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

Chapter 6

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1When the uproar among the men surrounding the council had died down, Holophernes, the Assyrian commander-in-chief, addressed Achior in front of all the assembled foreigners: 2‘And who are you, Achior, you and your Ephraimite mercenaries, to play the prophet in our presence as you have done today, telling us not to make war against this people, Israel, because their God will protect them? What god is there besides Nebuchadnezzar? 3When he exerts his power he will wipe them off the face of the earth; their God will assuredly not come to their rescue. We who serve Nebuchadnezzar shall strike them down as if they were but one man. They will not be able to withstand the weight of our cavalry; 4we shall overwhelm them. Their mountains will be drenched with their blood, and the plains filled with their dead. They cannot stand against us; they will perish without trace. So says King Nebuchadnezzar, lord of all the earth; he has spoken, and his words are no empty threat.

5‘As for you, Achior, you Ammonite mercenary, this is treasonable talk. You shall not see my face again from this day until I have taken vengeance on that brood of fugitives from Egypt; 6but when I come back my warriors will run you through with sword and spear and add you to their victims. 7My men will now take you away to the hill-country and leave you in one of the towns in the passes; 8you will be allowed to live until you share their fate. 9If you are so confident that these places will not fall into our hands, you need not look downcast. I have spoken, and not a single word of mine will go unfulfilled.’

10Holophernes ordered the slaves standing by in the tent to seize Achior, escort him to Bethulia, and hand him over to the Israelites. 11So laying hold of him they took him outside the camp into the plain, and from there up into the hill-country, until they arrived at the springs below Bethulia. 12The moment the men of Bethulia sighted them, they picked up their weapons and sallied forth from the town to the top of the hill, and the slingers all pelted the enemy with stones to prevent them from coming up. 13But they slipped through under cover of the hill, bound Achior and left him lying there at the foot, and then returned to their master.

14When the Israelites came down from the town and found Achior, they untied him and took him into Bethulia, where they brought him before the town magistrates 15then in office, Ozias son of Mica, of the tribe of Simeon, and Chabris son of Gothoniel, and Charmis son of Melchiel. 16The magistrates summoned the elders of the town, and all the young men and women also came running to the assembly. When Achior had been put in the centre of the crowd, Ozias questioned him as to what had happened. 17He answered by telling them everything that had taken place in Holophernes' council, what he himself had said in the presence of the Assyrian commanders, and how Holophernes had boasted of what he would do to Israel. 18At this the people prostrated themselves in worship and cried out to God: 19‘O Lord, God of heaven, consider their arrogance; have pity on us and our nation in our humiliation; show favour this day to your own people.’ 20Then they reassured Achior and commended him warmly. 21Ozias brought him from the assembly to his own house, where he gave a feast for the elders; and all night long they invoked the help of the God of Israel.

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