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Book of Tobit


The Book of Tobit is included in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox canon of the Bible, but designated as apocryphal in the Protestant tradition. The story is a family drama, about a pious Jew named Tobit, living in exile in Nineveh (modern Iraq), and about a Jewish woman named Sarah, living in the city of Rages (modern Iran). Tobit and Sarah are both facing terrible troubles: Tobit has become blind and has lost all his income because of his good deeds on behalf of the Jews in Nineveh, while Sarah is persecuted by a demon who has killed her bridegroom on the night of their marriage, not just once, but seven times! Yet despite their troubles, both Robit and Sarah are pious and faithful, and their good character and piety persuades God to send the angel Raphael to help solve their problems. Tobit's son Tobias, accompanied by the angel in disguise, journeys from Nineveh to Rages, frees Sarah from the demon and brings her home with him to Nineveh, where he is able to restore his father's sight and return the family's fortune.

The original version of the Book of Tobit was written in Hebrew, and fragments of this book were found in the "Dead Sea Scrolls" at Qumran. The canonical Hebew Bible does not contain the Book of Tobit, however, and the ancient Hebrew version has not survived. There are, however, several ancient Greek and Latin versions of the text, in addition to a later Hebrew version based on the Greek. The Latin version you will be reading here is abridged (see notes about this below), and you can find the complete Latin version online at the Vatican website. You can read more about the Book of Tobit at the Jewish Encyclopedia online, at the Catholic Encyclopedia online, at Wikipedia, and in this article from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.


1a - 1b. Tobit's good deeds while in exile in Nineveh.
2a - 2b. Tobit goes blind.
3a - 3b. The prayers of Tobit and of Sarah.
4a - 4b. Tobit's commands to his son, Tobias.
5a - 5b. Tobias goes away with Azarias (Raphael).
6a - 6b. The episode of the fish.
7a - 7b. Raguel and Edna bestow Sarah on Tobias.
8a - 8b. The celebration of the wedding.
9a - 9b. Tobias prepares to return home.
10a - 10b. Tobit and Anna await Tobias's return.
11a - 11b. Tobias returns and cures Tobit.
12a - 12b. Azarias reveals that he is the angel, Raphael.

Abridged version

These pages contain an abridged version of the Latin text of the Book of Tobit. The original book has 14 chapters, approximately 7500 words total. In this abridged version, the final two chapters have been omitted (with the exception of the final sentences), and some cuts have been made to the other chapters as well. The verses that have been omitted contain genealogical information, geography, prayers and other information that is not directly related to the plot of the story. The result is an abridged version that is approximately 4500 words in length.


The Latin Bible is written in a very simple style using a limited vocabulary, closely following the style of the Hebrew original. As a result, the vocabulary used in these pages consists of just 700 words total.

Moreover, there is a core group of 85 words which are used 10 times or more in the text. These 85 words account for two-thirds of the words used in the story! So, once you learn these 85 words, you will be able to understand the majority of words that you will be reading. Here is the list of words:

Verbs: abeo, accipio, audio, benedico, dico, do, eo, facio, habeo, intro, lacrimo, manduco, morior, nolo, occido, reverto, sepelio, sum, venio, video, voco

Nouns: angelus, cor, deus, dies, dominus, domus, eleemosyna, filia, filius, frater, homo, nox, oculus, pater, pecunia, piscis, rex, uxor, via, vir

Pronouns: ego, hic, ille, ipse, is, nos, quis, tu,

Proper Names: Anna, Media, Nineve, Raguel, Raphael, Sara, Thobi, Thobias

Adjectives: bonus, fortis, meus, noster, omnis, sanus, suus, tuus

Prepositions: a, ad, cum, de, ex, in, pro, super

Other: cum, ecce, enim, et, iam, non, nunc, postquam, quia, quoniam, sed, tunc, ut


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