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Hebrew Tales

Tobias & the Angel

Chapter 2

Tobit, despite his great virtue, loses his eyesight.

Chapter Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

[1] Now when I arrived home again, and my wife Anna was restored to me with my son Tobias, at the feast of Pentecost, which is the holy feast of the seven weeks, a good dinner was prepared for me, which I sat down to eat.

[2] And when I saw the abundance of meat, I said to my son, “Go and bring whatsoever poor man you find among our brethren, who is mindful of the Lord, and, see, I will wait for you.”

[3] But he returned and said, “Father, one of our nation was strangled and cast out in the marketplace.” [4] Then, before I had tasted any of the meat, I went out, and took him up into a room until sundown. [5] Then I returned, and washed myself, and ate my meat in sadness, [6] remembering the prophecy of Amos, as he said, “Your feasts shall be turned into mourning and all your mirth into lamentation.” [7] Therefore I wept, and after sundown I went and made a grave and buried him.

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The virtuous Tobias illegally buries the unknown dead (left) but loses his sight to a passing sparrow. (right) (Medieval MS in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek Nederlands)

[8] But my neighbors mocked me and said, “This man is still not afraid to be put to death for this matter; and, see, though he fled away before, he now buries the dead again.”

[9] That same night, I returned from the burial and slept by the wall of my courtyard, because I was polluted. And my face was uncovered, [10] and I didn’t know that there were sparrows in the wall. And, since my eyes were open, the sparrows emitted warm dung into my eyes, and a whiteness fell into my eyes. And I went to the physicians, but they didn’t help me. Moreover, Achiacharus had to nourish me, until I went into Elymais.

[11] And my wife Anna took in women’s work.

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Tobit upbraids Anna because he does not understand the situation.
(Rembrandt, 1606-1669, Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin)

[12] And when she had sent these home again to the owners, they paid her her wages and gave her in addition a young goat. [13] And when it was in my house, and began to call out, I said to her, “Where did this young goat come from? Is it not stolen? Return it to the owners, for it is not lawful to eat anything which is stolen.”

[14] But she replied to me, “It was given as a gift, over and above my wages.” However, I did not believe her, but directed her to return it to the owners, and I was ashamed at her. But she replied to me, “Where are your alms and your righteous deeds? See now, you and all your works are known.”

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Source:

This text has been reproduced from:

The World English Bible, a copyright-free modern English rendering of a 1901 translation that has now passed into the public domain.