31I was so embarrassed and ashamed that I sighed and began to cry. Then, as I choked back my tears, I prayed:
2“You are righteous, O Lord!
You are merciful3.2 merciful; some manuscripts add and just. in all you do,
faithful in all your ways.
You are the judge of this world.3.2 You are the judge of this world; some manuscripts have You are always fair and just when you judge.
3-4I beg you, treat me with kindness.
Do not punish me for my sins,
not even for sins of which I am unaware.
My ancestors rebelled and disobeyed3.3–4 My ancestors… disobeyed; some manuscripts have I disobeyed. your commands,
but do not punish me for their sins.
You let our people be plundered,
taken captive and killed.
You made an example of our people,
an object of contempt and disgrace
in all the nations where you scattered us.
5You have often judged my ancestors for their sins
and punished me for mine.
We were disloyal and rejected your commands,
so our punishment has always been just.
6“Now treat me as you please.
Take my life away and free me from this world;
let my body return to the earth.
I would be better off dead.
I am tormented by insults I don't deserve,
and weighed down with despair.
Lord, give the command —
bring all my troubles to an end,
take me to my eternal rest.
Don't reject my prayer.
I would rather die than live in misery
and face such cruel insults.”
7That same day in the city of Ecbatana in Media, it happened that Sarah, the daughter of a man named Raguel, was insulted by one of her father's servant women. 8Sarah had been married seven times, but the evil demon, Asmodeus, killed each husband before the marriage could be consummated. The servant woman said to Sarah, “You husband-killer! Look at you! You've already had seven husbands, but not one of them lived long enough to give you a son.3.8 but… son; some manuscripts have but it hasn't done you a bit of good. 9Why should you take it out on us? Why don't you go and join your dead husbands? I hope we never see a child of yours!”
10Sarah was so depressed that she burst into tears and went upstairs determined to hang herself. But when she thought it over, she said to herself, “No, I won't do it! People would insult my father and say, ‘You had only one child, a daughter whom you loved dearly, but she hanged herself because she felt so miserable.’ Such grief would bring my grey-haired father to his grave, and I would be responsible. I won't kill myself; I'll just beg the Lord to let me die. Then I won't have to listen to those insults any longer!”
11Then Sarah stood by the window, raised her arms in prayer, and said:
“God of mercy, worthy of our praise,
may your name always be honoured,
may all your creation praise you for ever.
12“Lord, I look to you for help.
13Speak the word and set me free from this life;
then I will no longer have to hear these insults.
14You know, O Lord, that I'm still a virgin;
I have never been defiled by a man.
15Never have I disgraced myself or my father's name,
as long as we have lived in this land of exile.
My father has no other child to be his heir,
and there is no relative3.15 relative: In Israel it was customary to marry within one's own tribe. whom I can marry.
I have already lost seven husbands,
so why should I live any longer?
But if it is not your will to take my life,
at least show mercy to me.
Don't let me hear those insults again!”3.15 at least… again; some manuscripts have at least listen to my complaint.
16As Tobit and Sarah were praying, God in heaven heard their prayers 17
and sent his angel Raphael to help them. He was sent to remove the white film from Tobit's eyes, so that he could see again, and to arrange a marriage between Sarah and Tobit's son Tobias, who, as her cousin, had the right to marry her. Raphael was also ordered to expel the demon Asmodeus from Sarah. At the very moment that Tobit went back into his house from the courtyard, Sarah, in her house in Ecbatana, was coming downstairs.
41That same day, Tobit remembered the money that he had left with Gabael at Rages in Media. 2He thought to himself, “Now that I have asked God to let me die, I should call my son Tobias and tell him about the money.”
3-4So Tobit called Tobias and said to him, “My son, when I die, give me a proper burial. And after I'm gone, show respect to your mother. Take care of her for the rest of her life, and when she dies, bury her beside me. Remember, she risked her life to bring you into this world, so try to make her happy and never do anything that would worry her.
5“Every day of your life, keep the Lord our God in mind. Never sin deliberately or disobey any of his commands. Always do what is right and never get involved in anything evil. 6Be honest, and you will succeed in whatever you do.
“Give generously to anyone who faithfully obeys God.4.7 The translation of verses 7b–19b, accidentally omitted in the Greek manuscript that this translation normally follows, is based on other Greek manuscripts. If you are stingy in giving to the poor, God will be stingy in giving to you. 8Give according to what you have. The more you have, the more you should give. Even if you have only a little, be sure to give something. 9This is as good as money saved. You will have your reward in a time of trouble. 10-11Taking care of the poor is the kind of offering that pleases God in heaven. Do this, and you will be kept safe from the dark world of the dead.
12“My son, be on your guard against prostitutes. Above all, marry a woman of our tribe, because we are descendants of the prophets. Do not marry anyone who is not related to us. Remember that Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our earliest ancestors, all married relatives. God blessed them with children, and so their descendants will inherit the land of Israel. 13Be loyal to your own relatives, my son. Don't be too proud to marry one of them. Such pride leads to terrible frustration and ruin, just as laziness brings on severe poverty and causes starvation.
14“Pay your workers each day; never keep back their wages overnight. Honour God in this way, and he will reward you. Behave properly at all times. 15
Never do to anyone else anything that you would not want someone to do to you.
“Do not drink so much wine that you get drunk, and do not let drinking become a habit.
16“Give food to the hungry and clothes to people in need. If you are prosperous, give generously, and do it gladly!
“When one of God's faithful people has died, prepare food for the family,4.17 prepare… family; or put food on his grave. but never do this when sinners die.
18“Take the advice of sensible people, and never treat any useful advice lightly.
19“Take advantage of every opportunity to praise the Lord your God. Ask him to make you prosper in whatever you set out to do. He does not give his wisdom to the people of any other nation. He is the source of all good things, but he can also destroy you and bring you to certain death, if he wishes.
“Remember all my instructions. Don't forget them for one minute.
20“Tobias, I want you to know that I once left a large sum of money with Gabrias' son, Gabael, at Rages in Media. 21
We're poor now, but don't worry. If you obey God and avoid sin, he will be pleased with you and make you prosperous.”
51Then Tobias answered his father, “I'll do everything you told me. 2But how can I get the money back from Gabael? We have never even met each other. How can I prove to him who I am, so that he will trust me and give me the money? Besides that, I don't know how to get to Media.”
3Tobit replied, “Gabael and I both signed a document. I then tore it in two, and we each took a half. I put his half with the money. That was twenty years ago! Now, go and find a reliable person to travel with you to Media and back, and we will pay him when you return. But you must get the money that I left with Gabael.”
Tobias then went out to look for someone who knew the way to Media and would travel with him. Almost as soon as he left the house, he found himself face to face with Raphael. Tobias did not know that Raphael was an angel of God, 5so he asked him where he was from.
“I am an Israelite,” Raphael answered, “one of your distant relatives, and I have come here to Nineveh to find work.”
“Do you know the way to Media?” Tobias asked.
6“Yes, I do,” Raphael replied. “I have been there many times, and I know all the roads well. I used to stay with our relative Gabael, who lives there in the town of Rages.5.6 Rages; Greek Ecbatana. It takes at least two days to travel there from Ecbatana, the capital city, because Rages is up in the mountains.”
7Then Tobias said to Raphael, “Wait here for me, my friend, while I go in and tell my father. I would like you to travel with me, and I will pay you for the journey.”
8“All right,” Raphael said, “I'll wait, but don't take too long.”
9Tobias went in and told his father, “I have found a fellow-Israelite to travel with me.”
“Call the man in,” Tobit replied. “I would like to know what family and tribe he belongs to, and whether he is a reliable travelling companion for you.”
So Tobias went out and called to Raphael, “My father would like to meet you.” When Raphael came in, Tobit greeted him first.
Then Raphael returned the greeting, “I hope all is well with you.”
But Tobit replied, “How can all be well with me? I'm blind and can't see a thing. It's like being dead and no longer able to see the light. I might as well be dead! I can hear people talking, but I can't see them.”
“Cheer up!” Raphael said to him. “God is going to cure you soon, so don't worry!”
Tobit then said, “My son Tobias wants to go to Media. Can you go with him and show him the way? I will pay you, of course.”
Raphael replied, “Certainly I can go with him. I have travelled there many times and I know all the roads in the mountains and on the plains.”
10Tobit questioned him further, “Tell me, my friend, what family and tribe do you belong to?”
11But Raphael asked, “Why do you need to know that?”
“Tell me the truth,” said Tobit. “What is your name, and who are you?”
12Raphael replied, “My name is Azarias, and I am the son of the older Ananias, one of your relatives.”
13Then Tobit said to him, “Welcome to our home! God bless you, my son. Please don't be offended because I wanted to know the truth about you and your family. As it turns out, you are from a good family and a relative at that! I knew Ananias and Nathan, the two sons of the older Shemaiah. They were always loyal to their religion. We used to travel together to Jerusalem and worship there. Your relatives are fine people, and you come from good stock. Have a safe journey.”
14Tobit continued, “I will pay the normal daily wage plus expenses for both of you. 15Be a good companion to Tobias, and I will add a bonus to your wages.”
“I will go with him,” Raphael said. “And don't worry; we will get there and back safely. The roads are not dangerous.”
“God be with you!” Tobit replied. Then he called Tobias and said to him, “My son, get everything ready that you need for the journey, so that the two of you can be on your way. May God and his angel watch over you both and bring you back to me safe and sound.”
Before leaving for Media, Tobias kissed his father and mother goodbye. Tobit said again, “Have a safe journey!”
17Then his mother began to cry. “How could you send my son away like this?” she complained. “He's our only means of support. Who will take care of us now? 18Is that money so important to you that you are willing to risk your own son's life to get it back? 19Why can't we be content to live on what the Lord has given us?”
20“Calm down,” Tobit said to her. “He will get there and back safely, and with your own eyes you will see him return home safe and sound. 21Now stop worrying about them, dear. A good angel will go with Tobias. He will have a successful journey and will come back in good health.” At that, Anna calmed down and stopped crying.