Tobit 12

Chapter 12

God’s Providence Revealed.[a] 1 After the wedding celebrations had been completed, Tobit summoned his son Tobiah and said to him, “My son, it is time that you paid the wages owed to the man who journeyed with you, and in addition you should give him a bonus.” 2 Tobiah replied, “Father, how much should I pay him? I would not be averse to giving him half of all the possessions he brought back with me. 3 He returned me to you safe and sound, he cured my wife, he brought back the money with me, and he healed you. How much extra should I give him?”

4 Tobit answered, “It would only be just, my son, for him to receive half of all that he brought back.” 5 So Tobiah called his companion and said, “For your wages take half of all that you brought back, and go in peace.”

6 [b][c]Raphael called both men aside privately and said to them, “Bless God, and in the presence of all the living praise him and acknowledge all the good things he has done for you. Bless and extol his name with hymns of praise. Proclaim to all people the deeds of God, and never cease to offer thanksgiving to him. 7 The secret of a king should be concealed, but the works of God should be publicly proclaimed as they deserve. Do what is good, and no evil will befall you.

8 “Prayer and fasting are worthy acts, but better than these is almsgiving with justice. A little with righteousness is better than much with wickedness. It is better to give alms than to hoard gold.[d] 9 For almsgiving saves us from death and purges every type of sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a long life, 10 but those who commit sin and do evil deeds are their own worst enemies.

11 “I will now tell you the entire truth; nothing will be hidden from you. I have already said to you that it is prudent to keep a king’s secret but that the works of God should be publicly proclaimed as they deserve. 12 I can now reveal to you, Tobit, that when you and Sarah prayed, I was the one who presented your supplications before the Glory of the Lord, as well as when you buried the dead. 13 On the occasion when you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner to go and bury the dead man, 14 I was sent to test you.[e] However, at the same time, God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. 15 I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ready to enter before the Glory of the Lord.”[f]

16 The two men were deeply shaken and fell to the ground in fear. 17 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.[g] Peace be with you. Praise God forevermore. 18 As for me, when I came to you, the decision was not in accord with my will but in accord with the will of God. Therefore, continue to bless him every day of your life and sing hymns of praise to him. 19 When you thought that you saw me eating, that was only a vision—I did not eat anything. 20 Now raise yourselves from the ground and give thanks to God. I am about to ascend to him who sent me. Make a written record of all these things that have happened to you.”

21 He then ascended, and when they stood up they could no longer see him. 22 They kept blessing God by singing hymns of praise, and they gave thanks to him for the marvelous deeds he had accomplished when an angel of God had appeared to them.


  1. Tobit 12:1 At the very hour of receiving his compensation, Tobiah’s mysterious guide reveals his true identity: the angel Raphael. He is entrusted—as his name indicates—with soothing the pains of the righteous undergoing trials. In doing so, he is only God’s instrument—it is the Lord who must be thanked.
  2. Tobit 12:6 Like a teacher of wisdom, Raphael now directs a brief exhortation to Tobit and his son—similar to the one Tobit addressed to his son in Tob 4:3-19.
  3. Tobit 12:6 These two verses reinforce the Jewish people’s belief that praising God was the most important duty (see Isa 38:16-20).
  4. Tobit 12:8 Another translation is: “prayer with fasting is a good thing; but true almsgiving is worth more than both of these”; it is a way of speaking used in proverbs (see Sir 40:18-26).
  5. Tobit 12:14 I was sent to test you: God is frequently shown testing those faithful to him (e.g., Job 1–2).
  6. Tobit 12:15 See Rev 8:2. The Bible mentions only three names of angels: Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel. Seven is a number that indicates fullness and perfection.
  7. Tobit 12:17 Do not be afraid: compare Mt 28:5, 10.

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