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Book of Tobit

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The Book of Tobit (Hebrew: ספר טוביה, Sēfer Tobiyāh; Greek: Βίβλος τού Τωβίτ, Biblōs tou Tobit; Latin: Liber Tobiæ), also known as the Book of Tobias in many Catholic Bibles, is one of the Deuterocanonical books included in the Septuagint that is considered canonical by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, but apocryphal by Protestants.


Many objections have been raised by skeptics of the Book of Tobit that it contains alleged historical errors. These assertions, while at first appear to be inconsistencies, can be refuted. Here are some commons objections made against the historicity of the Book of Tobit:

“It was Tiglath-Pileser III who led Naphtali (2 Kings 15:29) into captivity (734 BC), and not, as Tobit says (1:2), Shalmaneser.”

This is true yet, this reading of the Vulgate, Old Latin, and Aramaic is to be corrected by the name Enemesar of AB and Aleph. The latter reading would be equivalent to the Hebrew transliteration of the Assyrian kenum sar. As the appellative sar "king", may precede or follow a personal name, kenum sar is sar kenum, that is Sargon (sarru-kenu II, BC 722). It can readily be that, twelve years after Tiglath-Pileser III began the deportation of Israel out of Samaria, Sargon's scouts completed the work and routed some of the tribe of Naphtali from their fastnesses.

“The writer of Tobit makes Sennacherib the son (1:15), as well as the successor of Enemessar (Shalmaneser), whereas, according to the Assyrian inscriptions, Sennacherib was the son of Sargon.”

A like solution is to be given to the difficulty that Sennacherib is said to have been the son of Shalmaneser (1:18), whereas he was the son of the usurper Sargon. The Vulgate reading here, as in 1:2, should be that of AB and Aleph, to wit, Enemesar; and this stands for Sargon.

“Tobit says in 1:6 that he went to Jerusalem alone. Then in 5:13 Tobit is talking to Raphael about the kinship he claimed. Tobit says that others went with him to Jerusalem which contradicts his earlier statement that he alone went.”

Tobit 1:6 says, “But I alone went often to Jerusalem at the feasts, as it was ordained unto all the people of Israel by an everlasting decree …” (KJV). Here, in the King James Version, it says that Tobit often went to Jerusalem alone thus not ruling out the possibility of occasionally being accompanied by Ananias and Jonathas (see Tobit 5:13 KJV).

The Douay-Rheims translation of Tobit does not contain a mention of Ananias and Jonathas in the 5th chapter, therefore there is no conflict in this translation. The dialog between Tobit and the angel Raphael is located in Tobit 5:16-19, due to numbering differences between the DRV and the KJV.

In any event, there is no contradiction in either translation.


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