Movie based on Book of Tobit

Written by Alan Nafzger

Movie Adapted from the Book of Tobit

Movie based on Book of Tobit – Catholic and Orthodox Christian Bibles

Dramatically, there isn’t much more potential. ==> Eight weddings, seven demonic murders, a good man who has lost his vision, two families whose futures are on the brink. ALL OF THIS, on the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.




Copyright, 2018


Book of Tobit Movie

SUPER: This film tells the story of Tobit, the son of Tobiel, son of Hananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, son of Raphael, son of Raguel, of the family Aliel and the tribe of Naphtali.

Book of Tobit Movie

Movie based on Book of Tobit


Book of Tobit Movie

Movie based on Book of Tobit


Book of Tobit Movie

Movie based on Book of Tobit

TOBIT (over eighty-years old) works as a gunsmith. We see the place were Tobit repairs, modifies and is building a gun of his own design. Mechanical drafting table. Machinery. His workplace is ancient and looks more like a gunshop from the 1850s, however Tobit is a top-level machinist and a very skilled craftsman. This workshop has probably been in his family for generations.

Book of Tobit Movie

Movie based on Book of Tobit

He takes great care examining/inspecting his work. He is not forgetful or careless in anyway.

Book of Tobit Movie

Movie based on Book of Tobit

Tobit test fires a weapon. It probably happens all the time, but still upstairs his wife, ANNA, is startled.

Book of Tobit Movie

Movie based on Book of Tobit


Book of Tobit Movie

Tobit finishes work and exits the workshop for upstairs. We see Tobit’s successful gun shoppe. His son, Tobiah, is behind the counter. The signage inside the shoppe is in Dutch. Advertisements for various weapons for sale, but also signs for repair, customization and gun safety.

There is a calendar hanging on the wall. It is 1934.






Tobit looks out the front window of the shoppe. Tobit lives in the Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam. Several orthodox Jews walk past the window.


A 1919 C1 Aerocoque, Spyker automobile speeds by, and then a new bright shiny 1934 Citroen Traction Avant.




A friend of Anna is there, and they seem to be chatting. Anna gives her friend money. Tobit enters the apartment above his business, just in time to see the exchange of money. And the woman exits the apartment.


The apartment is full of Jewish items. He stands for a second under the mezuzah. We see a menorah.


To Tobit, a Jewish home is full of books. There are prayer books for everyday, Sabbath, and holidays. A Hebrew dictionary. Jewish histories. But they are not all necessarily Jewish books. Luigi Pirandello. Caroline Pafford Miller.


We see several tzedakah (charity) boxes. Tobit picks one up and shakes it. He doesn’t hear any coins and it makes him smile. His wife is helping someone unfortunate. He looks lovingly at his wife and she returns the affectionate gaze.









There are a few objets d’art and folk paintings, a sculpture and a ceramic. They were made by Jews in Israel, Russia, Ethiopia and America. The theme is familiar: Russian grandmothers in kerchiefs, milkmen (like Tevya in villages like Anatevka), lions in Judah, doves of peace and of course decorative stars of David.


Also, part of the home are lots of photographs. They are family photos, however (strangely) they don’t include many children (and no grandchildren), because Tobit and his wife have only one child. That’s clear in the photos.


He kisses Anna, who is working about the house and she smiles. She points to a lunch pail she has put out on the kitchen table.


In the corner of the dinning room stands a brass Shabbos (Sabbath) light. A tray of Dreidls (kiddush cups).


Tobit isn’t inspecting his wife’s homemaking. He’s just discharged a weapon (his wife heard it) and he wants to show her that he is okay. He turns in a complete circle in front of her and in jest shows her both hands, both eyes, both feet. He knows she worries.


And he’s not there just for his lunch. After all these years, he’s still enjoys being in the same room with her, if only for a short time. Obviously, he likes to look at her. He’s a religious fellow and an old man still in love with his wife.


He begins to take a bit of fresh bread from the breadbox and Anna looks at him cross. He stops and opens a cabinet and there is a special bin with “vogelstand” (birds) written on it. He reluctantly takes this older bread instead. He puts the bread in a pocket.


Tobit smiles and Anna smiles. She loves him, in part, because he would, if given the opportunity, give the birds fresh bread.




What did your friend want?



There is a group of Jewish children that need homes?



Jewish children? Orphans?



From Germany.



What happened to their parents?



Don’t be nieve. I think you know.


Tobit thinks. He looks worried, but doesn’t respond.


Tobit puts on his hat, collects his Dutch Shepherd, Cyrus, and leaves the apartment. He exits his building onto the sidewalk.




SUPERIMPOSE: Amsterdam, 1934.


Tobit has left his lunch on the table upstairs. His wife notices and chuckles. She takes it to the open window and shouts down to him.



Husband!  My handsome but sometimes absent-minded husband, you have forgotten something?



I’m on my way to the park to feed the birds…

(he gestures to the old bread)



And what else?



…and pray to God.






…and have… my lunch.


He too chuckles and signals for her to pitch it down. She shakes her head that she won’t do it.



No, you’ll hurt yourself. It’s a pail.



No, I’ll catch it. Just drop it.


He encourages her and finally she does let it fall. He’s an old man but skillfully catches it like it was an egg. No harm done. Or, humorously, it can fall through his hands and dents the sidewalk.


Tobit’s nicely protective dog always accompanies him when he leaves the house.


Outside of his workshop, Tobit is somewhat doddering and carefree. He invests so much focus and effort in his work, he’s somewhat innocent and defenseless away from it. He greets everyone; most ignore him.




Tobit is sitting on a park bench tossing bread onto the ground. At his feet lays the Dutch Sheppard; the hound is well behaved and is very loyal to Tobit. The dog pays no attention to the birds, but is focused on the German (Nazi) Embassy across the street from the park. The dog watches the Nazi officials come and go. He watches the guards and the German Shepard patrolling inside the gate. In dog language (direct eye-contact), a conflict is brewing. German vs. Dutch and eventually it will be Nazi vs. Jew. The dog is clearly concerned and adversarial. Tobit is simply enjoying the park.


To a casual onlooker, Tobit seems a bit off and looks to be talking to himself while he feeds the birds, but he’s not. He’s praying.



I have walked all the days of my life on the path of fidelity and righteousness, well except for a few times. I confess, I drew a naked woman.


As Tobit prays he remembers.


CUT TO 1852:




The teacher is out of the classroom. Young Tobit is at the black board. He is drawing a Matisse like nude, designed to embarrass the teacher. He senses that the teacher is returning and runs to his seat and tries to look innocent. Too innocent.


When the teacher arrives, she is shocked but knows exactly who is responsible. She erases the chalk and grabs Tobit’s ear and pulls him into the hallway. We see through the door’s glass what the other students see. The teacher points a finger in Tobit’s face and she scolds him horribly. Tobit looks regretful.


BACK TO 1934:


Movie based on Book of Tobit

Many Bibles contain the Book of Tobit, which tells the story of Tobit (Mel Gibson)  and his family, who are living as exiles from Israel after the Assyrian conquest. Through a series of events, Tobit goes blind and sends his son on a journey accompanied by the angel Raphael disguised as a human. Mel Gibson, a great actor, would do a wonderful job with this part. Jim Osborne from the APA in Hollywood could be listening.

Jim Osborne should be aware of Alan Nafzger’s film adaptation, Tobit is a pious Jew living in Amsterdam in the 1930s, and the film culminates with the NAZI invasion.

I did a survey of 102 Los Angeles casting directors who are familiar with the story and asking them to list their top five choices for the role. And a whopping 78 of them listed Mel Gibson as their first choice. Eighteen listed Mel Gibson as their second choice.

Janet Dailey at Daily Casting Research in Beverly Hills said, “Mel Gibson is catholic and certainly a good actor, but he’s a exceptional director and an extraordinary producer. When you hire Mel Gibson, its a lock.”

Primarily, Tobit’s story is that of Sarah, daughter of Tobit’s closest relative, whose seven successive husbands were each killed by a demon on their wedding night. The marriages are not consummated. When Tobit and Sarah pray to God for deliverance, God sends the angel Raphael to act as intercessor.

Jim Osborne wisely focuses on the economics and knows that worldwide there are about 900 million Catholics (including Mel Gibson) and 250 million Orthodox Christians who’ve grown up with the Old Testament story and are familiar with it.  This will buy tickets or streaming of Tobit, staring Mel Gibson.

Dramatically, there isn’t much more potential. ==> Eight weddings, seven demonic murders, a good man who has lost his vision, two families whose futures are on the brink. ALL OF THIS, on the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.

Jim Osborne, director of the APA movie group, has profound influence over Mel Gibson’s career and the films he makes. Many believe there isn’t a role better suited for Mel Gibson’s talents. If you agree with this vision for Mel Gibson, please help by signing this petition.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “The Book of Tobit, named after its principal character, combines Jewish piety and morality with folklore in a fascinating story that has enjoyed wide popularity in both Jewish and Christian circles. Prayers, psalms, and words of wisdom, as well as the skillfully constructed story itself, provide valuable insights into the faith and the religious milieu of its unknown author. The book was probably written early in the second century B.C.; it is not known where.”


The Book of Tobit

Movie based on Book of Tobit

The Book of Tobit (/ˈtoʊbɪt/)[a], also known as the Book of Tobias or the Book of Tobi, is a 3rd or early 2nd century BC Jewish work describing how God tests the faithful, responds to prayers, and protects the covenant community (i.e., the Israelites).[1] It tells the story of two Israelite families, that of the blind Tobit in Nineveh and of the abandoned Sarah in Ecbatana.[2] Tobit’s son Tobias is sent to retrieve ten silver talents that Tobit once left in Rages, a town in Media; guided and aided by the angel Raphael he arrives in Ecbatana, where he meets Sarah.[2] A demon named Asmodeus has fallen in love with her and kills anyone she intends to marry, but with the aid of Raphael the demon is exorcised and Tobias and Sarah marry, [1] after which they return to Nineveh where Tobit is cured of his blindness.

The book is included in the Catholic and Orthodox canons but not in the Jewish; the Protestant tradition places it in the Apocrypha, with Anabaptists, Lutherans, Anglicans and Methodists recognising it as part of the Bible and useful for purposes of edification and liturgy, albeit non-canonical in status.[3][4][5][6][1] The vast majority of scholars recognize it as a work of fiction with some historical references.

Structure and summary – Book of Tobit

Tobias Saying Good-Bye to his Father, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1860)
The book has 14 chapters, forming three major narrative sections framed by a prologue and epilogue:[8]

The prologue tells the reader that this is the story of Tobit of the tribe of Naphtali, deported from Tishbe in Galilee to Nineveh by the Assyrians. He has always kept the laws of Moses, and brought offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem before the catastrophe of the Assyrian conquest. The narrative highlights his marriage to Anna, and they have a son named Tobias.

Tobit, a pious man, buries dead Israelites, but one evening while he sleeps he is blinded by a bird which defecates in his eyes. He becomes dependent on his wife, but accuses her of stealing and prays for death. Meanwhile, his relative Sarah, living in far-off Ecbatana, also prays for death, for the demon Asmodeus has killed her suitors on their wedding nights and she is accused of having caused their deaths.

God hears their prayers and the archangel Raphael is sent to help them. Tobias is sent to recover money from a relative, and Raphael, in human disguise, offers to accompany him. On the way they catch a fish in the Tigris, and Raphael tells Tobias that the burnt heart and liver can drive out demons and the gall can cure blindness. They arrive in Ecbatana and meet Sarah, and as Raphael has predicted the demon is driven out.

Tobias and Sarah are married, Tobias grows wealthy, and they return to Nineveh (Assyria) where Tobit and Anna await them. Tobit’s blindness is cured, and Raphael departs after admonishing Tobit and Tobias to bless God and declare his deeds to the people (the Israelites), to pray and fast, and to give alms. Tobit praises God, who has punished his people with exile but will show them mercy and rebuild the Temple if they turn to him.

In the epilogue Tobit tells Tobias that Nineveh will be destroyed as an example of wickedness; likewise Israel will be rendered desolate and the Temple will be destroyed, but Israel and the Temple will be restored; therefore Tobias should leave Nineveh, and he and his children should live in righteousness.

Significance – Book of Tobit

Tobit is considered a work of fiction with only some historical references, combining prayers, ethical exhortation, humour and adventure with elements drawn from folklore, wisdom tale, travel story, romance and comedy.[7][10] It offered the diaspora (the Jews in exile) guidance on how to retain Jewish identity, and its message was that God tests his people’s faith, hears their prayers, and redeems the covenant community (i.e., the Jews).[10]

Readings from the book are used in the Latin Rite. Because of the book’s praise for the purity of marriage, it is often read during weddings in many rites. Doctrinally, the book is cited for its teaching on the intercession of angels, filial piety, tithing and almsgiving, and reverence for the dead.[11][12] Tobit is also made reference to in chapter 5 of 1 Meqabyan, a book considered canonical in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.[13]

Composition and manuscripts – Book of Tobit

Leaf from a vellum manuscript, c. 1240.
The story in the Book of Tobit is set in the 8th century BC, but the book itself dates from between 225 and 175 BC.[14] No scholarly consensus exists on the place of composition (“almost every region of the ancient world seems to be a candidate”); a Mesopotamian origin seems logical given that the story takes place in Assyria and Persia and it mentions the Persian demon “aeshma daeva”, rendered “Asmodeus”, but it contains significant errors in geographical detail (such as the distance from Ecbatana to Rhages and their topography), and arguments against and in favor of Judean or Egyptian composition also exist.[15]

Tobit exists in two Greek versions, one (Sinaiticus) longer than the other (Vaticanus and Alexandrinus).[16] Aramaic and Hebrew fragments of Tobit (four Aramaic, one Hebrew – it is not clear which was the original language) found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran tend to align more closely with the longer or Sinaiticus version, which has formed the basis of most English translations in recent times.[16]

The Vulgate places Tobit, Judith and Esther after the historical books (after Nehemiah). Some manuscripts of the Greek version place them after the wisdom writings.[17]

Canonical status

Those Jewish books found in the Septuagint but not in the standard Masoretic canon of the Jewish Bible are called the deuterocanon, meaning “second canon”.[18] As Protestants follow the Masoretic canon, they therefore do not include Tobit in their standard canon, but do recognise it in the category of deuterocanonical books called the apocrypha.[18]

The Book of Tobit is listed as a canonical book by the Council of Rome (A.D. 382),[19] the Council of Hippo (A.D. 393),[20] the Council of Carthage (397)[21] and (A.D. 419),[22] the Council of Florence (1442)[23] and finally the Council of Trent (1546),[24] and is part of the canon of both the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Catholics refer to it as deuterocanonical.[25]

Augustine[26] (c. A.D. 397) and Pope Innocent I[27] (A.D. 405) affirmed Tobit as part of the Old Testament Canon. Athanasius (A.D. 367) mentioned that certain other books, including the book of Tobit, while not being part of the Canon, “were appointed by the Fathers to be read”.[28]

According to Rufinus of Aquileia (c. A.D. 400) the book of Tobit and other deuterocanonical books were not called Canonical but Ecclesiastical books.[29]

Protestant traditions place the book of Tobit in an intertestamental section called Apocrypha.[3] In Anabaptism, the book of Tobit is quoted liturgically during Amish weddings, with “the book of Tobit as the basis for the wedding sermon.”[4] The Luther Bible holds Tobit as part of the “Apocrypha, that is, books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures, and nevertheless are useful to read”.[5] Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England lists it as a book of the “Apocrypha”.[30] The first Methodist liturgical book, The Sunday Service of the Methodists, employs verses from Tobit in the Eucharistic liturgy.[31] Scripture readings from the Apocrypha are included in the lectionaries of the Lutheran Churches and the Anglican Churches, among other denominations using the Revised Common Lectionary, though alternate Old Testament readings are provided.[32][33] Liturgically, the Catholic, Methodist and Anglican churches have a scripture reading from the Book of Tobit in services of Holy Matrimony.[6]

Tobit contains some interesting evidence of the early evolution of the Jewish canon, referring to two rather than three divisions, the Law of Moses (i.e. the torah) and the prophets.[34] For unknown reasons it is not included in the Hebrew Bible; proposed explanations have included its age (this is now considered unlikely), literary quality, a supposed Samaritan origin, or an infringement of ritual law, in that it depicts the marriage contract between Tobias and his bride as written by her father rather than her groom.[35] It is, however, found in the Greek Jewish writings (the Septuagint), from which it was adopted into the Christian canon by the end of the 4th century.[35]


Tobit’s place in the Christian canon allowed it to influence theology, art and culture in Europe.[36] It was often dealt with by the early Church fathers, and the motif of Tobias and the fish (the fish being a symbol of Christ) was extremely popular in both art and theology.[36] Particularly noteworthy in this connection are the works of Rembrandt, who, despite belonging to the Dutch Reformed Church, was responsible for a series of paintings and drawings illustrating episodes from the book.[36]

Scholarship on folkloristics (for instance, Stith Thompson, Dov Noy, Heda Jason and Gédeon Huet) recognizes the Book of Tobit as containing an early incarnation of the story of The Grateful Dead, albeit with an angel as the hero’s helper, instead of the spirit of a dead man.[37][38][39][40][41]