The Bible in Its Traditions

Judith 3:1–15

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Then the kings as well as the princes of the provinces sent their emissaries from all of the cities: from Syria, particularly Mesopotamia, and Syria Sobal, and Libya as well as Cilicia. These, upon coming to Holofernes, said

So they sent ambassadors unto him to treat of peace, saying,

“Let your indignation concerning us cease. For it is better for us to live in service to Nebuchadnezzar, the great king, and to become subject to you, rather than to die, even though we may have to suffer our condemnation into the annihilation of slavery.

Behold, we the servants of Nabuchodonosor the great king lie before thee; use us as shall be good in thy sight.

All our cities and all our possessions, all mountains, and hills, and fields, and herds of cattle, and flocks of sheep, and goats, and horses, and camels, and all our resources and families are in your sight.

Behold, our houses, and all our places, and all our fields of wheat, and flocks, and herds, and all the lodges of our tents lie before thy face; use them as it pleaseth thee.

Let all that we have be subject to your law.

Behold, even our cities and the inhabitants thereof are thy servants; come and deal with them as seemeth good unto thee.

We, and our sons, are your servants.

So the men came to Holofernes, and declared unto him after this manner.

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Come to us as a peaceful lord, and use our service, just as it pleases you.”

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Then he descended from the mountains with horsemen, in great power, and he took charge of every city and of every inhabitant of the land.

Then came he down toward the sea coast, both he and his army, and set garrisons in the high cities, and took out of them chosen men for aid.

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And, from all the cities, he took for himself auxiliaries: strong men and well-chosen for war.

And such a dread lay upon those provinces, that the leading and honored inhabitants of all the cities, together with the people, went out to meet him at his arrival.

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10  They received him with garlands and lamps; they were led by choirs with timbrels and flutes.

10  So they and all the country round about received them with garlands, with dances, and with timbrels.

11  Yet, not even by doing these things were they able to mitigate the ferocity of his chest.

11  Yet he did cast down their frontiers, and cut down their groves: for he had decreed to destroy all the gods of the land, that all nations should worship Nabuchodonosor only, and that all tongues and tribes should call upon him as god.

12  For he both destroyed their cities and cut down their sacred groves.

12  Also he came over against Esdraelon near unto Judea, over against the great strait of Judea.

13  For king Nebuchadnezzar had instructed him to exterminate all the gods of the earth, evidently so that he alone might be called ‘god’ by those nations which were able to be subjugated by the power of Holofernes.

13  And he pitched between Geba and Scythopolis, and there he tarried a whole month, that he might gather together all the carriages of his army.

14  But when he had passed through Syria Sobal, and all of Apamea, and all Mesopotamia, he came to the Idumeans in the land of Gibeah.

14  Now the children of Israel, that dwelt in Judea, heard all that Holofernes the chief captain of Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians had done to the nations, and after what manner he had spoiled all their temples, and brought them to nought.

15  And he took their cities, and he sat there for thirty days, during which days he instructed all the troops of his army to regroup.

15  Therefore they were exceedingly afraid of him, and were troubled for Jerusalem, and for the temple of the Lord their God