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Tuesday
Feb142012

For Valentines Day: A Love Story from the Book of Tobit

The Wedding Night of Tobias and Sarah by Dutch painter Jan Steen (1626 - 1679)

From Tobit 6:14-18... 

τότε ἀποκριθεὶς Τωβείας εἶπεν τῷ Ῥαφαήλ Ἀζαρία ἀδελφέ, ἤκουσα ὅτι ἑπτὰ ἤδη ἐδόθη ἀνδράσιν, καὶ ἀπέθανον ἐν τοῖς νυμφῶσιν αὐτῶν· τὴν νύκτα ὁπότε εἰσεπορεύοντο πρὸς αὐτὴν καὶ ἀπέθνησκον. καὶ ἤκουσα λεγόντων αὐτῶν ὅτι δαιμόνιον ἀποκτέννει αὐτούς. καὶ νῦν φοβοῦμαι ἐγώ· ὅτι αὐτὴν οὐκ ἀδικεῖ, ἀλλ᾿ ὃς ἂν θελήσῃ ἐγγίσαι αὐτῆς, ἀποκτέννει αὐτόν. μονογενής εἰμι τῷ πατρί μου, μὴ ἀποθάνω, καὶ κατάξω τὴν ζωὴν τοῦ πατρός μου καὶ τῆς μητρός μου μετ᾿ ὀδύνης ἐπ᾿ ἐμοὶ εἰς τὸν τάφον αὐτῶν· καὶ υἱὸς ἕτερος οὐχ ὑπάρχει αὐτοῖς ἵνα θάψῃ αὐτούς.

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Οὐ μέμνησαι τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ πατρός σου, ὅτι ἐνετείλατο σοι γυναῖκα ἐκ τοῦ πατρός σου; καὶ νῦν ἄκουσόν μου, ἀδελφέ, καὶ μὴ λόγον ἔχε τοῦ δαιμονίου τούτου καὶ λάβε. καὶ γινώσκω ἐγὼ ὅτι τὴν νύκτα ταύτην δοθήσεταί σοι γυνή. καὶ ὅταν εἰσέλθῃς εἰς τὸν νυμφῶνα, λάβε ἐκ τοῦ ἥπατος τοῦ ἰχθύος καὶ τὴν καρδίαν καὶ ἐπίθες ἐπὶ τὴν τέφραν τῶν θυμιαμάτων, καὶ ἡ ὀσμὴ πορεύσεται καὶ ὀσφρανθήσεται τὸ δαιμόνιον καὶ φεύξεται, καὶ οὐκέτι μὴ φανῇ περὶ αὐτὴν ἐπανελεύσεται τὸν πάντα αἰῶνα. καὶ ὅταν μέλλῃς γίνεσθαι μετ᾿ αὐτῆς, ἐξεγέρθητε πρῶτον ἀμφότεροι καὶ προσεύξασθε καὶ δεήθητε τοῦ κυρίου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἵνα ἔλεος γένηται καὶ σωτηρία ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς. καὶ μὴ φοβοῦ, σοὶ γάρ ἐστιν μεμερισμένη πρὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος, καὶ σὺ αὐτὴν σώσεις, καὶ μετὰ σοῦ πορεύσεται, καὶ ὑπολαμβάνω ὅτι ἔσονται σοι ἐξ αὐτῆς παιδία καὶ ἔσονταί σοι ὡς ἀδελφοί· μὴ λόγον ἔχε.

καὶ ὅτε ἤκουσεν Τωβείας τῶν λόγων Ῥαφαὴλ καὶ ὅτι ἔστιν αὐτῷ ἀδελφὴ ἐκ τοῦ σπέρματος τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ, λίαν ἠγάπησεν αὐτὴν καὶ ἡ καρδία αὐτοῦ ἐκολλήθη εἰς αὐτήν. (LXX, emphasis added)
Tobias replied to Raphael, ‘Brother Azarias, I have been told that she has already been given in marriage seven times and that each time her bridegroom has died in the bridal room. He died the same night as he entered her room; and I have heard people say it was a demon that killed them, and this makes me afraid. To her the demon does no harm because he loves her, but as soon as a man tries to approach her, he kills him. I am my father’s only son, and I have no wish to die. I do not want my father and mother to grieve over me for the rest of their lives; they have no other son to bury them.’

The angel said, ‘Have you forgotten your father’s advice? After all, he urged you to choose a wife from your father’s family. Listen then, brother. Do not worry about the demon; take her. This very evening, I promise, she will be given you as your wife. Then once you are in the bridal room, take the heart and liver of the fish and lay a little of it on the burning incense. The reek will rise, the demon will smell it and flee, and there is no danger that he will ever be found near the girl again. Then, before you sleep together, first stand up, both of you, and pray. Ask the Lord of heaven to grant you his grace and protection. Do not be afraid; she was destined for you from the beginning, and you are the one to save her. She will follow you, and I pledge my word she will give you children who will be like brothers to you. Do not worry.’

And when Tobias heard Raphael say this, when he understood that Sarah was his sister, a kinswoman of his father’s family, he fell so deeply in love with her that he could no longer call his heart his own. (New Jerusalem Bible, emphasis added)

 And you thought you had a rough time in your courtship.

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