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Judith - Chapter 9

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1 Judith threw herself face to the ground, scattered ashes on her head, undressed as far as the sackcloth she was wearing and cried loudly to the Lord. At the same time in Jerusalem the evening incense was being offered in the Temple of God. Judith said:

2 Lord, God of my ancestor Simeon, you armed him with a sword to take vengeance on the foreigners who had undone a virgin's belt to her shame, laid bare her thigh to her confusion, violated her womb to her dishonour, since, though you said, 'This must not be,' they did it.

3 For this you handed their leaders over to slaughter, and their bed, defiled by their treachery, was itself betrayed in blood. You struck the slaves with the chieftains and the chieftains with their retainers.

4 You left their wives to be carried off, their daughters to be taken captive, and their spoils to be shared out among the sons you loved, who had been so zealous for you, had loathed the stain put on their blood and called on you for help. O God, my God, now heat this widow too;

5 for you have made the past, and what is happening now, and what will follow. What is, what will be, you have planned; what has been, you designed.

6 Your purposes stood forward; 'See, here we are!' they said. For all your ways are prepared and your judgements delivered with foreknowledge.

7 See the Assyrians, with their army abounding glorying in their horses and their riders, exulting in the strength of their infantry. Trust as they may in shield and spear, in bow and sling, in you they have not recognised the Lord, the breaker of battle-lines;

8 yours alone is the title of Lord. Break their violence with your might, in your anger bring down their strength. For they plan to profane your holy places, to defile the tabernacle, the resting place of your glorious name, and to hack down the horn of your altar.

9 Observe their arrogance, send your fury on their heads, give the strength I have in mind to this widow's hand.



10 By guile of my lips strike down slave with master, and master with retainer. Break their pride by a woman's hand.

11 Your strength does not lie in numbers, nor your might in strong men; since you are the God of the humble, the help of the oppressed, the support of the weak, the refuge of the forsaken, the Saviour of the despairing.

12 Please, please, God of my father, God of the heritage of Israel, Master of heaven and earth, Creator of the waters, King of your whole creation, hear my prayer.

13 Give me a beguiling tongue to wound and kill those who have formed such cruel designs against your covenant, against your holy dwelling-place, against Mount Zion, against the house belonging to your sons.

14 And demonstrate to every nation, every tribe, that you are the Lord, God of all power, all might, and that the race of Israel has no protector but you.

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