Now when they were gone their
way, Judith went into her *oratory, put on an hairy smock, strewed
ashes upon her head, fell down before the Lord, and cried unto him,
saying O' Lord God of my father Simeon, which gavest him a sword for
a defense against the enemies, that used violence and willfulness
and that ravished the virgin and put her to dishonesty. Thou that
gavest their wives into prey, and their daughters into captivity,
and all their prey for a spoil unto thy servants, which bear a zeal
unto thee, help me widow, O' Lord my God, I beseech thee For thou
hast done all things from the beginning, and look what thou hast
taken in hand and devised, it came ever to pass. For all thy ways
are prepared, and thy judgements are done in thy everlasting for
knowledge. O' look now upon the armies of the Assyrians, like as it
was thy pleasure sometime to look upon the host of the Egyptians,
when they being weaponed, persecuted thy servants, and put their
trust in their chariots, horsemen, and in the multitude of their men
of war. But thou lookest upon their host casting a thick darkness
before them: and when they came into the deep, the waters
Even so Lord let it go with these, that trust in the power and
multitude of their men of war, in their chariots, arrows and spears,
and know not, that thou only art our God, which destroyest wars from
the beginning, and that thou art the Lord. O' lift up thine arm now
like as ever from the beginning, and in thy power bring their power
to naught, cause their might to fall in thy wrath. They make their
boast, that they will unhallow and defile thy Sanctuary, and to
waste the tabernacle of thy name and to cast down the horn of thine
altar with their sword. Bring to pass ( O' Lord) that the pride of
the enemy may be cut down with his own sword that he may be taken
with the snare of his eyes in me and that thou mayest smite him with
the lips of my love. O' give me a steadfast mind, that I may despise
him and his strength, and that I may destroy him.
This shall I bring thy name an everlasting remembrance, if the
hand of a woman overthrow him. For thy power ( O' Lord ) standeth
not in the power of men, neither hast thou any pleasure in the
strength of horses. There was never proud person that pleaseth thee,
but in the prayer of the humble and meek hath thy pleasure been
O' thou God of the heavens, thou maker of the waters, and Lord
of all creatures, hear me poor woman, calling upon thee, and putting
my trust in thy mercy. Remember thy covenant O' Lord, and minister
words in my mouth, and *stablish this devise in my heart, that thy
house may continue still in holiness, and that all the Heathen may
know and understand, that thou art God, and that there is none other
*oratory, (place speaking; in this case of prayer) *stablish
And when she had left off crying
unto the Lord, she rose up from the place, where she had layen flat
before the Lord, and called her maid, went down into her house,
layed the hairy cloth from her, put off the garments of her
widowhood, washed her body, annointed herself with precious things
of sweet savior, *broided and plated her hair, set an *hoove upon
her head, and put on such apparel as belongeth to gladness, slippers
upon her feet, armlets, spangles, earings, finger rings, and decked
herself with all her best array.
The Lord gave her also a special beauty and fairness ( for all
this decking of herself was not done for any voluptuousness and
pleasure of the flesh, but of right descretion and vertue, therefore
did the Lord increase her beauty ) so that she was exceedingly
*amiable and well favored in all mens eyes. She gave her maid also a
bottle of wine, a pot with oil, pottage, cake bread and cheese, and
went her way.
Now when she came to the port of the city, she found Osias and
the elders of the city waiting there. Which when they saw her, they
were astounded, and marveled at her great beauty, nevertheless, they
asked no question at her, but let her go saying: The God of our
fathers give thee his grace, and with his power perform all the
devise of thy heart: that Jerusalem may rejoice over thee, and that
thy name may be in the number of the holy and righteous. And all
they that were there, said with one voice: so be it, so be it.
Judith made her prayer unto the Lord, and went out the port, she and
And as she was going down the mountain, it happened that about
the spring of the day, the spies of the Assyrians met with her, and
took her, saying: whence commest thou? Or whither goest thou? She
answered: I am a daughter of the Hebrews, and am fled from them, for
I know, that they shall be given unto you to be spoiled: because
they thought scorn to yield themselves unto you, that they might
find mercy in your sight. Therefore have I devised by myself after
this manner: I will go before the prince Holofernes, and tell him
all their secrets, and will show him, how he may come by them, and
win them, so that not one man of his host shall perish.
And when these men had heard her words, and considered her
fair face, they were astonished ( for they wondered at her excellent
beauty ) and said unto her: Thou hast saved thy life by finding out
this devise, that thou wouldest come down to our lord: and be thou
sure, that when thou comest unto him, he shall entreat thee well,
and thou shall please him at the heart. So they brought her in to
Holofernes pavilion, and told him of her. Now when she came in
before him, immediately he was overcome and taken with her beauty.
Then said his servants: who would despise the people of the Jews,
that have so fair women? Should we not by reason fight against them
for these? So when Judith saw Holofernes sitting in a canopy, that
was wrought of purple, silk, gold Emeralds she looked fast upon him,
and fell down upon the earth. And Holofernes servants took her up
again, at their lords commandment.
*broided (as embroidered) *hoove :(a covering for the head;)
*amiable (agreeably pleasant)
Holofernes unto her: be of good cheer, and fear not in thine heart,
for I never hurt man, that would serve Nabuchodonosor the king. As
for thy people, if they had not despised me. I should not have lift
up a spear against them. But tell me now, what is the cause that
thou art departed from them, and wherefore art thou come unto us.
And Judith said unto him: Sir understand the words of thy
handmaiden: for if thou wilt do after the words of thy handmaiden,
the Lord shall bring thy matter to a prosperous effect. As truly as
Nabuchodonosor a lord of the land liveth, and as truly as his power
liveth, which is in the punishment of all men that go wrong, all men
shall not only be subdued unto him through thee, but all the beasts
of the field. For all people speak of thy prudent activity, and it
hath ever been reported, how thou only art good and mighty in all
his kingdom, and thy discretion is command in all lands.
The thing is manifest also, that Achior spake and it is well
known, what thou commandest to do to him. For this is plain and of a
surety, that our God is so wroth with us ( by reason of our sins )
that he hath showed by his Prophets unto the people, how that for
their sins he will deliver them over unto the enemy. And for so much
as the children of Israel know that they have so displeased their
God, they are sore afraid of thee.
They suffer great hunger also, and for want of water, they are
dead now in a manner. Moreover they are appointed to slay all their
cattle, that they may drink the blood of them: and are purposed to
spend all the holy ornaments of their God ( which he hath forbidden
them to touch ) for corn, wine and oil. Seeing now that they do
these things, it is a plain cause, that they must needs be
destroyed. Which when I thy handmaiden perceived, I fled from them
and the Lord hath sent me unto thee, to show thee these things. For
I thy handmaiden worship God even here beside thee, and thy
handmaiden shall go forth, and will make my prayer unto God, and he
shall tell me, when he will reward them their sin: then shall I come
and show thee and bring thee through the midst of Jerusalem, so that
thou shalt have all the people of Israel, as the sheep without a
shepherd: there shall not so much as one dog bark against thee, for
these things are showed me by the providence of God: and for so much
as God is displeased with them, he hath sent me to tell thee the
These words pleased Holofernes and all his servants, which
marveled at the wisdom of her, and said one to another: there is not
such a woman upon the earth, in beauty, and discretion of words. And
Holofernes said unto her: God hath done well, that he hath sent thee
hither before thy people, that thou mayest give them into our hands.
And for so much as thy promise is good, if thy God perform it unto
me, he shall be my God also, and thou shalt be excellent and great
in the court of Nabuchodonosor, and thy name shall be spoken of in
all the land.
he her to go in, where his treasure lay, and charged that she should
have her dwelling there, and appointed what should be given her from
his table. Judith answered him and said: As for the meat that thou
hast commanded to give me, I may not eat of it as now ( least I
displease my God ) but will eat of such as I have brought with me.
Then said Holofernes unto her: If these things that thou hast
brought with thee fail, what shall we do unto thee? And Judith said:
As truly as thou livest my lord, thy hand maiden shall not spend all
this, till God have brought to pass in my hand, the things that I
So his servants brought her in to the tent, whereas he had
appointed. And as she was going in, she desired that she might have
leave to go forth by night and before the day, to her prayer and to
make intercession unto the Lord. Then commanded Holofernes his
Chamberlains, that she should go out and in at her pleasure, to pray
unto God those three days.
And so in the night season she went forth into the valley of
Bethulia, and washed herself in the well water. Then went she up,
and besought the Lord God of Israel that he would prosper her way,
for the deliverance of his people. And so she went in, and remained
clean in her tent, till she took her meat in the evening.
Upon the fourth day it happened, that Holofernes made a costly
supper unto his servants, and said unto Uagao his Chamberlain: Go
thy way, and counsel this Hebrewess, that she may be willing to
consent to keep company with me. For it were a shame unto all
Assyrians, that a woman should so laugh a man to scorn, that she
were come from him unmeddled withal.
Then went Uagao unto Judith, and said: Let the good daughter
be afraid, to come in to my Lord, that she may be honored before
him, that she may eat and drink wine, and be merry with him. Unto
whom Judith answered: Who am I, that I should say my Lord nay?
Whatsoever is good before his eyes, I shall do it: and look what is
his pleasure, that shall I think well done, as long as I live.
So she stood up and decked herself with her apparel, and went
in, and stood before him. And Holofernes heart was whole moved, so
that he burnt with desire toward her. And Holofernes said unto her:
drink now and sit down, and be merry, for thou hast found favor
before me. Then said Judith: Sir I will drink, for my mind is
merrier today, then ever it was in all my life. And she took and ate
and drank before him, the things that her maiden had prepared for
her. And Holofernes was merry with her, and drink more wine, than
ever he did afore in his life.
Now when it was
late in the night his servants made haste every man to his lodging.
And Uagao shut the chamber doors, and went his way, for they were
all over laden with wine. So was Judith alone in the chamber. As for
Holofernes he lay upon the bed all drunken, and of very drunkenness
Then commanded Judith her maiden, to stand without before the
door, and to wait. And Judith stood before the bed, making her
prayer with tears, and moved her lips secretly, and said: Strengthen
me O' Lord God of Israel, and have respect unto the works of my
hands in this hour, that thou mayest set up thy city of Jerusalem,
like as thou hast promised: O' grant that by thee I may perform the
thing, which I have devised through the believe that I have in thee.
And when she had spoken this, she went to the bedstead, and
loosen the sword that hanged upon it, and drew it out. Then she took
hold of the hairy locks of his head, and said: Strengthen me O' Lord
God in this hour: and with that she gave him two strokes upon the
neck, and smote off his head. Then took she the canopy away, and
rolled the dead body aside. Immediately she gat her forth, and
delivered the head of Holofernes unto her maiden, and bade her to
put it in her wallet.
And so these two went forth together after their custom, as
thought they would pray, and so passed by the Host, and came through
the valley unto the port of the city. And Judith cried afar off unto
the watchmen upon the walls: Open the gates ( said she ) for God is
with us, which hath showed his power in Israel. And when they heard
her voice, they called the elders of the city together. And they
came all to meet her, little and great, young and old, for they
thought not that she should have come so soon. So they lighted
candles, and gathered around her every each one: but she went up
into an high place, and caused silence to be proclaimed.
When every man now held his tongue, Judith said: O' praise the
Lord our God, for he hath not despised, nor forsaken them, that put
their trust in him: and in me his handmaiden he hath performed his
mercy, which he promised unto the house of Israel: yee in my hand
this same night hath he slayen the enemy of his people.
And with that she took forth the head of Holofernes out of the
wallet, and showed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes
the Captain of the Assyrians, and this is the canopy, where he layed
in his drunkenness : where the Lord our God hath slayen him by the
hand of a woman.
But truly as the Lord liveth, his Angel hath kept me, going
hither remaining there, and coming hither again from thence. And the
Lord hath not suffered me his handmaiden to be defiled, but without
any filthiness of sin hath he brought me again unto you: and that
with great victory, so that I am escaped, and ye delivered. O' give
thanks unto him every each one, for he is gracious, and his mercy
So they praised the Lord altogether, and gave thanks unto him.
And to her they said: The Lord hath blessed thee in his power, for
through thee he hath brought our enemies to naught. And Osias the
chief ruler of the people of Israel, said unto her: Blessed art thou
of the Lord the high God, above all women on earth.
Blessed be the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, which hath
guided thee aright to wound and to smite off the head of the Captain
of our enemies. For this day he hath made thy name so honorable,
that thy praise shall never come out of the mouth of men, which
shall alway remember the power of the Lord: seeing that thou hast
not spared thy own self, but put thee in jeopardy, considering the
anguish and trouble of thy people, and so hast helped their fall
before God our Lord. And all the people said: Amen, Amen.
Achior also was called, and he came. Then said Judith unto
him: The God of Israel unto whom thou gavest witness, that he would
be avenged of his enemies, even he hath this night through my hand
smitten off the head of all the unfaithful. And that thou mayest see
that it so is, behold this is the head of Holofernes, which in his
presumptuous pride despised the God of the people of Israel, and
threatened thee with destruction, saying: when the people of Israel
is taken, I shall also cause thee to be sticked with the sword. When
Achior saw Holofernes head he fell down upon his face to the ground
for very anguish and fear, so that he swooned withal. But after that
he was come again to himself, he fell down before her, and praised
her, saying: Blessed art thou of thy God in all the tabernacles of
Jacob: for all the people that hear of thy name, shall praise the
God of Israel because of thee.
Judith said unto all the people:
Brethren hear me. Stick up this head upon our walls, and when the
*Sun arizeth, take every man his weapon, and fall out violently: not
as though ye would go beside them, but to run upon them, with
violence. When the spies in the tents see this, they shall of
necessity be compelled to flee backward, and to raise up their
captain to the battle. So when their captains come into Holofernes
pavilion, and find the dead body wrapped in blood, fearfulness shall
fall upon them: and when ye perceive that they flee, follow them
without all care, for God shall deliver them unto you, to be
destroyed. Then Achior seeing the power of God which he had showed
unto the people of Israel, fell off from his Heathen belief, and put
his trust in God, and let himself be circumcised: and so was he
numbered among the people of Israel, he and all his posterity unto
Now as soon as it was day, they sticked up Holofernes head
upon the walls, and everyman took his weapon, and so they went out
with an horrible cry. When the spies saw that, they ran unto
Holofernes tent, came before his chamber, and made a great rushing
to wake him up, because they thought with noise to raise him. For
there durst not one of the Assyrians knock, go in or open.
But when the captains and the princes and all the chief in the
king of the Assyrians host came together, they said unto the
chamberlains: Go your way in, and wake him up, for the mice are
crept out of there holes, and dare provoke us unto battle.
Then went Uagao in to his chamber, stood before the bed, and
clapped with his hands, for he thought that he had been sleeping
But when he had harkened perfectly with his ears, and could
perceive no stirring, he went nearer to the bed, and lift it up, and
then saw the dead body of Holofernes lying there without a head,
weltered in his blood upon the earth. Then cried he with loud voice,
and with weeping rent his clothes, and went into Judiths tent, and
found her not: and so he leapt out unto the people and said: one
woman of the Jews, hath brought all Nabuchodonosors people to shame.
For lo, Holofernes lieth upon the ground and hath no head.
When the chief of the Assyrians host heard that, they rent
their clothes, and there fell an intolerable fear and trembling upon
them, so that their minds were sore afraid. And there was an
exceedingly great cry in the whole host.
* Sun exactly as from the text
Now when all the
host heard that Holofernes was headed, their mind and counsel fell
from them: and such a fear came upon them, that they undertook to
defend themselves by fleeing away: one spoke not to another, but
hanged down their heads, left all behind them, and made haste to
escape from the Hebrews: for they heard, that they were hastening to
come after them with their weapons, and so they fled by the ways of
the fields, and through all the foot paths of the dales.
And when the children of Israel saw that they fled, they
followed upon them, and went down with trumpets, blowing and making
a great cry after them. As for the Assyrians, they had no order, and
kept not themselves together, but fled their way. Nevertheless the
children of Israel fell upon them with one company and order, and
discomfited as many as they might get. And Osias sent messengers
unto all the cities and countries of Israel.
So all the regions and every city sent out their best men
after them in harness, and smote them with the sword, till they came
to the uttermost part of their borders. And the other that were in
Bethulia came into the tents of the Assyrians, and took all that
they which were fled had left behind them, and so they found great
good. And they that came again to Bethulia from the battle, took
with them such things as had been theirs: there was no number of
cattle, and of all costly Jewels, so that from the lowest to the
highest, they were all made rich of the spoils of them. And Joachim
the High priest at Jerusalem, came to Bethulia with all the elders,
that they might see Judith.
Now when she came out unto them, they began to praise her all
with one voice, saying: thou worship of the city of Jerusalem, thou
joy of Israel, thou honor of our people, thou hast done manly, and
thy heart is comforted, because thou hast loved cleanness an
chastity, and hast no man but thine own husband: therefore hath the
hand of the Lord comforted thee, and blessed shalt thou be for ever.
And all the people said: so be it, so be it.
In thirty days could the people of Israel scarce gather up the
spoils of the Assyrians. But all that belonged unto Holofernes, and
been his specially, ( whether it were of gold, of silver, precious
stones, clothing and all ornaments ) they gave it unto Judith. And
all the people rejoiced, both women, maidens, and young people, with
pipes and harps.
Then sung Judith this song unto
the Lord: Began unto the Lord upon tabernettes, sing unto the Lord
upon the cymbals. O' sing unto him a new song of thanksgiving, be
joyful and call upon his name. It is the Lord that destroyeth wars,
even the Lord is his name. Which hath pitched his tents in the midst
of his people, that he might deliver us from the hand of all our
enemies. Assur came out of the mountains in the multitude of his
strength. His people stopped the water brooks, and their horses
covered the valleys. He purposed to have burnt up my land, and to
slay my young men with the sword.
He would have carried away my children and virgins into
captivity, but the Allmighty Lord hurt him, and delivered him into
the hands of a woman, which brought him to confusion. For their
mighty was not destroyed of young men. It was not the sons of Titan
that slew him, neither have the great giants set themselves against
him: but Judith the daughter of Merari with her fair beauty hath
discomfited him, and brought him to naught. For she layed away her
widows garment, and put on the apparel of gladness in the rejoicing
of the children of Israel. She anointed her face, and bound up her
hair in a *hoove to beguile him. Her slippers ravished his eyes, her
beauty captivated his mind, with the sword she smote off his neck.
The Persians were astonished at her steadfastness, and the Medes at
her boldness. Then howled the armies of the Assyrians, when my
simple appeared dry of thirst. The sons of the daughters have pared
them through, and slain them as fugitive children: they perished in
the battle, for the very fear of the Lord my God. Let us sing a song
of thanks giving unto the Lord, a new song of praise will we sing
unto our God. Lord, Lord, thou art a great God, mighty in power,
whom no man may overcome. All thy creatures should serve thee: for
thou spakest but the word, and they were made: thou sentest thy
spirit, and they were created, and no man can withstand thy voice.
The mountains shall move from the foundations with the waters, the
stoney rocks shall melt before thee like wax. But they that fear
thee: shall be great with thee in all things. Woe unto the people
that rise up against my generation, for the Almighty Lord will
avenge himself of them, and in the day of judgement will he visit
them. For he shall give fire and worms in to their flesh, that they
may burn an feel it forevermore.
After this it happened, that after the victory all the people
came to Jerusalem, to give praise and thanks unto the Lord. And when
they were purified, they offered all their burnt sacrifices and
their promised offerings. And Judith offered all of Holofernes
weapons, and all the Jewels, that the people had given her, and the
canopy that she took from his bed, and hanged them up unto the Lord.
The people was joyful, as the use is: and this joy by reason of the
victory, with Judith endured three months.
So after these days every man went home again, and Judith was
in great reputation at Bethulia, and right honorably taken in all
the land of Israel. Unto her virtue was chastity joined, so that
after her husband Manasses died, she never knew a man all the days
of her life. Upon the high solemn days she went out with great
worship. She dwelt in her husbands house an hundred and five years,
and left her handmaiden free, and died, and was buried beside her
husband in Bethulia. And all the people mourned for her seven days.
So long as she lived, there was none that troubled Israel, and many
years also after her death.
The day wherein this victory was gotten, was solemnly holden,
and reckoned of the Jews in the number of the holy days, and it is
yet greatly holden of the Jews ever since unto this day.
*hoove (a covering for the head;)
Chapters 1-8 |