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Tobit, being led into captivity, did not forsake the ways the Lord; but he fell into distress and became blind. Anna, his wife, far from partaking of his sentiments, reproached him. Tobit was desirous of sending his son Tobias to ask of Gabael the payment of some money which he had lent him, but as the distance was great, it was necessary to have a guide, and the angel Raphael, who was sent by God, presented himself under the name of Azarias and offered to accompany him.

This guardian angel saved young Tobias from death to which he was exposed by a large fish that leaped upon him as he was Bathing in the Tigris; he prevailed on him to marry Sara, daughter of Raguel; gave him the counsel necessary to avoid being killed by an evil spirit, as was the fate of the seven husbands she had already had; obtained for him the money that Gabael owed his father; conducted him back with his wife to the paternal roof; and directed him to apply the gall of the fish for the restoration of his father's sight. After all these ser vices, the family of Tobit wished to bestow a reward on Azarias; but he informed them that he was the angel Raphael, and vanished out of their sight.

Rembrandt has represented this last scene with most extraordinary talent. The pious humility of old Tobit, the stupefaction of his son upon seeing the friend whom God had sent him disappear, the astonishment of Sara his wife, and the confusion of Anna his mother upon being convinced that she had been wrong in doubting the protection of heaven : all these different sentiments are pourtrayed with such perfection, that this picture is one of those best calculated to convey an idea of Rembrandt's exalted talents. It has been engraved by Malbettę, Vivant Denon and J. de Frey.

Height 2 feet 2 inches; breadth 1 foot 7 inches.


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