1 Now the children of Israel who dwelt in Judea heard all that Holofernes, the chief captain of Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians, had done to the nations, and in what manner he had despoiled all their temples and brought them to nought.
2 Therefore they were exceedingly afraid of him, and were troubled for Jerusalem and for the temple of the Lord their God.
3 For they had newly returned from the captivity, and all the people of Judea had lately gathered together; and the vessels and the altar and the house were sanctified after the profanation.
4 Therefore they sent into all the borders of Samaria, and the villages, and to Beth-horon and Belmain and Jericho and to Choba and Aesora and to the valley of Salem,
5 and possessed for themselves beforehand all the tops of the high mountains, and fortified the villages that were in them, and laid up victuals for the provisions for war, for their fields were of late reaped.
6 Also Joakim the high priest, who was in those days in Jerusalem, wrote to those who dwelt in Bethulia and Betomesthaim, which is over against Esdraelon toward the open country near to Dothan,
7 charging them to keep the passages of the hill country, for through them there was an entrance into Judea, and it was easy to stop those who would come up, because the passage was narrow, for two men at the most.
8 And the children of Israel did as Joakim the high priest had commanded them, with the elders of all the people of Israel who dwelt at Jerusalem.
9 Then every man of Israel cried to God with great fervency, and with great vehemency did they humble their souls--
10 both they and their wives and their children, and their cattle, and every stranger and hireling--and their servants bought with money put sackcloth upon their loins.
11 Thus every man and women, and the little children and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fell before the temple and cast ashes upon their heads, and spread out their sackcloth before the face of the Lord. Also they put sackcloth about the altar,
12 and cried to the God of Israel all with one consent earnestly, that He would not give their children for a prey and their wives for a spoil, and the cities of their inheritance to destruction, and the sanctuary to profanation and reproach for the nations to rejoice at.
13 So God heard their prayers, and looked upon their afflictions; for the people fasted many days in all Judea and Jerusalem before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty.
14 And Joakim the high priest, and all the priests who stood before the Lord, and those who ministered unto the Lord, had their loins girt with sackcloth, and offered the daily burnt offerings, with the vows and free gifts of the people,
15 and had ashes on their miters, and cried unto the Lord with all their power, that He would look upon all the house of Israel graciously.