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Tobit 1a


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The text below comes from the first half of Tobit, Chapter 1 (with some omissions). As the Book of Tobit begins, the story is being told in first person by Thobi (Tobit). Later in the book, the narration will change to third-person.

As you read this story, you will meet Thobi's immediate family: his wife, Anna, and his son, Thobias. You will also see that kinship terms are used in a variety of ways in this text. Pater can mean "father" in the biological sense of one's father, but it can also be used to refer to an "ancestor" more generally, as when Tobit refers to King David as his pater. The term frater means "brother," but Tobit refers to any man in the Jewish community as his "brother." Both frater and soror are used as terms of address - and a husband even uses these terms when speaking to his wife, so don't get confused if you see Tobit call his wife "Sister Anna" or if you see Raguel (another character in the story) calling his wife "Sister Edna."

The story of Tobit is set during the eighth century B.C.E., when King Sargon captured Samaria, the capital of Israel, and took the people captive to Assyria. Yet Tobit also makes reference to the revolt of the northern Jewish tribes against Jerusalem, which took place in the tenth century B.C.E., two hundred years earlier! So don't worry too much about the history. Instead, see how the story represents Tobit as being always faithful. When the Jewish people turned away from God and worshipped idols, Tobit remained faithful; when the Jewish people were taken into captivity and gave up their traditions, Tobit remained faithful. The story of the Book of Tobit is focused on Tobit's unwavering faith and devotion to God.

As the story opens, Tobit is living in the city of Nineveh, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Assyria, in modern-day Iraq. As a servant in the court of the Assyrian king, Tobit also journeys to the city of Rages in Media, in modern-day Iran. You might want to take a look at this map to get oriented: Nineveh was near the modern city of Mosul, and Rages was located near the modern city of Tehran.

You might also want to look at these Tips on Using Segmented Texts.

Ego, Thobi,
in viis veritatis ambulabam
et in iustitiis
omnibus diebus vitae meae,
Thobi: Hebrew name (nominative)
et eleemosynas multas feci
fratribus meis
et nationi meae,
qui abierant mecum
in captivitatem
in regionem Assyriorum
in Nineven.

qui: relative pronoun, agreeing with fratribus + nationi in gender and number

Nineven: feminine accusative singular (Greek declensional ending)

cum essem in regione mea
in terra Israel
et cum essem iunior,
omnis tribus
Nephthali, patris mei
de domo David, patris mei,
et ab Ierusalem civitate.

essem: subjunctive with cum

Israel: Hebrew name (agrees with terra)

Nephthali: Hebrew name (agrees with patris)

David: Hebrew name (agrees with patris)

Iersusalem: Hebrew name (agrees with civitate)

Omnes fratres mei
omnisque domus
Nephthali, patris mei,
sacrificabant vitulo,
quem fecit
Ieroboam, rex Israel,
in Dan,
in omnibus montibus Galilaeae.

Nephthali: Hebrew name (agrees with patris)

quae: relative pronoun, agreeing with vitulo in gender and number

Ieroboam: Hebrew name (agrees with rex)

Dan: Hebrew name (locative)

Ego autem
solus ibam aliquotiens
in Ierusalem
diebus festis,
sicut scriptum est
in toto Israel
in praecepto sempiterno.

autem: postpositive

Iersusalem: Hebrew name (accusative)

Israel: Hebrew name (agrees with toto)


Primitias et primogenita
et decimas armentorum et pecorum
et initia tonsurae ovium
mecum portabam
in Ierusalem.

Iersusalem: Hebrew name (accusative)



Et dabam ea
filiis Aaron,
ad aram,
Aaron: Hebrew name (genitive)
et dabam ea
orphanis et viduis
secundum mandata,
quae mandaverat Debora,
mater patris mei, Ananiel,

quae: relative pronoun, agreeing with mandata in gender and number

Ananiel: Hebrew name (agrees with patris)

quia orphanum
me reliquit pater
et mortuus est.
postquam vir factus sum,
accepi uxorem
ex semine patriae nostrae
et genui ex illa filium
et vocavi nomen eius
Thobiam: Hebrew name (nominative: Thobias)
postquam in captivitatem
deveni ad Assyrios,
cum captivus morarer,
ibam in Nineven.

morarer: subjunctive with cum

Nineven: feminine accusative singular (Greek declensional ending)

Et omnes fratres mei et
qui de genere meo erant
de panibus gentium.
qui: relative pronoun, agreeing with subject of manducabant ("all my brethren and (those) who...")
Ego autem
custodivi animam meam,
ne manducarem
de panibus gentium.

autem: postpositive

manducarem: subjunctive with ne


quoniam memor eram
Dei mei
in tota anima mea,
dedit mihi Excelsus
gratiam et speciem
penes Salmanasar,
Salmanasar: Hebrew name (accusative)
et comparabam illi
quaecumque erant
in usum.
Et ibam in Mediam,
usque dum moreretur,
et commendavi
Gabael, fratri Gabriae,
in Rages,
in regione Mediae,
saccellos decem
talenta argenti

moreretur: subjunctive with dum

Gabael: Hebrew name (agrees with fratri)

Gabriae: Hebrew name (genitive; nominative is Gabrias)

Rages: Hebrew name (locative)


© The segmented texts, annotations and audio files at are copyrighted by Laura Gibbs, 2006. No copyright is claimed for any images.