The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Judith
Hang we this head from the battlements, Judith said to the people; and now, brethren, here is my plan.
At sunrise, arm all of you, and go out to the attack; but this attack of yours will be a feint, you will not go down into the plain.
It will suffice to make the advance guards retreat, and rouse their general;
and when their leaders hasten to the tent of Holofernes, to find his headless body lying in a pool of blood, they will be overcome by terror.
Then, once assured that they are ready for flight, go out after them undismayed, and the Lord will beat them to dust under your feet.
(Meanwhile Achior, such visible proof before his eyes of what Israel’s God could do, cast heathenry aside and learned to believe in God. He would be circumcised, and reckoned among Israel’s folk, and so his posterity remain to this day.)
No sooner was day dawned, and Holofernes’ head raised aloft on the battlements, than all took up their arms, and sallied out with a great stir and noise of shouting,
whereupon the enemy’s advance guard hastened back to Holofernes’ tent.
The guards there went to the door of the banqueting-room and bustled to and fro; rouse their lord they must, but they had rather make this show of commotion and disturb him with their din, than wake him outright;
never a man in all the Assyrian army durst knock at the door or go in.
But now chief and captain and commander in the Assyrian king’s service were waiting there, and they said to Holofernes’ attendants,
Go in and rouse him; these Israelite rats have left their holes, and are boldly offering battle.
Upon this, Vagoa went into the room where he lay, and stood behind the curtain clapping his hands; no doubt had he but Holofernes was there with Judith for his bed-fellow.
Then, when his ears told him that the sleeper had not moved, he went closer to the curtain and lifted it. And when he saw the headless body of Holofernes lying there on the ground, weltering in its own blood, he gave a loud cry of lament, and tore his garments about him.
Making his way to Judith’s tent, and finding her gone, he ran out to where the others stood;
Here is great despite done, he cried, to the court of king Nabuchodonosor, and one Jewish woman its author! Holofernes lies there felled to the earth, and no head on his body!
At this news, all the Assyrian leaders tore their garments; a craven fear fell on them they could not master, and their spirits were cowed utterly;
never was such a cry as went up then from the heart of the Assyrian camp.
The Holy Bible