Tobias iv.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. When. Greek and Hebrew and the old Vulgate, (Calmet) “That very day Tobit remembered the money which he had deposited with Gabael….and said within himself, I begged for death; why do I not call Tobias, my son, that I may declare it to him before I die? And calling him, he said: Son, if I die, bury me, and despise not thy mother.” (Haydock) — He gives him fourteen instructions, in imitation of Moses and David, 3 Kings ii. (Worthington)

Ver. 3. Life. St. Augustine (Conf. x. 34) cries out, “O Light, which Tobias had in view, when these corporal eyes being closed, he taught his son the way of life.”

Ver. 5. By me. Greek adds, “in the same sepulchre,” like the patriarchs. Pope Leo decreed: statuimus unumquemque in sepulchro suorum majorum jacere.

Ver. 7. Substance. Be not liberal of another’s property. Greek adds, “and let not thy eye be envious, when thou givest alms.” Do it generously. (Calmet) — The same doctrine of the reward of good works, occurs [in] Daniel iv. 24. (Worthington)

Ver. 9. Little. God regards the affections more than the gift. (Calmet)

Ver. 11. Sin, provided faith, &c., be not wanting. (Menochius) — When the Scripture seems to attribute salvation to one virtue, to faith, repentance, &c., it always presupposes that the heart is free from all mortal guilt. (Haydock) — Alms deeds may procure a fresh supply of graces. (Menochius) — Darkness, or hell, which is thus represented, Matthew viii. 12., and xxii. 13., and Ephesians vi. 12.

Ver. 12. Give it, with true charity, 1 Corinthians xiii. 3. (Calmet)

Ver. 13. Crime, or any commerce with another. (Haydock) — Greek and Hebrew add, conformable to the law, (Exodus xxxiv. 16.) “And take not a strange woman, who may not be of thy father’s tribe, as we are the sons of the prophets, Noe, &c. ….All these married from among their brethren, and were blessed in their children, and their seed shall inherit the land.” (Haydock)

Ver. 14. Perdition of the angels, of Adam, &c. (Calmet) (Genesis iii. 5.) (Menochius)

Ver. 15. At all, after sunset, Deuteronomy xxiv. 14.

Ver. 16. Another. Behold the grand maxim of fraternal charity, Matthew viii. 12. Alex. Severus was so much pleased with it, that he had it often repeated by a herald, and inscribed on public edifices. What thou wouldst not have done to thee, do not thou to another. (Lamprid.) — Greek and Hebrew add a caution against drunkenness and drunken companions. Fagius has another against revenge; and the old Vulgate, “give not way to wickedness.”

Ver. 17. Eat. Greek, “give.” — Naked. Greek adds, “give in alms all thy superfluities, and let not thy eye repine,” &c., as ver. 7. (Haydock)

Ver. 18. Burial, or sepulchre. See Baruch vi. 26.; Ecclesiasticus vii. 37., and xxx. 18. The Jews followed this custom, which was common to the pagans, but from very different motives. The latter supposed that the souls fed on such meats. The Jews, and afterwards Christians, did it to feed the indigent, that they might pray for the deceased. These feasts were sometimes abused, and on that account forbidden by St. Ambrose, to whose authority St. Monica submitted. (St. Augustine, Conf. vi. 3.) See Constitutions Apostolic viii. 24. (Calmet) — Just man, who may be supposed to have died in God’s peace. (Haydock) — It is of no service to pray and give alms for the damned. — Wicked, so as to encourage their evil conduct. (Menochius) — Works of mercy extend to the dead. (Worthington)

Ver. 20. Abide. Greek, “prosper,” (Menochius) or “be directed. For every nation has not counsel: but this same Lord bestows all good things. And whensoever he will, he humbles, as he pleases. And now, my son, remember my commands, and let them not be effaced from thy heart. Now, also, I make known unto thee the ten talents of silver, which I deposited with Gabael,” &c. (Haydock)

Ver. 21. And I. The Greek, &c., take no notice of this, (Calmet) nor of the following verse. (Haydock) — The virtuous dispose of their temporal effects by will, &c. (Worthington)

Ver. 23. We lead. Greek, “if we grow poor. Thou hast much if thou fear,”&c.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Tobias thinking he shall die, giveth his son godly admonitions: and telleth him of money he had lent to a friend.

1 Therefore, *when Tobias thought that his prayer was heard that he might die, he called to him Tobias, his son,

2 And said to him: Hear, my son, the words of my mouth, and lay them as a fountain in thy heart.

3 When God shall take my soul, thou shalt bury my body: *and thou shalt honour thy mother all the days of her life:

4 For thou must be mindful what and how great perils she suffered for thee in her womb.

5 And when she also shall have ended the time of her life, bury her by me.

6 And all the days of thy life have God in thy mind: and take heed thou never consent to sin, nor transgress the commandments of the Lord, our God.

7 *Give alms out of thy substance, and turn not away thy face from any poor person: for so it shall come to pass, that the face of the Lord shall not be turned from thee.

8 *According to thy ability be merciful.

9 If thou have much, give abundantly: if thou have little, take care even so to bestow willingly a little.

10 For thus thou storest up to thyself a good reward for the day of necessity.

11 *For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness.

12 Alms shall be a great confidence before the most high God, to all them that give it.

13 *Take heed to keep thyself, my son, from all fornication, and beside thy wife never endure to know a crime.

14 Never suffer pride to reign in thy mind, or in thy words: *for from it all perdition took its beginning.

15 *If any man hath done any work for thee, immediately pay him his hire, and let not the wages of thy hired servant stay with thee at all.

16 *See thou never do to another what thou wouldst hate to have done to thee by another.

17 *Eat thy bread with the hungry and the needy, and with thy garments cover the naked.

18 Lay out thy bread, and thy wine, upon the burial of a just man, and do not eat and drink thereof with the wicked.

19 Seek counsel always of a wise man.

20 Bless God at all times: and desire of him to direct thy ways, and that all thy counsels may abide in him.

21 I tell thee also, my son, that I lent ten talents of silver, while thou wast yet a child, to Gabelus, in Rages, a city of the Medes, and I have a note of his hand with me:

22 Now, therefore, inquire how thou mayst go to him, and receive of him the aforesaid sum of money, and restore to him the note of his hand.

23 Fear not, my son: we lead indeed a poor life, *but we shall have many good things if we fear God, and depart from all sin, and do that which is good.



1: Year of the World 3299.

3: Exodus xx. 12.; Ecclesiasticus vii. 29.

7: Proverbs iii. 9.; Ecclesiasticus iv. 1. and xiv. 13.; Luke xiv. 13.

8: Ecclesiasticus xxxv. 12.

11: Ecclesiasticus xxix. 15.

13: 1 Thessalonians iv. 3.

14: Genesis iii. 5.

15: Leviticus xix. 13.; Deuteronomy xxiv. 14.

16: Matthew vii. 12.; Luke vi. 31.

17: Luke xiv. 13.

23: Romans viii. 17.