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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 2

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1In the eighteenth year, on the twenty-second day of the first month, there was a conference in King Nebuchadnezzar's palace about implementing his threat of vengeance on the whole region. 2Calling together all his officers and nobles, the king laid before them his secret plan for the region and declared his determination to put an end to the disaffection. 3It was resolved by them that everyone who had not obeyed the king's summons should die.

4When his plans were completed, King Nebuchadnezzar of Assyria summoned his commander-in-chief Holophernes, who was second only to himself, and said, 5‘This is the decree of the Great King, lord of all the earth: Directly you leave my presence, you are to take under your command an army of seasoned troops, a hundred and twenty thousand infantry with a force of twelve thousand cavalry, 6and march against all the peoples of the west who have dared to disobey the order I issued. 7Bid them have earth and water ready in token of submission, for I am coming to vent my wrath on them. Every corner of their land will be overrun by my army, and I shall give them up to be plundered by my troops; 8their wounded will fill the ravines and wadis, and every river will be choked with their dead; 9and I shall send them into captivity to the ends of the earth. 10Go, and occupy all their territory for me. If they submit, hold them for me until the time comes to punish them. 11But to those who resist show no mercy; throughout the whole region give them up to be slaughtered and plundered. 12By my life and royal power I have spoken and shall act accordingly. 13You are to obey these orders to the letter; see that you discharge them exactly as I your sovereign have commanded you, and do so without delay!’

14Withdrawing from the royal presence, Holophernes summoned all the marshals, generals, and officers of the Assyrian army. 15He mustered, as the king had commanded, a hundred and twenty thousand infantry and twelve thousand mounted archers, all picked men, 16and marshalled them in the regular battle order of a great army. 17He took an immense number of camels, donkeys, and mules for the baggage, innumerable sheep, oxen, and goats for provisions, 18ample rations for every man, as well as a great quantity of gold and silver from the royal palace. 19With his whole army he set off in advance of King Nebuchadnezzar to overrun the entire region to the west with his chariots, cavalry, and picked infantry. 20Accompanying them went a motley host like a swarm of locusts, countless as the dust of the earth.

21From Nineveh they marched for three days towards the plain of Bectileth, and encamped over against Bectileth near the mountain to the north of Upper Cilicia. 22From there Holophernes pushed on into the hill-country with his whole army—infantry, cavalry, and chariots. 23He devastated Put and Lud, and plundered all the people of Rassis, and the Ishmaelites on the edge of the desert south of the land of the Cheleans. 24Then following a 2:24 following: or crossing. the Euphrates he traversed Mesopotamia and destroyed every fortified town along the wadi Abron as far as the sea. 25He occupied the territory of Cilicia, cutting down any who resisted. He marched south to the borders of Japheth which fronts Arabia. 26He encircled the Midianites, set their encampments on fire, and plundered their sheepfolds. 27He went down into the plain of Damascus at the time of the wheat harvest, and set fire to the crops; he slaughtered the flocks and herds, sacked the towns, laid waste the countryside, and put all the young men to the sword.

28Fear and dread of him assailed the inhabitants of the coast at Sidon and Tyre, and the people of Sur and Okina, and of Jemnaan; terror seized the populations of Azotus and Ascalon.

Notes:

a 2:24 following: or crossing.

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