Judith's Song of Praise
1Then Judith sang a song of thanksgiving there with all Israel present, and the people joined in this song of praise. 2She sang,
“Praise my God and sing to him;
praise the Lord with drums and cymbals;
play a new song for him.
Praise him and call on him for help.
3The Lord is a warrior who ends war.
He rescued me from my pursuers
and brought me back to his people's camp.
4Down from the mountains of the north came the Assyrians,
with their tens of thousands of soldiers.
Their troops blocked the rivers in the valleys;
their cavalry covered the mountains.
5They threatened to set fire to our country,
slaughter our young men,
dash our babies to the ground,
take our children away as captives,
and carry off all our young women.
6But the Lord Almighty tricked them;
he used a woman to stop them.
7Their hero was not slain by young soldiers
or attacked and killed by mighty giants.
It was Judith, the daughter of Merari,
who brought him down with her beauty.
8She gave victory to the oppressed people of Israel,
when she took off her widow's clothes,
and put on a linen dress to entice him.
She put on her rich perfumes
and tied a ribbon round her hair.
9Her dainty sandal caught his eye;
her beauty captured his heart.
Then the sword slashed through his neck.
10The Persians trembled at her daring;
the Medes were amazed at her bravery.
11Then our people shouted in victory.
They had been weak and oppressed,
but they forced the enemy to retreat in panic and fear.
12We are descendants of slaves,
but our enemies turned and ran;
we killed them like runaway slaves.
They were destroyed by the army of the Lord.
13 # Ps 144.9 “I will sing a new song to my God.
O Lord, you are strong and glorious!
You have never been defeated.
14Let all your creatures serve you.
You gave the command,
and all of them came into being;
you breathed on them,
and all of them were created.
No one can oppose your command.
15The mountains and the seas tremble,
and rocks melt like wax when you come near.
But there is mercy for all who obey you.
16 # 1 Sam 15.22Ps 51.16–17Hos 6.6 The Lord is more pleased with those who obey him
than with all the choice meat on the altar,
or with all the most fragrant sacrifices.
17The nations who rise up against my people are doomed.
The Lord Almighty will punish them on Judgement Day.
He will send fire and worms to devour their bodies,
and they will weep in pain for ever.”
18When the people arrived in Jerusalem, they purified themselves and worshipped God. They presented their burnt offerings, freewill offerings, and gifts. 19Judith dedicated to God all Holofernes' property, which the people had given to her. And as a special offering in fulfilment of a vow, she presented to the Lord the mosquito net which she had taken from Holofernes' bed. 20For three months the people continued to celebrate in front of the Temple in Jerusalem, and Judith stayed there with them.
21When the celebrations had ended, everyone returned home, and Judith went back to Bethulia to live on her own estate. For the rest of her life she was famous throughout the land of Israel. 22Many men wanted to marry her, but she never remarried after the death of her husband Manasseh. 23-24Her fame continued to spread, and she lived in the house her husband had left her. Before she died, Judith divided her property among her husband's and her own close relatives and set her slave woman free. When she died in Bethulia at the age of 105, she was buried beside her husband, and the people of Israel mourned her death for seven days. 25As long as Judith lived, and for many years after her death, no one dared to threaten the people of Israel.