And in the eighteenth year, the two and twentieth day of the first month, there was talk in the house of Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians that he should, as he said, avenge himself on all the earth.
So he called unto him all his officers and all his nobles, and communicated with them his secret counsel, and out of his own mouth concluded to afflict the whole earth.
Then they decreed to destroy all flesh who did not obey the commandment of his mouth.
And when he had ended his counsel, Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians called Holofernes the chief captain of his army, who was next unto him, and said unto him:
"Thus saith the great king, the lord of the whole earth: Behold, thou shalt go forth from my presence, and take with thee men who trust in their own strength, of footmen a hundred and twenty thousand, and the number of horses with their riders twelve thousand.
And thou shalt go against all the west country, because they disobeyed my commandment.
And thou shalt declare unto them that they prepare for me earth and water; for I will go forth in my wrath against them and will cover the whole face of the earth with the feet of mine army, and I will give them as a spoil unto them,
so that their slain shall fill their valleys and brooks, and the river shall be filled with their dead till it overflow.
And I will lead them captives to the utmost parts of all the earth.
Thou therefore shalt go forth and take beforehand for me all their borders; and if they will yield themselves unto thee, thou shalt reserve them for me till the day of their punishment.
But concerning those who rebel, let not thine eye spare them, but put them to the slaughter and despoil them wheresoever thou goest.
For as I live and by the power of my kingdom, whatsoever I have spoken, that will I do by mine hand.
And take thou heed that thou transgress none of the commandments of thy lord, but accomplish them fully as I have commanded thee, and defer not to do them."
Then Holofernes went forth from the presence of his lord, and called all the governors and captains and the officers of the army of Assyria;
and he mustered the chosen men for the battle, as his lord had commanded him, unto a hundred and twenty thousand and twelve thousand archers on horseback,
and he ranged them as a great army is ordered for the war.
And he took camels and asses for their transport, a very great number, and sheep and oxen and goats without number for their provision,
and plenty of victuals for every man of the army, and very much gold and silver out of the king's house.
Then he went forth with all his power to go before King Nebuchadnezzar on the expedition, and to cover all the face of the earth westward with their chariots and horsemen and their chosen footmen.
A great number also of sundry countries came with them like locusts and like the sand of the earth; for the multitude was without number.
And they went forth from Nineveh three days' journey toward the plain of Bectileth, and from Bectileth pitched camp near the mountain which is at the left hand of the Upper Cilicia.
Then he took all his army, his footmen and horsemen and chariots, and went from thence into the hill country,
and destroyed Put and Lud, and despoiled all the children of Rassis and the children of Ishmael, who were toward the wilderness at the south of the land of the Chellians.
Then he went over the Euphrates and went through Mesopotamia, and destroyed all the high cities that were upon the River Abron, till you come to the sea.
And he took the borders of Cilicia, and killed all who resisted him, and came to the borders of Japheth, which were toward the south, over against Arabia.
He compassed also all the children of Midian, and burned up their tabernacles and despoiled their sheepcotes.
Then he went down into the plain of Damascus in the time of wheat harvest, and burned up all their fields and destroyed their flocks and herds; also he despoiled their cities and utterly wasted their countries, and smote all their young men with the edge of the sword.
Therefore the fear and dread of him fell upon all the inhabitants of the seacoasts which were in Sidon and Tyre, and those who dwelt in Sur and Ocina, and all who dwelt in Jamnia; and those who dwelt in Azotus and Ascalon feared him greatly.