Children were becoming weak; everywhere throughout the town women and young people were collapsing. No one had any strength left.
All the people of the town - men, women, and children alike - gathered around Uzziah and the town officials and shouted in protest,
"God will punish you for what you have done to us! You are to blame for what is happening, because you did not make peace with the Assyrians.
There is no one to help us now! God has put us in their power. We are exhausted and dying of thirst.
Call the Assyrians now and surrender to them, and let Holofernes and his army take the town and loot it.
We are better off as prisoners of war. They will make us slaves, but at least we will be alive, and we won't have to watch our wives and children dying before our eyes.
Heaven and earth are witnesses against you, and so is our God, the Lord of our ancestors, who is punishing us for their sins as well as ours. We can only hope and pray that he will not let these terrible things happen to us today."
Everyone there began to weep loudly and to pray to the Lord their God.
Then Uzziah said to them, "Don't give up, my friends! Let's wait five more days to see if the Lord our God will be merciful to us. Surely he will not abandon us completely.
But if no help comes after five days, then I will do as you say."