Judith 12

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Judith 12

Judith as a Guest of Holofernes

1Then he commanded them to bring her in where his silver dishes were kept, and ordered them to set a table for her with some of his own food and to serve her with his own wine. 2But Judith said, "I cannot eat it, lest it be an offense; but I will be provided from the things I have brought with me." 3Holofer'nes said to her, "If your supply runs out, where can we get more like it for you? For none of your people is here with us." 4Judith replied, "As your soul lives, my lord, your servant will not use up the things I have with me before the Lord carries out by my hand what he has determined to do."

5Then the servants of Holofer'nes brought her into the tent, and she slept until midnight. Along toward the morning watch she arose 6and sent to Holofer'nes and said, "Let my lord now command that your servant be permitted to go out and pray." 7So Holofer'nes commanded his guards not to hinder her. And she remained in the camp for three days, and went out each night to the valley of Bethu'lia, and bathed at the spring in the camp.a 8When she came up from the spring she prayed the Lord God of Israel to direct her way for the raising up of her people. 9So she returned clean and stayed in the tent until she ate her food toward evening.

Judith Attends Holofernes' Banquet

10On the fourth day Holofer'nes held a banquet for his slaves only, and did not invite any of his officers. 11And he said to Bago'as, the eunuch who had charge of all his personal affairs, "Go now and persuade the Hebrew woman who is in your care to join us and eat and drink with us. 12For it will be a disgrace if we let such a woman go without enjoying her company, for if we do not embrace her she will laugh at us." 13So Bago'as went out from the presence of Holofer'nes, and approached her and said, "This beautiful maidservant will please come to my lord and be honored in his presence, and drink wine and be merry with us, and become today like one of the daughters of the Assyrians who serve in the house of Nebuchadnez'zar." 14And Judith said, "Who am I, to refuse my lord? Surely whatever pleases him I will do at once, and it will be a joy to me until the day of my death!" 15So she got up and arrayed herself in all her woman's finery, and her maid went and spread on the ground for her before Holofer'nes the soft fleeces which she had received from Bago'as for her daily use, so that she might recline on them when she ate.

16Then Judith came in and lay down, and Holofer'nes' heart was ravished with her and he was moved with great desire to possess her; for he had been waiting for an opportunity to deceive her, ever since the day he first saw her. 17So Holofer'nes said to her. "Drink now, and be merry with us!" 18Judith said, "I will drink now, my lord, because my life means more to me today than in all the days since I was born." 19Then she took and ate and drank before him what her maid had prepared. 20And Holofer'nes was greatly pleased with her, and drank a great quantity of wine, much more than he had ever drunk in any one day since he was born.