Tobit 4:5


4 Remember her, my son, because she faced many dangers for you while you were in her womb. And when she dies, bury her beside me in the same grave. 5 "Revere the Lord all your days, my son, and refuse to sin or to transgress his commandments. Live uprightly all the days of your life, and do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing; 6 for those who act in accordance with truth will prosper in all their activities. To all those who practice righteousness 7 give alms from your possessions, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it. Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor, and the face of God will not be turned away from you. 8 If you have many possessions, make your gift from them in proportion; if few, do not be afraid to give according to the little you have. 9 So you will be laying up a good treasure for yourself against the day of necessity. 10 For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness. 11 Indeed, almsgiving, for all who practice it, is an excellent offering in the presence of the Most High.

Cyprian Treatises 8:20


20 Be rather such a father to your children as was Tobias. Give useful and saving precepts to your pledges, such as he gave to his son; command your children what he also commanded his son, saying: And now, my son, I command you, serve God in truth, and do before Him that which pleases Him; and command your sons, that they exercise righteousness and alms, and be mindful of God, and bless His name always. And again: All the days of your life, most dear son, have God in your mind, and be not willing to transgress His commandments. Do righteousness all the days of your life, and be not willing to walk in the way of iniquity; because if you deal truly, there will be respect of your works. Give alms of your substance, and turn not away your face from any poor man. So shall it be, that neither shall the face of God be turned away from you. As you have, my son, so do. If your substance is abundant, give alms of it the more. If you have little, communicate of that little. And fear not when you do alms; for you lay up a good reward for yourself against the day of necessity, because that alms do deliver from death, and suffers not to come into Gehenna. Alms is a good gift to all that give it, in the sight of the most high God.

 Notes and References

"... Cyprian of Carthage’s (bishop of Carthage 248/49–258 CE) use of Tobit is even broader; Gamberoni speaks of more than a dozen quotations in Cyprian’s oeuvre. Cyprian uses the book, alongside other scriptural passages as a scriptural fundus of arguments regarding the “benefits of good works and mercy.” Cyprian thus treats Tobit clearly as scripture. He even introduces it as scriptura divina in his treatise on the Lord’s prayer. Tobit, however, is not just a source for general aspects of Christian piety: Tobit 4:11 and its claim for mercy becomes an important argument in the discussion regarding the treatment of the so-called lapsi, that is Christians who negated their belief during the persecution under Emperor Decius (249–251 ce). Cyprian is also the first author who is interested in the figure of Tobit as an example of the righteous sufferer and patience. De Mortalitate (Mort. 10) and De Bono Patientiae (Ptient. 18) put Tobit, his justice and mercy, his suffering, and his final fate alongside the figure of Job. Even if he does not make extensive use of Tobit, Origen describes the book of Tobit (alongside Esther, Judith, and the Wisdom of Solomon) as being an appropriate text for beginners (Homily in Numbers 27:1) and understands it as part of the canon (Or. 14,4: ἐνδιάθηκος) while his Jewish partners in discussion do not acknowledge it. He uses the book, for example, in his discussion of proper prayer and for his teaching about angels. The later aspect plays also an important role in the apocryphal Testament of Solomon (fourth century), according to which Solomon castigates the demon Asmodaeus in a way which is heavily influenced by the book of Tobit ..."

Nicklas, Tobias "The Apocrypha in the History of Early Christianity" in Oegema, Gerbern S. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Apocrypha (pp. 52-73) Oxford University Press, 2021

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.