Judith and General Holofernes drink together (Jdt 12:15-12:20)

“Judith proceeded to dress herself in all her woman’s finery. Her maid went ahead of her to spread for her, on the ground before General Holofernes, the lambskins that she had received from Bagoas for her daily use in reclining. Then Judith came in and lay down. General Holofernes’ heart was ravished with her. His passion was aroused. He had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her from the day he first saw her. He said to her.

‘Have a drink!

Be merry with us!’

Judith said.

‘I will gladly drink, my lord,

Because today is the greatest day in my whole life.’

Then she took what her maid had prepared. She ate and drank before him. He was greatly pleased with her. He drank a great quantity of wine, much more than he had ever drunk in any one day since he was born.”

Judith prepared to go to meet General Holofernes. She put on her best female clothes, at least for that day. Her maid preceded her with lambskins that Bagoas the eunuch had prepared so that that she could sit on the ground to eat and drink. She then went in and reclined or lay down in front of the good general. His heart was going pitter-patter as he was aroused at the sight of her. He had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her since he first met her. He offered her a drink of wine, which she did not refuse. He wanted her to be merry. She replied that it was greatest day of her life. She had never mentioned her dead husband or if she had children. There was never any mention of them, so maybe she had no children. Then she ate the meal that her maid had provided. Although he was pleased with her, he drank more wine than he had ever drunk in his whole life. This could be a problem.

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.