These womens stories are found in the The Cepher of Toviyahu also called Tobit, which is found in The Cepher and Apocrypha.
Toviyahu who was also called Tobit was one of the great-grandsons of Naphtaliy (because his son is also named “Toviyahu” I will refer to him as “Tobit” so that it is easier to know who I am writing about). Tobit was left an orphan and raised by his fathers mother, Deborah. While he was young, all the tribes revolted and started sacrificing to a pagan elohiym. Tobit chose not to participate and chose to continue following YAHUAH by going to the Feasts in Yerushaliym – often alone. He would bring a tenth of his increase to the sons Aharon, one tenth he spent, and another part he gave to others as his grandmother had told him to.
“And the third I gave unto them to whom it was meet, as Deborah my father’s mother had commanded me, because I was left an orphan.” Tobit 1:8
The wisdom given from his grandmother encouraged him to be a giver to those who had needs, not to be selfish, greedy or building a stock pile for himself.
When he was old enough, he married Channah and they had a son whom they named Toviyahu. Sometime later, they and others were carried away and taken into captivity to Niyneveh by Enemessar king of the Assyrians. Many of the people, did eat the bread of the Assyrians, however Tobit – kept himself from eating their bread because he remembered Elohiym (the food of the Assyrians was probably unclean). Because of his choosing to obey YAHUAH, YAHUAH gave Tobit favor with Enemessar and Tobit worked for him.
At one point he left 10 talents of silver with Gavay’el in the city of Madai. Tobit still continued to provide for the poor and began to bury the dead. Eventually though, Enemessar died and his son Cancheriyv reigned in his place. King Cancheriyv was very wrathful and killed many people. When this happened Tobit would go and bury the bodies. Eventually some people told King Cancheriyv what Tobit was doing and he fled because Cancheriyv said that he should be killed. All of his things were taken from him, except his wife and son. Fifty five days later, two of King Cancheriyv’s own sons killed him and one of them, Ecar-Chaddon became the ruler. He appointed Achiacharus to be his cupbearear, keeper of the signet, steward and overseer of the accounts. Tobit was the uncle of Achiacharus, and Achiacharus asked Ecar-Chaddon if Tobit could return to his job. King Ecar-Chaddon agreed and Tobit went home again and was restored back to his family. This happened during the Feast of Shavu’ot and his wife, Channah prepared a wonderful dinner for him to eat. However when he saw all the meat she had prepared, he told his son to go and bring the poor that worship YAHUAH into the feast. He said that he would wait to eat until Toviyahu returned.
Toviyahu returned but there is a problem. He found one of their people strangled and the body was thrown to the side. Tobit then went and took the persons body and laid it in an upper room. Then he cleaned himself and ate his meal in sadness. At sunset, he made a grave and buried the body. His neighbors who were watching him, mocked him for what he was doing.
That night he returned home and slept by a wall in the courtyard. While his face was uncovered, sparrows-defecated in his eyes. A white film covered his eyes and he sought for a physician to help him. But there was nothing they could do. Tobit 2:1-10
Since he could not see, that meant he could not work, so Channah, stepped up and did women’s work (Tobit 2:11-14). The scriptures do not tell us what she made, only that she did women’s work. Her family needed her help and Channah did what she needed to do. She had a willing heart.
Channah was paid her wages for her work and was given a kid (baby goat). When she came home with it, Tobit asked her where she got it from and reminded her that it was against Torah to eat anything that was stolen.
But she replied, “It was given for a gift more than the wages.”
Tobit did not believe her though and was really upset with her, he was trying to make her take it back to the owners until, she said:
“Where are your alms and your righteous deeds? Behold, you and all your works are known.” Tobit 2:14
I believe this statement can either be taken two ways:
- Either Tobit’s good deeds were known and the owners were doing a good deed in return to him or;
- Either Channah was saying that she received extra because of her work.
Tobit began to weep and prayed in his sorrow to YAHUAH (Tobit 3:1-6). He cried out to YAHUAH in great distress, even asking YAHUAH to take his life:
“O YAHUAH, You are just, and all Your works and all your ways are mercy and truth, and You judge truly and justly forever. Remember me, and look on me, punish me not for my sins and ignorance, and the sins of my fathers, who have sinned before You: For they obeyed not Your commandments: wherefore You have delivered us for a spoil, and unto captivity, and unto death, and for a proverb of a reproach to all the nations among whom we are dispersed. And now Your judgements are many and true: deal with me according to my sins and my fathers’: because we have not kept Your commandments, neither have we walked in truth before you. Now therefore deal with me as seems best unto You, and command my ruach to be taken from me, that I may be dissolved, and become earth: for it is profitable for me to die rather than to live, because I have heard false reproaches and have much sorrow: command therefore that I may now be delivered out of this distress, and go into the everlasting place: turn not Your face away from me.”
That same day that Tobit prayed, in the city of Madai, Sarah, the daughter of Re’u’el and Edna, was criticized by her father’s maids. They criticized her because she had been married to seven men, however, the night the marriage bed was to be shared, the men somehow died.
What no one understood was there was an evil ruach, Asmodeus that was killing the men (Tobit 3:8).
The maids made her feel so bad that she thought of taking her own life, however she said:
Before she reacted in her sorrow and torment she thought about the consequences of her actions. She thought of her father and she did not want to do anything that would cause her father grief and pain. Then she turned toward the window and prayed to YAHUAH:
Sarah’s prayer is so awesome! She first acknowledges YAHUAH, blesses Him, then she states her case:
- I’ve kept myself from sinning,
- I am the only child,
- I want to marry but there is no man for me to marry for me to wait for and the men I did have are dead and
- finally if it is according to Your will, let me die also (not her will, though she felt like dying).
YAHUAH heard both of their prayers…
All along, YAHUAH had a plan for Sarah. She could not be just any man’s wife. There was nothing that she was doing wrong. She belonged to Toviyahu from the beginning.
Sometimes things in life just don’t seem to be happening for us – no matter how we try. We might try different avenues to get or do something “If I sign up for this”, “If I do that”, “If I connect with that person”, “If I look like this” and so forth. But the result is still the same. Nothing makes the difference, if anything the pain, hurt and rejection just continues.
Just as YAHUAH heard their prayers, I know that HE hears ours too. We like them, often can’t see His answers in our lives because YAHUAH is working in the background unseen. We have to walk by faith and not by sight.
Next we see what happens between Toviyahu (the son) and how YAHUAH uses Rapha’el to bring healing and peace in all of their lives.