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July 18, 2016

TOBIT AND JUDITH

by Leslie John

TOBIT [1]

It contains, supposedly, a fictitious story of a Jewish family that was forcibly moved to Nineveh during Babylonian captivity of Jews. A blind man by name Tobit sends his son Tobias on a task of collecting a debt. An angel (probably Raphael) appears to him on his way and invites to a house, where a virgin whose seven husbands were killed one after another by a demon, before anyone of them had consummation with her. Tobias, who was a compassionate man, marries the virgin and drives the demon away from her house by burning in her bedroom the heart of a peculiar fish with the help of Raphael. He returns to his home not only with the collected debt, but also with the virgin, whom he married. The gall of the fish, which he burnt, is used by him to heal his father’s eyes. After the natural death of his father Tobit, he leaves the city of Nineveh, which is judged and destroyed. The story was originally written in Aramaic and subsequently translated into Greek. Obviously, the text did not find a place in the Inspired Scriptures.

Tobit teaches that salvation can be obtained by doing good works, a doctrine which is not accepted by Protestant Christians.

“For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life” (Tobit 12:9).

New Testament teaches that salvation is by grace through faith.

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

JUDITH [2]

Unlike Esther, who in the book of Esther, one of the thirty nine books approved as inspired scripture, Judith in one of the apocryphal books has a vile strategy in helping Jews. The two characters depicted in the two books are quite contrary to each other. The book of Judith was supposedly written circa 150 B.C. in Hebrew, and translated into Greek; however the Greek Text is no more available. Judith, a widow successfully sneaks into enemy camp and entices the general that she would give vital secret information about Jews to him and secures confidence in her. The enemy general believes her and gets drunk along with her when Judith slays him. She then brings the general’s head into the camp of Jews whose faith is increased by seeing her courage and the snapped head of the enemy General. The Assyrians are morally discouraged on losing their General and flee leaving behind the city of Jews and thus Israel is saved. The text is so unbelievable inasmuch as she does not marry anyone but concedes herself to be courted although she was keen on keeping the Law of Moses. A glaring example of historical error[3] is in Judith 1:1

“It was the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh. In those days Arphaxad ruled over the Medes in Ecbatana” (Judith 1:1).


Credits

[1] “Tobit”, Apocrypha. KJV Bible 1611 Ed. n.d. Web[07 May, 2015]
[2] “Judith”, KJV Bible. 1611 Ed, n.d. Web[07 May 2015]   Wikipedia
[3] Stewart, Don. “Don Stewart :: What Are the Contents of the Various Books of the Old Testament Apocrypha?.” Blue Letter Bible. Sowing Circle. 24 Apr, 2007. Web. 8 May, 2015. <http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_392.cfm&gt;.

Read more from APOCRYPHA

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