Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 23rd October 2021: Tobit's message for today, 2021

Tobit 2 Helping others Tobit

Reading : Verses from Tobit, Chapter 2

Tobit and the angel

During the reign of Esarhaddon I returned home, and my wife Anna and my son Tobias were restored to me. At our festival of Pentecost, which is the sacred festival of weeks, a good dinner was prepared for me and I reclined to eat. When the table was set for me and an abundance of food placed before me, I said to my son Tobias, 'Go, my child, and bring whatever poor person you may find of our people among the exiles in Nineveh, who is wholeheartedly mindful of God, and he shall eat together with me. I will wait for you, until you come back.' So Tobias went to look for some poor person of our people. When he had returned he said, 'Father!' And I replied, 'Here I am, my child.' Then he went on to say, 'Look, father, one of our own people has been murdered and thrown into the market-place, and now he lies there strangled.' Then I sprang up, left the dinner before even tasting it, and removed the body from the square and laid it in one of the rooms until sunset when I might bury it.

(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


We last heard from Tobit almost a year ago. His book is in the Apocrypha, those books that come between the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) and the New Testament. We saw that he and his people were taken off into exile by the Assyrians and held captive in Nineveh. Although most of his compatriots now worship idols, Tobit continues to have faith in God, and seeks to help those who fall foul of King Sennacherib's laws. As a result all his property is confiscated and the King's men seek to kill him. However, the King himself is killed, and the new King, Esarhaddon appoints Tobit's nephew Ahikar as his 'chief cup-bearer, keeper of the signet, and in charge of administration'. Things are looking up for Tobit again.

However, almost immediately we get a repeat performance of what happened in Chapter 1 and that caused the King to seek his life. Under Jewish law the dead must be buried immediately, for the soul is considered in torment until this happens. By rescuing the body he also makes himself unclean and so eats his meal alone, in order not to cause problems for others in the house. Tobit knows that by rescuing the body of the murdered man he is likely to be hunted down again and killed, but it does not stop him from obeying God's Law.

Today, we may not face any of the dangers that Tobit faced, but nevertheless we can still face ridicule as he did, or at best sarcasm and scorn, for being a Christian. The question is, does this stop us setting an example of loving our neighbour, and of offering a Christian response when the moment is right?


Heavenly Father,
Your Law teaches us to love one another.
Help us to step forward to one and all,
to offer a generous response to them
and when the moment is right
to explain that we do this
because of our faith and
our desire to obey God's commands
to love all people.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to listen to the Book of Tobit being read aloud:

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