Saturday, 20 July 2024 - Sant'Apollinare di Ravenna ( Letture di oggi)

Tobit 1


1The tale of Tobit son of Tobiel, son of Ananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, of the lineage of Asiel andtribe of Naphtali.2In the days of Shalmaneser king of Assyria, he was exiled from Thisbe, which is south of Kedesh-Naphtali in Upper Galilee, above Hazor, some distance to the west, north of Shephat.3I, Tobit, have walked in paths of truth and in good works al the days of my life. I have given much inalms to my brothers and fel ow country-folk, exiled like me to Nineveh in the country of Assyria.4In my young days, when I was still at home in the land of Israel, the whole tribe of Naphtali my ancestorbroke away from the House of David and from Jerusalem, though this was the city chosen out of al the tribes ofIsrael for their sacrifices; here, the Temple -- God's dwelling-place -- had been built and hallowed for algenerations to come.5All my brothers and the House of Naphtali sacrificed on every hil -top in Galilee to the calf thatJeroboam king of Israel had made at Dan.6Often I was quite alone in making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, fulfil ing the Law that binds al Israelperpetual y. I would hurry to Jerusalem with the first yield of fruits and beasts, the tithe of cattle and the sheep'sfirst shearings.7I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, for the altar. To the Levites ministering atJerusalem I would give my tithe of wine and corn, olives, pomegranates and other fruits. Six years in successionI took the second tithe in money and went and paid it annual y at Jerusalem.8I gave the third to orphans and widows and to the strangers who live among the Israelites; I brought itthem as a gift every three years. When we ate, we obeyed both the ordinances of the law of Moses and theexhortations of Deborah the mother of our ancestor Ananiel; for my father had died and left me an orphan.9When I came to man's estate, I married a woman from our kinsfolk whose name was Anna; she boreme a son whom I cal ed Tobias.10When the banishment into Assyria came, I was taken away and went to Nineveh. Al my brothers andthe people of my race ate the food of the heathen,11but for my part I was careful not to eat the food of the heathen.12And because I had kept faith with my God with my whole heart,13the Most High granted me the favour of Shalmaneser, and I became the king's purveyor.14Until his death I used to travel to Media, where I transacted business on his behalf, and I depositedsacks of silver worth ten talents with Gabael the brother of Gabrias at Rhages in Media.15On the death of Shalmaneser his son Sennacherib succeeded; the roads into Media were barred, andI could no longer go there.16In the days of Shalmaneser I had often given alms to the people of my race;17I gave my bread to the hungry and clothes to those who lacked them; and I buried, when I saw them,the bodies of my country-folk thrown over the wal s of Nineveh.18I also buried those who were kil ed by Sennacherib. When Sennacherib was beating a disorderlyretreat from Judaea after the King of heaven had punished his blasphemies, he kil ed a great number ofIsraelites in his rage. So I stole their bodies to bury them; Sennacherib looked for them and could not find them.19A Ninevite went and told the king it was I who had buried them secretly. When I knew that the king hadbeen told about me and saw myself being hunted by men who would put me to death, I was afraid and fled.20Al my goods were seized; they were al confiscated by the treasury; nothing was left me but my wifeAnna and my son Tobias.21Less than forty days after this, the king was murdered by his two sons, who then fled to the mountainsof Ararat. His son Esarhaddon succeeded. Ahikar the son of my brother Anael, was appointed chancellor of theexchequer for the kingdom and given the main ordering of affairs.22Ahikar then interceded for me and I was al owed to return to Nineveh, since Ahikar had been chiefcupbearer, keeper of the signet, administrator and treasurer under Sennacherib king of Assyria, and Esarhaddon had kept him in office. He was a relation of mine; he was my nephew.