Book of Tobit

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Be not greedy to add money to money: but let it be as refuse in respect of our child.
Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness.
What you hate, do not do to anyone.

The Book of Tobit, also known as the Book of Tobias, is a 3rd or early 2nd century BC work describing how God tests the faithful, responds to prayers, and protects the covenant community (i.e., the Israelites). It tells the story of two Israelite families, that of the blind Tobit in Nineveh and of the abandoned Sarah in Ecbatana. Tobit's son Tobias is sent to retrieve ten silver talents that Tobit once left in Rages, a town in Media; guided and aided by the angel Raphael he arrives in Ecbatana, where he meets Sarah. after which they return to Nineveh, where Tobit is cured of his blindness.

The book is included in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox canons and the Dead Sea Scrolls, but not in the Jewish Masoretic text; while Protestant tradition places it in the Apocrypha, with Anabaptists, Lutherans, Anglicans and Methodists recognising it as useful for purposes of edification and liturgy, albeit non-canonical in status.



Chapter 4

  • Those who act in accordance with truth will prosper.
  • Give alms from your possessions, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it. Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor, and the face of God will not be turned away from you.
  • If you have many possessions, make your gift from them in proportion; if few, do not be afraid to give according to the little you have. So you will be maying up a good trasure for yourself against the day of necessity.
  • Almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness. Indeed, almsgiving, for all who practice it, is an excellent offering in the presence of the Most High!
    • Tobit (NRSV), 4:10-11
  • Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life, but those who commit sin and do wrong are their own worst enemies.
    • Tobit (NRSV), 12:8-10
  • What you hate, do not do to anyone.
  • Give some of your food to the hungry, and some of your clothing to the naked. Give all your surplus as alms, and do not let your eye begrudge your giving of alms. Place your bread on the grave of the righteous, but give none to sinners. Seek advice from every wise person and do not despise any useful counsel.
    • Tobit (NRSV), 4:16-18

Chapter 5

  • Be not greedy to add money to money: but let it be as refuse in respect of our child.

Quotes about Tobit

  • The young Tobias wanted to marry Sarah the daughter of Raguel and Edna. But a sad fatality hung over this young girl. She had been given to seven husbands, all of whom had perished in the bride-chamber. With a view to my plan this feature is a blemish in the narrative, for almost irresistably a comic effect is produced by the thought of seven fruitless attempts to get married notwithstanding she was very near to it just as near as a student who seven times failed to get his diploma.
  • Put a man in Sarah’s place, let him know that in case he were to love a girl a spirit of hell would come and murder his loved one -- it might well be possible that he would choose the demoniacal part, that he would shut himself up within himself and say in the way a demoniacal nature talks in secret, "Many thanks, I am no friend of courteous and prolix phrases, I do not absolutely need the pleasure of love, I can become a Blue Beard, finding my delight in seeing maidens perish during the night of their nuptials.
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