While waiting for the right moment, Judith fasts and prays and keeps kosher. Finally, Holofernes invites her to a private banquet. He gets extremely drunk.
VERSE 1. He commanded that she should be brought in where his silver vessels were set, and asked that his servants should prepare some of his own meats for her, and that she should drink from his own wine.
VERSE 2. And Judith said, “I will not eat of it, lest there be an occasion of stumbling: but provision will be made for me of the things that have come with me.”
I will not eat of it. Even in this situation, Judith keeps the dietary requirements of the Law of Moses.
VERSE 3. And Holofernes said to her, “But if the things that are with you should fail, from where will we be able to give you more like it? For there is none of your race with us.”
VERSE 4. And Judith said to him, “As your soul lives, my lord, your servant will not spend those things that are with me, until the Lord works by my hand the things that he has determined.”
your servant will not spend those things that are with me. Judith knows that she will accomplish her mission prior to exhausting her supply of kosher food.
VERSE 5. Then Holofernes’ servants brought her into the tent, and she slept until midnight. Then she rose up toward the morning watch,
VERSE 6. and sent to Holofernes, saying, “Let my lord now command that they allow your servant to go out to pray.”
VERSE 7. Holofernes commanded his guards that they should not stop her. She stayed in the camp three days, and went out every night into the valley of Bethulia, and washed herself at the fountain of water in the camp.
VERSE 8. And when she came up, she implored the Lord God of Israel to direct her way to the raising up of the children of his people.
she implored the Lord God of Israel to direct her way. Judith is on a journey. She bathes every step in prayer.
VERSE 9. She came in clean, and remained in the tent, until she ate her food toward evening.
until she ate her food toward evening. Judith is only eating once a day.
Back in Judith chapter 8, we learned that Judith’s husband Manasses had passed away three years and four months ago. Ever since then, she has been fasting. Perhaps what is meant by “fasting” is to eat only once a day.
VERSE 10. It came to pass on the fourth day, that Holofernes made a feast for his own servants only, and called none of the officers to the banquet.
VERSE 11. And he said to Bagoas the eunuch, who had charge over all that he had, “Go now, and persuade this Hebrew woman who is with you that she come to us, and eat and drink with us.
go now, and persuade this Hebrew woman. Now we see the motive behind this party. General Holofernes wants an excuse to be with Judith again.
VERSE 12. For, behold, it is a shame for our person, if we shall let such a woman go, not having had her company; for if we don’t draw her to ourselves, she will laugh us to scorn.”
VERSE 13. Bagoas went from the presence of Holofernes, and came in to her, and said, “Let this fair lady not fear to come to my lord, and to be honored in his presence, and to drink wine and be merry with us, and to be made this day as one of the daughters of the children of Asshur, which wait in the house of Nebuchadnezzar.”
VERSE 14. Judith said to him, “Who am I, that I should contradict my lord? For whatever would be pleasing in his eyes, I will do speedily, and this will be my joy to the day of my death.”
VERSE 15. She arose, and decked herself with her apparel and all her woman’s attire; and her servant went and laid fleeces on the ground for her next to Holofernes, which she had received from Bagoas for her daily use, that she might sit and eat upon them.
all her woman’s attire. The Bible tells us that Judith is fully clothed.
However, most artists portray her as being almost naked. They distort the biblical narrative, making people think that Judith seduced Holofernes. The fact is that Holofernes was drunk with lust. But our artists blame the woman rather than the man.
Also, Judith is highly intelligent and a genuine Woman of God. Holofernes is no match for her. But our artists take away her brilliance by making her seem like a seducer.
VERSE 16. Judith came in and sat down, and Holofernes’ heart was ravished with her. His soul was moved, and he exceedingly desired her company. He was watching for a time to deceive her, from the day that he had seen her.
he exceedingly desired her company. That is, “he was burning with the desire to possess her” (NAB translation).
he was watching for a time to deceive her. That is, “he had been biding his time to seduce her” (NAB translation).
VERSE 17. Holofernes said to her, “Drink now, and be merry with us.”
VERSE 18. Judith said, “I will drink now, my lord, because my life is magnified in me this day more than all the days since I was born.”
VERSE 19. Then she took and ate and drank before him what her servant had prepared.
VERSE 20. Holofernes took great delight in her, and drank exceeding much wine, more than he had drunk at any time in one day since he was born.
drank exceeding much wine. The mighty General Holofernes is drunk. He is more drunk than ever before.
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.