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Hebrew Tales

The Story of Judith

Chapter 6 (Abridged Text)

Offended at the prospect of Israelite invincibility, Holofernes sends Anchior to the Israelites, that he may suffer their same fate. He is sheltered by them.

[1] And when the tumult of men who were around the council were quiet, Holofernes, the chief captain of the army of Assur, said to Achior and all the Moabites in front of all the company of the other nations:

[2] “And who are you, Achior and the hired hands of Ephraim, that you would prophesy against us as today and would say that we should not make war with the people of Israel because their God will defend them? And who is God but Nebuchadnezzar? [3] He will send his power and will destroy them from the face of the earth and their God will not deliver them; but we, his servants, will destroy them as if they were one man; for they are not able to withstand the power of our horses.

[5] “And you, Achior, a hired hand of Ammon, who has spoken these words on the day of your iniquity, will see my face no more from this day forward, until I take vengeance on this nation which came out of Egypt. [6] And then the sword of my army and the multitude of those who serve me will pass through your sides, and you will fall among their slain, when I return.

[7] “Now therefore, my servants will bring you back into the hill country and will set you in one of the cities of the passages; [8] and you will not perish, until you are destroyed with them. [9] And if you persuade yourself in your mind that they will be taken, do not let your countenance fall; I have spoken it and none of my words will be in vain.”

[10] Then Holofernes commanded his servants, who served in his tent, to take Achior and bring him to Bethulia and deliver him into the hands of the children of Israel. [11] So his servants took him and brought him out of the camp into the plain, and they went from the midst of the plain into the hill country, and they came to the fountains which were under Bethulia.

[12] And when the men of the city saw them, they took up their weapons and went out of the city to the top of the hill, and every man who was armed with a sling kept them from coming up by casting stones against them. [13] Nevertheless, having gotten secretly under the hill, they bound Achior and threw him down, and they left him at the foot of the hill and returned to their lord.

[14] But the Israelites descended from their city and came to him, and they freed him and brought him to Bethulia, and presented him to the governors of the city. [16] And they called together all the elders of the city, and all their youth ran together, and their women, to the assembly, and they set Achior in the midst of all their people. Then Uzziah asked him what had happened.

[17] And he answered and declared to them the words of the council of Holofernes, and all the words which he had spoken in the midst of the princes of Assur, and whatsoever Holofernes had spoken proudly against the house of Israel.

[18] Then the people fell down and worshipped God, and cried to God saying, [19] “O Lord God of heaven, behold their pride and pity the low estate of our nation and look upon the face of those who are sanctified for you this day.”

[20] Then they comforted Achior and praised him greatly.

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This text has been reproduced from:

The World English Bible, a copyright-free modern English rendering of a 1901 translation that has now passed into the public domain.