Almsgiving (Sir 3:29-3:31)

“The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs.

An attentive ear is the desire of the wise.

Just as water extinguishes a blazing fire,

So almsgiving atones for sins.

Whoever repays favors

Gives thought to the future.

When they fall,

They will find support.”

Intelligent people appreciate proverbs. You should be wise. You should pay attention with your ears. Like water on a fire, almsgiving, can atone for sins. If you repay people for favors, your reward will go into the future. If anything happens to you, you will find support.

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Tobit wants Tobias to leave Nineveh (Tob 14:8-14:11)

“Now, my children,

I command you.

Serve God faithfully!

Do what is pleasing in his sight!

Your children are also commanded to do what is right.

Give alms!

Be mindful of God!

Bless his name at all times!

Love God with all sincerity and with all their strength!

So now, my son, leave Nineveh!  

Do not remain here!

On whatever day you bury your mother beside me,

Do not stay overnight within the confines of the city.

I see that there is much wickedness within it.

The people are without shame.

See, my son, what Nadab did to Ahikar who had reared him.

Was he not, while still alive, brought down into the earth?

God repaid him to his face for this shameful treatment.

Ahikar came out into the light,

But Nadab went into the eternal darkness,

Because he tried to kill Ahikar.

Because he gave alms,

Ahikar escaped the fatal trap that Nadab had set for him.

Nadab fell into it himself.

He was destroyed.

Now, my children see what almsgiving accomplishes.

You can see what injustice does.

It brings death!

But now my breath fails me.

Then they laid him on his bed and he died.

He received an honorable funeral.”

The final words of Tobit to his son Tobias were about obeying God and his commandments. He wanted Tobias and his sons to serve God faithfully, to do what God wants. They were to bless his name with sincerity and strength. Due to the bad situation in Nineveh, he wanted them to leave there as soon as they buried his wife, Anna, Tobias’ mother. In fact, he told them not to stay overnight in Nineveh after the burial. He cited as an example his nephew Ahikar, who was a government official. His nephew Nadab tried to kill him, but instead fell into the trap and killed himself. This was an example of the children of Nineveh who were behaving badly. Once again, on his deathbed, Tobit praised the value of almsgiving, citing that as why Ahikar was saved.