December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- "Strike up the instruments, a song to my God with timbrels, chant to the Lord with cymbals; Sing to him a new song, exalt and acclaim his name.
- For the Lord is God; he crushes warfare, and sets his encampment among his people; he snatched me from the hands of my presecutors.
- "The Assyrian came from the mountains of the north, with the myriads of his forces he came; Their numbers blocked the torrents, their horses covered the hills.
- He threatened to burn my land, put my youths to the sword, Dash my babes to the ground, make my children a prey, and seize my virgins as spoil.
- "But the Lord Almighty thwarted them, by a woman's hand he confounded them.
- Not by youths was their mighty one struck down, nor did titans bring him low, nor huge giants attack him; But Judith, the daughter of Merari, by the beauty of her countenance disabled him.
- She took off her widow's garb to raise up the afflicted in Israel. She anointed her face with fragrant oil;
- with a fillet she fastened her tresses, and put on a linen robe to beguile him.
- Her sandals caught his eyes, and her beauty captivated his mind. The sword cut through his neck.
- "The Persians were dismayed at her daring, the Medes appalled at her boldness.
- When my lowly ones shouted, they were terrified; when my weaklings cried out, they trembled; at the sound of their war cry, they took to flight.
- Sons of slave girls pierced them through; the supposed sons of rebel mothers cut them down; they perished before the ranks of my Lord.
- "A new hymn I will sing to my God. O Lord, great are you and glorious, wonderful in power and unsurpassable.
- Let your every creature serve you; for you spoke, and they were made, You sent forth your spirit, and they were created; no one can resist your word.
- The mountains to their bases, and the seas, are shaken; the rocks, like wax, melt before your glance. "But to those who fear you, you are very merciful.
- Though the sweet odor of every sacrifice is a trifle, and the fat of all holocausts but little in your sight, one who fears the Lord is forever great.
- 1 "Woe to the nations that rise against my people! the Lord Almighty will requite them; in the day of judgment he will punish them: He will send fire and worms into their flesh, and they shall burn and suffer forever."
- The people then went to Jerusalem to worship God; when they were purified, they offered their holocausts, freewill offerings, and gifts.
- Judith dedicated, as a votive offering to God, all the things of Holofernes that the people had given her, as well as the canopy that she herself had taken from his bedroom.
- For three months the people continued their celebration in Jerusalem before the sanctuary, and Judith remained with them.
- When those days were over, each one returned to his inheritance. Judith went back to Bethulia and remained on her estate. For the rest of her life she was renowned throughout the land.
- Many wished to marry her, but she gave herself to no man all the days of her life from the time of the death and burial of her husband, Manasseh.
- She lived to be very old in the house of her husband, reaching the advanced age of a hundred and five. She died in Bethulia, where they buried her in the tomb of her husband, Manasseh;
- and the house of Israel mourned her for seven days. Before she died, she distributed her goods to the relatives of her husband, Manasseh, and to her own relatives; and to the maid she gave her freedom.
- 2 During the life of Judith and for a long time after her death, no one again disturbed the Israelites.
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1  Fire and worms into their flesh: see footnote on Isaiah 66:24.
2  The Vulgate adds: "The feast day of this victory was adopted by the Hebrews into the calendar of their holy days, and has been celebrated by the Jews from that time to the present." However, there is no other evidence of such a festivity; and it is the ancient feast of Passover to which the narrative is especially suited.
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