Tobit and his background

This scroll is a story told by Tobit. He was the son of Tobiel son of Hananiel son of Aduel son of Gabael son of Raphael son of Raguel, whose family came from Asiel, of the Naphtali tribe. In the days of Shalmaneser king of the Assyrians, he was captured in Thisbe, south of Kedesh-naphtali in the upper hills of Galilee, northwest of Hazor and north of Peor.

Tobit’s piety

I, Tobit, was trustworthy and behaved righteously during my entire life. I would help support my relatives and others of my country who were captured and taken with me to Nineveh in the country of the Assyrians.

While I was young and in my own country of Israel, the tribe of my ancestor Naphtali deserted the descendants of my ancestor David and stayed away from Jerusalem, the city chosen from among all the tribes of Israel for offering sacrifices on behalf of all the tribes of Israel. There God’s own dwelling place, the temple, was built and dedicated for use by all future generations. Instead, all my relatives and the whole tribe of my ancestor Naphtali would offer sacrifices on all the hills of Galilee to the image of a calf that Israel’s King Jeroboam had set up in Dan.

I would often go by myself to Jerusalem on religious holidays, as the Law commanded for every Israelite for all time. I would hurry off to Jerusalem and take with me the early produce of my crops, a tenth of my flocks, and the first portion of the wool cut from my sheep. I would present these things at the altar to the priests, the descendants of Aaron. I would give the first tenth of my grain, wine, olive oil, pomegranates, figs, and other fruit to the Levites who served in Jerusalem. For six out of seven years,[a] I also brought the cash equivalent of the second tenth of these crops to Jerusalem where I would spend it every year. I gave this to orphans and widows, and to Gentiles who had joined Israel. In the third year, when I brought and gave it to them, we would eat together according to the instruction recorded in Moses’ Law, as Deborah my grandmother[b] had taught me (for my father had died and left me an orphan).

When I became an adult, I married a woman from our clan.[c] Together we had a son, whom I named Tobias.

Tobit rewarded for his piety

10 After I was taken captive to Assyria and came to Nineveh,[d] all my relatives and fellow Jews there were eating Gentile food. 11 I, however, avoided eating the Gentiles’ food. 12 Because I kept God in view with all my heart, 13 the Most High gave me favor and good standing before Shalmaneser, and I would buy for him everything he needed. 14 I used to go to Media on business for him until he died. While in the land of Media, I entrusted 570 pounds of silver to Gabael brother of Gabri.

15 When Shalmaneser died, Sennacherib his son ruled in his place. The roads to Media became dangerous,[e] and I couldn’t travel there any longer.

Tobit is harassed for his pious acts

16 During the time of Shalmaneser, I gave away a lot of money to my relatives, my fellow Jews. 17 I gave a portion of my food to the hungry and clothes to the naked. Whenever I saw that the corpse of anyone from my nation had been flung outside the wall of Nineveh, I buried it.

18 I also buried anyone whom Sennacherib murdered after fleeing home from Judea, at the time when the king of heaven had punished him for all his insulting actions. In his rage Sennacherib killed many Israelites. However, I would take their bodies and bury them secretly. Sennacherib looked for them, but he didn’t find them. 19 A native Ninevite went to the king and told him that I was the one burying the bodies. So I went into hiding. When I found out[f] that I was being hunted down to be put to death, I fled from the city in fear. 20 All my possessions were seized, and everything of mine became royal property except for my wife Anna and my son Tobias.

21 Within forty days Sennacherib was killed by two of his sons, who escaped to the mountains of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon became king in his place. He hired Ahikar, my brother Hanael’s son, to be in charge of all the financial accounts of his kingdom and all the king’s treasury records.

22 Ahikar petitioned the king on my behalf, and I returned to Nineveh. Ahikar had been the chief officer,[g] the keeper of the ring with the royal seal, the auditor of accounts, and the keeper of financial records under Assyria’s King Sennacherib. And Esarhaddon promoted him to be second in charge after himself. Ahikar was my nephew and one of my family.


  1. Tobit 1:7 Gk For six years
  2. Tobit 1:8 LXX2 the mother of our father Hananiel
  3. Tobit 1:9 Or ancestral kindred
  4. Tobit 1:10 LXX2 After I was taken into captivity into Assyria and when I was taken captive, I went into Nineveh.
  5. Tobit 1:15 Or slipped from his control
  6. Tobit 1:19 Gk adds that the king was aware of me and
  7. Tobit 1:22 Or chief cupbearer