The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Judith
Compose thyself, Holofernes said; no need thy heart should misgive thee. None ever yet came to harm through me, that would do homage to my lord Nabuchodonosor;
never had lance of mine been raised against thy own people, if they had not defied me.
Tell me, what moved thee to part from their company and betake thyself to us?
My lord, said Judith, I have counsel for thee; do but take the advice this handmaid of thine offers, and the Lord shall do great things with thee.
By the life of Nabuchodonosor I swear it,✻ by the power of Nabuchodonosor, committed to thee here and now for the punishment of rebellious spirits! All men, nay, the brute beasts themselves, thou tamest to his will;
of thy unwearied labours all nations know; a world acclaims thee for the best and greatest of his subjects; no province but speaks of thy wise government.
It is common knowledge among us what Achior said to thee, and what doom thou hast pronounced in return.
His words have come true; God is indeed angered by our sins, so angered that he has sent warning through his prophets, he means to put our guilty race in thy power,
and if the Israelites tremble at thy coming, it is because they know they have lost their God’s favour.
And now, with famine threatening them, doomed to perish from lack of water,
they have taken a worse resolve. They mean to kill their cattle and drink the blood;
they mean to satisfy their own needs with the hallowed corn, wine, and oil offered to the Lord their God, tasting what they are forbidden to touch. This done, it is certain they will involve themselves in ruin.
Hearing such news, what marvel if I shun their fellowship? Thy handmaid now; the Lord has sent me to tell thee of all this.
Thy handmaid, but my own God I must still worship, though I be dwelling in thy camp. Suffer me, my lord, to go beyond its bounds, and offer prayer to God;
so he will make it known to me, when he means to punish their guilt, and I will come and tell thee. Then I will take thee into the heart of Jerusalem, and thou wilt find the whole people of Israel defenceless as strayed sheep, not a dog to bark at thee.
It is God’s providence has advised me of all this;
his vengeance that has sent me to warn thee of it.
This was welcome hearing for Holofernes and all that served under him; what prudence was hers! They told one another,
Never was a woman such as this, so fair to look upon, so wise to listen to.
And Holofernes said to her, God has been good indeed, sending thee here in advance of thy people, so as to give them up into our hands.
These are fair promises thou makest; will he but bring them to fulfilment, thy God shall be my God too, and thou thyself, at Nabuchodonosor’s court, shalt be held in high honour; wide as the world shall be thy renown.
The Holy Bible