1 And it happened that these words were heard by Judith, a widow who was the daughter of Merari, the son of Idox, the son of Joseph, the son of Oziel, the son of Elai, the son of Jamnor, the son of Gideon, the son of Raphaim, the son of Ahitub, the son of Melchiel, the son of Enan, the son of Nathaniel, the son of Salathiel, the son of Simeon, the son of Ruben.
2 And her husband was Manasseh, who died in the days of the barley harvest.
3 For he was standing over those who bound sheaves in the field, and the heat overcame his head, and he died in Bethulia, his own city, and he was buried there with his fathers.
4 But Judith, his bereaved, was a widow now for three years and six months.
5 And she made herself a private chamber in the upper part of her house, in which she stayed enclosed with her handmaids.
6 And she had haircloth around her waist, and she fasted all the days of her life, except Sabbaths, and new moons, and the feasts of the house of Israel.
7 Moreover, she was exceedingly elegant in appearance, and her husband left her many riches, and an abundant household, as well as the ownership of plentiful herds of oxen and flocks of sheep.
8 And she was greatly renowned among all, because she feared the Lord very much, nor was there anyone who spoke an ill word about her.
9 And so, when she heard that Uzziah had promised that he would hand over the city with the passing of five days, she sent to the elders Chabris and Charmis.
10 And they came to her, and she said to them: “What is this word, by which Uzziah has consented to hand over the city to the Assyrians, if within five days no help arrives for us?
11 And who are you to test the Lord?
12 This is not a word that will provoke mercy, but rather one that may excite wrath and enkindle fury.
13 You have set a time limit for the mercy of the Lord, and you have established a day for him, according to your choice.
14 But, since the Lord is patient, let us be repentant about this same matter, and let us beg his indulgence with many tears.
15 For God will not threaten like man, nor will he be inflamed to anger like a son of man.
16 And, for this reason, let us humble our souls before him, and, continuing to serve him in a spirit of humility,
17 let us speak to the Lord with tears, so that he may act according to his will in his mercy toward us. So then, just as our heart is disturbed by their arrogance, so also may we glory in our humility.
18 For we have not followed the sins of our fathers, who abandoned their God in order to worship strange gods.
19 Because of this crime, they were given over to their enemies: to the sword, and to pillaging, and to confusion. But we know no other God except him.
20 Let us wait with humility for his consolation, and the Lord our God will requite our blood by the afflictions of our enemies, and he will humble all the nations that will rise up against us, and he will cause them to be without honor.
21 And now, brothers, because you are the elders among the people of God, and their very soul hangs upon you, rescue their hearts by your eloquence, so that they may remember that our fathers were tested in order to prove whether or not they truly worshiped their God.
22 They are obliged to remember how our father Abraham was tested, and being proved by many tribulations, he was made the friend of God.
23 So Isaac, so Jacob, so Moses, and all that have pleased God, passed through many tribulations, remaining faithful.
24 But those who did not accept the trials with the fear of the Lord, and who brought forward their impatience and the disgrace of their murmuring against the Lord,
25 were exterminated by the exterminator, and they perished by serpents.
26 And as for us, therefore, let us not revenge ourselves for these things that we suffer.
27 But, in considering these same sufferings to be less than our sins deserve, let us believe that the scourges of the Lord, by which we are corrected like servants, have occurred for our improvement and not for our destruction.”
28 And Uzziah and the elders said to her: “All the things that you have spoken are true, and there is nothing reprehensible in your words.
29 Now, therefore, pray for us, because you are a holy woman, and one fearing God.”
30 And Judith said to them: “You know that what I have been able to say is of God.
31 So, concerning that which I propose to do, examine whether or not it is from God, and pray that God may act to strengthen my plan.
32 You will stand at the gate this night, and I will go forth with my handmaid. And pray that, just as you have said, within five days the Lord may look kindly on his people Israel.
33 But I am not willing to have you examine my actions, and, until I report to you, let nothing else be done, except to pray for me to the Lord our God.”
34 And Uzziah, the leader of Judah, said to her, “Go in peace, and may the Lord be with you to take revenge among our enemies.” So, turning back, they departed.