Ver. 1. Words. Gr. "confession; (or hymn of praise) and he was 58 years old when he lost his sight, which he recovered eight years after, and gave alms, and continued to fear the Lord God, and to confess unto him. Now he arrived at a very advanced age," 158, v. 10. H.
--- But this chronology must be abandoned. All the versions disagree; and perhaps there may be none perfectly accurate. C.
Ver. 2. Two. Arab. and Schol. History, read "twelve."
Ver. 5. Seven. Gr. Comp. and Alex. as well as Fagius, have only "six."
Ver. 6. The. Gr. "Son, take thy children. Behold, I am grown old, and my life is hastening to an end. Depart into Media, my son, for I believe all that the prophet, Jonas, spoke concerning Ninive, that it will be overturned. But in Media there will be more peace for a time, and that our brethren in the land will be scattered from the good land; and Jerusalem shall be deserted, and the house of God in it will be burnt, and shall be abandoned for a time; and they shall build the house, not like the former, till the times of the world or age be accomplished; and afterwards they shall return from the captives, and shall build Jerusalem gloriously; and the house of God shall be built in it, and the edifice shall be glorious for ever, as the prophets have spoken concerning it; and all the Gentiles shall turn truly to fear the Lord God, and shall undermine (and destroy) their idols; and all the Gentiles shall bless the Lord," &c. v. 9. H.
--- This text is of importance, as it specifies the name of Jonas, and is quoted by S. Jerom; (ibid.) though Nahum (iii. 8.) and Sophonias (ii. 13.) also foretold the destruction of Ninive. It speaks of the future, and not of the past ruin, of the temple, which certainly took place after the death of Tobias. C.
--- The prophets, however, frequently speak of future events, as if they were past, to shew the certainty of their predictions. H.
Ver. 8. In it. Let the Jews shew when this was accomplished. We can easily point out the nations converted from idolatry to the Church of Christ, as the prophets foretold. Jer. iii. 17. and xvi. 19. C.
--- It cannot, therefore, be understood of the temporal Jerusalem. W.
Ver. 9. And. Gr. "And his people shall confess to God, and the Lord shall exalt his people, and all shall rejoice who love the Lord God in truth and justice, shewing mercy to our brethren. And now, son, depart from Ninive; for what the prophet, Jonas, spoke, shall surely be accomplished." H.
--- This prediction was conditional, as was also the pardon of the people, who were justly punished for their relapse. M.
Ver. 10. Seek with diligence, not barely doing what you are commanded. H.
--- Gr. is much more diffuse. C.
--- "But do thou keep the law and the ordinances, be a lover of alms-deeds, and just, that it may be well with thee. Bury me with decency, and thy mother with me, and tarry then no longer at Ninive. Son, behold what Aman (Syr. Acab.) did to Achiachar, who fed him, how he conducted him from light into darkness, and what return he made him. Now, Achiachar met with safety: but he received his due, and he went down into darkness. Manasses gave alms, and was rescued from the snare of death, which was laid for him: but Aman fell into the snare, and perished. And now, son, behold the effects of alms-deeds, and how justice brings deliverance. While he was speaking these things, his soul failed upon the bed: but he was 150 years old, and he buried him honourably." H.
--- The allusion to Aman seems improper, he lived many years after the captivity; (C.) or rather it may refer to some other history (Houbigant) with which we are not acquainted. H.
Ver. 14. And. Gr. "And when Anna, his mother, was dead; he buried her with his father. But Tobias departed with his wife and sons to Ecbatana, to Raguel, his father-in-law, and lived to an honourable old age; and he buried honourably his father and mother-in-law, and he inherited their substance, as well as that of his father, Tobit." H.
Ver. 15. Fifth. Including himself. He might see the offspring of his great grandson, if he lived only 70 years after his marriage. C.
Ver. 16. Nine. Syr. 107. C.
--- Gr. "But he also died at the age of 127, at Ecbatana, of Media; and he heard, before his death, of the destruction of Ninive, the citizens of which Nabuchodonosor and Assuerus led captives; and he rejoiced over Ninive before he died." We have been more particular in giving the Greek text of this book, because some look upon it as an original; and we should wish to lose no particle of the word of God, which is more precious than gold. Tobias might applaud the execution of divine justice without any private resentment. H.
--- Ninive was taken by Nabuchodonosor, who acted for his father, Nabopolassar, with whom Astyages, king of the Medes, was leagued. They took the city in the reign of Chinaladan, or Sarac, A. 3378. It also fell a prey to its enemies, under Sardanapalus,A. 3257; as the inhabitants did not persevere in sentiments of repentance, which they had entertained at the preaching of Jonas, in the reign of Phul. Hence God revealed its destruction to Tobias. C.
--- With joy, may refer to the surviving friends, who rejoiced interiorly at his felicity, while they wept for their own loss; or it may he understood of the deceased; who, like his father, (v. 4. C.) rejoiced in the Lord, and in performance of good works.
Ver. 17. Kindred. Behold the influence of good example; (H.) and a proof that the true religion failed not in Israel much less in Juda, or the Church of Christ. W.
--- The virtues of these two holy men are truly deserving of applause and imitation. They thought and acted in perfect conformity with the gospel. The father might represent the old law, under all its inconveniences, while the son holds forth the light of Christ, and banishes the devil. C.