Tobit

JB TOBIT Chapter 1

1:1 The tale of Tobit[*a] son of Tobiel, son of Ananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, of the lineage of Asiel and tribe of Naphtali.

1:2 In the days of Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, he was exiled from Thisbe, which is south of Kedesh-Naphtali in Upper Galilee, above Hazor, some distance to the West, north of Shephat.

I. TOBIT THE EXILE

1:3 I, Tobit, have walked in paths of truth and in good works all the days of my life. I have given much in alms to my brothers and fellow countrymen, exiled like me to Nineveh in the country of Assyria.

1:4 In my young days, when I still was at home in the country of Israel, the whole tribe of Naphtali my ancestor broke away from the House of David and from Jerusalem. Yet this was the city chosen out of all the tribes of Israel for their sacrifices; in this the Temple – God’s dwelling place – had been built and hallowed for all generations to come.

1:5 But all my brothers and the House of Naphtali offered sacrifice to the calf that Jeroboam the king of Israel had made at Dan, on the mountains of Galilee.

1:6 Often I was quite alone in making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, fulfilling the law that binds all Israel perpetually. I would hurry to Jerusalem with the first yield of fruits and beasts, the tithe of cattle and the sheep’s first shearings.

1:7 I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, for the altar. To the Levites ministering at Jerusalem I would give my tithe of wine and corn, olives, pomegranates and other fruits. Six years in succession I took the second tithe in money and went and paid it at Jerusalem.

1:8 I gave the third to orphans and widows and to the strangers who live among the Israelites; I brought it them as a gift every three years. When we ate, we obeyed both the ordinances of the Law of Moses and the exhortations of Deborah, the mother of our father Ananiel; for my father had died and left me an orphan.

1:9 When I came to man’s estate, I married a woman from our kinsmen whose name was Anna; she bore me a son whom I called Tobias.

1:10 <11 When the banishment into Assyria came, I was taken away and went to Nineveh. All my brothers and the men of my race ate the food of the heathen,

1:11 <12 but for my part I would not eat the food of the heathen.[*b]

1:12 <13 And because I had kept faith with my God with my whole heart,

1:13 the Most High granted me the favour of Shalmaneser, and I became the king’s purveyor.

1:14 <16 Until his death I used to travel to Media, where I transacted business on his behalf; and I deposited sacks of silver worth ten talents with Gabael, the brother of Gabrias, at Rhages in Media.

1:15 <18 On the death of Shalmaneser his son Sennacherib succeeded; the roads into Media were barred, and I could no longer go there.

1:16 In the days of Shalmaneser I had often given alms to the brothers of my race;

1:17 <20 I gave my bread to the hungry and clothes to the naked; and I buried, when I saw them, the bodies of my countrymen thrown over the walls of Nineveh.

1:18 <21 I also buried those who were killed by Sennacherib (for when he retreated from Judaea in disorder, after the King of heaven had punished his blasphemies, in his anger Sennacherib killed a great number of Israelites). So I stole their bodies to bury them; Sennacherib looked for them and could not find them.

1:19 <22 A Ninevite went and told the king it was I who had buried them secretly. When I knew that the king had been told about me and saw myself being hunted by men who would put me to death, I was afraid and fled.

1:20 All my goods were seized; they were all confiscated by the treasury; nothing was left me but my wife Anna and my son Tobias.

1:21 <24 Less than forty days after this, the king was murdered by his two sons, who then fled to the mountains of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon succeeded. Ahikar,[*c] the son of my brother Anael, was appointed chancellor of the exchequer for the kingdom and given the main ordering of affairs.

1:22 Ahikar then interceded for me and I was allowed to return to Nineveh, since Ahikar had been chief cup-bearer, keeper of the signet, administrator and treasurer under Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and Esarhaddon had kept him in office. He was a relation of mine; he was my nephew.

JB TOBIT Chapter 2

II. TOBIT BLINDED

2:1 In the reign of Esarhaddon, therefore, I returned home, and my wife Anna was restored to me with my son Tobias. At our feast of Pentecost (the feast of Weeks) there was a good dinner. I took my place for the meal;

2:2 the table was brought to me and various dishes were brought. Then I said to my son Tobias, ‘Go, my child, and seek out some poor, loyal-hearted man among our brothers exiled in Nineveh, and bring him to share my meal. I will wait until you come back, my child.’

2:3 So Tobias went out to look for some poor man among our brothers, but he came back again and said, ‘Father!’ I answered, ‘What is it, my child?’ He went on, ‘Father, one of our nation has just been murdered; he has been strangled and then thrown down in the market place; he is there still’.

2:4 I sprang up at once, left my meal untouched, took the man from the market place and laid him in one of my rooms, waiting until sunset to bury him.

2:5 I came in again and washed myself and ate my bread in sorrow,

2:6 remembering the words of the prophet Amos concerning Bethel: Your feasts will be turned to mourning, and all your songs to lamentation.

2:7 And I wept. When the sun was down, I went and dug a grave and buried him.

2:8 My neighbours laughed and said, ‘See! He is not afraid any more.’ (You must remember that a price had been set on my head earlier for this very thing.) ‘The time before this he had to flee, yet here he is, beginning to bury the dead again.’

2:9 <10 That night I took a bath; then I went into the courtyard and lay down by the courtyard wall. Since it was hot I left my face uncovered.

2:10 <11 I did not know that there were sparrows in the wall above my head; their hot droppings fell into my eyes. White spots then formed, which I was obliged to have treated by the doctors. But the more ointments they tried me with, the more the spots blinded me, and in the end I became blind altogether. I remained without sight four years; all my brothers were distressed; and Ahikar provided for my upkeep for two years, till he left for Elymais.

2:11 <19 My wife Anna then undertook woman’s work; she would spin wool and take cloth to weave;

2:12 she used to deliver whatever had been ordered from her and then receive payment. Now on March the seventh she finished a piece of work <20 and delivered it to her customers. They paid her all that was due, and into the bargain presented her with a kid for a meal.

2:13 <21 When the kid came into my house, it began to bleat. I called to my wife and said, ‘Where does this creature come from? Suppose it has been stolen! Quick, let the owners have it back; we have no right to eat stolen goods.’

2:14 She said, ‘No, it was a present given me over and above my wages.’ I did not believe her, and told her to give it back to the owners <22 (I blushed at this in her presence). Then she answered, ‘What about your own alms? What about your own good works? Everyone knows what return you have had for them.’

JB TOBIT Chapter 3

3:1 Then, sad at heart, I sighed and wept, and began this prayer of lamentation:

3:2 ‘You are just, O Lord, and just are all your works. All your ways are grace and truth, and you are the Judge of the world.

3:3 ‘Therefore, Lord, remember me, look on me. Do not punish me for my sins or for my heedless faults or for those of my fathers. ‘For we have sinned against you

3:4 and broken your commandments; and you have given us over to be plundered, to captivity and death, to be the talk, the laughing-stock and scorn of all the nations among whom you have dispersed us.

3:5 ‘Whereas all your decrees are true when you deal with me as my faults deserve, and those of my fathers, since we have neither kept your commandments nor walked in truth before you;

3:6 so now, do with me as you will; be pleased to take my life from me; I desire to be delivered from earth and to become earth again. For death is better for me than life. I have been reviled without a cause and I am distressed beyond measure. ‘Lord, I wait for the sentence you will give to deliver me from this affliction. Let me go away to my everlasting home; do not turn your face from me, O Lord. For it is better to die than still to live in the face of trouble that knows no pity; I am weary of hearing myself traduced.’

III. SARAH

3:7 It chanced on the same day that Sarah the daughter of Ragnel, who lived in Media at Ecbatana, also heard insults from one of her father’s maids.

3:8 You must know that she had been given in marriage seven times, and that Asmodeus, that worst of demons, had killed her bridegrooms one after another before ever they had slept with her as man with wife. The servant-girl said, ‘Yes, you kill your bridegrooms yourself. That makes seven already to whom you have been given, and you have not once been in luck yet.

3:9 Just because your bridegrooms have died, that is no reason for punishing us. Go and join them, and may we be spared the sight of any child of yours!’

3:10 That day, she grieved, she sobbed, and went up to her father’s room intending to hang herself. But then she thought, ‘Suppose they blamed my father! They will say, “You had an only daughter whom you loved, and now she has hanged herself for grief”. I cannot cause my father a sorrow which would bring down his old age to the dwelling of the dead. I should do better not to hang myself, but to beg the Lord to let me die and not live to hear any more insults.’

3:11 And at this, by the window with outstretched arms she said this prayer: ‘You are blessed, O God of mercy! May your name be blessed for ever, and may all things you have made bless you everlastingly.

3:12 <14 ‘And now, I lift up my face and to you I turn my eyes.

3:13 <15 Let your word deliver me from earth; I can hear myself traduced no longer.

3:14 <16 Lord; you know that I have remained pure; no man has touched me;

3:15 <17 I have not dishonoured your name or my father’s name in this land of exile; ‘I am my father’s only daughter, he has no other child as heir; he has no brother at his side, nor has he any kinsman left for whom I ought to keep myself. ‘Already I have lost seven husbands; why should I live any longer? If it does not please you to take my life, then look on me with pity; I can hear myself traduced no longer.’

3:16 <24 This time the prayer of each of them found favour before the glory of God,

3:17 <25 and Raphael was sent to bring remedy to them both. He was to take the white spots from the eyes of Tobit, so that he might see God’s light with his own eyes; and he was to give Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, as bride to Tobias son of Tobit, and to rid her of Asmodeus, that worst of demons. For it was to Tobias before all other suitors that she belonged by right. Tobit was coming back from the courtyard into the house at the same moment as Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, was coming down from the upper room.

JB TOBIT Chapter 4

IV. TOBIAS

4:1 The same day, Tobit remembered the silver that he had left with Gabael at Rhages in Media

4:2 and thought, ‘I have come to the point of praying for death; I should do well to call my son Tobias and tell him about the money before I die’.

4:3 He summoned his son Tobias and told him: ‘When I die, give me an honourable burial. Honour your mother, and never abandon her all the days of your life. Do all that she wants, and give her no reason for sorrow.

4:4 <5 Remember, my child, all the risks she ran for your sake when you were in her womb. And when she dies, bury her at my side in the same grave.

4:5 <6 ‘My child, be faithful to the Lord all your days. Never entertain the will to sin or to transgress his laws. Do good works all the days of your life, never follow ways that are not right;

4:6 for if you act in truthfulness, you will be successful in all your actions, as all men are if they practise what is right.

4:7 ‘Set aside part of your goods for almsgiving. Never turn your face from any poor man and God will never turn his from you.

4:8 Measure your alms by what <9 you have; if you have much, give more; if you have little, give less, but do not be mean in giving alms.

4:9 <10 By doing so, you will lay up for yourself a great treasure for the day of necessity.

4:10 <11 For almsgiving delivers from death and saves men from passing down to darkness.

4:11 <12 Alms is a most effective offering for all those who give it in the presence of the Most High.

4:12 ‘My child, avoid all loose conduct. Choose a wife of your father’s stock. Do not take a foreign wife outside your father’s tribe, because we are the sons of the prophets. Remember Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our ancestors from the beginning. All of them took wives from their own kindred, and they were blessed in their children, and their race will inherit the earth.

4:13 You, too, my child, must prefer your own brothers; never presume to despise your brothers, the sons <14 and daughters of your people; choose your wife from among them. For pride brings ruin and much worry; idleness causes need and poverty, for the mother of famine is idleness.

4:14 <15 ‘Do not keep back until next day the wages of those who work for you; pay them at once. If you serve God you will be rewarded. Be careful, my child, in all you do, well-disciplined in all your behaviour.

4:15 <16 Do to no one what you would not want done to you. Do not drink wine to the point of drunkenness; do not let excess be your travelling companion.

4:16 <17 ‘Give your bread to those who are hungry, and your clothes to those who are naked. Whatever you own in plenty, devote a proportion to almsgiving; and when you give alms, do not do it grudgingly.

4:17 <18 Be generous with bread and wine on the graves of virtuous men, but not for the sinner.

4:18 <19 Ask advice of every wise person; never scorn any profitable advice.

4:19 <20 Bless the Lord God in everything; beg him to guide your ways and bring your paths and purposes to their end. For wisdom is not given to every nation; the Lord himself gives all good things. At his will he lifts up or he casts down to the depths of the dwelling of the dead. So now, my child, remember these precepts and never let them fade from your heart.

4:20 <21 Now, my child, I must tell you I have left ten talents of silver with Gabael son of Gabrias, at Rhages in Media

4:21 <23 Do not be afraid, my child, if we have grown poor. You have great wealth if you fear God, if you shun every kind of sin and if you do what is pleasing to the Lord your God.’

JB TOBIT Chapter 5

V. THE FELLOW TRAVELLER OF TOBIAS

5:1 Tobias then answered his father Tobit, ‘Father, I will do everything you have told me.

5:2 But how am I to recover the money from him? He does not know me, nor I him. What token am I to give him for him to believe me and hand me over the silver? And besides, I do not know what roads to take for this journey into Media.

5:3 Then Tobit answered his son Tobias, ‘Each of us set his signature to a note which I cut in two, so that each could keep half of it. I took one piece, and put the other with the silver. To think it was twenty years ago <4 I left this silver in his keeping! And now, my child, find some trustworthy man to travel with you – we will pay him for his time until you arrive back – and then go and collect the money from Gabael.’

5:4 <5 Tobias went out to look for a man who knew the way to go with him to Media. Outside he found Raphael the angel standing facing him (though he did not guess he was an angel of God).

5:5 <6 He said, ‘Where do you come from, <7 friend?’ The angel replied, ‘I am one of your brother Israelites; I have come to these parts to look for work’. Tobias asked, ‘Do you know the road to Media?’

5:6 <8 The other replied, ‘Certainly I do. I have been there many times; I know all the ways by heart. I have often been to Media and stayed with Gabael, one of our kinsmen who lives at Rhages in Media. It usually takes two full days to get from Ecbatana to Rhages; Rhages lies in the mountains, and Ecbatana is in the middle of the plain.[*a]

5:7 <9 Tobias said, ‘Wait for me, friend, while I go and tell my father; I need you to come with me; I will pay you for your time’.

5:8 The other replied, ‘Good; I will wait; but do not be long’.

5:9 <10 Tobias went in and told his father that he had found one of their brother Israelites. And the father said, ‘Fetch him in; I want to find out about his family and tribe. I must see if he is going to be a reliable companion for you, my child.’ So Tobias went out and called him. ‘Friend,’ he said ‘my father wants you.’

5:10 <11 The angel came into the house; Tobit greeted him, and the other answered, <12 wishing him happiness. Tobit replied, ‘Can I ever be happy again? I am a blind man; I no longer see the light of heaven; I am sunk in darkness like the dead who see the light no more. I am a man buried alive; I hear men speak but cannot <13 see them.’ The angel said, ‘Take comfort; before long God will heal you. Take <14 comfort.’ Tobit said, ‘My son Tobias wishes to go to Media. Will you join him as his guide? Brother, I will pay you.’ He replied, ‘I am willing to go with him; I know all the ways; I have often been to Media, I have crossed all its plains and mountains, and I know all the roads’.

5:11 <16 Tobit said, ‘Brother, what family and what tribe do you belong to? Will you tell me, brother?’

5:12 <17 ‘What does my tribe matter to you?’ the angel said. Tobit said, ‘I want to be quite sure whose son you are and what your name is’.

5:13 <18 The angel said, ‘I am Azarias, son of the great Ananias, one of your kinsmen’.

5:14 <19 ‘Welcome and greetings, brother! Do not be offended at my wanting to know the name of your family; I find you are my kinsman, of a good and honourable line. I know Ananias and Jathan, the two sons of the great Shemaiah. They used to go to Jerusalem with me; we have worshipped together there, and they have never strayed from the right path. Your brothers are worthy men; you come of good stock; welcome.’

5:15 He went on, ‘I engage you at a drachma a day, with your expenses, like my own son. Complete the journey with my son,

5:16 and I will go beyond the agreed <20 wage.’ The angel replied, ‘I will complete the journey with him. Do not be afraid. On the journey outward all will be well; on the journey back all will be well; the road is safe.’

5:17 Tobit said, ‘Blessings on you, brother!’ Then he turned to his son. ‘My child,’ he said ‘prepare what you need for the journey, and set off with <21 your brother. May God in heaven protect you abroad and bring you both back to me safe and sound! May his angel go with you and protect you, my child!’ <22 Tobias left the house to set out and kissed his father and mother. Tobit said, ‘A happy journey!’

5:18 <23 His mother burst into tears and said to Tobit, ‘Why must you send my child away? Is he not the staff of our hands, with his errands to and fro for us?

5:19 <24 Surely money is not the only thing that matters? Surely it is not as precious as our child?

5:20 <25 The way of life God had already given us was good enough.’

5:21 <26 He said, ‘Do not think such thoughts. Going away and coming back, all will be well with our child. On the day of his homecoming you will see for yourself how all is still well with him. Do not think such thoughts; do not worry on their account, my sister.

5:22 <27 A good angel will go with him; he will have a good journey and come back to us well and happy.’

JB TOBIT Chapter 6

6:1 <28 And she dried her tears.

VI. THE FISH

6:2 <1 The boy left with the angel, and the dog followed behind. The two walked on, and when the first evening came they camped beside the Tigris.

6:3 <2 The boy had gone down to the river to wash his feet, when a great fish leapt out of the water <3 and all but swallowed his foot. The boy gave a shout

6:4 and the angel said, ‘Catch the fish; do not let it go’. The boy mastered the fish and pulled it on to the bank.

6:5 The angel said, ‘Cut it open; take out the gall, the heart and the liver; set these aside and throw the entrails away, for the gall and heart and liver have curative properties’.

6:6 The boy cut the fish open and took out the gall and heart and liver. He fried part of the fish for his meal and kept some for salting. Then they walked on again together until they were nearly in Media.

6:7 Then the boy asked the angel this question, ‘Brother Azarias, what can the fish’s heart, liver and gall cure?’

6:8 He replied, ‘You burn the fish’s heart and liver, and their smoke is used in the case of a man or woman plagued by a demon or evil spirit; any such affliction disappears for good, leaving no trace.

6:9 As regards the gall, this is used as an eye ointment for anyone having white spots on his eyes; after using it, you only have to blow on the spots to cure them.’

6:10 They entered Media and had nearly reached Ecbatana

6:11 when Raphael said to the boy, ‘Brother Tobias’. ‘Yes?’ he answered. The angel went on, ‘Tonight we shall be staying with Raguel, who is a kinsman of yours. He has a daughter called Sarah,

6:12 but apart from Sarah he has no other son or daughter. Now you are her next of kin; she belongs to you before anyone else and you may claim her father’s inheritance. She is a thoughtful, courageous and very lovely girl, and her father loves her dearly.

6:13 You have the right to marry her. Listen, brother; this very evening I will speak about the girl to her father and arrange for her to be betrothed to you, and when we come back from Rhages we can celebrate the marriage. I assure you, Raguel has no right whatever to refuse you or to betroth her to anyone else. That would be asking for death, as prescribed in the Book of Moses, once he was aware that kinship gives you the pre-eminent right to marry his daughter. So listen, brother. This very evening we will speak about the girl and ask for her hand in marriage. When we come back from Rhages we will fetch her and take her home with us.’

6:14 Tobias answered Raphael, ‘Brother Azarias, I have been told that she has already been given in marriage seven times and that each time her bridegroom has died in the bridal room. He died the same night as he entered her room; and I have heard people say it was a demon that killed them,

6:15 and this makes me a little afraid. He does no harm to her, of course, because he loves her; but as soon as a man tries to approach her, he kills him. I am my father’s only son, and I have no wish to die; I shrink from causing my father and mother a grief that would bring them to the grave; they have no other son to bury them.’

6:16 The angel said, ‘Are you going to forget your father’s advice? After all, he urged you to choose a wife from your father’s family. Listen then, brother. Do not worry about the demon; take her. This very evening, I promise, she will be given you as your wife.

6:17 Then once you are in the bridal room, take the heart and liver of the fish and lay a little of it on the burning incense. The reek will rise,

6:18 the demon will smell it and flee, and there is no danger that he will ever be found near the girl again. Then, before you sleep together, first stand up, both of you, and pray. Ask the Lord of heaven to grant you his grace and protection. Do not be afraid; she was destined for you from the beginning, and it is you who will save her. She will follow you, and I pledge my word she will give you children who will be like brothers to you. Do not hesitate.’ And when Tobias heard Raphael say this, when he understood that Sarah was his sister, a kinswoman of his father’s family, he fell so deeply in love with her that he could no longer call his heart his own.

JB TOBIT Chapter 7

VII. RAGUEL

7:1 As they entered Ecbatana, Tobias said, ‘Brother Azarias, take me at once I to our brother Raguel’s’. And he showed him the way to the house of Raguel, whom they found sitting beside his courtyard door. They greeted him first, and he replied, ‘Welcome and greetings, brothers’. And he took them into his house.

7:2 He said to his wife Edna, ‘How like my brother Tobit this young man is!’

7:3 Edna asked them where they came from; they said, ‘We are sons of Naphtali exiled in Nineveh’.

7:4 ‘Do you know our brother Tobit?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘How is he?’

7:5 ‘He is still alive and he is well.’ And Tobias added, ‘He is my father’.

7:6 Raguel leapt to his feet and kissed him and wept.

7:7 Then finding words, he said, ‘Blessings on you, child! You are the son of a noble father. How sad it is that someone so virtuous and full of good deeds should have gone blind!’ He fell on the neck of his kinsman Tobias and wept.

7:8 And his wife Edna wept for him, and so did his daughter Sarah.

7:9 Raguel killed a sheep from the flock, and they gave them a warmhearted welcome. They washed and bathed and sat down to table. Then Tobias said to Raphael, ‘Brother Azarias, will you ask Raguel to give me my sister Sarah?’

7:10 Raguel overheard the words, and said to the young man, ‘Eat and drink, and make the most of your evening; no one else has the right to take my daughter Sarah – no one but you, my brother. In any case I, for my own part, am not at liberty to give her to anyone else, since you are her next of kin. However, my boy, I must be frank with you:

7:11 I have tried to find a husband for her seven times among our kinsmen, and all of them have died the first evening, on going to her room. But for the present, my boy, eat and drink; the Lord will grant you his grace and peace.’ Tobias spoke out, ‘I will not hear of eating and drinking till you have come to a decision about me’. Raguel answered, ‘Very well. Since, as prescribed by the Book of Moses, she is given to you, heaven itself decrees she shall be yours. I therefore entrust your sister to you. From now you are her brother and she is your sister. She is given to you from today for ever. The Lord of heaven favour you tonight, my child, and grant you his grace and peace.’

7:12 Raguel called for his daughter Sarah, took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias with these words, ‘I entrust her to you; the law and the ruling recorded in the Book of Moses assign her to you as your wife. Take her; take her home to your father’s house with a good conscience. The God of heaven grant you a good journey in peace.’

7:13 Then he turned to her mother and asked her to fetch him writing paper. He drew up the marriage contract, how he gave his daughter as bride to Tobias according to the ordinance in the Law of Moses.

7:14 After this they began to eat and drink.

7:15 Raguel called his wife Edna and said, ‘My sister, prepare the second room and take her there’.

7:16 She went and made the bed in this room as he had ordered, and took her daughter to it. She wept over her, then wiped away her tears and said, ‘Courage, daughter! May the Lord of heaven turn your grief to joy! Courage, daughter!’ And she went out.

JB TOBIT Chapter 8

VIII. THE GRAVE

8:1 When they had finished eating and drinking and it seemed time to go to bed, the young man was taken from the dining room to the bedroom.

8:2 Tobias remembered Raphael’s advice; he went to his bag, took the fish’s heart and liver out of it and put some on the burning incense.

8:3 The reek of the fish distressed the demon, who fled through the air to Egypt. Raphael pursued him there, and bound and shackled him at once.

8:4 The parents meanwhile had gone out and shut the door behind them. Tobias rose from the bed, and said to Sarah, ‘Get up, my sister! You and I must pray and petition our Lord to win his grace and his protection.’

8:5 She stood up, and they began praying for protection, and this was how he began: ‘You are blessed, O God of our fathers; blessed, too, is your name for ever and ever. Let the heavens bless you and all things you have made for evermore.

8:6 It was you who created Adam, you who created Eve his wife to be his help and support; and from these two the human race was born. It was you who said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make him a helpmate like himself”.

8:7 And so I do not take my sister for any lustful motive; I do it in singleness of heart. Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me and bring us to old age together.’

8:8 And together they said, ‘Amen, Amen’,

8:9 and lay down for the night. But Raguel rose and called his servants, who came and helped him to dig a grave.

8:10 He had thought, ‘Heaven grant he does not die! We should be overwhelmed with ridicule and shame.’

8:11 When the grave was finished, Raguel went back to the house, called his wife

8:12 and said, ‘Will you send a maid to the room to see if Tobias is still alive? For if he is dead, we may be able to bury him without anyone else knowing.’

8:13 The maid was called, the lamp lit and the door opened; the maid went in. She found the two fast asleep;

8:14 she came out again and whispered, ‘He is not dead; all is well’.

8:15 Then Raguel blessed the God of heaven with these words: ‘You are blessed, my God,

with every blessing that is pure; may you be blessed for evermore!

8:16 ‘You are blessed for having made me glad. What I feared has not happened; instead You have treated us with mercy beyond all measure.

8:17 ‘You are blessed for taking pity on this only son, this only daughter. Grant them, Master, your grace and your protection; let them live out their lives in happiness and in grace.’

8:18 And he made his servants fill the grave in before dawn broke.

8:19 He told his wife to make plenty of bread; he went to his flock, brought back two oxen and four sheep and gave orders for them to be cooked; and preparations began.

8:20 He called Tobias and said, ‘I will not hear of your leaving here for a fortnight. You are to stay where you are, eating and drinking, with me. You will make my daughter happy again after all her troubles.

8:21 After that, take away a half of all I have, and go without let or hindrance back to your father. When my wife and I are dead you will have the other half. Courage, my boy! I am your father, and Edna is your mother. We are your parents in future, as we are your sister’s. Courage, my son!’

JB TOBIT Chapter 9

IX. THE WEDDING FEAST

9:1 Then Tobias turned to Raphael.

9:2 ‘Brother Azarias,’ he said ‘take four servants and two camels and leave for Rhages.

9:3 Go to Gabael’s house, give him the receipt and see about the money; then invite him to come with you to my wedding feast.

9:4 You know that my father must be counting the days and that I cannot lose a single one without worrying him.

9:5 You see what Raguel has pledged himself to do; I am bound by his oath.’ So Raphael left for Rhages in Media with the four servants and two camels. They stayed with Gabael, and Raphael showed him the receipt. He told him about the marriage of Tobias son of Tobit and gave him his invitation to the wedding feast. Gabael started counting out the sacks to him – the seals were intact – and they loaded them on to the camels.

9:6 Early in the morning they set off together for the feast, and reached Raguel’s house where they found Tobias dining. He rose to greet Gabael, who burst into tears and blessed him with the words, ‘Excellent son of a father beyond reproach, just and generous in his dealings! The Lord give heaven’s blessing to you, to your wife, to the father and mother of your wife! Blessed be God for granting me the sight of this living image of my cousin Tobit!’

JB TOBIT Chapter 10

10:1 Every day, meanwhile, Tobit kept reckoning the days required for the journey there and the journey back. The full number went by, and still his son had not come.

10:2 Then he thought, ‘I hope he has not been delayed there! I hope Gabael is not dead! Perhaps no one was there to give him the money.’

10:3 And he began to worry.

10:4 His wife Anna kept saying, ‘My son is dead! He is no longer among the living!’ And she began to weep and mourn over her son. She kept saying,

10:5 ‘Alas! I let you leave me, my child, you, the light of my eyes.’

10:6 And Tobit would reply, ‘Hush, my sister! Do not think such thoughts. All is well with him. Something has happened there to delay them. His companion is someone we can trust, one of our kinsmen at that. Do not lose heart, my sister. He will be here soon.’

10:7 But she only said, ‘Leave me alone; do not try to deceive me. My child is dead.’ And every day she would go abruptly out to watch the road by which her son had left. She trusted no eyes but her own. Once the sun had set she would come home again, only to weep and moan all night, unable to sleep. After the fourteen days of feasting that Raguel had sworn to keep for his daughter’s marriage, Tobias came to him and said, ‘Let me go now; my father and mother must have lost all hope of seeing me again. So I beg you, father, to let me return to my father’s house; I have told you the plight he was in when I left him.’

10:8 Raguel said to Tobias, ‘Stay, my son, stay with me. I will send messengers to your father Tobit to give him news of you.’

10:9 But Tobias pressed him, ‘No. I ask your permission to go back to my father’s house.’

10:10 Without more ado, Raguel committed Sarah his bride into his keeping. He gave Tobias half his wealth, menservants and maidservants, oxen and sheep, donkeys and camels, clothes and money and household things.

10:11 And so he let them leave happily. To Tobias he said these parting words, ‘Good health, my son, and a happy journey! May the Lord of heaven be gracious to you and to your wife Sarah! I hope to see your children before I die.’

10:12 To his daughter Sarah he said, ‘Go now to your father-in-law’s house, since henceforward they are as much your parents as those who gave you life. Go in peace, my daughter, I hope to hear nothing but good of you, as long as I live.’ He said goodbye to them and let them go. Edna in her turn said to Tobias, ‘Dear son and brother, may it please the Lord to bring you back again! I hope to live long enough to see the children of you and my daughter Sarah before I die. In the sight of the Lord I give my daughter into your keeping. Never make her unhappy as long as you live. Go in peace, my son. Henceforward I am your mother and Sarah is your sister. May we all live happily all the days of our lives!’ And she kissed them both and saw them set out happily.

10:13 Tobias left Raguel’s house with his mind at ease. In his gladness he blessed the Lord of heaven and earth, the King of all that is, for the happy issue of his travels. He gave this blessing to Raguel and his wife Edna, ‘May it be my happiness to honour you all the days of my life!’

JB TOBIT Chapter 11

X. TOBIAS’ SIGHT RESTORED

11:1 They were nearly at Kaserin, opposite Nineveh,

11:2 when Raphael said, ‘You know the plight in which we left your father;

11:3 let us go on ahead of your wife and prepare the house ourselves while she travels behind with the others’.

11:4 They went on together (Raphael had warned Tobias to take the gall with him) and the dog followed them.

11:5 Anna was sitting, watching the road by which her son would come.

11:6 She was sure at once it must be he and said to the father, ‘Here comes your son, with his companion’.

11:7 Raphael said to Tobias before he reached his father, ‘I give you my word that your father’s eyes will open.

11:8 You must put the fish’s gall to his eyes; the medicine will smart and will draw a filmy white skin off his eyes. And your father will be able to see and look on the light.’

11:9 The mother ran forward and threw her arms round her son’s neck. ‘Now I can die,’ she said ‘I have seen you again.’ And she wept.

11:10 Tobit rose to his feet and stumbled across the courtyard through the door. Tobias came on towards him

11:11 (he had the fish’s gall in his hand). He blew into his eyes and said, steadying him, ‘Take courage, father!’ With this he applied the medicine, left it there a while,

11:12 then with both hands peeled away a filmy skin from the corners of his eyes.

11:13 Then his father fell on his neck

11:14 and wept. He exclaimed, ‘I can see, my son, the light of my eyes!’ And he said: ‘Blessed be God! Blessed be his great name! Blessed be all his holy angels! Blessed be his great flame for evermore!

11:15 For he had scourged me and now has had pity on me and I see my son Tobias.’ Tobias went into the house, and with a loud voice joyfully blessed God. Then he told his father everything: how his journey had been successful and he had brought the silver back; how he had married Sarah, the daughter of Raguel; how she was following him now, close behind, and could not be far from the gates of Nineveh.

11:16 Tobit set off to the gates of Nineveh to meet his daughter-in-law, giving joyful praise to God as he went. When the people of Nineveh saw him walking without a guide and stepping forward as briskly as of old, they were astonished.

11:17 Tobit described to them how God had taken pity on him and had opened his eyes. Then Tobit met Sarah, the bride of his son Tobias, and blessed her in these words, ‘Welcome, daughter! Blessed be your God for sending you to us, my daughter. Blessings on your father, blessings on my son Tobias, blessings on yourself, my daughter. Welcome now to your own house in joyfulness and in blessedness. Come in, my daughter.’ He held a feast that day for all the Jews of Nineveh,

11:18 and his cousins Ahikar and Nadab came to share in Tobit’s happiness.

JB TOBIT Chapter 12

12:1 When the feasting was over, Tobit called his son Tobias and said, ‘My son, you ought to think about paying the amount due to your fellow traveller; give him more than the figure agreed on’.

12:2 ‘Father,’ he replied ‘how much am I to give him for his help? Even if I give him half the goods he brought back with me, I shall not be the loser.

12:3 He has brought me back to you safe and sound, he has cured my wife, he has brought the money back too, and now he has cured you as well. How much am I to give him for all this?’

12:4 Tobit said, ‘He has richly earned half of what he brought back’.

12:5 So Tobias called his companion and said, ‘Take half of what you brought back, in payment for all you have done, and go in peace’.

12:6 Then Raphael took them both aside and said, ‘Bless God, utter his praise before all the living for all the favours he has given you. Bless and extol his name. Proclaim before all men the deeds of God as they deserve, and never tire of giving him thanks.

12:7 It is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right to reveal and publish the works of God. Thank him worthily. Do what is good, and no evil can befall you.

12:8 ‘Prayer with fasting and alms with right conduct are better than riches with iniquity. Better to practise almsgiving than to hoard up gold.

12:9 Almsgiving saves from death and purges every kind of sin. Those who give alms have their fill of days;

12:10 those who commit sin and do evil, bring harm on themselves.

12:11 I am going to tell you the whole truth, hiding nothing from you. I have already told you that it is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right too to reveal in worthy fashion the works of God.

12:12 So you must know that when you and Sarah were at prayer, it was I who offered your supplications before the glory of the Lord and who read them; so too when you were burying the dead.

12:13 When you did not hesitate to get up and leave the table to go and bury a dead man, I was sent to test your faith,

12:14 and at the same time God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah.

12:15 I am Raphael, one of the seven[*a] angels who stand ever ready to enter the presence of the glory of the Lord.’

12:16 They were both overwhelmed with awe; they fell on their faces in terror.

12:17 But the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid; peace be with you. Bless God for ever.

12:18 As far as I was concerned, when I was with you, my presence was not by any decision of mine, but by the will of God; it is he whom you must bless throughout your days, he that you must praise.

12:19 You thought you saw me eating, but that was appearance and no more.

12:20 Now bless the Lord on earth and give thanks to God. I am about to return to him above who sent me. Write down all that has happened.’ And he rose in the air.

12:21 When they stood up again, he was no longer visible. They praised God with hymns; they thanked him for having performed such wonders; had not an angel of God appeared to them?

JB TOBIT Chapter 13

XII. ZION

13:1 And he said: ‘Blessed be God who lives for ever, for his reign endures throughout all ages!

13:2 By turns he punishes and pardons; he sends men down to the depths of the underworld and draws them up from supreme Destruction; no one can escape his hand.

13:3 Declare his praise before the nations, you who are the sons of Israel! For if he has scattered you among them,

13:4 there too he has shown you his greatness. Extol him before all the living; he is our Master and he is our God and he is our Father and he is God for ever and ever.

13:5 ‘Though he punishes you for your iniquities, he will take pity on you all; he will gather you from every nation wherever you have been scattered.

13:6 If you return to him with all your heart and all your soul, behaving honestly towards him, then he will return to you and hide his face from you no longer. Consider how well he has treated you; loudly give him thanks. Bless the Lord of justice and extol the King of the ages. I for my part sing his praise in the country of my exile; I make his power and greatness known to a nation that has sinned. Sinners, return to him; let your conduct be upright before him; perhaps he will be gracious to you and take pity on you.

13:7 I for my part extol God and my soul rejoices in the King of heaven. Let his greatness

13:8 be in all men’s mouths, his praises be sung in Jerusalem.

13:9 ‘Jerusalem, Holy City, God scourged you for your handiwork yet still will take pity on the sons of the upright.

13:10 Thank the Lord as he deserves and bless the King of the ages, that your Temple may be rebuilt with joy within you and within you he may comfort every exile, and within you he may love all those who are distressed, for all generations to come.

13:11 ‘A bright light shall shine over all the regions of the earth; many nations shall come from far away, from all the ends of the earth, to dwell close to the holy name of the Lord God, with gifts in their hands for the King of heaven. Within you, generation after generation shall proclaim their joy, and the name of her who is Elect shall endure through the generations to come.

13:12 Cursed be any who affront you, cursed be any who destroy you, who throw down your walls, who raze your towers, who burn your houses! Blessed for ever be all who build you!

13:13 Then you will exult, and rejoice over the sons of the upright, for they will all have been gathered in and will bless the Lord of the ages.

13:14 ‘Happy are those who love you, happy those who rejoice over your peace, happy those who have mourned over all your punishment! For they will soon rejoice within you, witnessing all your blessedness in days to come.

13:15 My soul blesses the Lord, the great King,

13:16 because Jerusalem shall be built anew and his house for ever and ever. ‘What bliss if one of my blood is left to see your glory and praise the King of heaven! The gates of Jerusalem shall be built of sapphire and of emerald, and all your walls of precious stone; the towers of Jerusalem shall be built of gold and their battlements of pure gold.

13:17 The streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with ruby and with stones from Ophir; the gates of Jerusalem will resound with songs of exultation; and all her houses will say, “Alleluia! Blessed be the God of Israel.” Within you they will bless the holy name for ever and for ever.’

JB TOBIT Chapter 14

14:1 The end of the hymns’ of Tobit.

XIII. NINEVEH

Tobit died in peace when he was a hundred and twelve years old and received an honourable burial in Nineveh.

14:2 He was sixty-two when he went blind; and after his cure he lived from then on in comfort, practising almsgiving and continually praising God and extolling his greatness.

14:3 When he was at the point of death he summoned his son Tobias and gave him these instructions, ‘My son, take your children

14:4 and hurry away to Media, since I believe the word of God pronounced over Nineveh by Nahum. Everything will come true, everything happen that the emissaries of God, the prophets of Israel, have predicted against Assyria and Nineveh; not one of their words shall prove empty. It will all take place in due time. You will be safer in Media than in Assyria or in Babylonia. Since I for my part know and believe that everything God has said will come true; so it will be, and not a word of the prophecies shall fail. A census will be taken of our brothers living in the land of Israel and they will be exiled far from their own fair country. The entire territory of Israel will become a desert, and Samaria and Jerusalem will become a desert, and the house of God, for a time, will be laid waste and burnt.

14:5 Then once again God will take pity on them and bring them back to the land of Israel. They will rebuild his house, although it will be less beautiful than the first, until the time has fully come. But after this, all will return from captivity and rebuild Jerusalem in all her glory, and the house of God will be rebuilt within her as the prophets of Israel have foretold.

14:6 And all the people of the whole earth will be converted and will fear God with all sincerity. All will renounce their false gods who have led them astray into error,

14:7 and will bless the God of the ages by upright conduct. All the Israelites spared in those days will remember God in sincerity of heart. They will come and gather in Jerusalem and thereafter dwell securely in the land of Abraham, which shall be their own. And those who sincerely love God shall rejoice. And those who commit sin and wickedness shall vanish from the earth.

14:8 ‘And now, my children, I lay this duty on you: serve God sincerely, and do what is pleasing to him. And lay on your children the obligation to behave uprightly, to give alms, to keep God in mind and to bless his name always, sincerely and with all their might.

14:9 ‘So then, my son, leave Nineveh; do not stay here.

14:10 As soon as you have buried your mother next to me, go the same day, whenever it may be, and do not linger in this country where I see wickedness and perfidy unashamedly triumphant. Consider, my child, all that Nadab did to his fosterfather Ahikar. Was he not forced to go underground, though still a living man? But God made the criminal pay for his outrage before the eyes of his victim, since Ahikar came back to the light of day, while Nadab went down to everlasting darkness in punishment for plotting against Ahikar’s life. Because of his good works Ahikar escaped the deadly snare Nadab had laid for him, and Nadab fell into it to his own ruin.

14:11 So, my children, you see what comes of almsgiving, and what wickedness leads to, I mean to death. But now breath fails me.’ They laid him back on his bed;. he died and was buried with honour.

14:12 When his mother died, Tobias buried her beside his father. Then he left for Media with his wife and children. He lived in Ecbatana with Raguel, his father-in-law.

14:13 He treated the aging parents of his wife with every care and respect, and later buried them in Ecbatana in Media. Tobias inherited the patrimony of Raguel besides that of his father Tobit.

14:14 Much honoured, he lived to the age of a hundred and seventeen years.

14:15 Before the died he witnessed the ruin of Nineveh. He saw the Ninevites taken prisoner and deported to Media by Cyaxares king of Media. He blessed God for everything he inflicted on the Ninevites and Assyrians. Before his death he had the opportunity of rejoicing over the fate of Nineveh, and he blessed the Lord God for ever and ever. Amen.

END OF JB TOBIT [14 Chapters].

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