Tobit- I Am the Captain of My Soul

Tobit 7:1-16

Tobias and Raphael arrive at Raguel’s house. Raguel and his wife grieve over Tobit’s blindness. Raguel gives his daughter in marriage to Tobias after Tobias requests her hand and after warning Tobias about her curse. There are comic fluctuations between joy and grief.

We continue to see the idea that people are responsible for their own fates, captains of their own ships. In verse 11, Raguel instructs Tobias to trust that God will act on their behalf to protect Tobias from Sarah’s curse. Tobias rejects the advice, demanding that Raguel settle what pertains to him. Raguel does so, and Tobias will expel the demon using the mystic arts rather than relying on God’s protection. This sort of theology is constant throughout Tobit. We have a similar philosophy in popular culture today: God helps those who help themselves. If the Bible is correct in its assertion that God works all things together (Romans 8:28), Tobit’s theology contradicts God’s sovereignty and providence outright. Tobit cannot be reconciled with the rest of the Bible. This also gives us insight as to why the Jews during Jesus’s ministry and people today try to marry works with faith. They claim to love Christ, but believe it is up to them to work things out, gain salvation, or please God. God is not enough; they must help themselves. The theology is not new. In fact, it is praised by religious and irreligious people the world over. God’s message in the inspired text is different, as I have already pointed out in this commentary. No one is good. No one seeks after God. That is why salvation and sanctification must be by grace alone through faith alone. It is why God must ordain the events of history. It is why God must orchestrate each life, working all things together for His glory and the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

In chapter 7, we see the earliest literary reference that exists to a Jewish marriage contract (כתובות). The earliest preserved contract dates to 440 BC, predating this story. A contract is not required under Mosaic Law and protected the financial interests of the wife. This contract insured the payment of the dowry.

Edna, Raguel’s wife, encouraged her daughter before sending her to the bridal chamber. She was to have courage that the Lord would grant her joy in place of her sorrow, the sorrow she experienced with the loss of her seven previous husbands in the same bridal chamber. As the story goes, Tobias will win her joy–not the Lord. Sadly, this means that the Lord was not enough for Sarah. She was not content and satisfied in Him, which is what we saw in chapter 3.

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