The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Tobias
So at last Tobias fell a-sighing, and he prayed still, but wept as he prayed.
Lord, he said, thou hast right on thy side; no award of thine but is deserved, no act of thine but tells of mercy, of faithfulness, and of justice.
Yet bethink thee, Lord, of my case; leave my sins unpunished, my guilt, and the guilt of my parents, forgotten.
If we are doomed to loss, to banishment and to death, if thou hast made us a by-word and a laughing-stock in all the countries to which thou hast banished us, it is because we have defied thy commandments;
it was fitting punishment, Lord, for the men who neglected thy bidding, and were half-hearted followers of thine.
And now, Lord, do with me as thy will is, give the word, and take my spirit to thyself in peace; for me, death is more welcome than life.✻
Now turn we to Rages,✻ a city in Media, and another soul that must undergo taunts on this same day, Sara, the daughter of Raguel. It was one of her father’s maid-servants that taunted her;
and the ground of it was that she had been married seven times, but each of her husbands in turn had been killed, at the time of his bedding with her, by an evil spirit that was named Asmodaeus.
This maid, then, upon being reproved for some fault, had answered, God send we never see son or daughter of thine brought to light! Murderess, where are those husbands of thine?
Wouldst thou make as short work with me as thou didst with those seven? At that, Sara withdrew to an upper room of the house, and for three days and nights would neither eat nor drink;
all this time she spent in prayer, begging with tears that God would free her of the suspicion.
And at last on the third day, her time of prayer ended, she blessed the name of the Lord after this fashion:
Blessed is thy name, O God of our fathers, who, though thy anger be roused, shewest mercy still, who dost pardon the sinner that cries out to thee in time of need!
To thee, Lord, I turn; on thee my eyes are fixed;
and, Lord, my prayer is that thou wouldst either rid me of this clogging suspicion, or else take me away from earth.
Thou, Lord, canst bear me witness that I lusted never after man; still have I guarded my soul from shameful desire,
nor kept company with the wanton, nor cast in my lot with the lovers of dalliance.
If I consented to take a husband, law of thine was my rule, not lust of mine.
It seems I was unworthy of these men’s love, or perhaps they of mine; it may be thou wast reserving me for another husband;
thy designs are beyond our human reach.
But this at least all thy true worshippers know; never was a life of trials but had its crown; never distress from which thou couldst not save; never punishment but left a gateway to thy mercy.
Not thine to plot eagerly for our undoing; the storm passes, and thou grantest clear weather again; tears and sighs are over, and thou fillest the cup with rejoicing;
blessed be thy name, God of Israel, for ever!✻
Two prayers that day reached the bright presence of the most high God;
and Raphael, one of the Lord’s holy angels, was sent out, bearing common deliverance to the suppliants of a single hour.
The Holy Bible