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.

The prayer of Tobias (Tob 8:5-8:8)

“Tobias began by saying.

‘Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors.

Blessed is your name in all generations forever.

Let the heavens and all the creation bless you forever.

You made Adam.

For him you gave his wife Eve

As a helper and support.

From the two of them

The human race has sprung.

You said.

‘It is not good that the man should be alone.

Let us make a helper for him like himself.’

I now am taking this kinswoman of mine

Not because of lust,

But with sincerity.

Grant that she and I may find mercy.

Grant that we may grow old together.’

They both said. ‘Amen. Amen.’  Then they both went to sleep for the night.’”

This prayer of Tobias is an ode to creation. It is one of the first prayers that talks about Adam and Eve. In fact, it uses the words of Genesis, chapter 2. This prayer combines the God of his ancestors with the God of heaven. Tobias maintained that he did not marry out of lust but because of sincerity for his family. He asked for God’s mercy, and the famous saying, “Grant that we may grow all together.” They both say amen and go to sleep. There is no mention of sexual intercourse.