Judith explains to Holofernes that her own people had sinned and lost the favor of God. But she still serves the God of heaven day and night.
1. Holofernes said to her, “Woman, take courage. Don’t be afraid in your heart; for I never hurt anyone who has chosen to serve Nebuchadnezzar, the king of all the earth.
2. And now, if your people who dwell in the hill country had not slighted me, I would not have lifted up my spear against them; but they have done these things to themselves.
3. And now tell me why you fled from them and came to us; for you have come to save yourself. Take courage! You will live tonight, and hereafter;
4. for there is no one that will wrong you, but all will treat you well, as is done to the servants of king Nebuchadnezzar my lord.”
5. And Judith said to him, “Receive the words of your servant, and let your handmaid speak in your presence, and I will declare no lie to my lord this night.
I will declare no lie to my lord. Everything Judith says to Holofernes will be the truth. Yet she cannot be completely candid with him, or else she will reveal her plan to assassinate him. Thus she must avoid certain topics.
6. If you will follow the words of your handmaid, God will bring the thing to pass perfectly with you; and my lord will not fail to accomplish his purposes.
7. As Nebuchadnezzar king of all the earth lives, and as his power lives, who has sent you for the preservation of every living thing, not only do men serve him by you, but also the beasts of the field, the cattle, and the birds of the sky will live through your strength, in the time of Nebuchadnezzar and of all his house.
8. For we have heard of your wisdom and the subtle plans of your soul. It has been reported in all the earth that you only are brave in all the kingdom, mighty in knowledge, and wonderful in feats of war.
9. And now as concerning the matter which Achior spoke in your council, we have heard his words; for the men of Bethulia saved him, and he declared to them all that he had spoken before you.
10. Therefore, O lord and master, don’t neglect his word; but lay it up in your heart, for it is true; for our race will not be punished, neither will the sword prevail against them, unless they sin against their God.
11. And now, that my lord be not defeated and frustrate of his purpose, and that death may fall upon them, their sin has overtaken them, wherewith they will provoke their God to anger, whenever they do wickedness.
12. Since their food failed them, and all their water was scant, they took counsel to lay hands upon their cattle, and determined to consume all those things which God charged them by his laws that they should not eat.
13. They are resolved to spend the first fruits of the corn, and the tenths of the wine and the oil, which they had sanctified and reserved for the priests who stand before the face of our God in Jerusalem; which things it is not fitting for any of the people so much as to touch with their hands.
any of the people. The NAB translation says “layman.”
14. They have sent some to Jerusalem, because they also that dwell there have done this thing, to bring them permission from the council of elders.
15. It will be, when word comes to them and they do it, they will be given to you to be destroyed the same day.
16. Therefore I your servant, knowing all this, fled away from their presence. God sent me to work things with you, at which all the earth will be astonished, even as many as hear it.
work things with you, at which all the earth will be astonished. Yes. She will assassinate him!
17. For your servant is religious, and serves the God of heaven day and night. Now, my lord, I will stay with you, and your servant will go out by night into the valley. I will pray to God, and he will tell me when they have committed their sins.
18. Then I will come and show it also to you. Then you shall go out with all your army, and there will be none of them that will resist you.
19. And I will lead you through the midst of Judea, until you come to Jerusalem. I will set your seat in the midst of it. You will drive them as sheep that have no shepherd, and a dog will not so much as open his mouth before you; for these things were told me according to my foreknowledge, and were declared to me, and I was sent to tell you.”
as sheep that have no shepherd. The Lord Jesus Christ used that phrase. Did he get it from Judith?
Matthew 9:36. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd.
Mark 6:34. Jesus came out, saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.
20. Her words were pleasing in the sight of Holofernes and of all his servants. They marveled at her wisdom, and said,
21. “There is not such a woman from one end of the earth to the other, for beauty of face and wisdom of words.”
for beauty of face. Judith uses her God-given beauty to defend her nation against the enemy.
wisdom of words. Judith was very intelligent.
22. Holofernes said to her, “God did well to send you before the people, that might would be in our hands, and destruction among those who slighted my lord.
23. And now you are beautiful in your countenance, and wise in your words. If you will do as you have spoken, your God will be my God, and you will dwell in the house of king Nebuchadnezzar, and will be renowned through the whole earth.”
your God will be my God. This is a remarkable pledge from General Holofernes. He will put his faith in the God of Judith?
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.