And he made the gates thereof, even gates that were raised to the height of seventy cubits, and the breadth of them was forty cubits, for the going forth of his mighty armies, and for the setting in array of his footmen;
And all those who dwelt in the hill country came to him, and all who dwelt by Euphrates, and Tigris and Hydaspes, and the plain of Arioch, the king of the Elymeans, and very many nations of the sons of Chelod, assembled themselves to the battle.
Then Nebuchadrezzar, king of the Assyrians, sent to all who dwelt in Persia, and to all who dwelt westward, and to those who dwelt in Cilicia, and Damascus, and Libanus, and Antilibanus, and to all who dwelt upon the sea coast,
And to all who were in Samaria and the cities thereof, and beyond Jordan to Jerusalem, and Betane, and Chelus, and Kades, and the river of Egypt, and Taphnes, and Ramesse, and all the land of Gesem,
But all the inhabitants of the land made light of the commandment of Nebuchadrezzar, king of the Assyrians, neither did they go with him to the battle; for they were not afraid of him; indeed, he was before them as one man, and they sent his ambassadors away from them without effect, and with disgrace.
Therefore, Nebuchadrezzar was very angry with all this country, and swore by his throne and kingdom, that he would surely be avenged upon all those coasts of Cilicia, and Damascus, and Syria, and that he would slay all the inhabitants of the land of Moab with the sword, and the children of Ammon, and all Judea, and all who were in Egypt, until you come to the borders of the two seas.
Then he marched in battle array with his power against king Arphaxad in the seventeenth year, and he prevailed in his battle; for he overthrew all the power of Arphaxad, and all his horsemen, and all his chariots,
So he returned afterward to Nineveh, both he and all his company of sundry nations, being a very great multitude of men of war, and there he took his ease, and banqueted, both he and his army, a hundred and twenty days.
And in the eighteenth year, the twenty second day of the first month, there was talk in the house of Nebuchadrezzar, king of the Assyrians, that he should, as he said, avenge himself on all the earth.
Thus the great king says, the lord of the whole earth, "Behold, you will go forth from my presence, and take with you men who trust in their own strength, of footmen, a hundred and twenty thousand; and the number of horses with their riders, twelve thousand.
And you will declare that they prepare for me earth and water; for I will go forth in my wrath against them and will cover the whole face of the earth with the feet of my army, and I will give them for a spoil to them;
Then he went forth and all his power to go before king Nebuchadrezzar in the voyage, and to cover all the face of the earth westward with their chariots, and horsemen, and their chosen footmen.
Then he went down into the plain of Damascus in the time of wheat harvest, and burnt up all their fields, and destroyed their flocks and herds; he also spoiled their cities, and utterly wasted their countries, and struck all their young men with the edge of the sword.
Therefore, the fear and dread of him fell upon all the inhabitants of the sea coasts, who were in Sidon and Tyrus, and those who dwelt in Sur and Ocina, and all who dwelt in Jemnaan; and those who dwelt in Azotus and Ascalon feared him greatly.
Yet he 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 Nebuchadrezzar only, and that all tongues and tribes should call upon him as god.
Now the Children of Israel, who dwelt in Judea, heard all that Holofernes, the chief captain of Nebuchadrezzar, king of the Assyrians, had done to the nations, and after what manner he had spoiled all their temples, and brought them to nothing.
For they had newly returned from the captivity, and all the people of Judea were lately gathered together; and the vessels, and the altar, and the house, were sanctified after the profanation.
And possessed themselves beforehand of all the tops of the high mountains, and fortified the villages that were in them, and laid up victuals for the provision of war; for their fields were reaped of late.
Also, Joacim, the high priest, who was in Jerusalem in those days, wrote to those who dwelt in Bethulia, and Betomestham, which is over against Esdraelon toward the open country, near Dothaim,
Charging them to keep the passages of the hill country; for there was an entrance into Judea by them, and it was easy to stop those who would come up, because the passage was straight, for two men at the most.
Thus every man and woman, and the little children, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fell before the temple, and cast ashes upon their heads, and spread out their sackcloth before the Face of the Lord; also they put sackcloth about the altar,
And cried to the God of Israel, all earnestly with one consent, that He would not give their children for a prey, and their wives for a spoil, and the cities of their inheritance to destruction, and the sanctuary to profanation and reproach, and for the nations to rejoice at.
And Joacim, the high priest, and all the priests who stood before the Lord, and those who ministered to the Lord, had their loins girt with sackcloth, and offered the daily burnt offerings, with the vows and free gifts of the people,
Then it was declared to Holofernes, the chief captain of the army of Assur, that the Children of Israel had prepared for war, and had shut up the passages of the hill country, and had fortified all the tops of the high hills and had laid impediments in the champaign countries;
And he said to them, "Tell me now, you sons of Canaan, who this people is, who dwells in the hill country, and what are the cities that they inhabit, and what is the multitude of their army, and wherein is their power and strength, and what king is set over them, or captain of their army;
Then Achior said, the captain of all the sons of Ammon, "Let my lord now hear a word from the mouth of your servant, and I will declare the truth to you concerning this people, who dwells near you, and inhabits the hill countries; and no lie will come out of the mouth of your servant.
For they left the way of their ancestors, and worshiped the God of heaven, the God whom they knew; so they cast them out from the face of their gods, and they fled into Mesopotamia, and sojourned there for many days.
Then their God commanded them to depart from the place where they sojourned, and to go into the land of Canaan; where they dwelt, and were increased with gold and silver, and with very much cattle.
But when a famine covered all the land of Canaan, they went down into Egypt and sojourned there, while they were nourished, and became a great multitude there, so that one could not number their nation.
But when they departed from the way which He appointed them, they were destroyed in many battles, very sore, and were led captives into a land that was not theirs, and the temple of their God was cast to the ground, and their cities were taken by the enemies.
But now they have returned to their God, and have come up from the places where they were scattered, and have possessed Jerusalem, where their sanctuary is, and are seated in the hill country; for it was desolate.
Now therefore, my lord and governor, if there is any error against this people, and they sin against their God, let us consider that this will be their ruin, and let us go up, and we will overcome them.
And when Achior had finished these sayings, all the people standing round about the tent murmured, and the chief men of Holofernes, and all who dwelt by the sea side, and in Moab, spoke that he should kill him.
And when the tumult of men who were about the council had ceased, Holofernes, the chief captain of the army of Assur, said to Achior and all the Moabites before all the company of other nations,
"And who are you, Achior, and the hirelings of Ephraim, that you have prophesied against us as today, and have said, that we should not make war with the people of Israel, because their God will defend them? And who is god but Nebuchadrezzar?
He will send his power, and will destroy them from the face of the earth, and their God will not deliver them; but we, his servants, will destroy them as one man; for they are not able to sustain the power of our horses.
'For with them, we will tread them under foot, and their mountains will be drunken with their blood, and their fields will be filled with their dead bodies, and their footsteps will not be able to stand before us, for they will utterly perish,' says king Nebuchadrezzar, lord of all the earth; for he said, 'None of my words will be in vain.
And you, Achior, a hireling of Ammon, who have spoken these words in the day of your iniquity, will no longer see my face from this day, until I take vengeance of this nation that came out of Egypt.
So his servants took him, and brought him out of the camp into the plain, and they went from the midst of the plain into the hill country, and came to the fountains that were under Bethulia.
And when the men of the city saw them, they took up their weapons, and went out of the city to the top of the hill; and every man who used a sling kept them from coming up by casting of stones against them.
And they called all the ancients of the city together, and all their youth ran together, and their women, to the assembly, and they set Achior in the midst of all their people. Then Ozias asked him of that which was done.
And he answered and declared to them the words of the council of Holofernes, and all the words that he had spoken in the midst of the princes of Assur, and whatever Holofernes had spoken proudly against the house of Israel.
The next day, Holofernes commanded all his army, and all his people who had come to take his part, that they should remove their camp against Bethulia, to take the ascents of the hill country beforehand, and to make war against the Children of Israel.
Then their strong men removed their camps in that day, and the army of the men of war was a hundred and seventy thousand footmen, and twelve thousand horsemen, beside the baggage, and other men who were afoot among them, a very great multitude.
And they camped in the valley near Bethulia, by the fountain, and they spread themselves in breadth over Dothaim, even to Belmaim, and in length from Bethulia to Cynamon, which is over against Esdraelon.
Now the Children of Israel, when they saw the multitude of them, were greatly troubled, and said, every one to his neighbor, "Now these men will lick up the face of the earth; for neither the high mountains, nor the valleys, nor the hills, are able to bear their weight."
For this people of the Children of Israel does not trust in their spears, but in the height of the mountains wherein they dwell, because it is not easy to come up to the tops of their mountains.
For all the inhabitants of Bethulia have their water there; so thirst will kill them, and they will give up their city, and we and our people will go up to the tops of the mountains that are near, and will camp upon them, to watch that none go out of the city.
So the camp of the children of Ammon departed, and five thousand of the Assyrians with them, and they pitched in the valley, and took the waters, and the fountains of the waters of the Children of Israel.
Then the children of Esau went up with the children of Ammon, and camped in the hill country over against Dothaim; and they sent some of them toward the south, and toward the east over against Ekrebel, which is near Chusi, that is upon the brook Mochmur; and the rest of the army of the Assyrians camped in the plain, and covered the face of the whole land; and their tents and carriages were pitched to a very great multitude.
Then the Children of Israel cried to the Lord their God, because their heart failed, for all their enemies had encompassed them round about, and there was no way to escape out from among them.
Thus all the company of Assur remained about them, both their footmen, chariots, and horsemen, for thirty four days, so that all their vessels of water failed all the inhibitants of Bethulia.
Therefore, their young children were out of heart, and their women and young men fainted for thirst, and fell down in the streets of the city, and by the passages of the gates, and there was no longer any strength in them.
For it is better for us to be made a spoil to them, than to die for thirst; for we will be his servants, that our souls may live, and not see the death of our infants before our eyes, nor our wives or our children to die.
We take the heaven and the earth to witness against you, and our God and Lord of our fathers, who punishes us according to our sins and the sins of our fathers, that He does not do accordingly as we have said this day."
And he dispersed the people, everyone to their own charge; and they went to the walls and towers of their city, and sent the women and children into their houses; and they were brought very low in the city.
Now at that time, Judith heard thereof, who was the daughter of Merari, the son of Ox, the son of Joseph, the son of Ozel, the son of Elcia, the son of Ananias, the son of Gedeon, the son of Raphaim, the son of Acitho, the son of Eliu, the son of Eliab, the son of Nathanael, the son of Samael, the son of Salasadal, the son of Israel.
For, as he stood overseeing those who bound sheaves in the field, the heat came upon his head, and he fell on his bed, and died in the city of Bethulia; and they buried him with his fathers in the field between Dothaim and Balamo.
And she fasted all the days of her widowhood, except the eves of the sabbaths, and the sabbaths, and the eves of the new moons, and the new moons and the feasts and solemn days of the house of Israel.
She was also of a goodly countenance, and very beautiful to behold; and her husband Manasses had left her gold, and silver, and menservants and maidservants, and cattle, and lands; and she remained upon them.
Now when she heard the evil words of the people against the governor, that they fainted for lack of water; for Judith had heard all the words that Ozias had spoken to them, and that he had sworn to deliver the city to the Assyrians after five days;
And they came to her, and she said to them, "Hear me now, O you governors of the inhabitants of Bethulia; for your words that you have spoken before the people this day are not right, touching this oath which you made and pronounced between God and you, and have promised to deliver the city to our enemies, unless within these days the Lord turns to help you.
For you cannot find the depth of the heart of man, neither can you perceive the things that he thinks; then how can you search out God, who has made all these things, and know His mind, or comprehend His purpose? No, my brethren, do not provoke the Lord our God to anger.
And the slaughter of our brethren, and the captivity of the country, and the desolation of our inheritance, He will turn upon our heads among the Gentiles, wherever we will be in bondage; and we will be an offence and a reproach to all those who possess us.
For He has not tried us in the fire, as He did them, for the examination of their hearts, neither has He taken vengeance on us; but the Lord scourges those who come near Him, to admonish them."
For this is not the first day wherein your wisdom is manifested; but from the beginning of your days, all the people have known your understanding, because the disposition of your heart is good.
You will stand this night in the gate, and I will go forth with my waitingwoman; and within the days that you have promised to deliver the city to our enemies, the Lord will visit Israel by my hand.
Judith fell upon her face, and put ashes upon her head, and uncovered the sackcloth wherewith she was clothed; and about the time that the incense of that evening was offered in Jerusalem in the house of the Lord, Judith cried with a loud voice, and said,
"O Lord God of my father Simeon, to whom You gave a sword to take vengeance of the strangers, who loosened the girdle of a maid to defile her, and discovered the thigh to her shame, and polluted her virginity to her reproach; for You said, 'It will not be so;' and yet they did so;
And have given their wives for a prey, and their daughters to be captives, and all their spoils to be divided among Your dear children; who were moved with Your zeal, and abhorred the pollution of their blood, and called upon You for aid; O God, O my God, hear me also a widow.
For, behold, the Assyrians are multiplied in their power; they are exalted with horse and man; they glory in the strength of their footmen; they trust in shield, and spear, and bow, and sling; and do not know that You are the Lord who breaks the battles; the Lord is Your name.
Throw down their strength in Your power, and bring down their force in Your wrath; for they have purposed to defile Your sanctuary, and to pollute the tabernacle where Your glorious name rests and to cast down the horn of Your altar with the sword.
For Your power does not stand in multitude, nor Your might in strong men; for You are a God of the afflicted, a helper of the oppressed, an upholder of the weak, a protector of the forlorn, a Savior of those who are without hope.
And make my speech and deceit to be their wound and stripe, who have purposed cruel things against Your covenant, and Your holy house, and against the top of Sion, and against the house of the possession of Your children.
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 mitre upon it, and put on her garments of gladness, wherewith she was clad during the life of Manasses her husband.
And she took sandals upon her feet, and put her bracelets about her, and her chains, and her rings, and her earrings, and all her ornaments, and decked herself bravely, to allure the eyes of all men who should see her.
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 she said to them, "Command the gates of the city to be opened to me, that I may go forth to accomplish the things whereof you have spoken with me." So they commanded the young men to open to her, as she had spoken.
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 had gone down the mountain, and until she had passed the valley, and could no longer see her.
And took her, and asked her, "Of what people are you? And from where do you come? And where do you go?" And she said, "I am a woman of the Hebrews, and have fled from them; for they will be given to you to be consumed;
And I am coming before Holofernes, the chief captain of your army, to declare words of truth; and I will show him a way, whereby he will go, and win all the hill country, without losing the body or life of any one of his men."
"You have saved your life, in that you have hasted to come down to the presence of our lord; now therefore come to his tent, and some of us will conduct you, until they have delivered you to his hands.
Then there was a concourse throughout all the camp; for her coming was noised among the tents, and they came about her, as she stood outside the tent of Holofernes, until they told him of her.
And they wondered at her beauty, and admired the Children of Israel because of her, and everyone said to his neighbor, "Who would despise this people, who have such women among them? Surely it is not good that one man of them be left who, being let go, might deceive the whole earth."
And when Judith had come before him and his servants, they all marveled at the beauty of her countenance; and she fell down upon her face, and did reverence to him; and his servants took her up.
As Nebuchadrezzar, king of all the earth lives, and as his power lives, who has sent you for the upholding of every living thing; for not only men will serve him by you, but also the beasts of the field, and the cattle, and the fowls of the air, will live by your power under Nebuchadrezzar and all his house.
For we have heard of your wisdom and your policies, and it is reported in all the earth, that you only are excellent in all the kingdom, and mighty in knowledge, and wonderful in feats of war.
Therefore, O lord and governor, do not respect his word; but lay it up in your heart, for it is true; for our nation will not be punished, neither can sword prevail against them, unless they sin against their God.
And now, that my lord not be defeated and frustrate of his purpose, even death has now fallen upon them, and their sin has overtaken them, wherewith they will provoke their God to anger whenever they will do that which is not fit to be done;
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 has forbidden them to eat by His laws;
And are resolved to spend the firstfruits of the tenths of wine and oil, which they had sanctified, and reserved for the priests who 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.
Therefore, I, your handmaid, knowing all this, have fled from their presence; and God has sent me to work things with you, whereat all the earth will be astonished, and whoever will hear it.
For your servant is religious, and serves the God of heaven day and night; now therefore, my lord, I will remain with you, and your servant will go out by night into the valley, and I will pray to God, and He will tell me when they have committed their sins;
And I will lead you through the midst of Judea, until you come before Jerusalem; and I will set your throne in the midst thereof; and you will drive them as sheep who have no shepherd, and a dog will not so much as open his mouth at you; for these things were told to me according to my foreknowledge, and they were declared to me, and I am sent to tell you."
And now you are both beautiful in your countenance, and witty in your words; surely if you do as you have spoken, your God will be my God, and you will dwell in the house of king Nebuchadrezzar, and will be renowned through the whole earth."
Then Holofernes commanded his guard that they should not forbid her; thus she abode in the camp for three days, and went out in the night into the valley of Bethulia, and washed herself in a fountain of water by the camp.
Then Bagoas went from the presence of Holofernes, and came to her, and he said, "Do not let this fair damsel fear to come to my lord, and to be honored in his presence, and drink wine, and be merry with us and be made this day as one of the daughters of the Assyrians, who serve in the house of Nebuchadrezzar."
So she arose, and decked herself with her apparel and all her woman's attire, and her maid went and laid soft skins on the ground for her over against Holofernes, which she had received of Bagoas for her daily use, that she might sit and eat upon them.
Now when Judith came in and sat down, Holofernes, his heart, was ravished with her, and his mind was moved, and he greatly desired her company; for he waited a time to deceive her, from the day that he had seen her.
Now when the evening had come, his servants made haste to depart, and Bagoas shut his tent outside, and dismissed the waiters from the presence of his lord; and they went to their beds; for they were all weary, because the feast had been long.
Now Judith had commanded her maid to stand outside her bedchamber, and to wait for her. Coming forth, as she did daily; for she said she would go forth to her prayers, and she spoke to Bagoas according to the same purpose.
So all went forth and none were left in the bedchamber, neither little or great. Then Judith, standing by his bed, said in her heart, "O Lord God of all power, look at this present upon the works of my hands for the exaltation of Jerusalem.
And she put it in her bag of meat; so the two went together according to their custom to prayer; and when they passed the camp, they encompassed the valley, and went up the mountain of Bethulia, and came to the gates thereof.
Then Judith said afar off, to the watchmen at the gate, "Open, open now the gate; God, even our God, is with us, to show His power yet in Jerusalem, and His forces against the enemy, as He has even done this day."
And then they ran all together, both small and great, for it was strange to them that she had come; so they opened the gate, and received them, and made a fire for a light, and stood round about them.
Then she said to them with a loud voice, "Praise, praise God, praise God, I say, for He has not taken away His mercy from the house of Israel, but has destroyed our enemies by my hands this night."
So she took the head out of the bag, and showed it, and said to them, "Behold the head of Holofernes, the chief captain of the army of Assur, and behold the canopy, wherein he lied in his drunkenness; and the Lord has smitten him by the hand of a woman.
Then all the people were wonderfully astonished, and bowed themselves and worshiped God, and said with one accord, "Blessed are You, O our God, who, have this day, brought the enemies of Your people to nothing."
Then Ozias said to her, "O daughter, blessed are you of the Most High God above all the women upon the earth; and blessed is the Lord God, who has created the heavens and the earth, who has directed you to the cutting off of the head of the chief of our enemies.
And God [will] turn these things to you for a perpetual praise, to visit you in good things because you have not spared your life for the affliction of our nation, but have revenged our ruin, walking a straight way before our God." And all the people said; "So be it, so be it."
And so soon as the morning will appear, and the sun will come forth upon the earth, take, every one his weapons, and go forth, every valiant man out of the city, and set a captain over them, as though you would go down into the field toward the watch of the Assyrians; but do not go down.
Then they will take their armor, and will go into their camp, and raise up the captains of the army of Assur, and will run to the tent of Holofernes, but will not find him; then fear will fall upon them, and they will flee before your face.
Then they called Achior out of the house of Ozias; and when he had come, and saw the head of Holofernes in a man's hand in the assembly of the people, he fell down on his face, and his spirit failed.
But when they had recovered him, he fell at Judith's feet, and reverenced her, and said, "Blessed are you in all the tabernacles of Judah, and in all nations, which, hearing your name, will be astonished.
Now therefore tell me all the things that you have done in these days." Then Judith declared to him in the midst of the people, all that she had done, from the day that she went forth until that hour she spoke to them.
So they came to Holofernes' tent, and said to him who had the charge of all his things, "Awake now our lord; for the slaves have been bold to come down against us to battle, that they may be utterly destroyed."
When the captains of the Assyrians' army heard these words, they rent their coats and their minds were wonderfully troubled, and there was a cry and a very great noise throughout the camp.
And fear and trembling fell upon them, so that there was no man who abode in the sight of his neighbor, but rushing out all together, they fled into every way of the plain, and of the hill country.
Then Ozias sent to Betomasthem, and to Bebai, and Chobai, and Cola and to all the coasts of Israel, such who should tell the things that were done, and that all should rush forth upon their enemies to destroy them.
Now when the Children of Israel heard it, they all fell upon them with one consent, and slew them to Chobai; likewise also those who came from Jerusalem, and from all the hill country, (for men had told them what things were done in the camp of their enemies) and those who were in Galaad, and in Galilee, chased them with a great slaughter, until they had past Damascus and the borders thereof.
And the Children of Israel who returned from the slaughter had that which remained; and the villages and the cities, that were in the mountains and in the plain, got many spoils; for the multitude was very great.
Then Joacim, the high priest, and the ancients of the Children of Israel who dwelt in Jerusalem, came to behold the good things that God had shown to Israel, and to see Judith, and to salute her.
And when they came to her, they blessed her with one accord, and said to her, "You are the exaltation of Jerusalem, you are the great glory of Israel, you are the great rejoicing of our nation;
You have done all these things by your hand; you have done much good to Israel, and God is pleased therewith; blessed are you of the Almighty Lord for evermore." And all the people said, "So be it."
And the people spoiled the camp the space of thirty days; and they gave to Judith, Holofernes his tent, and all his plate, and beds, and vessels, and all his stuff; and she took it and laid it on her mule; and readied her carts, and laid them thereon.
Then all the women of Israel ran together to see her, and blessed her, and made a dance among them for her; and she took branches in her hand, and gave also to the women who were with her.
And they put a garland of olive upon her and her maid who was with her, and she went before all the people in the dance, leading all the women; and all the men of Israel followed in their armor with garlands, and with songs in their mouths.
He bragged that he would burn up my borders, and kill my young men with the sword, and dash the sucking children against the ground, and make my infants as a prey, and my virgins as a spoil.
For the mighty one did not fall by the young men, neither did the sons of the Titans strike him, nor high giants set upon him; but Judith, the daughter of Merari, weakened him with the beauty of her countenance.
For she put off the garment of her widowhood for the exaltation of those who were oppressed in Israel, and anointed her face with ointment, and bound her hair in a mitre, and took a linen garment to deceive him.
Let all of creation serve You; for You spoke, and they were made, *2:117, *16:40, *36:82, *40:68 You sent forth Your Spirit, and it created them, and there are none that can oppose Your command.
For the mountains will be moved from their foundations with the waters, *Revelation 6:14, *18:47, *78:20, *81:3 the rocks will melt as wax at Your presence; yet You are merciful to those who fear You.
Woe to the nations that rise up against my kindred! The Lord Almighty will take vengeance of them in the Day of Judgment, in putting fire and worms in their flesh; and they will feel them, and weep forever."
Now as soon as they entered into Jerusalem, they worshiped the Lord; and as soon as the people were purified, they offered their burnt offerings, and their free offerings, and their gifts.
But she increased more and more in honor, and waxed old in her husband's house, being a hundred and five years old, and made her maid free; so she died in Bethulia; and they buried her in the cave of her husband Manasses.
And the house of Israel lamented her for seven days; and before she died, she distributed her goods to all those who were nearest of kindred to Manasses her husband, and to those who were the nearest of her kindred.