of Davies, Tobit has abandoned a completely mechanical theology of retribution, as reflected in Proverbs, “in favor of a folkloristic perception that the world is full of vicissitudes to which no one is immune and for which remedy is uncertain.” DAVIES, Didactic Stories, 113. 250 Cf. GREGORY, Like an Everlasting Signet Ring, 171-204. 251 Cf. CALDUCH-BENAGES, En el crisol de la prueba, 123-148.

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


is viewed as a type of loan made to God through the poor that eventually results in repayment from God (Tob 4:9; Prov 14:21, 31; 28:8).252 Material help to the poor is a way of lending to God. If a person lends to God by performing evlehmosu,nh to the needy who stands in for God, merits and credits are divinely accrued. Outstanding deeds of material support to the poor are thus a good investment, since the divine returns are assured. God has so ‘gamed’ the system that financial kindness to the poor will earn only the greatest of dividends for the giver. In fact, the reward will be God’s very own evlehmosu,nh. It is no wonder that Tobit tells Tobias not to be afraid because they have become poor, ‘evptwceu,samen’ (cf. Tob 4:21) literally on account of Tobit’s evlehmosu,nh. Trusting in God’s promises and in his infinite goodness, Tobit is confident that God will multiply the interest on his charitable gifts and eventually recompense him a hundredfold. The narrative declares that almsgiving expiates every sin (cf. Tob 12:9), a claim that is linked to Tobit’s statement in Tob 4:11, and one that echoes Prov 21:3 and Dan 4:24. This gives the impression that atonement involves a celestial account, or what Tobit referred to earlier in Tob 4:9 as a ‘good treasury’ (qe,ma avgaqo.n qhsauri,zeij seautw/|). The purpose of such a treasury is similar to the ten talents of silver Tobit has entrusted to a cousin, namely, to save one from future predicament or to secure oneself against the day of necessity. Such a celestial fund comes in handy on the day of need. Material generosity to the poor then helps in the accrual of merit and credit in this heavenly account. Giving one’s money to the poor and the downtrodden endows this heavenly fund with an incredible rate of return for the loan, such that repayment for one’s own debts or sins can be drawn from such a celestial bank, thereby clearing the account of sins one has accumulated.253 Almsgiving, more than sacrificial offering, has expiatory value (cf. Prov 21:3; Isa 1:11-16; 59:6-7; Am 5:22-24). Debts accrued from transgressions can be cancelled using this good and heavenly treasury.254 Since God guarantees the loan made through almsgiving, divine recompense

252 Cf. ANDERSON, Redeem your Sins by the Giving of Alms, 49: “It is as though the poor person was some sort of ancient automatic teller machine through which one could make a deposit directly to one’s heavenly account. Just as an altar was a direct conduit of sacrifices to the heavenly realm, so the hand of the impoverished soul seeking charity.” 253 See the fuller treatment and discussion of sin as debt and virtue as credit in ANDERSON, Sin A History, 9-13; 135-188. 254 Cf. ANDERSON, Redeem your Sins by the Giving of Alms, 53.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

enjoys more than a sliver of possibility. In short, the practice of almsgiving or mercy has acquired a soteriological value. Tobit mentions that the recipients of his evlehmosu,nh are the righteous poor, or those who are mindful of God (cf. Tob 2:2). He also instructs Tobias to perform evlehmosu,nh to those who are righteous (cf. Tob 4:7). In this case, the retribution principle is still at work as the almsgiver reflects God’s ways by helping those who are righteous but denying those who are wicked. For Tobit, the relationship between communal violation of God’s commandments and punishment is no longer so strict, since the consequent sin from disobedience can be atoned for individually. The atonement for sins assumes the evlehmosu,nh and the compassion of God as well as the human responsibility to reflect this divine attribute or virtue in character and deeds. Reciprocity in terms of mercy is involved in the forgiveness or cancellation of transgressions.255 By emphasizing the correspondence between the individual giver of alms and God’s treatment of the giver, Tobit thus proposes a response to the breakdown of Tun-Ergehen-Zusammenhang as it is communally understood.256 From a personal point of view, almsgiving or mercy now tempers the strict relationship between character and consequence in this moral order. Although Tobit acknowledges divine recompense for deeds, good or bad, he still believes that a guilty person’s chances for a happy fate are not nil. The performance of almsgiving creates a heavenly treasury from which to draw debt payments. To be sure, the result of transgression is death, but material works of charity and mercy can free one from death and lead one to life (cf. Tob 12:9). Despite sin, there is still the possibility of salvation since God rewards and returns acts of evlehmosu,nh (cf. Dan 4:27). God’s evlehmosu,nh refers to God’s recompense manifested in deliverance and saving activity.257 In this light, acts of charity or evlehmosu,nh, on the part of both God and humans, provide a way out of damnation. Certainly, Tobit grants

255 Cf. OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 168-172. 256 According to von Stemm, it is not the hopelessness from act-consequence that is the message of Tobit but the salvific value of mercy, illustrated in the story and fully approved in the speech of Rafael. VON STEMM, Der betende Sünde vor Gott, 179-180. 257 Rafael in fact commands Tobias to ask the Lord for mercy and deliverance at his wedding night (cf. Tob 6:18, deh,qhte tou/ kuri,ou tou/ ouvranou/ i[na e;leoj ge,nhtai kai. swthri,a evfV u`ma/j). Tobias complies, inviting Sarah to get up, pray and ask the Lord for mercy and their deliverance (cf. Tob 8:4, dehqw/men tou/ kuri,ou h`mw/n o[pwj poih,sh| evfV h`ma/j e;leoj kai. swthri,an).

Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit


God the divine freedom to exercise and reward mercy.258 In fact, in his psalm-like song of praise, after Tobit has exhorted the people to do righteousness, Tobit tells them, ti,j ginw,skei or “who knows if God will have mercy on you” (cf. Tob 13:6). God’s compassion cannot be presumed to be automatic. Human acts of mercy and charity can, however, induce or move God to extend his compassionate hand. God, whose nature is mercy,259 reciprocates and responds to loans made of evlehmosu,nh or of generous activities for the poor (cf. Tob 4:7) with an even higher rate of returns, thus compounding one’s treasury. By being compassionate to the needy, an individual can earn the interest of God’s favor and mercy. As Rafael tells Tobit, it was when he did not hesitate to perform burial of the dead, an act of compassion, that God sent the angel to heal him (cf. Tob 12:13-14). If an individual embraces evlehmosu,nh as a fundamental option and attitude, then that person can be released from darkness and enjoy a blessed life, for compassion to the needy atones for and purges every sin, says the angel (cf. Tob 4:7; 12:9). Invoking retribution, the angel also claims that the doer of evlehmosu,nh will be rewarded with a full life, a life enriched by others and by God (cf. Tob 12:9). In Rafael’s mouth, the soteriological value of compassion and generosity to the needy acquires a divine guarantee. Tobit’s narrative is in fact a pictorial demonstration of this lesson. Ultimately, Tobit does admonish the people to evpistre,fw or turn to God with all their heart and soul but only because by doing so will God also evpistre,fw or turn to his people. Moreover, to turn for Tobit is to do what is righteous before God (cf. Tob 13:6), i.e., to follow and observe Tobit’s instructions. In any case, reciprocity of behavior is still

258 Cf. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 233. 259 Corley suggests that the understanding of God as a merciful father, found in Ben Sira and other parts of the Hebrew Scriptures, even in pagan religious texts, arises out of “an experience of prayer being answered” and “provides a yardstick for human behavior.” CORLEY, God as Merciful Father in Ben Sira and the New Testament, 37. In Crenshaw’s analysis, mercy is prominent in later sapiential literature such as Sirach. He traces the origin of such an emphasis on the historical claim that the political situation during Persian, Ptolemaic and Seleucid times as well as increasing Hellenistic influence made people anxious, thus needing “assurance that God would have mercy on those faithfully turning from sin.” CRENSHAW, The Concept of God in Old Testament Wisdom, 191-205. Crenshaw also notes that the emphasis of mercy in Sirach finds a stronger proponent in the Wisdom of Solomon. IDEM, Old Testament Wisdom, 166-167. In a summary form, Crenshaw states that “early wisdom possessed strong self-confidence, thereby lacking any sense of divine grace. In time, that optimism faded and grace came to play an increasing role in sapiential thought.” IDEM, The Wisdom Literature, 389.


The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit

envisioned. For Tobit, the God-ordered cosmos still operates on the principle of retribution in the sense that God will reward the turning of the people with divine turning. Tobit, however, turns this familiar sapiential doctrine on its head by emphasizing the reciprocity of mercy and generosity. Confident in God’s promises, Tobit firmly believes that God will reciprocate generous material acts of charity to the needy with a higher interest, for they are a loan well-guaranteed. 260 Hence, Tobit can predicate the release from death due to transgression and enjoyment of a full life to human deeds of evlehmosu,nh as they correspond to the evlehmosu,nh of God. Tobit calls for deeds of hqdc in the fervent hopes of experiencing God’s hqdc that is eventually to be fulfilled tangibly in the renewal and restoration of the covenant community. A later sage would say, “blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy” (cf. Matt 5:7). Indeed, the book acknowledges that God is just (cf. Tob 3:2), but as a whole, the instructions and the narrative cannot make sufficiently evident the claim that God shall show his mercy to the merciful and that God will extend his generous and saving hand to those whose hands engage generously in saving activities. At the crepuscular of life, this is the hopeful lesson Tobit imparts to his son and to his reader. This is the insight or revelatio continua that the sage scholar receives from a diligent and inspired reading of Mosaic texts. Tobit does a relecture, actualizing his inspired and sacred texts for his Diaspora contemporaries.

4.4 Conclusion The instructions of Tobit 4 and 12 leave no doubt that the wisdom tradition played a significant role in the worldview of the writer of Tobit who was most likely a sage scholar whose proficiency and immersion in the paradigmatic texts and traditions of ancient Israel is profound. 260 Noting the ‘tradition of euergetical language’ under the Hellenistic kings, Aitken suggests that the benefaction by the king entails a reciprocal relationship between the king and the city. Such benefaction mutually benefits the king and the city – the city receives care and the king’s authority is acknowledged and affirmed. He suggests that such a mutually beneficial exchange is reflected in Ben Sira’s notion of divine action. This can also be taken as a possible background for Tobit’s insistence on reciprocal mercy between God and humans. As the author states, “the pleasure with which God acts and grants privileges to mankind asserts his authority, but at the same time he gives rooms for humans to make a reciprocal response.” AITKEN, Divine Will and Providence, 298-299.



Both the narrative and the instructions display a familiarity and a facility not only with the typical essentials and concerns of the wisdom tradition but also with the emerging and innovative insights that would eventually find their full flowering in later sapiential tradition. In Tobit’s instructions alone, the use of wisdom as a perspective to reinterpret older traditions is evident. The deuteronomic injunction to remember the Lord always is expanded and rendered as wise counsels that demand observance if Tobias is to be righteous. Almsgiving or acts of evlehmosu,nh are considered not only as worthy sacrifices before God but also as means of expiation and redemption since almsgiving, understood as a loan to God through the poor, fills a good treasury with credits that can be drawn as payments for debts incurred by sin. The practice of endogamy, intimately linked to arrogance and its consequences, acquires a more emphatic sapiential understanding. The enactment of these exhortations constitutes righteousness above all else. Since, like the observance of the law, they bring about righteousness to their practitioner, Tobit considers his wise words an authentic expression of the command; they are a vehicle for righteousness. He transmits the Mosaic injunction even as he transforms it. Indeed, there is no question about Tobit’s deep respect for the claims of the covenant faith and its attendant Temple traditions. However, the instruction of wisdom and the importance of wise education do not take a backseat in Tobit; wisdom is not peripheral to its vision. Using wisdom, Tobit extends the Mosaic Law. In the sapientialization of some of the elements of the Mosaic traditions, wisdom has widened her horizon, and she finds in Tobit not only a suitable dwelling place but also an able and willing collaborator.

Chapter 5 Tobit and Wisdom in Exile The Book of Tobit deals with the pressing need to impose order on chaos, to make sense of an irrational universe. The story unfolds in a world where bird droppings have the power to cause blindness and where demons fall in love with Jewish maidens. The fickle finger of fate seems to have the upper hand in a place where God’s promises appear empty. The misfortunes that the two families suffer show that life outside the homeland is never secure. How does a pious individual avoid being tossed to and fro by the waves of such an unpredictable situation? How does a righteous person avoid losing a sense of self, a point of reference that defines a sense of being and thus survive in such alien surroundings? How does a Torah-abiding Jew cope with the practical realities of a homeless or dispersed existence?1 How does one keep a sense of boundaries? To know who one is – self-understanding – is of course a prerequisite for the proper configuration of relationships outside of the self. Tobit charts some ways, and he begins with the domain where one can exercise some form of control in order to bring some kind of order out of chaos – that of practical behavior governed by the ways of wisdom. In doing so, Tobit creates a stable point of reference in a world out of the normal bounds. For Tobit, a particular ethos sets the parameters for defining life outside the homeland, an ethos set apart by avlh,qeia, dikaiosu,nh, and evlehmosu,nh.2 Since time immemorial, human cultures have employed storytelling to teach and transmit valuable lessons. One generation entrusts to another in narrative form the truth-claims, values and defining events that provide a people with identity, cohesion and orientation.3 In this regard, a community can be understood through “the stock of 1

2 3

For instance, Schüngel-Straumann states that the narrative of Tobit responds to the question: “Wie soll ein frommer Israelit/fromme Israelitin in einer heidnischen Umwelt gottgefällig leben?.” SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Tobit, 39. Cf. ENGEL, Auf zuverlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit, 92-99; OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 168-173. KORT, Story, Text, and Scripture, 18.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

stories which constitute its initial dramatic resources.”4 In most of the post-exilic stories, one discerns a certain struggle to understand and define what it meant to be Jewish in a time and a place when and where that identity was malleable.5 Through the counsels and practices embedded in the story, Tobit teaches how the dispersed can gain knowledge of their identity as the bearers of God’s wisdom, and, in that way, ensure their survival and eventual return. The final chapter of this study investigates and considers some of the reasons why Tobit finds it important, necessary even, to develop the deuteronomic command of remembering the Lord as wise practical counsels. Tobit does seem to continue to hold on to the cultic tradition but he sapientializes some of its components. Certainly, Tobit believes that his instructions are not deviations or inventions but are concrete applications of the Mosaic command. He transmits the Mosaic command by extending it as to include his own proverbial principles. In order to respond to the question of wisdom’s importance in Tobit’s interpretation of what constitutes active remembrance of God in the inbetween, this chapter will consider how the narrative portrays the experience of exile, the ultimate problem of existence in the book. In the end, the chapter will argue that the sapiential construal that Tobit applies to the Mosaic tradition is both an attempt to establish a binding connection with the faith of the fathers and a way to preserve historicosocial-religious identity in a time of dispersion. In other words, it is by following his wise instructions on familial and human relations that one displays righteousness and remembrance of God and thus obtains an identity while temporarily severed from the homeland.

5.1 A Question of Purpose The instructive words of Tobit frame the central tale of Tobias’s adventurous and entertaining journey.6 They contribute to the transforming narrative action that reverses the fate of the characters from distress to gladness. The proverbial instructions provide edification while the quest tale and the narrative’s comic, and at times, absurd touches offer

4 5 6

MACINTYRE, After Virtue, 216. Cf. STEUSSY, The Vitality of Story in Second Temple Judaism, 212-241. Fröhlich calls the journey of Tobias a “distinct narrative” in Tobit. FRÖHLICH, Tobit against the Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 62. Loretz describes the section as the most important part of the book. LORETZ, Roman und Kurzgeschichte in Israel, 324.

A Question of Purpose


a concrete way to alleviate suffering.7 In this regard, the Book of Tobit is a source of both instruction and reading pleasure.8 The story delights and entertains but more importantly, it edifies and enlightens.


To Edify

Scholars have long recognized that the Book of Tobit, packaged in an attractive literary form, has a paraenetic purpose. The story itself is didactic in the two senses, firstly, of imposing upon the reader a reassuring view of God and, secondly, of teaching fundamental lessons about how to behave in an exemplary fashion in a radically changed and different situation, the Diaspora. It is not simply the narrated events that instruct.9 The presence of large sections of wisdom counsels in Tobit 4, 12 and 14 leaves no room for doubt that the author aimed to transmit religious teachings and to inculcate certain values in his reader.10 These wisdom instructions are specifically meant to dispose the reader, in an attempt to keep the mighty tide of Hellenism at bay, to tend towards a certain ethos by observing practices that would sustain Jewish identity in a predominantly Gentile environment.11 With its 7 8

Cf. PORTIER-YOUNG, Alleviation of Suffering in the Book of Tobit, 52-54. According to Cousland, the comedy arises from the story’s description of a world that is far from orderly. COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error?, 552. 9 Cf. VON RAD, Wisdom in Israel, 46. Niebuhr also observes that the paraenetic concern arises from the other features of the whole book. NIEBUHR, Gesetz und Paränese, 206. 10 Cf. METZGER, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, 31; GROß, Tobit.Judit, 8; HARRINGTON, Invitation to the Apocrypha, 10. Nickelsburg notes that these sections impart an unmistakable didactic tone to the narrative. NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 796. Delcor states that the objective of the author was didactic and not historical. DELCOR, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Hellenistic Period, 2:475. Miller earlier issued the judgment that, although there may be a historical kernel to the story, the purpose was neither historical representation nor storytelling for its own sake but didactic. MILLER, Das Buch Tobias, 7. For Nowell, the didactic purpose of Tobit is to illustrate the fundamental values of Jewish faith. NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 46. Collins claims that the sayings form part of the author’s conventional moral instruction. COLLINS, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 546. Cf. also PFEIFFER, History of New Testament Times, 278; DELL’OCA, El libro de Tobit, 216, FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 46-49. 11 DESILVA, Introducing the Apocrypha, 70. Levine specifically claims that these maxims are “crafty instructions for how Jews should live in exile.” LEVINE, Teaching Jews How to Live in the Diaspora, 42. Fitzmyer echoes a similar view, stating that these ethical prescriptions teach Jewish people to live uprightly even in a Diaspora environment. FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 34. Virgili also states that Tobit is an ethico-religious manual for a Jew living among foreigners. VIRGILI DAL PRÀ , Tobia, 1438.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

mandates, the tale is meant to strengthen the self-perception of those in exile. Tobit intends to exhort those scattered in exile “to keep faith in adversity, to adhere to the teachings of their fathers, to hold their coreligionists to the highest ideals, and to reinforce the solidarity of the clan.”12 The author of Tobit was responding to two concurrent realities: the lunacy of the dispersion and the sophisticated spell of Hellenism. With regard to the first, he offered a vision of life governed by basic precepts. He proposed these ethical and religious prescriptions as a way of ensuring correct behavior and religiosity independent of the priesthood, the land and the Temple.13 Like Moses who, on the last day of his life, presents a program for life within the Promised Land to the people while they are in the wilderness, so Tobit does something similar as he prepares for death, but this time, it is a program for life outside of the land, with a view of the future return to the land. With regard to the second reality, the author of Tobit presented a form of cultural resistance that eventually reached its violent apex in the Maccabean crisis. While admitting some of the benefits of Hellenism,14 the author maintained the desire not to be absorbed by it by preserving the specificity of Jewish destiny and by dismissing complete enculturation or even prudent assimilation.15 He re-interpreted his tradition in order to achieve this goal. More than any other narrative element, these proverbial instructions may well represent the serious concerns and high-minded purpose of the Book of Tobit.16 They point to a possible resolution to a collective misfortune of such proportion that no tale can hope to 12 GRUEN, Diaspora, 156-157. 13 Levine notes two other literary moves the author employed in order to alleviate the unbearable condition of exile: the use of imaginary historical and geographical references to illustrate not only the fictional nature of the story but the disjointedness of exilic experience, and the emphasis on endogamy as a way of defining the identity of Israel in terms of kinship, by way of genealogy instead of geography. LEVINE, Teaching Jews How to Live in the Diaspora, 48. Gruen, however, believes that the Jews managed the Diaspora quite well. GRUEN, Diaspora, 180-181. 14 The calculation of risks and advantages of travel evident in Tobit 5 is said to be characteristic of a Hellenistic milieu. BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 40. 15 Cf. BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 42-47. 16 With its doxological emphasis, Nickelsburg thinks that the primary purpose of the Tobit narrative is to exhort readers to praise and bless God because of his continued presence among his people in exile. The didactic purpose is only secondary. NICKELSBURG, Stories of Biblical and Early Post-Biblical Times, 44. It has to be noted, however, that the commission to praise God is merely a part of Tobit’s instructions as indicated in Tob 4:19a.

A Question of Purpose


resolve completely. After all, Tobit’s instructions in Tobit 4 do more than provide a fitting balance to Tobit’s canticle of praise in Tobit 13; Tobit’s wisdom exhortations lead into his hymnic psalm that rejoices in the hopes of restoration in the eschatological age.


To Entertain

Although the story of Tobit is not hilariously entertaining, it nonetheless remains one of the most enjoyable stories in the biblical corpus. Consequently, we can assume that entertainment was one of the purposes for its composition.17 With a happy ending, some humorous scenes, juxtaposition of points of view in which joy takes precedence over sorrow, and a comic figure in the character of Tobit – all indicative of a clever construction of a comedy – David McCracken has described Tobit as basically ‘a comic narrative.’18 A number of recent commentators on Tobit have pointed out the role and importance of comedic elements such as irony 19 and humor in the narrative. Incongruity, in reality a hallmark of irony, does provide thoughtful laughter, but laughter that stings at times. Indeed, with a touch of magical realism, the sense of reality is exaggerated, as is the case in the plot-determining feature of bird droppings as the absurd and ignominious cause of Tobit’s blindness.20 This style may simply 17 Petersen points out a series of humorous double meanings especially in Tobit 5. PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:39-40. For a summary of various considerations of humor in Tobit in recent scholarship, see SPENCER, The Book of Tobit in Recent Research, 154-156. 18 Cf. MCCRACKEN, Narration and Comedy in Tobit, 401-418. 19 For a discussion of irony, cf. GOOD, Irony in the Old Testament, 13-33; SKA, “Our Fathers Have Told Us”, 57-61. For a discussion of ironic episodes in Tobit, cf. NOWELL, Irony in the Book of Tobit, 79-83 and KA-MUNGU, Des ténèbres à la lumière, 82-85. Levine points out that Tobit leaving his good Pentecost meal only to have his body later invaded by an avian digested waste product is a good example of structural irony. LEVINE, Diaspora as Metaphor, 114. 20 For an extended treatment of Tobit’s blindness from a textual point of view noting the differences between GI and GII, see JUST, From Tobit to Bartimaeus, 87-98; 168173. Tobit never fails to use qerapeu,w to describe his treatment while Rafael employs iva,omai to denote divine healing, which consistently illustrates the pattern of usage in the Septuagint, and reflects the linguistic terms for healing in the Greek world. WELLS, The Greek Language of Healing, 104-110. Some medical experts have claimed that the cure by fish gall as proposed in Tobit, though familiar to ancients, cannot account for the removal of thick leucomas. Thus, from a medical point of view, the story may be viewed as a miracle. PAPAYANNOPOULOS/LASKARATOS/MARKETOS, Remarks on Tobit’s Blindness, 181-187.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

show the feeling that in exile, the sense of reality is often off-kilter. Nonetheless, the story radiates lightness of tone intended to induce a chuckle, if not outright laughter. Some interpreters have emphasized the comedic features, sometimes to the detriment of the story’s more somber concerns.21 For instance, Wills considers the assessment of Tobit as sapiential an overestimation. According to him, Tobit may very well be a narrative about the doctrine of divine retribution, but the comical even sardonic tone of Tobit suggests that this lesson will only be manifested in a roundabout way, since the author’s moral outlook is not particularly concerned about the just end of the good and the bad. Moreover, the ‘insufferable character’ of Tobit strains the sympathies of the reader for him as a righteous sufferer.22 And yet, to interpret Tobit in terms of the purely comical is to take its comedic value too seriously. Nevertheless, wry humor and the comedic safety-net that is irony, certainly crop up as the proverbial instructions relate to the narrative. Tobit exhorts his son to follow certain principles for living and to engage in the same behavior that so far have not merited for him the kind of results he guarantees his son.23 To assure his son that his ways will prosper if he is righteous and practices truth is an astonishing pledge from a person whose very experience has not demonstrated the fruits of such faith.24 There is bitter irony as Tobit counsels his son in Tob 4:13 to avoid arrogance “for in arrogance there is destruction,” given the knowledge that it is Tobit’s own arrogance that may have partly caused his own downfall. It is ironic that Tobit counsels his son to “praise God at all times” in Tob 4:19 while he himself seems unable to do so in the midst of spiritual despair.25 It is equally wry that Tobit instructs Tobias in Tob 4:21 not to fear poverty, “for many good things await those who fear God and flee from all sin and do good deeds,” while simultaneously informing his son that he has ten talents of silver on

21 Cf. GRUEN, Diaspora, 157: “The humor that enlivens the narrative also modifies, compromises, and gently subverts the nobler messages.” 22 WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 90. 23 PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:39. 24 DUMM, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 622. 25 As De Long notes, Tobit does not open his prayer in Tob 3:2 with a berakah. Direct prayers and praises in the book begin with a berakah, implying that Tobit’s petitionary prayer lacks praise. DE LONG, Surprised by God, 86-93.

A Question of Purpose


which to fall back and on which to rely.26 The righteous but miserable Tobit may well assure his son that acts of charity will earn him heavenly rewards, but apparently there is still in the end no substitute for hard cash as a source of impregnable security. So, indeed, the comic in the narrative must be recognized.27 But unlike much modern fiction, the story of Tobit is not simply told for the sake of entertainment.28 A ‘vehicle for religious education and edification,’29 humor is merely a means the author employs to cushion the seriousness of his purpose in order to make it palatable for his original audience. As an ancient narrative, the Book of Tobit pleases even as it admonishes the reader. In other words, “the entertainment value of the story needs no defense, but it goes beyond that; it is a tale with a moral, indeed a tale with a theological message.”30 Typical of ancient narratives, Tobit recommends certain religious ideals. The theological message and moral of Tobit is encapsulated in the instructional words that Tobit utters in Tob 4:3-19, 2131 and Tob 14:8-11, and which the angel Rafael reprises in Tob 12:6-10. It is noteworthy, and perhaps unsurprising, that the story of Tobit opens with bi,bloj

26 Cf. GRUEN, Diaspora, 153. Cf. also MAZZINGHI, Il cammino della copia, 79. As the author puts it, it is good to behave according to the laws of God, but let us not forget the money! Although overdrawn, there may be some truth in Grabbe’s insightful observation that the ironic and satirical passages were not consciously designed or inserted by the author, whose concern is primarily to explain the pious life. These ironic episodes or comical elements are not authorial devices but rather the “readerresponse” of a modern reader. GRABBE, Tobit, 737. 27 GRUEN, Diaspora, 157. Cf. also COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error, 535-553. 28 LEVINE, Teaching Jews How to Live in the Diaspora, 42. Cf. Also ALONSO DÍAZ, Tobit curado de su ceguera, 67: “Este libro bíblico es una bella narración … no con la finalidad principal de entretener, sino con la finalidad de enseñar.” 29 PETERSEN, Tobit, 2:39. Cf. NICKELSBURG, Tobit, 795. In Bickerman’s opinion, the primary purpose of Tobit is aesthetic rather than didactic. BICKERMAN, The Jews in the Greek Age, 55. 30 GRABBE, Tobit, 737. Cf. also BAUCKHAM, Tobit as a Parable, 140. The author also claims that Tobit is designed for both entertainment and instruction. 31 Cf. ABRAHAMS, Tobit and Genesis, 348. According to him, Tobit 4, with its summary of morality and commendable conduct, contains the intention of the author. In the latest commentary on Tobit, Littman reiterates the same point, saying that the instructions of Tobit hold the book’s central themes. LITTMAN, Tobit, 87.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

lo,gwn Twbiq, suggesting a collection of wise sayings or deeds.32 After all, Rafael insists in Tob 12:6 that Tobit and Tobias proclaim the words and works of God to all people, declaring tou.j lo,gouj tou/ qeou/ u`podei,knute pa/sin avnqrw,poij enti,mwj (cf. Prov 2:6). With such advice, it is as if, in his memoir, words and instructions, Tobit is declaring the very words and wisdom of God himself which he has committed in a book. Wisdom, of course, finds its foremost expression and voice in words (cf. Prov 1:20-23; 8:8-10). In this case, it is through the voice and words of the sage Tobit.

5.2 The Sapiential and Cultic Traditions Tobit sapientializes the norm of behavior for dispersed compatriots, grounding it on a deuteronomic instruction. He displays awareness that the Mosaic Torah is revealed knowledge but this does not stop him from quickly transforming the deuteronomic command into wisdom teachings or into concrete rules of conduct for daily life and family relations.33 In Tobit 1–2, there is an intense concentration on following religious or cultic laws as the path to righteousness but Tobit 4 immediately segues into practical wisdom counsels as the way that leads to proper ethical living. Also, Tobit 1–2 emphasizes the temple and festival observances, cultic laws such as tithes, purity laws, kosher laws and the authority of the Jerusalem priesthood. Tobit 4, on the other hand, is an extensive list of practical counsels that endorse the value of wise advice and makes no reference to such cultic concerns of Tobit 1–2 other than to sapientialize them, as when Tobit claims that almsgiving or evlehmosu,nh is an excellent offering or sacrifice before God the Most High (cf. Tob 4:11). As an act of evlehmosu,nh, burying the dead atones or 32 With Tobit’s first person narration in Tobit 1–3 including his prayer, his instructions in chapter 4, his hymn of praise and thanksgiving in chapter 13 as well as his farewell discourse in the last chapter, Tobit’s words basically bracket the main plot in Tobit 5– 12. Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 27: “Die weisheitliche Paränese ist für das Tobitbuch von großer Bedeutung. Darauf weist bereits die Überschrift hin, die das Büchlein mit bi,bloj lo,gwn Twbiq (1,1) als seine Sammlung von Logoi Sophon bestimmt. Damit steht das Buch in einer Reihe mit den nicht als salomonisch deklarierten Sammlungen der Proverbien, Kohelet, Ben Sira und weiteren jüdischen Schriften der hellenistisch-römischen Zeit.” Cf. also PRADO, La índole literaria, 386387. 33 As Oeming observes, Tobit 4 illustrates “einen weisheitlich-prophetisch orientierten ‘Way of Life’.” OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 172. Cf. also GAMBERONI, Das ‘Gesetz des Mose’ im Buch Tobias, 238-239.

The Sapiential and Cultic Traditions


purifies, and thus, to care for the dead by burial is preferred over cultic purity. Unlike Ben Sira who advises charity to priests, the poor and the dead (cf. Sir 7:30-32), Tobit counsels charity only to the poor and the dead. In short, the cultic functions of religion seem to fade into insignificance as Tobit hurtles along; Torah piety becomes steadily sapientialized.


The Increasing Prominence of Wisdom

The narrative sharpens its focus as it moves from the temple to the family as the center point around which all the narrative and religious actions are oriented. Religion in the story shifts from the national to the communal.34 For instance, the characters are now portrayed as praying at home (cf. Tob 3:1, 10) and the Pentecost Festival is more of a family celebration (cf. Tob 2:1).35 Also, the universal religious instruction in Tob 4:5 is addressed to an individual member of the family. It is essentially within the setting of hearth and home that religion finds genuine practice and expression in Tobit.36 Coincidentally, talk about worship in Tobit 1–2 yields to a program of education that lays emphasis on charity to poor but righteous neighbors, honor of parents as an expression of piety, discipline and integrity, and other paternal insights and moral counsels governed by common sense, in the rest of the story.37 Although ritual prescriptions and sapiential instructions sit side by side, this does not mean that Tobit is a story, or a figure with a split-personality. Indeed, it would be most troubling if, after having declared that he followed the Mosaic Law (cf. Tob 1:6-8), Tobit did not intend his wisdom instructions to be understood as an application of the perpetual Torah.

34 As Baslez observes, dietary purity and Temple-related laws are only briefly evoked in Tobit. BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 47. 35 Grabbe notes that a number of early Jewish literature with a Diaspora orientation places prayer in a home or a familial setting. GRABBE, A History of the Jews and Judaism, 1:237. Cf. also IDEM, ‘The Exile’ under the Theodolite, 90-93. 36 Cf. MOORE, Tobit, 27. As Grabbe also suggests, the family as a social unit and the practice of religion are intertwined. GRABBE, A History of the Jews and Judaism, 2:96. Cf. also PFEIFFER, History of New Testament Times, 281; FAßBECK, Tobit’s Religious Universe, 173-196. 37 According to Albertz, the post-exilic period, with the return to Judah and the eventual decrease of the numbers living in the Diaspora, is marked by an overlap between personal piety and official religion. ALBERTZ, Wieviel Pluralismus, 210.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

The juxtaposition of these two traditions would have been completely incongruous if not for Tobit’s firm assertion in Tob 1:8 that his righteousness is defined by “the ordinance commanded in the law of Moses and according to the instructions of Deborah,” the grandmother who raised him.38 Tobit is a rock-ribbed adherent of the view that the observance of the Mosaic traditions and the wisdom teachings of his ancestors make for a lifestyle of righteousness and truth.39 Tobit has recognized and accepted in Deborah’s instructions “a wider foundation of truth and morality than was contained in the tradition of instruction exclusively mediated through Moses.”40 The living family tradition that Deborah41 has transmitted to Tobit is also the legacy that Tobit intends to hand on to his son Tobias. When Tobit sits his son down for some serious talk and exhorts him to remember the Lord all his days, Tobit does not endorse the observation of the Sabbath or dietary kosher laws as part of enacting such a command. Rather, Tobit makes sure that Tobias knows and understands the moral and practical codes of conduct that have defined Tobit’s life and those of his ancestors (cf. Tob 4:5-19, 21). At the summingup stage of life, Tobit reminds his son and grandchildren of the essence of the accumulated wisdom of their predecessors, even presenting the story of Ahiqar as familial (cf. Tob 14:8-11). Tobit’s familial instructions train Tobias in the tradition of the ancients. According to Gabriele Boccaccini, Tobit is the earliest literary witness to present the sapiential or familial and the cultic or priestly traditions as equal grounds of Jewish piety. Both traditions actually find an embodiment in the very person of Tobit, who is depicted not simply as 38 The phrases ‘Law of Moses’ and ‘instructions of Deborah’ are found only in Sinaiticus and in Vetus Latina. In S, Tob 1:8 states kata. to. pro,stagma to. prostetagme,non peri. auvtw/n evn tw/| no,mw| Mwsh/ kai. kata. ta.j evntola,j a]j evnetei,lato Debbwra while the VL states secundum praeceptum quod scriptum est de eis in lege Moysi, et sicut praecepit Debbora. 39 Jensen has also observed that the discourses in Tobit show the characters to be teaching according to the style of Old Testament wisdom and the Deuteronomistic historian. JENSEN, Family, Fertility and Foul Smell, 130. According to Fröhlich, Tobit’s portrait of a model family living in accordance with ancestral laws may have given the Qumran community an example or ideal to follow. FRÖHLICH, Tobit Against the Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 69-70. 40 Cf. CLEMENTS, Wisdom in Theology, 39. 41 On the importance of Deborah, cf. BOW, Deborah 3, 68. That Deborah provided Tobit’s instruction is seen as a distortion or a twist in the patriarchal structure the narrative reflects. BOW/NICKELSBURG, Patriarchy with a Twist, 133. According to Dimant, the choice of the name Deborah alludes to the war in which the northern tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun won against Hazor as recounted in Judges 4–5. DIMANT, Tobit in Galilee, 351. Cf. also CRAVEN, Women as Teachers of Torah, 278-279.

The Sapiential and Cultic Traditions


an ordinary but wise individual but also as a different and new type of sage, one who now actively lends his support to the priestly class.42 In light of this, Tobit seems to stand between two distinct traditions:43 the sapiential in which the individual’s capacity to secure a desirable existence is principally fostered by maintaining proper familial and human relations and the Mosaic, in which the possibility of such an existence is dependent on the covenantal behavior of the entire community. But has the wise Tobit really become an active supporter of the cult?



Boccaccini argues that the cultic and the sapiential reached a compromise in Tobit, yielding positive and negative consequences for both traditions.44 The cultic tradition diffused possible opposition and had the precepts of covenantal theology accepted and strengthened. But, in recognizing the legitimacy of teachings generated independently of the Mosaic revelation, the priestly tradition did have to give up its control consequently. As for the wisdom tradition, it found authority for its claims by grounding its insights on a deuteronomic decree but, for its part, it did have to forego its more secular or cosmopolitan assertions. Reconciled with the cultic tradition, the sapiential tradition had no more reason to question the covenant assumptions dear to the cult. As any reader can tell, the characters of Tobit neither protest nor raise doubts regarding their faith. They despair and experience existential angst but they are not skeptical of their covenant faith, like a Job or a Qoheleth. In this regard, Boccaccini believes that the two traditions as depicted in Tobit remain largely independent of each other. Since the Law of Moses and the instructions of the sage are both submitted to the righteous as ‘autonomous and nonconflicting sources of God’s will,’ the said traditions are not yet amalgamated and are related by a mere

42 The discussion here follows the observations of Bocaccini in BOCCACCINI, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism, 124-131. The author refers to the two traditions as “sapiential Judaism” and “Zadokite Judaism.” 43 Otzen argues that “the close affinity, or overlapping, between the admonitions based on the Mosaic Law and those deriving from wisdom tradition can be explained by the tendency in early Judaism to identify the Law with the divine wisdom (Sirach 24; Baruch 4).” OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 32. 44 Cf. BOCCACCINI, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism, 128-129.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

‘marriage of convenience.’45 This claim implies that political expedience more than anything else dictated the presence of these two traditions in Tobit. It seems, however, that something more basic is at work in the narrative. In light of the previous discussions, it is perhaps misleading to describe the presence of the two traditions in Tobit as ‘distinct,’ ‘autonomous,’ and ‘not yet merging.’ Tobit does show respect for the cultic tradition and he even longs for the day when the Temple will be restored to its former majesty (cf. Tob 13:15-18). And yet, Tobit seems to place increasing emphasis on the role of practical wisdom counsels in shaping a life of truth and righteousness in his here and now.46 After Tobit’s instructions, nothing else is said of the cult and its practices for the rest of the story. The wisdom counsels, however, are repeated and reinforced in some fashion in Tobit 12 as angelic admonitions and in Tobit 14 as Tobit’s dying discourse, in effect saturating the story with practical wisdom counsels. After stating that he has walked the ways of righteousness and truth all his life (cf. Tob 1:3), Tobit immediately follows the claim with an assertion that he performed works of charity for his deported contemporaries. When Tobit starts reminiscing about the days of his youth in Tob 1:4-9, he describes the many cultic practices that he performed when he was still in his own country of Israel. The cultic requirements that Tobit remembers included tithing, devotion to the priests and pilgrimages to Jerusalem.47 After Tobit and his family were deported to Nineveh, he continued to show his fidelity to God by remembering his laws and walking in righteousness (cf. Tob 1:10-18). This he did by not eating the food of Gentiles and by performing many charitable works, such as giving bread to the hungry, clothing the naked and burying his dead kinsmen. As a young man living in the land, cultic practices largely defined his righteousness. But as a married adult away from his homeland,48 Tobit tended more to do practical things to preserve his

45 BOCCACCINI, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism, 131. 46 Cf. EGO, Buch Tobit, 891-892. 47 Dimant notes that Tobit’s religious observance and duties in the land is a halakhah that revolves around Temple offerings of crop cultivated and livestock raised in the land. These religious duties tally with those found in Qumran texts. In Assyria, Tobit’s observances are pietistic. DIMANT, The Book of Tobit and the Qumran Halakhah, 128-139. 48 As Prado comments, Tobit’s mention of his wedding to Anna ends the evocation of the days of his youth spent in the land of Israel. PRADO, Historia, enseñanzas y poesía en Tobit, 30.

The Sapiential and Cultic Traditions


righteousness. Hence, the tithe for the poor and strangers are now works of charity to the needy. This strongly suggests that Tobit in exile is now embracing a religiosity distinct from that prescribed for those in the land.49 As Tobit bridges his past and his present, the story juxtaposes no,moj Mwuse,wj, ‘Law of Moses,’ and Deborah’s instructions. When his backward glance to his days in the land of Israel gives way to his present exile, Tobit refers to both traditions. In general the prevailing thesis in Tobit can be summarized thus: the cultic was good while it lasted, but a different time and situation call for new measures. The context of Diaspora life requires Tobit to redefine in a more open and wide-ranging fashion what it means to be righteous, which is understood primarily in non-cultic terms. The wisdom tradition has helped Tobit find a way to achieve this redefinition.50 Put differently, Tobit may be an early witness to that shift from a cultic-based to a teaching-centered Judaism.


Tobit and the Law of Moses

It is important to note that the references to the ‘Law of Moses’ (cf. Tob 6:13) or the ‘Book of Moses’ (cf. Tob 7:12-13) may also be interpreted to allude to Tobit’s wisdom instructions in Tobit 4 since this technical phrase can embrace Jewish traditions that are not necessarily in the written Torah.51 Tobit’s teaching regarding endogamy, which he claims comes from the Book of Moses, finds no explicit backing from the received shape of the Pentateuch. There is no question that a canonical text existed at the time of Tobit’s writing (cf. Tob 2:6; 14:4), but biblical traditions such as the ‘Law of Moses’ were still in flux.52 Since Tobit characterizes his teaching on endogamy as a ‘Law of Moses,’ it is likely that Tobit includes his other teachings in Tobit 4 under this categorization, presenting them as part of the ‘normative Jewish tradition’

49 Cf. VIRGILI DAL PRÀ, Tobia, 1438. The presence of halakhah and wisdom instructions in Tobit is not truly surprising. At Qumran, sapiential texts such as 4Q420-21 or 4QWays of Righteousness include halakhah, suggesting a development in the integration of Torah into the wisdom tradition. GOFF, Discerning Wisdom, 162-178. 50 For similar observations on the role of wisdom in the absence of traditional formal institutions, cf. CLEMENTS, Wisdom and Old Testament Theology, 269-286; BELLIA, Proverbi: una lettura storico-antropologico, 73-83; CALDUCH-BENAGES, Il kairós dei Proverbi, 297. 51 Cf. GAMBERONI, Das ‘Gesetz des Mose’ im Buch Tobias, 231. 52 Cf. ULRICH, The Bible in the Making, 77-93.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

that includes more than the written Mosaic Torah.53 Tobit expounds and expands the ‘Law of Moses,’ and at the same time uses the phrase as a way to lend authority to his teachings. By characterizing his teachings as ‘Law of Moses,’ Tobit does not imply that they are actual instructions of Moses. Rather, the implication is that their observance would enable the people of Israel to return to the genuine teaching linked to the prophetic status of Moses.54 Tobit’s reference to the no,moj Mwuse,wj may in fact be in accord with the hermeneutical tradition that attempts to retain, expand and transmit a legacy that includes not only the words of Moses but also the teachings of others which nonetheless show some Mosaic correspondence.55 In this way, Tobit implies that the instructions of his grandmother concur with the teachings of Moses. One suspects that the phrases ‘no,moj Mwuse,wj’ and ‘kata. ta.j evntola,j a]j evnetei,lato Debbwra’ were placed side by side because of such an hermeneutic tradition common in Second Temple Judaism. In so doing, Tobit establishes a religious and historical continuity with the past by claiming his teachings as part of normative Jewish tradition in accordance with the Mosaic Law. Tobit claims textual authority by participating in the Mosaic discourse. According to Hindy Najman, there are four elements that a text must possess in order to be counted as a participant in the Mosaic discourse: a) the new text reworks older traditions, and consequently acquires the authority attached to those traditions; b) the new text characterizes itself as a true expression of the ‘Law of Moses;’ c) the new text re-presents the Sinai revelation; d) the new text is alleged to have been produced by or is associated with Moses.56 Tobit does integrate these features in his narrative. First, Tobit bases his interpretation on a deuteronomic exhortation. Second, Tobit characterizes the teachings in his narrative as ‘Law of Moses’ or belonging to the Book of Moses. Third, Rafael’s revelation and confirmation of Tobit’s instructions are tantamount to the experience at Sinai. Fourth, the narrative portrays

53 Cf. COLLINS, The Judaism of the Book of Tobit, 34. 54 Cf. NAJMAN, Seconding Sinai, 13. Ska claims that, as shown in texts such as Exod 24:3-7 where Moses is presented as a writer or scribe, post-exilic scribes found in the figure of Moses the legitimization for a program to transmit, write, read and interpret the Torah. SKA, La Legge come strumento, 142-144. Cf. also IDEM, From History Writing to Library Building, 165-169. 55 Cf. CHAPMAN, ‘The Law and the Words’ as a Canonical Formula, 43-45 56 Cf. NAJMAN, Seconding Sinai, 16-19. Sonnet also notes that extra and post-biblical traditions continued the ‘hermeneutics of the scribe’ or ‘hermeneutics of innovation.’ SONNET, Inscribe the New in the Old, 139.

The Sapiential and Cultic Traditions


Tobit in the image and likeness of Moses. Deuteronomy has indeed influenced Tobit in more ways than one: Tobit has assumed not just the language, themes and theological concerns, but also the hermeneutic of Deuteronomy. In rendering the deuteronomic decree as wisdom counsels, Tobit follows the hermeneutic model that Deuteronomy has established. In this way, Tobit claims Mosaic authority for the tradition of the ancients and the wisdom counsels that comprise it. Tobit combines the hermeneutic of Deuteronomy with typical wisdom concerns to define what makes for righteousness and remembrance of God in the Diaspora. Tobit’s wisdom teachings are certainly motivated by the fact that the narrative is keenly sensitive to the problem of dispersion. Since the characters live a landless and temple-less existence, it does not make sense to commend practices of the cult as constitutive of righteousness.57 Thus Tobit stresses charity and compassion as a principal means of being righteous and of remembering the Lord (cf. Tob 4:5-6). Tobit even sapientializes worship by understanding sacrifice in terms of merciful or charitable deeds (cf. Tob 4:11; 12:8-9). The practice of endogamy, which is alleged to be decreed by the Book of Moses (cf. Tob 6:13; 7:11-12),58 likewise acquires a wisdom reading in Tobit’s instructions (cf. Tob 4:13). In this regard, it is misleading to assert that Tobit is a different kind of wise man who supports the priests, since the narrative is clearly intended for a dispersed people without a Temple. Rather, Tobit is a wise man who, familiar with the hermeneutic model of Deuteronomy, renders a deuteronomic tradition in terms of wisdom teachings for the sake of encouraging the dispersed to cultivate righteousness and to preserve their identity and worship of the one God. In addition, the narrative accentuates the saving aspect of the wisdom tradition by demonstrating that it is Tobias’s education in Wisdom that is instrumental in giving the story a happy ending. By heeding the education of wisdom and exercising it, Tobias returns home 57 Cf. LEVINE, Teaching Jews How to Live, 44; ENGEL, Auf zuverlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit, 94-95; OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 172; MOORE, Tobit, 27. Cf. also PORTIER-YOUNG, “Eyes to the Blind”, 26; CLEMENTS, Wisdom and Old Testament Theology, 281: “Religion is markedly domesticated…. Parents, rather than priests, hold the key to its seriousness and success! Yet it is never secular in the formal sense, since it recognizes that, deprived of its religious foundations, it cannot succeed and will lack its indispensable starting point.” 58 For an analysis of endogamy as halakhah, cf. CHRISTIAN, Reading Tobit Backwards and Forwards, 63-95.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

safely and achieves success in his journey and mission, relieving Tobit and Sarah of their miseries in the process. Ultimately, it is Tobit’s instructions, ratified by Rafael, that establish the preferred path of righteousness and therefore of redemption. Put simply, according to Rafael, it is in Tobit’s execution of his very own counsels that Tobit finds favor with God (cf. Tob 12:13-14). In light of these considerations, the cultic and the sapiential are not autonomous traditions in Tobit. In point of fact, bridging the traditions of his past and his present, Tobit seems to reflect an early stage of showing the continuity between the two traditions. In the sapientialization of some of the elements of the Mosaic-inspired temple traditions, Tobit represents an embryonic but definite attempt to define the priestly in terms of the sapiential. As the story makes clear, Tobit has adapted the words of Moses for his time, his family and his people living outside Israel by resorting to the practical wisdom counsels of Deborah.59 Wisdom has become an influential stream of tradition that offers an author such as Tobit a valid and acceptable way to harmonize seemingly divergent traditions.60 This does not imply that Tobit intends to supplant the tradition he apparently views as normative. Rather, the sapientialization of some of the priestly elements is in fact a demonstration of Tobit’s reverence for the Mosaic tradition.61 By listing his practical counsels under the one universal instruction that echoes the Mosaic exhortation in Deuteronomy, Tobit firmly connects the alleged accumulated wisdom of generations to the Mosaic Law, which would be eventually considered the embodiment of the wisdom of God.62

5.3 Tobit in Exile? Diaspora is the reality that Jews lived, scattered as they were outside their homeland. They had either voluntarily chosen to stay outside the land after the exile, even when the restrictions were lifted, or they deliberately moved to a different land to settle down. They transferred their residence or homestead into newfound areas outside the good land. Understandably, through the haze of time, the strength of loyalty,

59 Cf. VUILLEUMIER, Le livre de Tobit, 14. 60 According to Otzen, the “cultic affairs play a subordinate part” in Tobit. OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 30. Cf. also CLEMENTS, Wisdom and Old Testament Theology, 277. 61 Cf. NAJMAN, Seconding Sinai, 47. 62 Cf. VUILLEUMIER, Le livre de Tobit, 10.

Tobit in Exile?


connection and sense of belonging to the homeland gradually diminished. In all likelihood, after a few generations, the dispersed assimilated. Since they had elected to stay and settle in a new homeland, they were really no longer deportees, and they ceased to be in exile. 63 Tobit is one of the earliest stories specifically set in the Diaspora.64 The acuteness of the reality that Tobit no longer lives in his homeland shadows the entire narrative like a heavy grey cloud. In the story, Tobit displays a complex if not an ambivalent attitude towards Diaspora existence. Tobit sees Diaspora life negatively, as a divine punishment, by describing the dispersion in terms of exile and the biblical consequences typically attached to exile. On the other hand, the experience of dispersion is also characterized by the abiding presence and providence of God, a truth that Tobit and his family have personally felt, and a reality which becomes the basis for the hope of a future return and ingathering of the chosen community. This indicates the sense that in Tobit’s reading of what it means to live in the dispersion, there is an acknowledgement not only of guilt but also of hope.


Tobit’s Deuteronomic Explanation of Exile

In the first person narration of the story, exile overshadows the characterization of the righteous character. Tobit uses the word aivcmalwteu,w ‘to take captive’ and its cognate aivcmalwsi,a ‘captivity,’ ‘exile’ a number of times (cf. Tob 1:2, 3, 10), as if the trauma of the experience has not eased over time despite the implied temporal distance of

63 For a defense of the idea that exile in the Hebrew Bible is a root metaphor or a biblical trope that is fundamental in the cultural poetics of biblical narratives and that exile does not necessarily have historical referents, see CAROLL, Deportation and the Discourses of Diaspora, 67-68. Caroll further argues that the interpretation that life in the Diaspora is exilic comes from a Jerusalem or Palestinian orientated view, not necessarily from the Babylonian or Egyptian Diaspora communities. Davies suggests that every ideological construction has “a basis in human political, social and economic life” and that it is unlikely that ‘exile’ characterizes the situation of the Jews for to describe them as such “serves the interests of a Zionist ideology.” DAVIES, Exile? What Exile? Whose Exile?, n.7, 130. Cf. also CARR, The Rise of the Torah, 48. Collins states that Jews in the Hellenistic Diaspora “were no longer exiles against their will; their exile was no longer a cause of derision.” COLLINS, Between Athens and Jerusalem, 3. 64 According to Grabbe, Tobit is one of the earliest documents about Jews in the Diaspora. GRABBE, Judaic Religion in the Second Temple Period, 44. Cf. also LEVINE, Diaspora as Metaphor, 106.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

Tobit from the event. Biblical in his thought, Tobit believes that the deportation and scattering of his tribe is God’s punishment or scourging for the sin of his people (cf. Lev 26:33; Deut 28:63-64; Jer 9:15). The artificial locale of the story in Galilean Kedesh-Naphtali immediately brings to mind sin and punishment.65 According to Tobit, when he lived as a young man in Israel, the tribe of Naphtali 66 broke away from the house of David and Jerusalem, avpe,sthsan avpo. tou/ oi;kou Dauid tou/ patro,j mou kai. avpo. Ierousalhm (cf. Tob 1:4-5), and offered sacrifices to the young golden bull that Jeroboam had built in Dan (cf. 1 Kgs 12:2633). Further, they did not observe the cultic rules and dietary practices that Tobit followed (cf. Tob 1:10). These and the fact that they worshipped God in places other than Jerusalem, as stipulated by Deuteronomic law, are clear violations of the commandment (cf. Deut 12:4-14). They constitute the infidelity or the sin that delivered the tribe to plunder, exile and death (cf. Tob 3:4).67 The deportation and consequent sufferings of the tribe are in fact the fulfillment of the judgments that prophets such as Amos and Nahum had foretold (cf. Tob 2:6; 3:4; 14:4). In his prayer in Tobit 3, Tobit affirms not only this theological schema but also “identifies himself with wayward Israel to a striking degree, even while his personal innocence makes him conspicuously righteous.”68 Tobit uses aivcmalwsi,a, a word that occurs frequently in the first-person narration of Tobit 1–2, to refer particularly to God’s punishment (cf. Tob 3:4). Tobit certainly represents his people and sees his sightlessness as an obvious sign of God’s reproach. Deut 28:28-29, 65 state that blindness is one of the punishments for faithlessness, a state of chastisement to which Isaiah also alludes (cf. Isa 59:9-10) and which

65 For an analysis of the locales, cf. DIMANT, Tobit in Galilee, 348-353. 66 It is interesting to note that Tobit identifies himself with the northern tribes. The other biblical reference to the northern tribe is in Luke 2:36-38. According to Bauckham, the prophetess Anna who is deeply influenced by the theology and message of Tobit, is a returnee to Jerusalem from the northern Israelite Diaspora. BAUCKHAM, Anna of the Tribe of Asher, 161-187. Grintz asserts that Talmudic and other sources witness to the claim that the ten tribes thrived in Media and neighboring areas and that in Babylon, there was an evident concern for genealogical purity among exilic Jews. GRINTZ, Tobit, Book of, 13. 67 Faßbeck asserts that the fundamental crisis that Tobit deals with is not the diaspora but something that happened even before the exile, which is the tribe’s incorrect place of worship. FAßBECK, Tobit’s Religious Universe, 192. 68 Cf. SOLL, Misfortune and Exile in Tobit, 224.

Tobit in Exile?


God will heal in the fullness of time69 (cf. Isa 29:18). Biblical metaphors of exile such as ‘sight to the blind’ and ‘liberty to captives’ (cf. Is 42:7; 61:1, Ps 146:7-8) are embodied in the persons of Tobit and Sarah respectively (cf. Tob 3:4-5). The loss of the good land, which endows security and prosperity, is the major evil consequence of such an apostasy. By implication, outside the good land are insecurity and poverty. The fate of banishment from the land is surely worse than death for exile is nothing but an unhurried way to die (cf. Jer 8:3; 17:4; Ezek 6:810; 12:4-6). Even, much later, in the era of Philo, it was felt that eviction from the land is “not the end but the beginning of other new misfortunes and entails in place of the one death which puts an end to pains a thousand deaths in which we do not lose sensation.”70 No wonder Tobit and Sarah would rather die than live an exilic existence! Indeed, the three major misfortunes in the book, namely Tobit’s economic morass, his loss of sight, and Sarah’s bad luck with husbands, are indications or ‘acute manifestations of a more chronic problem, the exile itself.’71 In any case, exile is clearly viewed as a divine retribution. The characters also suffer reproach and verbal abuse. They have truly “become an object of horror, a proverb and a byword among all the peoples” where God has taken them (Deut 28:37; 28:25; Jer 24:9, Ps 44:13-16). The neighbors scorn and revile, katagela,w, Tobit as he continues with his practice of burying the dead (cf. Tob 2:8). His wife mocks his merciful deeds (cf. Tob 2:14). In the end, Tobit prefers death to listening to insults or ovneidismo,j (cf. Tob 3:6). It is equally the reviling words of the maids that push Sarah to the verge of suicide (cf. Tob 3:715). Raguel asks his servants to dig a grave in case Tobias dies and Raguel and his family become an object of derision, kata,gelwj kai. ovneidismo,j (cf. Tob 8:10). More than any other element in the story, it is the concern over disgrace and verbal abuse that precipitates the desperate actions of Tobit, Sarah and Raguel. Tobit and Sarah do not fear

69 Cf. FAßBECK, Tobit’s Religious Universe, 189: “Seen against the backdrop of the prophetic notion of Israel’s eschatological healing, it cannot come as a surprise that the following chapters 13 and 14 deal with the topic of the eschatologically restored people of Israel in Jerusalem.” 70 Cf. PHILO, On Abraham, 64. 71 Cf. SOLL, Misfortune and Exile in Tobit, 225.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

death or the eternal home72 – they actually wish for it. It is rather the parabolh,, the la,lhma, and the wild reproaches or ovneidismo,j which their unfortunate condition elicits that they cannot stand (cf. Tob 3:4).73 This torment of kata,gelwj kai. ovneidismo,j is another indication or ratification that exile is indeed divine judgment that is difficult to endure.74 In Tobit’s mind there is no mistake that sin caused exile. Symbolizing the collective, the suffering of the characters illustrates the guilt, and their exile shows God’s displeasure with, and punishment for, the erroneous behavior of Tobit’s people. In his hymn of praise in Tobit 13, Tobit also refers to the strong connection between sin and exile. However, Tobit evinces a strong belief that his people will overcome this disastrous calamity when God restores them to the land. Towards the end of the story when Tobit acknowledges the merciful works of God in his song of thanksgiving, he declares that God scourged the people for their iniquities but will have mercy on them again by gathering them from all the nations among whom they have been dispersed (cf. Tob 13:5). Basically, Tobit applies the pattern of God’s saving activity, which he has experienced in his life, in predicting and hoping for the restoration of his fellow exiles. In his testamentary discourse in the eschatological passage of Tob 14:4-5, Tobit speaks of the scattering of Israel and predicts the return to the good land and the rebuilding of the temple when God will show his mercy again. This time, however, he no longer mentions sin, nor

72 Nickelsburg notes that belief in the resurrection was already being expressed in the third century in texts like 1 Enoch and yet Tobit is notable for the absence of this idea. NICKELSBURG, Judgement, Life-after-Death, and the Resurrection, 145. For a discussion of the eschatological overtones in this metaphor, see BEYERLE, “Release me to Go to my Everlasting Home”, 71-88. Ego, however, downplays the eschatological aspects of the idea of the grave as an everlasting abode. EGO, Death and Burial in the Tobit Narration, 100-101. 73 Cf. URBROCK, Angels, Bird-Droppings and Fish Liver, 136. 74 Although Collins acknowledges that Tobit’s excessive grief is due to listening to “’untrue reproaches,’ presumably arising out of assumptions about his guilt, because of his affliction and the conduct of his wife,” he nonetheless claims that it is neither exile nor guilt but innocent and arbitrary suffering that generates the plot of the narrative. COLLINS, The Judaism in the Book of Tobit, 28-29. Such slander and jealousy is historically attested in Assyrian documents. DIMANT, Tobit in Galilee, 356.

Tobit in Exile?


indeed any reason or direct cause of exile.75 Although God has displaced them from the land, it is the hope that they will one day return to the homeland in God’s time, which prevails. Tobit’s farewell speech is no longer a warning against sin but a proclamation of future salvation when nations will come bearing gifts instead of uttering reproaches.76 They are dispersed at the moment, in a period of waiting and expectation for that eschatological age, when God’s merciful hand will intervene to gather all of them together in the land of promise.


Exile as an Interim Time

It is this idea of restoration at God’s initiative that allows the narrative to characterize the dispersion in a sense beyond divine punishment. Whilst Tobit believes that he and his family, as well as the reader he addresses, have the responsibility while in exile to acknowledge God before all, to turn to him always, and to do what is right before God, it is ultimately God’s covenant action that will restore his people (cf. Tob 13:1-6). God will return them to the land, evpistre,yei auvtou.j o` qeo.j eivj th.n gh/n tou/ Israhl, and this will be fulfilled beyond narrative time or at the appointed time plhrwqh/| o` cro,noj tw/n kairw/n (cf. Tob 14:5). Tobit echoes the claim of Deut 30:4, which says that “even if your Diaspora is from one end of heaven to the other, the Lord your God will gather you from there.” Exile is thought of not just as an historical punitive event, but as a present and liminal state of being that extends into the inauguration of the eschatological time. Dispersion is not seen merely in the sense of a great misfortune or exilic punishment, but also as a time in between. Diaspora, in Tobit, is an interim period, or an age between their previous life in the Holy Land and the end-time rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple to which nations will be drawn to bring gifts and sing a song of praise. 77 75 Scott thinks that the subsequent context makes clear that the dispersion is a punishment for sin. SCOTT, Exile and Self-Understanding of Diaspora Jews, 179-180. According to Knibb, the pattern sin-exile-restoration and the belief that Israel remained in an exilic condition long after the sixth century, and that such an exilic state would end only when God intervened, is a common interpretation of exile among intertestamental literature. KNIBB, The Exile in the Literature of the Intertestamental Period, 253-272. 76 Cf. VAN UNNIK, Das Selbstverständniss der Jüdischen Diaspora, 114-115. 77 Cf. EGO, The Book of Tobit and the Diaspora, 43-44; 54. As Xeravits also notes, the story moves away from Jerusalem and returns to the holy city as its spiritual center after Tobias’s dangerous journey. XERAVITS, Tobiah’s Journey, 86.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

Although Tobit and his family have suffered from the vicissitudes of political maneuverings in their new homeland, he and family members, such as Ahiqar, have nonetheless thrived in the dispersion, even serving the royal courts in high positions and earning enough to entrust a large sum of money to a cousin. The narrative depicts the families of Tobit and Raguel with servants and housemaids (cf. Tob 9:12; 10:10), indicating their affluence. Although Tobit believes that Jerusalem and its temple will be rebuilt, he also claims that God’s works can be acknowledged outside of them (cf. Tob 13:6-7). God will indeed gather his people again in the good land, but Tobit does not seem to be in any rush to get there. He actually saw the birth of his grandchildren in Nineveh (cf. Tob 14:3). More importantly, the story illustrates that God has not forgotten his people and has shown his greatness even in the dispersion (cf. Tob 13:4).78 Just as God heard the cries of his people in Egypt, so does God hear the prayerful cry of Tobit and Sarah in the dispersion. Although this in-between-time is beset with suffering which only God can remedy, God nevertheless shows his affection for his people and continues to provide for them. Tobit and his family can vouch for that. This divine care is enough to form a well-founded hope that God has not completely abandoned his people literally to die, lie as dead bodies, disintegrate and decompose79 on Gentile streets. Despite being in the land of strangers, described in Tobias’s journey as a locale filled with dangerous and challenging encounters, the presence of God can still be felt. The book refers to God as the ‘God of our Fathers’ (cf. Tob 8:5), a post-exilic epithet for God as ruler of the whole world, implying that God enjoys universal rulership, a divine sovereignty that goes beyond the borders of Israel.80 Even in the strange land of exile, God is actively present. These narrative sentiments indicate the firm assurances of God’s presence and offer tender hopes of a return to the land. In Tobit, those “descendants of deportees who took the ethnic affiliation ‘Judean/Jew’

78 According to Zsengellér, the ‘topographical line’ in the narrative illustrates a ‘heilsgeschichtliche order’ for the central section of Tobit demonstrates how God saves his people scattered in Nineveh, Assyria, Ecbatana, and Media. ZSENGELLÉR, Topography as Theology, 186-188. For other discussions of the topographical references, cf. ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 16; EGO, Buch Tobit, 898-899; FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 32-33; BAUCKHAM, Tobit as a Parable, 159-163. 79 Van Unnik argues that the word ‘diaspora’ is not a geographical referent but denotes disintegration of the whole into small, individual parts. VAN UNNIK, Das Selbstverständniss der Jüdischen Diaspora, 149-150. 80 Cf. XERAVITS, Tobiah’s Journey, 89-90.

Tobit in Exile?


but did not return to Judah even when restraints were removed, but remained in Mesopotamia or elsewhere,”81 are represented. Furthermore, that Tobit hails from the lost northern tribes is a significant narrative detail, since the reader can imagine these lost tribes as representing the dispersed Jews.82


Exile as Root Metaphor

The exile that Tobit mentions in Tob 1:1-2 refers to the fall of Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BCE. Shalmaneser V started the siege but it was his brother and successor Sargon II who took the northern tribes and residents of Samaria into captivity. Although the third-person narrator alludes to this historical event,83 there is no hint as to where exactly the tribe of Tobit was forcibly taken in exile. It is only when Tobit, as the first-person narrator, recounts his life of piety and righteousness that he identifies the place of his captivity as Nineveh (cf. Tob 1:10). The story later exposes Tobit’s anachronistic claim in Tob 11:18, when after regaining his sight, he exclaimed that en th/| h`me,ra| tau,th| evge,neto cara. pa/sin toi/j Ioudai,oij toi/j ou=sin evn Nineuh, on that day there was joy among all the Jews in Nineveh. This slip of the pen makes it evident that Tobit’s statement that Nineveh is his place of deportation is not contemporary with the events the book describes since those exiled to Nineveh were referred to as children of Israel, and never Ioudai,oij or Jews/Judeans (cf. 2 Kgs 18:11).84 In addition to historical inaccuracies,85 there are other indications, such as the apparent 81 Cf. DAVIES, Exile? What Exile? Whose Exile?, 135. 82 Cf. DAVIES, Didactic Stories, 111. 83 Nowell observes that this historical setting is a ‘subtle commentary’ on Tobit’s life. All the wicked Assyrian kings mentioned in the first chapter get their due when Assyria is punished in chapter 14. By way of contrast, the righteous Tobit of chapter 1 is rewarded in chapter 14. NOWELL, Jonah, Tobit, Judith, 20. 84 Cf. ZIMMERMANN, The Book of Tobit, 16. Cf. also GRABBE, ‘The Exile’ Under the Theodolite, n.42, 92. As Smith-Christopher also notes, the Hebrew Scriptures do not contain any records indicating what became of the northern tribes after their deportation. SMITH-CHRISTOPHER, Impact of the Babylonian Exile, 13. Zsengellér wonders why the narrative employs the exile of the northern tribe of Israel instead of Judah, implying that there was perhaps at that time in the Diaspora an Israelite identity. ZSENGELLÉR, Topography as Theology, 177-188. 85 For an explanation of some historical imprecision, cf. SOGGIN, Introduction to the Old Testament, 431; VUILLEUMIER, Le livre de Tobit, 8; OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 1718. If some of the details are taken as historical, Tobit would have had lived over three hundred years. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMAN, Tobit, 38.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

geographical inconsistencies86 and the lateness of the religious ideas,87 in the narrative to point out that Tobit reflects not the situation of the Assyrian exile but the Diaspora. Tobit actually gives himself away when he uses the word diaskorpi,zw ‘to scatter’88 in his prayer, in his exhortation to praise, and in his farewell speech to describe what appears to be the present reality of the Jews in the story (cf. Tob 3:4; 13:3-6; 14:4). When Tobit in his prayer states that God has scattered them among the nations, evn pa/sin toi/j e;qnesin, he effectively views foreign places such as Media and Assyria as places of exile and death (cf. Tob 3:4).89 With a time reference that begins with the Assyrian exile, continues with the Babylonian captivity, which Tobit foretells in Tob 14:4, and ends with the eschatological o` cro,noj tw/n kairw/n or the time of times (cf. Tob 14:5),90 the story of Tobit depicts the abiding afflictions of exilic life personified in the characters of Tobit and Sarah, portraying, in a heavily stylized fashion, the Jewish experience of Diaspora living that spans centuries.91 This implies that the condition of Diaspora was perceived as exilic. Exile did not really cease, but “simply passed, by a series of gradual social and political changes, into a condition of relatively permanent dispersion.”92 It can be suggested that the absence of a particular locale for the deportation of Tobit and his tribe in Tob 1:1-2 implies that exile is being employed in a metaphorical sense. The concrete historical experience of exile is now employed to describe the general experience and difficulty of living in the dispersion. The situation during the Assyrian captivity simply functions in the narrative as a model for the Diaspora.93 86 Cf. LEVINE, Diaspora as Metaphor, 106: “The disjunction between the real and the recounted indicates the problem of diaspora existence: things are not as they should be.” Cf. also IDEM, Teaching Jews How to Live, 48. Although Faßberg quibbles with Levine’s interpretation that the problems in Tobit arise out of the diaspora context, the author nonetheless grants that there is no problem in assuming the Diaspora setting as a mere literary device. FAßBECK, Tobit’s Religious Universe, 192-193. 87 Cf. for instance, DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 10; NOWELL, Narrative Technique and Theology, 46. 88 According to van Unnik, the words diaskorpi,zw and diaspei,rw are synonymous. VAN UNNIK, Das Selbstverständniss der Jüdischen Diaspora, 111. 89 Cf. URBROCK, Angels, Bird-Droppings and Fish Liver, 127. 90 GI has kairoi. tou/ aivw/noj. 91 Cf. ALBERTZ, Die Exilszeit, 36-37. 92 CLEMENTS, Wisdom in Theology, 30. 93 Cf. SALDARINI/LEVINE, Jewish Responses to Greek and Roman Cultures, 336. Kiel states that the Diaspora is “ciphered in the book as the exile.” KIEL, Tobit and Moses Redux, 97.

Tobit in Exile?


The Book of Tobit opens with a list of names that traces Tobit’s genealogy and his belonging to the tribe of Naphtali (“Hananiel son of Aduel son of Gabael son of Raphael son of Raguel of the descendants of Asiel“). It is followed by an enumeration of locales (“Thisbe, which is to the south of Kedesh Naphtali in Upper Galilee, above Asher toward the west, and north of Phogor”) that specifically situate the residential location of the tribe. At the center of these descriptions is the important reference to the exile of the northern tribe of Naphtali (cf. Tob 1:2).94 This pithy introduction immediately reveals the fact that the tribe of Naphtali, to which Tobit belonged, used to enjoy living in a land of their own, but after their captivity and deportation, this luxury was no more. Considering the meticulousness the narrator devotes to Tobit’s genealogical and geographical origins, it is rather striking that Tob 1:1-2 does not identify or specify the place of exile, the strange land to where the tribe was forcibly taken. The unnamed place of exile implies that, in a most profound sense, exile is a place without an actuality; it is a denial or a negation of place,95 in fact a statement of a certain consciousness, acknowledging that the naming of a location is not enough to capture the reality it tries to describe. The absence of such a necessary piece of information means that place is fictional or literary rather than anything else. Exile is not simply the historical deportation of a group to a particular place, but the dispersion of Israel throughout the known world.96 In brief, exile as Tobit employs it is less geographical than ideological.97 Exile has become less of an event than a metaphor that evokes the scattered existence of Israel. The connotations of exile are now mapped onto the meaning of the dispersion. This specific state of being has

94 Cf. EGO, Heimat in der Fremde, 270. 95 Cf. EGO, Heimat in der Fremde, 273: “Das Exil stellt sich so zunächst lediglich als Negation eines Ortes dar.” 96 Cf. HAAG, Das Tobitbuch und die Tradition von Jaweh, 27: “Beachtet man nämlich, daß hier die Nachricht von der Deportation Tobits nach Assur gerahmt wird von einer Reihe genealogischer und geographischer Angaben zu desen Herkunft und Wohnort, dann erhebt die Buchüberschrift den Anspruch, daß im Folgenden das Lebensschicksal eines wahren Israeliten in der für die Weiterexistenz seines Volkes äußerst bedrohlichen Situation eines Exil dargestellt werden soll.” 97 For a discussion of literary, non-literary and historical evidence showing the GrecoRoman period understanding of Diaspora as an on-going exile later to be remedied by a future return to the land, cf. SCOTT, Exile and the Self-Understanding of Diaspora Jews, 185-218.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

come to be understood as a location,98 that is, the dispersed state is now viewed as an exilic location. This state of Diaspora is the place to where Tobit and his tribe were taken from their land of Thisbe. The change in residential location is actually a reference to the change in their state, explaining why the place of deportation reasonably remains unnamed in Tob 1:1-2. In other words, the narrative has applied exile to the everyday experience of dispersion and no detail of location can truly capture that particular state of being.99 The word ‘exile’ or ‘deportation’ “better embodies the experience of Diaspora and reflects the utter miseries of existence as declared in the Bible about life outside the ‘homeland’.”100 In this sense, exile can be considered the root metaphor of the narrative in which other metaphors participate. The use of ‘the road’ as another metaphor in the story also helps describe the reality or state of the dispersion. For instance, the characters do not enjoy stability but they suffer a nomadic existence.101 They are always on the go. The central section of the narrative with Tobias and Rafael is really a long story about being on the road. In a state of scattered existence, they do not live ‘the reality of the place but of the road.’102 Even when the story returns to its original thread, Tobit asks Tobias to leave Nineveh and move his family to Media (cf. Tob 14:3-4). That the characters do not enjoy any real connections to any place underscores life in the in-between. Rootedness is not an attribute to define who they are, for these characters invariably journey into and out of territories. Even dead bodies that are scattered on the streets of Nineveh, and which Tobit buries, are really pointers to further departures, for these dead are on a one-way lane to the land of Hades. In Tobit, locations simply function as intersections along the way, temporary pit-stops on the road to some future permanence. The only

98 For a discussion of the metaphorical assertion “states are locations,” see LAKOFF/TURNER, More than Cool Reason, 7, 30, 52, 85, 98. 99 According to Otzen, Tobit views the problem of the Diaspora behind the theme of exile. OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 43. 100 CAROLL, Deportation and Diasporic Discourses in the Prophetic Literature, 64. 101 As Anderson comments, the plot of Tobit can be summarized in the travels of its protagonists. ANDERSON, The Book of Tobit and the Canonical Ordering, 67. 102 JENSEN, Family, Fertility and Foul Smell, 138-139. The author goes on to say that money lenders “who live on and off the roads and in the junctions of the network” receive good press in Tobit, giving them “a modest literary monument.”

Tobit in Exile?


stable structures in the dispersion are family and the bonds of kinship.103 Tobit conceives the dispersion in exilic terms. He also endorses the sense that the Diaspora is a permanent crisis that will only be resolved at the end of days in God’s time. After many years of living outside the land, the connection to Jerusalem has eroded. Tobit’s service in the court means that his political world is disconnected from that of Jerusalem. Tobit lives and dies in Nineveh, and Tobias moves to Ecbatana in Media instead of returning to Jerusalem (cf. Tob 14:13). That Tobias takes Sarah as his wife and begets children is following Jeremiah’s exhortation “to build houses to dwell in, to take wives and beget sons and daughters” (cf. Jer 29:4-7), a biblical passage typically considered to be the theological justification for settling in the dispersion. Tobias’s inheritance of his father’s and father-in-law’s properties is also a likely indication that Tobias and his children settled in Media at least for a good while. These are narrative indications that life in the dispersion has become tolerable and quite stable. The narrative even portrays the characters as having freedom of movement and travel.104 And yet, the hope that there will be a restoration and a return of God’s people to the land has not gone-a-glimmering. Tobit’s personal experience of the healing hand of God gives him confident hope that the same healing touch will reach out to all of Israel,105 because all that Tobit has seen teaches him to trust the Creator in and for all he has not seen. Nonetheless, this hope is linked to the eschatological age, a fullness of time that God alone will usher. Powerless to influence his political world to his ends, this eschatological scenario becomes Tobit’s consolation: despite the circumstances which seem to deny it, God still reigns. Tobit does not lose hope but he foresees an extended wait before God’s time arrives. It is also likely that Tobit entertains the idea that the dispersion is part of God’s plan before, in the final days, he will rebuild Israel in order to

103 Cf. LEVINE, Diaspora as Metaphor, 105-117. The author argues that the threat of Diaspora life is diminished when women are “properly domiciled in an endogamous relationship.” She states that “by constraining women’s roles, by using women as tokens of exchange to preserve kinship and economic ties, by depicting them as the cause as well as the locus of despair, and by removing them from direct contact with heaven, the Jewish male has brought order to his diaspora existence.” 104 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 118. 105 Cf. HAAG, Das Tobitbuch und die Tradition von Jaweh, 23-41.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

spread the knowledge, message and wisdom of God to all.106 In any event Tobit projects a situation in which the temporary condition has become a relatively permanent one, which will only be rectified in the eschatological age (cf. Tob 13:17-18).


Boundaries Unbound

The narrative paints the world of Diaspora as a dystopia, an inverted universe awaiting restoration. No clear boundaries define Tobit’s world; the sense of the world gone wrong is epic. The Dispersion induces death and the disintegration of boundaries. It is a world where just behavior and acts of compassion seem to merit nothing but suffering. Beings of another realm mix and mingle with Israelites and haunt innocent Jewish maidens. Asmodeus crosses boundaries, necessitating Rafael to bind the demon hand and foot in Egypt. Animals exert power over humans – a giant fish has the ability to devour a young boy on land as he walks alongside the river and the birds in Tobit’s courtyard, which may have been the unwitting agents of Asmodeus,107 have the power to inflict sightlessness by mere droppings. Things are not as they are supposed to be. This kind of a chaotic and humiliating world does not conform to how God intended creation to function when God worded it into order in Genesis.108 Obviously, the ultimate problem awaiting resolution is the subjugation of dispersed Israel to the power of a pagan sovereign. As such, the world of Tobit, a diasporic universe, attests to the fact that the divine word and the historical event have bifurcated, awaiting a future fusion. With a reference to Nineveh as Tobit’s place of exile at the beginning of the narrative (cf. Tob 1:3) as well as in the conclusion of the story where Nineveh is said to have been destroyed in fulfillment of 106 For the argument that Tob 13:8, 13-15 and Tob 14:6 make explicit claims that the purpose of exile and dispersion in the midst of the Gentiles, which corresponds to the hidden providential plan of God, is to make known to pagans the one true God, see GALBIATI, Il messianismo nel libro di Tobia, 195-196; GAFNI, Land, Center and Diaspora, 35. For the claim that Tobit sees Gentiles as sharing in the joys of the eschatological age as Gentiles and not as proselytes to Judaism, see DONALDSON, Judaism and the Gentiles, 42-45. 107 Cf. URBROCK, Angels, Bird-Droppings and Fish Liver, 137. Nickelsburg points out that the demonic is not only present in the figure of Asmodeus but also in the birds, which in Jub 11:11, are depicted as agents of Satan. NICKELSBURG, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah, n.69, 349. 108 Cf. COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error?, 548-553.

Wisdom in Exile


Nahum’s prophecy (cf. Tob 14:4, 15),109 there is a glimpse of that day of kairós when God’s purpose and history will be one.110 The narrative shows that the author understands the fears, and appeals to the hopes, of the dispersed. In the meantime, all that Tobit can do is maintain a sense of what defines him as a member of God’s elect and foster cohesion and a sense of belonging among his fellow dispersed. He rethinks what it means to be part of God’s people scattered under foreign domination and what it means to be righteous in his given situation. His practical counsels, understood as based on the Torah’s practical and everyday import for all facets of communal life111 during the in-between days of dispersion, spell out what it means to be in a relationship with God despite the absence of a physical proximity to the good land.

5.4 Wisdom in Exile As the dispersed settled in foreign lands, they met a culture different from their own, a situation which could have brought about dissonance.112 Like Jews in tales such as Daniel and Esther, Tobit 1 portrays Tobit and Ahiqar working in foreign courts. For such Jews in the Diaspora, to hold high offices and to live comfortably are possible realities. However, their encounter with these exotic circumstances brings not only the lure of wealth and political power but also the danger of

109 GI mentions the prophecy of Jonah, pe,peismai o[sa evla,lhsen Iwnaj o` profh,thj peri. Nineuh while GII refers to the prophecy of Nahum pisteu,w evgw. tw/| r`h,mati tou/ qeou/ evpi. Nineuh a] evla,lhsen Naoum. The VL does not specify the name of the prophet: Quia omnia erunt et veniet adhuc super Assur et Nineven, quae locuti sunt prophetae Israel. Anderson argues that the reference to Jonah is original, despite his claim that GII is earliest, since the canonical ordering of the prophets gives the impression that Jonah was not wrong in his prophecy – Nineveh did return to its evil ways and fell by prophetic decree. The canonical placement of Nahum and Micah after Jonah witnesses to the event. ANDERSON, The Book of Tobit and the Canonical Ordering, 67-75. Bredin, on the other hand, claims that a Christian influence underlies Jonah’s insertion in GI. BREDIN, The Significance of Jonah in Vaticanus, 43-57. Cf. also REITERER, Prophet und Prophetie, 159-161. 110 Cf. COUSLAND, Tobit: A Comedy in Error?, 552. 111 Harrelson describes Tobit’s instructions as an excellent barometer of postexilic piety. HARRELSON, Critical Themes in the Study of the Postexilic Period, 296. 112 Cf. COLLINS, Between Athens and Jerusalem, 8-9.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

complete assimilation.113 Tobit wants to rule out such an eventuality. Tobit’s commandment to Tobias to “remember God always” and to “avoid breaking God’s commands all the days of his life” mirrors the narrative’s intentional choice of non-conformity. Tobit certainly remembers God even when such remembrance spells fleeting discomfort (cf. Tob 1:10-20). This conscious choice of remembering the one true God of Israel, and hence of being set apart or different from the surrounding culture, involves an ethos of avlh,qeia, dikaiosu,nh, and evlehmosu,nh – to remember is to walk in the ways of truth, justice and mercy. Tobit gives some clear and practical teachings that constitute the praxis of such a distinguishing ethos.114 In this regard, one suspects that Tobit is also a story of cultural and religious resistance. The narrative complements the Mosaic portrait of Tobit with a patriarchal one, as if to show that the sapiential counsels of Tobit are of ancient origin. Moreover, as the lives of the main characters unfold in the narrative, it is ultimately the tradition of the ancients through Tobit’s practical instructions that carries significant weight. Such a move endorses the understanding that there is a tradition other than the priestly that functions as a religious compass for dispersed Israel. After all, wisdom has accompanied Israel since the time of Solomon (cf. 1 Kgs 5:9-14; 10:1-10; Wisdom 9–10). Now, such a relationship with, and understanding of, the Mosaic Torah reflects the distance of the Dispersion.115 Jerusalem for Tobit is equally a reality in the dim and distant past, not just in the physical sense. Jerusalem is the object of his melancholy gaze, the place of his youth nostalgically reminisced, a site of memory or a ‘lieu de memoire’ (cf. Tob 1:4-8). Additionally, Jerusalem is

113 Cf. ZAPPELLA, L’immagine dell’elezione, 193-194. Cf. also the analysis of the tales in Daniel in SMITH-CHRISTOPHER, Prayers and Dreams, 266-290. As Tcherikover notes, the Jews had to negotiate two likely contradictory impulses: the desire to assimilate in order to thrive and survive and the desire to adhere to national traditions and preserve Jewish identity. TCHERIKOVER, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews, 346. 114 In the Second Temple Period, Judaism was not monolithic. Along with literature such as Jubilees, Susanna, and the Letter of Aristeas, Tobit expresses but one of the many understandings of Jewish identity. MENDELS, On Identity, 33. Cf. also COLLINS, Between Athens and Jerusalem, 14-15. For a sketch of Jewish identity in the Diaspora, see BARCLAY, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora, 399-444. 115 CHRISTIAN, Reading Tobit Backwards and Forwards, 89.

Wisdom in Exile


projected into the remote future, as the ideal place 116 to which all eschatological hopes are pinned.117 In a narrative that epitomizes the virtue of hope, the city represents the optimistic expectations of all of Israel, not just Tobit. Like Ezekiel, Tobit views Jerusalem, particularly in Tobit 13 and 14, as a utopian vision that counters his present dystopian reality. In both cases, Jerusalem radiates a reality other than the present and uncovers that deep longing for both past and future glory. Tobit’s distance from Jerusalem is not simply an artistic way to bookend the story (cf. Tob 1:6-7; 13:8-17) but is a reflection of a keen awareness of his present condition of Diaspora, coded in the narrative as exile or deportation.118 This is understandable since the story locates the family of Tobit east of the Tigris in Mesopotamia, and all the narrative action takes place there. Without a doubt, Tobit’s experience of blindness is an experience of dispersion. Thus, the appraisal of life in the Diaspora as exilic is not a view from nowhere but a view that betrays a Jerusalem-orientated stance. It is a view from the inside looking out, not from the outside looking in. Those who live in the Diaspora would not necessarily see their present state as exilic, but actually consider their new residence as home.119 Those who live in the homeland would of course have a different view of their confreres. That Tobit’s life in Mesopotamia rings true may indicate that news of the conditions of the Eastern Diaspora had reached the Land of Israel.120 In light of these considerations, it is very likely that Tobit was written in the land of Israel as a guide to a way of

116 According to Beyerle, the eschatology in Tobit 13–14, with its references to gates, towers, and streets, does not only have a ‘horizontal’ dimension (the sense of future events) but also a ‘spatial’ one. BEYERLE, “Release me to Go to my Everlasting Home”, 85. 117 Cf. EGO, The Book of Tobit and the Diaspora, 43. 118 Cf. EGO, Heimat in der Fremde, 274; VIRGILI DAL PRÀ, Tobia, 1437. Cf. also ZAPELLA, Tobit, 20: “L’autore, tramite la vicenda di Tobit e del figlio, mette in scena le problematiche che agitano le comunità giudaiche insediate lontano della terra di Israele.” 119 Cf. CAROLL, Exile! What Exile!, 67. 120 Cf. DIMANT, Tobit in Galilee, 356-357. Pfeiffer notes that Daniel, which also originated in Palestine, describes non-Palestinian locales more accurately than Tobit. PFEIFFER, History of New Testament Times, 275. Miller, however, claims that the Diaspora-directed message of Tobit and the setting of the story in Mesopotamia make Palestinian origin unlikely. MILLER, A Study of Marriage in the Book of Tobit, 14-15.

Tobit and Wisdom in Exile


life for Jews living outside the homeland.121 The story is a text from Jerusalem but addressed to the Dispersion.


Practices that Foster Unity and Identity

Such a sense of sundering would certainly motivate the author of Tobit to find creative ways of connecting with the ancestors once the land and the temple are removed from the equation.122 Furthermore, a different but readily available path has to be accessed since predetermined criteria or clear boundaries for defining the self do not exist in a world portrayed as out of joint.123 These concerns come to the fore since Tobit’s ideological interest is the preservation and long-term survival of Jewish faith and community even in the condition of living amidst foreign nations.124 Like Deuteronomy, Tobit employs remembrance of God as a stabilizing and constitutive element for the community in the

121 Cf. SCHÜRER, The History of the Jewish People, 3:223, who states that the story was intended for Jews in the Diaspora. The place of Tobit’s composition is of course a matter of debate. For discussions, cf. MOORE, Tobit, 42-43, who, if pressed, would opt for the Eastern Diaspora. FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 50-54, favors Palestine. Pfeiffer also asserts that the similarity of Tobit’s religious teachings to Sirach argues for Palestinian origin. PFEIFFER, History of New Testament Times, 275. That the author is wellversed in the halakhic practices current in the land implies Palestinian provenance. DIMANT, The Book of Tobit and the Qumran Halakhah, 121-140. With the importance of the ‘book’ in Ezra and Nehemiah, Tobit’s self-presentation as a book can also imply Jerusalem authorship. For arguments for an Eastern Diaspora composition of Tobit, cf. RENAN, L’Église chrétienne, 561, who claims that the Babylonian source tale of Tobit argues for its writing in Mesopotamia; OTZEN, Tobit and Judith, 58-59; BAUCKHAM, Tobit as a Parable, 159-163; IDEM, Anna of the Tribe of Asher, 187-191; WOJCIECHOWSKI, Assyrian Diaspora as Background, 5-19. Cf. also HEGERMANN, The Diaspora in the Hellenistic Age, 2:155, who claims that the authoritative teachers in Jerusalem kept the Diaspora under their influence; and SKA, La Legge come strumento, 133, who claims that the OT reflects the worldview of the gôlâ. 122 Cf. EGO, Heimat in der Fremde, 281: “In der Symbolik der identitätskonstituierenden Handlungsweisen Tobits zeigt sich somit eine Transzendierung des konkrete Bezuges zum Land; deutlich wird, daß die Beziehung zwischen Gott und seinem Volk unabhängig vom Lande Israel erfolgen kann.” 123 LEVINE, Teachings Jews How to Live, 48. 124 Cf. JOHNSON, Historical Fictions and Hellenistic Jewish Identity, 52. Cf. also PRIERO, Tobia, 15; DI LELLA, The Deuteronomic Background, 380-381; RAVASI, Tobia, 1583.

Wisdom in Exile


dispersion.125 The Book of Tobit addresses the needs arising out of the socio-historical situation and in doing so, shapes the lives of the families in the dispersion. Using wisdom instructions to specify or concretize remembrance and appealing to ancestral traditions,126 the author teaches Jews how to survive as a community of believers and how to keep a personal relationship with their God.127 No doubt, the social contexts within which people live their lives influence their worldview, religious and otherwise. The author employed the perspective of wisdom because the context he had to address told him that he must. The practices that Tobit recommends in his instructions speak of an interim ethic or a way of behaving in the in-between. In a predominantly Hellenistic environment, the Tobit narrative offers some ways and means by which the families in the dispersion can avoid being swallowed up by the prevailing culture and thus hold on to their Jewish identity as the bearers of God’s wisdom. Tobit’s teachings are the antidote to the sophisticated spell which Hellenism casts. This the author does by emphasizing strict endogamy, exhorting almsgiving or acts of charity, handing on the wisdom of the fathers, placing the believer over and against the court official, and reaffirming identity affiliations such as family and kinship.128 Genealogy as Constitutive of Identity In the dystopian world of Tobit, commitments and relationships revolve around the family.129 The narrative introduces the main character with a genealogy. The tradition of theophoric names in the list strongly indicates that the proceeding story is a familial affair. 130 In Tob 1:20, Tobit remarks that after the king punished him for stealthily burying the dead bodies of his confreres, he was left with nothing but Anna and 125 Cf. KÜHN, Totengedenken im Alten Testament, 483: “Memoria in all ihren Aspekten stabilisierte und konstituierte die israelitische Gemeinschaft. Erinnerung bzw. Vergenwärtigung von Vergangenem waren konstitutive Elemente für den Bestand der sozialen Gemeinschaft.” 126 As Fitzmyer claims, the reference to Deborah’s instruction partially explains Tobit’s loyalty to the tradition of the ancestors. FITZMYER, Tobit (CEJL), 112. 127 Cf. ALBERTZ, Wieviel Pluralismus, 209: “Überall war es die Unbedingtheit der persönlichen Gottesbeziehung, die für die familiäre Frömmigkeit so typisch ist, welche die Hoffnung auf ein neues Heilshandeln Jahwehs an Israel stärken sollte.” 128 Cf. BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 42-47. 129 Cf. GRELOT, Les noms de parenté dans le livre de Tobie, 329; DAY, Power, Otherness, and Gender, 117-119. 130 Cf. DION, Deux notes épigraphiques sur Tobit, 417.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

his son Tobias, implying that the family defines the Israelite community.131 In the dispersion, everything is taken away but the family. This is why genealogy rather than geography enjoys a privileged place in Tobit. It is no surprise then that Tobit entrusts the money for retrieval to an avneyio,j, a cousin, named Gabael (cf. Tob 5:2; 9:6). Ahiqar, who showed Tobit compassion in misfortune, is an evxa,delfo,j, a nephew. It is also important for Tobit that the traveling companion of his son be a kinsman. In fact, after Tobias presented the man he found in the marketplace to his father, Tobit asks Rafael disguised as Azariah about his tribe or family background (cf. Tob 5:11). Ironic at best, this scene shows that Tobit and Azariah both speak the ‘language of genealogy’ and lineage, and “therefore may plausibly claim to embody the values implied in being a person of ‘good family’.”132 In the end, almost every character of significance is related to Tobit and his household. This notion of family as genealogy, often expressed as evk tou/ spe,rmatoj tou/ oi;kou tou/ patro.j (cf. Tob 1:1, 9; 4:12; 6:16, 19), informs what it means to live as a Jew in a pagan world – who is related to whom is very important. From a sociological point of view, three reasons can be cited why the narrative cannot over-emphasize enough the role of the family as a stable point of reference in the midst of instability. First, the family is the only social institution that preserves the values of the Jewish faith and facilitates its practice within a Hellenistic environment. The family has become the official bearer and refuge of Judaism, circumscribing religion within the private domain.133 Second, the family identifies the individual within a group, with its values and with its sacred history.134 It is as family that one is expected to practice generosity and hopes to receive compassion – loyalty and solidarity can be demanded of family members. In the Diaspora, Tobit seems to imply, all Jews belong to the one household in an ethnic and religious sense; the family represents

131 Cf. LEVINE, Women in Tobit, 81, who notes the juxtaposition of references to the wholenes of Tobit’s family in Tob 1:20 and to the brokenness of the Assyrian king’s family in Tob 1:21. 132 SOLL, The Family as Scriptural and Social Construct, 169. 133 BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 50. Cf. also WILLS, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, 78-79; ALBERTZ, Wieviel Pluralismus, 208-211; RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 115. 134 SOLL, The Family as Scriptural and Social Construct, 170. Cf. also DIMANT, The Family of Tobit, 160-165.

Wisdom in Exile


the people of God in miniature.135 Third, and in light of the above, the family is the only place of security and the most important circle of belonging for a Jew outside the homeland.136 The most evident kind of practice that fosters unity and avoids the disintegration of the family is endogamy.137 With the patriarchs of Genesis as authoritative examples, Tobit insists that Tobias marry a woman from their clan in order to strengthen family structure and avoid disorder and destruction (cf. Tob 4:13) Tobit’s instruction may be motivated not simply by a concern to preserve Jewish values but also by economic concerns, an attempt to keep the wealth of the family within the clan. That Tobit has to remind his son and reader of this tradition suggests that some Jews in the Diaspora were marrying outside the clan with regrettable consequences.138 In the absence of a direct acces to the Temple in Jerusalem, Tobit recommends the value of strengthening the family and the community as a worthy but temporary alternative to worship in the Temple, as Psalms 127 and 133 seem to do also139, until God gathers all of his people in the fullness of time (cf. Tob 13:16-18; 14:5). The concern for the survival of the family is paramount in Tobit; if the family endures, Israel also continues. When Tobias leaves home, the dangers he encounters on the road are threats not only to Tobias but also to the continued existence of his family. The fear of Anna that the family will cease to exist has not happened (cf. Tob 5:18-19). Tobias’s personal survival and his marriage to Sarah assure the survival and long-lasting well-being of the family.140 The marriage is also a pointer to the enduring existence of the household of Israel. 135 Cf. BONORA, La famiglia nel libro di Tobia, 61. 136 Cf. RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 121-126. 137 According to Baslez, Tobit recommends the strictest form of endogamy. BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 45. Soll states that Tobit’s marriage to Sarah is the only case in biblical law in which one is obliged to marry another based on kinship. SOLL, The Family as Scriptural and Social Construct, 171. According to Dimant, the idea that social relationships be limited to the clan or family as a way of showing piety is particular to Tobit. DIMANT, The Family of Tobit, 162). Cf. also EGO, Heimat in der Fremde, 278280; Zappella, Tobit, 20-21. 138 Barclay claims that mixed marriages were discouraged in the Diaspora for the sake of purity. BARCLAY, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora, 410-411. 139 Psalms 127 and 133 suggest that the values of family and community are temporary substitutes for the Temple in Jerusalem. ASSIS, Family and Community as Substitutes for the Temple, 55-62. 140 Cf. XERAVITS, Tobiah’s Journey, 92-93. The author claims that it is really for this reason that Tobias does not need to retrieve the money after all, a task that Rafael undertakes.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile Acts of Solidarity Burial, which is a family duty and a tangible sign of evlehmosu,nh in the narrative, is a practice that makes possible the union of the dead Israelite with the fathers or with his kinsmen.141 The dead are incorporated or gathered to the rest of Israel by proper burial, a symbolic restoration and an eschatological act indicating that Israel will endure. Those who have not observed kosher laws and have eaten Gentile food are in effect separated from Israel (cf. Tob 1:10). Since they are scattered in the dispersion, they are, so to speak, outside of the household of Israel. Tobit reclaims and restores them back to the community by burying them upon death. Death is disintegration but burial is restoration and incorporation. If not in life, at least in death, Israel is gathered. As such, burying the dead as an act of evlehmosu,nh is another clear instance of reinterpreting and applying the law to a new circumstance.142 With this type of almsgiving, Tobit enacts and actualizes the eschatological hopes of restoration expressed in his hymn. Ironically, Tobit’s act of reintegrating his people after their death results in his growing grief and isolation. It is no wonder then that, at the height of his desolation, Tobit pleads for death, and in his instructions to his son, asks for a proper funeral for him and his wife and to bury them in one tomb. The performance of evlehmosu,nh or almsgiving, the central ethical demand of Tobit as it is an imitation of God’s manner with his people, is an integrative or unitive practice. By mutual assistance, works of charity build up the community and foster solidarisches Handeln or acts of solidarity.143 The performance of charitable acts, since they can substitute for the cultic sacrifice that is pleasing to God, is a concrete form of remembering God in the Diaspora. In this way, works of charity do not only assist the poor but also illustrate the claim that all Jews belong to the unique people of God.144 The familial ethos has become a communal ethos in Tobit. 141 Cf. EGO, Death and Burial in the Tobit Narration, 89-91. For a discussion of this idea in the OT, cf. KRÜGER, Auf dem Weg ‘zu den Vätern’, 137-144. For a discussion of similarities and differences in terms of the role of burial in Tobit and in the Greek tragedy Antigone, cf. PORTIER-YOUNG, Alleviation of Suffering in the Book of Tobit, 35-36; BOLYKI, Burial as an Ethical Task, 95-98; NARDI, Tobia come Antigone, 385-407. 142 Prof. Costacurta has suggested this line of interpretation to me. 143 Cf. DESELAERS, Das Buch Tobit, 348-358. Cf. also CAVEDO, La speranza del povero in Tobia, 321-324; EGO, Heimat in der Fremde, 276-278; DESILVA, Introducing the Apocrypha, 75. 144 Cf. VIRGULIN, Le opere di carità nel libro di Tobia, 47-48. Cf. Also RABENAU, Studien zum Buch Tobit, 127-134.

Wisdom in Exile


With almsgiving, the purpose of facilitating the internal cohesion of the dispersed community that proper burial of a dead Israelite symbolically achieves is practically attained. This is why the practice of burying the dead is the ultimate and most concrete sign of mercy and compassion, for aid to the dead is extended when they are most helpless and return of favor cannot be expected. What better act of evlehmosu,nh than re-integrating and restoring the separated dead to the household of Israel by proper burial! In his catalogue of solidarisches Handeln towards the unfortunate in Tob 1:16-18, Tobit in fact mentions burial of the dead, along with giving bread to the hungry and clothing the naked, as a mark of the fullness of mercy to the needy.145 By practicing evlehmosu,nh in all its forms, a true Israelite shows communal loyalty and solidarity not only with the living but also with the dead,146 that is, with all of Israel. Such solidarity with the needy fulfills the law and the demands of righteousness.147 Tobit exhorts a religious ethos that is obviously very concrete and practical.148 By suggesting a repertoire of behavior for a community, Tobit implies that Jewish identity is not simply based on national identity. In addition to lineage or ethnic identity, it is a mode of behaving or a particular way of life,149 infused by an ethos of truth, justice and mercy, that fulfills the Mosaic Law and thus constitutes Jewish identity in the Diaspora.150 In fact, the story portrays Ahiqar as one whose distinct trait and qualification for being Jewish is his solidarity with Tobit on the day of necessity and his observance of Tobit’s teaching on evlehmosu,nh (cf. Tob 1:22; 14:10).151 By his deeds of compassion and solidarity in times of need, Ahiqar becomes a member of the family. By presenting Ahiqar as such, Tobit offers a moral ethos that is binding for Diaspora families.152 In sum, ethnicity and ethics comprise Jewish identity. 145 Cf. the analysis of ZENGER, Das alttestamentliche Israel und seine Toten, 138-139. 146 Cf. KÜHN, Totengedenken im Alten Testament, 485. 147 Cf. ZAPPELLA, Tobit, 21: “La Legge di Mosè trova il suo compimento ultimo nella solidarietàcon i “fratelli” bisognosi.” 148 Cf. ENGEL, Auf zuverlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit, 92-98; OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 169-172. 149 Cf. CARR, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, 260. 150 For a discussion of other texts that use ethics and piety as bases for the preservation of Jewish identity, cf. COLLINS, Between Athens and Jerusalem, 137-168. Cf. also ALBERTZ, Wieviel Pluralismus, 213: “Nicht Orthodoxie, sondern Orthopraxie war der Streitpunkt in der nachexilischen Zeit.” 151 Cf. WEIGL, Die rettende Macht der Barmherzigkeit, 221-243. 152 Cf. DIMANT, The Family of Tobit, 162.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile Preferential Option for the Disposition of the Believer With angelic authority, the Book of Tobit recommends that Jews should think and behave not as court officials but as believers. In Tob 12:7, which is a variation on Prov 25:2, Rafael declares that “it is good to conceal the secret of the king and to reveal the works of God.” An excellent court official certainly never reveals the secret of the king. For Tobit, however, an excellent believer not only discloses but more importantly proclaims the marvels of God. These are works that, in the context of Tobit, are actually concealed. A true Israelite has to spread the knowledge of God and his secret but wise ways. In proposing such a disposition by which a Jew can avoid the spell of Hellenism, the aphorism in Tob 12:7 is given a religious content. Against the Greek value that esteems appearance, Tobit recommends that Jews must think and act as believers and not as courtiers. This disposition becomes visible in the act of praise, as Tobit shows in his response to the angel’s revelation. Court stories like Daniel and Esther indicate the likelihood that there were some Jews in the Diaspora who were able to achieve a measure of success as court officials. The danger for a Jewish administrator immersed in a Gentile court is to lose his identity, even to the point of apostasy, like the well-known Joseph of the Tobiad family.153 This is why a Jew is reminded to adopt the disposition of a believer instead of that of a court official.154 With this instruction, Tobit values the preservation of identity even when that person is taken away from the fold. Tobit offers the figure of Ahiqar, who is related to Tobit and is a member of the tribe of Naphtali, as an exemplar of a very successful and influential Jewish official in the pagan courts of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon and yet he managed to maintain his identity and solidarity with his people. The fact that Ahiqar gave his compassionate care 155 to Tobit in a moment of need shows that Ahiqar shared Tobit’s Diaspora ethos of avlh,qeia, dikaiosu,nh, and evlehmosu,nh. Tobit presents Ahiqar as a

153 Cf. SIMPSON, The Book of Tobit, 1:186. 154 BASLEZ, Le roman de Tobit, 42-44. The author notes that with the verb prosanafe,rw in Tob 12 :15, which is a technical verb used when submitting a document to a king, Tobit’s writer betrays his knowledge of court styles and formulas. 155 The verb used to describe the action of Ahiqar is tre,fw in the imperfect which means “to nourish, or provide with food.” According to Portier-Young, the verb creates the image of a person feeding the other as if a child. PORTIER-YOUNG, Alleviation of Suffering in the Book of Tobit, 41.

Wisdom in Exile


concrete illustration of the possibility that a powerful Jew in the Diaspora does not necessarily have to lose his identity while serving in the courts of foreign kings.156 In his evlehmosu,nh for Tobit, Ahiqar was not afraid to reveal the works and the ways of God.


Instruction in the Wisdom of the Fathers

The presence of the instructions in the Tobit narrative suggests the growing importance of the wisdom tradition for the Diaspora. In a new situation of cross-cultural encounter, the need to adopt a proper attitude to life becomes all the more important. An accessible way to effect such formation is by way of education in the family, the basic social unit of belonging and cohesion in the dispersion. In this regard, wisdom as a form of instruction – or torah – for a way of life guided by truth, justice and mercy played a prominent and active role.157 By educating the children for a way of life, they come to know the basic duties and responsibilities of belonging to the people of God. The Diaspora setting of the narrative indicates an existence that is at a threshold. As noted earlier, the journey of Tobias is a rite of passage that points to a liminal phase of life. This long episode in the story serves to underline the liminal circumstances of the families in Tobit. The liminal state characterizes best the life and reality of the dispersion. According to Ronald E. Clements, “it is such periods of experiencing the conditions of liminality which are of immense importance for the introduction and appropriation of significant changes of thought and attitude.”158 The absence of the temple encouraged more anthropocentric ways of preserving the tradition and keeping fidelity to God. Wisdom instructions made this renegotiation possible. Tobit’s wisdom counsels served as a means for re-interpreting the law, reshaping selfidentification, and redefining worldview. Education in Wisdom The story clearly portrays Tobit as a responsible and pious Israelite who, like Moses, never entered the land of Israel again. Tobit was a hero that a Diaspora reader could be proud of. In this way, Tobit’s be-

156 Cf. SCHMITT, Die Achikar-Notiz bei Tobit, 31. 157 Cf. CLEMENTS, Wisdom and Old Testament Theology, 280-284. 158 CLEMENTS, Wisdom in Theology, 27.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

havior serves as a paradigm of a god-fearing life,159 one that is characterized by the active remembrance of God, one that is shaped by the ways of avlh,qeia, dikaiosu,nh, and evlehmosu,nh. Despite the real possibilities of threats and dangers, Tobit remains amazingly faithful to God and his commandments. The narrative presents Tobit’s education of Tobias as a necessity in the dispersion. In a lengthy lecture, Tobit in fact tells Tobias to be educated, that is, to learn the ways of his predecessors and the practices of his ancestors (cf. Tob 4:14) that make for righteousness, a teaching that might well be addressed to the reader. Parents bear the task of teaching their children the ethos that defines their identity as a people. Their duty includes formation in the ways of God, handing on to their children, as Tobit did to Tobias, the accumulated wisdom insights that they received from their ancestors. Tobit has certainly provided a lecture manual as well as the model of pedagogy and the kind of training a child is to receive. Tobit’s wisdom instructions offer thorough guidelines in areas that pertain to family, moral behavior, work, and the day-to-day application of religion to life. Tobit draws up a code of conduct that names which concrete behaviors are desirable and indicative of the active remembrance of God. The reproduction and continuity of these values in Tobias and his children will confirm their belonging to the family. The embodiment of these practical counsels in their lives will identify and express who they truly are, as they did earlier for their ancestors. In other words, the domestic paideia of wisdom does help define the Jewish politeia in the Diaspora. In the throes of change and in the absence of formal institutions, education in the wisdom of the fathers can shape not only the character of the person but also the identity of the community in the dispersion.160 In a largely Gentile world, in a radically changed environment, it becomes necessary for a parent to teach a child the basic values, attitudes and demands that arise from belonging to the Jewish community.161

159 Cf. LORETZ, Roman und Kurzgeschichte in Israel, 324. Cf. also RAVASI, Tobia, 1583. 160 Cf. BELLIA, Proverbi: una lettura storico-antropologica, 90. 161 Cf. CLEMENTS, Wisdom and Old Testament Theology, 273. For Yarbrough, “the very survival of Judaism throughout the Greco-Roman world is evidence enough that many Jewish parents took their obligations seriously.” YARBROUGH, Parents and Children, 49.

Wisdom in Exile

295 Wisdom as Link across Time and Place In its appeal to the wisdom instructions handed on by family ancestors such as Deborah, the narrative arrogates a certain continuity that goes all the way back to the righteous ancestors whose lives the Mosaic Law formed. In this way, the observance of the didactic instructions evinces the continuity of the dispersed community not only across places but also across time. The wisdom of the forebears closely links the present communities in the Diaspora to each other and to those who have gone before them before the rupture of exile. This generational connection by way of wisdom helps define Israel. Just as endogamy emphasizes genealogy and family continuity,162 so the wisdom instructions underscore the historical, religious and ethical continuity of Israel. This way of behaving in the interim is not something spun out of nothing, but actually reproduces that of Tobit’s faithful and righteous ancestors. By partly tracing and attributing what makes for avlh,qeia, dikaiosu,nh and evlehmosu,nh to his grandmother, Tobit has found another avenue that leads to continuity and solidarity with his predecessors. It could be that such practical wisdom, accumulated through generations, played a marginal role while in the land, but in the dispersion it had become the principal means for circumscribing a sense of belonging to the chosen community – this is what the ancestors transmitted, and, in keeping with such an identity, such and such is to be remembered and reproduced in the present. When Tobias and the dispersed reproduce the religious and moral values espoused by the instructions, they convey their fidelity to the one true God of Israel. With no other accessible means, it is now the wisdom of the ancestors which assists in binding the dispersed community to God and to the rest of the elect. In the dispersion, to observe Tobit’s wisdom instructions is in reality to remember or celebrate a memorial of the Lord, to relive in a very concrete manner the past wonders of the Lord in expectation of future ones.163 Memorial or remembrance is not limited to the sphere of the cult; a member of God’s people can make the memorial in the day-to-day choices and activities, in particular those that fall under the realm of ethical behavior. These recommended wise and moral actions will help avoid the danger of forgetting God in foreign lands. Tobit’s reading of the commandment to “remember God always” as instructions rather than as

162 LEVINE, Teachings Jews How to Live, 48. 163 Cf. VUILLEUMIER, Le livre de Tobit, 18-19.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

laws suggests that ethical living in the dispersion is not to be confined to a simple obedience to an external code of conduct but a molding of a way of life that is lived in constant awareness of being in the presence of and in communion with God. In Tobit, wisdom instructions, characterized as Mosaic Law, have become a valid means for fixing boundaries and fostering identity. The Superiority of God’s Wisdom Tobit tells Tobias to seek the counsel of God since no pagan nation has counsel of the quality that comes from God. If they have good wisdom teachings, it is because God has given them (cf. Tob 4:19).164 Tobit thus believes in the superiority of the wisdom counsels that he has received from his ancestors, since these counsels ultimately come from God. God has chosen Israel to embody the wisdom of God; the sapiential insights of Israel are God-given. With the subsequent statement that God has the power to raise whom he wills, and to humble whom he wills to the lowest corners of Hades, Tobit affirms God’s freedom in choosing to grant good counsel or wisdom to Israel.165 In light of this explanatory clause in Tob 4:19, the relationship of Ahiqar to Tobit is not merely literary but also theological. The story patterns the life of Tobit according to the life of Ahiqar. Better yet, Tobit is a type of a judaized Ahiqar.166 Ahiqar is of course famous in the ancient world for his wisdom sayings.167 By means of this portrayal, Tobit acquires the authoritative aura of a great sage such as Ahiqar. More importantly, Ahiqar is merely a nephew of Tobit,168 implying that 164 Dancy considers it surprising to find this slighting reference to pagan wisdom after having quoted Ahiqar but states nonetheless that “the Jews were always in this dilemma in their attitude to gentile wisdom. DANCY, The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha, 32. 165 Cf. DI LELLA, Tobit 4,19 and Romans 9,18, 262-263. According to the author, Paul, with the twofold repetition of the expression o]n eva.n qe,lh|, had Tob 4:19 in mind when he wrote Rom 9:18 in order to stress his theological claim regarding the divine election of Israel, which is equally central in Tobit. 166 LORETZ, Roman und Kurzgeschichte in Israel, 323. 167 The wisdom of Ahiqar is thoroughly downplayed in Tobit. For Tobit, it is not Ahiqar’s wisdom but his solidarity and charity that saves. WEIGL, Die rettende Macht der Barmherzigkeit, n.66, 240. 168 It is interesting to note that except for Ahiqar, all the family members of the Tobit clan bear theophoric names. According to Di Lella, the theophoric proper names hint at the resolution of the story. DI LELLA, Two Major Prayers in the Book of Tobit, 9697. Dion notes the historical grounding of the theophoric names in the story. DION, Deux notes épigraphiques sur Tobit, 416-418.

Wisdom in Exile


one can hardly imagine the kind of wise man his uncle Tobit is.169 By transforming Ahiqar into a nephew in the Tobit story, Tobit has basically claimed for his people the font and source of universally acceptable wisdom known all over the ancient world through the counsels of Ahiqar. This creates the impression that Tobit passes them on as if they were his own. This narrative take on Ahiqar seems to claim that one can trace these popular wisdom counsels to the Jewish family of Tobit. To make Ahiqar Jewish implies that great wisdom counsels found in other nations did in fact come from the God of Israel. Where else could Ahiqar have gotten them but from his wise uncle, in whose people Wisdom has dwelt for a long time?170 This narrative revision or interpretation of Ahiqar and the use of universally acceptable counsels function as an apologia for the superiority of the wisdom teachings of the Jewish ancestors. In a most interesting twist of narrative fate, Tobit’s training of his son Tobias yields a different result than Ahiqar’s guidance of his son Nadab, although both sons received the same education. Tobias delights his father Tobit while Nadab frustrates the plan of his adoptive father for him. Tobias walks in the ways of righteousness and truth but Nadab falls into the pit he himself had dug. This contrast further supports the theological claim of Tobit that the wisdom of Israel is far superior to the wisdom of other nations. There is indeed no wisdom greater than that of God, of which Israel is the recipient and bearer. In this light, the superiority of the wisdom counsels of Israel, handed down across generations from the time of Moses and Solomon, can serve as genuine guides for a people in the midst of a cross-cultural contact in which foreign wisdom traditions compete for allegiance. By presenting the deuteronomic decree as wisdom counsels from Tobit’s ancestors – wisdom insights that are superior to others by virtue of their divine origin – Tobit encourages and inspires the people in the Diaspora to preserve, and to rest secure in, the knowledge of 169 Cf. CABEZUDO MELERO, Historia Episódica, 46-47: “Lo hizo sin mucha habilidad, aludiendo a él como sobrino del viejo Tobit. De esta manera reivindicaba como propia la sabiduría de aquel personaje y la consideraba inferior a la propia pues en cuestiones de sabiduría la mayor edad es mayor garantía.” Cf. also ROTA SCALABRINI, L’Angelo necessario, 880-881. 170 God does grant wisdom to other nations, for wisdom is God’s gift to all. Israel does not monopolize such a divine gift, but it does enjoy a better portion since wisdom settled in Israel. According to Fox, that wisdom is universal “is not the commendation of foreign wisdom but rather the assurance to Jews that they need not look elsewhere to find the sort of wisdom that is so admired by the peoples. Israel has its own philosophia.” FOX, Ideas of Wisdom, 632-633.


Tobit and Wisdom in Exile

their identity as the people who bear God’s wisdom, for God has chosen them to embody His wisdom. By applying the familial to the communal, the elect are to be like the father who transmits and bears wisdom. Like the teachings of Deuteronomy that set the people apart as a wise and discerning nation (cf. Deut 4:6), Tobit’s counsels also imply that the elect of the Lord are not only to be a priestly, prophetic and holy people but also a wise people, a matchless ‘nation of sages.’171 They are to be the embodiment of the wisdom of God, the effects of which are concrete in the lives of his chosen, resulting in avlh,qeia, dikaiosu,nh, and evlehmosu,nh. As Rafael has commanded Tobit and Tobias, they are to proclaim the words or the wisdom of God (cf. Tob 12:6). After all, when God chose Abraham for an unique task in the world, God explains the role of Abraham and his descendants in this manner: “I have singled him out that he may instruct his children and his posterity to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just …” (cf. Gen 18:19). A late wisdom text asserts that the way of the Lord is the way of Wisdom, and in the multitude of the wise depends the salvation of the world (cf. Wis 6:24). When Tobit’s co-religionists acknowledge, extol and proclaim the works of God in their righteous conduct before the nations among whom they have been scattered (cf. Tob 13:3-4), they spread the knowledge of God and God’s wisdom, ultimately leading other nations “to come from afar in the name of God” (cf. Tob 13:13). They become a ‘light to the nations’ in so doing. In the end, Tobit does not reflect on the nature of wisdom, but on the meaning of the privilege to possess it. Tobit expresses the sure conviction that keeping their distinctive identity as the people of God’s wisdom is the road that leads to survival and return; it is the key to salvation. When the bearers of God’s wisdom assert a superior moral and religious ethos, God will be moved to stretch his hand and restore order once again.

171 Cf. FRYMER-KENSKY, The Sage in the Pentateuch, 286-287. Cf. OEMING, Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, 173; ZAPELLA, L’immagine dell’elezione, 194-196.



5.5 Conclusion The wisdom perspective became the most accessible avenue for teaching Jews in the Diaspora how to survive by remaining faithful to their religious tradition. Using the medium of an entertaining narrative, the author desired to form and educate those living in the dispersion how to preserve their identity as members of God’s chosen and how to maintain a personal relationship with God. By emphasizing kinship and an ethos of avlh,qeia, dikaiosu,nh and evlehmosu,nh, Jewish identity is as much an ethical matter as it is an ethnic one. In the wisdom instructions, based on the constant remembrance of God, and presented as an application and extension of the Mosaic Law, the author of Tobit stresses the importance of family and of deeds that foster the solidarity of the community, of a preferential option for the attitude of a believer, of the necessity of education in the accumulated wisdom insights of the ages, and of the superiority of the wisdom of God. Those in the dispersion are to keep in mind that they are to bear and declare God’s words and wisdom in the midst of the nations until the fullness of time when God finally gathers his scattered people and brings them back to their homeland, ultimately the reward for walking in the ways of Wisdom.

General Conclusion In Ballistics: Poems, the American poet Billy Collins writes the following poem entitled Envoy as the last entry in his 2008 book-length collection: Go, little book, out of this house and into the world, carriage made of paper rolling toward town bearing a single passenger beyond the reach of this jittery pen far from the desk and the nosy gooseneck lamp. It is time to decamp, put on a jacket and venture outside, time to be regarded by other eyes, bound to be held in foreign hands. So off you go, infants of the brain, with a wave and some bits of fatherly advice: stay out as late as you like, don’t bother to call or write, and talk to as many strangers as you can.

The ingenuity of the poem lies in the way the conventional fatherly instructions are given a spin, negated in fact. Normally, if a child is to be out for the evening, the father would advise his child to be home early. If the child is to be late, the child has to call. If the child is traveling alone, the child is reminded not to talk to strangers. Given the context, the so-called “fatherly advice” acquires a different meaning. The poem is the last in the book, which the poet is about to send into publication and into the “foreign hands” of readers. The advice is directed to a book, personified in the poem. It would be a great book, if it is read late into the night, if the author does not receive complaints,


General Conclusion

and if it reaches as many readers as possible. Put simply, the measure of the book’s success is if the book about to depart the author’s desk follows the paternal advice of the author. Instructions, even familiar ones, acquire better sense when they are taken in their proper contexts. Every piece of advice, if it is to be useful at all, takes a given situation and the recipient of the advice into consideration. In the Book of Tobit, one finds a long lecture that consists of fatherly counsels to a son in Tobit 4. Before Tobit sends Tobias into the world outside of the home for a mission that involves a long journey, the outcome of which is uncertain, he advises his son on the essentials of life. It is this narrative context which gives meaning and specificity to a seemingly arbitrary list of paternal counsels. Moreover, the author of the Book of Tobit wrote his narrative for those in the Dispersion as his readers. It is in light of this larger context that the paternal instructions in Tobit 4 are also to be read if they are to make any sense at all. From various narrative indications, it is evident that the author had this wider socio-historical circumstance in mind when he included these wisdom sayings in his story. The Book of Tobit with its wisdom lecture is the sage’s envoy. In this central regard, the present study contributes to Tobit scholarship in two ways: first, by taking these significant contexts into serious consideration in investigating the instructions of Tobit 4, and second, by emphasizing through Tobit’s wisdom counsels the vital role of the sapiential tradition in Second Temple Judaism in the formation of a Jewish identity in the Diaspora. With the wisdom discourse as a starting point, the Book of Tobit is examined not so much as a story about innocent suffering but as a story about a particular response to the problem of the real split between divine promise and historical event. The study has revealed that the wisdom instructions of Tobit 4 are not a random collection of proverbial sayings. They follow a structure or an inner logic that proceeds from the general to the particular. Instances of concrete behavioral admonitions manifest and realize the general instructions. The instruction, “remember the Lord always and avoid violating his commandments,” is identified as the Lex generalis from which flow the three instructions on righteousness, self-discipline and prayer. Practical exhortations in turn instantiate them. The structure is significant since it shows that the author of Tobit has interpreted a fundamental deuteronomic command from the point of view of wisdom, supplying it a content of sapiential counsels. Tobit takes this basic command of remembrance and applies it to the present circumstances, characterized as a land where disorder and dark forces of chaos seem

General Conclusion


to prevail, by proposing practical paternal admonitions and rules of life, the observance of which fulfills the demands of righteousness and realizes the deuteronomic decree not to forget the Lord. While Deuteronomy addresses the instruction to the public, the Book of Tobit employs the narrative pretense of doing it in the privacy of the household, whence the influence of wisdom then spreads out into the wider community, like ripples extend outwards in water when a stone is thrown into a pool. In Tobit, the remembrance of God constitutes and stabilizes the foundation of self-understanding and identity-making of the dispersed community. The observance of Tobit’s wisdom counsels manifests such an act of remembrance in a concrete way. In the Diaspora, this functions as the basis of one’s personal relationship with God and grounds the hope for God’s saving help. There are two ways by which the author of Tobit, who is likely a sage-scholar from Jerusalem, has claimed authority for this move: first, the author, in presenting the wisdom counsels as an explanation and expansion of the Mosaic Law, employs the hermeneutic of Deuteronomy prevalent in the Second Temple era; second, the author appeals to the tradition of the ancients by presenting the instructions as part of the teaching legacy of Tobit’s righteous grandmother Deborah. With the Didache as key, Tobit is understood against or contextualized within the complex realities of Second Temple Judaism. In light of this, it is claimed that Tobit signifies or witnesses to that gradual shift from a cultic to a teaching-based Judaism. The study has also shown that the wisdom counsels are organically embedded in a coherent narrative that extensively alludes to Exodus, the canonical story of movement and dislocation in the Hebrew Bible. This literary design hints at the importance of the wisdom instructions to the social world the narrative assumes. Hidden within Tobit is a kind of instruction manual for an effective way of being and living in the Diaspora. The wisdom instructions are meant not only to guide Tobias but also to shape the behavior of those in the Diaspora according to a distinct religious ethos of truth, compassion and righteousness. Identity then is ethical as it is ethnic. Just as Tobias returned home successfully thanks to the formation and education in wisdom he received from his father, so too it is hoped that those in the Dispersion, understood by the narrative in terms of exile, will one day return to the homeland provided that they are formed and educated in the wise ways of God embodied in Tobit’s wisdom counsels. The Book of Tobit then is a text that heavily relies on wisdom in its attempt to reinterpret, renegotiate and rethink what it means to remain faithful to that which defined Jewish identity and history before the


General Conclusion

central institutions of ancient Judaism fell apart. The narrative shows Tobit picking up the pieces from among the ruins of the shattered worldview of the covenant traditions and building something from them. Tobit is one particular voice that employed the resources of the wisdom tradition in the discourse of how to reinterpret the conventional traditions of the covenant faith during Second Temple times. Wisdom became a valuable tool in constructing something personal and new, yet also in continuity with the past, albeit not directly linked to the cultic traditions of the covenant. For Tobit, to learn the way of wisdom is to learn the way of righteousness. It is therefore unsurprising to find traces in the Book of Tobit not only of elements essential to the wisdom tradition but also of emerging themes and interests that will find full articulation in later Jewish wisdom writings. This is understandable since the sapiential tradition is the most readily accessible tradition for guiding how those scattered outside the land are to preserve their identity and maintain their fidelity and connection to their religious traditions. Without definite geographical boundaries, the wisdom tradition has become a defining hallmark of the boundaries of identity. Tobit recommends the way of wisdom not only as a continuous link to the ancestral past but also as a way to preserve righteousness while away from the land. In this light, by bearing witness to a greater wisdom as they find expression and embodiment in Tobit’s counsels – a more excellent way because of their divine source – it is hoped that God will one day in the time of kairós lead and gather those in the Diaspora home.

Bibliography ABRAHAMS, Israel, “Tobit and Genesis,” in: JQR 5 (1892-1893) 348-350. ABRAMS, M.H., A Glossary of Literary Terms, Fort Worth, 51988. ACHTEMEIER, Elizabeth, “Righteousness in the OT,” in: IDB 4, Nashville 1962, 80-85. ADAMS, Samuel L., Wisdom in Transition. Act and Consequence in Second Temple Instructions (JSJSup 125), Leiden, 2008. AITKEN, James K., “Hebrew Study in Ben Sira’s Beth Midrash,” in: HORBURY, William (ed.), Hebrew Study from Ezra to Ben-Yehuda, Edinburgh 1999, 2737. AITKEN, James K., “Apocalyptic, Revelation and Early Jewish Wisdom Literature,” in: HARLAND, Peter J./HAYWARD, Robert (eds.), New Heaven & New Earth. Prophecy & the Millennium. Essays in Honour of Anthony Gelston (VTSup 77), Leiden 1999, 181-193. AITKEN, James K., “Divine Will and Providence,” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate (ed.), Ben Sira’s God: Proceedings of the International Ben Sira Conference Durham – Ushaw College 2001 (BZAW 321), Berlin 2002, 282-301. ALBERTZ, Rainer, “Wieviel Pluralismus kann sich eine Religion leisten? Zum religionsinternen Pluralismus im alten Israel,” in: MEHLHAUSEN, Joachim (ed.), Pluralismus und Identität (VWGTh 8), Gütersloh 1995, 193-213. ALBERTZ, Rainer, Die Exilszeit. 6. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Biblische Enzyklopädie 7), Stuttgart 2001. ALLEN, Leslie C., “rkz,” in: NIDOTTE 1, Grand Rapids 1997, 1100-1106. ALONSO DÍAZ, J., “Tobit curado de su ceguera (Tb 11, 7-8),” in: Cultura Biblica 26 (1969) 67-72. ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Luis, Rut.Tobías.Judit.Ester (Los libros sagrados 8), Madrid 1973. ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Luis, “hxm,” in: TDOT 8, Stuttgart 1974, 227-231. ALONSO SCHÖKEL, Luis/VÍLCHEZ LÍNDEZ, José, Proverbios (NBE. Sapienciales 1), Madrid 1984. ALSTER, Bendt, The Instructions of Suruppak: A Sumerian Proverb Collection (Mesopotamia: Copenhagen Studies in Assyriology 2), Copenhagen 1974. ALSTER, Bendt, Wisdom of Ancient Sumer, Bethesda, 2005. ALT, Albrecht, “Solomonic Wisdom,” in: CRENSHAW, James L. (ed.), Studies in Ancient Israelite Wisdom, New York 1976, 102-112. ALTER, Robert, The Art of Biblical Narrative, New York 1981.



ALTER, Robert, The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age, New York 1989. ALTER, Robert, The World of Biblical Literature, London 1992. AMIT, Yaira, Reading Biblical Narratives: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible, Minneapolis 2001. ANDERSON, Gary A., Sin. A History, New Haven 2009. ANDERSON, Gary A., “Redeem Your Sins by the Giving of Alms: Sin, Debt and the “Treasury of Merit” in Early Jewish and Christian Tradition,” in: Letter & Spirit 3 (2007) 37-67. ANDERSON, Gary A., “The Book of Tobit and the Canonical Ordering of the Book of the Twelve,” in: WAGNER, J. Ross/ROWE, C. Kavin/GRIEB, A. Katherine (eds.), The Word Leaps the Gap: Essays on Scripture and Theology in Honor of Richard B. Hays, Grand Rapids 2008, 67-75. ARNALDICH, Luis, “Tobit,” in: IDEM, Libros históricos del Antiguo Testamento (Bíblia Comentada 2), Madrid 1961, 768-813. ASSIS, Elie, “Family and Community as Substitutes for the Temple after its Destruction: New Readings in Psalms 127 and 133,” in: EpTheoLov 85 (2009) 55-62. AUDET, Jean-Paul, “Origines comparées de la double tradition de la loi et de la sagesse dans le Proche-Orient ancien,” in: Proceedings of the XXVth International Congress of Orientalists 1960, Moscow, Moscow 1962, 352-357. AUERBACH, Erich, Mimesis. The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, Princeton 1968. AUNEAU, Joseph, “Écrits didactiques (Tobie–Judith–Baruch),” in: IDEM (ed.), Les Psaumes et les autres Écrits (Petite Bibliothèque des Sciences Bibliques Ancien Testament 5), Paris 1990, 353-387. AUWERS, Jean-Marie, “La tradition vieille latine du livre de Tobie. Un état de la question,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 1-21. AUWERS, Jean-Marie, “Traduire le livre de Tobie pour la liturgie,” in: RTL 37 (2006) 179-199. BARCLAY, John M.G., Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexandria to Trajan (323 BCE – 117 CE), Edinburgh 1996. BAR-EFRAT, Shimon, Narrative Art in the Bible, London, 2004. BARKER, Margaret, “The Archangel Rafael in the Book of Tobit,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), New York 2006, 118-128. BARR, James, “The Question of Religious Influence: The Case of Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity,” in: JAAR 53 (1985) 201-235. BARRÉ, Michael L., “Fear of God and the Worldview of Wisdom,” in: BTB 11 (1981) 41-43.



BARRÍA IROUMÉ, Cristián, “El matrimonio de Tobías y la sexualidad,” in: Teología y Vida 46 (2005) 675-697. BARTHÉLEMY, D./RICKENBACHER, O., Konkordanz zum Hebräischen Sirach mit Syrisch-Hebräischen Index, Göttingen 1973. BASLEZ, Marie-Françoise, “Le roman de Tobit. Un judaïsme entre deux mondes,” in: ABADIE, Ph./LÉMONON, J.-P. (eds.), Le judaïsme à l'aube de l'ère Chrétienne, Paris 2001, 29-50. BAUCKHAM, Richard, “Anna of the Tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36-38),” in: RB 104 (1997) 161-191. BAUCKHAM, Richard, “Tobit as a Parable for the Exiles of Northern Israel,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 140-164. BAUMANN, Gerlinde, Die Weisheitsgestalt in Proverbien 1–9: Traditionsgeschichtliche und theologische Studien (FAT 16), Tübingen 2006. BAUMGARTEN, Joseph, “The Seductress of 4Q184,” in: RevQ 15 (1991) 133-143. BAYER, Bathja, “Tobit, Book of: In the Arts,” in: EJ 20, Detroit 22007, 13-14. BECKER, Joachim, Gottesfurcht im alten Testament (AnBib 25), Rome 1965. BEENTJES, Pancratius C., The Book of Ben Sira in Hebrew. A Text Edition of all Extant Hebrew Manuscripts and A Synopsis of all Parallel Hebrew Ben Sira Texts (VTSup 68), Leiden – New York – Köln: Brill, 1997. BELLIA, G., “Proverbi: una lettura storico-antropologica,” in: BELLIA G./PASSARO, A. (eds.), Libro dei Proverbi. Tradizione, redazione, teologia, Casale Monferrato 1999, 55-90. BERLIN, Adele, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative (Bible and Literature Series 9), Sheffield 1983. BERLIN, Adele, The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism. Revised and Expanded, Grand Rapids 2008. BERQUIST, Jon L., Judaism in Persia’s Shadow: A Social and Historical Approach, Minneapolis 1995. BERTRAM, Georg, “paideu,w, paidei,a, paideuth,j, a,pai,deutoj, paidagwgo,j,” in: TDNT 5, Grand Rapids 1979, 596-625. BERTRAND, Daniel A., “Le chevreau d’Anna: La signification de l’anecdotique dans le livre de Tobit,” in: RHPR 68 (1988) 269-274. BERTRAND, Daniel A., “‘Un bâton de vieillesse’, à propos de Tobit 5,23 et 10,4 (Vulgate),” in: RHPR 71 (1991) 33-37. BEYER, Hermann W., “euvlo,gew, eu.loghto,j, euvlogi,a, evneuloge,w,” in: TDNT 2, Grand Rapids 1964, 754-765. BEYER, Klaus, Die aramäischen Texte vom Toten Meer: samt den Inschriften aus Palästina, dem Testament Levis aus der Kairoer Genisa, der Fastenrolle und den alten talmudischen Zitaten: Aramaistische Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung, Deutung, Grammatik/Wörterbuch, Deutsch-aramäische Wortliste, Register, Göttingen 1994.



BEYERLE, Stefan, “‘Release Me to Go to My Everlasting Home ...’ (Tob 3:6): A Belief in an Afterlife in Late Wisdom Literature?,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 71-88. BICKERMAN, Elias J., The Jews in the Greek Age, Cambridge 1988. BIRCH, Bruce C., “Old Testament Ethics,” in: PERDUE, Leo G. (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible, Oxford 2001, 293-307. BLENKINSOPP, Joseph, “Biographical Patterns in Biblical Narrative,” in: JSOT 20 (1981) 27-46. BLENKINSOPP, Joseph, ”The Sage, the Scribe, and Scribalism in the Chronicler’s Work,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 307-315. BLENKINSOPP, Joseph “The Social Context of the ‘Outsider Woman’ in Prov 1– 9,” in: Bib 72 (1991) 455-473. BLENKINSOPP, Joseph, Sage, Priest, Prophet: Religious and Intellectual Leadership in Ancient Israel (Library of Ancient Israel), Louisville 1995. BLENKINSOPP, Joseph, Wisdom and Law in the Old Testament: The Ordering of Life in Israel and Early Judaism, Revised Edition (The Oxford Bible Series), Oxford 1995. BOCCACCINI, Gabriele, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel, Grand Rapids 2002. BOLYKI, János, “Burial as an Ethical Task in the Book of Tobit, in the Bible and in the Greek Tragedies,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 89-101. BONORA, Antonio, “La famiglia nel libro di Tobia,” in: PSV 14 (1986) 59-72. BONORA, Antonio, ”La ‘donna straniera’ in Pr 1–9,” RStB 6 (1994) 101-109. BONORA, Antonio, ”Libro di Tobia,” in: BONORA, Antonio/PRIOTTO, M. (eds.), Libri Sapienziali e altri scritti (Logos Corso di Studi Biblici 4), Torino 1997, 161-172. BÖSTROM, Lennart, The God of the Sages: The Portrayal of God in the Book of Proverbs (Coniectanea Biblica Old Testament Series 29), Stockholm 1990. BOW, Beverly, “Anna 1,” in: MEYERS, Carol (ed.), Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament, Boston 2000, 49-50. BOW, Beverly, “Deborah 3,” in: MEYERS, Carol (ed.), Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament, Boston 2000, 68.



BOW, Beverly, “Sarah 2,” in: MEYERS, Carol (ed.), Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament, Boston 2000, 152-153. BOW, Beverly/NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Patriarchy with a Twist: Men and Women in Tobit,” in LEVINE, Amy-Jill (ed.), “Women Like This”: New Perspectives on Jewish Women in the Greco-Roman World, Atlanta 1991, 127-143. BREDIN, Mark, “The Significance of Jonah in Vaticanus (B) Tobit 14.4 and 8,” in: IDEM (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 43-58. BRICHTO, Herbert C., Toward a Grammar of Biblical Poetics: Tales of the Prophets, New York 1992. BRODIE, Louis T., “The Mystery of Tobit,” in: TBT 96 (1978) 1628-1630. BROOKE, George J., “Biblical Interpretation in the Wisdom Texts from Qumran,” in: HEMPEL, C./LANGE, A./LICHTENBERGER, H. (eds.), The Wisdom Texts from Qumran and the Development of Sapiential Thought (BETL 159), Leuven 2002, 201-220. BROWN, Teresa R., “God and Men in Israel’s History: God and Idol Worship in Praise of the Fathers (Sir 44-50),” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate (ed.), Ben Sira’s God: Proceedings of the International Ben Sira Conference Durham – Ushaw College 2001 (BZAW 321), Berlin 2002, 214-220. BROWN, William P., Character in Crisis: A Fresh Approach to the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament, Grand Rapids 1996. BROWN, William P., “The Pedagogy of Proverbs 10:1-31:9,” in: IDEM (ed.), Character and Scripture: Moral Formation, Community, and Biblical Interpretation, Grand Rapids 2002, 150-182. BRUEGGEMANN, Walter, “The Epistemological Crises of Israel’s Two Histories (Jer 9:22-23),” in: GAMMIE, John G. et al (eds.), Israelite Wisdom: Theological and Literary Essays in Honor of Samuel Terrien, Missoula 1978, 85-105. BRUEGGEMANN, Walter, “Bounded by Obedience and Praise: The Psalms as Canon,” in: JSOT 50 (1991) 63-92. BRUEGGEMANN, Walter, “The Book of Exodus: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections,” in: The New Interpreter’s Bible 1, Nashville 1994, 674-981. BRYCE, Glendon E., A Legacy of Wisdom: The Egyptian Contribution to the Wisdom of Israel, Cranbury 1979. BULTMANN, Rudolf, “The Greek and Hellenistic use of avlh,qeia,” in: TDNT 1, Grand Rapids 1964, 238-251. BUSTO SAIZ, J.R., “Algunas aportaciones de la Vetus Latina para una nueva edición crítica del libro de Tobit,” in: Sefarad 38 (1978) 53-69. CABEZUDO MELERO, Enrique, Historia Episódica. Rut, Tobías, Judit y Ester (El mensaje del Antiguo Testamento 10), Estella (Navarra) 1992, 43-100.



CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria, En el crisol de la prueba: Estudio exegético de Sir 2,1-18 (ABE 32), Estella (Navarra) 1997. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria, Un gioiello di sapienza. Leggendo Siracide 2, Milano 2001. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria, “Il kairós dei Proverbi,” in: Ho theologòs 19 (2001) 287-298. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria, “God, Creator of All,” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate (ed.), Ben Sira’s God: Proceedings of the International Ben Sira Conference Durham – Ushaw College 2001 (BZAW 321), Berlin 2002, 79-100. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria, “El libro de Tobías, una historia de familia,” in: La Sagrada Familia en el Siglo XX. Actas del Sexto Congreso Internacional sobre la Sagrada Familia en ocasión del Año Internacional Gaudí arquitecto del Templo de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona 2003, 49-60. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria, “Dreams and Folly in Sir 34(31),1-8,” in: FISHER, Irmtraud/RAPP, Ursula/SCHILLER, Johannes (eds.), Auf der Spuren der schriftgelehrten Weisen. Festschrift für Johannes Marböck anlässlich seiner Emeritierung (BZAW 331), Berlin 2003, 242-252. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Nuria, “I fondamenti della teologia di Ben Sira. Sapienza e timore del Signore (Sir 1),” in: PdV 48 (2003) 15-22. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria, “Sapienziali, Libri,” in: PENNA, Romano/PEREGO, Giacomo/RAVASI, Gianfranco (eds.), Temi teologici della Bibbia (I dizionari San Paolo), Cinisello Balsamo 2010, 1250-1267. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria, “Timore di Dio,” in: PENNA, Romano/PEREGO, Giacomo/RAVASI, Gianfranco (eds.), Temi teologici della Bibbia (I dizionari San Paolo), Cinisello Balsamo 2010, 1423-1431. CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria/PAHK, J. Yeong-Sik, La preghiera dei Saggi: la preghiera nel Pentateuco Sapienziale (Bibbia e Preghiera), Rome 2004. CAMP, Claudia V., Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbs (Bible and Literature Series 11), Sheffield, 1985. CAMP, Claudia V., “What’s so Strange about the Strange Woman?», in JOBLING, David et al. (eds.), The Bible and the Politics of Exegesis. Essays in Honor of Norman K. Gottwald on his Sixty-fifth Birthday, Cleveland 1991, 17-31. CAMPBELL, Joseph, The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Bollingen Series 17), Princeton 1973. CANTERA ORTÍZ DE URBINA, J., “Paul Claudel y la Bíblia. Comentarios en torno a su obra teatral L’Histoire de Tobie et de Sara,” in: Sefarad 46 (1986) 89-103. CAROLL, Robert P., “Deportation and Diasporic Discourses in the Prophetic Literature,” in: SCOTT, James M. (ed.), Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, And Christian Conceptions (JSJSup 56), Leiden 1997, 63-85. CAROLL, Robert P., “Exile! What Exile? Deportation and the Discourses of Diaspora,” in: GRABBE, Lester L. (ed.), Leading Captivity Captive: ‘The Exile’ as History and Ideology (JSOTSup 278), Sheffield 1998, 63-79.



CARR, David M., Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature, Oxford 2005. CARR, David M., “The Rise of Torah,” in: KNOPPERS, Gary N./LEVINSON, Bernard M. (eds.), The Pentateuch as Torah: New Models for Understanding its Promulgation and Acceptance, Winona Lake 2007, 39-56. CAVEDO, R., “La speranza del povero in Tobia,” in: Evangelizare pauperibus. Atti della XXIV Settimana Biblica, Brescia 1978, 317-324. CERESKO, Anthony R., “The Sage in the Psalms,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 217-230. CHAPMAN, Stephen B., “‘The Law and the Words’ as a Canonical Formulation within the Old Testament,” in: EVANS, Craig A. (ed.), The Interpretation of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity: Studies in Language and Tradition (Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity 7), Sheffield 2000, 26-74. CHARLAND, Pierre, Le jeune Tobias et son ange: Filiation, autonomie et identité (Collection notre temps 64), Montreal 2006. CHESTER, Andrew, “Citing the Old Testament,” in: CARSON, D.A./ WILLIAMSON, Hugh G.M. (eds.), It is Written: Scripture Citing Scripture: Essays in Honour of Barnabas Lindars, SSF, Cambridge 1988, 141-169. CHILDS, Brevard S., Memory and Tradition in Israel (SBT 37), London 1962. CHILDS, Brevard S., The Book of Exodus: A Critical, Theological Commentary (OTL), Philadelphia 1974. CHILDS, Brevard S., Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context, Philadelphia 1985. CHRISTIAN, Mark A., “Reading Tobit Backwards and Forwards: In Search of ‘Lost Halakhah’”, in: Henoch 28 (2006) 63-95. CLEMENTS, Ronald E., Wisdom in Theology: The Didsbury Lectures, 1989, Carlisle 1992. CLEMENTS, Ronald E., “Wisdom and Old Testament Theology,” in: DAY, John/GORDON, Robert P./WILLIAMSON, Hugh G.M. (eds.), Wisdom in Ancient Israel: Essays in Honour of J.A. Emerton, Cambridge 1995, 269-286. CLIFFORD, Richard J., The Wisdom Literature (IBT), Nashville 1998. COLLINS, John J., Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora, New York 1986. COLLINS, John J., “The Sage in the Apocalyptic and Pseudepigraphic Literature,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 343-354. COLLINS, John J., Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age (OTL), Louisville 1997. COLLINS, John J., “Wisdom Reconsidered, in Light of the Scrolls,” in: DSD 4 (1997) 265-281. COLLINS, John J., Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, Minneapolis 2004.



COLLINS, John J., “The Judaism of the Book of Tobit,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 23-40. CONNOLLY, Seán, Bede: On Tobit and On the Canticle of Habakkuk, Dublin 1997. CONYBEARE, F.C./HARRIS, J. Rendel/LEWIS, Agnes S., The Story of Ahikar from the Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Greek and Slavonic Versions, London 1898. COOGAN, Michael D., The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, New York 2006. COOK, Edward M., “Our Translated Tobit,” in: CATHCART, Kevin J./MAHER, Michael (eds.), Targumic and Cognate Studies: Essays in Honour of Martin McNamara (JSOTSup 230), Sheffield 1996, 153-162. CORLEY, Jeremy, “Rediscovering Tobit,” in: SB 29 (1999) 22-31. CORLEY, Jeremy, “God as Merciful Father in Ben Sira and the New Testament,” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate (ed.), Ben Sira’s God: Proceedings of the International Ben Sira Conference Durham – Ushaw College 2001 (BZAW 321), Berlin 2002, 33 -38. CORTÉS, Enric, Los discursos de adiós de Gn 49 a Jn 13-17. Pista para la historia de un género literario en la antigua literatura judía, Barcelona 1976. COSTACURTA, Bruna, La vita minacciata. Il tema della paura nella Bibbia Ebraica (AnBib 119), Roma 21997. COUSLAND, J. Robert C., “Tobit: A Comedy in Error?,” in: CBQ 65 (2003) 535553. CRAGHAN, John F., Esther, Judith, Tobit, Jonah, Ruth (OTM 16), Wilmington 1982. CRAWFORD, Sidnie W., “Lady Wisdom and Dame Folly at Qumran,” DSD 5 (1998) 355-366. CRAVEN, Toni, “‘From Where Will My Help Come?’ Women and Prayer in the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books,” in: MARRS Rick R./GRAHAM, Patrick M./MCKENZIE, Steven L. (eds.), Worship in the Hebrew Bible: Essays in Honor of John T. Willis (JSOTSup 284), Sheffield 1999, 95-109. CRAVEN, Toni, “Women as Teachers of Torah in the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books,” in: LUKER, Lamontte M. (ed.), Passion, Vitality, and Foment: The Dynamics of Second Temple Judaism, Harrisburg 2001, 275-289. CRENSHAW, James L., “Method in Determining Wisdom Influence upon ‘Historical Literature’,” in: JBL 58 (1969) 129-142. CRENSHAW, James L., “The Wisdom Literature,” in: KNIGHT, Douglas A./TUCKER, Gene M. (eds.), The Hebrew Bible and its Modern Interpreters, Philadelphia 1985, 369-407. CRENSHAW, James L., “The Acquisition of Knowledge in Israelite Wisdom Literature,” in: IDEM, Urgent Advice and Probing Questions: Collected Writings on Old Testament Wisdom, Macon 1995, 292-299.



CRENSHAW, James L., “The Concept of God in Old Testament Wisdom,” in: IDEM, Urgent Advice and Probing Questions: Collected Writings on Old Testament Wisdom, Macon 1995, 191-205. CRENSHAW, James L., “Murphy’s Axiom: Every Gnomic Saying Needs a Balancing Corrective,” in: IDEM, Urgent Advice and Probing Questions: Collected Writings on Old Testament Wisdom, Macon 1995, 344-352. CRENSHAW, James L., “The Restraint of Reason, the Humility of Prayer,” in: IDEM, Urgent Advice and Probing Questions: Collected Writings on Old Testament Wisdom, Macon 1995, 206-221. CRENSHAW, James L., “The Primacy of Listening in Ben Sira’s Pedagogy,” in: BARRÉ, Michael L. (ed.), Wisdom, You are My Sister: Studies in Honor of Roland E. Murphy, on the occasion of His Eightieth Birthday (CBQMS 29), Washington D.C. 1997, 172-187. CRENSHAW, James L., Education in Ancient Israel: Across the Deadening Silence (ABRL), New York 1998. CRENSHAW, James L., Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction. Revised and Enlarged, Louisville 1998. CRENSHAW, James L., Prophets, Sages, & Poets, St. Louis 2006. CROUCH, JAMES E., The Origin and Intention of the Colossian Haustafel (FRLANT 109), Göttingen 1972. DAMROSCH, David, The Narrative Covenant: Transformations of Genre in the Growth of Biblical Literature, San Francisco 1987. DANCY, J.C., The Shorter Books of the Apocrypha: Tobit, Judith, Rest of Esther, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, Additions to Daniel and Prayer of Manasseh (CBC), Cambridge 1972. DAVIES, G.I., “Were There Schools in Ancient Israel?,” in: DAY, John/GORDON, Robert P./WILLIAMSON, Hugh G.M. (eds.), Wisdom in Ancient Israel: Essays in Honour of J.A. Emerton, Cambridge 1995, 199-211. DAVIES, Philip R., “Exile? What Exile? Whose Exile,” in: GRABBE, Lester L. (ed.), Leading Captivity Captive: ‘The Exile’ as History and Ideology (JSOTSup 278), Sheffield 1998, 128-138. DAVIES, Philip R., “Didactic Stories,” in: CARSON, D.A./O’BRIEN, Peter T./SEIFRID, Mark A. (eds.), Justification and Variegated Nomism, I. The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism, Tübingen 2001, 99-133. DAY, Linda, “Power, Otherness, and Gender in the Biblical Short Stories,” in: Horizons in Biblical Theology 20 (1998) 109-127. DE CARLO, Giuseppe, “Ti indico la via.” La ricerca della sapienza come itinerario formativo, Bologna 2003. DE LANGE, Nicholas R.M., Apocrypha: Jewish Literature of the Hellenistic Age, New York 1978. DE LONG, Kindalee P., Surprised by God. Praise Responses in the Narrative of LukeActs (BZNW 166), Berlin 2009.



DELCOR, Mathias, “The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Hellenistic Period,” in: DAVIES, W.D./FINKELSTEIN, Louis (eds.), The Cambridge History of Judaism II: The Hellenistic Age, Cambridge 1989, 409-503. DELL’OCA, E.C., “El libro de Tobit,” Revista Bíblica 122 (1960) 214-217. DE VAUX, Roland, Les Institutions de l’Ancien Testament I. Le Nomadisme et ses Survivances, Institutions Familiales, Institutions Civiles, Paris 1958. DELL, Katharine J., The Book of Job as Sceptical Literature (BZAW 197), Berlin 1991. DELL, Katharine J., ‘Get Wisdom, Get Insight’: An Introduction to Israel’s Wisdom Literature, London 2000. DELL, Katharine J., “Wisdom Literature,” in: PERDUE, Leo G. (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible, Oxford 2001, 418-431. DELL, Katharine J., The Book of Proverbs in Social and Theological Context, Cambridge 2006. DELL, Katharine J., “Proverbs 1–9: Issues of Social and Theological Contexts,” in: Int 63 (2009) 229-240. DESELAERS, Paul, Das Buch Tobit: Studien zu seiner Entstehung, Komposition und Theologie (OBO 43), Freiburg 1982. DESELAERS, Paul, “Jahwe – der Arzt seines Volkes. Das Buch Tobit als Beispiel biblischer Heilslehre,” in: Geist und Leben 55 (1982) 294-303. DESELAERS, Paul, Das Buch Tobit (Geistliche Schriftlesung 2), Düsseldorf 1990. DESILVA, David A., Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance, Grand Rapids 2002. DI LELLA, Alexander A., “The Deuteronomic Background of the Farewell Discourse in Tob 14:3-11,” in: CBQ 41 (1979) 380-389. DI LELLA, Alexander A., “The Meaning of Wisdom in Ben Sira,” in: PERDUE, Leo G./SCOTT, Bernard B. (eds.), In Search of Wisdom: Essays in Memory of John G. Gammie, Louisville 1993, 133-148. DI LELLA, Alexander A., “The Book of Tobit and the Book of Judges: An Intertextual Analysis,” in: Henoch 22 (2000) 197-205. DI LELLA, Alexander A., “God and Wisdom in the Theology of Ben Sira,” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate (ed.), Ben Sira’s God: Proceedings of the International Ben Sira Conference Durham – Ushaw College 2001 (BZAW 321), Berlin 2002, 3-17. DI LELLA, Alexander A., “Two Major Prayers in the Book of Tobit,” in: EGGERWENZEL, Renate/CORLEY, Jeremy (eds.), Prayer from Tobit to Qumran: Inaugural Conference of the ISDCL at Salzburg, Austria, 5 - 9 July 2003 (DCLY 2004), Berlin 2004, 95-115. DI LELLA, Alexander A., “Ben Sira’s Praise of the Ancestors of Old (Sir 44–49): The History of Israel as Parenetic Apologetics,” in: CALDUCH-BENAGES, Nuria/LIESEN, Jan (eds.), History and Identity: How Israel’s Later Authors Viewed Its Earlier History (DCLY 2006), Berlin 2006, 151-170.



DI LELLA, Alexander A., “A Study of Tobit 14:10 and its Intertextual Parallels,” in: CBQ 71 (2009) 497-506. DI LELLA, Alexander A., “Tobit 4,19 and Romans 9,18: an Intertextual Study,” in: Bib 90 (2009) 260-263. DIMANT, Devorah, “Use and Interpretation of Mikra in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha,” in: MULDER, M.J. (ed.), Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (CRINT 2), Assen/Maastrict 1988, 379-419. DIMANT, Devorah, ”The Qumran Manuscripts: Contents and Significance,” in: DIMANT, Devorah/SCHIFFMAN, Lawrence (eds.), Time to Prepare the Way in the Wilderness: Papers on the Qumran Scrolls by Fellows of the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1989-1990 (STDJ 16), Leiden 1995, 23-58. DIMANT, Devorah, “The Family of Tobit,” in: DOBOS, Károly D./KÖSZEGHY, Miklós (eds.), With Wisdom as a Robe: Qumran and other Jewish Studies in Honor of Ida Fröhlich (Hebrew Bible Monographs 21), Sheffield 2008, 160165. DIMANT, Devorah, “The Book of Tobit and the Qumran Halakhah,” in: DIMANT, Devorah/KRATZ, Reinhard G. (eds.), The Dynamics of Language and Exegesis at Qumran (FAT 35), Tübingen 2009, 121-143. DIMANT, Devorah, “Tobit in Galilee,” in: GALIL, Gershon/GELLER, Mark/MILLARD, Alan (eds.), Homeland and Exile: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of Bustenay Oded (VTSup 130), Leiden 2009, 347-359. DION, Paul-Eugène “Deux notes épigraphiques sur Tobit,” in: Bib 56 (1975) 416-419. DION, Paul-Eugène, “Raphaël l’Exorciste,” in: Bib 57 (1976) 399-413. DOIGNON, Jean, “Tobie et le poisson dans la littérature et l'iconographie occidentales (IIIe-Ve siècle). Du symbolisme funéraire à une exégèse christique,” in: RHR 190 (1976) 113-126. DOLL, Peter, Menschenschöpfung und Weltschöpfung in der alttestamentlichen Weisheit (Stuttgarter Bibelstudien 117), Stuttgart 1985. DOMMERSHAUSEN, Werner, Der Engel, die Frauen, das Heil: Tobias–Ester–Judit (Sttutgarter kleiner Kommentar Altes Testament 17), Stuttgart 1970. DONALDSON, Terence L., Judaism and the Gentiles: Jewish Patterns of Universalism (to 135 CE), Waco 2007. DORAN, Robert, “Narrative Literature,” in: KRAFT, Robert A./NICKELSBURG, George W.E. (eds.), Early Judaism and its Modern Interpreters, Philadelphia 1986, 287-310. DORAN, Robert, “Serious George, or the Wise Apocalypticist – Response to ‘Tobit and Enoch: Distant Cousins with a Recognizable Resemblance’ and ‘The Search for Tobit’s Mixed Ancestry: A Historical and Hermeneutical



Odyssey.,’” in:. NEUSNER, Jacob/AVERY-PECK, Alan J. (eds.), George W.E. Nickelsburg in Perspective. An Ongoing Dialogue of Learning (SJSJ 80), Leiden – Boston 2003, 254-262. DORÉ, Daniel, Le livre de Tobit ou le secret du roi (Cahiers Évangile 101), Paris 1997, 5-59. DREWERMANN, Eugen, “Gott heilt - Erfahrungen des Buches Tobit. Eine psychologische Meditation,” in: BECKER, H./KACZYNSKI, R. (eds.), Liturgie und Dichtung. Ein interdisziplinäres Kompendium II. Interdisziplinäre Reflexion, St. Ottilien 1983, 359-404. DREWERMANN, Eugen, Il cammino pericoloso della redenzione. La leggenda di Tobia interpretata alla luce della psichologia del profondo (Nuovi Saggi Queriniana 64), Brescia 31999. DRIUSSI, Giovanni M., Il libro di Tobia nella letteratura cristiana antica (I–V secolo) (Tesi dottorale in teologia e scienze patristiche), Roma 2003. DUMM, Demetrius R., “Tobit, Judith, Esther,” in: BROWN, Raymond E./FITZMYER, Joseph A./MURPHY, Roland E. (eds.), The Jerome Biblical Commentary, London 1969, 620-633. DUMM, Demetrius R., ”Tobit (Tobias), Book of,” in: MARTHALER, Berard L. et al (eds.), The New Catholic Encyclopedia Second Edition 14, Detroit 2003, 95-97. DURHAM, John I., Exodus (WBC 3), Waco 1987. EGO, Beate, “Buch Tobit,” in: LICHTENBERGER, Hermann (ed.), Jüdische Schriften aus hellenistisch-römischer Zeit 2, Gütersloh 1999, 873-1007. EGO, Beate, “’Heimat in der Fremde’: Zur Konstituierung einer Jüdischen Identität im Buch Tobit,” in: LICHTENBERGER, Hermann/OEGEMA, Gerbern S. (eds.), Jüdische Schriften in ihren antik-jüdischen und urchristlichen Kontext 1, Gutersloh 2002, 270-283. EGO, Beate, “‘Denn er liebt sie’ (Tob 6:15 MS 319). Zur Rolle des Dämons Asmodäus in der Tobit-Erzählung,” in: LANGE, Armin/LICHTENBERGER, Hermann/DIETHARD RÖMHELD, K.F. (eds.), Die Dämonen - Demons: Die Dämonologie der israelitisch-jüdischen und frühchristlichen Literatur im Kontext ihrer Umwelt. The Demonology of Israelite-Jewish and Early Christian Literature in Context of their Environment, Tübingen 2003, 309-317. EGO, Beate, “Gottes Lob als Existenzerschließung. Aspekte der Doxologie in der Tobiterzählung,” in: BLit 77 (2004) 20-26. EGO, Beate, “The Book of Tobit and the Diaspora,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 41-54. EGO, Beate, “Textual Variants as a Result of Enculturation: The Banishment of the Demon in Tobit,” in: KRAUS, Wolfgang/WOODEN, R. Glenn (eds.), Septuagint Research: Issues and Challenges in the Study of the Greek Jewish Scriptures (SCS 53), Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2006, 371-378.



EGO, Beate, “The Figure of the Angel Rafael According to his Farewell Address in Tob 12:6-20,” in: REITERER, Friedrich V./NICKLAS, Tobias/SCHÖPFLIN, Karin (eds.), Angels. The Concept of Celestial Beings – Origins, Developments and Reception (DCLY 2007), Berlin 2007, 239-253. EGO, Beate, “Death and Burial in the Tobit Narration in the Context of the Old Testament Tradition,” in: NICKLAS, Tobias/REITERER, Friedrich/VERHEYDEN, JOSEPH (eds.), The Human Body in Death and Resurrection (DCLY 2009), Berlin 2009, 87-103. EISING, H., “rkz zākhar,” in: TDOT 4, Grand Rapids 1980, 64-82. EISSFELDT, Otto, Der Maschal im Alten Testament: Eine wortgeschichtliche Untersuchung nebst einer literargeschichtlichen Untersuchung der lvm genannten Gattungen “Volkssprichwort” und “Spottlied” (BZAW 24), Gießen 1913. EISSFELDT, Otto, The Old Testament: An Introduction including the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, and also the works of similar type from Qumran, Oxford 1974. ENDRES, John C., Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees (CBQMS 18), Washington D.C. 1987. ENGEL, Helmut, “Auf zuverlässigen Wegen und in Gerechtigkeit: Religiöses Ethos in der Diaspora nach dem Buch Tobit,” in: BRAULIK, Georg/GROSS, Walter/MCEVENUE, Sean (eds.), Biblische Theologie und gesellschaftlicher Wandel: Für Norbert Lohfink SJ, Freiburg 1993, 83-100. ENGEL, Helmut, “Gebet im Buch der Weisheit,” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate/CORLEY, Jeremy (eds.), Prayer from Tobit to Qumran: Inaugural Conference of the ISDCL at Salzburg, Austria, 5 - 9 July 2003 (DCLY 2004), New York 2004, 292-312. ENGEL, Helmut, “Das Buch Tobit,” in: ZENGER, Eric (ed.), Einleitung in das Alte Testament 1, Stuttgart 62006, 278-288. ERBT, W., “Tobit,” in: CHEYNE T./BLACK, J.S. (eds.), Encyclopaedia Biblica 4, London 1899-1903, 5110-5129. ESTES, Daniel J. “Fiction and Truth in the Old Testament Wisdom Literature,” in: Themelios 35 (2010) 387-399. ESTRADÉ, Miquel M./GIRBAU, Basili M., Tobit–Judit–Ester (La Bíblia versió dels textos originals i comentari 8), Montserrat 1959. VAN DEN EYNDE, Sabine, “One Journey and One Journey Makes Three: The Impact of the Reader’s Knowledge in the Book of Tobit,” in: ZAW 117 (2005) 273-280. VAN DEN EYNDE, Sabine, “Prayer as Part of Characterization and Plot: An Analysis of Its Narrative Function in Tobit 3,” in: FOCANT, Camille/WÉNIN, André (eds.), Analyse narrative et Bible: deuxième Colloque internationale du RRENAB, Louvain-la-Neuve, avril 2004 (BETL 191), Leuven 2005, 527-537. FALES, Frederick M., “Riflessioni sull’Ahiqar di Elefantina,” in: Orientis Antiqui Miscellanea 1 (1994) 39-60.



FALK, Daniel K., The Parabiblical Texts: Strategies for Extending the Scriptures in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Companion to the Qumran Scrolls 8), London 2007. FAßBECK, Gabriele, “Tobit’s Religious Universe between Kinship Loyalty and the Law of Moses,” in: JSJ 36 (2005) 173-196. FELDMAN, Louis H., Jew & Gentile in the Ancient World: Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to Justinian, Princteon 1993. FENSHAM, F.Charles, “Widow, Orphan, and the Poor in Ancient Near Eastern Legal and Wisdom Literature,” in: JANES 21 (1962) 129-139. FIELDS, Weston W., “The Motif “Night as Danger” Associated with Three Biblical Destruction Narratives,: in: FISHBANE, Michael/TOV, Emmanuel/FIELDS, Weston (eds.), Sha’arei Talmon: Studies in the Bible, Qumran, and the Ancient Near East presented to Shemaryahu Talmon, Winona Lake 1992, 17-32. FISCHER, Alexander A., “Moses and the Exodus-Angel,” in: REITERER, Friedrich/NICKLAS, Tobias/SCHÖPFLIN, Karin (eds.), Angels. The Concept of Celestial Beings – Origins, Developments and Reception (DCLY 2007), Berlin 2007, 79-93. FISHBANE, Michael, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, Oxford 1985. FISHBANE, Michael, “From Scribalism to Rabbinism: Perspectives on the Emergence of Classical Judaism,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 439-456. FITZMYER, Joseph A., “Tobit: 196-200. 4Qpap Tobita ar, 4QTobitb-d ar and 4QTobite,” in: BROSHI, M. et al (eds.), DJD 19: Qumran Cave 4 XIV Parabiblical Texts, Part 2, Oxford 1995, 1-76. FITZMYER, Joseph A., “The Aramaic and Hebrew Fragments of Tobit from Qumran Cave 4,” in: CBQ 57 (1995) 655-675. FITZMYER, Joseph A., “The Significance of the Hebrew and Aramaic Texts of Tobit from Qumran for the Study of Tobit,” in: SCHIFFMAN, Lawrence H./TOV, Emmanuel/VANDERKAM, James C. (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fifty Years after their Discovery. Proceedings of the Jerusalem Congress, July 20-25, 1997, Jerusalem 2000, 418-425. FITZMYER, Joseph A., ”Tobit,” in: BARTON, John/MUDDIMAN, John (eds.), The Oxford Bible Commentary, Oxford 2001, 626-632. FITZMYER, Joseph A., Tobit (CEJL), Berlin 2003. FLUSSER, David, “Psalms, Hymns and Prayers,” in: STONE, Michael (ed.), Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period (CRINT 2), Philadelphia 1984, 551-577. FOKKELMAN, Jan P., Reading Biblical Narrative: An Introductory Guide, Louisville 1999. FONTAINE, Carol R., Traditional Sayings in the Old Testament: A Contextual Study (Bible and Literature Series 5), Sheffield 1982. FONTAINE, Carole R., “The Sage in Family and Tribe,” in: GAMMIE, John/PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 155-164.



FONTAINE, Carole R., “Wisdom in Proverbs,” in: PERDUE, Leo G./SCOTT, Bernard B. (eds.), In Search of Wisdom: Essays in Memory of John G. Gammie, Louisville 1993, 99-114. FOX, Michael V., Qohelet and his Contradictions (Bible and Literature Series 18), Sheffield: The Almond Press, 1989. FOX, Michael V., “The Social Location of the Book of Proverbs,” in: IDEM et al. (eds.), Texts, Temples, and Traditions: A Tribute to Menahem Haran, Winona Lake 1996, 227-239. FOX, Michael V., “Ideas of Wisdom in Proverbs 1–9,” in: JBL 116 (1997) 613-633. FOX, Michael V., “Wisdom in the Joseph Story,” in: VT 21 (2001) 26-41. FOX, Michael V., “Ethics and Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs,” in: Hebrew Studies 48 (2007) 75-88. FRAADE, Steven D., “The Early Rabbinic Sage,” in: GAMMIE, John G./ PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 417-436. FRIEDMANN, Daniel, To Kill and Take Possession: Law, Morality, and Society in Biblical Stories, Peabody 2002. FRIES, Carl, “Das Buch Tobit und die Telemachie,” in: ZWT 53 (1910-1911) 54-87. FRÖHLICH, Ida, “Tobit against the Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 55-70. FRYMER-KENSKY, Tikva, “The Sage in the Pentateuch,” in: GAMMIE, John G./ PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 275-287. FUHS, H.F., “lav šā’al,” in: TDOT 14, Grand Rapids 2004, 249-264. GAFNI, Isaiah M., Land, Center and Diaspora: Jewish Constructs in Late Antiquity (JSPSup 21), Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997. GALBIATI, E., “Il messianismo nel libro di Tobia,” in: Il Messianismo. Atti della XVIII Settimana Biblica, Brescia 1966, 193-203. GALPAZ-FELLER, Pnina, “The Widow in the Bible and in Ancient Egypt,” in: ZAW 120 (2008) 231-253. GAMBERONI, Johann, Die Auslegung des Buches Tobias in der griechisch-lateinischen Kirche der Antike und der Christenheit des Westens bis 1600 (SANT 21), München 1969. GAMBERONI, Johann, “Das ‘Gesetz des Mose’ im Buch Tobias,” in: BRAULIK, Georg (ed.), Studien zum Pentateuch: Walter Kornfeld zum 60. Geburtstag, Freiburg 1977, 227-242. GAMMIE, John G., “The Theology of Retribution in the Book of Deuteronomy,” in: CBQ 32 (1970) 1-12.



GAMMIE, John G., “The Sage in Sirach,” in: GAMMIE, John G/PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 355-372. GATHERCOLE, Simon, “Tobit in Spain: Some Preliminary Comments on the Relations between the Old Latin Witnesses,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), New York 2006, 5-11. GEMSER, Berend, “The Instructions of Onchsheshonqy and Biblical Wisdom Literature,” in: CRENSHAW, James L. (ed.), Studies in Ancient Israelite Wisdom, New York 1976, 134-160. GERLEMAN, G., “«lav, ŝ’l to ask, request,” in: TLOT 3, Peabody 1997, 1282-1284. GERSTENBERGER, Erhard S., Wesen und Herkunft des “Apodiktischen Rechts” (WMANT 20), Neukirchen 1965. GESE, Hartmut, “Wisdom Literature in the Persian Period,” in: DAVIES, William D./FINKELSTEIN, Louis (eds.), The Cambridge History of Judaism Volume I. Introduction; The Persian Period, Cambridge 1984, 189-219. GILBERT, Maurice, “La structure de la prière de Salomon (Sg 9),” in: Bib 51 (1970) 301-331. GILBERT, Maurice, “La prière des sages d’Israël, » in : LIMET, Henri/RIES, Julien (eds.), L’expérience de la prière dans les grandes religions: Actes du Colloque de Louvain-La-Neuve et Liège (22-23 November 1978) (Homo religiosus 5), Louvain-la-Neuve 1981, 227-243. GILBERT, Maurice, “La preghiera nel libro della Sapienza, » in: DE GENNARO, G. (ed.), La preghiera nella Bibbia. Storia, struttura e pratica dell’esperienza religiosa (Studio biblico teologico aquilano 5), Napoli 1983, 157-175. GILBERT, Maurice, “La donna forte di Proverbi 31,10-31: ritratto o simbolo?,” in: BELLIA, G./PASSARO, A. (eds.), Libro dei Proverbi. Tradizione, redazione, teologia, Casale Monferrato 1999, 147-167. GILBERT, Maurice, “Prayer in the Book of Ben Sira: Function and Relevance,” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate/CORLEY, Jeremy (eds.), Prayer from Tobit to Qumran: Inaugural Conference of the ISDCL at Salzburg, Austria, 5 - 9 July 2003 (DCLY 2004), New York 2004, 117-135. GILBERT, Maurice, “La pedagogia dei saggi nell’antico Israele,” in: CivC 155 (2004) 345-358. GILBERT, Maurice, La Sapienza del cielo. Proverbi, Giobbe, Qohèlet, Siracide, Sapienza, Cinisello Balsamo 2005. GILLINI, Gilberto/ZATTONI, Mariateresa/MICHELINI, Giulio, La lotta tra il demone e l'angelo. Come Tobia e Sara diventano coppia, Milano 2007. GLANCY, Jennifer A., “The Mistress - Slave Dialectic: Paradoxes of Slavery in Three LXX Narratives,” in: JSOT 72 (1996) 71-87.



GLANVILLE, Stephen R.K., Catalogue of Demotic Papyri in the British Museum Vol. II: The Instructions of Onchsheshonqy (British Museum Papyrus 10508), London 1955. GLASSON, T. Francis, “The Main Source of Tobit,” in: ZAW 71 (1959) 275-277. GOERING, Greg S., Wisdom’s Root Revealed: Ben Sira and the Election of Israel (JSJSup 139), Leiden 2009. GOETTMANN, Jacques, “Le livre des conseils ou le miroir du juste engagé dans le monde (le livre de Tobie),” in: BVC 21 (1958) 35-42. GOETTMANN, Jacques, “Le livre des sept merveilles de Dieu,” in: BVC 22 (1958) 34-44. GOETTMANN, Jacques, Tobie: livre des fiancés et des pèlerins, Paris 1966. GOETTMANN, Jacques, “Le chante de joie du prophète Tobie,” in: BVC 78 (1967) 19-27. GOFF, Matthew J., The Worldly and Heavenly Wisdom of 4Q Instruction (STDJ 50), Leiden 2003. GOFF, Matthew J., Discerning Wisdom: The Sapiential Literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls (VTSup 116), Leiden 2007. GOLKA, Friedemann W., The Leopard’s Spots: Biblical and African Wisdom in Proverbs, Edinburgh 1993. GOOD, Edwin M., Irony in the Old Testament, Philadelphia 1965. GORDIS, Robert, Poets, Prophets, and Sages: Essays in Biblical Interpretation, Bloomington 1971. GOSHEN-GOTTSTEIN, Alon, “Ben Sira’s Praise of the Fathers: A Canon-Conscious Reading,” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate (ed.), Ben Sira’s God: Proceedings of the International Ben Sira Conference Durham – Ushaw College 2001 (BZAW 321), Berlin 2002, 235-267. GOWAN, Donald E., Bridge between the Testaments: A Reappraisal of Judaism from the Exile to the Birth of Christianity (Pittsburgh Theological Monograph Series 14), Pittsburgh 1976. GRABBE, Lester L., Priests, Prophets, Diviners, Sages: A Socio-Historical Study of Religious Specialists in Ancient Israel, Valley Forge 1995. GRABBE, Lester L., “‘The Exile’ Under the Theodolite: Historiography as Triangulation,” in: IDEM (ed.), Leading Captivity Captive: ‘The Exile’ as History and Ideology (JSOTSup 278), Sheffield 1998, 80-100. GRABBE, Lester L., Judaic Religion in the Second Temple Period: Belief and Practice from the Exile to Yavneh, London 2000. GRABBE, Lester L., “Tobit,” in: DUNN, James D.G./ROGERSON, John W. (eds.), Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, Grand Rapids 2003, 736-747. GRABBE, Lester L., A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period, Volume I: Yehud: A History of the Persian Province of Judah (LSTS 47), London 2004.



GRABBE, Lester L., “Apocrypha,” in: PORTER, Stanley E. (ed.), Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation, London 2007, 17-21. GRABBE, Lester L., A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period Volume 2: The Early Hellenistic Period (335-175 BCE) (LSTS 68), London 2008. GRAF-STUHLHOFER, F., “Das betende Volk Gottes vor Jesu erstem Kommen,” in: Erbe und Auftrag 76 (2000) 149-152. GREEN, Peter, The Hellenistic Age: A Short History, New York 2008. GREENFIELD, Jonas C., “Ahiqar in the Book of Tobit,” in: CARREZ, M./DORÉ, J./GRELOT, P. (eds.), De la Tôrah au Messie: études d’exégèse et d’herméneutique bibliques offertes à Henri Cazelles pour ses 25 années d’enseignement à l’Institut Catholique de Paris (octobre 1979), Paris 1981, 329-336. GREENFIELD, Jonas C., “Two Proverbs of Ahiqar,” in: ABUSCH, T./HUEHNERGARD, J./STEINKELLER, P. (eds.), Lingering Over Words: Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Literature in Honor of William L. Moran (HSS 37), Atlanta 1990, 195-201. GREENFIELD, Jonas C., “The Wisdom of Ahiqar,” in: DAY, John/GORDON, Robert P./WILLIAMSON, Hugh G.M. (eds.), Wisdom in Ancienit Israel: Essays in Honour of J.A. Emerton, Cambridge 1995, 43-52. GREGORY, Bradley C., Like an Everlasting Signet Ring: Generosity in the Book of Sirach (DCLS 2), Berlin 2010. GRELOT, P., “Les noms de parenté dans le livre de Tobie,” in: RevQ 17 (1996) 327-337. GRIFFIN, Patrick J., A Study of Eleēmosynē in the Bible with Emphasis upon its Meaning and Usage in the Theology of Tobit and Ben Sira, M.A. Thesis, The Catholic University of America, 1982. GRIFFIN, Patrick J., The Theology and Function of Prayer in the Book of Tobit, Ph.D Dissertation, The Catholic University of America, 1984. GRINTZ, Yehoshua M., “Tobit, Book of,” in: EJ 20, Detroit, 22007, 12-13. GROß, Heinrich, Tobit.Judit (NEBAT 19), Würzberg 1987. GRUEN, Eric S., Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (Hellenistic Culture and Society 30), Berkeley 1998. GRUEN, Eric S., Diaspora: Jews Amidst Greeks and Romans, Cambridge 2002. GUNKEL, Hermann, Das Märchen im Alten Testament, Frankfurt am Main 1987. GUNN, David M./FEWELL, Danna N., Narrative in the Hebrew Bible (Oxford Bible Series), Oxford 1993. HAAG, Ernst, “Das Tobitbuch und die Tradition von Jaweh, dem Heiler Israels (Ex 15,26),” Trierer Theologische Zeitschrift 111 (2002) 23-41. HABEL, Norman C., “The Symbolism of Wisdom in Proverbs,” Int 26 (1972) 131-157. HALLERMAYER, Michaela, Text und Überlieferung des Buches Tobit (DCLS 3), Berlin 2008.



HALLO, William W. (ed.), The Context of Scripture: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World. Volume I: The Context of Scripture. Canonical Compositions, Monumental Inscriptions, and Archival Documents from the Biblical World, Leiden 1997. HANHART, Robert (ed.), Tobit (Septuaginta Vetus Testamentum Graecum VIII,5), Göttingen 1983. HANHART, Robert, Text und Textgeschichte des Buches Tobit (Mitteilungen des Septuaginta-Unternehmens 17), Göttingen 1984. HARAN, Menahem, “On the Diffusion of Literacy and Schools in Ancient Israel,” in: EMERTON, John A. (ed.), Congress Volume, Jerusalem, 1986 (VTSup 40), Leiden 1988, 81-95. HARL, M./DORIVAL, G./MUNNICH, O., La Bible Grecque du Septante: Du Judaïsme Hellénistique au Christianisme Ancien, Paris 1988. HARRELSON, Walter, ”Critical Themes in the Study of the Postexilic Period,” in: LUKER, Lamontte M. (ed.), Passion, Vitality, and Foment: The Dynamics of Second Temple Judaism, Harrisburg 2001, 290-301. HARRINGTON, Daniel J., Invitation to the Apocrypha, Grand Rapids 1999. HARRINGTON, Daniel J., “Prayers in Tobit,” in: TBT 37 (1999) 86-90. HARRINGTON, Daniel J., “The Qumran Sapiential Texts in the Context of Biblical and Second Temple Literature,” in: SCHIFFMAN, Lawrence H./TOV, Emmanuel/VANDERKAM, James C. (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fifty Years after their Discovery. Proceedings of the Jerusalem Congress, July 20-25, 1997, Jerusalem 2000, 256-262. HART, Trevor, “Tobit in the Art of Florentine Renaissance,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 72-89. HASPECKER, Josef, Gottesfurcht bei Jesus Sirach: Ihre religiöse Struktur und ihre literarische und doktrinäre Bedeutung (AnBib 30), Rome 1967. HAUSMANN, J., “’Weisheit’ im Kontext alttestamentlicher Theologie. Stand und Perspektiven gegenwärtiger Forschung,” in: JANOWSKI, Bernd (ed.), Weisheit außerhalb der kanonischen Weisheitsschriften (VWGTh 10), Gütersloh 1996, 9-19. HAVRELOCK, Rachel, “The Myth of Birthing the Hero: Heroic Barrenness in the Hebrew Bible,” in: Biblical Interpretation 16 (2008) 154-178. HEATON, E.W., The School Tradition of the Old Testament: The Bampton Lectures for 1994, Oxford 1994. HEGERMANN, H., “The Diaspora in the Hellenistic Age,” in: DAVIES, William D./FINKELSTEIN, Louis (eds.), The Cambridge History of Judaism Volume II. The Hellenistic Age, Cambridge 1989, 115-166. HEILIGENTHAL, R., “Werke der Barmherzigkeit oder Almosen? Zur Bedeutung von evlehmosu,nh,” in: NovT 25 (1983) 289-301.



HENGEL, Martin, Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period, 2 volumes, Philadelphia 1974. HENGEL, Martin, The “Hellenization” of Judaea in the First Century after Christ, London 1989. HENTON DAVIES, Gwynne, “Memorial, Memory,” in: IDB 3, Nashville 1962, 344-346. HERMISSON, Hans-Jürgen, Studien zur Israelitischen Spruchweisheit (WMANT 28), Neukirchen 1968. HIEKE, Thomas, “Endogamy in the Book of Tobit, Genesis, and EzraNehemiah,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 103-120. HOEKSTRA, Hidde, Rembrandt and the Bible. Stories from the Old and New Testament, illustrated by Rembrandt in paintings, etchings and drawings, Utrecht 1990. HOFMANN, N.J., “Die Rezeption des Dtn im Buch Tobit, in der Assumptio Mosis und im 4. Esrabuch,” in: BRAULIK, Georg (ed.), Das Deuteronomium (OBS 23), Frankfurt am Main 2003, 311-342. HOLLADAY, Carl R., “Contemporary Methods of Reading the Bible,” in: NIB 1, Nashville 1994, 128-136. HOPPE, Leslie J., “Three Angelic Biographies,” in: TBT 33 (1995) 331-336. HUNTER, Alastair, Wisdom Literature, London 2006. JACOBS, Naomi S., “’You did not Hesitate to Get Up and Leave the Dinner:’ Food and Eating in the Narrative of Tobit with some Attention to Tobit’s Shavuot Meal,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 121-128. JAMIESON-DRAKE, David W., Scribes and Schools in Monarchic Judah: A SocioArcheological Approach (JSOTSup 109), Sheffield 1991. JENSEN, Hans J.L., “Family, Fertility and Foul Smell: Tobit and Judith,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 129-139. JI, C.C., “A New Look at the Tobiads in ’Iraq al-Amir,” in: SBFLA 48 (1998) 417-440. JOHNSON, B., “qdc sādaq,” in: TDOT 12, Grand Rapids 2003, 239-264. JUNGBAUER, Harry, “Ehre Vater und Mutter”: Der Weg des Elterngebots in der biblischen Tradition (WUNT 146), Tübingen 2002. JUST, Felix N.W., From Tobit to Bartimaeus, From Qumran to Siloam: The Social Role of Blind People and Attitudes toward the Blind in New Testament Times, Ph.D Dissertation, Yale University, 1997.



KAISER, Otto, The Old Testament Apocrypha: An Introduction, Peabody 2004. KA-MUNGO, BENJAMIN K., Des ténèbres à la lumière. La guérison dans le livre de Tobit (Publications Universitaires Européennes 862), Frankfurt am Main 2008. KEE, Howard C., “Appropriating the History of God’s People: A Survey of Interpretations of the History of Israel in the Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha and the New Testament,” in: CHARLESWORTH, James H./EVANS, Craig A. (eds.), The Pseudepigrapha and Early Biblical Interpretation (JSPSup 14), Sheffield 1993, 44-64. KERFERD, George B., “The Sage in Hellenistic Philosophical Literature (399 B.C.E.–199 C.E.),” in: GAMMIE, John G/PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990, 319-328. KIEL, Micah D., “Tobit and Moses Redux,” in: JSP 17 (2008) 83-98. KIERKEGAARD, S., Fear and Trembling (Penguin Books – Great Ideas), New York: Penguin Books, 2006. KNIBB, Michael A., “The Exile in the Literature of the Intertestamental Period,” in: HeythJ 17 (1976) 253-272. KNIBB, Michael A., “Temple and Cult in Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphal Writings from Before the Common Era,” in: DAY, John (ed.), Temple and Worship in Biblical Israel (LHB/OTS 422), London 2005, 401-416. KOCH, Klaus, “Is There a Doctrine of Retribution in the Old Testament?,” in: CRENSHAW, James L. (ed.), Theodicy in the Old Testament (Issues in Religion and Theology 4), Philadelphia 1983, 57-87. KOLARCIK, Michael, “The Book of Wisdom: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections,” in: KECK, Leander E. (ed.), The New Interpreter’s Bible 5, Nashville 1997, 434-600. KOLLMANN, Bernd, “Göttliche Offenbarung magisch-pharmakologischer Heilkunst im Buch Tobit,” in: ZAW 106 (1994) 289-299. KONDRACKI, A., La zedaqah che espia i peccati. Studio esegetico di Sir 3,1 - 4,10, Roma 1996. KOPTAK, Paul E., “Intertextuality,” in: LONGMAN, Tremper/ENNS, Peter (eds.), Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings, Downers Grove 2008, 325-332. KORT, Wesley A., Story, Text, and Scripture: Literary Interests in Biblical Narrative, University Park 1988. KOTTSIEPER, Ingo, “Die Geschichte und die Sprüche der weisen Achiqar,” in: KAISER, Otto (ed.), Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments: Weisheitstexte, Mythen und Epen, Gütersloh 1991, 320-347. KOTTSIEPER, Ingo, “Die alttestamentliche Weisheit im Licht aramäischer Weisheitstraditionen,” in: JANOWSKI, Bernd (ed.), Weisheit außerhalb der kanonischen Weisheitsschriften (VWGTh 10), Gütersloh 1996, 128-159.



KOTTSIEPER, Ingo, “The Aramaic Tradition: Ahikar,” in: PERDUE, Leo G. (ed.), Scribes, Sages, and Seers: The Sage in the Eastern Mediterranean World (FRLANT 219), Göttingen 2008, 109-124. KOTTSIEPER, Ingo, “Ahiqar, Book of,” in: KLAUCK, Hans-Josef et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception 1, Berlin 2009, 658-662. KRÜGER, Annette “Auf dem Weg “zu den Vätern”. Zur Tradition der alttestamentlichen Sterbenotizen,” in: BERLEJUNG, Angelika/ JANOWSKI, Bernd (eds.), Tod und Jenseits im alten Israel und in seiner Umwelt (FAT 64), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009, 137-150. KRÜGER, Thomas, Qoheleth: A Commentary (Hermeneia – A Criticial and Historical Commentary on the Bible), Minneapolis 2004. KÜCHLER, Max B., Frühjüdischen Weisheitstraditionen zum Fortgang weisheitlichen Denkens im Bereich des frühjüdischen Jahwehglaubens (OBO 26), Freiburg 1979. KÜHN, Dagmar, “Totengedenken im Alten Testament,” in: BERLEJUNG, Angelika/JANOWSKI, Bernd (eds.), Tod und Jenseits im alten Israel und in seiner Umwelt (FAT 64), Tübingen 2009, 481-499. LACKMANN, Max, Tobit und Tobias. Ein Buch von Ehe und Liebe, Engeln und Dämonen, Krankheit und Medizin, Stein am Rhein/Schweiz 22004. LAISNEY, Vincent P.-M., L’Enseignement d’Aménémopé (Studia Pohl. Series Maior 19), Roma 2007. LAKOFF, George/TURNER, Mark, More than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor, Chicago 1989. LAMBERT, W.G., Babylonian Wisdom Literature, Oxford 1960. LAMPARTER, Helmut, Die Apokryphen II: Weisheit Salomos, Tobias, Judith, Baruch (Die Botschaft des Alten Testaments 25/2), Stuttggart 1972. LEBRAM, Jürgen-Christian H., “Die Weltreiche in der Jüdischen Apokalyptik: Bemerkungen zu Tobit 14, 4-7,” in: ZAW 76 (1964) 328-331. LEBRAM, Jürgen-Christian H., “Jüdische Martyrologie und Weisheitsüberlieferung,” in: VAN HENTEN, J.W. (ed.), Die Entstehung der jüdischen Martyrologie (Studia post-biblica 38), Leiden 1989, 88-126. VAN LEEUWEN, Raymond C., Context and Meaning in Proverbs 25–27 (SBLDS 96), Atlanta: Scholars, 1988. VAN LEEUWEN, Raymond C., “Liminality and Worldview in Proverbs 1–9,” in: Semeia 50 (1990) 111-144. LEE HUMPHREYS, W., “Novella,” in: COATS, George W. (ed.), Saga, Legend, Tale, Novella, Fable: Narrative Forms in Old Testament Literature (FOTL 35), Sheffield 1985, 82-96. LEMAIRE, André, Les écoles et la formation de la Bible dans l’ancien Israël (OBO 39), Fribourg 1981. LEMAIRE, André, “Sagesse et écoles,” in: VT 34 (1984) 270-281.



LEMAIRE, André, “Schools and Literacy in Ancient Israel and Early Judaism,” in: PERDUE, Leo G. (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible, Oxford: Blackwell, 2001, 207-217. LEONHARDT-BALZER, JUTTA. “Righteousness in Early Jewish Literature,” in: NIDB 4, Nashville 2009, 807-813. LEVINE, Amy-Jill, “Diaspora as Metaphor: Bodies and Boundaries in the Book of Tobit,” in: OVERMAN, J.A./MACLENNAN, Robert S. (eds.), Diaspora Jews and Judaism: Essays in Honor of, and in Dialogue with A. Thomas Kraabel (SFSHJ 41), Atlanta 1992, 105-117. LEVINE, Amy-Jill, “Tobit: Teaching Jews How to Live in the Diaspora,” in: Bible Review 8 (1992) 42-51, 64. LEVINE, Amy-Jill, “Women in Tobit,: in: TBT 71 (1999) 80-85. LICHT, Jacob, Storytelling in the Bible, Jerusalem 1978. LICHTHEIM, Miriam, Ancient Egyptian Literature. 3 volumes, Berkeley 1975-1980. LICHTHEIM, Miriam, Late Egyptian Wisdom Literature in the International Context: A Study of Demotic Instructions (OBO 52), Freiburg 1983. LIESEN, Jan, “‘With all your Heart’: Praise in the Book of Ben Sira,” in: EGGERWENZEL, Renate (ed.), Ben Sira’s God: Proceedings of the International Ben Sira Conference Durham – Ushaw College 2001 (BZAW 321), Berlin 2002, 199-213. LINDENBERGER, James M., “Ahiqar,” in: OTP 2, New York 1985, 479-507. LINDENBERGER, James M., The Aramaic Proverbs of Ahiqar (The Johns Hopkins Near Eastern Studies), Baltimore 1983. LITTMAN, Robert J., Tobit: The Book of Tobit in Codex Sinaiticus (Septuagint Commentary Series), Leiden 2008. LONG, A.A., “Hellenistic Ethics and Philosophical Power,” in: GREEN, Peter (ed.), Hellenistic History and Culture (Hellenistic Culture and Society 9), Berkeley 1993, 138-167. LONGMAN III , Tremper, Proverbs (BCOTWP), Grand Rapids 2006. LORETZ, O., “Roman und Kurzgeschichte in Israel,” in: SCHREINER, J. (ed.), Wort und Botschaft des Alten Testaments, Würzburg 1969, 308-325. LUST, J., “Review of Das Buch Tobit,” in: EphTheoLov 59 (1983) 133-134. MACDONALD, Dennis R., “Tobit and the Odyssey,” in: IDEM (ed.), Mimesis and Intertextuality in Antiquity and Christianity, Harrisburg 2001, 11-40. MACDONALD, Nathan, “‘Bread on the Grave of the Righteous’ (Tob 4.17),” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies on the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 99-103. MACDONALD, Nathan, “Food and Drink in Tobit and Other ‘Diaspora Novellas’,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies on the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 165-178. MACK, Burton L., Wisdom and the Hebrew Epic: Ben Sira’s Hymn in Praise of the Fathers, Chicago 1985.



MANFREDI, M., “Un frammento del libro di Tobit LXX, Tobias 12, 6-7, 8-11,” in: PRIVITERA, G.A. (ed.), Paideia Cristiana. Studi in onore di Mario Naldini, Roma 1994, 175-181. MARBÖCK, Johannes, “Sir 15,9f – Ansätze zu einer Theologie des Gotteslobes bei Jesus Sirach,” in: SEYBOLD, Irmtraut (ed.), Meqor Hajjim. Festschrift für Georg Molin zu seinem 75. Geburtstag, Graz 1983, 267-276. MARBÖCK, Johannes, Gottes Weisheit Unter Uns. Zur Theologie des Buches Sirach (Herders Biblische Studien 6), Freiburg 1995. MARGUERAT, Daniel/BOURQUIN, Yvan, How To Read Bible Stories: An Introduction to Narrative Criticism, London 1999. MARTIN, Michael W., “Betrothal Journey Narratives,” in: CBQ 70 (2008) 505-523. MAZAR, Benjamin, “The Tobiads,” in: Israel Exploration Journal 7 (1957) 137145, 229-238. MAZZINGHI, Luca, Tobia: Il cammino della coppia (Spiritualita Biblica), Magnano 2004. MAZZINGHI, Luca, “‘Sono stato mandato per metterti alla prova’ (Tb 12,13): la sofferenza dell’anziano Tobi,” in: PSV 55 (2007) 81-94. MAZZINGHI, Luca, “‘Non per passione, ma con verità’: un aspetto del matrimonio secondo Tb 8,7,” in: AGUILAR CHIU, Jose E./O’MAHONY, Kierran J./ROGER, Maurice (eds.), Bible et Terre Sainte: Mélanges Marcel Beaudry, New York 2008, 83-96. MCCANN JR., J. Clinton, “Wisdom’s Dilemma: The Book of Job, the Final Form of the Book of Psalms, and the Entire Bible,” in: BARRÉ, Michael L. (ed.), Wisdom, You are My Sister: Studies in Honor of Roland E. Murphy, on the occasion of His Eightieth Birthday (CBQMS 29), Washington D.C. 1997, 18-30. MCCANN JR., J. Clinton, “’The Way of the Righteous’ in the Psalms: Character Formation and Cultural Crisis,” in: BROWN, William P. (ed.), Character and Scripture: Moral Formation, Community and Biblical Interpretation, Grand Rapids 2002, 135-149. MCCARTER JR., P. Kyle, “The Sage in the Deuteronomistic History,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 289-293. MCCRACKEN, David, “Narration and Comedy in the Book of Tobit,” in: JBL 114 (1995) 401-418. MCKANE, William, Prophets and Wise Men (SBT 44) London 1965. MCKANE, William, Proverbs: A New Approach (OTL), Philadelphia 1970. MENDELS, Doron, “On Identity: An Essay on Hellenism, Judaism and Christianity in Palestine in the Hellenistic Era,” in: IDEM, Identity, Religion and Historiography: Studies in Hellenistic History (JSPSup 24), Sheffield 1998, 13-34. MERILL, E.H., “rsy,” in: NIDOTTE 2, Grand Rapids 1997, 479-482. METZGER, Bruce M., An Introduction to the Apocrypha, New York 1957.



MICHEL, O., “mimnh,skomai, mnei,a, mnh,mh, mnhma, mnhmeion, mnhmoneu,w,” in: TDNT 4, Grand Rapids 1967, 675-683. MILIK, Józef T., Dix ans de découvertes dans le désert de Juda, Paris 1957. MILIK, Józef T., “La patrie de Tobie,“ in: RB 73 (1966) 522-530. MILLARD, Alan, “Judith, Tobit, Ahiqar and History,” in: HARLAND, P.J./HAYWARD, R. (eds.), New Heaven & New Earth. Prophecy & the Millenium. Essays in Honour of Anthony Gelston (VTSup 77), Leiden 1999, 195-203. MILLER, Athanasius, Das Buch Tobias übersetzt und erklärt (Die heilige Schrift des alten Testaments 4), Bonn 1940/41. MILLER, Gregory D., A Study of Marriage in the Book of Tobit, Ph.D Dissertation, The Catholic University of America, 2007. MILLER, Geoffrey D., “Attitudes toward Dogs in Ancient Israel: A Reassessment,” in: JSOT 32 (2008) 487-500. MILLER, Geoffrey D., “A Match Made in Heaven? God’s Role in Marriage According to the Book of Tobit,” in: RivBib 57 (2009) 129-153. MILLER, James E., “The Redaction of Tobit and the Genesis Apocryphon,” in: JSP 8 (1991) 53-61. MILNE, Pamela J., “Folktales and Fairy Tales: An Evaluation of Two Proppian Analyses of Biblical Narratives,” in: JSOT 34 (1986) 35-60. MOORE, Carey A., “Scholarly Issues in the Book of Tobit before Qumran and After: An Assessment,” in: JSP (1989) 65-81. MOORE, Carey A., “Tobit, Book of,” in: ADB 6, New York 1992, 585-549. MOORE, Carey A., Tobit: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (AB 40A), New York 1996. MORGAN, Donn F., Wisdom in the Old Testament Traditions, Atlanta 1981. MORGENSTERN, M., “Language and Literature in the Second Temple Period,” in: JJS 48 (1997) 130-145. MOSS, Alan, “Wisdom as Parental Teaching in Proverbs 1–9,” in: HeythJ 38 (1997) 426-439. MUILENBURG, James, The Way of Israel: Biblical Faith and Ethics, New York 1961. MÜLLER, Hans-Peter, “Die weisheitliche Lehrerzählung im Alten Testament und seiner Umwelt,” in: Die Welt des Orients 9 (1977-1978) 77-98. MURAOKA, Takamitsu, “Sir. 51, 13-30: An Erotic Hymn to Wisdom?,” in: JSJ 10 (1979) 166-178. MURPHY, Roland E., “Form Criticism and Wisdom Literature,” in: CBQ 31 (1969) 475-483. MURPHY, Roland E., “The Interpretation of Old Testament Wisdom Literature,” in: Int 23 (1969) 289-301. MURPHY, Roland E., “The Hebrew Sage and Openness to the World,” in: PAPIN, J. (ed.), Christian Action and Openness to the World (Villanova Symposium 2–3), Villanova 1970, 219-244.



MURPHY, Roland E., “Wisdom and Yahwism,” in: FLANAGAN, J.W./ROBINSON, A.W. (eds.), No Famine in the Land: Studies in Honor of John L. McKenzie, Claremont 1975, 117-126. MURPHY, Roland E., “Qohelet’s ‘Quarrel’ with the Fathers,” in: HADIDIAN, D.Y. (ed.), From Faith to Faith: Essays in Honor of Donald G. Miller on his Seventieth Birthday (Pittsburgh Theological Monograph Series 31), Pittsburgh 1979, 235-245. MURPHY, Roland E., Wisdom Literature: Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, and Esther (FOLT 13), Grand Rapids 1981. MURPHY, Roland E., “The Sage in Ecclesiastes and Qoheleth the Sage,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 263-271. MURPHY, Roland E., The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature (ABRL), New York 1990. MURPHY, Roland E., Proverbs (WBC 22), Nashville 1998. NAJMAN, Hindy, Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism (JSJSup 77), Leiden 2003. NARDI, Carlo, “Tobia come Antigone. Il pietoso ufficio della sepoltura implicita resistenza a un potere inumano,” in: Vivens homo 17 (2006) 385-407. NAU, François, Histoire et Sagesse d’Ahikar l’Assyrien (fils d’Anael, neveu de Tobie). Traduction des versions syriaques avec les principales différences des versions arabes, arménienne, grecque, néo-Syriaque, slave et roumaine (Documents pour l’étude de la Bible), Paris 1909. NAVARRO PUERTO, M., “Narraciones Bíblicas. El libro de Tobías,” in: SÁNCHEZ CARO, J.M. (ed.), Historia, Narrativa, Apocalíptica (Introducción al Estudio de la Bìblia 3b), Estella (Navarra) 2000, 403-423. NEL, Philip J., “The Genres of Biblical Wisdom Literature,” in: JNSL 9 (1981) 129-142. NEWSOM, CAROL A., “The Sage in the Literature of Qumran: The Functions of the Maskîl,” in: GAMMIE, JOHN G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 373-382. NGUYEN, Dinh Anh Nhue, “Figlio mio, se il tuo cuore è saggio”. Studio esegeticoteologico del discorso paterno in Pro 23,15-28 (AnGreg 299), Roma 2006. NICCACCI, Alviero, “Proverbi 22,17–23,11 tra Egitto, Mesopotamia e Canaan,” in: GRAZIANI, Simonetta (ed.), Studi sul Vicino Oriente Antico dedicati alla memoria di Luigi Cagni Volume IV (Istituto Universitario Orientale Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici Series Minor 61), Napoli 2000, 1859-1891. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism (HTS 26), Cambridge 1972. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Stories of Biblical and Early Post-Biblical Times,” in: STONE, Michael (ed.), Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period (CRINT 2), Assen/Philadelphia 1984, 40-46.



NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Tobit and Enoch: Distant Cousins with a Recognizable Resemblance,” in: LULL, David J. (ed.), SBL 1988 Seminar Papers, Atlanta 1988, 54-68. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Tobit,” in: MAYS, James L. (ed.) Harper’s Bible Commentary, San Francisco 1988, 791-803. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Wisdom and Apocalypticism in Early Judaism: Some Points for Discussion,” in: LOVERING JR., Eugene H. (ed.), SBL 1994 Seminar Papers, Atlanta 1994, 715-732. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “The Search for Tobit’s Mixed Ancestry: A Historical and Hermeneutical Odyssey,” in: RevQ 17 (1996) 339-349. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Review of Studien zum Buch Tobit,” in: JBL 116 (1997) 348-350. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Judgment, Life-After-Death, and Resurrection in the Apocrypha and the Non-Apocalyptic Pseudepigrapha,” in: NEUSNER, Jacob/AVERY-PECK, Alan J./CHILTON, Bruce (eds.), Judaism in Late Antiquity 3, Leiden 2001, 141-162. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Tobit, Genesis, and the Odyssey: A Complex Web of Intertextuality,: in: MACDONALD, Dennis R. (ed.), Mimesis and Intertextuality in Antiquity and Christianity, Harrisburg 2001, 41-55. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary Introduction, Minneapolis 22005. NICKELSBURG, George W.E., “Torah and the Deuteronomic Scheme in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha,” in: SÄNGER, Dieter/MATTHIAS, Konradt (eds.), Das Gesetz im frühen Judentum und im Neuen Testament. Festschrift für Christoph Burchard zum 75. Geburtstag (Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus/ Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments 57), Göttingen 2006, 223-235. NICKLAS, Tobias, “’Denn der Herr kennt den Weg der Gerechten ...’ (Ps 1,6a): Lesespaziergänge vom Buch Tobit in der Psalter,” in: SJOT 19 (2005) 61-73. NICKLAS, Tobias, “Marriage in the Book of Tobit: A Synoptic Approach,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 139-154. NICKLAS, Tobias/WAGNER, Christian J., “Thesen zur textlichen Vielfalt im Tobitbuch,” in: JSJ 34 (2003) 141-153. NIDITCH, Susan, Folklore and the Hebrew Bible, Minneapolis 1993. NIDITCH, Susan Oral World and Written Word: Ancient Israelite Literature (Library of Ancient Israel), Louisville 1996. NIDITCH, Susan A Prelude to Biblical Folklore: Underdogs and Trickster, Urbana 2000.



NIDITCH, Susan/DORAN, Robert, “The Success Story of the Wise Courtier: A Formal Approach,” in: JBL 96 (1977) 179-193. NIEBUHR, Karl-Wilhelm, Gesetz und Paränese: Katechismusartige Weisungsreihen in der frühjüdischen Literatur (WUNT 28), Tübingen 1987. VON NORDHEIM, E., Die Lehre der Alten II. Das Testament als Literaturgattung im Alten Testament und im Alten Vorderen Orient (ALGHJ 18), Leiden 1985. NOVICK, Tzvi, “Biblicized Narrative: On Tobit and Genesis 22,” in: JBL 126 (2007) 755-764. NOWELL, Irene, The Book of Tobit: Narrative Technique and Theology, Ph.D Dissertation, The Catholic University of America 1983. NOWELL, Irene, “Review of Das Buch Tobit,” in: CBQ (1984) 306-307. NOWELL, Irene, Jonah, Tobit, Judith (Collegeville Bible Commentary 25), Collegeville 1986. NOWELL, Irene, “The Narrator in the Book of Tobit,” in: LULL, David J. (ed.), SBL 1988 Seminar Series, Atlanta 1988, 27-38. NOWELL, Irene, “Irony in the Book of Tobit,” in: TBT 33 (1995) 79-83. NOWELL, Irene, “The Book of Tobit. Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections,” in: KECK, leander (ed.), The New Interpreter’s Bible 3, Nashville 1999, 973-1071. NOWELL, Irene, “The Book of Tobit: An Ancestral Story,” in: CORLEY, Jeremy/SKEMP, Vincent (eds.), Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit: Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M. (CBQMS 38), Washington D.C. 2005, 3-13. NOWELL, Irene, “The ‘Work’ of the Archangel Rafael,” in: REITERER, Friedrich V./NICKLAS, Tobias/SCHÖPFLIN, Karin (eds.), Angels. The Concept of Celestial Beings – Origins, Developments and Reception (DCLY 2007), Berlin 2007, 227-238. O’DAY, Gail R., “Intertextuality,” in: HAYS, John (ed.), Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation 1, Nashville 1999, 546-548. OEMING, Manfred, “Ethik in der Spätzeit des Alten Testaments am Beispiel von Hiob 31 und Tob 4,” in: MOMMER, P./THIEL, W. (eds.), Altes Testament: Forschung und Wirkung: Festschrift für Henning Graf Reventlow, Frankfurt am Main 1994, 159-173. OEMING, Manfred, “Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Key to the Book of Psalms,” in: PERDUE, Leo G. (ed.), Sages, Scribes, and Seers in the Eastern Mediterannean World (FRLANT 219), Göttingen 2008, 154-162. OESTERLEY, W.O.E., An Introduction to the Books of the Apocrypha, London 1958. OTZEN, Benedikt, Tobit and Judith (Guides to Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha), London 2002.



OWENS, J.Edward, “Asmodeus: A Less than Minor Character in the Book of Tobit,” in: REITERER, Friedrich V./NICKLAS, Tobias/SCHÖPFLIN, Karin (eds.), Angels. The Concept of Celestial Beings – Origins, Developments and Reception (DCLY 2007), Berlin 2007, 277-288. PAPAYANNOPOULOS, I./LASKARATOS, J./MARKETOS, S., “Remarks on Tobit’s Blindness,” in: Koroth 9 (1985) 181-187. PAUTREL, R., Tobie (La Sainte Bible traduïte en français), Paris 1957. PAUTREL, R./LEFEBVRE, M., “Trois textes de Tobie sur Raphaël (Tob V, 22; III, 16s; XII, 12-15),” in: RSR 39 (1951-1952) 115-124. PERDUE, Leo G., Wisdom and Cult: A Critical Analysis of the Views of Cult in the Wisdom Literatures of Israel and the Ancient Near East (SBLDS 30), Missoula: Scholars, 1977. PERDUE, Leo G., “Liminality as a Social Setting for Wisdom Instructions,” in: ZAW 93 (1981) 115-126. PERDUE, Leo G., “Cosmology and the Social Order in the Wisdom Tradition,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 457-478. PERDUE, Leo G., “The Death of the Sage and Moral Exhortation: From Ancient Near Eastern Instructions to Graeco-Roman Paraenesis,” in: Semeia 50 (1990) 81-109. PERDUE, Leo G., “Wisdom in the Book of Job,” in: PERDUE, Leo G./SCOTT, Bernard B. (eds.), In Search of Wisdom: Essays in Memory of John G. Gammie, Louisville 1993, 73-98. PERDUE, Leo G., Wisdom & Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature, Nashville 1994. PERDUE, Leo G., Proverbs (Interpretation 18), Louisville 2000. PERDUE, Leo G., “The Vitality of Wisdom in Second Temple Judaism during the Persian Period,” in: LUKER, Lamontte K. (ed.), Passion, Vitality, and Foment: The Dynamics of Second Temple Judaism, Harrisburg 2001, 119-154. PERDUE, Leo G., “Sages, Scribes, and Seers in Israel and the Ancient Near East: An Introduction,” in: IDEM (ed.), Sages, Scribes, and Seers in the Eastern Mediterannean World (FRLANT 219), Göttingen 2008, 1-34. PERDUE, Leo G., The Sword and the Stylus: An Introduction to Wisdom in the Age of Empires, Grand Rapids 2008. PERRY, Ben E., The Ancient Romances: A Literary-Historical Account of their Origins, Berkeley 1967. PERRY, T.A., God’s Twilight Zone: Wisdom in the Hebrew Bible, Peabody 2008. PERVO, Richard I., “Joseph and Aseneth and the Greek Novel,” in: MACRAE, George W. (ed.), SBL 1976 Seminar Papers, Missoula 1976, 171-181. PERVO, Richard I., Profit with Delight: The Literary Genre of the Acts of the Apostles, Philadelphia 1987.



PETERSEN, Norman R., “Tobit,” in: ANDERSON, Bernard W. (ed.), The Books of the Bible 2, New York 1989, 35-42. PETRAGLIO, Renzo, “Tobit e Anna: Un cammino difficile nella crisi di una coppia,” in: RivBib 52 (2004) 385-402. VAN PEURSEN, Wido TH., “Sirach 51:13-30 in Hebrew and Syriac», in BAASTEN, M.F.J./VAN PEURSEN, Wido TH. (eds.), Hamlet on a Hill: Semitic and Greek Studies Presented to Professor T. Muraoka on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday (Orientalia Lovaniensa Analecta 118), Leuven 2003, 357-374. PFEIFFER, Robert H., History of New Testament Times: with an Introduction to the Apocrypha, New York 1949. PIKE, Dana M., “Names, Hypocoristic,” in: ABD 4, New York 1992, 1017-1018. PITKÄNEN, Pekka, “Family Life and Ethnicity in Early Israel and in Tobit,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 104-117. POEHLMANN, William, “Tobit, Book of,” in: Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation KZ, Nashville 1999, 577-581. POPE, Marvin H., “Number, Numbering, Numbers,” in: IDB 3, Nashville 1962, 561-567. PORTIER-YOUNG, Anathea, “Alleviation of Suffering in the Book of Tobit: Comedy, Community, and Happy Endings,” in: CBQ 63 (2001) 35-54. PORTIER-YOUNG, Anathea, “’Eyes to the Blind’: A Dialogue between Tobit and Job,” in: CORLEY, Jeremy/SKEMP, Vincent (eds.), Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit: Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M. (CBQMS 38), Washington D.C. 2005, 14-27. POWELL, Mark A., What is Narrative Criticism? (Guides to Biblical Scholarship), Minneapolis 1990. PRADO, J., “La índole literaria del libro de Tobit,” in: Sefarad 7 (1947) 373-394. PRADO, J., “Historia, enseñanzas y poesía en el libro de Tobit,” in: Sefarad 9 (1949) 27-51. PRATO, Gian Luigi, “Giovani e anziani: Il quarto comandamento e la tradizione sapienziale,” in: GIOIA, M. (ed.), I giovani nella Bibbia (Studio biblico teologico aquilano 8), Roma 1988, 127-153. PRIERO, Giuseppe, Tobia (La Sacra Bibbia), Torino 1953. PREUSS, Horst D., Einführung in die alttestamentliche Weisheitsliteratur, Stuttgart 1987. PREUSS, Horst D., Old Testament Theology. 2 volumes, Edinburgh 1995. PROPP, Vladimir, “Structure and History in the Study of the Fairy Tale,” in: Semeia 10 (1978) 57-83. PUECH, Émile, “Les écoles dans l’Israël préexilique: Donées epigraphiques,” in: EMERTON, John (ed.), Congress Volume, Jerusalem 1986 (VTS 40), Leiden: Brill, 1986. 189-203.



PUECH, Émile, “La sagesse dans les béatitudes de Ben Sira. Étude du texte de Si 51,13-30 et de Si 14,20-15,10,” (forthcoming). PYPER, Hugh, “‘Sarah is the Hero’: Kierkegaard’s Reading of Tobit in Fear and Trembling,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies on the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 59-71. QUARLES, Charles L., “The New Perspective and Means of Atonement in Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period,” in: Criswell Theological Review 2 (2005) 39-56. QUIRKE, Stephen, Egyptian Literature 1800 BC: Questions and Readings Volume 2 (Egyptology 2), London 2004. RABENAU, Merten, Studien zum Buch Tobit (BZAW 220), Berlin 1994. VON RAD, Gerhard, Old Testament Theology. Volume I. The Theology of Israel’s Historical Traditions, Edinburgh 1962. VON RAD, Gerhard, “The Beginnings of Historical Writing in Ancient Israel,” in: IDEM, The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays, New York 1966, 166204. VON RAD, Gerhard, “The Joseph Narrative and Ancient Wisdom,” in: IDEM, The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays, New York 1966, 292-300. VON RAD, Gerhard, Wisdom in Israel, London 1972. RAJAK, Tessa, “Benefactors in the Greco-Jewish Diaspora,” in: IDEM, The Jewish Dialogue with Greece and Rome: Studies in Cultural and Social Interaction (AGAJU 48), Leiden 2001, 373-391. RAVASI, Gianfranco, “Tobia,” in: ROSSANO, P./RAVASI, G./GIRLANDA, A. (eds.), Nuovo Dizionario di Teologia Biblica, Milano 1988, 1582-1585. RAVASI, Gianfranco, “Il cantico della misericordia (Tb 13),” in: PSV 29 (1994) 73-84. REARDON, Patrick H., “Under the Gaze of God & Angels: The Meaning of Tobit for the Christian Reader,” in: Touchstone 12 (1999) 41-45. REARDON, Patrick H., “The Wide World of Tobit,” in: Touchstone 12 (1999) 36-39. REITERER, Friedrich V., “Gott, Vater und Herr meines Lebens. Eine poetischstilistische Analyse von Sir 22,27–23,6 als Verständnisgrundlage des Gebetes,” in: EGGER-WENZEL, Renate/CORLEY, Jeremy (eds.), Prayer from Tobit to Qumran: Inaugural Conference of the ISDCL at Salsburg, Austria, 5 - 9 July 2003 (DCLY 2004), Berlin 2004, 137-170. REITERER, Friedrich V., “Prophet und Prophetie in Tobit und Ben Sira. Berührungspunkte und Differenzen,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 155-176.



REITERER, Friedrich V., “An Archangel’s Theology. Raphael’s Speaking about God and the Concept of God in the Book of Tobit,” in: REITERER, Friedrich V./NICKLAS, Tobias/SCHÖPFLIN, Karin (eds.), Angels. The Concept of Celestial Beings – Origins, Developments and Reception (DCLY 2007), Berlin 2007, 255-275. RENAN, Ernest, Histoire des origines du Christianisme 6, Paris 1879. RENDTORFF, Rolf, The Canonical Hebrew Bible: A Theology of the Old Testament (Tools for Biblical Study Series 7), Leiden 2005. REYMOND, Eric D., “Sirach 51:13-30 and 11Q5 (=11QPSa) 21.11-22.1,” in: RevQ 23 (2007) 207-231. RICOEUR, Paul, “The Narrative Function,” in: Semeia 13 (1978) 177-202. RITT, H., “Gedenken/Gedächtnis,” in: BTW, Graz 41994, 199-202. ROGERSON, John, “Can a Doctrine of Providence Be Based on the Old Testament?,” in: ESLINGER, Lyle/TAYLOR, Glen (eds.), Ascribe to the Lord: Biblical and Other Studies in Memory of Peter C. Craigie (JSOTSup 67), Sheffield 1988, 528-543. ROSENTHAL, Franz, “Sedaka, Charity,” in: HUCA 23 (1950-51) 411-430. ROTA SCALABRINI, Patrizio, “Il ‘Libro’: L’Angelo necessario. Teologia della scrittura nel libro di Tobia,” in: StPat 50 (2003) 865-885. RUNYON, Randolph, Fowles/Irving/Barthes: Canonical Variations on an Apocryphal Theme, Miami 1981. RUPPERT, Lothar, “Das Buch Tobias – ein Modellfall nachgestaltender Erzählung,” in: SCHREINER, Josef (ed.), Wort, Lied und Gottesspruch: Beiträge zur Septuaginta Festschrift für Joseph Ziegler (FzB 1),Würsburg 1972, 109-119. RUPPERT, Lothar, “Zur Funktion der Achikar-Notizen im Buch Tobias,” in: BZ 20 (1976) 232-237. RYAN, Stephen, “The Psalms and the Book of Tobit,” in: CORLEY, Jeremy/SKEMP, Vincent (eds.), Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit: Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M. (CBQMS 38), Washington D.C. 2005, 28-42. SALDARINI, Anthony J./LEVINE, Amy-Jill, “Jewish Responses to Greek and Roman Cultures, 332 B.C.E. to 200 C.E.,” in: CHILTON, Bruce et al. (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, Cambridge 22009, 327-480. SCHMITT, Armin, Wende des Lebens: Untersuchungen zu einem Situations-Motiv der Bibel (BZAW 237), Berlin 1996. SCHMITT, Armin, “Die Achikar Notiz bei Tobit 1, 21b-22 in aramäischer (pap4QToba ar - 4Q196) und griechischer Fassung,” in: BZ 40 (1996) 18-38. SCHMITT, Armin, “Die hebräischen Textfunde aus Qumran 4QTobe (4Q200),” in: ZAW 113 (2001) 566-582. SCHMITT, Armin, “Ein Kommentar zum Buch Tobit,” in: BN 112 (2002) 28-32. SCHNIEDEWIND, William M., How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel, Cambridge 2004.



SCHNUPP, Bianca, Schutzengel: Geneologie und Theorie einer religiösen Vorstellung vom Tobitbuch bis heute (Neutestamentliche Entwürfe zur Theologie 9), Tübingen 2004. SCHOTTROFF, W., “rkz zkr to remember,” in: TLOT 1, Peabody 1997, 381-388. SCHROER, Silvia, Wisdom has Built her House: Studies on the Figure of Sophia in the Bible, Collegeville 2000. SCHULLER, Eileen M., “Tobit,” in: NEWSOM, Carol A./RINGE, Sharon H. (eds.), Women's Bible Commentary Expanded Edition With Apocrypha, Louisville 1998, 272-278. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Helen, “Review of Studien zum Buch Tobit,” Theologische Revue 93 (1997) 386-388. SCHÜNGEL-STRAUMANN, Helen, Tobit (Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament), Freiburg 2000. SCHÜRER, EMIL, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C. – A.D. 135). A New English Version Revised and Edited by G. Vermes – F. Millar – M. Goodman, Volume 3.1, Edinburgh 1986. SCHWARTZ, J., “Remarques littéraire sur le roman de Tobit,” in: RHPR 67 (1987) 293-297. SCOTT, James M., “Exile and the Self-Understanding of Diaspora Jews in the Greco-Roman Period,” in: IDEM (ed.), Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions (JSJSup 56), Leiden 1997, 173-218. SCOTT, R.B.Y., The Way of Wisdom in the Old Testament, New York 1971. SCOTT, R.B.Y., “Folk Proverbs of the Ancient Near East,” in: CRENSHAW, James L. (ed.), Studies in Ancient Israelite Wisdom, New York 1976, 417-428. SCOTT, R.B.Y., “Solomon and the Beginnings of Wisdom in Israel,” in: CRENSHAW, James L. (ed.), Studies in Ancient Israelite Wisdom, New York: KTAV, 1976, 84-101. SCULLION, John J., “Righteousness (OT),” in: ABD 5, New York 1992, 724-736. SEIFRID, Mark A., “Righteousness Language in the Hebrew Scriptures and Early Judaism,” in: CARSON, D.A./O’BRIEN, Peter T./SEIFRID, Mark A. (eds.), Justification and Variegated Nomism, I. The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism, Tübingen 2001, 415-442. SHEPPARD, Gerald T., Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Construct: A Study in the Sapientializing of the Old Testament (BZAW 151), Berlin 1980. SHUPAK, Nili, Where Can Wisdom Be Found?: The Sage’s Language in the Bible and in Ancient Egyptian Literature (OBO 130), Fribourg 1993. SIGNORETTO, Martino, Metafora e didattica in Proverbi 1–9 (Studi e ricerche. Sezione biblica), Assissi 2006. SIMONSEN, D., “Tobit-Aphorismen,” in: BRANN, M./ROSENTHAL, F. (eds.), Gedenkbuch zur Erinnerung an David Kaufmann, Breslau 1900, 106-116. SIMPSON, David C., “The Chief Recensions of the Book of Tobit,” in: JTS 14 (1912-1913) 516-530.



SIMPSON, David C., “The Book of Tobit,” in: APOT 1, Oxford 1975, 174-241. SKA, Jean-Louis, “L’éloge des pères,” in: CALDUCH-BENAGES/VERMEYLEN, Jacques (eds.), Treasures of Wisdom: Studies in Ben Sira and the Book of Wisdom. Festschrift M. Gilbert (BETL 118), Leuven 1999, 181-193. SKA, Jean-Louis, “Our Fathers Have Told Us”: Introduction to the Analysis of Hebrew Narratives (Subsidia Biblica 13), Roma 2000. SKA, Jean-Louis, “From History Writing to Library Building: The End of History and the Birth of the Book,” in: KNOPPERS, Gary A./LEVINSON, Bernard M. (eds.), The Pentateuch as Torah: New Models for Understanding its Promulgation and Acceptance, Winona Lake 2007, 145-169. SKA, Jean-Louis, “La Legge come strumento di comunicazione divina e controllo istituzionale: Mosè lo scriba e il libro della Legge,” in: RStB 21 (2009) 123-144. SKA, Jean-Louis/SONNET, Jean-Pierre/WÉNIN, André, L’analyse narrative des récits de l’Ancien Testament (Cahiers Évangile 107), Paris 1999, 5-67. SKEHAN, Patrick W./DI LELLA, Alexander A., The Wisdom of Ben Sira (AB 39), New York 1987. SKEMP, Vincent, “ADELFOS and the Theme of Kinship in Tobit,” in: EphTheoLov 75 (1999) 92-103. SKEMP, Vincent, The Vulgate of Tobit Compared with Other Ancient Witnesses (SBLDS 180), Atlanta 2000. SKEMP, Vincent, “Avenues of Intertextuality between Tobit and the New Testament,” in: CORLEY, Jeremy/SKEMP, Vincent (eds.), Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit: Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M. (CBQMS 38), Washington D.C. 2005, 43-70. SMEND, Rudolf, Griechisch - Syrisch - Hebräischer Index zur Weisheit des Jesus Sirach, Berlin 1907. SMITH-CHRISTOPHER, Daniel L. “Reassessing the Historical and Sociological Impact of the Babylonian Exile (597/587-539 BCE),” in: SCOTT, James M. (ed.), Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions (JSJSup 56), Leiden 1997, 8-36. SMITH-CHRISTOPHER, Daniel L. “Prayers and Dreams: Power and Diaspora Identities in the Social Setting of the Daniel Tales,” in: COLLINS, John J./FLINT, Peter W. (eds.), The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception (VTSup 83.1), Leiden 2001, 266-290. SOGGIN, J. Alberto, Introduction to the Old Testament: From its Origins to the Closing of the Alexandrian Canon. Revised Edition (OTL), Philadelphia 1980. SOLL, WILL, “Tobit and Folklore Studies, With Emphasis on Propp’s Morphology,: in: LULL, David J. (ed.), SBL 1988 Seminar Papers, Atlanta 1988, 39-53. SOLL, Will, “Misfortune and Exile in Tobit: The Juncture of a Fairy Tale Source and Deuteronomic Theology,” in: CBQ 51 (1989) 209-231.



SOLL, Will, “The Family as a Scriptural and Social Construct in Tobit,” in: EVANS, Craig A./SANDERS, James A. (eds.), The Function of Scripture in Early Jewish and Christian Tradition (JSNTSup 154), Sheffield 1998, 166-175. SOLL, Will, “Tobit, Book of,” in: FREEDMAN, David Noel (ed.), Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, Grand Rapids 2000, 1317-1319. SOLL, Will, “The Book of Tobit as a Window on the Hellenistic Jewish Family», in: LUKER, Lamontte (ed.), Passion, Vitality, and Foment: The Dynamics of Second Temple Judaism, Harrisburg 2001, 242-274. SOMMER, Benjamin D., “Exegesis, Allusion and Intertextuality in the Hebrew Bible: A Response to Lyle Eslinger,” in: JSOT 46 (1996) 479-489. SONNET, Jean-Pierre, “From Midrash to Contemporary Narrative Exegesis (R. Alter, M. Sternberg, et al.): Continuity in Jewish Biblical Reading»,” in: MICHEL, Thomas (ed.), Friends on the Way: Jesuits Encounter Contemporary Judaism (The Abrahamic Dialogues Series), New York: Fordham University Press, 2007, 111-127. SONNET, Jean-Pierre, “Inscribe the New in the Old: Inner-Biblical Exegesis (M. Fishbane) and the Hermeneutics of Innovation (B. Levinson),” in: MICHEL, Thomas (ed.), Friends on the Way: Jesuits Encounter Contemporary Judaism (The Abrahamic Dialogues Series), New York 2007, 128-141. SONNET, Jean-Pierre, “L’analyse narrative des récits bibliques,” in: BAUKS, Michaela/NIHAM, Christophe (eds.), Manuel d’exégèse de l’Ancien Testament (Le monde de la Bible 61), Genève 2008, 47-94. SPENCER, Richard A., “The Book of Tobit in Recent Research,” in: CR:BS 7 (1999) 147-180. SPENCER, Richard A., “Tobit,” in: MILLS, Watson E./WILSON, Richard F. (eds.), Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha (Mercer Commentary on the Bible 5), Macon 2002, 1-13. SPIECKERMANN, Hermann, “’Bamherzig und gnädig ist der Herr...’,” in: ZAW 102 (1990) 1-18. STEIERT, F.-J., Die Weisheit Israels: ein Fremdkörper im Alten Testament? Eine Untersuchung zum Buch der Sprüche auf dem Hintergrund der ägyptischen Weisheitslehren (Freiburger theologische Studien 143), Freiburg 1990. VON STEMM, Sönke, Der betende Sünder vor Gott: Studien zu Vergebungsvorstellungen in urchristlichen und frühjüdischen Texten (AGAJU 45), Leiden 1999. STERN, Sacha, Jewish Identity in Early Rabbinic Writings (AGAJU 23), Leiden 1994. STERNBERG, Meir, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading (Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature), Bloomington 1987. STEUSSY, Marti J., “The Vitality of Story in Second Temple Judaism,” in: LUKER, Lamontte (ed.), Passion, Vitality, and Foment: The Dynamics of Second Temple Judaism, Harrisburg 2001, 212-241.



STROTMANN, Angelika, Mein Vater bist du! (Sir 51,10) Zur Bedeutung der Vaterschaft Gottes in kanonischen und nichtkanonischen frühjüdischen Schriften (Frankfurter Theologische Studien 39), Frankfurt am Main 1991. STRAUSS, Hans, “Weisheitliche Lehrerzählungen im und um das Alte Testament,” in: ZAW 116 (2004) 379-395. STRUGNELL, John, “Problems in the Development of the Ahiqar Tale,” in: LEVINE, Baruch A. et al. (eds.), Frank Moore Cross Volume (Eretz-Israel. Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies 26), Jerualem 1999, 204-211. STUCKENBRUCK, Loren T., Angel Veneration and Christology: A Study in Early Judaism and in the Christology of the Apocalypse of John (WUNT 70), Tübingen 1995. STUCKENBRUCK, Loren T., “The Book of Tobit and the Problem of Magic,” in: LICHTENBERGER, Hermann/OEGEMA, Gerbern S. (eds.), Jüdische Schriften in ihrem antik-jüdischen und urchristlichen Kontext 1, Gutersloh 2002, 258-269. TÁBET, Miguel A., Introducción al Antiguo Testamento I. Pentateuco y Libros Históricos, Madrid 2004. TALMON, Shemaryahu, “‘Wisdom’ in the Book of Esther,” in: VT 13 (1963) 419-455. TAN, Nancy N.H., The ‘Foreignness’ of the Foreign Woman in Proverbs 1–9. A Study of the Origin and Development of a Biblical Motif (BZAW 381), Berlin 2008. TCHERIKOVER, Victor, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews, with a Preface by John J. Collins, Peabody 2004. TERRIEN, Samuel, “Job as a Sage,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 231-242. THOMAS, J.D., “The Greek Text of Tobit,” in: JBL 91 (1972) 463-471. TOLONI, Giancarlo, L’originale del libro di Tobia. Studio filologico-linguistico (Textos y estudios “Cardenal Cisneros” de la Biblia Políglota Matritense 71), Madrid 2004. TOLONI, Giancarlo, “Tobi e Ahiqar,” in: CONTINI, Riccardo/GROTANELLI, Cristiano (eds.), Il Saggio Ahiqar: Fortuna e trasformazioni di uno scritto sapienziale. Il testo più antico e le sue versioni (Studi Biblici 148), Brescia 2005, 141-165. TOLONI, Giancarlo, “Echi omerici nel libro di Tobia?,” in: Sefarad 67 (2007) 5-35. TOLONI, Giancarlo, La sofferenza del giusto. Giobbe e Tobia a confronto (Studi Biblici 159), Brescia 2009. VAN DER TOORN, Karel, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible, Cambridge 2007. ULRICH, Eugene, “The Bible in the Making: The Scriptures at Qumran,” in: ULRICH, Eugene/VANDERKAM, James (eds.), The Community of the Renewed Covenant: The Notre Dame Symposium on the Dead Sea Scrolls (CJA 19), Notre Dame 1994, 77-93.

Bibliography VAN UNNIK, Willem C.,


Das Selbstverständnis der Jüdischen Diaspora in der hellenistisch-römischen Zeit (AGAJU 17), Leiden 1993. URBROCK, William J., “Angels, Bird-Droppings and Fish Liver: The Earth Story in Tobit,” in: HABEL, Norman C. (ed.), Readings from the Perspective of Earth, Sheffield 2000, 125-137. VANDERKAM, James C., “Ahikhar/Ahiqar,” in: ABD 1, New York 1992, 113-115. VANDERKAM, James C./FLINT, Peter, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus and Christianity, New York 2004. VATTIONI, Francesco, “Studi e note sul libro di Tobia,” in: Aug 10 (1970) 241-284. VELČIĆ, Bruna, “The Significance of the Relation of 4QTobite fr. 6 with Greek Texts,” in: Henoch 27 (2005) 149-162. VERHEY, A., “Remember, Remembrance,” in: ABD 5, New York 1992, 667-669. VÍLCHEZ LÍNDEZ, Jose, Tobías y Judit (NBE 3. Narraciones), Estella (Navarra) 2000. VIRGILI DAL PRÀ, R., “Tobia,” in: PENNA, Romano/PEREGO, Giacomo/RAVASI, Gianfranco (eds.), Temi teologici della Bibbia (I dizionari San Paolo), Cinisello Balsamo 2010, 1437-1438. VIRGULIN, Stefano, Tobia. Versione – Introduzione – Note (Nuovissima versione della Bibbia dai testi originali 13), Roma 1978. VIRGULIN, Stefano, “Le opere di carità nel libro di Tobia,” in: PSV 11 (1990) 46-56. VUILLEUMIER, René, Le livre de Tobit. Une histoire d’amour à la limite de la Bible (Cahiers Bibliques 4), Aubonne 1992. WACHOLDER, Ben Z./ABEGG, Martin G., “4Q200 Tobit,” in: A Preliminary Edition of the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls. The Hebrew and Aramaic Texts from Cave Four. Facsimile 3, Washington D.C. 1995, 1-5. WAGNER, Christian J., Polyglotte Tobit–Synopse: Griechisch – Lateinisch – Syrisch – Hebräisch – Aramäisch. Mit einem Index zu den Tobit-Fragmenten vom Toten Meer (Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen Philologische-Historische Klasse 258), Göttingen 2003. WALTKE, Bruce K., The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1–15 (NICOT), Grand Rapids 2004. WASHINGTON, Harold C., “The Strange Woman of Proverbs 1–9 and Post-Exilic Judean Society,” in: BRENNER, Athalya (ed.), A Feminist Companion to Wisdom Literature (The Feminist Companion to the Bible 9), Sheffield 1995, 157-184. WEEKS, Stuart, Early Israelite Wisdom (Oxford Theological Monographs), Oxford 1994.



WEEKS, Stuart, “Some Neglected Texts of Tobit: The Third Greek Version,” in: BREDIN, Mark (ed.), Studies on the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach (LSTS 55), London 2006, 12-42. WEEKS, Stuart/GATHERCOLE, Simon/STUCKENBRUCK, Loren, Tobit: Texts from the Principal Ancient and Medieval Traditions. With Synopsis, Concordances, and Annotated Texts in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Syriac (FoSub 3), Berlin 2004. WELLS, Louise, The Greek Language of Healing from Homer to New Testament Times (BZNW 83), Berlin 1998. WEIGL, Michael, “Die rettende Macht der Barmherzigkeit. Achikar im Buch Tobit,” in: BZ 50 (2006) 212-243. WEINFELD, Moshe, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, Oxford 1972. WEITZMAN, Steven, “Lesson from the Dying: The Role of Deuteronomy 32 in its Narrative Setting,” in: HTR 87 (1994) 377-393. WEITZMAN, Steven, Song and Story in Biblical Narrative: The History of a Literary Convention in Ancient Israel (Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature), Bloomington 1997. WEITZMAN, Steven, “Allusion, Artifice, and Exile in the Hymn of Tobit,” in: JBL 115 (1996) 49-61. WESTERMANN, Claus, Roots of Wisdom: The Oldest Proverbs of Israel and Other Peoples, Louisville 1995. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, The Succession Narrative: a Study of II Samuel 9–20; I Kings 1 and 2 (SBT 9), London 1968. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, The Intellectual Tradition in the Old Testament (BZAW 135), Berlin 1974. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, “The Sage in the Israelite Royal Court,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 133-139. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, Proverbs: Based on the Revised Standard Version (New Century Bible Commentary), Grand Rapids 1994. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, “The Structure and Composition of Proverbs 22:17– 24:22,” in: PORTER, Stanley E./JOYCE, Paul M./ORTON, D.E. (eds.) Crossing the Boundaries: Essays in Biblical Interpretation in Honour of Michael D. Goulder (Biblical Interpretation Series 8), Leiden 1994, 83-96. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, The Book of Proverbs: A Survey of Modern Study (HBIS 1), Leiden 1995. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, “The Wisdom Psalms,” in: DAY, John/GORDON, Robert P./WILLIAMSON, Hugh G.M. (eds.), Wisdom in Ancient Israel: Essays in Honour of J.A. Emerton, Cambridge 1995, 152-160.



WHYBRAY, R. Norman, “Ben Sira and History,” in: CALDUCH-BENAGES, Núria/VERMEYLEN, Jacques (eds.) Treasures of Wisdom: Studies in Ben Sira and the Book of Wisdom. Festschrift M. Gilbert (BETL 118), Leuven 1999, 137-145. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, The Good Life in the Old Testament, London 2002. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, “Slippery Words: IV. Wisdom,” in: DELL, Katharine J./BARKER, Margaret (eds.), Wisdom: The Collected Articles of Norman Whybray, Hants 2005, 6-9. WHYBRAY, R. Norman, “Wisdom Literature in the Reigns of David and Solomon,” in: DELL, Katharine J./BARKER, Margaret (eds.), Wisdom: The Collected Articles of Norman Whybray, Hants 2005, 223-236. WIDMAN, H., “Herstellung und Vertrieb des Buches in der griechischrömischen Welt,” in: HACK, B./WENDT, B. (eds.), Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens VIII, Frankfurt am Main 1967, 545-640. WIKGREN, Allen, “Tobit, Book of,” in: IDB 4, Nashville 1962, 658-662. WILLS, Lawrence M., The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World, Ithaca 1995. WILLS, Lawrence M., “Observations on ‘Wisdom Narratives’ in Early Biblical Literature,” in: ATTRIDGE, Harold W./COLLINS, John J./TOBIN, Thomas H. (eds.), Of Scribes and Scrolls. Studies on the Hebrew Bible, Intertestamental Judaism, and Christian Origins presented to John Srugnell on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday (College Theology Resources in Religion 5), Lanham 1990, 57-66. WINSTON, David, “The Sage as Mystic in the Wisdom of Solomon,” in: GAMMIE, John G./PERDUE, Leo G. (eds.), The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Winona Lake 1990, 383-397. WISE, Michael O., “A Note on 4Q196 (papTOB ara) and Tob I, 22,” in: VT 43 (1993) 566-570. WOJCIECHOWSKI, Michal, “Assyrian Diaspora as Background of the Book of Tobit,” in: Collectanea Theologica 77 (2007) 5-19. WRIGHT, Benjamin G., “From Generation to Generation: The Sage as Father in Early Jewish Literature,” in: IDEM, Praise Israel for Wisdom and Instruction: Essays on Ben Sira and Wisdom, the Letter of Aristeas and the Septuagint (JSJSup 131), Leiden 2008, 25-47. WRIGHT, Benjamin G., “The Use and Interpretation of Biblical Traditions in Ben Sira’s Praise of the Ancestors,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), Studies in the Book of Ben Sira: Papers of the Third International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Shime’on Centre, Papa, Hungary, 18-20 May, 2006 (JSJSup 127), Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2008, 183-207. WRIGHT, G. Ernest, God Who Acts: Biblical Theology as Recital (SBT 8), London 1954.



XERAVITS, Géza G. “’Stranger in a Strange Land’: Tobiah’s Journey,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./DUŠEK, Jan (eds.), The Stranger in Ancient and Medieval Jewish Tradition (DCLS 4), Berlin 2010, 86-94. YARBROUGH, O. Larry, “Parents and Children in the Jewish Family of Antiquity,” in: COHEN, Shaye J.D. (ed.), The Jewish Family in Antiquity (Brown Judaic Studies 289), Atlanta 1993, 39-59. YODER, Christine Roy, Wisdom as a Woman of Substance: A Socioeconomic Reading of Proverbs 1–9 and 31:10-31 (BZAW 304), Berlin 2001. ZAPPELLA, Marco, “L’immagine dell’elezione come strumento dell’esaltazione apologetico di Israele secondo quattro testi ebraici in lingua greca (Tobia, Ben Sira, Giuditta, Ester), in: RStB 17 (2005) 167-201. ZAPPELLA, Marco, Tobit. Introduzione, traduzione e commento (Nuova versione della bibbia dai testi antichi 30), Cinisello Balsamo 2010. ZATELLI, I., “Yir’at JHWH nella Bibbia, in Ben Sira e nei rotoli di Qumran: Considerazioni sintattico-semantiche,” in: RivBib 36 (1988) 229-237. ZENGER, Eric, “Das alttestamentliche Israel und seine Toten,” in: RICHTER, Klemens (ed.), Der Umgang mit den Toten: Tod und Bestattung in der christlichen Gemeinde (QD 123), Freiburg 1990, 132-152. ZIMMERMANN, Frank, The Book of Tobit: An English Translation with Introduction and Commentary (JAL), New York 1958. ZSENGELLÉR, József, “Topography as Theology: Theological Premises of the Geographical References in the Book of Tobit,” in: XERAVITS, Géza G./ZSENGELLÉR, József (eds.), The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004 (JSJSup 98), Leiden 2005, 177-188.

Index of Modern Authors Abegg, M.G. …. 45, 74 Abrahams, I. …. 31, 261 Abrams, M.H. ….139 Achtemeier, E. …. 81 Adams, S.L. …. 180, 190, 194, 199, 227, 243, 244 Aitken, J.K. …. 49, 197, 252 Albertz, R. …. 263, 278, 286, 288, 291 Allen, L.C. …. 40, 78 Alonso Díaz, J. …. 244, 261 Alonso Schökel, L. …. 17, 24, 28, 46, 48, 53, 60, 67, 100, 123, 133, 167, 192 Alster, B. …. 59, 90 Alter, R. …. 24, 25, 30, 95, 121, 122, 131, 135, 138, 153, 156, 157, 164, 165 Amit, Y. ….124, 125, 128, 138 Anderson, G.A. …. 84, 97, 280, 282 Arnaldich, L. ….75, 120 Assis, E. ….288 Audet, J.-P. ….188, 189 Auneau, J. ….8, 24, 26, 29, 48, 116 Auwers, J.-M. ….50, 52 Barclay, J.M.G. ….283, 288 Bar-Efrat, S. ….40, 42, 131, 139, 141, 147, 150 Barker, M. ….169, 171 Barr, J. ….28 Barré, M.L. ….180, 232 Barría Iroumé, C. ….62 Barthélemy, D. ….87 Baslez, M.-F. ….62, 102, 118, 119, 129, 167, 258, 263, 286, 288, 292

Bauckham, R. ….159, 236, 261, 272, 285 Baumgartner, J.M. …. 85 Becker, J. ….231 Beentjes, P.C. ….87 Bellia, G. ….267, 294 Berlin, A. ….42, 65, 100, 135, 150 Berquist, J.L. ….183, 199 Bertram, G. ….86 Bertrand, D.A. ….12, 27, 29, 31, 41, 54, 55, 57 Beyer, H.W. ….17, 74, 92 Beyerle, S. ….143, 273, 284 Bickerman, E. ….202, 204, 239, 261 Birch, B. ….81 Blenkinsopp, J. ….26, 63, 84, 109, 119, 146, 185, 186, 187, 199, 208, 243 Boccaccini, G. ….264, 265 Bolyki, J. ….219, 289 Bonora, A. ….84, 118, 147, 223, 288 Boström, L. ….221, 243, 244 Bourquin, Y. ….122, 125, 126, 141, 167 Bow, B. ….41, 101, 125, 126, 264 Bredin, M. ….5, 282 Brichto, H.C. ….131, 137, 138 Brodie, L. ….30 Brooke, G.J. ….207 Brown, T.R. ….235 Brown, W.P. ….88, 151, 152, 184, 209, 220, 223, 227, 229, 230 Brueggemann, W. ….130, 166, 181, 193 Bryce, G.R. ….192 Bultmann, R. ….105


Index of Modern Authors

Busto Saiz, J.R. ….15 Cabezudo Melero, E. ….38, 106, 296 Calduch-Benages, N. ….7, 45, 58, 82, 88, 125, 144, 180, 184, 186, 193, 211, 214, 231, 232, 233, 238, 240, 241, 243, 248, 267 Camp, C. ….84, 220 Campbell, J. ….62 Cantera Ortíz de Urbina, J. …. 108 Caroll, R.P. ….271, 280, 285 Carr, D. ….191, 197, 198, 199, 203, 204, 205, 220, 271, 290 Cavedo, R. ….127, 290 Chapman, S.B. ….268 Charland, P. ….62 Chester, A. ….28, 31, 32 Childs, B. ….74, 77, 106, 159, 166, 180 Christian, M.A. ….41, 66, 228, 269, 282, 284 Clements, R.E. ….180, 187, 188, 200, 243, 264, 267, 269, 270, 278, 292, 293, 294 Clifford, R.J. ….187 Cohen, S.J.D. ….84 Collins, J.J. ….10, 24, 29, 35, 128, 182, 186, 200, 201, 208, 227, 235, 257, 267, 271, 274, 283, 291, 299 Connolly, S. ….30 Conybeare, F.C. ….59, 99, 112, 172, 174, 176 Coogan, M.D. ….28 Cook, E. ….16 Corley, J. ….4, 11, 251 Cortés, E. ….56, 111, 132 Costacurta, B. ….232, 289 Cousland, J.R.C. ….36, 37, 41, 43, 134, 160, 257, 261, 282 Craghan, J. ….4, 29, 31, 42, 132, 158, 219

Craven, T. ….93, 131, 264 Crawford, S.W. ….85 Crenshaw, J.L. ….63, 87, 102, 144, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 193, 196, 211, 212, 216, 217, 234, 239, 241, 251 Crouch, J.E. ….49, 50, 56 Damrosch, D. …. 131 Dancy, J.C. ….13, 26, 34, 43, 48, 54, 101, 131, 202, 277, 295 Davies, G.H. ….78 Davies, G.I. ….196 Davies, P.R. ….83, 85, 131, 133, 202, 218, 236, 248, 271, 276 Day, L. ….37, 101, 107, 150, 287 De Carlo, G. ….153, 211, 225 De Lange, N. ….2 De Long, K.P. ….35, 38, 127, 140, 260 De Vaux, R. ….63 Delcor, M. ….24, 47, 257 Dell, K. ….181, 184, 185, 186, 187, 194, 196, 200, 201, 210, 212, 257 Deselaers, P. ….3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 20, 21, 22, 26, 30, 33, 35, 37, 48, 60, 67, 68, 69, 70, 75, 83, 94, 96, 99, 100, 117, 120, 147, 148, 159, 160, 209, 219, 229, 290 DeSilva, D.A. ….26, 257 Di Lella, A.A. ….4, 31, 32, 33, 75, 92, 93, 112, 132, 133, 167, 174, 197, 232, 235, 236, 286, 295, 296 Dimant, D. ….4, 15, 20, 25, 29, 33, 40, 97, 117, 218, 264, 266, 272, 274, 285, 288, 291 Dion, E.-P. ….167 Doignon, J. ….3 Doll, P. ….187, 191, 201 Dommershausen, W. ….223 Donaldson, T.L. ….9, 281

Index of Modern Authors

Doran, R. ….11, 18, 19, 23, 24, 27, 142, 202 Doré, D. ….86, 89, 102, 143, 223, 233 Dorival, G. ….17 Drewermann, E. ….62 Driussi, G.M. ….2, 3 Dumm, D.R. ….29, 126, 260 Durham, J.I. ….166 Ego, B. ….4, 11, 17, 18, 21, 23, 75, 83, 84, 91, 107, 110, 128, 131, 132, 137, 158, 167, 169, 223, 266, 273, 275, 276, 278, 279, 284, 285, 288, 289, 290 Eising, H. ….77 Eissfeldt, O. ….17, 26, 46, 188 Endres, J. ….127 Engel, H. ….4, 15, 26, 29, 38, 39, 56, 69, 70, 71, 83, 95, 100, 117, 129, 159, 163, 176, 223, 240, 255, 269, 290 Erbt, W. ….11, 18, 48 Estradé, M.M. ….46, 73, 85, 132 van den Eynde, S. ….30, 33, 42, 54, 126, 131 Fales, F.M. ….112 Faßbeck, G. ….161, 228, 236, 263, 272, 277 Feldman, L. ….9 Fensham, F.C. ….57 Fewell, D. ….23, 135, 141, 147 Fields, W.W. …..160 Fischer, A.A. ….163 Fishbane, M. ….202, 206, 221, 238 Fitzmyer, J. ….4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 26, 38, 41, 42, 45, 46, 50, 52, 54, 55, 56, 74, 83, 90, 101, 102, 103, 104, 112, 123, 160, 174, 202, 233, 257, 276, 285, 286 Flint, P. ….17


Flusser, D. ….9 Fokkelman, J. ….134, 137, 141, 152 Fontaine, C. ….189, 190, 211 Fox, M.V. ….187, 190, 191, 192, 193, 196 Fraade, S.D. ….203, 206 Friedmann, D. ….84 Fries, C. ….27 Fröhlich, I. ….16, 256, 264 Frymer-Kensky, T. ….208, 297 Fuhs, H.F. ….92 Gafni, I.M. ….281 Galbiati, E. ….281 Galpaz-Feller, P. ….57 Gamberoni, J. ….2, 3, 9, 29, 97, 132, 218, 262, 267 Gammie, J.G. ….208 Gathercole, S. ….13, 50, 51, 52 Gemser, B. ….49 Gerleman, G. ….92 Gerstenberger, E. ….189 Gese, H. ….181, 201, 243 Gilbert, M. ….46, 144, 155, 227, 236, 238, 239, 240 Gillini, G. ….142 Girbau, B.M. ….46, 73, 85, 132 Glanville, S.R.K. ….59 Glasson, T.F. ….27 Goering, G.S. ….236 Goettmann, J. ….9, 117, 160, 162 Goff, M. ….59, 85, 184, 197, 234, 235, 237, 267 Golka, F.W. ….190, 194, 196 Gordis, R. ….187 Goshen-Gottstein, A. ….235 Gowan, D.E. ….117, 120, 210, 212 Grabbe, L.L. ….12, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 117, 121, 124, 132, 142, 184, 196, 261, 263, 271, 277 Graf-Stuhlhofer, F. ….93 Green, P. ….27


Index of Modern Authors

Greenfield, J.C. ….25, 28, 42, 62, 90, 91, 172, 173, 175, 176 Gregory, B.C. ….247, 248 Grelot, P. ….120, 219, 287 Griffin, P. ….4, 83, 103, 105, 107, 110, 160 Grintz, Y.M. ….24, 26, 272 Groß, H. ….4, 9, 15, 48, 132 Gruen, E.S. ….4, 27, 125, 128, 134, 157, 219, 246, 258, 260, 261 Gunkel, H. ….26, 119 Gunn, D.M. ….23, 135, 141, 147 Haag, E. ….35, 159, 279, 281 Habel, N. ….79, 225 Hallermayer, M. ….4, 14, 15, 17 Hallo, W. ….45, 57 Hanhart, R. ….15, 51 Harl, M. ….17 Harrington, D.J. ….17, 49, 90, 246, 257 Harris, J.R. ….59, 99, 112, 172, 174, 176 Hart, T. ….3, 104 Haspecker, J. ….240 Hausmann, J. ….179, 186 Heaton, E.W. ….49, 63, 179, 183, 193, 195 Hegermann, H. ….285 Heiligenthal, R. ….97 Hengel, M. ….86, 88, 118, 121, 132 Hermisson, H.-J. ….189, 195 Hieke, T. ….84 Hofmann, N.J. ….32 Holladay, C. ….19 Hoppe, L.J. ….150, 167, 169 Jacobs, N.S. ….161 Jensen, H.J.L. ….141, 218, 264, 280 Ji, C.C. ….19 Johnson, B. ….81 Johnson, S.R. ….286

Jungbauer, H. ….58 Just, F.N.W. ….259 Kaiser, O. …. 7, 22 Ka-Mungu, B. ….96, 117, 143, 161, 259 Kee, H.C. ….45, 155, 179 Kerferd, G.B. ….86 Kiel, M. ….32, 132, 165, 278 Kierkegaard, S. ….126 Knibb, M. ….111, 274 Koch, K. ….242 Kolarcik, M.K. ….155 Kollman, B. ….15 Kondracki, A. ….83 Koptak, P.E. …..25 Kort, W.A. ….154, 158, 163, 255 Kottsieper, I. ….10, 50, 112, 172 Krüger, A. ….289 Krüger, T. ….200, 233 Küchler, M. ….28, 173 Kühn, D. ….286, 290 Lackmann, M. ….144 Laisney, V.P.-M. ….193 Lakoff, G. ….225, 279 Lamparter, W.G. ….89 Laskaratos, J. ….259 Lavoie, J.J. ….62, 117 Lebram, J.C.H. ….67, 154, 202 Lee Humphreys, W. ….117 van Leeuwen, R.C. ….193, 230 Lefebvre, M. ….166 Lemaire, A. ….195, 196 Leonhardt-Balzer, J. ….81, 83 Levine, A.-J. ….4, 126, 130, 162, 257, 258, 259, 261, 269, 271, 277, 278, 280, 286, 287, 294 Lewis, A.S. ….59, 99, 112, 172, 174, 176 Licht, J. ….112, 125, 128, 134, 135, 136

Index of Modern Authors

Lichtheim, M. …. 45, 49, 59, 62, 65, 66, 112 Liesen, J. …..94, 237, 313 Lindenberger, J.M. ….10, 45, 50, 172 Littman, R.J. ….4, 14, 50, 51, 52, 56, 118, 202, 233, 261 Long, A.A. ….86 Longman, T. ….222, 232, 312 Loretz, O. ….46, 177, 256, 293, 295 Lust, J. ….23 MacDonald, D.R. …. 27 MacDonald, N. ….91 MacIntyre, A. ….115, 256 Mack, B. ….235 Manfredi, M. ….48 Marböck, J. ….94 Marguerat, D. ….122, 125, 126, 141, 167 Marketos, S. ….259 Martin, M.W. ….30 Mazar, B. ….19 Mazzinghi, L. ….26, 33, 54, 84, 104, 136, 228, 261 McCann Jr, J.C. ….233, 247 McCarter Jr, K.P. ….208 McCracken, D. ….4, 41, 218, 259 McKane, W. ….64, 65, 172, 184, 195 Mendels, D. ….283 Merill, E.H. ….88 Metzger, B.M. ….3, 210, 257 Michel, O. ….74, 94 Michelini, G. ….142 Milik, J.T. ….7, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 48 Millard, A. ….28 Miller, A. ….47, 64, 257 Miller, G.D. ….15, 29, 30, 31, 69, 80, 84, 160, 161, 285 Milne, P. ….26, 119 Miller, J.E. ….12


Moore, C.A. ….4, 7, 11, 14, 15, 17, 26, 29, 35, 46, 50, 54, 56, 89, 90, 102, 104, 110, 111, 112, 116, 117, 118, 124, 125, 151, 173, 202, 209, 210, 245, 263, 269, 285 Morgan, D. ….185, 191 Morgenstern, M. ….16, 17 Moss, A. ….142, 144, 218, 220 Muilenburg, J. ….115, 187 Müller, H.-P. ….210, 245 Munnich, O. ….17 Muraoka, T. ….197 Murphy, R.E. ….64, 180, 181, 182, 184, 185, 187, 188, 193, 194, 203, 208, 212, 223, 231, 234, 243 Najman, H. ….217, 268, 270 Nardi, C. ….289 Nau, F. ….172 Navarro Puerto, M. ….26, 30, 31, 41, 123 Nel, P. ….65 Newsom, C.A. ….208 Nguyen, D.A.N. ….144, 189, 193, 218, 231 Niccacci, A. ….193 Nickelsburg, G.W.E. ….4, 7, 9, 20, 23, 24, 27, 30, 33, 34, 35, 40, 41, 43, 46, 66, 85, 101, 125, 131, 132, 140, 152, 202, 203, 207, 223, 228, 246, 257, 258, 261, 264, 273, 282 Nicklas, T. ….14, 15, 18, 32, 84 Niditch, S. ….11, 119, 134, 142, 147, 149, 198 Niebuhr, K.-W. ….53, 57, 75, 78, 257 von Nordheim, E. ….98, 100, 111 Novick, T. ….30 Nowell, I. ….4, 21, 26, 28, 30, 33, 35, 39, 41, 42, 54, 75, 77, 104, 110, 116, 118, 128, 131, 135, 137, 141, 143, 149, 150, 160, 161, 174, 209,


Index of Modern Authors

224, 226, 229, 244, 246, 251, 257, 259, 277 O’Day, G.R. ….25 Oeming, M. ….5, 53, 67, 69, 71, 75, 83, 89, 94, 97, 250, 255, 262, 269, 290, 297 Oesterley, W.O.E. ….46, 202 Otzen, B. ….14, 26, 27, 67, 117, 119, 130, 210, 265, 270, 277, 279, 285 Owens, J.E. ….158 Pahk, J,Y.-S. ….238, 240, 241 Papayannopoulos, I. ….259 Pautrel, R. ….46, 116, 166 Perdue, L.G. ….50, 55, 65, 74, 94, 97, 146, 147, 183, 186, 187, 191, 197, 199, 200, 211, 212, 216, 218, 221, 222, 226, 227, 230, 234, 238, 240 Perry, B.E. ….40, 117, 118, 121, 244 Perry, T.A. ….244 Pervo, R.I. ….117, 118, 119, 120 Petersen, N.R. ….35, 41, 42, 43, 90, 123, 129, 167, 259, 260, 261 Petraglio, R. ….7 van Peursen, W.Th. ….197 Pfeiffer, R.H. ….18, 26, 27, 29, 33, 106, 117, 123, 257, 263, 285 Pike, D.M. ….7 Pitkänen, P. ….228 Poehlmann, W. ….2 Pope, M.H. ….80 Portier-Young, A. ….32, 37, 126, 146, 257, 269, 289, 292 Powell, M.A. ….121, 122, 134, 139, 147 Prado, J. ….117, 262, 266 Preuss, H.D. ….180, 184, 217, 245 Priero, G. ….10, 16, 17, 61, 63, 69, 89, 104, 105, 286 Propp, V. ….26, 35, 119, 122

Puech, E. ….196, 197 Quarles, C.L. ….97 Quirke, S. ….57, 62 Rabenau, M. ….3, 5, 7, 9, 14, 15, 21, 22, 29, 38, 46, 48, 49, 66, 79, 84, 89, 91, 98, 148, 163, 209, 262, 281, 288, 290 von Rad, G. ….24, 78, 88, 97, 191, 192, 194, 195, 211, 231, 239, 257 Ravasi, G. ….37, 38, 244, 286 Reardon, P. ….126, 148, 209, 224, 225 Reiterer, F.V. ….107, 167, 240, 282 Renan, E. ….27, 285 Rendtorff, R. ….193 Reymond, E.D. ….197 Rickenbacher, O. ….87 Ricoeur, P. ….135, 139, 145, 156 Rogers, J. ….236 Rogerson, J. ….222 Rosenthal, F. ….83 Rost, L. ….9, 117 Rota Scalabrini, P. ….31, 38, 102, 120, 146, 168, 203, 216, 223, 296 Runyon, R. ….160 Ruppert, L. ….10, 11, 28, 30 Saldarini, A.J. ….278 Schmitt, A. ….11, 16, 51, 173, 176, 292 Schnupp, B. ….15, 39, 106, 110, 129, 149 Schottroff, W. ….78 Schroer, S. ….211 Schuller, E. ….24, 30 Schüngel-Straumann, H. ….4, 22, 30, 38, 39, 46, 51, 56, 58, 73, 74, 81, 95, 101, 112, 117, 129, 255 Schürer, E. ….14, 26, 27, 285 Schwartz, J. ….27

Index of Modern Authors

Scott, J.M. ….274 Scott, R.B.Y. ….141, 190, 193, 205, 210, 279 Scullion, J.J. ….81 Seifrid, M.A. ….82 Sheppard, G.T. ….206, 216, 220 Shupak, N. ….144, 185, 193, 195, 197, 231 Signoretto, M. ….212 Simonsen, D. ….17 Simpson, D.C. ….2, 15, 26, 51, 291 Ska, J.-L. ….122, 123, 125, 134, 139, 141, 176, 200, 235, 259, 268, 285 Skehan, P.W. ….197 Skemp,V.T.M. ….4, 13, 33, 48, 52, 219, 245 Smith-Christopher, D.L. ….199, 277, 283 Soggin, J.A. ….121, 277 Soll, W. ….4, 26, 27, 35, 36, 119, 128, 215, 218, 219, 228, 272, 273, 287, 288 Sommer, B. ….25 Sonnet, J.-P. ….124, 125, 126, 131, 134, 139, 146, 167, 202, 206, 268 Spencer, R.A. ….24, 26, 259 Spieckermann, H. ….158 Steiert, F.-J. ….180, 234 von Stemm, S. ….97, 130, 250 Stern, S. ….84 Sternberg, M. ….42, 134, 135, 137, 141, 167, 168 Steussy, M.J. ….33, 256 Strotmann, A. ….247 Strugnell, J. ….33, 172, 174 Stuckenbruck, L.T. ….13, 18, 170 Tábet, M.A. ….223 Talmon, S. ….149, 218 Tan, N.N.H. ….85 Tcherikover, V. ….19, 283 Terrien, S. ….182, 208


Thomas, J.D. ….14, 15, 17 Toloni, G. ….10, 12, 16, 17, 28, 32, 120, 173, 174, 175, 177, 210 van der Toorn, K. ….197, 198, 203, 204, 205, 206, 221 Turner, M. ….225, 279 Ulrich, E. ….267 Urbrock, W.J. ….145, 274, 278, 282 van Unnik, 274, 276, 277 VanderKam, 10, 17, 172 Vattioni, F. ….15 Verhey, A. ….78 Vílchez Líndez, J. ….4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 53, 54, 90, 101, 104, 106, 116, 117, 121, 142, 143, 160, 192, 223, 233 Virgili dal Prà, 39, 117, 257, 267, 284 Virgulin, S. ….26, 42, 83, 93, 290 Vuilleumier, R. ….15, 29, 39, 83, 270, 277, 295 Wacholder, B.Z. ….45, 74 Wagner, C. ….13, 14, 15, 18, 50, 52 Waltke, B.K. ….231 Washington, H. ….84 Weeks, S. ….13, 14, 16, 18, 51, 52, 161, 193, 194, 197 Weigl, M. ….28, 133, 174, 175, 291, 296 Weinfeld, M. ….217 Weitzman, S. ….31, 36, 154, 157, 159, 175 Wells, L. ….259 Wénin, A. ….125, 134 Westermann, C. ….55, 64, 188 Whybray, R.N. ….9, 149, 181, 182, 183, 187, 190, 192, 193, 194, 197, 204, 208, 218, 223, 233, 235, 237, 243 Widman, H. ….25


Index of Modern Authors

Wikgren, A. ….9, 40 Wills, L.M. ….4, 10, 12, 13, 27, 47, 48, 118, 134, 209, 219, 260, 288 Winston, D. ….208 Wise, E. ….11, 17, 18, 24, 27 Wojciechowski, M. ….13, 285 Wright, B.G. ….45, 64, 180, 235 Xeravits, G.G. ….4, 61, 275, 276, 289

Yarbrough, O.L. ….56, 63, 294 Yoder, C.R. ….84 Zapella, M. ….8, 41, 152, 284, 297 Zatelli, I. ….232 Zattoni, M. ….142 Zimmermann, F. ….8, 10, 15, 17, 26, 29, 34, 54, 276, 277 Zsengellér, J. ….4, 159, 276, 277

Index of References I. Hebrew Bible Genesis Gen 1–2, 160 Gen 1–3, 224 Gen 2, 30, 31 Gen 3, 11, 31 Gen 8:1, 108 Gen 9, 224 Gen 12:2-3, 221 Gen 18, 30 Gen 18:19, 81, 300 Gen 19, 30 Gen 22, 30, 334 Gen 24, 30, 31, 79 Gen 24:6, 86 Gen 24:7, 30 Gen 25:9, 132 Gen 29, 30, 31 Gen 29–35, 30 Gen 32, 30 Gen 37, 11 Gen 37–50, 54 Gen 37:29-35, 54 Gen 38:17-23, 54 Gen 39–50, 11 Gen 39:3, 30 Gen 41:43, 11 Gen 47:27–48:22, 35 Gen 49, 35, 132 Gen 49:29-31, 132 Gen 49:29-32, 56

Exodus Exod 1:15-22, 157 Exod 2:23-24, 158, 166 Exod 2:24, 108 Exod 3:6, 158 Exod 6:5, 158 Exod 8:19, 164 Exod 10:28, 86 Exod 11:7, 164 Exod 14:11, 158 Exod 14:19, 163 Exod 14:19-24, 160 Exod 15:1-17, 158 Exod 15:1-8, 157 Exod 15:21, 103 Exod 15:26, 158, 162 Exod 16:3, 158 Exod 17:1-7, 162 Exod 18:20, 79 Exodus 19, 161 Exod 19:6, 161 Exod 19:7-8, 164 Exod 20, 164 Exod 20:1, 109 Exod 20:12, 58 Exod 20:20, 162 Exod 23:20-23, 163 Exod 23:21, 86 Exod 24, 161 Exod 24:11, 161 Exod 24:3-7, 270 Exod 24:7, 164

354 Exod 34:12, 86 Exod 34:7, 158 Leviticus Lev 2:1, 97 Lev 1:2, 97 Lev 19:13, 85 Lev 19:18, 82 Lev 26:33, 274 Numbers Num 7:12-13, 97 Num 14:22, 162 Num 15:39, 77 Num 6:14, 97 Deuteronomy Deut 4:2, 209 Deut 4:6, 109, 300 Deut 4:9, 45, 75, 86 Deut 5:16, 58 Deut 5:29, 209 Deut 6:12, 75, 86 Deut 6:1-2, 45 Deut 6:16, 162 Deut 6:17, 209 Deut 6:20-21, 92 Deut 6:7, 210 Deut 7:9, 209 Deut 8:2, 209 Deut 8:6, 79 Deut 8:11, 75, 77, 86 Deut 8:14, 77 Deut 8:18, 77

Index of References

Deut 8:19, 75 Deut 10:13, 209 Deut 11:13, 209 Deut 11:16, 86 Deut 11:19, 210 Deut 11:22, 148 Deut 12:4-14, 274 Deut 12:13, 86 Deut 12:19, 86 Deut 12:23, 86 Deut 12:30, 86 Deut 13:5, 209 Deut 15:5, 209 Deut 15:7, 83 Deut 15:9, 86 Deut 16:12, 209 Deut 19:9, 209 Deut 24:8, 86 Deut 26:13, 209 Deut 27:1, 209 Deut 27:16, 58 Deut 28, 31, 247 Deut 28:1, 209 Deut 28:1-68, 66 Deut 28:25, 128, 275 Deut 28:28-29, 274 Deut 28:37, 275 Deut 28:63-64, 274 Deut 28:65, 274 Deut 30:10, 209 Deut 30:1-10, 32 Deut 30:15-16, 66 Deut 30:4, 277 Deut 31–32, 36, 154, 176

Index of References

Deut 31:12-13, 45 Deut 31:16-21, 80 Deut 32:1, 86, 87 Deut 32:10, 86 Deut 32:46, 45 Joshua Josh 13, 30 Josh 5, 30 Josh 6, 30 Judges Jud 8:27, 249 Judg 11:3, 20 Judg 11:34, 20 Judg 11:5, 20 Judg 13:15, 54 Judg 13, 32 1 Samuel 1 Sam 2:1-10, 9, 103 2 Samuel 2 Sam 7:28, 96 2 Sam 10:6-8, 20 2 Sam 14:20, 151 2 Sam 24, 30 2 Sam 22:8-51, 9 1 Kings 1 Kgs 2:2-9, 54 1 Kgs 3:5-14, 93 1 Kgs 5:9-14, 195, 286 1 Kgs 10:1-10, 195, 286

1 Kgs 12:26-33, 274 2 Kings 2 Kgs 18:11, 279 Isaiah Isa 1:11-16, 252 Isa 1:15-17, 104 Isa 1:21-23, 82 Isa 2:2-3, 33 Isa 2:2-5, 9 Isa 26:9-10, 81 Isa 29:18, 275 Isa 42:10-13, 157 Isa 42:7, 275 Isa 44:21, 166 Isa 45:19, 81 Isa 49:15-16, 166 Isa 51:7, 81 Isa 54, 10 Isa 54:11-13, 9 Isa 55:5, 9 Isa 59:6-7, 252 Isa 59:9-10, 274 Isa 60:1-14, 33 Isa 61:1, 275 Isa 62, 9, 10, 370 Isa 62:2, 9 Isa 62:5, 161 Jeremiah Jer 2:30, 89 Jer 5:3, 89 Jer 7:28, 89


356 Jer 8:3, 275 Jer 9:15, 274 Jer 14:12, 104 Jer 17:4, 275 Jer 24:9, 275 Jer 29:4-7, 283 Jer 31:28-30, 224 Jer 31:33-34, 99 Ezekiel Ezek 6:8-10, 275 Ezek 12:4-6, 275 Ezek 18:4, 224 Ezek 18:9, 96 Hosea Hos 2–3, 161 Hos 3, 40 Joel Joel 1:14, 104 Amos Am 5:22-24, 252 Am 8:10, 33 Jonah Jon 2:3-10, 9 Micah Mic 4:2, 33 Nahum Nah 2:3–3:19, 33

Index of References

Zechariah Zech 8:22, 33 Psalms Ps 1, 66,130 Ps 1:1, 79 Ps 1:2-3, 236 Ps 1:6, 79 Ps 6:6, 94 Ps 7:16, 175 Ps 9:16, 175 Ps 9:18, 78 Ps 25:5, 96 Ps 27:11, 79 Ps 32:8, 154 Ps 33, 103 Ps 34:10, 233 Ps 34:18, 94 Ps 35:8, 175 Ps 36:2-4, 91 Ps 37:23, 93 Ps 37:39-40, 94 Ps 42, 76 Ps 44:13-16, 275 Ps 53:2-6, 66 Ps 57:7, 175 Ps 73:23-24, 154 Ps 78:41, 162 Ps 81:12-13, 109 Ps 81:8, 162 Ps 86:11, 79, 96 Ps 91:10-13, 155 Ps 92:6-16, 66 Ps 94:12, 88

Index of References

Ps 95:8-11, 162 Ps 103:18, 154 Ps 105:1-3, 94 Ps 105:5, 76 Ps 106:14, 162 Ps 111, 103 Ps 111:10, 233 Ps 111:7, 96 Ps 112:1, 236 Ps 119:128, 79 Ps 119:142, 96 Ps 119:151, 96 Ps 119:160, 96 Ps 127, 291 Ps 133, 291 Ps 137, 76 Ps 141:10, 175 Ps 146:7-8, 275 Ps 150, 130 Job Job 1:1, 33 Job 1:1–2:13, 33 Job 1:14-19, 33 Job 1:2-3, 33 Job 15:17-18, 188 Job 2:3, 33 Job 2:7-8, 33 Job 2:9, 33 Job 3, 33 Job 28:23, 213 Job 28:23-27, 241 Job 28:28, 235, 241 Job 31, 5, 57


Job 31:10, 33 Job 42:11-15, 33 Job 42:16-17, 33 Job 42:7-17, 33, 212 Proverbs Prov 1–9, 64, 79, 84, 85, 139, 142, 144, 194, 196, 202, 219, 220, 222, 227, 229, 231, 232, 233, 316, 321, 329, 332, 338, 343, 344 Prov 1:2-7, 185 Prov 1:3, 88, 229 Prov 1:5, 154 Prov 1:7, 88, 233 Prov 1:8-19, 45 Prov 1:15, 79 Prov 1:19, 175 Prov 1:20, 183 Prov 1:20-23, 264 Prov 1:22, 214 Prov 1:23, 214 Prov 1:29-30, 235 Prov 1:31, 245 Prov 1:32, 89 Prov 2:1-5, 219 Prov 2:1-22, 45 Prov 2:5-7, 93 Prov 2:6, 109, 264 Prov 2:7-8, 79, 227 Prov 2:10-15, 91 Prov 2:12, 227 Prov 2:16-19, 84 Prov 2:20-22, 246

358 Prov 3:1-2, 89, 219 Prov 3:1-12, 45 Prov 3:6, 79, 93 Prov 3:7, 234, 235 Prov 3:11-12, 249 Prov 3:33-35, 246 Prov 4:1-5, 218, 219 Prov 4:3-5, 215 Prov 4:10-11, 219 Prov 4:10-13, 45 Prov 4:11, 79 Prov 4:20, 87 Prov 4:20-23, 144 Prov 4:21, 100 Prov 5:1, 87 Prov 5:1-6, 45 Prov 5:1-23, 84 Prov 5:3, 87 Prov 5:6, 79 Prov 5:22-23, 91 Prov 6:6-11, 229 Prov 6:12-15, 246 Prov 6:20-23, 45 Prov 6:20–7:27, 84 Prov 6:23, 79 Prov 6:24-35, 230 Prov 7:1-13, 45 Prov 7:24, 87 Prov 7:25, 79 Prov 8:2, 213 Prov 8:2-3, 183 Prov 8:8-10, 264 Prov 8:20, 79, 227 Prov 8:33, 227

Index of References

Prov 8:33-35, 89 Prov 8:35, 214 Prov 9:1-6, 214, 220 Prov 9:1-18, 66 Prov 9:3, 183 Prov 9:10, 88, 233 Prov 9:11, 89 Prov 9:13-18, 84 Prov 9:18, 89 Prov 10–22, 64 Prov 10–29, 53, 194, 196, 200 Prov 10–31, 232 Prov 10:1, 149 Prov 10:2, 33 Prov 10:3-4, 246 Prov 10:4, 245 Prov 10:4-5, 229 Prov 10:5, 66 Prov 10:20-32, 66 Prov 10:28, 212 Prov 11:2, 33, 230 Prov 11:5-6, 66 Prov 11:6-8, 246 Prov 11:21, 245 Prov 12:2-7, 66 Prov 12:11, 229 Prov 12:15, 90 Prov 13:10, 90 Prov 13:16, 212 Prov 13:18, 229 Prov 14:21, 231, 251 Prov 14:22, 66 Prov 14:23, 229 Prov 14:31, 211, 251

Index of References

Prov 15:8, 240 Prov 15:20, 149 Prov 15:22, 143, 212 Prov 15:33, 234 Prov 16:1-10, 196 Prov 16:3, 154, 226 Prov 16:4, 213 Prov 16:9, 224 Prov 16:25, 79, 227 Prov 16:33, 225 Prov 18:15, 90 Prov 19:17, 211, 215, 231, 245, 251 Prov 19:21, 225 Prov 19:26, 58 Prov 20:13, 229 Prov 20:20, 58 Prov 20:24, 225 Prov 21:3, 251, 252 Prov 21:13, 211, 231, 251 Prov 21:31, 225, 245 Prov 22:2, 213 Prov 22:4, 234 Prov 22:7, 211 Prov 22:6, 218 Prov 22:9, 215, 231 Prov 22:17–24:22, 195 Prov 23:15-28, 191 Prov 23:22, 58 Prov 23:23, 88 Prov 23:24, 149 Prov 25–29, 64 Prov 25:1, 192, 200 Prov 25:1-7, 196


Prov 25:2, 294 Prov 26:27, 175, 245 Prov 28:8, 251 Prov 28:9, 240 Prov 28:24, 58 Prov 29:3, 149 Prov 29:13, 213 Prov 29:23, 229 Prov 30:7-9, 240, 243 Prov 30:17, 58 Prov 31:9, 81 Prov 31:10-31, 229, 232 Qoheleth Qoh 1:9, 86 Qoh 1:13-14, 213 Qoh 10:8, 175 Qoh 12:13, 235 Daniel Dan 4:24, 107, 250 Dan 4:27, 253 Nehemiah Neh 1:4, 104 1 Chronicles 1 Chron 16:8-12, 76 II. Deuterocanonical Books Tobit Tob 1, 8, 10, 17, 38, 264, 286, 339 Tob 1–2, 264, 265, 274


Index of References

Tob 1–3, 38, 119, 120 Tob 1–12, 10, 368 Tob 1:1, 290 Tob 1:1-2, 42, 279, 280, 281, 282 Tob 1:1–2:10, 125 Tob 1:1–3:17, 33 Tob 1:2, 19, 273, 281 Tob 1:2-3, 128 Tob 1:3, 13, 23, 71, 95, 96, 268, 273, 285 Tob 1:3–3:6, 42, 43 Tob 1:3-8, 23 Tob 1:3a, 82 Tob 1:3b, 83 Tob 1:4-5, 274 Tob 1:4-8, 23, 287 Tob 1:4-9, 268 Tob 1:6, 13, 97 Tob 1:6-12, 33 Tob 1:6-7, 287 Tob 1:6-8, 97, 242, 265 Tob 1:8, 57, 60, 63, 215, 222 Tob 1:9, 145 Tob 1:10, 273, 274, 279, 292 Tob 1:10-11, 13, 97, 242 Tob 1:10-18, 268 Tob 1:10-20, 284 Tob 1:12, 75, 100, 215 Tob 1:12-13, 33, 250 Tob 1:12-14, 217 Tob 1:13, 33 Tob 1:13-14, 220 Tob 1:14b, 54 Tob 1:15, 23, 228

Tob 1:15-20, 33 Tob 1:16-17, 23, 242 Tob 1:16-18, 293 Tob 1:16-20, 217 Tob 1:17, 83 Tob 1:17-18, 157 Tob 1:18, 33 Tob 1:20, 8, 290 Tob 1:21-22, 11 Tob 1:21b, 12 Tob 1:22, 8, 28, 294 Tob 1:22a, 12 Tob 1:22b, 12 Tob 2–12, 10 Tob 2:1, 8, 23, 97, 161, 242, 265 Tob 2:1-14, 217 Tob 2:2, 242, 252 Tob 2:2-5, 33 Tob 2:2-5, 8, 15 Tob 2:6, 23, 33, 269, 274 Tob 2:7, 83 Tob 2:8, 275 Tob 2:9, 97 Tob 2:9-10, 33 Tob 2:10, 11, 160, 162 Tob 2:11-14, 8, 21, 33 Tob 2:11–3:6, 125 Tob 2:14, 33, 128, 248, 250, 275 Tob 3, 34, 38, 158, 168, 226, 239, 248, 274, 320 Tob 3:1, 95, 265 Tob 3:1-6, 33, 39, 120 Tob 3:2, 105, 228, 254 Tob 3:3-4, 75

Index of References

Tob 3:3-5, 137 Tob 3:4, 274, 276, 280 Tob 3:4-5, 275 Tob 3:5, 109 Tob 3:6, 21, 23, 34, 275 Tob 3:7, 13 Tob 3:7-15, 275 Tob 3:7-8a, 125 Tob 3:8, 135, 158 Tob 3:8b-15, 126 Tob 3:10, 265 Tob 3:16, 128 Tob 3:16-17, 123, 145, 167, 170 Tob 3:17, 23, 160, 167 Tob 4, ix, 3, 5, 8, 16, 38, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58, 60, 64, 66, 67, 70, 71, 74, 89, 92, 95, 97, 104, 111, 116, 121, 131, 136, 139, 141, 147, 148, 150, 176, 183, 184, 191, 209, 211, 217, 218, 220, 222, 232, 242, 247, 255, 259, 261, 263, 264, 269, 298, 304, 317 Tob 4–12, 118 Tob 4:1, 55, 99, 127 Tob 4:1-2, 71 Tob 4:1-21, 39 Tob 4:2, 55 Tob 4:3, 45 Tob 4:3-4, 56, 57, 60, 61, 220, 242 Tob 4:3-9, 50 Tob 4:3-19, 21, 45, 46, 51, 52, 53, 70, 72, 74, 94, 113, 263


Tob 4:3b-19, 21, 48 Tob 4:3b-21, 48 Tob 4:3-21, 43 Tob 4:4, 58, 99, 221 Tob 4:4b-6, 79 Tob 4:5, 147, 207, 215, 228, 265 Tob 4:5a, 75, 76, 80, 98, 99 Tob 4:5b, 79 Tob 4:5-6, 271 Tob 4:5b-6, 78, 79, 153 Tob 4:5b-11, 217 Tob 4:5-14a, 19, 66 Tob 4:5-19, 21, 60, 266 Tob 4:6, 51, 96, 148, 244, 247 Tob 4:6-7, 95, 217 Tob 4:7, 33, 239, 244, 252, 251, 253, 254 Tob 4:7a, 69 Tob 4:7-11, 83 Tob 4:7-19, 51, 78 Tob 4:7-19b, 47, 50 Tob 4:8, 65 Tob 4:9, 251 Tob 4:9-11, 138 Tob 4:10, 33, 80, 106 Tob 4:11, 33, 97, 137, 251, 265, 271 Tob 4:12, 31, 87, 96, 99, 247, 290 Tob 4:12-13, 84, 215 Tob 4:12a-13, 69 Tob 4:12b, 75 Tob 4:13, 33, 69, 230, 247, 262, 271, 291 Tob 4:14, 87, 152, 207, 215, 229,


Index of References

Tob 4:14a, 65, 70 Tob 4:14b, 136, 231 Tob 4:14c, 153, 247 Tob 4:14-17, 217 Tob 4:14b-18, 47, 66 Tob 4:14b-19, 23 Tob 4:14c-15, 78, 79, 85 Tob 4:15, 79, 89 Tob 4:15b, 52 Tob 4:16, 67, 90 Tob 4:16b, 69 Tob 4:17, 90 Tob 4:17-18, 71 Tob 4:18, 33, 153, 215 Tob 4:18a, 243 Tob 4:18b, 243 Tob 4:19, 51, 52, 79, 92, 147, 153, 166, 169, 207, 226, 228, 242, 243, 262, 298 Tob 4:19a-c, 78 Tob 4:19c, 98, 100 Tob 4:20, 55 Tob 4:20-21, 71 Tob 4:21, 60, 88, 215, 233, 247, 251, 263 Tob 5, 260 Tob 5–12, 61, 145, 228, 232, 264 Tob 5:1, 144, 164 Tob 5:1-2, 21 Tob 5:1-3, 143 Tob 5:1–6:1, 129 Tob 5:1–7:8, 39 Tob 5:2, 290 Tob 5:3, 23, 146

Tob 5:4-17, 143 Tob 5:6, 147, 216 Tob 5:10, 125 Tob 5:11, 290 Tob 5:14, 13, 159 Tob 5:17, 30 Tob 5:18, 80 Tob 5:18-19, 291 Tob 5:18–6:1, 23 Tob 5:22, 80, 145, 167 Tob 6:2, 159 Tob 6:2–7:9a, 129 Tob 6:7-10, 21 Tob 6:8, 158 Tob 6:9, 145 Tob 6:13, 165, 269, 271 Tob 6:14-15, 135 Tob 6:16, 77, 209, 230, 290 Tob 6:18, 253 Tob 7:2, 152 Tob 7:5, 145 Tob 7:7, 23, 82, 250 Tob 7:9–10:13, 39 Tob 7:9b–10:13, 129 Tob 7:10b-11, 21 Tob 7:11, 23, 160 Tob 7:11-12, 271 Tob 7:12, 30, 145, 165 Tob 7:12-13, 269 Tob 8:2, 110 Tob 8:3b, 23 Tob 8:5, 278 Tob 8:5-8, 103, 243 Tob 8:6, 21, 165

Index of References

Tob 8:7, 105 Tob 8:9-18, 148 Tob 8:9b-12, 226 Tob 8:10, 128, 275 Tob 8:15-17, 103 Tob 8:19, 161 Tob 8:20–10:7, 21 Tob 8:21, 23, 145 Tob 9:6, 82, 152, 290 Tob 9:12, 278 Tobit 10–14, 38 Tob 10:4, 80 Tob 10:4-7, 23, 148 Tob 10:6, 80, 145 Tob 10:7, 80 Tob 10:10, 278 Tob 10:11, 145 Tob 10:12-13, 21 Tob 11:1–12:22, 39 Tob 11:1-14, 110 Tob 11:1-19, 129 Tob 11:7-9, 21 Tob 11:11-14), 240 Tob 11:14, 248 Tob 11:14-15, 103, 170 Tob 11:15, 145, 148, 153 Tob 11:18, 8, 279 Tob 11:18b, 161 Tob 11:19, 12 Tob 12, 3, 8, 36, 46, 64, 84, 108, 132, 136, 137, 138, 143, 148, 151, 183, 211, 218, 251, 259, 268, 294, 300 Tob 12–14, 36


Tob 12:1–14:15, 33 Tob 12:1-22, 129 Tob 12:2-3, 153 Tob 12:3, 21, 145 Tob 12:6, 107, 108, 209, 240, 264 Tob 12:6-7, 76, 106 Tob 12:6-7a, 169 Tob 12:6-8, 94 Tob 12:6-10, 46, 58, 76, 95, 101, 113, 209, 263 Tob 12:6b-10, 21 Tob 12:6-14, 216 Tob 12:6-15, 219 Tob 12:6b, 165 Tob 12:7, 294 Tob 12:7b-10, 103 Tob 12:8, 108, 250 Tob 12:8-9, 271 Tob 12:9, 80, 97, 137, 253, 254 Tob 12:10, 33, 175 Tob 12:11-14, 23, 103 Tob 12:12-14, 108, 171 Tob 12:12-15, 167 Tob 12:13-14, 154, 162, 253, 272 Tob 12:14, 140, 162, 217, 249 Tob 12:17-18, 94 Tob 12:19-20, 21, 23 Tob 12:20, 76 Tob 12:20b, 207 Tob 12:22, 127 Tob 13, 8, 9, 10, 17, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 71, 129, 130, 239, 240, 248, 261, 276, 287 Tob 13–14, 8, 32, 119, 120, 287


Index of References

Tob 13:1-6, 277 Tob 13:1-8, 23, 103 Tob 13:1-9a, 21 Tob 13:1–14:2a, 39 Tob 13:1-18, 158 Tob 13:2, 140 Tob 13:2-3, 249 Tob 13:3-4, 300 Tob 13:3-6, 280 Tob 13:4, 278 Tob 13:5, 163, 276 Tob 13:6, 23, 96, 240, 253, 254 Tob 13:6-10b, 47 Tob 13:6-7, 278 Tob 13:8-17, 287 Tob 13:9-18, 23 Tob 13:11, 33 Tob 13:13, 300 Tob 13:15-18, 268 Tob 13:16-18, 157, 291 Tob 13:17-18, 284 Tob 13:18–14:2, 18 Tob 14, 34, 36, 38, 56, 63, 75, 111, 136, 174, 175, 259, 268, 311, 317, 328 Tob 14:1-2, 21, 250 Tob 14:1-15, 127 Tob 14:2-3, 33 Tob 14:2b-15, 38 Tob 14:3, 33, 160, 278 Tob 14:3-4, 111, 128, 283 Tob 14:3b-7, 23 Tob 14:3-11, 120 Tob 14:4, 32, 269, 274, 280, 285

Tob 14:4-5, 276 Tob 14:4b-6, 157 Tob 14:5, 157, 277, 280, 291 Tob 14:7, 32, 75, 84, 96 Tob 14:8-11, 46, 95, 111, 171, 215, 263 Tob 14:8-11a, 113 Tob 14:8-9, 23, 94, 95 Tob 14:9, 96, 112, 138 Tob 14:9-11, 247 Tob 14:10, 8, 11, 12, 28, 58, 244, 294 Tob 14:10-12, 221 Tob 14:11, 23, 80, 84 Tob 14:11-12, 33 Tob 14:12-14, 232 Tob 14:13, 283 Tob 14:15, 250, 285 Judith Jud 8:27, 247 Jud 16:1-17, 9 Wisdom of Solomon Wis 6:24, 300 Wis 9, 238 Wis 9–10, 286 Wis 9:1-18, 242 Wis 9:2, 238 Wis 9:4, 241 Wis 9:4-6, 93 Wis 9:18, 155, 238 Wis 10, 155 Wis 11–19, 157

Index of References

Sirach Sir 1:1, 241 Sir 1:29, 87 Sir 2:1, 45 Sir 2:10-11, 251 Sir 2:17, 235 Sir 3:1–4:10, 83 Sir 3:5, 242 Sir 3:6, 104 Sir 3:17, 45 Sir 4:1, 45 Sir 4:4-5, 33 Sir 4:6, 243 Sir 4:11-19, 88 Sir 4:15, 87, 199 Sir 4:18, 89 Sir 4:19, 89 Sir 6:13, 87 Sir 6:18, 45 Sir 6:18-22, 66 Sir 6:18-37, 88 Sir 6:29-31, 89 Sir 6:34-36, 33 Sir 6:37, 243 Sir 7:24, 87 Sir 7:27-28, 58 Sir 7:30-32, 265 Sir 11:33, 87 Sir 12:1-4, 83 Sir 12:2, 90 Sir 12:23, 88 Sir 13:8, 87 Sir 13:13, 87 Sir 14:20-27, 199

Sir 15:9-10, 242 Sir 15:10, 93 Sir 16:24, 87 Sir 17:14, 87 Sir 18:21, 33 Sir 18:27, 87 Sir 20:1-20, 66 Sir 21:5, 243 Sir 21:11, 89 Sir 21:11-25, 66 Sir 21:17, 90 Sir 22:27–23:6, 242 Sir 23:27, 87 Sir 24, 203, 222, 238, 267 Sir 27:25-27, 175 Sir 28:16, 87 Sir 28:26, 87 Sir 29:12, 33 Sir 29:20, 87 Sir 30:2-5, 63 Sir 30:17, 54 Sir 32:24, 236 Sir 34:26, 104 Sir 35:1, 87 Sir 35:1-2, 97 Sir 35:13-18, 243 Sir 36:1-17, 10 Sir 37:7-10, 243 Sir 37:12-14, 243 Sir 37:15, 243 Sir 37:31, 87 Sir 38:1-15, 243 Sir 38:24-25, 201 Sir 39:5-8, 242



Index of References

Sir 39:6, 241, 243 Sir 40:24, 33 Sir 43:35, 241 Sir 44–50, 237, 238 Sir 48:20, 241 Sir 51:13-30, 199 Sir 51:23, 198

Jubilees Jub 7:20, 59 Jub 11:11, 284 Jub 23:26-27, 99

Baruch Bar 4, 267 Bar 4:5–5:9, 10

Testament of Levi T. Levi 4.5, 64

III. New Testament Matthew Matt 5:7, 252 Luke Luke 2:36-38, 272 Acts Acts 16, 40 Romans Rom 8:28, 223 Rom 9:18, 296

Testament of Reuben T. Reu 4:5, 59

Testament of Gad T. Gad 3.1-2, 96 Testament of Joseph T. Jos 10.1, 104 T. Jos 11.1, 96 Testament of Benjamin T. Benj 10:4, 64 The Sentences of PseudoPhocylides Ps-Phoc 8, 59 Ps-Phoc 19, 85

IV. Pseudepigrapha

V. Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Texts

Ahiqar Ahiqar 1-5, 42 Ahiqar 6-78, 43 Ahiqar 79-109, 43

4Q196, 11, 16, 17, 32, 83, 111, 339, 346, 370 4Q197, 16, 17, 370 4Q198, 16, 17, 83, 370

Index of References

4Q199, 16, 17, 370 4Q200, 16, 17, 18, 45, 50, 74, 83, 339, 344, 370 4Q416 2 iii 15-19, 59 4Q420-21, 267 4Q424, 90 11Q5, 199 VI. Hellenistic Jewish Literature Josephus Contra Apionem, II.206-207, 60 Philo De Decalogo, 106-120, 60 De Hypothetica 7:2, 59 On Abraham, 64, 275 VII. Rabbinic Texts Bereshit Rabba 84:11,12, 54 Midrash Exod XXVIII.5-6, 109


VIII. Egyptian Texts Instruction of Ankhsheshonqy 6.6; 13.8,18; 16.24; 21.23; 23.18; 24.18, 59 Instruction of Any Inst. of Any iii.13, 84 Inst. of Any vii.17-viii.1, 59 The Instruction of Ptahhotep 42-43, 62 The Instruction of P. Insinger 8.21–9.20, 62 IX. Other Ancient Sources Aristotle Nichomachean Ethics, X.9, 61