The Book of Tobit

For a complete list of blog posts in the Journey Through The Word series, please click here.

Where Am I?

Tobit is the first of the deuterocanonical books in the Catholic Bible, which falls between the books of Nehemiah and Judith in the OT.


Initial Impressions

The book of Tobit is one of the literary books in the OT, so, it’s approachable for first-time readers (like I was) and is the same type of writing that you’d find in the book of Ruth, or Esther, or Judith, to name a few examples. The short book has some fantastical elements in it, like something out of the Arabian Nights, like a love curse, demons prowling the desert, and supernatural helpers in disguise. The book could rightly be called Near Eastern folklore (set partially in Media, modern-day Iran).

To summarize the story: Tobit was a righteous and wealthy Israelite who was exiled to Ninevah in 721 B.C., where he lived with his wife and son, Tobiah. Like Job, he suffered misfortune and asked God to let him die. When Tobit remembers a large sum of gold he’d deposited in the distant city of Media, he commissions Tobiah to fetch it as his inheritance, and what follows is a charming adventure.

Favorite Passages

Without spoiling the ending, one of the things that I appreciated about the book of Tobit was the re-affirmation that God uses bad things for good (a recurring theme in the Holy Scriptures) and that He works in mysterious ways. We can’t always make sense of His plan or His timing, but if you’re willing to trust God and to be a part of that plan, He may choose to use you in extraordinary ways and impact the lives of you and others.

If you’re interested in reading the book of Tobit and you don’t currently own or have access to a Catholic Bible, click here to begin reading chapter 1. Have any insights on the book of Tobit (psst, no spoilers!), leave a comment and begin a discussion.

*The Bible version I am studying is the New American Bible, Fireside Personal Study Edition, (2006-2007 edition) by Fireside Catholic Publishing. Some of my paraphrases are based on the NIV and NASB versions which I grew up with. Links provided to Bible chapters are from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, which has an online edition of the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE).


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