ra'-a-el, ra'-fa-el (repha'el, from rapha' 'el, "God has healed"; Rhaphael): The name of the angel who, as Azarias, guides Tobias to ECBATANA and RAGES (which see). The purpose of his mission is, in accordance with his name, to cure Tobit of blindness, and to deliver Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, from the power of the evil spirit Asmodaeus (Tobit 3:8; 12:14). Later, in addition, when he reveals himself (Tobit 12:15), he declares that he is "one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and go in before the glory of the Holy One." These seven angels are derived, according to Dr. Kohut, from the seven Am-shaspands (Amesha-spentas) of Zoroastrianism (compare Re 4:5). At the head of the elaborate angelology of the Enoch books there are "four presences," and Raphael is one of them (En 40:9; 54:6). In the first of these passages Raphael is the healer; in the second, he with Michael, Gabriel and Phanuel lead the wicked away to punishment. These four presences seem related to the four "living creatures" of Ezekiel (1:5) and of the Apocalypse (Re 4:6). While this is the general representation of Raphael's position in Enoch, in Re 20:3 he is named among the angels who "watch," whose number according to the Greek text is seven. Raphael shared in the function assigned to the archangels, in the Oracula Sibyllina, of leading souls to the judgment seat of God (II, 215, Alexandre's text). He occupies a prominent place in Jewish medieval writings; he with Michael and Gabriel cured Abraham (Yoma' 37a); according to the book Zohar, Raphael conveyed to Adam a book containing 72 kinds of wisdom in 670 writings. The painters of the Renaissance frequently depicted Raphael.
J. E. H. Thomson