29 October 2011
The nephew of Abraham, Lot & his family were saved by Angels when Yahweh God set destruction on the sinful cities Sodom & Gomorrah Ė Extracted from Genesis, Chapter 19:
1 When the two angels reached Sodom in the evening, Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. As soon as Lot saw them, he stood up to greet them, and bowed to the ground.
2 'My lords,' he said, 'please come down to your servant's house to stay the night and wash your feet. Then you can make an early start on your journey.' 'No,' they (the Angels) said, 'we shall spend the night in the square.'
3 But he pressed them so much that they went home with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking unleavened bread, and they had supper.
4 They had not gone to bed when the house was surrounded by the townspeople, the men of Sodom both young and old, all the people without exception.
5 Calling out to Lot they said, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so that we can have intercourse with them.'
6 Lot came out to them at the door and, having shut the door behind him,
7 said, 'Please, brothers, do not be wicked.
8 Look, I have two daughters who are virgins. I am ready to send them out to you, for you to treat as you please, but do nothing to these men since they are now under the protection of my roof.'
9 But they retorted, 'Stand back! This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge. Now we shall treat you worse than them.' Then they forced Lot back and moved forward to break down the door.
10 But the men (the Angels) reached out, pulled Lot back into the house with them, and shut the door.
11 And they (the Angels) dazzled those who were at the door of the house, one and all, with a blinding light, so that they could not find the doorway.
12 The men (the Angels) said to Lot, 'Have you anyone else here? Your sons, your daughters and all your people in the city, take them away,
13 for we are about to destroy this place, since the outcry to Yahweh against those in it has grown so loud that Yahweh has sent us to destroy it.'
14 So Lot went off and spoke to his future sons-in-law who were to marry his daughters. 'On your feet!' he said, 'Leave this place, for Yahweh is about to destroy the city.' But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 When dawn broke the angels urged Lot on, 'To your feet! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.'
16 And as he hesitated, the men (the Angels) seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters -Yahweh being merciful to him - and led him out and left him outside the city.
17 When they had brought him outside, he was told, 'Flee for your life. Do not look behind you or stop anywhere on the plain. Flee to the hills or you will be swept away.'
18 'Oh no, my lord!' Lot said to them,
19 'You have already been very good to your servant and shown me even greater love by saving my life, but I cannot flee to the hills, or disaster will overtake me and I shall die.
20 That town over there is near enough to flee to, and is small. Let me flee there-after all it is only a small place - and so survive.'
21 He replied, 'I grant you this favour too, and will not overthrow the town you speak of.
22 Hurry, flee to that one, for I cannot do anything until you reach it.' That is why the town is named Zoar.
23 The sun rose over the horizon just as Lot was entering Zoar.
24 Then Yahweh rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire of his own sending.
25 He overthrew those cities and the whole plain, with all the people living in the cities and everything that grew there.
26 But Lot's wife looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt.
29 October 2011
5 November 2011
The good man Tobit and his family was helped by the Archangel Raphael in their desperate situations :
At Nineveh there lived a man named Tobit, exiled with his tribe of Naphtali, devout, law-abiding, charitable, and then blind. In Ecbatana lived his kinsman Raguel; this manís daughter Sarah had lost 7† bridegrooms in succession, killed on the wedding night by the demon Asmodeus. Both Tobit and Sarah begged God to let them die; but God answered their prayers in His own way.† He sent His angel Raphael who brought Tobitís son, Tobias, safely to Raguel, married him to Sarah and gave him a cure for his fatherís blindness.† It is an edifying story, in which the emphasis falls on almsgiving and duties towards the dead; true family life is shown at its best; the ideal marriage anticipates Christian teaching.† The benevolence was at once revealed and hidden in the angel Raphael, the agent of God.† That this providence is with us, day by day, is the lesson of the book.
Extracted from the Book of Tobit, Chapter 1:
1 The tale of Tobit son of Tobiel, son of Ananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, of the lineage of Asiel and tribe of Naphtali.
2 In the days of Shalmaneser king of Assyria, he was exiled from Thisbe, which is south of Kedesh-Naphtali in Upper Galilee, above Hazor, some distance to the west, north of Shephat.
Tobit the exile:
3 I, Tobit, have walked in paths of truth and in good works all the days of my life. I have given much in alms to my brothers and fellow country-folk, exiled like me to Nineveh in the country of Assyria.
4 In my young days, when I was still at home in the land of Israel, the whole tribe of Naphtali my ancestor broke away from the House of David and from Jerusalem, though this was the city chosen out of all the tribes of Israel for their sacrifices; here, the Temple- God's dwelling-place-- had been built and hollowed for all generations to come.
5 All my brothers and the House of Naphtali sacrificed on every hill-top in Galilee to the calf that Jeroboam king of Israel had made at Dan.
6 Often I was quite alone in making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, fulfilling the Law that binds all Israel perpetually. I would hurry to Jerusalem with the first yield of fruits and beasts, the tithe of cattle and the sheep's first shearing.
7 I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, for the altar. To the Levites ministering at Jerusalem I would give my tithe of wine and corn, olives, pomegranates and other fruits. Six years in succession I took the second tithe in money and went and paid it annually at Jerusalem.
8 I gave the third to orphans and widows and to the strangers who live among the Israelites; I brought it them as a gift every three years. When we ate, we obeyed both the ordinances of the law of Moses and the exhortations of Deborah the mother of our ancestor Ananiel; for my father had died and left me an orphan.
9 When I came to man's estate, I married a woman from our kinsfolk whose name was Anna; she bore me a son whom I called Tobias.
10 When the banishment into Assyria came, I was taken away and went to Nineveh. All my brothers and the people of my race ate the food of the heathen,
11 but for my part I was careful not to eat the food of the heathen.
12 And because I had kept faith with my God with my whole heart,
13 the Most High granted me the favour of Shalmaneser, and I became the king's purveyor.
14 Until his death I used to travel to Media, where I transacted business on his behalf, and I deposited sacks of silver worth ten talents with Gabael the brother of Gabrias at Rhages in Media.
15 On the death of Shalmaneser his son Sennacherib succeeded; the roads into Media were barred, and I could no longer go there.
16 In the days of Shalmaneser I had often given alms to the people of my race;
17 I gave my bread to the hungry and clothes to those who lacked them; and I buried, when I saw them, the bodies of my country-folk thrown over the walls of Nineveh.
18 I also buried those who were killed by Sennacherib. When Sennacherib was beating a disorderly retreat from Judaea after the King of heaven had punished his blasphemies, he killed a great number of Israelites in his rage. So I stole their bodies to bury them; Sennacherib looked for them and could not find them.
19 A Ninevite went and told the king it was I who had buried them secretly. When I knew that the king had been told about me and saw myself being hunted by men who would put me to death, I was afraid and fled.
20 All my goods were seized; they were all confiscated by the treasury; nothing was left me but my wife Anna and my son Tobias.
21 Less than forty days after this, the king was murdered by his two sons, who then fled to the mountains of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon succeeded. Ahikar the son of my brother Anael, was appointed chancellor of the exchequer for the kingdom and given the main ordering of affairs.
22 Ahikar then interceded for me and I was allowed to return to Nineveh, since Ahikar had been chief cupbearer, keeper of the signet, administrator and treasurer under Sennacherib king of Assyria, and Esarhaddon had kept him in office. He was a relation of mine; he was my nephew.
Fatherly Advice by Tobit > (Book of Tobit, Chapter 4: 3-23)
As instructed by his father Tobit, Tobias left with the Angel Raphael to collect the money from Gabael, which his father had left with him 20 years ago- Extracted from the Book of Tobit, Chapter 6:
2 The boy left with the angel, and the dog followed behind. The two walked on, and when the first evening came they camped beside the Tigris.
3 The boy had gone down to the river to wash his feet, when a great fish leapt out of the water and tried to swallow his foot. The boy gave a shout
4 and the angel said, 'Catch the fish; do not let it go.' The boy mastered the fish and pulled it onto the bank.
5 The angel said, 'Cut it open; take out gall, heart and liver; set these aside and throw the entrails away, for gall and heart and liver have curative properties.'
6 The boy cut the fish open and took out gall and heart and liver. He fried part of the fish for his meal and kept some for salting. Then they walked on again together until they were nearly in Media.
7 Then the boy asked the angel this question, 'Brother Azarias, what can the fish's heart, liver and gall cure?'
8 He replied, 'You burn the fish's heart and liver, and their smoke is used in the case of a man or woman plagued by a demon or evil spirit; any such affliction disappears for good, leaving no trace.
9 As regards the gall, this is used as an eye ointment for anyone having white spots on his eyes; after using it, you have only to blow on the spots to cure them.'
10 They entered Media and had nearly reached Ecbatana
11 when Raphael said to the boy, 'Brother Tobias.' 'Yes?' he replied. The angel went on, 'Tonight we are to stay with Raguel, who is a kinsman of yours. He has a daughter called Sarah,
12 but apart from Sarah he has no other son or daughter. Now you are her next of kin; she belongs to you before anyone else and you may claim her father's inheritance. She is a thoughtful, courageous and very lovely girl, and her father loves her dearly.
13 You have the right to marry her. Listen, brother; this very evening I shall speak about the girl to her father and arrange for her to be betrothed to you, and when we come back from Rhages we can celebrate the marriage. I assure you, Raguel has no right whatever to refuse you or to betroth her to anyone else. That would be asking for death, as prescribed in the Book of Moses, once he is aware that kinship gives you the pre-eminent right to marry his daughter. So listen, brother. This very evening we shall speak about the girl and ask for her hand in marriage. When we come back from Rhages we shall fetch her and take her home with us.'
14 Tobias replied to Raphael, 'Brother Azarias, I have been told that she has already been given in marriage seven (7) 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,
15 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,'
16 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.
17 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,
18 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.
5 November 2011