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.

Tobit – Chapter 4

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 4

1

That same day Tobit remembered the money he had deposited with Gabael at Rages in Media, and he thought,

2

“Now that I have asked for death, why should I not call my son Tobiah and let him know about this money before I die?”

3

1 So he called his son Tobiah; and when he came, he said to him: “My son, when I die, give me a decent burial. Honor your mother, and do not abandon her as long as she lives. Do whatever pleases her, and do not grieve her spirit in any way.

4

Remember, my son, that she went through many trials for your sake while you were in her womb. And when she dies, bury her in the same grave with me.

5

“Through all your days, my son, keep the Lord in mind, and suppress every desire to sin or to break his commandments. Perform good works all the days of your life, and do not tread the paths of wrongdoing.

6

2 For if you are steadfast in your service, your good works will bring success, not only to you, but also to all those who live uprightly.

7

“Give alms from your possessions. Do not turn your face away from any of the poor, and God’s face will not be turned away from you.

8

Son, give alms in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, distribute even some of that. But do not hesitate to give alms;

9

you will be storing up a goodly treasure for yourself against the day of adversity.

10

Almsgiving frees one from death, and keeps one from going into the dark abode.

11

Alms are a worthy offering in the sight of the Most High for all who give them.

12

“Be on your guard, son, against every form of immorality, and above all, marry a woman of the lineage of your forefathers. Do not marry a stranger who is not of your father’s tribe, because we are sons of the prophets. My boy, keep in mind Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our fathers from of old: all of them took wives from among their own kinsmen and were blessed in their children. Remember that their posterity shall inherit the land.

13

Therefore, my son, love your kinsmen. Do not be so proudhearted toward your kinsmen, the sons and daughters of your people, as to refuse to take a wife for yourself from among them. For in such arrogance there is ruin and great disorder. Likewise, in worthlessness there is decay and dire poverty, for worthlessness is the mother of famine.

14

“Do not keep with you overnight the wages of any man who works for you, but pay him immediately. If you thus behave as God’s servant, you will receive your reward. Keep a close watch on yourself, my son, in everything you do, and discipline yourself in all your conduct.

15

Do to no one what you yourself dislike. Do not drink wine till you become drunk, nor let drunkenness accompany you on your way.

16

“Give to the hungry some of your bread, and to the naked some of your clothing. Whatever you have left over, give away as alms; and do not begrudge the alms you give.

17

3 Be lavish with your bread and wine at the burial of the virtuous, but do not share them with sinners.

18

“Seek counsel from every wise man, and do not think lightly of any advice that can be useful.

19

4 At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans. For no pagan nation possesses good counsel, but the Lord himself gives all good things. If the Lord chooses, he raises a man up; but if he should decide otherwise, he casts him down to the deepest recesses of the nether world. So now, my son, keep in mind my commandments, and never let them be erased from your heart.

20

“And now, son, I wish to inform you that I have deposited a great sum of money with Gabri’s son Gabael at Rages in Media.

21

Do not be discouraged, my child, because of our poverty. You will be a rich man if you fear God, avoid all sin, and do what is right before the Lord your God.”

1 [3] (3-19) A collection of maxims which parallel those in the wisdom literature, especially Prov and Sirach (see Introduction): duties toward parents ( Tobit 4:3-4); cf also  Tobit 14:13; perseverance in virtue and avoidance of evil ( Tobit 4:5, 6,  14b); necessity and value of almsgiving and charity ( Tobit 4:7,  11,  16,  17); marriage to a kinsman ( Tobit 4:12,  13a); industry ( Tobit 4:13b); prompt payment of wages ( Tobit 4:14a); the golden rule ( Tobit 4:15a); temperance ( Tobit 4:15b); docility ( Tobit 4:18); prayer ( Tobit 4:19).

2 [6] Before the revelation of retribution for all men in the afterlife-a doctrine taught in the Book of Wisdom-Old Testament man believed that virtue guaranteed earthly prosperity, and sin earthly disaster (cf Deut 28).

3 [17] Tobit counsels his son either to give alms in honor of the dead, or, more probably, to give the “bread of consolation” to the family of the deceased. Cf  Jeremiah 16:7;  Ezekiel 24:17.

4 [19] Prayer is the foundation of a moral life.

Index

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

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

Tobit – Chapter 3

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 3

1

Grief-stricken in spirit, I groaned and wept aloud. Then with sobs I began to pray:

2

“You are righteous, O Lord, and all your deeds are just; All your ways are mercy and truth; you are the judge of the world.

3

And now, O Lord, may you be mindful of me, and look with favor upon me. Punish me not for my sins, nor for my inadvertent offenses, nor for those of my fathers. “They sinned against you,

4

and disobeyed your commandments. So you handed us over to plundering, exile, and death, till we were an object lesson, a byword, a reproach in all the nations among whom you scattered us.

5

“Yes, your judgments are many and true in dealing with me as my sins and those of my fathers deserve. For we have not kept your commandments, nor have we trodden the paths of truth before you.

6

1 “So now, deal with me as you please, and command my life breath to be taken from me, that I may go from the face of the earth into dust. It is better for me to die than to live, because I have heard insulting calumnies, and I am overwhelmed with grief. “Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish; let me go to the everlasting abode; Lord, refuse me not. For it is better for me to die than to endure so much misery in life, and to hear these insults!”

7

2 On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media, it so happened that Raguel’s daughter Sarah also had to listen to abuse, from one of her father’s maids.

8

3 For she had been married to seven husbands, but the wicked demon Asmodeus killed them off before they could have intercourse with her, as it is prescribed for wives. So the maid said to her: “You are the one who strangles your husbands! Look at you! You have already been married seven times, but you have had no joy with any one of your husbands.

9

Why do you beat us? Because your husbands are dead? Then why not join them! May we never see a son or daughter of yours!”

10

That day she was deeply grieved in spirit. She went in tears to an upstairs room in her father’s house with the intention of hanging herself. But she reconsidered, saying to herself: “No! People would level this insult against my father: ‘You had only one beloved daughter, but she hanged herself because of ill fortune!’ And thus would I cause my father in his old age to go down to the nether world laden with sorrow. It is far better for me not to hang myself, but to beg the Lord to have me die, so that I need no longer live to hear such insults.”

11

4 At that time, then, she spread out her hands, and facing the window, poured out this prayer: “Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God! Forever blessed and honored is your holy name; may all your works forever bless you.

12

And now, O Lord, to you I turn my face and raise my eyes.

13

Bid me to depart from the earth, never again to hear such insults.

14

“You know, O Master, that I am innocent of any impure act with a man,

15

And that I have never defiled my own name or my father’s name in the land of my exile. “I am my father’s only daughter, and he has no other child to make his heir, Nor does he have a close kinsman or other relative whom I might bide my time to marry. I have already lost seven husbands; why then should I live any longer? But if it please you, Lord, not to slay me, look favorably upon me and have pity on me; never again let me hear these insults!”

16

At that very time, the prayer of these two suppliants was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God.

17

5 So Raphael was sent to heal them both: to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes, so that he might again see God’s sunlight; and to marry Raguel’s daughter Sarah to Tobit’s son Tobiah, and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her. For Tobiah had the right to claim her before any other who might wish to marry her.In the very moment that Tobit returned from the courtyard to his house, Raguel’s daughter Sarah came downstairs from her room.

1 [6] It is better for me to die than to live: in his distress Tobit uses the words of the petulant Jonah ( Jonah 4:3, 8), who wished to die because God did not destroy the hated Ninevites. In similar circumstances, Moses ( Numbers 11:15), Elijah ( 1 Kings 19:4), and Job ( Job 7:15) also prayed for death. Everlasting abode: a reference to Sheol, the dismal abode of the dead from which no one returns ( Job 7:9-10;  14:12;  Isaiah 26:14). The revelation of a blessed immortality had not yet been made. See note on  Tobit 4:6.

2 [7] From here on, the story is told in the third person.  Tobit 3:7 relates one of the several marvelous coincidences which the story teller uses to heighten interest; see also  Tobit 3:16,  17;  4:1;  5:4. Ecbatana: Hamadan in modern Iran; this was the capital of ancient Media. Raguel: “friend of God.”

3 [8] Asmodeus: in Persian aeshma daeva, “demon of wrath,” adopted into Aramaic with the sense of “the Destroyer.” He will be subdued ( Tobit 8:3) by Raphael ( Tobit 3:17) “God heals.”

4 [11] Facing the window: that is, looking toward Jerusalem; cf  Daniel 6:11: Blessed are you and “Blessed be God” are traditional openings of Jewish prayers ( Tobit 8:5,  15;  11:14;  13:1).

5 [17] Tobiah had the right: according to the patriarchal custom of marriage within the family group. Tobiah was Sarah’s closest eligible relative ( Tobit 6:12). Cf  Tobit 4:12-13; Genesis 24.

Index

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

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

Tobit – Chapter 2

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 2

1

1 Thus under King Esarhaddon I returned to my home, and my wife Anna and my son Tobiah were restored to me. Then on our festival of Pentecost, the feast of Weeks, a fine dinner was prepared for me, and I reclined to eat.

2

2 The table was set for me, and when many different dishes were placed before me, I said to my son Tobiah: “My son, go out and try to find a poor man from among our kinsmen exiled here in Nineveh. If he is a sincere worshiper of God, bring him back with you, so that he can share this meal with me. Indeed, son, I shall wait for you to come back.”

3

Tobiah went out to look for some poor kinsman of ours. When he returned he exclaimed, “Father!” I said to him, “What is it, son?” He answered, “Father, one of our people has been murdered! His body lies in the market place where he was just strangled!”

4

I sprang to my feet, leaving the dinner untouched; and I carried the dead man from the street and put him in one of the rooms, so that I might bury him after sunset.

5

3 Returning to my own quarters, I washed myself and ate my food in sorrow.

6

I was reminded of the oracle pronounced by the prophet Amos against Bethel: “Your festivals shall be turned into mourning, And all your songs into lamentation.”

7

And I wept. Then at sunset I went out, dug a grave, and buried him.

8

The neighbors mocked me, saying to one another: “Will this man never learn! Once before he was hunted down for execution because of this very thing; yet now that he has escaped, here he is again burying the dead!”

9

That same night I bathed, and went to sleep next to the wall of my courtyard. Because of the heat I left my face uncovered.

10

4 I did not know there were birds perched on the wall above me, till their warm droppings settled in my eyes, causing cataracts. I went to see some doctors for a cure, but the more they anointed my eyes with various salves, the worse the cataracts became, until I could see no more. For four years I was deprived of eyesight, and all my kinsmen were grieved at my condition. Ahiqar, however, took care of me for two years, until he left for Elymais.

11

At that time my wife Anna worked for hire at weaving cloth, the kind of work women do.

12

5 When she sent back the goods to their owners, they would pay her. Late in winter she finished the cloth and sent it back to the owners. They paid her the full salary, and also gave her a young goat for the table.

13

On entering my house the goat began to bleat. I called to my wife and said: “Where did this goat come from? Perhaps it was stolen! Give it back to its owners; we have no right to eat stolen food!”

14

6 But she said to me, “It was given to me as a bonus over and above my wages.” Yet I would not believe her, and told her to give it back to its owners. I became very angry with her over this. So she retorted: “Where are your charitable deeds now? Where are your virtuous acts? See! Your true character is finally showing itself!”

1 [1] The feast of Weeks: also called by its Greek name Pentecost, was celebrated fifty days after the Passover. Cf  Lev 23:15-21;  Deut 16:9-12.

2 [2] Almsgiving and charity to the poor are important virtues taught by the book ( 4:7-11,  16,  17;  12:8, 9;  14:10,  11).

3 [5] I washed myself: because of ritual defilement from touching a corpse ( Numbers 19:11-13).

4 [10] Cataracts: literally, “white scales, or films.” Elymais: the Greek name of ancient Elam, a district northeast of the head of the Persian Gulf.

5 [12] Late in winter: literally, “seventh of Dystros,” the Macedonian month which corresponds to the Jewish month of Shebat (January-February). For the table: literally, “for the hearth”; the gift had probably been made in view of some springtime festival like the Jewish Purim.

6 [14] Anna’s sharp rebuke calls to mind the words of Job’s wife ( Job 2:9).

Index

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

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

Tobit – Chapter 1

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 1

1

1 This book tells the story of Tobit, son of Tobiel, son of Hananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael of the family of Asiel, of the tribe of Naphtali,

2

who during the reign of Shalmaneser, 2 king of Assyria, was taken captive from Thisbe, which is south of Kedesh Naphtali in upper Galilee, above and to the west of Asser, north of Phogor.

3

I, Tobit, have walked all the days of my life on the paths of truth and righteousness. I performed many charitable works for my kinsmen and my people who had been deported with me to Nineveh, in Assyria.

4

When I lived as a young man in my own country, Israel, the entire tribe of my forefather Naphtali had broken away from the house of David and from Jerusalem. This city had been singled out of all Israel’s tribes, so that they all might offer sacrifice in the place where the temple, God’s dwelling, had been built and consecrated for all generations to come.

5

3 All my kinsmen, like the rest of the tribe of my forefather Naphtali, used to offer sacrifice on all the mountains of Galilee as well as to the young bull which Jeroboam, king of Israel, had made in Dan.

6

4 I, for my part, would often make the pilgrimage alone to Jerusalem for the festivals, as is prescribed for all Israel by perpetual decree. Bringing with me the first fruits of the field and the firstlings of the flock, together with a tenth of my income and the first shearings of the sheep, I would hasten to Jerusalem

7

and present them to the priests, Aaron’s sons, at the altar. To the Levites who were doing service in Jeusalem I would give the tithe of grain, wine, olive oil, pomegranates, figs, and other fruits. And except for sabbatical years, I used to give a second tithe in money, which each year I would go and disburse in Jerusalem.

8

The third tithe I gave to orphans and widows, and to converts who were living with the Israelites. Every third year I would bring them this offering, and we ate it in keeping with the decree of the Mosaic law and the commands of Deborah, the mother of my father Tobiel; for when my father died, he left me an orphan.

9

When I reached manhood, I married Anna, a woman of our own lineage. By her I had a son whom I named Tobiah.

10

Now, after I had been deported to Nineveh, all my brothers and relatives ate the food of heathens,

11

but I refrained from eating that kind of food.

12

Because of this wholehearted service of God,

13

the Most High granted me favor and status with Shalmaneser, so that I became purchasing agent for all his needs.

14

5 Every now and then until his death I would go to Media to buy goods for him. I also deposited several pouches containing a great sum of money with my kinsman Gabael, son of Gabri, who lived at Rages, in Media.

15

6 But when Shalmaneser died and his son Sennacherib succeeded him as king, the roads to Media became unsafe, so I could no longer go there.

16

During Shalmaneser’s reign I performed many charitable works for my kinsmen and my people.

17

7 I would give my bread to the hungry and my clothing to the naked. If I saw one of my people who had died and been thrown outside the walls of Nineveh, I would bury him.

18

I also buried anyone whom Sennacherib slew when he returned as a fugitive from Judea during the days of judgment decreed against him by the heavenly King because of the blasphemies he had uttered. In his rage he killed many Israelites, but I used to take their bodies by stealth and bury them; so when Sennacherib looked for them, he could not find them.

19

But a certain citizen of Nineveh informed the king that it was I who buried the dead. When I found out that the king knew all about me and wanted to put me to death, I went into hiding; then in my fear I took to flight.

20

Afterward, all my property was confiscated; I was left with nothing. All that I had was taken to the king’s palace, except for my wife Anna and my son Tobiah.

21

8 But less than forty days later the king was assassinated by two of his sons, who then escaped into the mountains of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon, who succeeded him as king, placed Ahiqar, my brother Anael’s son, in charge of all the accounts of his kingdom, so that he took control over the entire administration.

22

Then Ahiqar interceded on my behalf, and I was able to return to Nineveh. For under Sennacherib, king of Assyria, Ahiqar had been chief cupbearer, keeper of the seal, administrator, and treasurer; and Esarhaddon reappointed him. He was a close relative-in fact, my nephew.

1 [1] Tobit: in the fragments of the book found at Qumran, is given as Tobi, an abbreviated form of Tobiyah ( Tobit 1:9;  Ezra 2:60) or of Tobiyabu ( 2 Chron 17:8), a name which means “Yahweh is good.” Tobiel, “God is good”; Hananiel, “God is merciful.” The book abounds in theophoric names.

2 [2] Shalmaneser (V) (727-722 B.C.): began the siege of Samaria; the inhabitants of the northern kingdom were taken into captivity by his successor, Sargon II (722-705). Thisbe and Phogor: towns of Galilee that have not been identified; Thisbe in Gilead was perhaps the birthplace of Elijah. Kedesh: cf  Joshua 20:7. Asser: Hazor ( Joshua 11:1).

3 [5] Jeroboam established sanctuaries in Dan and Bethel so that the people would no longer go to Jerusalem for the festivals. The gold statues of bulls which he placed in the sanctuaries were considered the throne of Yahweh; but the people soon came to worship the images themselves. Jeroboam also encouraged the high places or hilltop shrines ( 1 Kings 12:26-33).

4 [6] (6-8) Perpetual decree:  Deut 12:11,  13-14. Refusing to worship at Jeroboam’s shrines, the faithful Tobit continued to bring his offerings to Jerusalem; see  2 Chron 11:16. For the various tithes, cf  Numbers 18:20-32;  2 Chron 31:4-6;  Deut 14:22-29;  26:12-13.

5 [14] A great sum of money: literally, “ten silver talents,” about ten thousand dollars. Rages: modern Rai, about five miles southeast of Teheran. Media: the northwestern part of modern Iran.

6 [15] Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.): the son of Sargon (722-705 B.C.); neither was descended from Shalmaneser. Inconsistencies such as this point to the fact that the Book of Tobit is a religious novel (see Introduction; also notes on  Tobit 5:6;  14:15).

7 [17] (17-18) Tobit risked his own life to bury the dead. Deprivation of burial was viewed with horror by the Jews. Cf  Tobit 4:3-4;  6:15;  14:12-13.

8 [21] Esarhaddon: 681-669 B.C. Ahiqar: a hero of ancient folklore, known for his outstanding wisdom. The Story (or Wisdom) of Ahiqar was very popular in antiquity and is extant in many different forms: Aramaic, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic (Arabian Nights), Greek (Aesop’s Fables), Slavonic, Ethiopic, and Romanian. The sacred author makes Tobit the uncle of the famous Ahiqar in order to enhance Tobit’s own prestige. See note on  Tobit 14:10.

Index

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

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

Tobit – Introduction

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

Introduction

The Book of Tobit, named after its principal hero, combines specifically Jewish piety and morality with oriental folklore in a fascinating story that has enjoyed wide popularity in both Jewish and Christian circles. Prayers, psalms, and words of wisdom, as well as the skillfully constructed story itself, provide valuable insights into the faith and the religious milieu of its unknown author. The book was probably written early in the second century B.C.; it is not known where.

Tobit, a devout and wealthy Israelite living among the captives deported to Nineveh from the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C., suffers severe reverses and is finally blinded. Because of his misfortunes he begs the Lord to let him die. But recalling the large sum he had formerly deposited in far-off Media, he sends his son Tobiah there to bring back the money. In Media, at this same time, a young woman, Sarah, also prays for death, because she has lost seven husbands, each killed in turn on his wedding night by the demon Asmodeus. God hears the prayers of Tobit and Sarah, and sends the angel Raphael in disguise to aid them both.

Raphael makes the trip to Media with Tobiah. When Tobiah is attacked by a large fish as he bathes, Raphael orders him to seize it and to remove its gall, heart, and liver because they make “useful medicines.” Later, at Raphael’s urging, Tobiah marries Sarah, and uses the the fish’s heart and liver to drive Asmodeus from the bridal chamber. Returning to Nineveh with his wife and his father’s money, Tobiah rubs the fish’s gall into his father’s eyes and cures them. Finally, Raphael reveals his true identity and returns to heaven. Tobit then utters his beautiful hymn of praise. Before dying, Tobit tells his son to leave Nineveh because God will destroy that wicked city. After Tobiah buries his father and mother, he and his family depart for Media, where he later learns that the destruction of Nineveh has taken place.

The inspired author of the book used the literary form of religious novel (as in Jonah and Judith) for the purpose of instruction and edification. There may have been a historical nucleus around which the story was composed, but this possibility has nothing to do with the teaching of the book. The seemingly historical data-names of kings, cities, etc.-are used merely as vivid details to create interest and charm.

Although the Book of Tobit is usually listed with the historical books, it more correctly stands midway between them and the wisdom literature. It contains numerous maxims like those found in the wisdom books (cf  Tobit 4:3-19,  21;  12:6-10;  14:7, 9) as well as the customary sapiential themes: fidelity to the law, the intercessory function of angels, piety toward parents, the purity of marriage, reverence for the dead, and the value of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. The book makes Tobit a relative of Ahiqar, a hero of ancient Near Eastern folklore.

Written in Aramaic, the original of the book was lost for centuries. The Greek translation, existing in three different recensions, is our primary source. In 1955, fragments of the book in Aramaic and in Hebrew were recovered from Cave IV at Qumran. These texts are in substantial agreement with the Greek recension that has served as the basis for the present translation.

The divisions of the Book of Tobit are:

I. Tobit’s Ordeals ( Tobit 1:3- 3:6)

II. Sarah’s Plight ( Tobit 3:7-17)

III. Tobiah’s Journey and Marriage to Sarah ( Tobit 4:1- 9:6)

IV. Tobiah’s Return; Cure of Tobit’s Blindness ( Tobit 10:1- 11:18)

V. Raphael Reveals His Identity ( Tobit 12:1-22)

VI. Tobit’s Song of Praise ( Tobit 13:1-18)

VII. Epilogue ( Tobit 14:1-15)

Index

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

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

Nehemiah – Chapter 13

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

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

Nehemiah

Chapter 13

1

1 At that time, when there was reading from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people, it was found written there that “no Ammonite or Moabite may ever be admitted into the assembly of God;

2

for they would not succor the Israelites with food and water, but they hired Balaam to curse them, though our God turned the curse into a blessing.”

3

When they had heard the law, they separated from Israel every foreign element.

4

2 Before this, the priest Eliashib, who had been placed in charge of the chambers of the house of our God and who was an associate of Tobiah,

5

had set aside for the latter’s use a large chamber in which had previously been stored the cereal offerings, incense and utensils, the tithes in grain, wine, and oil allotted to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the offerings due the priests.

6

3 During all this time I had not been in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, king of Babylon, I had gone back to the king. After due time, however, I asked leave of the king

7

and returned to Jerusalem, where I discovered the evil thing that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in setting aside for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.

8

This displeased me very much, and I had all of Tobiah’s household goods thrown outside the chamber.

9

Then I gave orders to purify the chambers, and I had them replace there the utensils of the house of God, the cereal offerings, and the incense.

10

I learned, too, that the portions due the Levites were no longer being given, so that the Levites and the singers who should have been carrying out the services had deserted, each man to his own field.

11

I took the magistrates to task, demanding, “Why is the house of God abandoned?” Then I brought the Levites together and had them resume their stations.

12

All Judah once more brought in the tithes of grain, wine, and oil to the storerooms;

13

and in charge of the storerooms I appointed the priest Shelemiah, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah, one of the Levites, together with Hanan, son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, as their assistant; for these men were held to be trustworthy. It was their duty to make the distribution to their brethren.

14

Remember this to my credit, O my God! Let not the devotion which I showed for the house of my God and its services be forgotten!

15

In those days I perceived that men in Judah were treading the winepresses on the sabbath; that they were bringing in sheaves of grain, loading them on their asses, together with wine, grapes, figs, and every other kind of burden, and bringing them to Jerusalem on the sabbath day. I warned them to sell none of these victuals.

16

In Jerusalem itself the Tyrians who were resident there were importing fish and every other kind of merchandise and selling it to the Judahites on the sabbath.

17

I took the nobles of Judah to task, demanding of them: “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the sabbath day?

18

Did not your fathers act in this same way, with the result that our God has brought all this evil upon us and upon this city? Would you add to the wrath against Israel by once more profaning the sabbath?”

19

When the shadows were falling on the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I ordered the doors to be closed and forbade them to be reopened till after the sabbath. I posted some of my own men at the gates so that no burden might enter on the sabbath day.

20

The merchants and sellers of various kinds of merchandise spent the night once or twice outside Jerusalem,

21

but then I warned them, saying to them: “Why do you spend the night alongside the wall? If you keep this up, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on, they did not return on the sabbath.

22

Then I ordered the Levites to purify themselves and to go and watch the gates, so that the sabbath day might be kept holy. This, too, remember in my favor, O my God, and have mercy on me in accordance with your great mercy!

23

Also in those days I saw Jews who had married Ashdodite, Ammonite, or Moabite wives.

24

4 Of their children, half spoke Ashdodite, and none of them knew how to speak Jewish; and so it was in regard to the languages of the various other peoples.

25

I took them to task and cursed them; I had some of them beaten and their hair pulled out; and I adjured them by God: “You shall not marry your daughters to their sons nor take any of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves!

26

Did not Solomon, the king of Israel, sin because of them? Though among the many nations there was no king like him, and though he was beloved of his God and God had made him king over all Israel, yet even he was made to sin by foreign women.

27

Must it also be heard of you that you have done this same very great evil, betraying our God by marrying foreign women?”

28

One of the sons of Joiada, son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite! I drove him from my presence.

29

Remember against them, O my God, how they defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites!

30

Thus I cleansed them of all foreign contamination. I established the various functions for the priests and Levites, so that each had his appointed task.

31

I also provided for the procurement of wood at stated times and for the first fruits. Remember this in my favor, O my God!

1 [1-3] These verses were composed by the Chronicler to serve as an introduction to the reforms that Nehemiah instituted during his second mission in Jerusalem ( Nehemiah 13:4-31). The part of the book of Moses read to the people is freely quoted here from  Deut 23:3-6.

2 [4-31] This is part of the “Memoirs of Nehemiah”; it is continued in  10:1-40.

3 [6] After due time: It is not known when Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem or how long his second period of activity there lasted, but it probably ended before Ezra came to Palestine; see note on  Ezra 7:1-8.

4 [24] Ashdodite: the language spoken at Ashdod, more likely an Aramaic rather than a Philistine dialect. Jewish: Hebrew as spoken in postexilic Judah.

Index

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

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 12

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

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

Nehemiah

Chapter 12

1

The following are the priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

2

Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,

3

Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,

4

Iddo, Ginnethon, Abijah,

5

Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,

6

Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah,

7

Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the priestly heads and their brethren in the days of Jeshua.

8

The Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, Mattaniah; the last-mentioned, together with his brethren, was in charge of the hymns,

9

while Bakbukiah and Unno and their brethren ministered opposite them by turns.

10

1 Jeshua became the father of Joiakim, Joiakim became the father of Eliashib, and Eliashib became the father of Joiada.

11

Joiada became the father of Johanan, and Johanan became the father of Jaddua.

12

In the days of Joiakim these were the priestly family heads: for Seraiah, Meraiah; for Jeremiah, Hananiah;

13

for Ezra, Meshullam; for Amariah, Jehohanan;

14

for Malluchi, Jonathan; for Shebaniah, Joseph;

15

for Harim, Adna; for Meremoth, Helkai;

16

for Iddo, Zechariah; for Ginnethon, Meshullam;

17

for Abijah, Zichri; for Miamin, . . . ; for Maadiah, Piltai;

18

for Bilgah, Shammua; for Shemaiah, Jehonathan;

19

and for Joiarib, Mattenai; for Jedaiah, Uzzi;

20

for Sallu, Kallai; for Amok, Eber;

21

for Hilkiah, Hashabiah; for Jedaiah, Nethanel.

22

In the time of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, the family heads of the priests were written down in the Book of Chronicles, up until the reign of Darius the Persian.

23

The sons of Levi: the family heads were written down in the Book of Chronicles, up until the time of Johanan, the son of Eliashib.

24

The heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel. Their brethren who stood opposite them to sing praises and thanksgiving in fulfillment of the command of David, the man of God, one section opposite the other,

25

were Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah.Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers. They kept watch over the storerooms at the gates.

26

All these lived in the time of Joiakim, son of Jeshua, son of Jozadak (and in the time of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra the priest-scribe).

27

2 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out wherever they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate a joyful dedication with thanksgiving hymns and the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres.

28

The levitical singers gathered together from the region about Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites,

29

from Beth-gilgal, and from the plains of Geba and Azmaveth (for the singers had built themselves settlements about Jerusalem).

30

The priests and Levites first purified themselves, then they purified the people, the gates, and the wall.

31

I had the princes of Judah mount the wall, and I arranged two great choirs. The first of these proceeded to the right, along the top of the wall, in the direction of the Dung Gate,

32

followed by Hoshaiah and half the princes of Judah,

33

along with Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam,

34

Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,

35

priests with the trumpets, and also Zechariah, son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph,

36

and his brethren Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David, the man of God. (Ezra the scribe was at their head.)

37

At the Spring Gate they went straight up by the steps of the City of David and continued along the top of the wall above the house of David until they came to the Water Gate on the east.

38

The second choir proceeded to the left, followed by myself and the other half of the princes of the people, along the top of the wall past the Oven Tower as far as the Broad Wall,

39

then past the Ephraim Gate (the New City Gate), the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, and the Hundred Tower, as far as the Sheep Gate (and they came to a halt at the Prison Gate).

40

The two choirs took up a position in the house of God; I, too, who had with me half the magistrates,

41

the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Minjamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, Hananiah, with the trumpets,

42

and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. The singers were heard under the leadership of Jezrahiah.

43

Great sacrifices were offered on that day, and there was rejoicing over the great feast of the LORD in which they shared. The women and the children joined in, and the rejoicing at Jerusalem could be heard from afar off.

44

3 At that time men were appointed over the chambers set aside for stores, offerings, first fruits, and tithes; in them they were to collect from the fields of the various cities the portions legally assigned to the priests and Levites. For Judah rejoiced in its appointed priests and Levites

45

who carried out the ministry of their God and the ministry of purification (as did the singers and the gatekeepers) in accordance with the prescriptions of David and of Solomon, his son.

46

For the heads of the families of the singers and the hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God came down from the days of David and Asaph in times of old.

47

Thus all Israel, in the days of Zerubbabel (and in the days of Nehemiah), gave the singers and the gatekeepers their portions, according to their daily needs. They made their consecrated offering to the Levites, and the Levites made theirs to the sons of Aaron.

1 [10-11] Jeshua, the high priest when Zerubbabel was governor, i.e., the last decades of the sixth century B.C. ( Haggai 1:1,  12,  14;  2:2, 4). He was the grandfather of Eliashib, the high priest at least in the early period of Nehemiah’s governorship, i.e., 445-433 B.C. ( Ezra 10:6;  Nehemiah 3:1,  20,  21;  13:4, 7). Eliashib, in turn, was the grandfather of Johanan, a grown man, if not yet a high priest, at the time of Ezra, i.e., c. 400 B.C. ( Ezra 10:6; and note). According to Josephus (Antiquites XI, v), whose testimony here is doubtful, Jaddua, son of Johanan, died as an old man about the time that Alexander the Great died, i.e., 323 B.C. If this list of the postexilic high priests, at least as far as Johanan, comes, as seems probable (cf  Nehemiah 12:23), from the Chronicler himself and not from a later scribe, it is of prime importance for dating the Chronicler’s work in the first decades of the fourth century B.C.

2 [27-43] The dedication of the wall of Jerusalem took place, no doubt, soon after the restoration of the wall and its gates had been completed. Therefore, this section is best read after  Nehemiah 6:15.

3 [44-47] This account of the provisions made for the temple services is apparently a composition of the Chronicler. At that time: a mere connective; no particular time is meant, but the account fits best after that of the restoration of the temple ( Ezra 6:13-18) in the days of Zerubbabel ( Nehemiah 12:47). The gloss mentioning Nehemiah is not in the ancient Greek version.

Index

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

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 11

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

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

Nehemiah

Chapter 11

1

1 The leaders of the people took up residence in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one man in ten to reside in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the other nine would remain in the other cities.

2

The people applauded all those men who willingly agreed to take up residence in Jerusalem.

3

These are the heads of the province who took up residence in Jerusalem. (In the cities of Judah dwelt lay Israelites, priests, Levites, temple slaves, and the descendants of the slaves of Solomon, each man on the property he owned in his own city.)

4

In Jerusalem dwelt both Judahites and Benjaminites. Of the Judahites: Athaiah, son of Uzziah, son of Zechariah, son of Amariah, son of Shephatiah, son of Mehallalel, of the sons of Perez;

5

Maaseiah, son of Baruch, son of Colhozeh, son of Hazaiah, son of Adaiah, son of Joiarib, son of Zechariah, a son of the Shelanites.

6

The total of the sons of Perez who dwelt in Jerusalem was four hundred and sixty-eight valiant men.

7

These were the Benjaminites: Sallu, son of Meshullam, son of Joed, son of Pedaiah, son of Kolaiah, son of Maaseiah, son of Ithiel, son of Jeshaiah,

8

and his brethren, warriors, nine hundred and twenty-eight in number.

9

Joel, son of Zichri, was their commander, and Judah, son of Hassenuah, was second in charge of the city.

10

Among the priests were: Jedaiah; Joiarib; Jachin;

11

Seraiah, son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, the ruler of the house of God,

12

and their brethren who carried out the temple service, eight hundred and twenty-two; Adaiah, son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah,

13

and his brethren, family heads, two hundred and forty-two; and Amasai, son of Azarel, son of Ahzai, son of Meshillemoth, son of Immer,

14

and his brethren, warriors, one hundred and twenty-eight. Their commander was Zabdiel, son of Haggadol.

15

Among the Levites were Shemaiah, son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Bunni;

16

Shabbethai and Jozabad, levitical chiefs who were placed over the external affairs of the house of God;

17

Mattaniah, son of Micah, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, director of the psalms, who led the thanksgiving at prayer; Bakbukiah, second in rank among his brethren; and Abda, son of Shammua, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun.

18

The total of the Levites in the holy city was two hundred and eighty-four.

19

The gatekeepers were Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren, who kept watch over the gates; one hundred and seventy-two in number.

20

The rest of Israel, including priests and Levites, were in all the other cities of Judah, each man in his inheritance.

21

The temple slaves lived on Ophel. Ziha and Gishpa were in charge of the temple slaves.

22

The prefect of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi, son of Bani, son of Hashabiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micah; he was one of the sons of Asaph, the singers appointed to the service of the house of God – 

23

for they had been appointed by royal decree, and there was a fixed schedule for the singers assigning them their daily duties.

24

Pethahiah, son of Meshezabel, a descendant of Zerah, son of Judah, was royal deputy in all affairs that concerned the people.

25

As concerns their villages in the country: Judahites lived in Kiriath-arba and its dependencies, in Dibon and its dependencies, in Jekabzeel and its villages,

26

in Jeshua, Moladah, Beth-pelet,

27

in Hazarshual, in Beer-sheba and its dependencies,

28

in Ziklag, in Meconah and its dependencies,

29

in En-rimmon, Zorah, Jarmuth,

30

Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its countryside, Azekah and its dependencies. They were settled from Beer-sheba to ge-hinnom.

31

Benjaminites were in Geba, Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its dependencies,

32

Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,

33

Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,

34

Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,

35

Lod, Ono, and the Valley of the Artisans.

36

Some sections of the Levites from Judah settled in Benjamin.

1 [1-19] This list of the family heads who lived in Jerusalem at the time of Nehemiah is best read after  Nehemiah 7:72a. It is basically the same as that given in  1 Chron 9:2-17 but there are many differences between the two lists.

Index

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

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 10

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

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

Nehemiah

Chapter 10

1

1 In view of all this, we are entering into a firm pact, which we are putting into writing. On the sealed document appear the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests.

2

On the sealed document: His Excellency Nehemiah, son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah.

3

Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,

4

Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah,

5

Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,

6

Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,

7

Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,

8

Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,

9

Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these are the priests.

10

The Levites: Jeshua, son of Azaniah; Binnui, of the sons of Henadad; Kadmiel;

11

and their brethren Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,

12

Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah,

13

Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,

14

Hodiah, Bani, Beninu.

15

The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani,

16

Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,

17

Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,

18

Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur,

19

Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai,

20

Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,

21

Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,

22

Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua,

23

Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,

24

Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub,

25

Halhohesh, Pilha, Shobek,

26

Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,

27

Ahiah, Hanan, Anan,

28

Malluch, Harim, Baanah.

29

The rest of the people, priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple slaves, and all others who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands in favor of the law of God, with their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who are of the age of discretion,

30

join with their brethren who are their princes, and with the sanction of a curse take this oath to follow the law of God which was given through Moses, the servant of God, and to observe carefully all the commandments of the LORD, our LORD, his ordinances and his statutes.

31

Agreed, that we will not marry our daughters to the peoples of the land, and that we will not take their daughters for our sons.

32

When the peoples of the land bring in merchandise or any kind of grain for sale on the sabbath day, we will not buy from them on the sabbath or on any other holiday. We will forgo the seventh year, as well as every kind of debt.

33

We impose these commandments on ourselves: to give a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of our God,

34

for the showbread, for the daily cereal offering, for the daily holocaust, for the sabbaths, new moons, and festivals, for the holy offerings, for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for every service of the house of our God.

35

We, priests, Levites, and people, have determined by lot concerning the procurement of wood: it is to be brought to the house of our God by each of our family houses at stated times each year, to be burnt on the altar of the LORD, our God, as the law prescribes.

36

We have agreed to bring each year to the house of the LORD the first fruits of our fields and of our fruit trees, of whatever kind;

37

also, as is prescribed in the law, to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who serve in the house of our God, the first-born of our children and our animals, including the first-born of our flocks and herds.

38

The first batch of our dough, and our offerings of the fruit of every tree, of wine and of oil, we will bring to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God. The tithe of our fields we will bring to the Levites; they, the Levites, shall take the tithe in all the cities of our service.

39

An Aaronite priest shall be with the Levites when they take the tithe, and the Levites shall bring the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the treasury.

40

For to these chambers the Israelites and Levites bring the offerings of grain, wine, and oil; there also are housed the utensils of the sanctuary, and the ministering priests, the gatekeepers, and the singers. We will not neglect the house of our God.

1 [1-39] This section belongs to the Nehemiah narrative rather than to that of Ezra. It is best read after  Nehemiah 13:31. In view of all this: considering the situation described in  Nehemiah 13:4-31.

Index

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

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 9

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

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

Nehemiah

Chapter 9

1

1 On the twenty-fourth day of this month, the Israelites gathered together fasting and in sackcloth, their heads covered with dust.

2

Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all who were of foreign extraction, then stood forward and confessed their sins and the guilty deeds of their fathers.

3

When they had taken their places, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God, for a fourth part of the day, and during another fourth part they made their confession and prostrated themselves before the LORD their God.

4

Standing on the platform of the Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, who cried out to the LORD their God, with a loud voice.

5

The Levites Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said, “Arise, bless the LORD, your God, from eternity to eternity!” The Israelites answered with the blessing, “Blessed is your glorious name, and exalted above all blessing and praise.”

6

2 Then Ezra said: “It is you, O LORD, you are the only one; you made the heavens, the highest heavens and all their host, the earth and all that is upon it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the heavenly hosts bow down before you.

7

“You, O LORD, are the God who chose Abram, who brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees, and named him Abraham.

8

When you had found his heart faithful in your sight, you made the covenant with him to give to him and his posterity the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. These promises of yours you fulfilled, for you are just.

9

“You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, you heard their cry by the Red Sea;

10

You worked signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his servants and the people of his land, Because you knew of their insolence toward them; thus you made for yourself a name even to this day.

11

The sea you divided before them, on dry ground they passed through the midst of the sea; Their pursuers you hurled into the depths, like a stone into the mighty waters.

12

With a column of cloud you led them by day, and by night with a column of fire, To light the way of their journey, the way in which they must travel.

13

On Mount Sinai you came down, you spoke with them from heaven; You gave them just ordinances, firm laws, good statutes, and commandments;

14

Your holy sabbath you made known to them, commandments, statutes, and law you prescribed for them, by the hand of Moses your servant.

15

Food from heaven you gave them in their hunger, water from a rock you sent them in their thirst. You bade them enter and occupy the land which you had sworn with upraised hand to give them.

16

“But they, our fathers, proved to be insolent; they held their necks stiff and would not obey your commandments.

17

They refused to obey and no longer remembered the miracles you had worked for them. They stiffened their necks and turned their heads to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God of pardons, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in mercy; you did not forsake them.

18

Though they made for themselves a molten calf, and proclaimed, ‘Here is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and were guilty of great effronteries,

19

yet in your great mercy you did not forsake them in the desert. The column of cloud did not cease to lead them by day on their journey, nor did the column of fire by night cease to light for them the way by which they were to travel.

20

“Your good spirit you bestowed on them, to give them understanding; your manna you did not withhold from their mouths, and you gave them water in their thirst.

21

Forty years in the desert you sustained them: they did not want; their garments did not become worn, and their feet did not become swollen.

22

You gave them kingdoms and peoples, which you divided up among them as border lands. They possessed the land of Sihon, king of Heshbon, and the land of Og, king of Bashan.

23

“You made their children as numerous as the stars of the heavens, and you brought them into the land which you had commanded their fathers to enter and possess.

24

The sons went in to take possession of the land, and you humbled before them the Canaanite inhabitants of the land and delivered them over into their power, their kings as well as the peoples of the land, to do with them as they would.

25

They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all good things, cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. They could eat and have their fill, fatten and feast themselves on your immense good gifts.

26

“But they were contemptuous and rebellious: they cast your law behind their backs, they slew your prophets who bore witness against them in order to bring them back to you, and they were guilty of great effronteries.

27

Therefore you delivered them into the power of their enemies, who oppressed them. But in the time of their oppression they would cry out to you, and you would hear them from heaven, and according to your great mercy give them saviors to deliver them from the power of their enemies.

28

“As soon as they had relief, they would go back to doing evil in your sight. Then again you abandoned them to the power of their enemies, who crushed them. Then they cried out to you, and you heard them from heaven and delivered them according to your mercy, many times over.

29

You bore witness against them, in order to bring them back to your law. But they were insolent and would not obey your commandments; they sinned against your ordinances, from which men draw life when they practice them. They turned stubborn backs, stiffened their necks, and would not obey.

30

You were patient with them for many years, bearing witness against them through your spirit, by means of your prophets; still they would not listen. Thus you delivered them over into the power of the peoples of the lands.

31

Yet in your great mercy you did not completely destroy them and you did not forsake them, for you are a kind and merciful God.

32

“Now, therefore, O our God, great, mighty, and awesome God, you who in your mercy preserve the covenant, take into account all the disasters that have befallen us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and your entire people, from the time of the kings of Assyria until this day!

33

In all that has come upon us you have been just, for you kept faith while we have done evil.

34

Yes, our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law; they paid no attention to your commandments and the obligations of which you reminded them.

35

While they were yet in their kingdom, in the midst of the many good things that you had given them and in the wide and fertile land that you had spread out before them, they did not serve you nor did they turn away from their evil deeds.

36

But, see, we today are slaves; and as for the land which you gave our fathers that they might eat its fruits and good things – see, we have become slaves upon it!

37

Its rich produce goes to the kings whom you set over us because of our sins, who rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress!”

1 [1-5] This is a continuation of the account concerning the problem of mixed marriages at the time of Ezra; it should be read immediately after  Ezra 10:44.

2 [6-37] The prayer of Ezra which began in  Ezra 9:6-7 is here continued; see note on  Ezra 9:7.

Index

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

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.