Tobit Becomes Blind
1 # Ex 23.16. I returned to my home while Esarhaddon#2.1 Esarhaddon: See the note at 1.21. was king; my wife Anna and my son Tobias were allowed to come back to me.
That year at the Harvest Festival,#2.1 the Harvest Festival: Greek “Pentecost”; at this festival, Israelites celebrated the wheat harvest. “Pentecost” means “fifty,” and this festival was held in mid-spring, fifty days after Passover. which is also called the Festival of Weeks,#2.1 also called the Festival of Weeks: Because it was held seven weeks and one day after Passover. a wonderful dinner was prepared for me, and I sat down to eat. 2But so much food was put on the table that I said to Tobias, “Son, many other Israelites were brought to Nineveh as captives. Go out and find someone who is poor and very loyal to God. Bring him here to share this meal with us. We will wait until you get back.”
3Tobias went out to look for some Israelites who were poor. But he returned alone and said, “Father!”
“What's the matter?” I asked.
“An Israelite has been murdered!” Tobias answered. “He was strangled, then his body was thrown down and left lying in the street.”#2.3 street: The Greek text has “marketplace,” usually a public square or wide street where people would buy and sell food and other items.
4We had not started eating, and so I jumped up from the table and went to the street where the body was. I brought it back to my own home and left it in one of the rooms, because I could not bury it until after dark.#2.4 I could not … dark: Probably because the Harvest Festival would end at sunset. 5#Nu 19.11-13. Then I washed myself and ate the festival meal, but I was very sad. 6#Am 8.10. I remembered that the prophet Amos had said, “Your festivals and joyful singing will turn into sorrow,” and 7I began crying.
Later, after the sun had set, I went out and dug a grave and buried the body. 8My neighbors made fun of me and said to each other, “Tobit had to go into hiding once, when the king tried to have him arrested and put to death for burying people like this one. You would think Tobit would be afraid to do the same thing again.”
9That night after I washed, I went into my courtyard and lay down next to the wall. The night was so hot that I wanted to sleep under the open sky. 10I didn't know that some sparrows were perched on the wall above me. Their fresh droppings fell right into my eyes, and a film of white spots started covering the clear part of my eyes.
I went to doctors and looked for a cure, but the more medicine they smeared on my eyes, the worse the white spots became, until at last I could not see a thing and was completely blind for four years. All my relatives felt sorry for me, and for two of those years, Ahikar gave me money to live on, but then he had to move to Elymais.
11-12After Ahikar left Nineveh, my wife worked at home. She would weave a piece of cloth, and when it was finished, she would send it to the owners of the weaving business, and they would pay her. Then, on the seventh day of the month of Dystrus,#2.11,12 Dystrus: The month in the Macedonian calendar that is about the same as March. my wife finished a piece of cloth and sent it to the owners. They gave her the regular payment, and they also gave her a young goat, so we could have a feast.
13When she came back, the goat was going, “baa, baa.” So I yelled at her and said, “Where did you get that goat? You must have stolen it! Take it back to its owner. We shouldn't eat something that is stolen—it just wouldn't be right.”
14She replied, “That goat was given to me as a gift along with the usual payment for my work!”
But I didn't believe her, and my face was red with anger as I told her to return the goat to its owners.
She answered, “Tobit, why have you changed so much? You used to be so kind, and, as everyone knows, you always did the right thing!”