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Judith 15-16

The Assyrians Flee in Panic

15When the men in the tents heard it, they were amazed at what had happened. 2Overcome with fear and trembling, they did not wait for one another, but with one impulse all rushed out and fled by every path across the plain and through the hill country. 3Those who had camped in the hills around Bethulia also took to flight. Then the Israelites, everyone that was a soldier, rushed out upon them. 4Uzziah sent men to Betomasthaim* and Choba and Kola, and to all the frontiers of Israel, to tell what had taken place and to urge all to rush out upon the enemy to destroy them. 5When the Israelites heard it, with one accord they fell upon the enemy,* and cut them down as far as Choba. Those in Jerusalem and all the hill country also came, for they were told what had happened in the camp of the enemy. The men in Gilead and in Galilee outflanked them with great slaughter, even beyond Damascus and its borders. 6The rest of the people of Bethulia fell upon the Assyrian camp and plundered it, acquiring great riches. 7And the Israelites, when they returned from the slaughter, took possession of what remained. Even the villages and towns in the hill country and in the plain got a great amount of booty, since there was a vast quantity of it.

The Israelites Celebrate Their Victory

8 Then the high priest Joakim and the elders of the Israelites who lived in Jerusalem came to witness the good things that the Lord had done for Israel, and to see Judith and to wish her well. 9When they met her, they all blessed her with one accord and said to her, ‘You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the great boast of Israel, you are the great pride of our nation! 10You have done all this with your own hand; you have done great good to Israel, and God is well pleased with it. May the Almighty Lord bless you for ever!’ And all the people said, ‘Amen.’

11 All the people plundered the camp for thirty days. They gave Judith the tent of Holofernes and all his silver dinnerware, his beds, his bowls, and all his furniture. She took them and loaded her mules and hitched up her carts and piled the things on them.

12 All the women of Israel gathered to see her, and blessed her, and some of them performed a dance in her honour. She took ivy-wreathed wands in her hands and distributed them to the women who were with her; 13and she and those who were with her crowned themselves with olive wreaths. She went before all the people in the dance, leading all the women, while all the men of Israel followed, bearing their arms and wearing garlands and singing hymns.

Judith Offers Her Hymn of Praise

14 Judith began this thanksgiving before all Israel, and all the people loudly sang this song of praise. 161And Judith said,
Begin a song to my God with tambourines,
   sing to my Lord with cymbals.
Raise to him a new psalm;*
   exalt him, and call upon his name.
2 For the Lord is a God who crushes wars;
   he sets up his camp among his people;
   he delivered me from the hands of my pursuers.
3 The Assyrian came down from the mountains of the north;
   he came with myriads of his warriors;
their numbers blocked up the wadis,
   and their cavalry covered the hills.
4 He boasted that he would burn up my territory,
   and kill my young men with the sword,
and dash my infants to the ground,
   and seize my children as booty,
   and take my virgins as spoil.

5 But the Lord Almighty has foiled them
   by the hand of a woman.*
6 For their mighty one did not fall by the hands of the young men,
   nor did the sons of the Titans strike him down,
   nor did tall giants set upon him;
but Judith daughter of Merari
   with the beauty of her countenance undid him.

7 For she put away her widow’s clothing
   to exalt the oppressed in Israel.
She anointed her face with perfume;
8   she fastened her hair with a tiara
   and put on a linen gown to beguile him.
9 Her sandal ravished his eyes,
   her beauty captivated his mind,
   and the sword severed his neck!
10 The Persians trembled at her boldness,
   the Medes were daunted at her daring.

11 Then my oppressed people shouted;
   my weak people cried out,* and the enemy* trembled;
   they lifted up their voices, and the enemy* were turned back.
12 Sons of slave-girls pierced them through
   and wounded them like the children of fugitives;
   they perished before the army of my Lord.

13 I will sing to my God a new song:
O Lord, you are great and glorious,
   wonderful in strength, invincible.
14 Let all your creatures serve you,
   for you spoke, and they were made.
You sent forth your spirit,* and it formed them;*
   there is none that can resist your voice.
15 For the mountains shall be shaken to their foundations with the waters;
   before your glance the rocks shall melt like wax.
But to those who fear you
   you show mercy.
16 For every sacrifice as a fragrant offering is a small thing,
   and the fat of all whole burnt-offerings to you is a very little thing;
but whoever fears the Lord is great for ever.

17 Woe to the nations that rise up against my people!
   The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them in the day of judgement;
he will send fire and worms into their flesh;
   they shall weep in pain for ever.

18 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they worshipped God. As soon as the people were purified, they offered their burnt-offerings, their freewill-offerings, and their gifts. 19Judith also dedicated to God all the possessions of Holofernes, which the people had given her; and the canopy that she had taken for herself from his bedchamber she gave as a votive offering. 20For three months the people continued feasting in Jerusalem before the sanctuary, and Judith remained with them.

The Renown and Death of Judith

21 After this they all returned home to their own inheritances. Judith went to Bethulia, and remained on her estate. For the rest of her life she was honoured throughout the whole country. 22Many desired to marry her, but she gave herself to no man all the days of her life after her husband Manasseh died and was gathered to his people. 23She became more and more famous, and grew old in her husband’s house, reaching the age of one hundred and five. She set her maid free. She died in Bethulia, and they buried her in the cave of her husband Manasseh; 24and the house of Israel mourned her for seven days. Before she died she distributed her property to all those who were next of kin to her husband Manasseh, and to her own nearest kindred. 25No one ever again spread terror among the Israelites during the lifetime of Judith, or for a long time after her death.


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v 2.2.8
14 July 2018

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.8 14 July 2018.