Tobit on charity (Tob 4:16-4:17)

“Give some of your food to the hungry.

Give some of your clothing to the naked.

Give your entire surplus to alms.

Do not let your eye begrudge your giving of alms.

Place your bread on the grave of the righteous,

But place no bread on the grave of the sinners.”

Tobit wanted his son to give some of his food and clothing to the hungry and the naked, a very strong comment among the post-exilic Jews. All of the surplus things were to be given as alms. He was not to begrudge any gift that he gave. The placing of food on graves was a pagan custom forbidden by Deuteronomy, chapter 26. Here, however, Tobit only wanted this done for the righteous people, not the sinners. Cleary, he wanted his son to pass moral judgment on others as either righteous or sinners.

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