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

Chapter 16

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1 IN the presence of all Israel, Judith began this hymn of praise and thanksgiving, which was echoed by the people:

2‘Strike up a song to my God with tambourines; sing to the Lord with cymbals; raise a psalm of praise to him; honour him and invoke his name. 3The Lord is a God who stamps out wars; he has brought me safe from my pursuers; he has stationed his camp among his people.

4‘The Assyrian came from the mountains of the north; his armies came in such myriads that his troops choked the valleys, the cavalry covered the hills. 5He threatened to set my whole land on fire, to put my young men to the sword and dash my infants to the ground, to take my children as booty, my maidens as spoil.

6‘The Lord Almighty has thwarted them by a woman's hand. 7It was no young man that brought their champion low; no Titan struck him down, no tall giant set upon him; but Judith, Merari's daughter, disarmed him by her beauty. 8To raise up the afflicted in Israel she laid aside her widow's dress; she anointed her face with perfume, bound her hair with a ribbon, and chose a linen gown to beguile him. 9Her sandal entranced his eye, her beauty took his heart captive — and the sword cut through his neck!

10‘The Persians shuddered at her daring, the Medes were daunted by her boldness. 11Then my lowly ones shouted in triumph and the enemy were dismayed; my weak ones shouted and the enemy cowered in fear; they raised their voices and the enemy took to flight. 12The sons of maidservants ran them through, wounding them like runaway slaves; they were destroyed by the army of my Lord.

13‘I will sing a new hymn to my God: O Lord, you are great and glorious, you are marvellous in your strength, invincible. 14Let your whole creation serve you; for you spoke, and all things came to be; you sent out your spirit, and it gave them form; none can oppose your word. 15Mountains will shake to their depths like water, rocks melt like wax at your presence; but you still show compassion to those who fear you. 16All sacrifices with their fragrance are but a small thing, all the fat for whole-offerings is of no significance to you; but he who fears the Lord is great always. 17Woe to the nations which attack my people! The Lord Almighty will punish them on the day of judgement; he will consign their bodies to fire and worms; in pain they will weep for ever.’

18They went to worship God at Jerusalem, and as soon as the people were purified, they presented their whole-offerings, freewill-offerings, and gifts. 19Judith dedicated to God all Holophernes' possessions which the people had given to her; the net, which she herself had taken from the sleeping apartment, she gave to God as a votive offering. 20For three months the people continued their celebrations before the temple at Jerusalem; and Judith remained with them.

21At the end of that time they all returned to their own homes. Judith went back to Bethulia, where she lived on her estate, and throughout her lifetime was renowned in the whole country. 22Though she had many suitors, she remained a widow all her days after her husband Manasses died and was gathered to his fathers. 23Her fame continued to increase, and she lived on in her husband's house until she was a hundred and five years old. She gave her maid her liberty. She died in Bethulia and was laid in the burial cave beside her husband Manasses, 24and Israel observed mourning for seven days. Before her death she divided her property among all those who were most closely related to her husband, and among her own nearest relations.

25No one dared to threaten the Israelites again in Judith's lifetime, or indeed for a long time after her death.

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