An archangel mentioned in the Bible only in the book of Tobit, in which he is sent to cure the blindness of Tobit and to free the hapless Sarah from the power of a demon (Tob. 3.17); to accomplish these tasks he acts as the companion and protector of Tobit's son Tobias on his journey. Raphael's name means “God has healed”; this explains his curative activity in Tobit and in postbiblical Jewish literature, such as 1 Enoch, in which he is sent to remove Azazel and to heal the earth (1 Enoch 10.5–7) and is set over diseases and wounds (40.9). Later traditions identify Raphael as one of the divine messengers in Genesis 18.1–2, and as the angel who stirs the waters of the pool Beth‐zatha (Bethesda; John 5.2–4).
Michael D. Coogan