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2002 11 11
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Chapter 14


Then Judith said to them: "Listen to me, my brothers. Take this head and hang it on the parapet of your wall.


At daybreak, when the sun rises on the earth, let each of you seize his weapons, and let all the able-bodied men rush out of the city under command of a captain, as if about to go down into the plain against the advance guard of the Assyrians, but without going down.


They will seize their armor and hurry to their camp to awaken the generals of the Assyrian army. When they run to the tent of Holofernes and do not find him, panic will seize them, and they will flee before you.


Then you and all the other inhabitants of the whole territory of Israel will pursue them and strike them down in their tracks.


But before doing this, summon for me Achior the Ammonite, that he may see and recognize the one who despised the house of Israel and sent him here to meet his death."


1 So they called Achior from the house of Uzziah. When he came and saw the head of Holofernes in the hand of one of the men in the assembly of the people, he fell forward in a faint.


Then, after they lifted him up, he threw himself at the feet of Judith in homage, saying: "Blessed are you in every tent of Judah; and in every foreign nation, all who hear of you will be struck with terror.


But now, tell me all that you did during these days." So Judith told him, in the presence of the people, all that she had been doing from the day she left till the time she began speaking to them.


When she finished her account, the people cheered loudly, and their city resounded with shouts of joy.


Now Achior, seeing all that the God of Israel had done, believed firmly in him. He had the flesh of his foreskin circumcised, and he has been united with the house of Israel to the present day.


At daybreak they hung the head of Holofernes on the wall. Then all the Israelite men took up their arms and went to the slopes of the mountain.


When the Assyrians saw them, they notified their captains; these, in turn, went to the generals and division leaders and all their other commanders.


They came to the tent of Holofernes and said to the one in charge of all his things, "Waken our master, for the slaves have dared come down to give us battle, to their utter destruction."


Bagoas went in, and knocked at the entry of the tent, presuming that he was sleeping with Judith.


As no one answered, he parted the curtains, entered the bedroom, and found him lying on the floor, a headless corpse.


He broke into a loud clamor of weeping, groaning, and howling, and rent his garments.


Then he entered the tent where Judith had her quarters; and, not finding her, he rushed out to the troops and cried:


"The slaves have duped us! A single Hebrew woman has brought disgrace on the house of King Nebuchadnezzar. Here is Holofernes headless on the ground!"


When the commanders of the Assyrian army heard these words, they rent their tunics and were seized with consternation. Loud screaming and howling arose in the camp.



1 [6] (6-10) In recognizing the head of Holofernes, whom he had known personally, Achior was so overcome with the evidence of the Lord's power exerted through a woman that he believed in the God of Israel.

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