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Judith - Chapter 14

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1 Judith said, 'Listen to me, brothers. Take this head and hang it on your battlements.

2 When morning comes and the sun is up, let every man take his arms and every able-bodied man leave the town. Appoint a leader for them, as if you meant to march down to the plain against the Assyrian advanced post. But you must not do this.

3 The Assyrians will gather up their equipment, make for their camp and wake up their commanders; they in turn will rush to the tent of Holofernes and not be able to find him. They will then be seized with panic and flee at your advance.

4 All you and the others who live in the territory of Israel will have to do is to give chase and slaughter them as they retreat.

5 'But before you do this, call me Achior the Ammonite, for him to see and identify the man who held the House of Israel in contempt, the man who sent him to us as someone already doomed to die.'

6 So they had Achior brought from Uzziah's house. No sooner had he arrived and seen the head of Holofernes held by a member of the people's assembly than he fell on his face in a faint.

7 They lifted him up. He then threw himself at Judith's feet and, prostrate before her, exclaimed: May you be blessed in all the tents of Judah and in every nation; those who hear your name will be seized with dread!

8 'Now tell me everything that you have done in these past few days.' And surrounded by the people, Judith told him everything she had done from the day she left Bethulia to the moment when she was speaking.

9 When she came to the end, the people cheered at the top of their voices until the town echoed.

10 Achior, recognising all that the God of Israel had done, believed ardently in him and, accepting circumcision, was permanently incorporated into the House of Israel.

11 At daybreak they hung the head of Holofernes on the ramparts. Every man took his arms and they all went out in groups to the slopes of the mountain.

12 Seeing this, the Assyrians sent word to their leaders, who in turn reported to the generals, the captains of thousands and all the other officers;

13 and these in their turn reported to the tent of Holofernes. 'Rouse our master,' they said to his major-domo, 'these slaves have dared to march down on us to attack -- and to be wiped out to a man!'

14 Bagoas went inside and struck the curtain dividing the tent, thinking that Holofernes was sleeping with Judith.

15 But as no one seemed to hear, he drew the curtain and went into the bedroom, to find him thrown down dead on the threshold, with his head cut off.

16 He gave a great shout, wept, sobbed, shrieked and rent his clothes.

17 He then went into the tent which Judith had occupied and could not find her either. Then, rushing out to the men, he shouted,

18 'The slaves have rebelled! A single Hebrew woman has brought shame on the House of Nebuchadnezzar. Holofernes is lying dead on the ground, without his head!'

19 When they heard this, the leaders of the Assyrian army tore their tunics in consternation, and the camp rang with their wild cries and their shouting.


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Daily Readings

October 20th, 2019

Reading 1, Exodus 17:8-13
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
Gospel, Luke 18:1-8
Reading 2, Second Timothy 3:14--4:2

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