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Chapter XVI.

After saying a few words about Tobit he demonstrates that Raguel surpassed the philosophers in virtue.

96. Tobit also clearly portrayed in his life true virtue, when he left the feast and buried the dead,708708    Tob. ii. 4. and invited the needy to the meals at his own poor table. And Raguel is a still brighter example. For he, in his regard for virtue, when asked to give his daughter in marriage, was not silent regarding his daughter’s faults, for fear of seeming to get the better of the suitor by silence. So when Tobit the son of Tobias asked that his daughter might be given him, he answered that, according to the law, she ought to be given him as near of kin, but that he had already given her to six men, and all of them were dead.709709    Tob. vii. 11. This just man, then, feared more for others than for himself, and wished rather that his daughter should remain unmarried than that others should run risks in consequence of their union with her.

97. How simply he settled all the questions of the philosophers! They talk about the defects of a house, whether they ought to be concealed or made known by the vendor.710710    Cic. de Off. III. 13. Raguel was quite certain that his daughter’s faults ought not to be kept secret. And, indeed, he had not been eager to give her up—he was asked for her. We can have no doubt how much more nobly he acted than those philosophers, when we consider how much more important a daughter’s future is than some mere money affair.

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