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Tobit

TOBIT

1This book tells the story of Tobit son of Tobiel son of Hananiel son of Aduel son of Gabael son of Raphael of the descendants* of Asiel, of the tribe of Naphtali, 2who in the days of King Shalmaneser* of the Assyrians was taken into captivity from Thisbe, which is to the south of Kedesh Naphtali in Upper Galilee, above Asher towards the west, and north of Phogor.

Tobit’s Youth and Virtuous Life

3 I, Tobit, walked in the ways of truth and righteousness all the days of my life. I performed many acts of charity for my kindred and my people who had gone with me in exile to Nineveh in the land of the Assyrians. 4When I was in my own country, in the land of Israel, while I was still a young man, the whole tribe of my ancestor Naphtali deserted the house of David and Jerusalem. This city had been chosen from among all the tribes of Israel, where all the tribes of Israel should offer sacrifice and where the temple, the dwelling of God, had been consecrated and established for all generations for ever.

5 All my kindred and our ancestral house of Naphtali sacrificed to the calf* that King Jeroboam of Israel had erected in Dan and on all the mountains of Galilee. 6But I alone went often to Jerusalem for the festivals, as it is prescribed for all Israel by an everlasting decree. I would hurry off to Jerusalem with the first fruits of the crops and the firstlings of the flock, the tithes of the cattle, and the first shearings of the sheep. 7I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, at the altar; likewise the tenth of the grain, wine, olive oil, pomegranates, figs, and the rest of the fruits to the sons of Levi who ministered at Jerusalem. Also, for six years I would save up a second tenth in money and go and distribute it in Jerusalem. 8A third tenth* I would give to the orphans and widows and to the converts who had attached themselves to Israel. I would bring it and give it to them in the third year, and we would eat it according to the ordinance decreed concerning it in the law of Moses and according to the instructions of Deborah, the mother of my father Tobiel,* for my father had died and left me an orphan. 9When I became a man I married a woman,* a member of our own family, and by her I became the father of a son whom I named Tobias.

Taken Captive to Nineveh

10 After I was carried away captive to Assyria and came as a captive to Nineveh, everyone of my kindred and my people ate the food of the Gentiles, 11but I kept myself from eating the food of the Gentiles. 12Because I was mindful of God with all my heart, 13the Most High gave me favour and good standing with Shalmaneser,* and I used to buy everything he needed. 14Until his death I used to go into Media, and buy for him there. While in the country of Media I left bags of silver worth ten talents in trust with Gabael, the brother of Gabri. 15But when Shalmaneser* died, and his son Sennacherib reigned in his place, the highways into Media became unsafe and I could no longer go there.

Courage in Burying the Dead

16 In the days of Shalmaneser* I performed many acts of charity to my kindred, those of my tribe. 17I would give my food to the hungry and my clothing to the naked; and if I saw the dead body of any of my people thrown out behind the wall of Nineveh, I would bury it. 18I also buried any whom King Sennacherib put to death when he came fleeing from Judea in those days of judgement that the king of heaven executed upon him because of his blasphemies. For in his anger he put to death many Israelites; but I would secretly remove the bodies and bury them. So when Sennacherib looked for them he could not find them. 19Then one of the Ninevites went and informed the king about me, that I was burying them; so I hid myself. But when I realized that the king knew about me and that I was being searched for to be put to death, I was afraid and ran away. 20Then all my property was confiscated; nothing was left to me that was not taken into the royal treasury, except my wife Anna and my son Tobias.

21 But not forty* days passed before two of Sennacherib’s* sons killed him, and they fled to the mountains of Ararat, and his son Esar-haddon* reigned after him. He appointed Ahikar, the son of my brother Hanael* over all the accounts of his kingdom, and he had authority over the entire administration. 22Ahikar interceded for me, and I returned to Nineveh. Now Ahikar was chief cupbearer, keeper of the signet, and in charge of administration of the accounts under King Sennacherib of Assyria; so Esar-haddon* reappointed him. He was my nephew and so a close relative.

2Then during the reign of Esar-haddon* I returned home, and my wife Anna and my son Tobias were restored to me. At our festival of Pentecost, which is the sacred festival of weeks, a good dinner was prepared for me and I reclined to eat. 2When the table was set for me and an abundance of food placed before me, I said to my son Tobias, ‘Go, my child, and bring whatever poor person you may find of our people among the exiles in Nineveh, who is wholeheartedly mindful of God,* and he shall eat together with me. I will wait for you, until you come back.’ 3So Tobias went to look for some poor person of our people. When he had returned he said, ‘Father!’ And I replied, ‘Here I am, my child.’ Then he went on to say, ‘Look, father, one of our own people has been murdered and thrown into the market-place, and now he lies there strangled.’ 4Then I sprang up, left the dinner before even tasting it, and removed the body* from the square* and laid it* in one of the rooms until sunset when I might bury it.* 5When I returned, I washed myself and ate my food in sorrow. 6Then I remembered the prophecy of Amos, how he said against Bethel,*
   ‘Your festivals shall be turned into mourning,
   and all your songs into lamentation.’
And I wept.

Tobit Becomes Blind

7 When the sun had set, I went and dug a grave and buried him. 8And my neighbours laughed and said, ‘Is he still not afraid? He has already been hunted down to be put to death for doing this, and he ran away; yet here he is again burying the dead!’ 9That same night I washed myself and went into my courtyard and slept by the wall of the courtyard; and my face was uncovered because of the heat. 10I did not know that there were sparrows on the wall; their fresh droppings fell into my eyes and produced white films. I went to physicians to be healed, but the more they treated me with ointments the more my vision was obscured by the white films, until I became completely blind. For four years I remained unable to see. All my kindred were sorry for me, and Ahikar took care of me for two years before he went to Elymais.

Tobit’s Wife Earns Their Livelihood

11 At that time, also, my wife Anna earned money at women’s work. 12She used to send what she made to the owners and they would pay wages to her. One day, the seventh of Dystrus, when she cut off a piece she had woven and sent it to the owners, they paid her full wages and also gave her a kid for a meal. 13When she returned to me, the kid began to bleat. So I called her and said, ‘Where did you get this kid? It is surely not stolen, is it? Return it to the owners; for we have no right to eat anything stolen.’ 14But she said to me, ‘It was given to me as a gift in addition to my wages.’ But I did not believe her, and told her to return it to the owners. I became flushed with anger against her over this. Then she replied to me, ‘Where are your acts of charity? Where are your righteous deeds? These things are known about you!’*

Tobit’s Prayer

3Then with much grief and anguish of heart I wept, and with groaning began to pray:
2 ‘You are righteous, O Lord,
   and all your deeds are just;
all your ways are mercy and truth;
   you judge the world.*
3 And now, O Lord, remember me
   and look favourably upon me.
Do not punish me for my sins
   and for my unwitting offences
   and those that my ancestors committed before you.
They sinned against you,
4   and disobeyed your commandments.
So you gave us over to plunder, exile, and death,
   to become the talk, the byword, and an object of reproach,
   among all the nations among whom you have dispersed us.
5 And now your many judgements are true
   in exacting penalty from me for my sins.
For we have not kept your commandments
   and have not walked in accordance with truth before you.
6 So now deal with me as you will;
   command my spirit to be taken from me,
   so that I may be released from the face of the earth and become dust.
For it is better for me to die than to live,
   because I have had to listen to undeserved insults,
   and great is the sorrow within me.
Command, O Lord, that I be released from this distress;
   release me to go to the eternal home,
   and do not, O Lord, turn your face away from me.
For it is better for me to die
   than to see so much distress in my life
   and to listen to insults.’

Sarah Falsely Accused

7 On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media, it also happened that Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, was reproached by one of her father’s maids. 8For she had been married to seven husbands, and the wicked demon Asmodeus had killed each of them before they had been with her as is customary for wives. So the maid said to her, ‘You are the one who kills* your husbands! See, you have already been married to seven husbands and have not borne the name of* a single one of them. 9Why do you beat us? Because your husbands are dead? Go with them! May we never see a son or daughter of yours!’

Sarah’s Prayer for Death

10 On that day she was grieved in spirit and wept. When she had gone up to her father’s upper room, she intended to hang herself. But she thought it over and said, ‘Never shall they reproach my father, saying to him, “You had only one beloved daughter but she hanged herself because of her distress.” And I shall bring my father in his old age down in sorrow to Hades. It is better for me not to hang myself, but to pray the Lord that I may die and not listen to these reproaches any more.’ 11At that same time, with hands outstretched towards the window, she prayed and said,
‘Blessed are you, merciful God!
   Blessed is your name for ever;
   let all your works praise you for ever.
12 And now, Lord,* I turn my face to you,
   and raise my eyes towards you.
13 Command that I be released from the earth
   and not listen to such reproaches any more.
14 You know, O Master, that I am innocent
   of any defilement with a man,
15 and that I have not disgraced my name
   or the name of my father in the land of my exile.
I am my father’s only child;
   he has no other child to be his heir;
and he has no close relative or other kindred
   for whom I should keep myself as wife.
Already seven husbands of mine have died.
   Why should I still live?
But if it is not pleasing to you, O Lord, to take my life,
   hear me in my disgrace.’

An Answer to Prayer

16 At that very moment, the prayers of both of them were heard in the glorious presence of God. 17So Raphael was sent to heal both of them: Tobit, by removing the white films from his eyes, so that he might see God’s light with his eyes; and Sarah daughter of Raguel, by giving her in marriage to Tobias son of Tobit, and by setting her free from the wicked demon Asmodeus. For Tobias was entitled to have her before all others who had desired to marry her. At the same time that Tobit returned from the courtyard into his house, Sarah daughter of Raguel came down from her upper room.

Tobit Gives Instructions to His Son

4That same day Tobit remembered the money that he had left in trust with Gabael at Rages in Media, 2and he said to himself, ‘Now I have asked for death. Why do I not call my son Tobias and explain to him about the money before I die?’ 3Then he called his son Tobias, and when he came to him he said, ‘My son, when I die,* give me a proper burial. Honour your mother and do not abandon her all the days of her life. Do whatever pleases her, and do not grieve her in anything. 4Remember her, my son, because she faced many dangers for you while you were in her womb. And when she dies, bury her beside me in the same grave.

5 ‘Revere the Lord all your days, my son, and refuse to sin or to transgress his commandments. Live uprightly all the days of your life, and do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing; 6for those who act in accordance with truth will prosper in all their activities. To all those who practise righteousness* 7give alms from your possessions, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it. Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor, and the face of God will not be turned away from you. 8If you have many possessions, make your gift from them in proportion; if few, do not be afraid to give according to the little you have. 9So you will be laying up a good treasure for yourself against the day of necessity. 10For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness. 11Indeed, almsgiving, for all who practise it, is an excellent offering in the presence of the Most High.

12 ‘Beware, my son, of every kind of fornication. First of all, marry a woman from among the descendants of your ancestors; do not marry a foreign woman, who is not of your father’s tribe; for we are the descendants of the prophets. Remember, my son, that Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our ancestors of old, all took wives from among their kindred. They were blessed in their children, and their posterity will inherit the land. 13So now, my son, love your kindred, and in your heart do not disdain your kindred, the sons and daughters of your people, by refusing to take a wife for yourself from among them. For in pride there is ruin and great confusion. And in idleness there is loss and dire poverty, because idleness is the mother of famine.

14 ‘Do not keep over until the next day the wages of those who work for you, but pay them at once. If you serve God you will receive payment. Watch yourself, my son, in everything you do, and discipline yourself in all your conduct. 15And what you hate, do not do to anyone. Do not drink wine to excess or let drunkenness go with you on your way. 16Give some of your food to the hungry, and some of your clothing to the naked. Give all your surplus as alms, and do not let your eye begrudge your giving of alms. 17Place your bread on the grave of the righteous, but give none to sinners. 18Seek advice from every wise person and do not despise any useful counsel. 19At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him that your ways may be made straight and that all your paths and plans may prosper. For none of the nations has understanding, but the Lord himself will give them good counsel; but if he chooses otherwise, he casts down to deepest Hades. So now, my child, remember these commandments, and do not let them be erased from your heart.

Money Left in Trust with Gabael

20 ‘And now, my son, let me explain to you that I left ten talents of silver in trust with Gabael son of Gabrias, at Rages in Media. 21Do not be afraid, my son, because we have become poor. You have great wealth if you fear God and flee from every sin and do what is good in the sight of the Lord your God.’

The Angel Raphael

5Then Tobias answered his father Tobit, ‘I will do everything that you have commanded me, father; 2but how can I obtain the money* from him, since he does not know me and I do not know him? What evidence* am I to give him so that he will recognize and trust me, and give me the money? Also, I do not know the roads to Media, or how to get there.’ 3Then Tobit answered his son Tobias, ‘He gave me his bond and I gave him my bond. I* divided his in two; we each took one part, and I put one with the money. And now twenty years have passed since I left this money in trust. So now, my son, find yourself a trustworthy man to go with you, and we will pay him wages until you return. But get back the money from Gabael.’*

4 So Tobias went out to look for a man to go with him to Media, someone who was acquainted with the way. He went out and found the angel Raphael standing in front of him; but he did not perceive that he was an angel of God. 5Tobias* said to him, ‘Where do you come from, young man?’ ‘From your kindred, the Israelites,’ he replied, ‘and I have come here to work.’ Then Tobias* said to him, ‘Do you know the way to go to Media?’ 6‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I have been there many times; I am acquainted with it and know all the roads. I have often travelled to Media, and stayed with our kinsman Gabael who lives in Rages of Media. It is a journey of two days from Ecbatana to Rages; for it lies in a mountainous area, while Ecbatana is in the middle of the plain.’ 7Then Tobias said to him, ‘Wait for me, young man, until I go in and tell my father; for I do need you to travel with me, and I will pay you your wages.’ 8He replied, ‘All right, I will wait; but do not take too long.’

9 So Tobias* went in to tell his father Tobit and said to him, ‘I have just found a man who is one of our own Israelite kindred!’ He replied, ‘Call the man in, my son, so that I may learn about his family and to what tribe he belongs, and whether he is trustworthy enough to go with you.’

10 Then Tobias went out and called him, and said, ‘Young man, my father is calling for you.’ So he went in to him, and Tobit greeted him first. He replied, ‘Joyous greetings to you!’ But Tobit retorted, ‘What joy is left for me any more? I am a man without eyesight; I cannot see the light of heaven, but I lie in darkness like the dead who no longer see the light. Although still alive, I am among the dead. I hear people but I cannot see them.’ But the young man* said, ‘Take courage; the time is near for God to heal you; take courage.’ Then Tobit said to him, ‘My son Tobias wishes to go to Media. Can you accompany him and guide him? I will pay your wages, brother.’ He answered, ‘I can go with him and I know all the roads, for I have often gone to Media and have crossed all its plains, and I am familiar with its mountains and all of its roads.’

11 Then Tobit* said to him, ‘Brother, of what family are you and from what tribe? Tell me, brother.’ 12He replied, ‘Why do you need to know my tribe?’ But Tobit* said, ‘I want to be sure, brother, whose son you are and what your name is.’ 13He replied, ‘I am Azariah, the son of the great Hananiah, one of your relatives.’ 14Then Tobit said to him, ‘Welcome! God save you, brother. Do not feel bitter towards me, brother, because I wanted to be sure about your ancestry. It turns out that you are a kinsman, and of good and noble lineage. For I knew Hananiah and Nathan,* the two sons of Shemeliah,* and they used to go with me to Jerusalem and worshipped with me there, and were not led astray. Your kindred are good people; you come of good stock. Hearty welcome!’

15 Then he added, ‘I will pay you a drachma a day as wages, as well as expenses for yourself and my son. So go with my son, 16and* I will add something to your wages.’ Raphael* answered, ‘I will go with him; so do not fear. We shall leave in good health and return to you in good health, because the way is safe.’ 17So Tobit* said to him, ‘Blessings be upon you, brother.’

Then he called his son and said to him, ‘Son, prepare supplies for the journey and set out with your brother. May God in heaven bring you safely there and return you in good health to me; and may his angel, my son, accompany you both for your safety.’

Before he went out to start his journey, he kissed his father and mother. Tobit then said to him, ‘Have a safe journey.’

18 But his mother* began to weep, and said to Tobit, ‘Why is it that you have sent my child away? Is he not the staff of our hand as he goes in and out before us? 19Do not heap money upon money, but let it be a ransom for our child. 20For the life that is given to us by the Lord is enough for us.’ 21Tobit* said to her, ‘Do not worry; our child will leave in good health and return to us in good health. Your eyes will see him on the day when he returns to you in good health. Say no more! Do not fear for them, my sister. 22For a good angel will accompany him; his journey will be successful, and he will come back in good health.’ 61So she stopped weeping.

Journey to Rages

The young man went out and the angel went with him; 2and the dog came out with him and went along with them. So they both journeyed along, and when the first night overtook them they camped by the Tigris river. 3Then the young man went down to wash his feet in the Tigris river. Suddenly a large fish leapt up from the water and tried to swallow the young man’s foot, and he cried out. 4But the angel said to the young man, ‘Catch hold of the fish and hang on to it!’ So the young man grasped the fish and drew it up on the land. 5Then the angel said to him, ‘Cut open the fish and take out its gall, heart, and liver. Keep them with you, but throw away the intestines. For its gall, heart, and liver are useful as medicine.’ 6So after cutting open the fish the young man gathered together the gall, heart, and liver; then he roasted and ate some of the fish, and kept some to be salted.

The two continued on their way together until they were near Media.* 7Then the young man questioned the angel and said to him, ‘Brother Azariah, what medicinal value is there in the fish’s heart and liver, and in the gall?’ 8He replied, ‘As for the fish’s heart and liver, you must burn them to make a smoke in the presence of a man or woman afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, and every affliction will flee away and never remain with that person any longer. 9And as for the gall, anoint a person’s eyes where white films have appeared on them; blow upon them, upon the white films, and the eyes* will be healed.’

Raphael’s Instructions

10 When he entered Media and already was approaching Ecbatana,* 11Raphael said to the young man, ‘Brother Tobias.’ ‘Here I am,’ he answered. Then Raphael* said to him, ‘We must stay this night in the home of Raguel. He is your relative, and he has a daughter named Sarah. 12He has no male heir and no daughter except Sarah only, and you, as next of kin to her, have before all other men a hereditary claim on her. Also it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions. Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful, and her father is a good man.’ 13He continued, ‘You have every right to take her in marriage. So listen to me, brother; tonight I will speak to her father about the girl, so that we may take her to be your bride. When we return from Rages we will celebrate her marriage. For I know that Raguel can by no means keep her from you or promise her to another man without incurring the penalty of death according to the decree of the book of Moses. Indeed he knows that you, rather than any other man, are entitled to marry his daughter. So now listen to me, brother, and tonight we shall speak concerning the girl and arrange her engagement to you. And when we return from Rages we will take her and bring her back with us to your house.’

14 Then Tobias said in answer to Raphael, ‘Brother Azariah, I have heard that she already has been married to seven husbands and that they died in the bridal chamber. On the night when they went in to her, they would die. I have heard people saying that it was a demon that killed them. 15It does not harm her, but it kills anyone who desires to approach her. So now, since I am the only son my father has, I am afraid that I may die and bring my father’s and mother’s life down to their grave, grieving for me—and they have no other son to bury them.’

16 But Raphael* said to him, ‘Do you not remember your father’s orders when he commanded you to take a wife from your father’s house? Now listen to me, brother, and say no more about this demon. Take her. I know that this very night she will be given to you in marriage. 17When you enter the bridal chamber, take some of the fish’s liver and heart, and put them on the embers of the incense. An odour will be given off; 18the demon will smell it and flee, and will never be seen near her any more. Now when you are about to go to bed with her, both of you must first stand up and pray, imploring the Lord of heaven that mercy and safety may be granted to you. Do not be afraid, for she was set apart for you before the world was made. You will save her, and she will go with you. I presume that you will have children by her, and they will be as brothers to you. Now say no more!’ When Tobias heard the words of Raphael and learned that she was his kinswoman,* related through his father’s lineage, he loved her very much, and his heart was drawn to her.

Arrival at the Home of Raguel

7Now when they* entered Ecbatana, Tobias* said to him, ‘Brother Azariah, take me straight to our brother Raguel.’ So he took him to Raguel’s house, where they found him sitting beside the courtyard door. They greeted him first, and he replied, ‘Joyous greetings, brothers; welcome and good health!’ Then he brought them into his house. 2He said to his wife Edna, ‘How much the young man resembles my kinsman Tobit!’ 3Then Edna questioned them, saying, ‘Where are you from, brothers?’ They answered, ‘We belong to the descendants of Naphtali who are exiles in Nineveh.’ 4She said to them, ‘Do you know our kinsman Tobit?’ And they replied, ‘Yes, we know him.’ Then she asked them, ‘Is he* in good health?’ 5They replied, ‘He is alive and in good health.’ And Tobias added, ‘He is my father!’ 6At that Raguel jumped up and kissed him and wept.


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10 February 2011

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.7 10 February 2011.