The Bible in Its Traditions

Judith 10:1–23

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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.