The fingers writing on the wall (Dan 5:5-5:5)


The fingers

Of a human hand


These fingers

Began writing

On the plaster

Of the wall

Of the king’s palace,

Next to the lampstand.

The king

Was watching

The hand

As it wrote.”

Immediately, as they began to drink from the sacred vessels from the Jerusalem Temple, praising the various Babylonian gods, the fingers of a human hand appeared. These fingers of this strange hand started writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, next to the lampstand. The king watched as this mysterious hand wrote on the wall.

Judith accepts the invitation of General Holofernes (Jdt 12:13-12:14)

“Bagoas left the presence of General Holofernes. He approached Judith and said.

‘Let this pretty girl not hesitate to come to my lord

To be honored in his presence.

Come to enjoy drinking wine with us.

Become today like one of the Assyrian women

Like one who serves in the place of King Nebuchadnezzar.’

Judith replied.

‘Who am I, to refuse my lord?

Whatever pleases him

I will do at once.

It will be a joy to me until the day of my death!’”

There was no reluctance on the part of Judith. The invitation of Bagoas had clear sexual overtones with the allusion to honor her as one of the Assyrian women in the king’s palace. She plainly said that she would not refuse the general. In fact, she said that she would do whatever pleased him. She indicated that she would joyfully go. There was no talk about religious dietary restrictions at this time.

General Holofernes commends Judith (Jdt 11:20-11:23)

“Her words pleased General Holofernes and all his servants. They marveled at her wisdom.

‘No other woman from one end of the earth to the other,

Looks so beautiful,

Or speaks so wisely.’

General Holofernes said to her.

‘God has done well

To send you ahead of the people,

To strengthen our hands,

To bring destruction upon those who have despised my lord.

You are not only beautiful in appearance,

But you are wise in speech.

If you do as you have said,

Your God shall be my God!

You shall live in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar!.

You will be renowned throughout the whole world!’”

The general and his staff were very pleased by her words. They said that she was both beautiful and wise. General Holofernes told her that God was right for sending her to him in order to strengthen his hands and bring destruction to those who had despised him. Once again, he said that she was both beautiful and wise. If things go as planned, her God would be his God. She would live in the king’s palace and be known throughout the whole world. His offer is enticing.