Judith Prepares to Go to Holofernes
1When Juditha had ceased crying out to the God of Israel, and had ended all these words, 2she rose from where she lay prostrate and called her maid and went down into the house where she lived on sabbaths and on her feast days; 3and she removed the sackcloth which she had been wearing, and took off her widow's garments, and bathed her body with water, and anointed herself with precious ointment, and combed her hair and put on a tiara, and arrayed herself in her gayest apparel, which she used to wear while her husband Manas'seh was living. 4And she put sandals on her feet, and put on her anklets and bracelets and rings, and her earrings and all her ornaments, and made herself very beautiful, to entice the eyes of all men who might see her. 5And she gave her maid a bottle of wine and a flask of oil, and filled a bag with parched grain and a cake of dried fruit and fine bread; and she wrapped up all her vessels and gave them to her to carry.
6Then they went out to the city gate of Bethu'lia, and found Uzzi'ah standing there with the elders of the city, Chabris and Charmis. 7When they saw her, and noted how her face was altered and her clothing changed, they greatly admired her beauty, and said to her, 8"May the God of our fathers grant you favor and fulfil your plans, that the people of Israel may glory and Jerusalem may be exalted." And she worshiped God.
9Then she said to them, "Order the gate of the city to be opened for me, and I will go out and accomplish the things about which you spoke with me." So they ordered the young men to open the gate for her, as she had said. 10When they had done this, Judith went out, she and her maid with her; and the men of the city watched her until she had gone down the mountain and passed through the valley and they could no longer see her.
Judith Is Captured
11The womenb went straight on through the valley; and an Assyrian patrol met her 12and took her into custody, and asked her, "To what people do you belong, and where are you coming from, and where are you going?" She replied, "I am a daughter of the Hebrews, but I am fleeing from them, for they are about to be handed over to you to be devoured. 13I am on my way to the presence of Holofer'nes the commander of your army, to give him a true report; and I will show him a way by which he can go and capture all the hill country without losing one of his men, captured or slain."
14When the men heard her words, and observed her face-she was in their eyes marvelously beautiful-they said to her, 15"You have saved your life by hurrying down to the presence of our lord. Go at once to his tent; some of us will escort you and hand you over to him. 16And when you stand before him, do not be afraid in your heart, but tell him just what you have said, and he will treat you well."
17They chose from their number a hundred men to accompany her and her maid, and they brought them to the tent of Holofer'nes. 18There was great excitement in the whole camp, for her arrival was reported from tent to tent, and they came and stood around her as she waited outside the tent of Holofer'nes while they told him about her. 19And they marveled at her beauty, and admired the Israelites, judging them by her, and every one said to his neighbor, "Who can despise these people, who have women like this among them? Surely not a man of them had better be left alive, for if we let them go they will be able to ensnare the whole world!"
Judith Is Brought before Holofernes
20Then Holofer'nes' companions and all his servants came out and led her into the tent. 21Holofer'nes was resting on his bed, under a canopy which was woven with purple and gold and emeralds and precious stones. 22When they told him of her he came forward to the front of the tent, with silver lamps carried before him. 23And when Judith came into the presence of Holofer'nesc and his servants, they all marveled at the beauty of her face; and she prostrated herself and made obeisance to him, and his slaves raised her up.