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The book of the acts[a] of Tobit the son of To′biel, son of Anan′iel, son of Ad′uel, son of Gab′ael, of the descendants of As′iel and the tribe of Naph′tali, who in the days of Shalmane′ser,[b] king of the Assyrians, was taken into captivity from Thisbe, which is to the south of Kedesh Naph′tali in Galilee above Asher.

Tobit’s Youth and Virtuous Life

I, Tobit, walked in the ways of truth and righteousness all the days of my life, and I performed many acts of charity to my brethren and countrymen who went with me into the land of the Assyrians, to Nin′eveh. Now when I was in my own country, in the land of Israel, while I was still a young man, the whole tribe of Naph′tali my forefather deserted the house of Jerusalem. This was the place which had been chosen from among all the tribes of Israel, where all the tribes should sacrifice and where the temple of the dwelling of the Most High was consecrated and established for all generations for ever.

All the tribes that joined in apostasy used to sacrifice to the calf[c] Ba′al, and so did the house of Naph′tali my forefather. But I alone went often to Jerusalem for the feasts, as it is ordained for all Israel by an everlasting decree. Taking the first fruits and the tithes of my produce and the first shearings, I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, at the altar. Of all my produce I would give a tenth to the sons of Levi who ministered at Jerusalem; a second tenth I would sell, and I would go and spend the proceeds each year at Jerusalem; the third tenth I would give to those to whom it was my duty, as Deb′orah my father’s mother had commanded me, for I was left an orphan by my father. When I became a man I married Anna, a member of our family, and by her I became the father of Tobi′as.

Taken Captive to Nineveh

10 Now when I was carried away captive to Nin′eveh, all my brethren and my relatives ate the food of the Gentiles; 11 but I kept myself from eating it, 12 because I remembered God with all my heart. 13 Then the Most High gave me favor and good appearance in the sight of Shalmane′ser,[d] and I was his buyer of provisions. 14 So I used to go into Media, and once at Rages in Media I left ten talents of silver in trust with Gab′ael, the brother of Gabri′as. 15 But when Shalmane′ser[e] died, Sennach′erib his son reigned in his place; and under him the highways were unsafe, so that I could no longer go into Media.

Courage in Burying the Dead

16 In the days of Shalmane′ser[f] I performed many acts of charity to my brethren. 17 I would give my bread to the hungry and my clothing to the naked; and if I saw any one of my people dead and thrown out behind the wall of Nin′eveh, I would bury him. 18 And if Sennach′erib the king put to death any who came fleeing from Judea, I buried them secretly. For in his anger he put many to death. When the bodies were sought by the king, they were not found. 19 Then one of the men of Nin′eveh went and informed the king about me, that I was burying them; so I hid myself. When I learned that I was being searched for, to be put to death, I left home in fear. 20 Then all my property was confiscated and nothing was left to me except my wife Anna and my son Tobi′as.

21 But not fifty[g] days passed before two of Sennach′erib’s[h] sons killed him, and they fled to the mountains of Ararat. Then Esarhad′don,[i] his son, reigned in his place; and he appointed Ahi′kar, the son of my brother An′ael, over all the accounts of his kingdom and over the entire administration. 22 Ahi′kar interceded for me, and I returned to Nin′eveh. Now Ahi′kar was cupbearer, keeper of the signet, and in charge of administration of the accounts, for Esarhad′don[j] had appointed him second to himself.[k] He was my nephew.

When I arrived home and my wife Anna and my son Tobi′as were restored to me, at the feast of Pentecost, which is the sacred festival of the seven weeks, a good dinner was prepared for me and I sat down to eat. Upon seeing the abundance of food I said to my son, “Go and bring whatever poor man of our brethren you may find who is mindful of the Lord, and I will wait for you.” But he came back and said, “Father, one of our people has been strangled and thrown into the market place.” So before I tasted anything I sprang up and removed the body[l] to a place of shelter until sunset. And when I returned I washed myself and ate my food in sorrow. Then I remembered the prophecy of Amos, how he said,

“Your feasts shall be turned into mourning,
    and all your festivities into lamentation.”

And I wept.

Footnotes

  1. Tobit 1:1 Gk words
  2. Tobit 1:2 Gk Enemessarus
  3. Tobit 1:5 Other authorities read heifer
  4. Tobit 1:13 Gk Enemessarus
  5. Tobit 1:15 Gk Enemessarus
  6. Tobit 1:16 Gk Enemessarus
  7. Tobit 1:21 Other authorities read fifty-five
  8. Tobit 1:21 Gk his
  9. Tobit 1:21 Gk Sacherdonus
  10. Tobit 1:22 Gk Sacherdonus
  11. Tobit 1:22 Or a second time
  12. Tobit 2:4 Gk him

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