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Tobit 4-6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

III. Preparation for the Journey

Chapter 4

A Father’s Instruction. That same day Tobit remembered the money he had deposited in trust with Gabael at Rages in Media. He thought to himself, “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?” So he called his son Tobiah; and when he came, he said to him:[a] “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. Remember, son, how she went through many dangers for you while you were in her womb. When she dies, bury her in the same grave with me.

“Through all your days, son, keep the Lord in mind, and do not seek to sin or to transgress the commandments. Perform righteous deeds all the days of your life, and do not tread the paths of wickedness. For those who act with fidelity, all who practice righteousness, will prosper in their affairs.[b]

“Give alms from your possessions. Do not turn your face away from any of the poor, so that God’s face will not be turned away from you. Give in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, do not be afraid to give alms even of that little. You will be storing up a goodly treasure for yourself against the day of adversity. 10 For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps one from entering into Darkness. 11 Almsgiving is a worthy offering in the sight of the Most High for all who practice it.

12 “Be on your guard, son, against every kind of fornication, and above all, marry a woman of your own ancestral family. Do not marry a foreign woman, one who is not of your father’s tribe, because we are descendants of the prophets, who were the first to speak the truth. Noah prophesied first, then Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our ancestors from the beginning of time. Son, remember that all of them took wives from among their own kindred and were blessed in their children, and that their posterity would inherit the land. 13 Therefore, son, love your kindred. Do not act arrogantly toward any of them, the sons and daughters of your people, by refusing to take a wife for yourself from among them. For in arrogance there is ruin and great instability. In idleness there is loss and dire poverty, for idleness is the mother of famine.

14 “Do not keep with you overnight the wages of those who have worked for you, but pay them at once. If you serve God thus, you will receive your reward. Be on your guard, son, in everything you do; be wise in all that you say and discipline yourself in all your conduct. 15 Do to no one what you yourself hate. Do not drink wine till you become drunk or let drunkenness accompany you on your way.

16 “Give to the hungry some of your food, and to the naked some of your clothing. Whatever you have left over, give away as alms; and do not let your eye begrudge the alms that you give. 17 Pour out your wine and your bread on the grave of the righteous, but do not share them with sinners.[c]

18 “Seek counsel from every wise person, and do not think lightly of any useful advice. 19 At all times bless the Lord, your God, and ask him that all your paths may be straight and all your endeavors and plans may prosper. For no other nation possesses good counsel, but it is the Lord who gives all good things. Whomever the Lord chooses to raise is raised; and whomever the Lord chooses to cast down is cast down to the recesses of Hades. So now, son, keep in mind these my commandments, and never let them be erased from your heart.

20 “Now, I must tell you, son, that I have deposited in trust ten talents of silver with Gabael, the son of Gabri, at Rages in Media. 21 Do not fear, son, that we have lived in poverty. You will have great wealth, if you fear God, avoid all sin, and do what is good before the Lord your God.”

Chapter 5

The Angel Raphael. Then Tobiah replied to his father Tobit: “Everything that you have commanded me, father, I shall do. But how will I be able to get that money from him, since he does not know me, and I do not know him? What sign can I give him so that he will recognize and trust me, and give me the money? I do not even know the roads to Media, in order to go there.” Tobit answered his son Tobiah: “He gave me his bond,[d] and I gave him mine; I divided his into two parts, and each of us took one part; I put one part with the money. It is twenty years since I deposited that money! So, son, find yourself a trustworthy person who will make the journey with you, and we will give him wages when you return; but bring back that money from Gabael while I am still alive.”

Tobiah went out to look for someone who would travel with him to Media, someone who knew the way. He went out and found the angel Raphael standing before him (though he did not know[e] that this was an angel of God). Tobiah said to him, “Where do you come from, young man?” He replied, “I am an Israelite, one of your kindred. I have come here to work.” Tobiah said to him, “Do you know the way to Media?” “Yes,” he replied, “I have been there many times. I know the place well and am acquainted with 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’ journey from Ecbatana to Rages,[f] for Rages is situated in the mountains, but Ecbatana is in the middle of the plain.” Tobiah said to him, “Wait for me, young man, till I go in and tell my father; for I need you to make the journey with me. I will pay you your wages.” He replied, “Very well, I will wait; but do not be long.”

Tobiah went in and informed his father Tobit: “I have found someone of our own Israelite kindred who will go with me!” Tobit said, “Call the man in, so that I may find out from what family and tribe he comes, and whether he is trustworthy enough to travel with you, son.”

10 Tobiah went out to summon him, saying, “Young man, my father is calling for you.” When Raphael entered the house, Tobit greeted him first. He replied, “Joyful greetings to you!” Tobit answered, “What joy is left for me? Here I am, a blind man who cannot see the light of heaven, but must remain in darkness, like the dead who no longer see the light! Though alive, I am among the dead. I can hear people’s voices, but I do not see them.” The young man said, “Take courage! God’s healing is near; 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 pay you your wages, brother.” He answered: “Yes, I will go with him, and I know all the routes. I have often traveled to Media and crossed all its plains so I know well the mountains and all its roads.” 11 Tobit asked him, “Brother, tell me, please, from what family and tribe are you?” 12 He replied, “Why? What need do you have for a tribe? Aren’t you looking for a hired man?” Tobit replied, “I only want to know, brother, whose son you truly are and what your name is.”

13 He answered, “I am Azariah,[g] son of the great Hananiah, one of your own kindred.” 14 Tobit exclaimed: “Welcome! God save you, brother! Do not be provoked with me, brother, for wanting to learn the truth about your family. It turns out that you are a kinsman, from a noble and good line! I knew Hananiah and Nathan, the two sons of the great Shemeliah. They used to go to Jerusalem with me, where we would worship together. They were not led astray; your kindred are good people. You are certainly of good lineage. So welcome!”

15 Then he added: “For each day I will give you a drachma as wages,[h] as well as expenses for you and for my son. So go with my son, and 16 I will even add a bonus to your wages!” The young man replied: “I will go with him. Do not fear. In good health we will leave you, and in good health we will return to you, for the way is safe.” 17 Tobit said, “Blessing be upon you, brother.” Then he called his son and said to him: “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; may his angel accompany you for your safety, son.”

Tobiah left to set out on his journey, and he kissed his father and mother. Tobit said to him, “Have a safe journey.” 18 But his mother began to weep and she said to Tobit: “Why have you sent my child away? Is he not the staff of our hands, as he goes in and out before us? 19 Do not heap money upon money! Rather relinquish it in exchange for our child! 20 What the Lord has given us to live on is certainly enough for us.” 21 Tobit reassured her: “Do not worry! 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. So, do not worry; do not fear for them, my sister.[i] 22 For a good angel[j] will go with him, his journey will be successful, and he will return in good health.” Then she stopped weeping.

IV. Tobiah’s Journey to Media

Chapter 6

On the Way to Rages. When the young man left home, accompanied by the angel, the dog followed Tobiah out and went along with them. Both journeyed along, and when the first night came, they camped beside the Tigris River.[k] When the young man went down to wash his feet in the Tigris River, a large fish leaped out of the water and tried to swallow his foot. He shouted in alarm. But the angel said to the young man, “Grab the fish and hold on to it!” He seized the fish and hauled it up on dry land. The angel then told him: “Slit the fish open and take out its gall, heart, and liver, and keep them with you; but throw away the other entrails. Its gall, heart, and liver are useful for medicine.”[l] After Tobiah had slit the fish open, he put aside the gall, heart, and liver. Then he roasted and ate part of the fish; the rest he salted and kept for the journey.

Raphael’s Instructions. Afterward the two of them traveled on together till they drew near to Media. Then the young man asked the angel this question: “Brother Azariah, what medicine is in the fish’s heart, liver, and gall?” He answered: “As for the fish’s heart and liver, if you burn them to make smoke in the presence of a man or a woman who is afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, any affliction will flee and never return. As for the gall, if you apply it to the eyes of one who has white scales, blowing right into them, sight will be restored.”

10 When they had entered Media and were getting close to Ecbatana, 11 Raphael said to the young man, “Brother Tobiah!” He answered, “Here I am!” Raphael continued, “Tonight we must stay in the house of Raguel, who is a relative of yours. He has a beautiful daughter named Sarah, 12 but no other son or daughter apart from Sarah. Since you are Sarah’s closest relative, you more than any other have the right to marry her. Moreover, her father’s estate is rightfully yours to inherit. The girl is wise, courageous, and very beautiful; and her father is a good man who loves her dearly.” 13 He continued: “You have the right to marry her. So listen to me, brother. Tonight I will speak to her father about the girl so that we may take her as your bride. When we return from Rages, we will have the wedding feast for her. I know that Raguel cannot keep her from you or promise her to another man; he would incur the death penalty as decreed in the Book of Moses.[m] For he knows that you, more than anyone else, have the right to marry his daughter. Now listen to me, brother; we will speak about this girl tonight, so that we may arrange her engagement to you. Then when we return from Rages, we will take her and bring her back with us to your house.”

14 But Tobiah said to Raphael in reply, “Brother Azariah, I have heard that she has already been given in marriage to seven husbands, and that they have died in the bridal chamber. On the very night they approached her, they would die. I have also heard it said that it was a demon that killed them. 15 So now I too am afraid of this demon, because it is in love with her and does not harm her; but it kills any man who wishes to come close to her. I am my father’s only child. If I should die, I would bring the life of my father and mother down to their grave in sorrow over me; they have no other son to bury them!”

16 Raphael said to him: “Do you not remember your father’s commands? He ordered you to marry a woman from your own ancestral family. Now listen to me, brother; do not worry about that demon. Take Sarah. I know that tonight she will be given to you as your wife! 17 When you go into the bridal chamber, take some of the fish’s liver and the heart, and place them on the embers intended for incense, and an odor will be given off. 18 As soon as the demon smells the odor, it will flee and never again show itself near her. Then when you are about to have intercourse with her, both of you must first get up to pray.[n] Beg the Lord of heaven that mercy and protection be granted you. 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 assume that you will have children by her, and they will be like brothers for you. So do not worry.”

When Tobiah heard Raphael’s words that she was his kinswoman, and of the lineage of his ancestral house, he loved her deeply, and his heart was truly set on her.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:3–19 A collection of maxims that parallel those in the wisdom literature, especially Proverbs and Sirach (see Introduction): duties toward parents (vv. 3–4; cf. also 14:13); perseverance in virtue and avoidance of evil (vv. 5–6, 14b); necessity and value of almsgiving and charity (vv. 7–11, 16–17); marriage within the clan (vv. 12–13a); industry (v. 13b); prompt payment of wages (v. 14a); the golden rule (v. 15a); temperance (v. 15b); docility (v. 18); prayer (v. 19).
  2. 4:6 It was commonly thought in the Old Testament that virtue guaranteed earthly prosperity, and sin earthly disaster (Prv 10:2; cf. Dt 28).
  3. 4:17 Tobit counsels his son to give alms in honor of the dead or, more probably, to give the “bread of consolation” to the family of the deceased. Cf. Jer 16:7; Ez 24:17.
  4. 5:3 Bond: a document called 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 was derived from the present verse of Tobit. Duplicate documents, usually one part open and the other sealed, are well known from the ancient Near East.
  5. 5:4 He did not know: the theme of an angel in disguise occurs frequently in folklore as well as in the Old Testament (Gn 18; cf. Hb 13:2).
  6. 5:6 It is a good two days’ journey from Ecbatana to Rages: Alexander’s army took eleven days in forced marches to cover this distance, about 180 miles. (See notes on 1:15; 3:7 and Introduction.)
  7. 5:13–14 Azariah, “Yhwh has helped”; Hananiah, “Yhwh has shown mercy”; Nathan is a shortened form of Nathaniah, “Yhwh has given”; Shemeliah may be a Greek corruption of the Hebrew name, Shemaiah, “Yhwh has heard.”
  8. 5:15 A drachma as wages: the normal wages, about seventeen cents, a day’s wage for a laborer.
  9. 5:21 My sister: “sister” was a term of endearment used in antiquity even for one’s wife; similarly “brother” for one’s husband. Cf. 7:11, 15; 8:4, 21; 10:6, 13; Sg 4:9–10, 12; 5:1–2.
  10. 5:22 A good angel: a reference to a guardian angel, though Tobit does not know, of course, that Raphael himself, disguised as Azariah, is the good angel in this case.
  11. 6:2 Tigris River: this river is actually west of Nineveh, so they would not have come to it on their way to Media. See note on 1:15 and the Introduction.
  12. 6:5 Its gall…medicine: belief in the healing power of these organs was common among the physicians of antiquity.
  13. 6:13 Raguel…Book of Moses: Nm 36:6–8 prescribed marriage within the ancestral tribe for daughters who had no brothers who might inherit the ancestral property, but no death penalty is mentioned.
  14. 6:18 Get up to pray: prayer, combined with ritual action, drives out the demon.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Proverbs 29:1-13 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 29

Those stiff-necked in the face of reproof
    in an instant will be shattered beyond cure.[a]
When the just flourish, the people rejoice;
    but when the wicked rule, the people groan.[b]
Whoever loves wisdom gives joy to his father,
    but whoever consorts with harlots squanders his wealth.
By justice a king builds up the land;
    but one who raises taxes tears it down.[c]
Those who speak flattery to their neighbor
    cast a net at their feet.[d]
The sin of the wicked is a trap,
    but the just run along joyfully.
The just care for the cause of the poor;
    the wicked do not understand such care.[e]
Scoffers enflame the city,
    but the wise calm the fury.
If a wise person disputes with a fool,
    there is railing and ridicule but no resolution.
10 The bloodthirsty hate the blameless,
    but the upright seek his life.[f]
11 Fools give vent to all their anger;
    but the wise, biding their time, control it.
12 If rulers listen to lying words,
    their servants all become wicked.
13 The poor and the oppressor meet:
    the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.

Footnotes:

  1. 29:1 The idiom “to stiffen one’s neck” occurs in a context of not heeding a message in Dt 10:16 and 2 Kgs 17:14. To stiffen one’s neck in this sense risks having it broken, as in 1 Sm 4:18.
  2. 29:2 Popular response to a just or unjust ruler is expressed in sound—shouts of joy or groans of anguish. “Rejoice” can mean to express one’s joy, i.e., joyous shouts.
  3. 29:4 In Hebrew as in English high and low are metaphors for prosperity and depression. A king who is just “causes the land to stand up,” i.e., to be prosperous, and one who makes taxes high brings a country low.
  4. 29:5 When one addresses deceptive words to someone’s face, one equivalently throws a net at their feet to snare them.
  5. 29:7 As in 12:10 (on care for animals), the righteous care for those who are without a voice and often treated like animals. Colon B has a double meaning: the wicked have no such knowledge (care for the poor) and they have no knowledge (wisdom), for they are fools.
  6. 29:10 An enigmatic saying in that “seek one’s life” is a common idiom for killing. The saying probably plays on the idiom, interpreting “to seek the life of another” not as killing but as caring for another (as in 11:30).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Philippians 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

Concluding Admonitions. Finally, my brothers, rejoice[a] in the Lord. Writing the same things to you is no burden for me but is a safeguard for you.

V. Polemic: Righteousness and the Goal in Christ[b]

Against Legalistic Teachers. [c]Beware of the dogs! Beware of the evil-workers! Beware of the mutilation![d] For we are the circumcision,[e] we who worship through the Spirit of God, who boast in Christ Jesus and do not put our confidence in flesh, although I myself have grounds for confidence even in the flesh.

Paul’s Autobiography. If anyone else thinks he can be confident in flesh, all the more can I. Circumcised on the eighth day,[f] of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage, in observance of the law a Pharisee, in zeal I persecuted the church, in righteousness based on the law I was blameless.

Righteousness from God. [But] whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss[g] because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith 10 to know him and the power of his resurrection and [the] sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Forward in Christ.[h] 12 It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity,[i] but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ [Jesus]. 13 Brothers, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us, then, who are “perfectly mature” adopt this attitude. And if you have a different attitude, this too God will reveal to you. 16 Only, with regard to what we have attained, continue on the same course.[j]

Wrong Conduct and Our Goal.[k] 17 Join with others in being imitators of me,[l] brothers, and observe those who thus conduct themselves according to the model you have in us. 18 For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their “shame.” Their minds are occupied with earthly things. 20 But our citizenship[m] is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1 Finally…rejoice: the adverb often signals the close of a letter; cf. Phil 4:8; 2 Cor 13:11. While the verb could also be translated “good-bye” or “farewell,” although it is never so used in Greek epistolography, the theme of joy has been frequent in the letter (Phil 1:18; 2:2, 18); note also Phil 4:4 and the addition of “always” there as evidence for the meaning “rejoice.” To write the same things may refer to what Paul has previously taught in Philippi or to what he has just written or to what follows.
  2. 3:2–21 An abrupt change in content and tone, either because Paul at this point responds to disturbing news he has just heard about a threat to the faith of the Philippians in the form of false teachers, or because part of another Pauline letter was inserted here; see Introduction. The chapter describes these teachers in strong terms as dogs. The persons meant are evidently different from the rival preachers of Phil 1:14–18 and the opponents of Phil 1:28. Since Phil 3:2–4 emphasize Jewish terms like circumcision (Phil 3:2–3, 5), some relate them to the “Judaizers” of the Letter to the Galatians. Other phrases make them appear more like the false teachers of 2 Cor 11:12–15, the evil-workers. The latter part of the chapter depicts the many who are enemies of Christ’s cross in terms that may sound more Gentile or even “gnostic” than Jewish (Phil 3:18–19). Accordingly, some see two groups of false teachers in Phil 3, others one group characterized by a claim of having attained “perfect maturity” (Phil 3:12–15).
  3. 3:2–11 Paul sets forth the Christian claim, especially using personal, autobiographical terms that are appropriate to the situation. He presents his own experience in coming to know Christ Jesus in terms of righteousness or justification (cf. Rom 1:16–17; 3:21–5:11; Gal 2:5–11), contrasting the righteousness from God through faith and that of one’s own based on the law as two exclusive ways of pleasing God.
  4. 3:2 Beware of the mutilation: literally, “incision,” an ironic wordplay on “circumcision”; cf. Gal 5:12. There may be an association with the self-inflicted mutilations of the prophets of Baal (1 Kgs 18:28) and of devotees of Cybele who slashed themselves in religious frenzy.
  5. 3:3 We are the circumcision: the true people of God, seed and offspring of Abraham (Gal 3:7, 29; 6:15). Spirit of God: some manuscripts read “worship God by the Spirit.”
  6. 3:5 Circumcised on the eighth day: as the law required (Gn 17:12; Lv 12:3).
  7. 3:7 Loss: his knowledge of Christ led Paul to reassess the ways of truly pleasing and serving God. His reevaluation indicates the profound and lasting effect of his experience of the meaning of Christ on the way to Damascus some twenty years before (Gal 1:15–16; Acts 9:1–22).
  8. 3:12–16 To be taken possession of by Christ does not mean that one has already arrived at perfect spiritual maturity. Paul and the Philippians instead press on, trusting in God.
  9. 3:12 Attained perfect maturity: possibly an echo of the concept in the mystery religions of being an initiate, admitted to divine secrets.
  10. 3:16 Some manuscripts add, probably to explain Paul’s cryptic phrase, “thinking alike.”
  11. 3:17–21 Paul and those who live a life centered in Christ, envisaging both his suffering and resurrection, provide a model that is the opposite of opponents who reject Christ’s cross (cf. 1 Cor 1:23).
  12. 3:17 Being imitators of me: not arrogance, but humble simplicity, since all his converts know that Paul is wholly dedicated to imitating Christ (1 Cor 11:1; cf. also Phil 4:9; 1 Thes 1:6; 2 Thes 3:7, 9; 1 Cor 4:6).
  13. 3:20 Citizenship: Christians constitute a colony of heaven, as Philippi was a colonia of Rome (Acts 16:12). The hope Paul expresses involves the final coming of Christ, not a status already attained, such as the opponents claim.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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