Golden Legend – History of Tobit

Article

Here followeth the history of Tobit which is read the third Sunday of September.

Tobit of the tribe and of the city of Nephthali, which is in the overparts of Galilee upon Aser, after the way that leadeth men westward, having on his left side the city of Sepheth, was taken in the days of Salmanazar, King of the Assyrians, and put in captivity, yet he forsook not the way of truth, but all that he had or could get he departed daily with his brethren of his kindred which were prisoners with him. And how be it that he was youngest in all the tribe of Nephthali yet did he nothing childishly. Also when all other went unto the golden calves that Jeroboam, King of Israel had made, this Tobit only fled the fellowship of them all, and went to Jerusalem into the temple of our Lord. And there he adored and worshipped the Lord God of Israel, offering truly his first fruits and tithes in so much that in the third year he ministered unto proselytes and strangers all the tithe. Such things and other like to these he observed whilst he was a child, and when he came to age and was a man he took a wife named Anna, of his tribe, and begat on her a son, naming after his own name Tobias, whom from his childhood he taught to dread God and abstain him from all sin. Then after when he was brought by captivity with his wife and his son into the city of Nineveh with all his tribe, and when all ate of the meats of the Gentiles and Paynims, this Tobit kept his soul clean and was never defouled in the meats of them. And because of remembered our Lord in all his heart, God gave him grace to be in the favour of Salmanazar the king which gave to him power to go where he would. Having liberty to do what he would, he went then to all them in captivity and gave to them warnings of health. When he came on a time in Rages, city of the Jews, he had such gifts as he had been honoured with of the king, ten besants of silver. And when he saw one Gabael being needy which was of his tribe, he lent him the said weight of silver upon his obligation. Long time after this when Salmanazar the king was dead, Sennacherib his son reigned for him, and hated, and loved not, the children of Israel. And Tobit went unto all his kindred and comforted them, and divided to every each of them as he might of his faculties and goods.

He fed the hungry and gave to the naked clothes, and diligently he buried the dead men and them that were slain. After this when Sennacherib returned, fleeing the plague from the Jewry, that God had sent him for his blasphemy, and he, being wroth, slew many of the children of Israel, and Tobit always buried the bodies of them, which was told to the king, which commanded to slay him, and took away all his substance. Tobit then with his wife and his son hid him and fled away all naked, for many loved him well. After this, forty-five days, the sons of the king slew the king, and then returned Tobit unto his house, and all his faculties and goods were restored to him again. After this on a high festival day of our Lord when that Tobit had a good dinner in his house. he said to his son: Go and fetch to us some of our tribe dreading God, that they may come and eat with us. And he went forth and anon he returned telling to his father that one of the children of Israel was slain and lay dead in the street. And anon he leapt out of his house, leaving his meat, and fasting came to the body, took it and bare it in to his house privily, that he might secretly bury it when the sun went down. And when he had hid the corpse, he ate his meat with wailing and dread, remembering that word that our Lord said by Amos the prophet: The day of your feast shall be turned into lamentation and wailing. And when the sun was gone down he went and buried him. All his neighbours reproved and chid him, saying for this cause they were commanded to be slain, and unnethe thou escapedst the commandment of death, and yet thou buriest dead men. But Tobit, more dreading God than the king, took up the bodies of dead men and hid them in his house, and at midnight he buried them. It happed on a day after this that when he was weary of burying dead men, he came home and laid him down by a wall and slept. And from a swallow’s nest above there fell down hot dung of them on his eyes, and he was thereof blind. This temptation suffered God to fall to him, that it should be an example to them that shall come after him of his patience, like as it was of holy Job. For from his infancy he dreaded ever God and kept his precepts and was not grudging against God for his blindness, but he abode immovable in the dread of God, giving and rendering thankings to God all the days of his life. For like as Job was assailed so was Tobit assailed of his kinsmen, scorning him and saying to him: Where is now thy hope and reward for which thou gavest thy alms and madest sepulchres? Tobit blamed them for such words, saying to them: In no wise say ye not so, for we be the sons of holy men, and we abide that life that God shall give to them that never shall change their faith from him. Anna his wife went daily to the work of weaving, and got by the labour of her hands their livelihood as much as she might. Whereof on a day she gat a kid and brought it home. When Tobit heard the voice of the kid bleating, he said: See that it be not stolen, yield it again to the owner, for it is not lawful for us to eat ne touch anything that is stolen. To that his wife all angry answered: Now manifestly and openly is thine hope made vain, and thy alms lost. And thus with such and like words she chid him. Then Tobit began to sigh and began to pray our Lord with tears saying: O Lord, thou art rightful, and all thy dooms be true, and all thy ways be mercy, truth, and righteousness. And now, Lord, remember me, and take now no vengeance of my sins, ne remember not my trespasses, ne the sins of my fathers. For we have not obeyed thy commandments, therefore we be betaken in to direption, captivity, death, fables, and into reproof and shame to all nations in which thou hast dispersed us. And now, Lord, great be thy judgments, for we have not done according to thy precepts, ne have not walked well tofore thee. And now, Lord, do to me after thy will, and command my spirit to be received in peace, it is more expedient to me to die than to live.

The same day it happed that Sara, daughter of Raguel in the city of Medes, that she was rebuked and heard reproof of one of the handmaidens of her father. For she had been given to seven men, and a devil named Asmodeus slew them as soon as they would have gone to her; therefore the maid reproved her saying: We shall never see son ne daughter of thee on the earth, thou slayer of thy husbands. Wilt thou slay me as thou hast slain seven men? With this voice and rebuke she went up in the upperest cubicle of the house. And three days and three nights she ate not, ne drank not, but was continually in prayers beseeching God for to deliver her from this reproof and shame. And on the third day, when she had accomplished her prayer, blessing our Lord she said: Blessed be thy name, God of our fathers, for when thou art wroth thou shalt do mercy and in a time of tribulation thou forgivest sins to them that call to thee. Unto thee, Lord, I convert my visage, and unto thee I address mine eyes. I ask and require thee that thou assoil me from the bond of the reproof and shame, or certainly upon the earth keep me. Thou knowest well, Lord, that I never desired man, but I have kept clean my soul from all concupiscence. I never meddled me with players, ne never had part of them that walk in lightness. I consented for to take an husband with thy dread, but I never gave consent to take one with my lust. Or I was unworthy to them or haply they were unworthy to me, or haply thou hast conserved and kept me for some other man. Thy counsel is not in man’s power. This knoweth every man that worshippeth thee, for the life of him if it be in probation shall be crowned, and if it be in tribulation it shall be delivered, and if it be in correction, it shall be lawful to come to mercy. Thou hast none delectation in our perdition, for after tempest thou makest tranquillity, and after weeping and shedding of tears thou bringest in exultation and joy. Thy name, God of Israel be blessed, world without end.

In that same time were the prayers of them both heard in the sight of the glory of the high God. And the holy angel of God, Raphael, was sent to heal them both. Of whom in one time were the prayers recited in the sight of our Lord God. Then when Tobit supposed his prayers to be heard that he might die, he called to him his son Tobias, and said to him: Hear, my son, the words of my mouth, and set them in thy heart as a fundament. When God shall take away my soul, bury my body, and thou shalt worship thy mother all the days of her life, thou owest to remember what and how many perils she hath suffered for thee in her womb. When she shall have accomplished the time of her life, bury her by me. All the days of thy life have God in thy mind, and beware that thou never consent to sin, ne to disobey ne break the commandments of God. Of thy substance do alms, and turn never thy face from any poor man, so do that God turn not his face from thee. As much as thou mayest, be merciful, if thou have much good give abundantly, if thou have but little, yet study to give and to depart thereof gladly, for thou makest to thee thereof good treasure and meed in the day of necessity, for alms delivereth a man from all sin and from death, and suffereth not his soul to go in to darkness. Alms is a great sikerness tofore the high God unto all them that do it. Beware, my son, keep thee from all fornication, and suffer not thyself save with thy wife to know that sin; and suffer never pride to have domination in thy wit, ne in thy word, that sin was the beginning of all perdition. Whosomever work to thee any thing, anon yield to him his meed and hire, let never the hire of thy servant ne meed of thy mercenary remain in no wise with thee. That thou hatest to be done to thee of other, see that thou never do to an other. Eat thy bread with the hungry and needy, and cover the naked with thy clothes. Ordain thy bread and wine upon the sepulture of a righteous man, but eat it not ne drink it with sinners. Ask and demand counsel of a wise man. Always and in every time bless God and desire of him that he address thy ways, and let all thy counsels abide in him. I tell to thee, my son, that when thou wert a little child I lent to Gabael ten besants of silver, dwelling in Rages the city of Medes, upon an obligation, which I have by me. And therefore spere and ask how thou mayst go to him, and thou shalt receive of him the said weight of silver and restore to him his obligation. Dread thou not, my son; though we lead a poor life, we shall have much good if we dread God and go from sin and do well. Then young Tobias answered to his father: All that thou hast commanded me I shall do, father; but how I shall get this money I wot never; he knoweth not me, ne I know not him; what token shall I give him? And also I know not the way thither. Then his father answered to him and said: I have his obligation by me, which when thou shewest him, anon he shall pay thee. But go now first and seek for thee some true man, that for his hire shall go with thee whiles I live, that thou mayest receive it.

Then Tobias went forth and found a fair young man girt up and ready for to walk, and not knowing that it was the angel of God, saluted him and said: From whence have we thee, good young man? And he answered: Of the children of Israel. And Tobias said to him. Knowest thou the way that leadeth one into the region of Medes? To whom he answered: I know it well, of all the journeys I have oft walked and have dwelled with Gabael our brother which dwelled in Rages the city of Medes, which standeth in the hill of Ecbathanis. To whom Tobias said: I pray thee tary here a while till I have told this to my father. Then Tobias went in to his father and told to him all these things, whereon his father marvelled and prayed him that he should bring him in. Then the angel came in and saluted the old Tobit and said: Joy be to thee always. And Tobit said: What joy shall be to me that sit in darkness, and see not the light of heaven. To whom the youngling said: Be of strong belief; it shall not be long but of God thou shalt be cured and healed. Then said Tobit to him: Mayest thou lead my son unto Gabael in Rages city of Medes, and when thou comest again I shall restore to thee thy meed. And the angel said: I shall lead him thither and bring him again to thee. To whom Tobit said: I pray thee to tell me of what house or of what kindred art thou. To whom Raphael the angel said: Thou needest not to ask the kindred of him that shall go with thy son, but lest haply I should not deliver him to thee again: I am Azarias son of great Ananias. Tobit answered: Thou art of a great kindred, but I pray thee be not wroth, though I would know thy kindred. The angel said to him: I shall safely lead thy son thither, and safely bring him and render him to thee again. Tobit then answered saying: Well mote ye walk, and our Lord be in your journey, and his angel fellowship with you. Then, when all was ready that they should have with them by the way, young Tobias took leave of his father and mother, and bade them farewell. When they should depart the mother began to weep and say: Thou hast taken away and sent from us the staff of our old age, would God that thilke money had never been for which thou hast sent him, our poverty sufficeth enough to us that we might have seen our son. Tobit said to her: Weep not, our son shall come safely again and thine eyes shall see him. I believe that the good angel of God hath fellowship with him, and shall dispose all things that shall be needful to him, and that he shall return again to us with joy. With this the mother ceased of her weeping and was still.

Then young Tobias went forth and an hound followed him. And the first mansion that they made was by the river of Tigris, and Tobias went out for to wash his feet, and there came a great fish for to devour him, whom Tobias fearing cried out with a great voice: Lord, he cometh on me, and the angel said to him: Take him by the fin and draw him to thee. And so he did and drew him out of the water to the dry land. Then said the angel to him: Open the fish and take to thee the heart, the gall, and the milt, and keep them by thee; they be profitable and necessary for medicines. And when he had done so he roasted of the fish, and took it with them for to eat by the way, and the remnant they salted, that it might suffice them till they came into the city of Rages. Then Tobias demanded of the angel and said: I pray thee, Azarias, brother, to tell me whereto these be good that thou hast bidden me keep. And the angel answered and said: If thou take a little of his heart and put it on the coals, the smoke and fume thereof driveth away all manner kind of devils, be it from man or from woman, in such wise that he shall no more come to them. And Tobias said: Where wilt thou that we shall abide? And he answered and said: Hereby is a man named Raguel, a man nigh to thy kindred and tribe, and he hath a daughter named Sara, he hath neither son ne daughter more than her. Thou shalt owe all his substance, for thee behoveth to take her to thy wife. Then Toby answered and said: I have heard say that she hath been given to seven men, and they be dead, and I have heard that a devil slayeth them. I dread therefore that it might hap so to me, and I that am an only son to my father and mother, I should depose their old age with heaviness and sorrow to hell. Then Raphael the angel said to him: Hear me, and I shall show thee wherewith thou mayst prevail against that devil; these that took their wedlock in such wise that they exclude God from them and their mind, and wait but to their lust as a horse and mule in whom is none understanding, the devil hath power upon them. Thou therefore when thou shalt take a wife, and enterest into her cubicle, be thou continent by the space of three days from her, and thou shalt do nothing but be in prayers with her: and that same night put the heart of the fish on the fire, and that shall put away the devil. The second night thou shalt be admitted in copulation of holy patriarchs. The third night ye shall follow the blessing that sons may be begotten of you both, and after the third night thou shalt take the virgin with dread of God, more for love of procreation of children than for lust of thy body, that thou mayst follow the blessing of Abraham in his seed. Then they went and entered into Raguel’s house, and Raguel received them joyously, and Raguel, heholding well Tobias, said to Anna his wife: How like is this young man unto my cousin! And when he had so said he asked them: Whence be ye, young men my brethren? And they said: Of the tribe of Nephthalim, of the captivity of Nineveh. Raguel said to them: Know ye Tobit my brother? Which said: We know him well. When Raguel had spoken much good of him, the angel said to Raguel: Tobit of whom thou demandest is father of this young man. And then went Raguel, and with weeping eyes kissed him, and weeping upon his neck said: The blessing of God be to thee, my son, for thou art son of a blessed and good man. And Anna his wife and Sara his daughter wept also.

After they had spoken, Raguel commanded to slay a wether, and make ready a feast. When he then should bid them sit down to dinner, Tobias said: I shall not eat here this day ne drink but if thou first grant to me my petition, and promise to me to give me Sara thy daughter. Which when Raguel heard he was astonied and abashed, knowing what had fallen to seven men that tofore had wedded her, and dreaded lest it might happen to this young man in like wise. And when he held his peace and would give him none answer the angel said to him: Be not afeard to give thy daughter to this man dreading God, for to him thy daughter is ordained to be his wife, therefore none other may have her. Then said Raguel: I doubt not God hath admitted my prayers and tears in his sight, and I believe that therefore he hath made you to come to me that these may be joined in one kindred after the law of Moses, and now have no doubt but I shall give her to thee. And he taking the right hand of his daughter delivered it to Tobias saying: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob be with you, and he conjoin you together and fulfil his blessing in you. And took a charter and wrote the conscription of the wedlock. And after this they ate, blessing our Lord God. Raguel called to him Anna his wife and bade her to make ready another cubicle. And she brought Sara her daughter therein, and she wept, to whom her mother said: Be thou strong of heart, my daughter, our Lord of heaven give to thee joy for the heaviness that thou hast suffered. After they had supped, they led the young man to her. Tobias remembered the words of the angel, and took out of his bag part of the heart of the fish, and laid it on burning coals. Then Raphael the angel took the devil and bound him in the upperest desert of Egypt. Then Tobias exhorted the virgin and said to her: Arise, Sara, and let us pray to God this day, and to-morrow, and after to-morrow, for these three nights we be joined to God. And after the third night we shall be in our wedlock. We be soothly the children of saints, and we may not so join together as people do that know not God. Then they both arising prayed together instantly that health might be given to them. Tobias said: Lord God of our fathers, heaven and earth, sea, wells, and floods, and all creatures that be in them, bless thee. Thou madest Adam of the slime of the earth, and gavest to him for an help Eve, and now, Lord, thou knowest that for the cause of lechery I take not my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity and procreation of children, in which thy name be blessed world without end. Then said Sara: Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy, and let us wax old both together in health. And after this the cocks began to crow, at which time Raguel commanded his servants to come to him, and they together went for to make and delve a sepulchre. He said: Lest haply it happen to him as it hath happed to the seven men that wedded her. When they had made ready the foss and pit, Raguel returned to his wife and said to her: Send one of thine handmaidens, and let her see if he be dead, that he may be buried ere it be light day. And she sent forth one of her servants, which entered into the cubicle and found them both safe and whole, and sleeping together, and she returned and brought good tidings. And Raguel and Anna blessed our Lord God and said: We bless thee, Lord God of Israel. that it hath not happed to us as we supposed; thou hast done to us thy mercy, and thou hast excluded from us our enemy pursuing us, thou hast done mercy on two only children. Make them, Lord, to bless thee to full, and to offer to thee sacrifice of praising and of their health, that the university of peoples may know that thou art God only in the universal earth. Anon then Raguel commanded his servants to fill again the pit that they had made ere it waxed light, and bade his wife to ordain a feast, and make all ready that were necessary to meat. He did do slay two fat kine and four wethers, and to ordain meat for all his neighbours and friends, and Raguel desired and adjured Tobias that he should abide with him two weeks. Of all that ever Raguel had in possession of goods he gave half part to Tobias, and made to him a writing that the other half part he should have after the death of him and his wife. Then Tobias called the angel to him, which he trowed had been a man, and said to him: Azarias, brother, I pray thee to take heed to my words; if I make myself servant to thee I shall not be worthy to satisfy thy providence. Nevertheless I pray thee to take to thee the beasts and servants and go to Gabael in Rages the city of Medes, and render to him his obligation, and receive of them the money and pray him to come to my wedding. Thou knowest thyself that my father numbereth the days of my being out, and if I tarry more his soul shall be heavy, and certainly thou seest how Raguel hath adjured me, whose desire I may not despise. Then Raphael, taking four of the servants of Raguel and two camels, went to Rages the city of Medes, and there finding Gabael, gave to him his obligation and received all the money, and told to him of Tobias, son of Tobit, all that was done, and made him come with him to the wedding. When then he entered the house of Raguel, he found Tobias sitting at meat, and came to him and kissed him, and Gabael wept and blessed God saying: God of Israel bless thee, for thou art son of the best man and just, dreading God and doing alms, and the blessing be said upon thy wife and your parents, and that you may see the sons of your sons unto the third and fourth generation, and your seed be blessed of the God of Israel, which reigneth in secula seculorum. And when all had said Amen, they went to the feast. And with the dread of God they exercised the feast of their weddings. Whiles that Tobias tarried because of his marriage, his father Tobit began to be heavy saying: Trowest thou wherefore my son tarrieth and why he is holden there? Trowest thou that Gabael be dead, and no man is there that shall give him his money?

He began to be sorry and heavy greatly, both he and Anna his wife with him, and began both to weep because at the day set he came not home. His mother therefore wept with unmeasurable tears, and said: Alas, my son, wherefore sent we thee to go this pilgrimage? The light of our eyes, the staff of our age, the solace of our life, the hope of our posterity, all these only having in thee, we ought not to have let thee go from us. To whom Tobit said: Be still and trouble thee not, our son is safe enough, the man is true and faithful enough with whom we sent him. She might in no wise be comforted, but every day she went and looked and espied the way that he should come if she might see him come from far. Then Raguel said to Tobias his son-in-law: Abide here with me, and I shall send messengers of thy health and welfare to Tobit thy father. To whom Tobias said: I know well that my father and my mother accompt the days, and the spirit is in great pain within them. Raguel prayed him with many words, but Tobias would in no wise grant him. Then he delivered to him Sara his daughter, and half part of all his substance in servants, men and women, in beasts, camels, in kine and much money. And safe and joyful he let him depart from him, saying: The angel of God that is holy be in your journey, and bring you home whole and sound, and that ye may and all things well and rightful about your father and mother, and that mine eyes may see your sons ere I die. And the father and mother taking their daughter kissed her and let her depart, warning her to worship her husband’s father and mother, love her husband, to rule well the meiny, to govern the house and to keep herself irreprehensible, that is to say, without reproof.

When they thus returned and departed, they came to Charram which is the half way to Nineveh, the thirteenth day. Then said the angel to Tobias: Tobias, brother, thou knowest how thou hast left thy father, if it please thee we will go tofore and let thy family come softly after, with thy wife and with thy beasts. This pleased well to Tobias; and then said Raphael to Tobias: Take with thee of the gall of the fish, it shall be necessary. Tobias took of the gall and went forth tofore. Anna his mother sat every day by the way in the top of the hill, from whence she might see him come from far, and whilst she sat there and looked after his coming, she saw afar and knew her son coming, and running home she told to her husband saying: Lo! thy son cometh. Raphael then said to young Tobias: Anon as thou enterest in to the house adore thy Lord God, and giving to him thankings, go to thy father and kiss him. And anon then anoint his eyes with the gall of the fish that thou bearest with thee, thou shalt well know that his eyes shall be opened, and thy father shall see the light of heaven and shall joy in thy sight. Then ran the dog that followed him and had been with him in the way, and came home as a messenger, fawning and making joy with his tail. And the blind father arose and began offending his feet to run to meet his son, giving to him his hand, and so taking, kissed him with his wife, and began to weep for joy. When then they had worshipped God and thanked him, they sat down together. Then Tobias taking the gall of the fish anointed his father’s eyes, and abode as it had been half an hour, and the slime of his eyes began to fall away like as it had been the white of an egg, which Tobias took and drew from his father’s eyes, and anon he received sight. And they glorified God, that is to wit he and his wife and all they that knew him.

Then said Tobit the father: I bless thee, Lord God of Israel, for thou hast chastised me, and thou hast saved me, and, lo! I see Tobias my son. After these seven days Sara the wife of his son came and entered in with all the family, and the beasts whole and sound, camels and much money of his wife’s, and also the money that he had received of Gabael. And he told to his father and mother all the benefits of God that was done to him by the man that led him. Then came Achiacharus and Nasbas, cousins of Tobias, joying and thanking God of all the goods that God had showed to him. And seven days they ate together making feast, and were glad with great joy. Then old Tobit call his son Tobias to him, and said: What may we give to this holy man that cometh with thee? Then Tobias answering said to his father: Father, what meed may we give to him, or what may be worthy to him for his benefits? He led me out and hath brought me whole again, he received the money of Gabael; he did me have my wife and he put away the devil from her; he hath made joy to my parents, and saved myself from devouring of the fish, and hath made thee see the light of heaven, and by him we be replenished with all goods; what may we then worthily give to him? Wherefore I pray thee, father, that thou pray him if he vouchsafe to take the half of all that I have. Then the father and the son calling him took him apart and began to pray him that he would vouchsafe to take half the part of all the goods that they had brought. Then said he to them privily: Bless ye God of heaven and before all living people knowledge ye him, for he hath done to you his mercy. Forsooth to hide the sacrament of the king it is good, but for to show the works of God and to knowledge them it is worshipful. Oration and prayer is good, with fasting and alms, and more than to set up treasures of gold. For alms delivereth from death, and it is she that purgeth sins and maketh a man to find everlasting life. Who that knowledge to him, for he hath showed his majesty into the sinful people. Confess ye therefore sinners, and do ye justice tofore our Lord by believing that he shall do to you his mercy, aye soothly, and my soul shall be glad in him. All ye chosen of God, bless ye him and make ye days of gladness and knowledge ye to him. Jerusalem city of God, our Lord hath chastised thee in the works of his hands, confess thou to our Lord in his good things and bless thou the God of worlds that he may re-edify in thee his tabernacle, and that he may call again to thee all prisoners and them that be in captivity and that thou joy in omnia secula seculorum. Thou shalt shine with a bright light, and all the ends of the earth shall worship thee. Nations shall come to thee from far, and bringing gifts shall worship in thee our Lord, and shall have thy land into sanctification. They shall call in thee a great name, they shall be cursed that shall despise thee, and they all shall be condemned that blaspheme thee. Blessed be they that edify thee, thou shalt be joyful in thy sons, for all shall be blessed, and shall be gathered together unto our Lord. Blessed be they that love thee and that joy upon thy peace. My soul, bless thou our Lord, for he hath delivered Jerusalem his city. I shall be blessed if there be left of my seed for to see the clearness of Jerusalem. The gates of Jerusalem shall be edified of sapphire and emerald, and all the circuit of his walls of precious stone; all the streets thereof shall be paved with white stone and clean; and Alleluia shall be sung by the ways thereof. Blessed be the Lord that hath exalted it that it may be his kingdom in secula seculorum, Amen. And thus Tobit finished these words. And Tobit lived after he had received his sight forty-two years, and saw the sons of his nephews, that is, the sons of the sons of his son young Tobias. And when he had lived one hundred and two years he died, and was honorably buried in the city of Nineveh.

He was fifty-six years old when he lost his sight, and when he was sixty years old he received his sight again. The residue of his life was in joy, and with good profit of the dread of God he departed in peace. In the hour of his death he called to him Tobias his son, and seven of his young sons, his nephews, and said to them: The destruction of Nineveh is nigh, the word of God shall not pass, and our brethren that be disperpled from the land of Israel shall return thither again. All the land thereof shall be fulfilled with desert, and the house that is burnt therein shall be re-edified, and thither shall return all people dreading God. And Gentiles shall leave their idols and shall come in Jerusalem and shall dwell therein, and all the kings of the earth shall joy in her, worshipping the king of Israel. Hear ye therefore, my sons, me your father, serve ye God in truth and seek ye that ye do that may be pleasing to him, and command ye to your sons that they do righteous ness and alms, that they may remember God and bless him in all time in truth and in all their virtue. Now therefore, my sons, hear me and dwell ye no longer here, but whensoever your mother shall die, bury her by me and from then forthon dress ye your steps that ye go hence, I see well that wickedness shall make an end of it. It was so then after the death of his mother, Tobias went from Nineveh with his wife and his sons, and the sons of his sons, and returned unto his wife’s father and mother, whom they found in good health and good age, and took the cure and charge of them, and were with them unto their death, and closed their eyes. And Tobias received all the heritage of the house of Raguel and saw the sons of his sons unto the fifth generation. And when he had complished ninety-nine years he died in the dread of God, and with joy they buried him. All his cognation and all his generation abode in good life and in holy conversation, and in such wise as they were acceptable as well to God as to men, and to all dwelling on the earth.