Anna (Tobiah's mother)

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Anna was a wife of Tobit and the mother of Tobiah.

Biography[edit]

Assyrian captivity[edit]

Tobit was departed to Nineveh by the Assyrians. Tobit was faithful to God, and Tobit became of agent of King Shalmaneser of Assyria. Tobit's attributed his good fortune to God's favor upon him. Shalmaneser tasked Tobit with purchasing goods from Media. While in Media, Tobit entrusted his kinsman Gabael with ten talents of silver.

Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib. Tobit ceased trading with Media since the roads to Media had become unsafe during Sennacherib's reign. Sennacherib attempted to conquer Jerusalem and taunted and blasphemed against God. God then had an angel kill 185,000 of Sennacherib's men, forcing Sennacherib to return to Nineveh. In Assyria, Sennacherib persecuted and murdered many Jews. Tobit secretly buried these slain Jews. When Sennacherib learned that Tobit was burying slain Israelites, Tobit went into hiding, and Sennacherib had all of Tobit's property confiscated, leaving only his wife Anna and his son Tobiah.

Within forty days of Tobit's flight, Sennacherib's sons Adrammelech and Sharezer assassinated Sennacherib, and Sennacherib's son Esarhaddon became king of Assyria. Esarhaddon appointed Ahiqar, son of Tobit's kinsman Anael, as one of his chief official. Ahiqar interceded on Tobit's behalf, allowing Tobit to return to Nineveh and to his wife and son.

Tobit's blindness and prayer[edit]

After burying a slain Jew and finishing a meal during Pentecost, Tobit slept besides a courtyard wall, and sparrows droppings fell into his eyes, causing blindness. Physicians applied ointments, but this only made the problem worse.

During this time, Anna weaved cloth for pay. One day, her employers gave her a goat in addition to her wages. Tobit mistakenly thought that Anna has stolen the goat and demanded that she return it. Anna tried to explain that her employers gave it to her, but Tobit did not believe here and continued demanding that it be returned. This was a heated argument, and Anna insulted Tobit.

At that time my wife Anna worked for hire at weaving cloth, doing the kind of work women do. When she delivered the material to her employers, they would pay her a wage. On the seventh day of the month of Dystrus, she finished the woven cloth and delivered it to her employers. They paid her the full salary and also gave her a young goat for a meal. On entering my house, the goat began to bleat. So I called to my wife and said: Where did this goat come from? It was not stolen, was it? Give it back to its owners; we have no right to eat anything stolen! But she said to me, It was given to me as a bonus over and above my wages. Yet I would not believe her and told her to give it back to its owners. I flushed with anger at her over this. So she retorted: Where are your charitable deeds now? Where are your righteous acts? Look! All that has happened to you is well known!

— Tobit 2:11–2:14 (NABRE)

Tobit became sad and wept. He prayed to God and acknowledged his sins, the sins of his ancestors, and God's divine and righteous judgment. Tobit then asked God to end his life. On that same day, Sarah prayed for her own death. God heard both prayers and sent His angel Raphael to help both Tobit and Sarah.

Tobit's instructions to Tobiah[edit]

Tobit recalled the ten talents of silver that he had left with Gabael in Media and sought to have Tobiah retrieve it for Tobiah's benefit before Tobit's eventual death. Tobit told Tobiah to honor and take care of Anna and to bury Anna with him when she dies.

Son, when I die, give me a decent burial. Honor your mother, and do not abandon her as long as she lives. Do whatever pleases her, and do not grieve her spirit in any way. Remember, son, how she went through many dangers for you while you were in her womb. When she dies, bury her in the same grave with me.

— Tobit 4:3–4:4 (NABRE)

Tobit then told Tobiah to remain faithful to God, to follow God's commandments, to be good, to be fair, to give alms, to seek and listen to good advice, and to pray to God. Tobit also told Tobiah to marry a women from their own folk.

Be on your guard, son, against every kind of fornication, and above all, marry a woman of your own ancestral family. Do not marry a foreign woman, one who is not of your father’s tribe, because we are descendants of the prophets, who were the first to speak the truth. Noah prophesied first, then Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our ancestors from the beginning of time. Son, remember that all of them took wives from among their own kindred and were blessed in their children, and that their posterity would inherit the land. Therefore, son, love your kindred. Do not act arrogantly toward any of them, the sons and daughters of your people, by refusing to take a wife for yourself from among them. For in arrogance there is ruin and great instability. In idleness there is loss and dire poverty, for idleness is the mother of famine.

— Tobit 4:12–4:13 (NABRE)

Tobit told Tobiah about the ten talents, gave Tobiah a bond that that allow Gabael know that Tobiah was Tobit's son, and instructed Tobiah to find a trustworthy guide and companion for the journey. Tobiah found Raphael, who Tobiah did not recognize as an angel, and decided to have Raphael accompany and guide him on the journey.

Watching Tobiah go[edit]

Tobiah kissed his parents before going off. Tobit wished him well, but Anna cried and sought for her son to remain. Tobit comforted and reassured his wife, and she stopped crying.

Tobiah left to set out on his journey, and he kissed his father and mother. Tobit said to him, Have a safe journey. But his mother began to weep and she said to Tobit: Why have you sent my child away? Is he not the staff of our hands, as he goes in and out before us? Do not heap money upon money! Rather relinquish it in exchange for our child! What the Lord has given us to live on is certainly enough for us. Tobit reassured her: Do not worry! Our son will leave in good health and come back to us in good health. Your own eyes will see the day when he returns to you safe and sound. So, do not worry; do not fear for them, my sister. For a good angel will go with him, his journey will be successful, and he will return in good health. Then she stopped weeping.

— Tobit 5:17–6:1 (NABRE)

Waiting for Tobiah[edit]

Tobiah stayed in Media for longer than expected, and Tobiah's parent became worried. Anna believed that the worse had happened. Tobit tried to comfort and reassure her, but she did not believe him. Anna remained worried, waited, and kept a look out for Tobiah. She did not eat or sleep.

His wife Anna said, My son has perished and is no longer among the living! And she began to weep aloud and to wail over her son: Alas, child, light of my eyes, that I have let you make this journey! But Tobit kept telling her: Be still, do not worry, my sister; he is safe! Probably they have to take care of some unexpected business there. The man who is traveling with him is trustworthy and one of our kindred. So do not grieve over him, my sister. He will be here soon. But she retorted, You be still, and do not try to deceive me! My son has perished! She would rush out and keep watch every day at the road her son had taken. She ate nothing. After the sun had set, she would go back home to wail and cry the whole night through, getting no sleep at all.

— Tobit 10:4–10:7 (NABRE)

Unbeknownst to either parent, Tobiah had actually obtained medicine for his father's eyes, became married to Sarah, and was enjoying a fourteen-day-long wedding feast.

Finally, Tobiah came home with Raphael. Anna, who was watching and waiting, saw them and announced their arrival to Tobit. Anna ran up to Tobiah and embraced him. She announced her relief (Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die! (Tobit 11:9 (NABRE))) and wept.

Following Raphael's instructions, Tobiah used a fish gall to cure his father's blindness. Tobit now saw his son, embraced him, and wept. Tobit then prayed to God, praising God and his angels and thanking God.

Tobiah told Tobit everything that had happened, including his marriage to Sarah. Tobit then went to meet Sarah at Nineveh's gate and proclaimed God's mercy along the way. Tobit greeted Sarah and asked God to bless her and her family.

The Jews of Nineveh rejoiced, and they had a seven-day-long wedding feast.

Raphael reveals himself[edit]

Tobiah and Tobit sought to pay Raphael for everything he had done. Raphael then told them how to live a good good and revealed himself to be an angel. He revealed himself to be the angel that presented Tobit's and Sarah's prayers to God, the angel who tested Tobit, and the angel sent by God to heal Tobit and Sarah.

Tobit and Tobiah prostrated themselves before the angel, and the angel told them not to fear him and to praise God, since it was God who sent him. Raphael instructed them to record what they have witnessed, and Raphael left. They did as they were instructed, praising God. Tobit also composed a song of praise to God.

Death[edit]

Years later, as Tobit was dying, Tobit summoned Tobiah and Tobiah's even sons and told them to flee to Media due to God's approaching judgment against Assyria, as prophesied by the prophet Nahum. Tobit told them about God's judgment, mercy, and promises for the future. Tobit instructed Tobiah and Tobiah's sons to serve and praise God faithfully and truly. Tobit told them to leave as soon as Tobit and Anna are buried with each other, and he told them about the importance of alms-giving and the recessions of treachery and wickedness.

Tobit died, and then Anna died. As instructed, they buried the couple next to each other. Tobiah and his children then moved to Media. Tobiah lived long enough to see Nineveh's destruction, and he praised God.