Now at that time Judith heard thereof, who was the daughter of Merari, the son of Ox, the son of Joseph, the son of Oziel, the son of Elkiah, the son of Ananias, the son of Gideon, the son of Raphaim, the son of Ahitub, the son of Elijah, the son of Eliab, the son of Nathanael, the son of Salamiel, the son of Sarasadai, the son of Israel.
And Manasseh was her husband, of her tribe and kindred, who died in the barley harvest.
For as he stood overseeing those who bound sheaves in the field, the heat came upon his head, and he fell on his bed and died in the city of Bethulia; and they buried him with his fathers in the field between Dothan and Balamon.
So Judith was a widow in her house three years and four months.
And she made a tent upon the top of her house, and put on sackcloth upon her loins and wore her widow's apparel.
And she fasted all the days of her widowhood, save the eves of the Sabbath and the Sabbaths, and the eves of the new moons and the new moons, and the feasts and solemn days of the house of Israel.
She was also of a goodly countenance, and very beautiful to behold. And her husband Manasseh had left her gold and silver, and menservants and maidservants, and cattle and lands; and she remained upon them.
And there was none who gave her an ill word, for she feared God greatly.
Now when she heard the evil words of the people against the governor, that they fainted for lack of water (for Judith had heard all the words that Uzziah had spoken unto them, and that he had sworn to deliver the city unto the Assyrians after five days),
then she sent her waiting woman, who had the government of all things that she had, to call Uzziah and Chabris and Charmis, the elders of the city.
And they came unto her, and she said unto them: "Hear me now, O ye governors of the inhabitants of Bethulia. For your words that you have spoken before the people this day are not right concerning this oath which ye made and pronounced between God and you, and have promised to deliver the city to our enemies unless within these days the Lord turn to help you.
And now who are you that have tempted God this day, and stand in the stead of God among the children of men?
And now try the Lord Almighty, but you shall never know any thing.
For you cannot find the depth of the heart of man, neither can ye perceive the things that he thinketh. Then how can you search out God, who hath made all these things, and know His mind or comprehend His purpose? Nay, my brethren, provoke not the Lord our God to anger!
For if He will not help us within these few days, He hath power to defend us when He will, even every day, or to destroy us before our enemies.
Do not bind the counsels of the Lord our God; for God is not as man, that He may be threatened; neither is He as the son of man, that He should be wavering.
"Therefore let us wait for salvation from Him, and call upon Him to help us, and He will hear our voice if it please Him.
For there arose none in our age, neither is there any now in these days, neither tribe, nor family, nor people, nor city among us, which worship gods made with hands, as hath been in former time.
For that cause our fathers were given to the sword and for a spoil, and had a great fall before our enemies.
But we know no other god; therefore we trust that He will not despise us nor any of our nation.
For if we are so taken, all Judea shall lie waste and our sanctuary shall be despoiled, and He will require the profanation thereof at our mouth.
And the slaughter of our brethren, and the captivity of the country, and the desolation of our inheritance will He turn upon our heads among the Gentiles, wheresoever we shall be in bondage; and we shall be an offense and a reproach to all those who possess us.
For our servitude shall not be directed to favor, but the Lord our God shall turn it to dishonor.
"Now therefore, O brethren, let us show an example to our brethren, because their hearts depend upon us, and the sanctuary and the house and the altar rest upon us.
Moreover let us give thanks to the Lord our God, who trieth us even as He did our fathers.
Remember what things He did to Abraham, and how He tried Isaac, and what happened to Jacob in Mesopotamia in Syria, when he kept the sheep of Laban his mother's brother.
For He hath not tried us in the fire, as He did them, for the examination of their hearts, neither hath He taken vengeance on us; but the Lord doth scourge those who come near unto Him, to admonish them."
Then said Uzziah to her: "All that thou hast spoken hast thou spoken with a good heart, and there is none who may gainsay thy words.
For this is not the first day wherein thy wisdom is manifested; but from the beginning of thy days all thy people have known thy understanding, because the disposition of thine heart is good.
But the people were very thirsty, and compelled us to do unto them as we have spoken, and to bring an oath upon ourselves, which we will not break.
Therefore now pray thou for us, because thou art a godly woman, and the Lord will send us rain to fill our cisterns, and we shall faint no more."
Then said Judith unto them: "Hear me, and I will do a thing which shall go throughout all generations to the children of our nation.
You shall stand this night in the gate, and I will go forth with my waiting woman; and within the days that you have promised to deliver the city to our enemies, the Lord will visit Israel by mine hand.
But inquire ye not of mine act, for I will not declare it unto you till the things be finished that I do."
Then said Uzziah and the princes unto her: "Go in peace, and the Lord God be before thee, to take vengeance on our enemies."
So they returned from the tent and went to their watches.