Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vulgate Book of Tobit Anchors Judith of Bethulia to Era of Sennacherib

 
 
No need any longer for biblical commentators to seek for the era of the Book of Judith drama - whether considered fully or only partially historical - late, during the Maccabean era. For one of the main characters in the Book of Judith, Achior, re-appears in the Vulgate version of the Book of Tobit as Tobit’s own nephew, otherwise known as Ahikar (Tobit 1:21-22 GNT). Achior and his own nephew, Nabath, will attend the joyous wedding of Tobit’s son, Tobias (= holy Job, see our site: http://bookofjob-amaic.blogspot.com.au/), at Nineveh (Tobit 11:20): “…. veneruntque Achior et Nabath consobrini Tobiae gaudentes …”. (“And Achior and Nabath the kinsmen of Tobias came, rejoicing”).
 

Now the era of the Book of Tobit spans the neo-Assyrian period of “Shalmaneser” (V), “Sennacherib” and “Esarhaddon”, with the latter two kings only being relevant for Achior/ Ahikar (1:21-22):


[The Assyrian king] Esarhaddon … put Ahikar, my brother Anael’s son, in charge of all the financial affairs of the empire. This was actually the second time Ahikar was appointed to this position, for when Sennacherib was emperor of Assyria, Ahikar had been wine steward, treasurer, and accountant, and had been in charge of the official seal. Since Ahikar was my nephew, he put in a good word for me with the emperor ….
 

The defeat of the massive Assyrian army, the central drama of the Book of Judith, occurred during the reign of Sennacherib, not Esarhaddon.
 

For more on all of this, see our:
 
Ahikar Part One: As a Young Officer for Assyria
 
Ahikar Part Two: As a Convert to Yahwism

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