Judith (book of the Bible)

UDIT . This Book reflects a certain influence of the “apocalyptic” literature, so in vogue at that time, according to which the struggles of the present time are but the manifestation of the combat waged continuously between the forces of good and evil. Nebuchadnezzar and Holofernes symbolize the eternal enemies of God. Judit – which means “the Jewess” – personifies the soul of her nation. Faithful to God and his people, she exposes life to save her compatriots. Again we are faced with a didactic story, with a completely imaginary historical framework, of which only the Greek and Latin versions are preserved. Probably, it was written in the 2nd century BC. C., to maintain the spirit of the small Jewish community that fought tenaciously to conserve its independence against the Hellenistic advance.

Summary

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  • 1 Judith in Scripture
    • 1 Contents
    • 2 Historical Outline
  • 2 See also
  • 3 Sources

Judith in Scripture

To the arrogance and strength of a military leader, the Book opposes the weakness of a woman, with no other weapons than her faith in God and in the power of prayer. The resources that she uses are not entirely exemplary, but rather than giving a moral lesson, the author’s intention is to emphasize that the apparent “weakness of God is stronger than the strength of men” (1 Cor. 1. 25). Judith’s determined cunning triumphs over the oppressor of the chosen People, as on another occasion David’s sling was more powerful than Goliath’s insolence and sword. The Christian liturgy has seen in Judith’s triumph something like the counterpart of the serpent’s victory over woman, at the beginning of mankind (Gen. 3.15). So that brave woman became the figure of Mary, the new Eve, for whom we receive the victor of the spirit of evil. And the Song of the Virgin Mary, like that of Judith, celebrates the triumph of the weak over the powerful of this world (Lk. 1. 46-55).

 

Content

Nebuchadnezzar and Arfaxad 1 1 It was the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh, while Arfaxad reigned over the Medes at Ecbanatana. 2 East had built around Ecbátana a wall of carved stones that were one and a half meters wide and three meters long. The wall was thirty-five meters high and twenty-five thick. 3 He had also erected towers by his gates fifty meters high, on foundations thirty meters wide; 4 and had raised its gates to a height of thirty-five meters, by twenty wide, so that its mighty army could pass through and its infantry marched past.

Historical sketch

  • Nebuchadnezzar and Arfaxad
  • Nebuchadnezzar’s war preparations
  • Nebuchadnezzar’s victory over Arfaxad
  • Nebuchadnezzar’s revenge
  • Holofernes mission
  • Holofernes Army Organization
  • Holofernes’ victorious campaign
  • The general surrender to Holofernes
  • The reaction of the Israelites
  • The Israelites’ supplication to the Lord
  • Holofernes’ indignation
  • Ajior’s report and advice
  • Holofernes’s reaction against Ajior
  • Akhior’s surrender to the Israelites
  • Ajior’s reception in Betulia
  • The Betulia site
  • Holofernes’ Council of Allies
  • Dismay of the israelites
  • The people’s protest
  • Ozías’ intervention
  • Presentation by Judit

8 1 In those days all this came to the ears of Judith, the daughter of Merari, the son of Ox, the son of Joseph, the son of Oziel, the son of Helkiah, the son of Ananias, the son of Gideon, the son of Rafain, the son of Ajitob, the son of Elías, son of Jilquías, son of Eliab, son of Nathanael, son of Salamiel, son of Sarasadai, son of Israel. 2 Her husband Manasseh, who was from his same tribe and family, had died during the barley harvest: 3 while he was watching those who tied the sheaves in the field, he had heat stroke that put him to bed, and he died in Betulia, his city. There he was buried with his parents, in the field that is located between Dotaim and Belamón. 4 Judit had been a widow in her home for three years and four months. 5 On the terrace of his house a tent had been erected; she wore a sackcloth over her body and wore mourning clothes. 6 He fasted every day, except Saturdays, New Years, and the days of feasting and rejoicing of the people of Israel. 7 She was very beautiful and extremely pleasant-looking. Her husband Manasseh had left her gold and silver, servants and servants, cattle and fields, and she had remained the owner of everything. 8 No one could reproach her for anything, because she was very fearful of God.

  • Ozías’s response to Judit
  • Judit’s plan
  • Judit’s preparations
  • Judit’s departure for the Assyrian camp
  • Judit’s meeting with Holofernes
  • Loyalty to the Law and Judit’s prayers
  • Judith at Holofernes’ banquet
  • Judit’s feat
  • Judit’s return to Betulia
  • Judit’s Celebration of Triumph
  • The joy of the people
  • Judit’s song
  • Judit’s last year

 

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