The problem of pride, idleness, injustice, and drunkenness (Tob 4:13-4:15)

“For in pride there is ruin and great confusion.

In idleness there is loss and dire poverty

Because idleness is the mother of famine.

Do not hold over until the next day

The wages of those who work for you.

Pay him at once.

If you serve God,

You will receive payment.

Watch yourself, my son,

In everything you do.

Discipline yourself in all your conduct.

What you hate,

Do not do to anyone.

Do not drink wine to excess.

Do not let drunkenness go with you on your way.”

Pride can lead to confusion. Idleness will lead to poverty and famine. It is interesting to note that idleness is the mother of famines, that somehow humans are responsible for famines, rather than weather. Tobit wanted his son to pay the worker’s wages immediately, not even wait until the next day. When his son served God, he would receive his payment. He had to be disciplined in his conduct. He was not to do to others things that he himself hated. This is the kind of ‘do not do unto others what you yourself hate done to you.’ He was not to drink wine in excess. Drunkenness should not become part of his lifestyle. Clearly these are all the prescriptions of the Jewish post-exilic life style.

 

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