The Bible – Old Testament

 Judith

Index

Intro. 1.2.3.4.6.6.7.8.9.10.11.12.13.14.15.16.

 

Introduction

The Book of Judith is a vivid story relating how, in a grave crisis, God delivered the Jewish people through the instrumentality of a woman. The unknown author composed this edifying narrative of divine providence at the end of the second or the beginning of the first century B.C. The original was almost certainly written in Hebrew, but the Greek text shows so much freedom in adapting from the Septuagint the language of older biblical books that it must be regarded as having a literary character of its own. It is this Greek form of the book, accepted as canonical by the Catholic Church, which is translated here. St. Jerome, who prepared (with some reluctance) a Latin text of Judith, based his work on a secondary Aramaic text available to him in Palestine, combined with an older Latin rendering from the Greek. The long hymn of Jdt 16 he took in its entirety from that earlier Latin text.

Since it is no longer possible to determine with any precision the underlying events which may have given rise to this narrative, it is enough to note that the author sought to strengthen the faith of his people in God’s abiding presence among them. The Book of Judith is a tract for difficult times; the reader, it was hoped, would take to heart the lesson that God was still the Master of history, who could save Israel from her enemies. Note the parallel with the time of the Exodus: as God had delivered his people by the hand of Moses, so he could deliver them by the hand of the pious widow Judith (see note on Judith 2:12).

The story can be divided into two parts. In the first (Jdt 1-7), Holofernes, commander-in-chief of the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, leads an overwhelming Assyrian force in a punitive campaign against the vassals who refused to help in the Assyrian war against the Medes. The Jewish people stubbornly resist the enemy at Bethulia, guarding the route of access to Jerusalem. Despite the warning of Achior that the Jews cannot be conquered unless they sin against God, the proud general lays siege to the town and cuts off its water supply. After a siege of thirty-four days, the exhausted defenders are desperate and ready to surrender.

At this point, the climax of the story, Judith (the name means “Jewess”) appears and promises to defeat the Assyrians. The rest of the story is too well known to repeat in detail. Having fasted and prayed, Judith dresses in her finest garments and proceeds to the Assyrian camp, where she succeeds in killing Holofernes while he lies in a drunken stupor. The Assyrians panic when they discover this, and the Jews are able to rout and slaughter them. The beautiful hymn of the people honoring Judith ( Judith 15:9-10) is often applied to Mary in the liturgy.

Any attempt to read the book directly against the backdrop of Jewish history in relation to the empires of the ancient world is bound to fail. The story was written as a pious reflection on the meaning of the yearly Passover observance. It draws its inspiration from the Exodus narrative (especially Exodus 14:31) and from the texts of Isaiah and the Psalms portraying the special intervention of God for the preservation of Jerusalem. The theme of God’s hand as the agent of this providential activity, reflected of old in the hand of Moses and now in the hand of Judith, is again exemplified at a later time in Jewish synagogue art. God’s hand reaching down from heaven appears as part of the scene at Dura-Europos (before A.D. 256) in paintings of the Exodus, of the sacrifice of Isaac (Gen 22), and of Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones (Eze 37).

The Book of Judith is divided as follows:

    1. Peril of the Jews ( Judith 1:1- 7:32)

    2. Deliverance of the Jews ( Judith 8:1- 14:10) 

    3. Victory ( Judith 14:11- 16:25)

 

The Bible – Old Testament

The Bible – Old Testament

ESTHER

Chapter 1

1

It was the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyriansin the great city of Nineveh. At that time Arphaxad ruled over the Medes in Ecbatana.

2

Around this city he built a wall of blocks of stone, each three cubits inheight and six in length. He made the wall seventy cubits high and fifty thick.

3

At the gates he raised towers of a hundred cubits, with a thickness of sixty cubits at the base.

4

The gateway he built to a height of seventy cubits, with an opening forty cubits wide for the passage of his chariot forces and the marshaling of his infantry.

5

Then King Nebuchadnezzar waged war against King Arphaxad in the vast plain, in the district of Ragae.

6

1 To him there rallied all the inhabitants of the mountain region, all who dwelt along the Euphrates, the Tigris, and the Hydaspes, and King Arioch of the Elamites, in the plain. Thus many nations came together to resist the people of Cheleoud.

7

Now Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, sent messengers to all the inhabitants of Persia, and to all those who dwelt in the West: to the inhabitants of Cilicia and Damascus, Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, to all who dwelt along the seacoast,

8

to the peoples of Carmel, Gilead, Upper Galilee, and the vast plain of Esdraelon,

9

to all those in Samaria and its cities, and west of the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, Bethany, Chelous, Kadesh, and the River of Egypt; to Tahpanhes, Raamses, all the land of Goshen,

10

Tanis, Memphis and beyond, and to all the inhabitants of Egypt as far as the borders of Ethiopia.

11

But the inhabitants of all that land disregarded the summons of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, and would not go with him to the war. They were not afraid of him but regarded him as a lone individual opposed to them, and turned away his envoys empty-handed, in disgrace.

12

2 Then Nebuchadnezzar fell into a violent rage against all that land, and swore by his throne and his kingdom that he would avenge himself on all the territories of Cilicia and Damascus and Syria, and also destroy with his sword all the inhabitants of Moab, Ammon, the whole of Judea, and those living anywhere in Egypt as far as the borders of the two seas.

13

In the seventeenth year he proceeded with his army against King Arphaxad, and was victorious in his campaign. He routed the whole force of Arphaxad, his entire cavalry and all his chariots,

14

and took possession of his cities. He pressed on to Ecbatana and took its towers, sacked its marketplaces, and turned its glory into shame.

15

Arphaxad himself he overtook in the mountains of Ragae, ran him through with spears, and utterly destroyed him.

16

Then he returned home with all his numerous, motley horde of warriors; and there he and his army relaxed and feasted for a hundred and twenty days.

 

 

1 [6] Cheleoud: probably the Chaldeans are meant.

2 [12] The two seas: the ancient rulers in Mesopotamia often designated the limits of their realm as extending from the Upper Sea (the Mediterranean) to the Lower Sea (the Persian Gulf).

 

Tobit – Chapter 14

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

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Chapter 14

1

Tobit died peacefully at the age of a hundred and twelve, and received an honorable burial in Nineveh.

2

He was sixty-two years old when he lost his eyesight, and after he recovered it he lived in prosperity, giving alms and continually blessing God and praising the divine Majesty.

3

Just before he died, he called his son Tobiah and Tobiah’s seven sons, and gave him this command: “Son, take your children

4

1 and flee into Media, for I believe God’s word which was spoken by Nahum against Nineveh. It shall all happen, and shall overtake Assyria and Nineveh; indeed, whatever was said by Israel’s prophets, whom God commissioned, shall occur. Not one of all the oracles shall remain unfulfilled, but everything shall take place in the time appointed for it. So it will be safer in Media than in Assyria or Babylon. For I know and believe that whatever God has spoken will be accomplished. It shall happen, and not a single word of the prophecies shall prove false. “As for our kinsmen who dwell in Israel, they shall all be scattered and led away into exile from the Good Land. The entire country of Israel shall become desolate; even Samaria and Jerusalem shall become desolate! God’s temple there shall be burnt to the ground and shall be desolate for a while.

5

2 But God will again have mercy on them and bring them back to the land of Israel. They shall rebuild the temple, but it will not be like the first one, until the era when the appointed times shall be completed. Afterward all of them shall return from their exile, and they shall rebuild Jerusalem with splendor. In her the temple of God shall also be rebuilt; yes, it will be rebuilt for all generations to come, just as the prophets of Israel said of her.

6

3 All the nations of the world shall be converted and shall offer God true worship; all shall abandon their idols which have deceitfully led them into error,

7

and shall bless the God of the ages in righteousness. Because all the Israelites who are to be saved in those days will truly be mindful of God, they shall be gathered together and go to Jerusalem; in security shall they dwell forever in the land of Abraham, which will be given over to them. Those who sincerely love God shall rejoice, but those who become guilty of sin shall completely disappear from the land.

8

“Now, as for you, my son, depart from Nineveh; do not remain here.

9

“Now, children, I give you this command: serve God faithfully and do what is right before him; you must tell your children to do what is upright and to give alms, to be mindful of God and at all times to bless his name sincerely and with all their strength.

10

4 The day you bury your mother next to me, do not even stay overnight within the confines of the city. For I see that people here shamelessly commit all sorts of wickedness and treachery. Think, my son, of all that Nadab did to Ahiqar, the very one who brought him up: Ahiqar went down alive into the earth! Yet God made Nadab’s disgraceful crime rebound against him. Ahiqar came out again into the light, but Nadab went into the everlasting darkness, for he had tried to kill Ahiqar. Because Ahiqar had given alms to me, he escaped from the deadly trap Nadab had set for him. But Nadab himself fell into the deadly trap, and it destroyed him.

11

So, my children, note well what almsgiving does, and also what wickedness does – it kills! But now my spirit is about to leave me.”

12

They placed him on his bed and he died; and he received an honorable burial. When Tobiah’s mother died, he buried her next to his father. He then departed with his wife and children for Media, where he settled in Ecbatana with his father-in-law Raguel.

13

He took respectful care of his aging father-in-law and mother-in-law; and he buried them at Ecbatana in Media. Then he inherited Raguel’s estate as well as that of his father Tobit.

14

He died at the venerable age of a hundred and seventeen.

15

5 But before he died, he heard of the destruction of Nineveh and saw its effects. He witnessed the exile of the city’s inhabitants when Cyaxares, king of Media, led them captive into Media. Tobiah praised God for all that he had done against the citizens of Nineveh and Assyria. Before dying he rejoiced over Nineveh’s destruction, and he blessed the Lord God forever and ever. Amen.

1 [4] (4-5) Nahum: one of the minor prophets, whose book contains oracles of doom against Nineveh. Here, in keeping with the period to which he assigns his story, the sacred author makes Tobit speak as if the punishment of Nineveh, the destruction of Jerusalem (587 B. C.), the exile from Judah and the return, would all take place in the future. The technique of using the facts of past history as seemingly future predictions, is a frequent device of apocalyptic writers. The Good Land: a favorite name for the promised land. Cf  Deut 1:35;  3:25;  4:21,  22.

2 [5] Until the era . . . completed: a reference to the advent of Messianic times, in which a new, more perfect temple was to be expected. Cf  Hebrews 9:1-14.

3 [6] Conversion of the Gentiles is also to come in the Messianic era.

4 [10] Nadab: In the Story of Ahiqar, the hero Ahiqar, chancellor under the Assyrian kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, adopts his nephew Nadab and prepares him to become his successor. But Nadab treacherously plots to have his uncle put to death. Ahiqar hides in a friend’s house, and is finally vindicated (came out again into the light) when Nadab’s scheme is discovered. Thereupon Nadab is thrown into a dungeon where he dies (went into everlasting darkness). It was Ahiqar’s almsgiving that delivered him from death; see note on  Tobit 2:2.

5 [15] Cyaxares: Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, and Cyaxares conquered and destroyed Nineveh in 612 B. C.; see note on  Tobit 1:15.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 13

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

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Chapter 13

1

1 Then Tobit composed this joyful prayer: Blessed be God who lives forever, because his kingdom lasts for all ages.

2

For he scourges and then has mercy; he casts down to the depths of the nether world, and he brings up from the great abyss. No one can escape his hand.

3

Praise him, you Israelites, before the Gentiles, for though he has scattered you among them,

4

he has shown you his greatness even there. Exalt him before every living being, because he is the Lord our God, our Father and God forever.

5

He scourged you for your iniquities, but will again have mercy on you all. He will gather you from all the Gentiles among whom you have been scattered.

6

When you turn back to him with all your heart, to do what is right before him, Then he will turn back to you, and no longer hide his face from you. So now consider what he has done for you, and praise him with full voice. Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of the ages. In the land of my exile I praise him, and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation. “Turn back, you sinners! do the right before him: perhaps he may look with favor upon you and show you mercy.

7

“As for me, I exalt my God, and my spirit rejoices in the King of heaven.

8

Let all men speak of his majesty, and sing his praises in Jerusalem.”

9

2 O Jerusalem, holy city, he scourged you for the works of your hands, but will again pity the children of the righteous.

10

Praise the Lord for his goodness, and bless the King of the ages, so that his tent may be rebuilt in you with joy. May he gladden within you all who were captives; all who were ravaged may he cherish within you for all generations to come.

11

A bright light will shine to all parts of the earth; many nations shall come to you from afar, And the inhabitants of all the limits of the earth, drawn to you by the name of the Lord God, Bearing in their hands their gifts for the King of heaven. Every generation shall give joyful praise in you, and shall call you the chosen one, through all ages forever.

12

Accursed are all who speak a harsh word against you; accursed are all who destroy you and pull down your walls, And all who overthrow your towers and set fire to your homes; but forever blessed are all those who build you up.

13

Go, then, rejoice over the children of the righteous, who shall all be gathered together and shall bless the Lord of the ages.

14

Happy are those who love you, and happy those who rejoice in your prosperity. Happy are all the men who shall grieve over you, over all your chastisements, For they shall rejoice in you as they behold all your joy forever.

15

My spirit blesses the Lord, the great King;

16

Jerusalem shall be rebuilt as his home forever. Happy for me if a remnant of my offspring survive to see your glory and to praise the King of heaven! The gates of Jerusalem shall be built with sapphire and emerald, and all your walls with precious stones. The towers of Jerusalem shall be built with gold, and their battlements with pure gold.

17

The streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with rubies and stones of Ophir;

18

The gates of Jerusalem shall sing hymns of gladness, and all her houses shall cry out, “Alleluia! “Blessed be God who has raised you up! may he be blessed for all ages!” For in you they shall praise his holy name forever. The end of Tobit’s hymn of praise.

1 [1] (1-18) Tobit’s hymn of praise (cf  Exodus 15:1-18;  Judith 16:1-17) is divided into two parts. The first part ( Tobit 13:1-8) is a song of praise that echoes themes from the hymns and psalms of the kingdom; the second ( Tobit 13:9-18) is addressed to Jerusalem in the style of the prophets who spoke of a new and ideal Jerusalem (Isaiah 60); cf Rev 21.

2 [9] Works of your hands: idols.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 12

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/467418

Chapter 12

1

1 When the wedding celebaration came to an end, Tobit called his son Tobiah and said to him, “Son, see to it that you give what is due to the man who made the journey with you; give him a bonus too.”

2

Tobiah said: “Father, how much shall I pay him? It would not hurt me at all to give him half of all the wealth he brought back with me.

3

He led me back safe and sound; he cured my wife; he brought the money back with me; and he cured you. How much of a bonus should I give him?”

4

Tobit answered, “It is only fair, son, that he should receive half of all that he brought back.”

5

So Tobiah called Raphael and said, “Take as your wages half of all that you have brought back, and go in peace.”

6

2 3 Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them: “Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory. Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Before all men, honor and proclaim God’s deeds, and do not be slack in praising him.

7

A king’s secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be declared and made known. Praise them with due honor. Do good, and evil will not find its way to you.

8

4 Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness. It is better to give alms than to store up gold;

9

for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;

10

but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.

11

“I will now tell you the whole truth; I will conceal nothing at all from you. I have already said to you, ‘A king’s secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be made known with due honor.’

12

5 I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.

13

When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead,

14

6 I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God commissioned me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah.

15

I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord.”

16

Stricken with fear, the two men fell to the ground.

17

But Raphael said to them: “No need to fear; you are safe. Thank God now and forever.

18

As for me, when I came to you it was not out of any favor on my part, but because it was God’s will. So continue to thank him every day; praise him with song.

19

Even though you watched me eat and drink. I did not really do so; what you were seeing was a vision.

20

So now get up from the ground and praise God. Behold, I am about to ascend to him who sent me; write down all these things that have happened to you.”

21

When Raphael ascended they rose to their feet and could no longer see him.

22

They kept thanking God and singing his praises; and they continued to acknowledge these marvelous deeds which he had done when the angel of God appeared to them.

1 (1-5) Tobit and his son generously agree to give Azariah far more than the wages agreed upon in  Tobit 5:15-16.

2 [6] (6-10) In the fashion of a wisdom teacher, Raphael gives the two men a short exhortation similar to the one Tobit gave his son in  Tobit 4:3-19.

3 [6] (6-7) The Jews considered the duty of praising God their most esteemed privilege. Without praise of God, life was meaningless. Cf  Isaiah 38:16-20.

4 [8] Prayer . . . fasting . . . almsgiving . . . righteousness: these, together with the proper attitude toward wealth, are treated in great detail by Christ our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6). 9 for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;

5 [12] (12,15) Raphael is one of the seven specially designated intercessors who present man’s prayers to God. Angelology was developing in this period. The names of two other angels are given in the Bible: Gabriel ( Daniel 8:16;  9:21;  Luke 1:19,  26) and Michael ( Daniel 10:13,  21;  12:1;  Jude 1:9;  Rev 12:7).

6 [14] I was sent . . . test: God often sends trials to purify his faithful servants further. Cf Job 1-2.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 11

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

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Chapter 11

1

Then they left and began their return journey. When they were near Kaserin, just before Nineveh,

2

Raphael said: “You know how we left your father.

3

Let us hurry on ahead of your wife to prepare the house while the rest of the party are still on the way.”

4

So they both went on ahead and Raphael said to Tobiah, “Have the gall in your hand!” And the dog ran along behind them.

5

Meanwhile, Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come.

6

When she saw him coming, she exclaimed to his father, “Tobit, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!”

7

Raphael said to Tobiah before he reached his father: “I am certain that his eyes will be opened.

8

Smear the fish gall on them. This medicine will make the cataracts shrink and peel off from his eyes; then your father will again be able to see the light of day.”

9

Then Anna ran up to her son, threw her arms around him, and said to him, “Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!” And she sobbed aloud.

10

Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate. Tobiah went up to him

11

with the fish gall in his hand, and holding him firmly, blew into his eyes. “Courage, father,” he said.

12

Next he smeared the medicine on his eyes,

13

and it made them smart. Then, beginning at the corners of Tobit’s eyes, Tobiah used both hands to peel off the cataracts. When Tobit saw his son, he threw his arms around him

14

and wept. He exclaimed, “I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!” Then he said: “Blessed be God, and praised be his great name, and blessed be all his holy angels. May his holy name be praised throughout all the ages,

15

Because it was he who scourged me, and it is he who has had mercy on me. Behold, I now see my son Tobiah!” Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and praising God with full voice. Tobiah told his father that his journey had been a success; that he had brought back the money; and that he had married Raguel’s daughter Sarah, who would arrive shortly, for she was approaching the gate of Nineveh. ‘

16

Rejoicing and praising God, Tobit went out to the gate of Nineveh to meet his daughter-in-law. When the people of Nineveh saw him walking along briskly, with no one leading him by the hand, they were amazed.

17

Before them all Tobit proclaimed how God had mercifully restored sight to his eyes. When Tobit reached Sarah, the wife of his son Tobiah, he greeted her: “Welcome, my daughter! Blessed be your God for bringing you to us, daughter! Blessed are your father and your mother. Blessed is my son Tobiah, and blessed are you, daughter! Welcome to your home with blessing and joy. Come in, daughter!” That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

18

Ahiqar and his nephew Nadab also came to rejoice with Tobit. They celebrated Tobiah’s wedding feast for seven happy days, and he received many gifts.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 10

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/467418

Chapter 10

1

Meanwhile, day by day, Tobit was keeping track of the time Tobiah would need to go and to return. When the number of days was reached and his son did not appear,

2

he said, “I wonder what has happened. Perhaps he has been detained there; or perhaps Gabael is dead, and there is no one to give him the money.”

3

And he began to worry.

4

His wife Anna said, “My son has perished and is no longer among the living!” And she began to weep aloud and to wail over her son:

5

“Alas, my child, light of my eyes, that I let you make this journey!”

6

But Tobit kept telling her: “Hush, do not think about it, my love; he is safe! Probably they have to take care of some unexpected business there. The man who is traveling with him is trustworthy, and is one of our own kinsmen. So do not worry over him, my love. He will be here soon.”

7

But she retorted, “Stop it, and do not lie to me! My child has perished!” She would go out and keep watch all day at the road her son had taken, and she ate nothing. At sunset she would go back home to wail and cry the whole night through, getting no sleep at all.Now at the end of the fourteen-day wedding celebration which Raguel had sworn to hold for his daughter, Tobiah went to him and said: “Please let me go, for I know that my father and mother do not believe they will ever see me again. So I beg you, father, let me go back to my father. I have already told you how I left him.”

8

Raguel said to Tobiah: “Stay, my child, stay with me. I am sending messengers to your father Tobit, and they will give him news of you.”

9

But Tobiah insisted, “No, I beg you to let me go back to my father.”

10

Raguel then promptly handed over to Tobiah Sarah his wife, together with half of all his property: male and female slaves, oxen and sheep, asses and camels, clothing, money, and household goods.

11

Bidding them farewell, he let them go. He embraced Tobiah and said to him: “Good-bye, my son. Have a safe journey. May the Lord of heaven grant prosperity to you and to your wife Sarah. And may I see children of yours before I die!”

12

Then he kissed his daughter Sarah and said to her: “My daughter, honor your father-in-law and your mother-in-law, because from now on they are as much your parents as the ones who brought you into the world. Go in peace, my daughter; let me hear good reports about you as long as I live.” Finally he said good-bye to them and sent them away.

13

Then Edna said to Tobiah: “My child and beloved kinsman, may the Lord bring you back safely, and may I live long enough to see children of you and of my daughter Sarah before I die. Before the Lord, I entrust my daughter to your care. Never cause her grief at any time in your life. Go in peace, my child. From now on I am your mother, and Sarah is your beloved. May all of us be prosperous all the days of our lives.” She kissed them both and sent them away in peace.

14

When Tobiah left Raguel, he was full of happiness and joy, and he blessed the Lord of heaven and earth, the King of all, for making his journey so successful. Finally he said good-bye to Raguel and his wife Edna, and added, “May I honor you all the days of my life!”

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 9

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/467418

Chapter 9

1

Then Tobiah called Raphael and said to him:

2

“Brother Azariah, take along with you four servants and two camels and travel to Rages. Go to Gabael’s house and give him this bond. Get the money and then bring him along with you to the wedding celebration.

3

You witnessed the oath that Raguel has sworn; I cannot violate his oath.”

4

For you know that my father is counting the days. If I should delay my return by a single day, I would cause him intense grief.

5

So Raphael, together with the four servants and two camels, traveled to Rages in Media, where they stayed at Gabael’s house. Raphael gave Gabael his bond and told him about Tobit’s son Tobiah, and that he had married and was inviting him to the wedding celebration. Gabael promptly checked over the sealed moneybags, and they placed them on the camels.

6

The following morning they got an early start and traveled to the wedding celebration. When they entered Raguel’s house, they found Tobiah reclining at table. He sprang up and greeted Gabael, who wept and blessed him, exclaiming: “O noble and good child, son of a noble and good, upright and charitable man, may the Lord grant heavenly blessing to you and to your wife, and to your wife’s father and mother. Blessed be God, because I have seen the very image of my cousin Tobit!”

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 8

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/467418

Chapter 8

1

When they had finished eating and drinking, the girl’s parents wanted to retire. They brought the young man out of the dining room and led him into the bedroom.

2

1 At this point Tobiah, mindful of Raphael’s instructions, took the fish’s liver and heart from the bag which he had with him, and placed them on the embers for the incense.

3

2 The demon, repelled by the odor of the fish, fled into Upper Egypt; Raphael pursued him there and bound him hand and foot. Then Raphael returned immediately.

4

When the girl’s parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.”

5

She got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. He began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever.

6

You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’

7

Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”

8

They said together, “Amen, amen,”

9

and went to bed for the night. But Raguel got up and summoned his servants. With him they went out to dig a grave,

10

for he said, “I must do this, because if Tobiah should die, we would be subjected to ridicule and insult.”

11

When they had finished digging the grave, Raguel went back into the house and called his wife,

12

saying, “Send one of the maids in to see whether Tobiah is alive or dead, so that if necessary we may bury him without anyone’s knowing about it.”

13

She sent the maid, who lit a lamp, opened the bedroom door, went in, and found them sound asleep together.

14

The maid went out and told the girl’s parents that Tobiah was alive, and that there was nothing wrong.

15

Then Raguel praised the God of heaven in these words: “Blessed are you, O God, with every holy and pure blessing! Let all your chosen ones praise you; let them bless you forever!

16

Blessed are you, who have made me glad; what I feared did not happen. Rather you have dealt with us according to your great mercy.

17

Blessed are you, for you were merciful toward two only children. Grant them, Master, mercy and deliverance, and bring their lives to fulfillment with happiness and mercy.”

18

Then he told his servants to fill in the grave before dawn.

19

He asked his wife to bake many loaves of bread; he himself went out to the herd and picked out two steers and four rams which he ordered to be slaughtered. So the servants began to prepare the feast.

20

3 He summoned Tobiah and made an oath in his presence, saying: “For fourteen days you shall not stir from here, but shall remain here eating and drinking with me; and you shall bring joy to my daughter’s sorrowing spirit.

21

Take, to begin with, half of whatever I own when you go back in good health to your father; the other half will be yours when I and my wife die. Be of good cheer, my son! I am your father, and Edna is your mother; and we belong to you and to your beloved now and forever. So be happy, son!”

1 [2] (2,3) The manner of coping with demonic influences among the ancients seems quaint to us. However, the fish here is part of the story, and not a recipe for exorcism. It is clear that the author places primary emphasis on the value of prayer to God ( Tobit 6:18;  8:4-8), on the role of the angel as God’s agent, and on the pious disposition of Tobiah.

2 [3] Into Upper Egypt: to the desert there. The desert was considered the dwelling place of demons. Cf  Isaiah 13:21;  34:14;  Matthew 4:1;  12:43.

3 [20] For fourteen days: because of the happy, and unexpected, turn of events, Raguel doubles the time of the wedding feast. When Tobiah returns home, the usual seven-day feast is held ( Tobit 11:18). Cf  Judges 14:12.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 7

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/467418

Chapter 7

1

When they entered Ecbatana, Tobiah said, “Brother Azariah, lead me straight to our kinsman Raguel.” So he brought him to the house of Raguel, whom they found seated by his courtyard gate. They greeted him first. He said to them, “Greetings to you too, brothers! Good health to you, and welcome!” When he brought them into his home,

2

he said to his wife Edna, “This young man looks just like my kinsman Tobit!”

3

So Edna asked them, “Who are you, brothers?” They answered, “We are of the exiles from Naphtali at Nineveh.”

4

She said, “Do you know our kinsman Tobit?” They answered, “Indeed we do!” She asked, “Is he well?”

5

They answered, “Yes, he is alive and well.” Then Tobiah exclaimed, “He is my father!”

6

Raguel sprang up and kissed him, shedding tears of joy.

7

But when he heard that Tobit had lost his eyesight, he was grieved and wept aloud. He said to Tobiah: “My child, God bless you! You are the son of a noble and good father. But what a terrible misfortune that such a righteous and charitable man should be afflicted with blindness!” He continued to weep in the arms of his kinsman Tobiah.

8

His wife Edna also wept for Tobit; and even their daughter Sarah began to weep.

9

Afterward, Raguel slaughtered a ram from the flock and gave them a cordial reception. When they had bathed and reclined to eat, Tobiah said to Raphael, “Brother Azariah, ask Raguel to let me marry my kinswoman Sarah.”

10

Raguel overheard the words; so he said to the boy: “Eat and drink and be merry tonight, for no man is more entitled to marry my daughter Sarah than you, brother. Besides, not even I have the right to give her to anyone but you, because you are my closest relative. But I will explain the situation to you very frankly.

11

I have given her in marriage to seven men, all of whom were kinsmen of ours, and all died on the very night they approached her. But now, son, eat and drink. I am sure the Lord will look after you both.” Tobiah answered, “I will eat or drink nothing until you set aside what belongs to me.” Raguel said to him: “I will do it. She is yours according to the decree of the Book of Moses. Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven! Take your kinswoman; from now on you are her love, and she is your beloved. She is yours today and ever after. And tonight, son, may the Lord of heaven prosper you both. May he grant you mercy and peace.”

12

Then Raguel called his daughter Sarah, and she came to him. He took her by the hand and gave her to Tobiah with the words: “Take her according to the law. According to the decree written in the Book of Moses she is your wife. Take her and bring her back safely to your father. And may the God of heaven grant both of you peace and prosperity.”

13

He then called her mother and told her to bring a scroll, so that he might draw up a marriage contract stating that he gave Sarah to Tobiah as his wife according to the decree of the Mosaic law. Her mother brought the scroll, and he drew up the contract, to which they affixed their seals.

14

Afterward they began to eat and drink.

15

Later Raguel called his wife Edna and said, “My love, prepare the other bedroom and bring the girl there.”

16

She went and made the bed in the room, as she was told, and brought the girl there. After she had cried over her, she wiped away the tears and said:

17

“Be brave, my daughter. May the Lord of heaven grant you joy in place of your grief. Courage, my daughter.” Then she left.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 6

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/467418

Chapter 6

1

Then she stopped weeping.

2

When the boy left home, accompanied by the angel, the dog followed Tobiah out of the house and went with them. The travelers walked till nightfall, and made camp beside the Tigris River.

3

Now when the boy went down to wash his feet in the river, a large fish suddenly leaped out of the water and tried to swallow his foot. He shouted in alarm.

4

But the angel said to him, “Take hold of the fish and don’t let it get away!” The boy seized the fish and hauled it up on the shore.

5

1 The angel then told him: “Cut the fish open and take out its gall, heart, and liver, and keep them with you; but throw away the entrails. Its gall, heart, and liver make useful medicines.”

6

After the lad had cut the fish open, he put aside the gall, heart, and liver. Then he broiled and ate part of the fish; the rest he salted and kept for the journey.

7

Afterward they traveled on together till they were near Media. The boy asked the angel this question: “Brother Azariah, what medicinal value is there in the fish’s heart, liver, and gall?”

8

He answered: “As regards the fish’s heart and liver, if you burn them so that the smoke surrounds a man or a woman who is afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, the affliction will leave him completely, and no demons will ever return to him again.

9

And as for the gall, if you rub it on the eyes of a man who has cataracts, blowing into his eyes right on the cataracts, his sight will be restored.”

10

When they had entered Media and were getting close to Ecbatana,

11

Raphael said to the boy, “Brother Tobiah!” He answered, “Yes, what is it?” Raphael continued: “Tonight we must stay with Raguel, who is a relative of yours. He has a daughter named Sarah,

12

but no other child. Since you are Sarah’s closest relative, you before all other men have the right to marry her. Also, her father’s estate is rightfully yours to inherit. Now the girl is sensible, courageous, and very beautiful; and her father loves her dearly.”

13

2 He continued: “Since you have the right to marry her, listen to me, brother. Tonight I will ask the girl’s father to let us have her as your bride. When we return from Rages, we will hold the wedding feast for her. I know that Raguel cannot keep her from you or let her become engaged to another man; that would be a capital crime according to the decree in the Book of Moses, and he knows that it is your right, before all other men, to marry his daughter. So heed my words, brother; tonight we must speak for the girl, so that we may have her engaged to you. And when we return from Rages, we will take her and bring her back with us to your house.”

14

Tobiah objected, however: “Brother Azariah, I have heard that this woman has already been married seven times, and that her husbands died in their bridal chambers. On the very night they approached her, they dropped dead. And I have heard it said that it was a demon who killed them.

15

So now I too am afraid of this demon. Because he loves her, he does not harm her; but he does slay any man who wishes to come close to her. I am my father’s only child. If I should die, I would bring my father and mother down to their grave in sorrow over me. And they have no other son to bury them!”

16

Raphael said to him: “Do you not remember your father’s orders? He commanded you to marry a woman from your own family. So now listen to me, brother; do not give another thought to this demon, but marry Sarah. I know that tonight you shall have her for your wife!

17

When you go into the bridal chamber, take the fish’s liver and heart, and place them on the embers for the incense.

18

3 As soon as the demon smells the odor they give off, he will flee and never again show himself near her. Then when you are about to have intercourse with her, both of you first rise up to pray. Beg the Lord of heaven to show you mercy and grant you deliverance. But do not be afraid, for she was set apart for you before the world existed. You will save her, and she will go with you. And I suppose that you will have children by her, who will take the place of brothers for you. So do not worry.” When Tobiah heard Raphael say that she was his kinswoman, of his own family’s lineage, he fell deeply in love with her, and his heart became set on her.

1 [5] Its gall . . . medicines: belief in the healing power of these organs was common among even the physicians of antiquity.

2 [13] Raguel . . . Book of Moses:  Numbers 36:6-8 prescribed marriage within the ancestral tribe, but no death penalty is mentioned.

3 [18] Rise up to pray: prayer is needed to drive out the demon.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Tobit – Chapter 5

The Bible – Old Testament

Tobit

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/467418

Chapter 5

1

Then Tobiah replied to his father Tobit: “Everything that you have commanded me, father, I will do.

2

But how shall I be able to obtain the money from him, since he does not know me nor do I know him? What can I show him to make him recognize me and trust me, so that he will give me the money? I do not even know which roads to take for the journey into Media!”

3

1 Tobit answered his son Tobiah: “We exchanged signatures on a document written in duplicate; I divided it into two parts, and each of us kept one; his copy I put with the money. Think of it, twenty years have already passed since I deposited that money! So now, my son, find yourself a trustworthy man who will make the journey with you. We will, of course, give him a salary when you return; but get back that money from Gabael.”

4

2 Tobiah went to look for someone acquainted with the roads who would travel with him to Media. As soon as he went out, he found the angel Raphael standing before him, though he did not know that this was an angel of God.

5

Tobiah said to him, “Who are you, young man?” He replied “I am an Israelite, one of your kinsmen. I have come here to work.” Tobiah said, “Do you know the way to Media?”

6

3 The other replied: “Yes, I have been there many times. I know the place well and I know all the routes. I have often traveled to Media; I used to stay with our kinsman Gabael, who lives at Rages in Media. It is a good two days’ travel from Ecbatana to Rages, for Rages is situated at the mountains, Ecbatana out on the plateau.”

7

Tobiah said to him, “Wait for me, young man, till I go back and tell my father; for I need you to make the journey with me. I will, of course, pay you.”

8

Raphael replied, “Very well, I will wait for you; but do not be long.”

9

Tobiah went back to tell his father Tobit what had happened. He said to him, “I have just found a man who is one of our own Israelite kinsmen!” Tobit said, “Call the man, so that I may find out what family and tribe he comes from, and whether he is trustworthy enough to travel with you, son.” Tobiah went out to summon the man, saying, “Young man, my father would like to see you.”

10

4 When Raphael entered the house, Tobit greeted him first. Raphael said, “Hearty greetings to you!” Tobit replied: “What joy is left for me any more? Here I am, a blind man who cannot see God’s sunlight, but must remain in darkness, like the dead who no longer see the light! Though alive, I am among the dead. I can hear a man’s voice, but I cannot see him.” Raphael said, “Take courage! God has healing in store for you; so take courage!” Tobit then said: “My son Tobiah wants to go to Media. Can you go with him to show him the way? I will of course pay you, brother.” Raphael answered: “Yes, I can go with him, for I know all the routes. I have often traveled to Media and crossed all its plains and mountains; so I know every road well.”

11

Tobit asked, “Brother, tell me, please, what family and tribe are you from?”

12

Raphael said: “Why? Do you need a tribe and a family? Or are you looking for a hired man to travel with your son?” Tobit replied, “I wish to know truthfully whose son you are, brother, and what your name is.”

13

5 Raphael answered, “I am Azariah, son of Hananiah the elder, one of your own kinsmen.”

14

Tobit exclaimed: “Welcome! God save you, brother! Do not be provoked with me, brother, for wanting to learn the truth about your family. So it turns out that you are a kinsman, and from a noble and good line! I knew Hananiah and Nathaniah, the two sons of Shemaiah the elder; with me they used to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where we would worship together. No, they did not stray from the right path; your kinsmen are good men. You are certainly of good lineage, and welcome!”

15

6 Then he added: “For each day you are away I will give you the normal wages, plus expenses for you and for my son. If you go with my son,

16

I will even add a bonus to your wages!” Raphael replied: “I will go with him; have no fear. In good health we shall leave you, and in good health we shall return to you, for the way is safe.”

17

Tobit said, “God bless you, brother.” Then he called his son and said to him: “My son, prepare whatever you need for the journey, and set out with your kinsman. May God in heaven protect you on the way and bring you back to me safe and sound; and may his angel accompany you for safety, my son.” Before setting out on his journey, Tobiah kissed his father and mother. Tobit said to him, “Have a safe journey.”

18

But his mother began to weep. She said to Tobit: “Why have you decided to send my child away? Is he not the staff to which we cling, ever there with us in all that we do?

19

I hope more money is not your chief concern! Rather let it be a ransom for our son!

20

What the Lord has given us to live on is certainly enough for us.”

21

Tobit reassured her: “Have no such thought. Our son will leave in good health and come back to us in good health. Your own eyes will see the day when he returns to you safe and sound.

22

7 So, no such thought; do not worry about them, my love. For a good angel will go with him, his journey will be successful, and he will return unharmed.”

1 [3] Document: in Greek cheirographon. In the Middle Ages, notably in England, a deed and its duplicate were written on one piece of parchment, with the Latin word chirographum inscribed across the top of the sheet or between the two copies of the text. The document was then cut in two in either a straight or a wavy line, the parts being given to the persons concerned. Perhaps this procedure derived from the present verse of Tobit. Duplicate documents, usually one open and the other sealed, are well known from the ancient Near East.

2 [4] He did not know: the theme of an angel in disguise occurs frequently in folklore as well as in the Old Testament (Genesis 18; cf  Hebrews 13:2).

3 [6] It is a good two days’ travel from Ecbatana to Rages: Alexander’s army took eleven days in forced marches to cover this distance, about 180 miles. The author is merely using popular impressions about faraway places; he is not teaching geography. (See notes on  Tobit 1:15;  3:7 and Introduction.)

4 [10] Hearty greetings and what joy form a wordplay on the Greek verb chairein, “to greet” and “to be joyful.”

5 [13] (13-14) Azariah, “Yahweh helps”; Hananiah, “Yahweh is merciful”; Nathaniah, “Yahweh gives”; Shemaiah, “Yahweh hears.”

6 [15] The normal wages: literally, “a drachma,” about seventeen cents, a day’s wage for a workingman.

7 [22] My love: literally, “sister,” a term of endearment applied to one’s wife; cf  Tobit 7:11,  15;  8:4,  21;  10:6,  13;  Song 4:9,  10,  12;  5:1, 2. A good angel: a reference to the guardian angel, though Tobit does not know, of course, that Raphael himself, disguised as Azariah, is the good angel in this case.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.