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Judith - Chapter 12

Judith Chapters

1 With that he had her brought in to where his silver dinner service was already laid, and had his own food served to her and his own wine poured out for her.

2 But Judith said, 'I would rather not eat this, in case I incur some fault. What I have brought will be enough for me.'

3 'Suppose your provisions run out,' Holofernes asked, 'how could we get more of the same sort? We have no one belonging to your race here.'

4 'May your soul live, my lord,' Judith answered, 'the Lord will have used me to accomplish his plan, before your servant has finished these provisions.'

5 Holofernes' adjutants then took her to a tent where she slept until midnight. A little before the morning watch, she got up.

6 She had already sent this request to Holofernes, 'Let my lord kindly give orders for your servant to be allowed to go out and pray,'

7 and Holofernes had ordered his guards not to prevent her. She stayed in the camp for three days; she went out each night to the valley of Bethulia and washed at the spring where the picket had been posted.

8 As she went she prayed to the Lord God of Israel to guide her in her plan to relieve the children of her people.

9 Having purified herself, she would return and stay in her tent until her meal was brought her in the evening.

10 On the fourth day Holofernes gave a banquet, inviting only his own staff and none of the other officers.

11 He said to Bagoas, the officer in charge of his personal affairs, 'Go and persuade that Hebrew woman you are looking after to come and join us and eat and drink in our company.

12 We shall be disgraced if we let a woman like this go without seducing her. If we do not seduce her, everyone will laugh at us!'

13 Bagoas then left Holofernes and went to see Judith. 'Would this young and lovely woman condescend to come to my lord?' he asked. 'She will occupy the seat of honour opposite him, drink the joyful wine with us and be treated today like one of the Assyrian ladies who stand in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.'

14 'Who am I', Judith replied, 'to resist my lord? I shall not hesitate to do whatever he wishes, and doing this will be my joy to my dying day.'

15 So she got up and put on her dress and all her feminine adornments. Her maid preceded her, and on the floor in front of Holofernes spread the fleece which Bagoas had given Judith for her daily use to lie on as she ate.

16 Judith came in and took her place. The heart of Holofernes was ravished at the sight; his very soul was stirred. He was seized with a violent desire to sleep with her; and indeed since the first day he saw her, he had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her.

17 'Drink then!' Holofernes said. 'Enjoy yourself with us!'

18 'I am delighted to do so, my lord, for since my birth I have never felt my life more worthwhile than today.'

19 She took what her maid had prepared, and ate and drank facing him.

20 Holofernes was so enchanted with her that he drank far more wine than he had drunk on any other day in his life.

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Judith Chapters

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