Judith and the women of Israel (Jdt 15:12-15:13)

“All the women of Israel gathered to see her. They blessed her. Some of them performed a dance in her honor. Judith took ivy-wreathed wands in her hands. She distributed them to the women who were with her. She, and those who were with her, crowned themselves with olive wreaths. She went before all the people in the dance, leading all the women, while all the men of Israel followed, bearing their arms, wearing garlands, and singing hymns.”

Obviously not all the women of Israel gathered to see her. Let’s just say a lot of women gathered around her. They blessed her, like everyone else. It is worth noting that this is like a woman’s only event, until the last line. Some of these women performed a dance for her. Judith has some ivy wands and gave it to the women who were with her. Then they all crowned themselves with olive wreaths. This is a clear indication that this writing was done in the Hellenistic era, because this olive wreaths was a Greek and not a Jewish custom. Then she led all the women in a dance. Notice that the women came first and then the men followed. These men of Israel danced, bore their arms, wore garlands, and sang hymns. They were showing their feminine side.