Judith makes plans (Jdt 14:1-14:5)

“Then Judith said to them.

‘Listen to me!

My friends,

Take this head!

Hang it upon the parapet of your wall!

As soon as day breaks,

When the sun rises on the earth,

Each of you take up your weapons!

Let every able-bodied man go out of the town.

Set a captain over them,

As if you were going down to the plain

Against the Assyrian outpost.

Only do not go down.

Then they will seize their arms.

They will go into the camp.

They will rouse the officers of the Assyrian army.

They will rush into the tent of Holofernes.

They will not find him.

Then panic will come over them.

They will flee before you.

Then you,

And all who live within the borders of Israel,

Will pursue them.

You will cut them down in their tracks!

But before you do all this,

Bring Achior the Ammonite to me.

Let him see and recognize the man

Who despised the house of Israel,

And sent him to us as if to his death.’”

Judith then has a further plan on what to do next. First, they are going to put the head of General Holofernes on the wall. Then at sunrise, all the able bodied men would take their weapons and form a line as if to attack the Assyrians. This will then force the Assyrians to tell their commanders what was happening. When they would go to tell General Holofernes what happened, they will panic because they will find out that he is dead. There will be general disorder so that we can then attack and pursue them. All of this was based on the assumption that without their general they would simply panic and run away. Israel would then pursue them and kill them. However, Judith still wanted to talk to Achior the Ammonite before they began this exploit.

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Judith reveals the situation of the Israelites (Jdt 11:9-11:15)

“As for Achior’s speech in your council,

We have heard his words.

The people of Bethulia spared him.

He told them all he had said to you.

Therefore, lord and master, do not disregard what he said.

Keep it in your mind.

It is true.

Indeed, our nation cannot be punished.

The sword cannot prevail against them,

Unless they sin against their God.

Now, in order that my lord may not be defeated

That his purpose may not be frustrated,

Death will fall upon them.

A sin has overtaken them,

By which they are about to provoke their God to anger,

When they do what is wrong.

Since their food supply is exhausted,

Their water has almost given out,

They have planned to kill their livestock.

They have determined to use all

That God by his laws has forbidden them to eat.

They have decided to consume

The first fruits of the grain,

The tithes of the wine and oil,

That they had consecrated.

They had set aside for the priests

Who minister in the presence of our God in Jerusalem.

These are things not lawful for any of the people,

Even to touch with their hands.

Since even the people in Jerusalem have been doing this,

They have sent messengers there,

To bring back permission from the council of the elders.

When the response reaches them

They will act upon it.

On that very day,

They will be handed over to you to be destroyed.”

Judith revealed that the people of Bethulia knew everything that Achior had said to him. What he said was true. Only God can defeat them if they sin. However, because of the famine and thirst, they are about to sin. They were going to eat the forbidden foods. They are going to take the first fruits and tithes of wine and oil that had been set aside for the priests, and consume it. They are going to break the law of God. It was forbidden to even touch these things. Now they have sent messengers to Jerusalem to get permission from the elders there. As soon as their response reaches them, they will act on it and destroy themselves.

The prayer of the Israelites (Jdt 6:18-6:21)

“Then the people fell down and worshiped God. They cried out.

‘O Lord God of heaven,

See their arrogance.

Have pity on our people in their humiliation.

Look kindly today

On the faces of those who are consecrated to you.’

Then they reassured Achior. They praised him greatly. Uzziah took him from the assembly to his own house. He gave a banquet for the elders. All that night they called on the God of Israel for help.”

They prayed to the God of heaven. All night long they prayed to the God of Israel. They wanted God to see the arrogance of their enemies. As for their own humility, they wanted God to look kindly upon them. They praised and treated Achior very kindly as they had a banquet for him. In fact, Uzziah took Achior into his own house.