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Tobit: Chapter 3

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1In deep distress I groaned and wept aloud, and as I groaned I prayed: 2‘O Lord, you are just and all your acts are just; in all your ways you are merciful and true; you are the Judge of the world. 3Now bear me in mind, Lord, and look upon me. Do not punish me for the sins and errors which I and my fathers have committed. 4We have sinned against you and disobeyed your commandments, and you have given us up to the despoiler, to captivity and death, until we have become a proverb and a byword; we are taunted by all the nations among whom you have scattered us. 5I acknowledge the justice of your many judgements, the due penalty for our sins, for we have not carried out your commandments or lived in true obedience before you. 6And now deal with me as you will. Command that my life be taken away from me so that I may be removed from the face of the earth and turned to dust. I would be better dead than alive, for I have had to listen to taunts I have not deserved and my grief is great. Lord, command that I be released from this misery; let me go to the eternal resting-place. Do not turn your face from me, Lord; I had rather die than live in such misery, listening to such taunts.’

7On the same day it happened that Sarah, the daughter of Raguel who lived at Ecbatana in Media, also had to listen to taunts, from one of her father's servant-girls. 8Sarah had been given in marriage to seven husbands and, before the marriages could be duly consummated, each one of them had been killed by the evil demon Asmodaeus. The servant said to her: ‘It is you who kill your husbands! You have already been given in marriage to seven, and you have not borne the name of any one of them. 9Why punish us because they are dead? Go and join your husbands. I hope we never see son or daughter of yours!’

10Deeply distressed at that, she went in tears to the roof-chamber of her father's house, meaning to hang herself. But she had second thoughts and said to herself: ‘Perhaps they will taunt my father and say, “You had one dear daughter and she hanged herself because of her troubles,” and so I shall bring my aged father in sorrow to his grave. No, I will not hang myself; it would be better to beg the Lord to let me die and not live on to hear such reproaches.’ 11Thereupon she spread out her hands towards the window in prayer saying: ‘Praise be to you, merciful God, praise to your name for evermore; let all your creation praise you for ever! 12And now I lift up my eyes and look to you. 13Command that I be removed from the earth, never again to hear such taunts.

14‘You know, Lord, that I am a virgin, guiltless of intercourse with any man; 15I have not dishonoured my name or my father's name in the land of my exile. I am my father's only child; he has no other to be his heir, nor has he any near kinsman or relative who might marry me and for whom I should stay alive. Already seven husbands of mine have died; what have I to live for any longer? But if it is not your will, Lord, to let me die, have regard to me in your mercy and spare me those taunts.’

16At that very moment the prayers of both were heard in the glorious presence of God, 17and Raphael was sent to cure the two of them: Tobit by removing the white patches from his eyes so that he might see God's light again, and Sarah daughter of Raguel by giving her in marriage to Tobias son of Tobit and by setting her free from the evil demon Asmodaeus, for it was the destiny of Tobias and of no other suitor to possess her. At the moment when Tobit went back into his house from the courtyard, Sarah came down from her father's roof-chamber.

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