Sealing a trust, Tobit and his relative Gabael cut in half the written contract providing that Tobit will leave ten talents of silver in trust with his kinsman. Tobit holds a bowl of wine to toast the arrangement while Gabael wields the knife to cut the parchment in two so each can have proof of the transaction. When Tobias asks his father, “But how shall I be able to recover this money from Gabael, since he does not know me and I do not know him?” (5:2), Tobit explains that the bearer of the severed parchment can collect the money. Later, delayed by the long wedding feast, Tobias sends Raphael with the document to successfully retrieve the fortune.
In this manuscript illumination—one of the earliest known illustrations of the story of Tobit—from an Old Testament copied in France around 1000 C.E, the woman on the left, whose brooch matches the one fastening Tobit’s cloak at the neck, is probably his wife Anna. Careful contracts, important in the Book of Tobit, are one way to stabilize the inherently volatile situation of the Diaspora.