Judith 10

Judith enters the Assyrian camp

1 When she had finished crying out to Israel's God and had finished saying all these things,
2 she stood up from where she was lying, called her closest servant, and went down into her house where she would spend her sabbaths and feast days.
3 She took off the funeral clothing she had been wearing and removed her widow's garments. Then she washed her body with water, put on some expensive perfume, combed her hair, tied a headband around her head, and put on one of the festive dresses she used to wear when her husband Manasseh was still alive.
4 She slipped sandals on her feet, and adorned herself with bracelets on her ankles and wrists, rings, earrings, and all her jewelry. She made herself very beautiful in order to attract the eyes of any man who might see her.
5 She gave her servant a container of wine and a flask of olive oil. She filled a bag with grain, a fig cake, and fine bread. She wrapped this up along with her tableware and gave it to her servant to carry.
6 Then they left the city of Bethulia through the gate and found Uzziah standing there with Chabris and Charmis the city elders.
7 They saw that she had transformed her appearance and changed her clothing, and they were astonished by her beauty. They said to her:
8 "May the God of our ancestors grant you favor and accomplish your plans for the glory of the Israelites and the exaltation of Jerusalem." And she worshipped God.
9 Then she said to them: "Order the city gate to be opened for me, and I will go out to accomplish what you have spoken to me." Then they ordered the young men to open the gate for her just as she had said.
10 When they did so, Judith went out, along with her servant. The men of the city watched her until she went down the hill and passed through the valley, until they could no longer see her.
11 Judith and her female servant continued to go straight through the valley until an Assyrian patrol met them.
12 They arrested her and asked, "Who are your people? Where did you come from? And where are you going?" She replied, "I'm a daughter of the Hebrews, and I'm escaping from them because they are about to be handed over to you to be consumed.
13 I'm going to see Holofernes the general of your army, to bring to him a true report of the situation. Furthermore, I will show him a road he can use to control all of the highlands without losing the life of even one of his men."
14 When the men heard her words and saw her face (for they found her very beautiful), they said to her,
15 "You have saved your own life by hurrying down here to see our master. Now go to his tent, and some of us will escort you to deliver you to him personally.
16 When you stand before him, don't let your heart be afraid. Tell him everything you just told us, and he'll treat you well."

Judith meets Holofernes

17 The patrol chose one hundred of their men to accompany Judith and her servant, and they led them to Holofernes' tent.
18 The soldiers in the camp turned out in droves, for word of her arrival had spread from tent to tent. So they came and stood around her as she waited outside Holofernes' tent while the patrol told him about her.
19 They were amazed by her beauty and admired the Israelites because of her. They said to each other, "Who will underestimate these people when they have such women? It wouldn't be good to leave even one of their men alive, for they could beguile the whole world."
20 Then Holofernes' bodyguards and his attendants went out and brought her into the tent.
21 Holofernes was relaxing on his bed under a canopy made from purple and gold cloth woven with emeralds and precious stones.
22 When they told him about her, he went out to the front of the tent with silver lamps being carried before him.
23 As Judith came before him and his servants, they were all amazed by the beauty of her face. She fell to the ground before him and paid him respect, but his slaves raised her up.