Thursday, July 25, 2013

Something to Remember the Next Time You Gut a Fish

The book of Tobit is part of the real Apocrypha, that is books that are part of the Septuagint--the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible--but excluded from the Hebrew Bible.

When Tobit and the angel Raphael (disguised as a relative of Tobit) are journeying by the Tigris, they catch a fish.
And the angel said to him: Gut the fish and taking out the heart and the liver and the gall, set them carefully aside. (Tobit 6:5).
After eating the fish, Tobit asks:
Azaria, my brother, what is the liver and heart and gall of the fish? And he said to him: The heart and the liver, if someone is bothered by a demon or an evil spirit, he should smoke these before a man or woman and he will never be bothered again. (Tobit 6:7-9)
When they approach Ecbatana, Raphael tells Tobit of his intention to have Tobit marry Sarah, the woman whose previous seven husbands had been killed by demons. The marriage is agreed upon, the documents are drawn up and the wedding feast is made.
When the feasters were finished, they led Tobit to her. When he was going he remembered the words of Raphael and took the ashes of the incense-burner and placed upon them the heart of the fish and the liver and smoked them. When the demon smelled the smell, he fled to Upper Egypt. (Tobit 8:1-3)
Remember, the fish was caught in the Tigris which is about 350 miles away by today's roads. So the fish was probably at least a month old and had not been refrigerated. Of course the demon Asmodeus wanted to flee to Upper Egypt a thousand miles away. Sarah, Tobit's new bride, probably did as well after getting such a wedding present.

Nothing quite says "I love you" like smoked fish guts.