Tobit- Missing the Bible’s Point

Tobit 6:10-13

Raphael reveals to Tobias that there is a woman named Sarah who is without a husband and that Tobias is entitled to her and her father’s estate under the Law. Therefore, Raphael instructs Tobias that they must stay at Sarah’s father’s house.

The Law in Numbers 27:1-11 and 36:1-13 prescribes the responsibility of the next of kin to the deceased husband’s wife in order to provide an heir for his brother and preserve the brother’s estate. This ensured, under the Law, that the widow would be taken care of. It also provided that the land allotted to each tribe by God might remain within the tribe which God had allotted that land. It was a Law pertaining to God’s provision and not human entitlement. God was the focus of the Law, not people. Furthermore, the law, as every other law did, provided a picture of Christ’s work in His incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection. Just as a marriage to a kinsmen redeemer would ensure the bride’s inheritance, being unified with Christ ensures the Christian’s everlasting inheritance— which, like the land, is allotted to each according to God’s will and plan alone. So, God’s perfect Law is, itself, a declaration of the Gospel, and we see that the Gospel of Christ has been declared throughout the Old Testament. Jesus wasn’t teaching people anything that hadn’t been declared thousands of years before His incarnation. In fact, the inception of the first declaration of the Gospel in Genesis 1 cannot be traced using any scientific method. If what He was preaching and teaching was new, it could not have been true. Jesus was explaining the Old Testament text. 

This law of inheritance was not a law of entitlement as Raphael suggests in this part of the story. Furthermore, there is no law that suggests Sarah’s father could be put to death because he refused to give his daughter in marriage to Tobias. So, these three verses holistically misrepresent God’s Law, both twisting it to reflect human entitlement and adding to it to justify human action. Raphael, here, does that which many people and religions in our own day still do— he justifies selfishness and pride by perverting God’s word and by adding that which has not been spoken by God. The result is that the message of God’s Law and Gospel are watered down and perverted. People begin asking, “What is acceptable for me to do?” rather than, “What is God doing?”

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