One of the archangels. The word occurs as a personal name in I Chron. xxvi. 7 (A. V. and R. V. "Rephael"), but it is not found as the name of an angel in the canonical books, as are the names of Michael and Gabriel. This must be due to chance, however, since Raphael is an important figure in the pre-Christian Apocrypha, while from the fact that he ranks immediately below the two angels just mentioned it may be concluded that he appeared in Jewish angelology shortly after them. The late Midrash Konen (Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 27) states that he was once called Labiel, but there is no evidence in support of this statement.One of the Seven Archangels.
Raphael is one of the seven archangels who bring prayers before God (Tobit xii. 15), although he was not one of the six who buried Moses (Targ. Yer. Deut. xxxiv. 6). In Enoch, xx. 1-7 he is the second among the six or seven angels, Michael, as the most prominent, being placed in the Middle (see
The four angels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel appear much more often in works of Jewish mysticism. From heaven they behold all the bloodshed on earth and bring the laments of souls before the Lord (Enoch, ix. 1-3). From out of the darkness they lead souls to God (Sibyllines, ii. 214 et seq.). They are the four angels of the Presence, and stand on the four sides of the Lord, whom they glorify (Enoch, xl., where the fourth angel is Phanuel). Each has his own host of angels for the praising of God, around the four sides of whose throne are the four groups of angels. In accordance with their position in heaven, they are the four leaders of the camp of Israel in the wilderness: Michael on theeast, opposite the tribe of Levi; Raphael on the west, opposite Ephraim; Gabriel on the south, facing Reuben and Judah; Uriel on the north, facing Dan (Pirḳe R. El. iv.; Hekalot R. vi., in Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 39, 43; Pesiḳ. R. 46 [ed. Friedmann, p. 188a]; Num R. ii. 10).
In like manner, the four rivers of paradise are divided among these four angels ("Seder Gan 'Eden," in Jellinek, "B. H." iii. 138). The magic papyrus also names the four angels (Wessely, l.c. ii. 70 et seq.), and accordingly, on page 41, line 641, where the names of Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel are plainly legible, the letters missing after καιυ must be supplied so as to read καὶ Ουρίηλ. Schwab ("Vocabulaire de l'Angélologie," p. 10) cites an exorcism by these "holy angels," who, as the most august, according to the apocryphal fragments of Bartolomæus, were created first (Lüken, l.c. p. 114).
Raphael, like every other angel, can assume any form he will (Tobit); a tablet on his breast bears the name of God (Pesiḳ. R. 108b); according to the Zohar, he is the chief of the "ofannim." Arealization of the foreign character of this angel is inferred in the statement of Simeon ben Laüish (in 250
Raphael was a favorite figure in Christian as well as in Jewish angelology, and early Christian amulets, encolpions, tombstones, and other monuments have been found bearing the names of the angels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (Lüken, l.c. p. 119). A small, gold tablet discovered in the grave of Maria, the wife of the emperor Honorius, bears a similar inscription (Kopp, "Paleographia Critica," iii., § 158; comp. Lüken, l.c. pp. 118, 122). The names of the same angels occur on Basilidian gems, and Origen likewise mentions them (Lüken, l.c. pp. 60, 68), although in the magic papyri Raphael appears chiefly in the formulas for amulets.
In post-Talmudic mysticism Raphael preserves his importance, and is himself described as using Gemaṭria (Zohar, iii. 133, 228, 262; Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 27, 39, 43, et al.; Schwab, l.c. p. 249; Yalḳ., Ḥadash, ed. Presburg, p. 67a et al.). His name occurs in Judæo-Babylonian conjuring texts (Stübe, p. 27), and is conspicuous in the liturgy—as in the evening prayer, where he is mentioned together with the three other angels, at whose head stands God, exactly as in the Christian version of Zechariah vi. (Lüken, l.c. p. 122). He is mentioned also in association with various ofannim (Zunz, "S. P." p. 479), evidently being regarded as their head. Naturally, his name appears on amulets intended to prevent or cure diseases (Grunwald, "Mittheilungen," v. 77). See Angelology; Gabriel; Michael.
- Hamburger, R. B. T. ii. 96;
- Hastings, Diet. Bible;
- Kohut, Jüdische Angelologic, pp. 35 et seq., Leipsic, 1866;
- W. Lüken, Michael, Göttingen, 1898;
- Riehm, Bibl. Handwörterbuch;
- M. Schwab, Vocabulaire de l'Angélologie, pp. 10, 249, 345, Paris, 1897;
- C. Wessely, Griechischer Zauberpayrus, Vienna, 1888;
- idem, Neue Griechische Zauberpapyri, ib. 1893.