Judith counsels the elders to win against Assyria. Achior becomes a Jew. The Assyrians discover Holofernes headless on the ground. They panic.
1. Judith said to them, “Hear me now, my kindred, and take this head, and hang it upon the battlement of your wall.
take this head, and hang it upon … your wall. It will serve as a beacon to the Assyrian army that they have been conquered.
2. It will be, so soon as the morning appears, and the sun comes up on the earth, you shall each take up his weapons of war, and every valiant man of you go out of the city. You shall set a captain over them, as though you would go down to the plain toward the watch of the children of Asshur; but you men shall not go down.
as though you would go down to the plain. Judith will have them pretend that they are running toward a war with the Assyrian army.
3. These shall take up their full armor, and shall go into their camp and rouse up the captains of the army of Asshur. They will run together to Holofernes’ tent. They won’t find him. Fear will fall upon them, and they will flee before your face.
Fear will fall upon them, and they will flee before your face. Judith speaks of the future. Is she seeing the future and describing it? Or do her words cause the future to happen the way she describes it?
4. You men, and all that inhabit every coast of Israel, shall pursue them and overthrow them as they go.
overthrow them as they go. The mighty Assyrian army will run for their lives from Israel. But Israel will overtake and obliterate them.
5. But before you do these things, summon Achior the Ammonite to me, that he may see and know him that despised the house of Israel, and that sent him to us, as it were to death.
6. And they called Achior out of the house of Ozias; but when he came, and saw the head of Holofernes in a man’s hand in the assembly of the people, he fell upon his face, and his spirit failed.
saw the head of Holofernes. This would have been the most unimaginable sight in the world.
his spirit failed. That is, he fainted and fell down.
7. But when they had recovered him, he fell at Judith’s feet, and bowed down to her, and said, “Blessed are you in every tent of Judah, and in every nation, which hearing your name will be troubled.
8. Now tell me all the things that you have done in these days.” And Judith declared to him in the midst of the people all the things that she had done, from the day that she went out until the time that she spoke to them.
9. But when she finished speaking, the people shouted with a loud voice, and made a joyful noise in their city.
10. But when Achior saw all the things that the God of Israel had done, he believed in God exceedingly, and circumcised the flesh of his foreskin, and was joined to the house of Israel, to this day.
was joined to the house of Israel. Judith has saved her nation, became a hero of the faith, and is written into the the Bible. Now she goes even further.
Now Judith leads a Gentile to circumcision and faith in the God of Heaven. This might be the first Gentile to officially become a Jew!
11. But as soon as the morning arose, they hanged the head of Holofernes upon the wall, and every man took up his weapons, and they went forth by bands to the ascents of the mountain.
they went forth by bands to the ascents of the mountain. Tiny Israel is running toward combat with the mighty Assyrian army.
12. But when the children of Asshur saw them, they sent word to their leaders; but they went to their captains and tribunes, and to every one of their rulers.
13. They came to Holofernes’ tent, and said to him that was over all that he had, “Wake our lord up, now; for the slaves have been bold to come down against us to battle, that they may be utterly destroyed.”
14. Bagoas went in, and knocked at the outer door of the tent; for he supposed that he was sleeping with Judith.
15. But when no one listened to him, he opened it, and went into the bedchamber, and found him cast upon the threshold dead, and his head had been taken from him.
16. He cried with a loud voice, with weeping and groaning and a mighty cry, and tore his garments.
17. He entered into the tent where Judith lodged, and he didn’t find her. He leaped out to the people, and cried aloud,
his head is not on him. The NAB translation puts it this way: “A single Hebrew woman has brought disgrace on the house of King Nebuchadnezzar. Here is Holofernes headless on the ground!”
19. But when the rulers of the army of Asshur heard the words, they tore their coats, and their soul was troubled exceedingly. There was a cry and an exceedingly great noise in the midst of the camp.
There was a cry. That is, loud screaming.
an exceedingly great noise. That is, howling.
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.