The Bible in Its Traditions

Judith 10:1–12:9

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And it happened that, when she had ceased to cry out to the Lord, she arose from the place where she lay prostrate before the Lord.

Now after that she had ceased to cry unto the God of Israel, and bad made an end of all these words.

And she called her handmaid, and descending into her house, she took away from herself the haircloth, and she put away from herself the garments of her widowhood,

She rose where she had fallen down, and called her maid, and went down into the house in the which she abode in the sabbath days, and in her feast days,

and she washed her body, and she anointed herself with the best ointment, and she plaited the hair of her head, and she put a headdress on her head, and she clothed herself with the garments of her elegance, and she put sandals on her feet, and she put on her little bracelets, and lilies, and earrings, and rings, and she adorned herself with all her ornaments.

And pulled off the sackcloth which she had on, and put off the garments of her widowhood, and washed her body all over with water, and anointed herself with precious ointment, and braided the hair of her head, and put on a tire upon it, and put on her garments of gladness, wherewith she was clad during the life of Manasses her husband.

And also, the Lord conferred upon her a splendor. For all this dressing up did not proceed from sensuality, but from virtue. And therefore, the Lord increased this, her beauty, so that she appeared with incomparable honor before the eyes of all.

And she took sandals upon her feet, and put about her her bracelets, and her chains, and her rings, and her earrings, and all her ornaments, and decked herself bravely, to allure the eyes of all men that should see her.

And so, she appointed to her handmaid a wineskin, and a vessel of oil, and parched grain, and dried figs, and bread, and cheese, and they departed.

Then she gave her maid a bottle of wine, and a cruse of oil, and filled a bag with parched corn, and lumps of figs, and with fine bread; so she folded all these things together, and laid them upon her.

And when they came to the gate of the city, they found Uzziah and the elders of the city waiting.

Thus they went forth to the gate of the city of Bethulia, and found standing there Ozias and the ancients of the city, Chabris and Charmis.

And when they saw her, being astounded, they wondered at her surpassing beauty.

And when they saw her, that her countenance was altered, and her apparel was changed, they wondered at her beauty very greatly, and said unto her.

So, not questioning her at all, they dismissed her to go forth, saying: “May the God of our fathers give you grace, and may he strengthen all the advice of your heart with his virtue, so that Jerusalem may glory over you, and your name may be counted among the holy and the just.”

The God, the God of our fathers give thee favour, and accomplish thine enterprizes to the glory of the children of Israel, and to the exaltation of Jerusalem. Then they worshipped God.

And those who were there, all with one voice, said: “Amen. Amen.”

And she said unto them, Command the gates of the city to be opened unto me, that I may go forth to accomplish the things whereof ye have spoken with me. So they commanded the young men to open unto her, as she had spoken.

10  In truth, Judith was praying to the Lord as she crossed through the gates, she and her handmaid.

10  And when they had done so, Judith went out, she, and her maid with her; and the men of the city looked after her, until she was gone down the mountain, and till she had passed the valley, and could see her no more.

11  But it happened that, when she descended the mountain at about the break of day, the scouts of the Assyrians met her, and they stopped her, saying, “Where are you coming from? And where are you going?”

11  Thus they went straight forth in the valley: and the first watch of the Assyrians met her,

12  And she answered: “I am a daughter of the Hebrews. This is why I have fled from their face: because I realized that in the future they would be given over to you with pillaging, for they hold you in contempt, and they would never be willing to surrender themselves, so that they might find mercy in your sight.

12  And took her, and asked her, Of what people art thou? and whence comest thou? and whither goest thou? And she said, I am a woman of the Hebrews, and am fled from them: for they shall be given you to be consumed

13  For this reason, I thought to myself, saying: I will go to the face of the leader Holofernes, so that I may reveal to him their secrets, and show him by what means he may be able to prevail over them, without one man of his army being slain.”

13  And I am coming before Holofernes the chief captain of your army, to declare words of truth; and I will shew him a way, whereby he shall go, and win all the hill country, without losing the body or life of any one of his men.

14  And when the men had heard her words, they beheld her face, and their eyes were astounded, because they wondered exceedingly at her beauty.

14  Now when the men heard her words, and beheld her countenance, they wondered greatly at her beauty, and said unto her,

15  And they said to her: “You have preserved your life by following such an excellent plan, to descend to our lord.

15  Thou hast saved thy life, in that thou hast hasted to come down to the presence of our lord: now therefore come to his tent, and some of us shall conduct thee, until they have delivered thee to his hands.

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16  And when thou standest before him, be not afraid in thine heart, but shew unto him according to thy word; and he will entreat thee well.

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17  But know this, that when you will stand in his sight, he will treat you well, and you will be very pleasing to his heart.” And they led her to the tabernacle of Holofernes, announcing her.

17  Then they chose out of them an hundred men to accompany her and her maid; and they brought her to the tent of Holofernes.

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18  Then was there a concourse throughout all the camp: for her coming was noised among the tents, and they came about her, as she stood without the tent of Holofernes, till they told him of her.

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19  And when she had entered before his face, immediately Holofernes was captivated by his eyes.

19  And they wondered at her beauty, and admired the children of Israel because of her, and every one said to his neighbour, Who would despise this people, that have among them such women? surely it is not good that one man of them be left who being let go might deceive the whole earth.

20  And his attendants said to him, “Who can hold the people of the Hebrews in contempt, who have such beautiful women? So, we ought to think it not worthwhile, for their sakes, to fight against them.”

20  And they that lay near Holofernes went out, and all his servants and they brought her into the tent.

21  And so, Judith looked upon Holofernes, sitting under a canopy, which was woven from purple and gold, with emeralds and precious stones.

21  Now Holofernes rested upon his bed under a canopy, which was woven with purple, and gold, and emeralds, and precious stones.

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22  So they shewed him of her; and he came out before his tent with silver lamps going before him.

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23  And, after she had gazed into his face, she showed reverence for him, prostrating herself to the ground. And the servants of Holofernes lifted her up, at the command of their lord.

23  And when Judith was come before him and his servants they all marvelled at the beauty of her countenance; and she fell down upon her face, and did reverence unto him: and his servants took her up.

11:1  Then Holofernes said to her: “Be steadfast in soul, and do not be terrified in your heart. For I have never harmed a man who was willing to serve king Nebuchadnezzar.

Then said Holofernes unto her, Woman, be of good comfort, fear not in thine heart: for I never hurt any that was willing to serve Nabuchodonosor, the king of all the earth.

11:2  But if your people had not despised me, I would not have lifted up my lance over them.

Now therefore, if thy people that dwelleth in the mountains had not set light by me, I would not have lifted up my spear against them: but they have done these things to themselves.

11:3  But now, tell me, for what reason have you withdrawn from them, and why has it pleased you to come to us?”

But now tell me wherefore thou art fled from them, and art come unto us: for thou art come for safeguard; be of good comfort, thou shalt live this night, and hereafter

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11:4  For none shall hurt thee, but entreat thee well, as they do the servants of king Nabuchodonosor my lord.

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11:5  And Judith said to him: “Receive the words of your maidservant. For, if you will follow the words of your maidservant, the Lord will accomplish an excellent thing by you.

Then Judith said unto him, Receive the words of thy servant, and suffer thine handmaid to speak in thy presence, and I will declare no lie to my lord this night.

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11:6  And if thou wilt follow the words of thine handmaid, God will bring the thing perfectly to pass by thee; and my lord shall not fail of his purposes.

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11:7  For, as Nebuchadnezzar the king of the earth lives, and as his power lives, which is with you for the chastising of all straying souls: not only men serve him through you, but also the beasts of the field are submissive to him.

As Nabuchodonosor king of all the earth liveth, and as his power liveth, who hath sent thee for the upholding of every living thing: for not only men shall serve him by thee, but also the beasts of the field, and the cattle, and the fowls of the air, shall live by thy power under Nabuchodonosor and all his house.

11:8  For the diligence of your mind is being reported to all nations, and it has been revealed to all of this age that you alone are good and powerful in all his kingdom, and your discipline is being announced beforehand in all the provinces.

For we have heard of thy wisdom and thy policies, and it is reported in all the earth, that thou only art excellent in all the kingdom, and mighty in knowledge, and wonderful in feats of war.

11:9  This is not hidden, what Achior has said, nor are we ignorant of what you have ordered to befall him.

Now as concerning the matter, which Achior did speak in thy council, we have heard his words; for the men of Bethulia saved him, and he declared unto them all that he had spoken unto thee.

11:10  For it is agreed that our God is so offended with sins that he has commanded, through his prophets to the people, that he will deliver them up for their sins.

10  Therefore, O lord and governor, reject not his word; but lay it up in thine heart, for it is true: for our nation shall not be punished, neither can sword prevail against them, except they sin against their God.

11:11  And since the sons of Israel know that they have offended their God, your trembling is upon them.

11  And now, that my lord be not defeated and frustrate of his purpose, even death is now fallen upon them, and their sin hath overtaken them, wherewith they will provoke their God to anger whensoever they shall do that which is not fit to be done

11:12  Moreover, now also a famine has assailed them, and, by drought of water, they are already counted among the dead.

12  For their victuals fail them, and all their water is scant, and they have determined to lay hands upon their cattle, and purposed to consume all those things, that God hath forbidden them to eat by his laws

11:13  And finally, they have a plan to put to death their herds, and to drink their blood.

13  And are resolved to spend the firstfruits of the the tenths of wine and oil, which they had sanctified, and reserved for the priests that serve in Jerusalem before the face of our God; the which things it is not lawful for any of the people so much as to touch with their hands.

11:14  And the sacred things of the Lord their God, which God instructed them not to touch, among the grain, wine, and oil, these they have decided to expend, and they are willing to consume the things that they ought not to touch with their hands. Therefore, because they do these things, it is certain that they will be given over to perdition.

14  For they have sent some to Jerusalem, because they also that dwell there have done the like, to bring them a licence from the senate.

11:15  And I, your maidservant, knowing this, have fled from them, and the Lord has sent me to report to you these same things.

15  Now when they shall bring them word, they will forthwith do it, and they shall be given to thee to be destroyed the same day.

11:16  For I, your maidservant, worship God even now that I am with you, and your maidservant will go out, and I will pray to God.

16  Wherefore I thine handmaid, knowing all this, am fled from their presence; and God hath sent me to work things with thee, whereat all the earth shall be astonished, and whosoever shall hear it.

11:17  And he will tell me when he will repay them for their sins, and I will return and announce it to you, so that I may bring you through the midst of Jerusalem, and you will hold all the people of Israel, like sheep that have no shepherd, and there will not be so much as one dog that barks against you.

17  For thy servant is religious, and serveth the God of heaven day and night: now therefore, my lord, I will remain with thee, and thy servant will go out by night into the valley, and I will pray unto God, and he will tell me when they have committed their sins

11:18  For these things have been told to me through the providence of God.

18  And I will come and shew it unto thee: then thou shalt go forth with all thine army, and there shall be none of them that shall resist thee.

11:19  And because God has been angry with them, I have been sent to report these same things to you.”

19  And I will lead thee through the midst of Judea, until thou come before Jerusalem; and I will set thy throne in the midst thereof; and thou shalt drive them as sheep that have no shepherd, and a dog shall not so much as open his mouth at thee: for these things were told me according to my foreknowledge, and they were declared unto me, and I am sent to tell thee.

11:20  And so, all these words were pleasing before Holofernes, and before his servants, and they wondered at her wisdom, and they said to one another

20  Then her words pleased Holofernes and all his servants; and they marvelled at her wisdom, and said,

11:21  “There is not another woman so great upon the earth: in appearance, in beauty, and in charming words.”

21  There is not such a woman from one end of the earth to the other, both for beauty of face, and wisdom of words.

11:22  And Holofernes said to her: “God has done well, who sent you ahead of the people, so that you may give them into our hands.

22  Likewise Holofernes said unto her. God hath done well to send thee before the people, that strength might be in our hands and destruction upon them that lightly regard my lord.

11:23  And if your promise is good, if your God will do this for me, he will also be my God, and you will be great in the house of Nebuchadnezzar, and your name will be renowned through all the earth.”

23  And now thou art both beautiful in thy countenance, and witty in thy words: surely if thou do as thou hast spoken thy God shall be my God, and thou shalt dwell in the house of king Nabuchodonosor, and shalt be renowned through the whole earth.

12:1  Then he ordered her to enter where his valuables were stored, and he ordered her wait there, and he appointed what should be given to her from his own feast.

Then he commanded to bring her in where his plate was set; and bade that they should prepare for her of his own meats, and that she should drink of his own wine.

12:2  And Judith responded to him, and she said: “Now, I am not able to eat from these things which you instructed to be allotted to me, lest an offense come upon me. But I will eat from that which I have brought.”

And Judith said, I will not eat thereof, lest there be an offence: but provision shall be made for me of the things that I have brought.

12:3  And Holofernes said to her, “If these things that you have brought with you should fail you, what shall we do for you?”

Then Holofernes said unto her, If thy provision should fail, how should we give thee the like? for there be none with us of thy nation.

12:4  And Judith said, “As your soul lives, my lord, your maidservant will not expend all these things, until God accomplishes by my hand what I have in mind.” And his servants led her into the tabernacle, as he instructed.

Then said Judith unto him As thy soul liveth, my lord, thine handmaid shall not spend those things that I have, before the Lord work by mine hand the things that he hath determined.

12:5  And, as she was entering, she requested that it be permitted to her to go outside at night, before daylight, in order to pray and to petition the Lord.

Then the servants of Holofernes brought her into the tent, and she slept till midnight, and she arose when it was toward the morning watch,

12:6  And he instructed his chamberlains that she may exit and enter, just as it may please her, to adore her God, for three days.

And sent to Holofernes, saving, Let my lord now command that thine handmaid may go forth unto prayer.

12:7  And she went out in the nights into the valley of Bethulia, and she washed herself in a fountain of water.

Then Holofernes commanded his guard that they should not stay her: thus she abode in the camp three days, and went out in the night into the valley of Bethulia, and washed herself in a fountain of water by the camp.

12:8  And, as she climbed up, she prayed to the Lord God of Israel that he would direct her way, to the liberation of his people.

And when she came out, she besought the Lord God of Israel to direct her way to the raising up of the children of her people.

12:9  And entering, she remained pure in the tabernacle, until she received her own food in the evening.

So she came in clean, and remained in the tent, until she did eat her meat at evening.