12Then he commanded them to bring her in where his silver dinnerware was kept, and ordered them to set a table for her with some of his own delicacies, and with some of his own wine to drink. 2But Judith said, I cannot partake of them, or it will be an offence; but I will have enough with the things I brought with me. 3Holofernes said to her, If your supply runs out, where can we get you more of the same? For none of your people are here with us. 4Judith replied, As surely as you live, my lord, your servant will not use up the supplies I have with me before the Lord carries out by my hand what he has determined.
5 Then the servants of Holofernes brought her into the tent, and she slept until midnight. Towards the morning watch she got up 6and sent this message to Holofernes: Let my lord now give orders to allow your servant to go out and pray. 7So Holofernes commanded his guards not to hinder her. She remained in the camp for three days. She went out each night to the valley of Bethulia, and bathed at the spring in the camp.* 8After bathing, she prayed the Lord God of Israel to direct her way for the triumph of his* people. 9Then she returned purified and stayed in the tent until she ate her food towards evening.
10 On the fourth day Holofernes held a banquet for his personal attendants only, and did not invite any of his officers. 11He said to Bagoas, the eunuch who had charge of his personal affairs, Go and persuade the Hebrew woman who is in your care to join us and to eat and drink with us. 12For it would be a disgrace if we let such a woman go without having intercourse with her. If we do not seduce her, she will laugh at us.
13 So Bagoas left the presence of Holofernes, and approached her and said, Let this pretty girl not hesitate to come to my lord to be honoured in his presence, and to enjoy drinking wine with us, and to become today like one of the Assyrian women who serve in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar. 14Judith replied, Who am I to refuse my lord? Whatever pleases him I will do at once, and it will be a joy to me until the day of my death. 15So she proceeded to dress herself in all her womans finery. Her maid went ahead and spread for her on the ground before Holofernes the lambskins she had received from Bagoas for her daily use in reclining.
16 Then Judith came in and lay down. Holofernes heart was ravished with her and his passion was aroused, for he had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her from the day he first saw her. 17So Holofernes said to her, Have a drink and be merry with us! 18Judith said, I will gladly drink, my lord, because today is the greatest day in my whole life. 19Then she took what her maid had prepared and ate and drank before him. 20Holofernes was greatly pleased with her, and drank a great quantity of wine, much more than he had ever drunk in any one day since he was born.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011