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Judith, a beautiful widow, chastises the leaders for their lack of faith. She proposes to go forth herself to conquer the Assyrian forces.
 Now at that time Judith heard about this; she was the daughter of Merari, the son of Ox, the son of Joseph, the son of Ozel, the son of Elcia, the son of Ananiah, the son of Gedeon, the son of Raphaim, the son of Acitho, the son of Eliu, the son of Eliab, the son of Nathanael, the son of Samael, the son of Salasadal, the son of Israel.  And Manasseh was her husband, of her tribe and kindred, who died during the barley harvest.  For as he stood overseeing those who bound sheaves in the field, the heat affected his head, and he fell on his bed, and died in the city of Bethulia; and they buried him with his fathers in the field between Dothaim and Balamo.
 So Judith was a widow in her house three years and four months.  And she made her a tent on the top of her house; and she put sackcloth on her loins and wore her widow’s clothing.  And she fasted all the days of her widowhood, except for the eves of the sabbaths and the sabbaths, and the eves of the new moons and the new moons, and the feasts and solemn days of the house of Israel.  She also had a graceful temperament and was very beautiful to behold. And her husband Manasseh had left her gold and silver, and menservants and maidservants, and cattle and lands, and she remained with them.  And there was no one who spoke an ill word about her, for she feared God greatly.
 Now she heard the evil words of the people against the governor and that they fainted for lack of water; for Judith had heard all the words that Uzziah had spoken to them and that he had sworn to deliver the city to the Assyrians after five days.
 So then she sent her woman servant, who was in charge of everything that she had, to call Uzziah and Chabris and Charmis, the elders of the city.  And they came to her, and she said to them,
“Hear me now, you governors of the inhabitants of Bethulia; for your words which you spoke before the people this day are not right, concerning this oath which you made and pronounced between God and yourselves, and your promise to deliver the city to our enemies, unless within these days the Lord turns to help you.  And now who are you to have tempted God this day, and to stand among the children of men instead of God?  And now test the Lord Almighty, but you will never know anything.  For you cannot find the depth of the heart of man, neither can you perceive the things which he thinks; so then how can you search out God, who has made all these things, and know his mind or comprehend his purpose? No, my brethren, do not provoke the Lord our God to anger.
 “For if he will not help us within these five days, he has power to defend us when he will, even every day, or to destroy us before our enemies.
 “Do not bind the plans of the Lord our God; for God is not like man as if he could be threatened; neither is he like the son of man so that he would be wavering.  Therefore let us wait for salvation from him and call upon him to help us, and he will hear our voice, if it pleases him.  For there arose none in our age, neither is there any now in these days, neither tribe, nor family, nor people, nor city among us, who worship gods made with hands, as has happened in past times.  For this reason our fathers were given to the sword and as plunder and had a great fall before our enemies.  But we know no other God, therefore we trust that he will not despise us, nor any of our nation.
 ”For if we are overcome, then all Judea will lie waste and our sanctuary will be pillaged; and he will place the blame for the profanation of it at our mouth;  and the slaughter of our brethren and the captivity of the country and the desolation of our inheritance, he will blame on our heads among the Gentiles, wherever we will be in captivity; and we will be an offence and a reproach to all those who possess us.  For our servitude will not be directed towards our benefit, but the Lord our God will turn it to our dishonor.
 “Now therefore, O brethren, let us show an example to our brethren, because their hearts depend on us, and the sanctuary and the house and the altar rest on us.  Moreover, let us give thanks to the Lord our God, who tests us, even as he did our fathers.  Remember the things he did to Abraham, and how he tested Isaac, and what happened to Jacob in Mesopotamia of Syria, when he kept the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother.  For he has not tested us in the fire, as he did them for the examination of their hearts, neither has he taken vengeance on us; but the Lord does scourge those who come near to him, to admonish them.”
 Then Uzziah said to her,
“All that you have spoken, you have spoken with a good heart and there is no one who can refute your words.  For this is not the first day that your wisdom has been manifested; but from the beginning of your days all the people have known your understanding, because the disposition of your heart has been good.  But the people were very thirsty; and they compelled us to do to them as we have spoken and to bring an oath on ourselves, which we will not break.  Now therefore pray for us, because you are a godly woman, and then the Lord will send us rain to fill our cisterns and we will faint no more.”
 Then Judith said to them,
“Listen to me and I will do something which will be remembered throughout all generations among the children of our nation.  You will watch this night at the gate, and I will go forth with my woman servant; and, within the days that you have promised to deliver the city to our enemies, the Lord will visit Israel by my hand.  But do not ask me what I will do, for I will not reveal it to you until the things that I do are completed.”
 Then Uzziah and the princes said to her, “Go in peace, and may the Lord God go before you to take vengeance on our enemies.”  So they returned from the tent and went to their posts.
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The World English Bible, a copyright-free modern English rendering of a 1901 translation that has now passed into the public domain.