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scripture

 

CHAPTER 15

1On hearing what had happened, those still in their tents were horrified. 2Overcome with fear and dread, no one kept ranks any longer. They scattered in all directions, and fled along every path, both through the valley and in the hill country.a 3Those who were stationed in the hill country around Bethulia also took to flight. Then the Israelites, every warrior among them, came charging down upon them.

4Uzziah sent messengers to Betomasthaim, to Choba and Kona, and to the whole territory of Israel to report what had happened and to urge them all to attack the enemy and destroy them. 5On hearing this, all the Israelites, with one accord, attacked them and cut them down as far as Choba. Even those from Jerusalem and the rest of the hill country took part in this, for they too had been notified of the happenings in the camp of their enemy. The Gileadites and the Galileans struck the enemy’s flanks with great slaughter, even beyond Damascus and its borders. 6The remaining people of Bethulia swept down on the camp of the Assyrians, plundered it, and acquired great riches. 7The Israelites, when they returned from the slaughter, took possession of what was left. Even the towns and villages in the hill country and on the plain got an enormous quantity of spoils, for there was a tremendous amount of it.

Israel Celebrates Judith’s Victory. 8Then the high priest Joakim and the senate of the Israelites who lived in Jerusalem came to see for themselves the good things that the Lord had done for Israel, and to meet and congratulate Judith. 9When they came to her, all with one accord blessed her, saying:

“You are the glory of Jerusalem!*

You are the great pride of Israel!

You are the great boast of our nation!

10By your own hand you have done all this.

You have done good things for Israel,

and God is pleased with them.

May the Almighty Lord bless you forever!”

And all the people said, “Amen!”

11For thirty days* all the people plundered the camp, giving Judith the tent of Holofernes, with all his silver, his beds, his dishes, and all his furniture. She took them and loaded her mule, hitched her carts, and loaded these things on them.

12All the women of Israel gathered to see her, and they blessed her and performed a dance in her honor.b She took branches in her hands and distributed them to the women around her, 13and she and the other women crowned themselves with olive leaves. Then, at the head of all the people, she led the women in the dance, while the men of Israel followed, bearing their weapons, wearing garlands and singing songs of praise. 14* Judith led all Israel in this song of thanksgiving, and the people loudly sang this hymn of praise:

* [15:9] In the Lectionary of the Catholic Church, this passage is one of several choices for feasts of Mary (e.g., the Presentation of Mary). These words of praise are also echoed in antiphons for the Liturgy of the Hours on Marian feasts.

* [15:11] Thirty days: the central actions in each half of the book are accomplished in a total of thirty-four days. Bethulia was without water for thirty-four days (7:20). Judith spent four days in the enemy camp and the Israelites plunder the Assyrian camp for thirty days.

* [15:1416:17] Judith’s hymn of deliverance is patterned on the Song of Miriam (Ex 15:2021).

a. [15:2] Gn 9:2; Dt 11:25; 1 Mc 7:18; Sir 4:17.

b. [15:12] Ex 15:20; Jgs 11:34; 1 Sm 18:6; Jer 31:4.




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