The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Judith
Chapter 16
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Then Judith herself sang to the Lord, and this was Judith’s song:
Strike up, tambour, and cymbals beat in the Lord’s honour, sound a fresh song of praise; high enthrone him, call aloud upon his name!
What power divine crushes the enemy, but the Lord’s great name?
Here in the midst of his people he lies encamped; come what enemy may, he grants deliverance.

Came the Assyrian from the northern hills in his great strength, the valleys choked with his marching columns, the mountain glens black with his horses;
to send fire through our country-side, put our warriors to the sword, mark down our children for slavery, our maidens for spoil.
Great despite the Lord Almighty did him, that he should fall into a woman’s power for his death-blow.
Not by warriors’ hands the tyrant fell; not giants smote him, not heroes of the old time barred his path; it was Judith, Merari’s daughter, Judith’s fair face that was his undoing.
Laid aside, now, her widow’s weeds; festal her array must be; a feast waits for the sons of Israel.
Ointment, there, for her cheeks, a band for her straying locks, a robe new-wrought to ensnare him!
Her very sandals thralled his eyes; he lay there, his heart beauty’s prisoner, while the sharp steel pierced his neck through.
Stood Persian, stood Mede aghast at the boldness of her resolve;
loud rang the cry of the Assyrian camp, when the hard-pressed defenders sallied out against them, parched with thirst!
Slaves, did they call us? But we gave them cold steel; cut them down where, like slaves, they ran; one glance from the Lord our God, and the battle was lost.

A hymn, a new hymn, sing we to the Lord our God.
Great and glorious thou art, Lord Adonai; there is no outmatching thy wondrous power.
Let all thy creatures do thee service; were they not made at thy word, fashioned by a breath from thee? When thou commandest, none but must obey.
Rain-swept, the mountains quake from their depths, the rocks melt like wax at thy coming.
Yet great, by thy measure, are those that fear thee, in all their doings great.
Woe to the nations that levy war on my people; when the time comes for judgement, the Lord Almighty will execute vengeance on them; he will not spare.
Their flesh the fire shall scorch, the worm shall devour; lament they must and bear their pain for ever.

And now, their victory won, all went to Jerusalem to worship the Lord there; once they were cleansed of defilement, burnt-sacrifice was done, vow and promise were paid by all alike.
As for Judith, she kept none of Holofernes’ spoil, that the people had given her, nor the canopy she had carried off from his banqueting-room, for herself; she offered them up as a thing forfeit.
High festival the people kept, there before the sanctuary; for three whole months they solemnized their victory, and Judith among them.
Then they dispersed to their homes, and Judith, back at Bethulia, was held in great renown; in all Israel, none so honoured as she.
So well, in her, did chastity mate with valour; once her husband was dead, she never had knowledge of man again.
When she left her house on festival days, great reverence was hers indeed.
And for the serving-maid, Judith let her go free.

There, then, Judith lived on in her husband’s dwelling-place, and a hundred and five years had passed before she was laid to rest at his side at Bethulia;
and the whole people bewailed her for seven days together.
All the while she lived, and long after her death, was never enemy that disturbed the peace of Israel.
In the Hebrew calendar, a day of rejoicing commemorates her victory; in such honour have the Jews held it from that day to this.