Judith’s Hymn of Deliverance
“Strike up a song to my God with tambourines,a
sing to the Lord with cymbals;
Improvise for him a new song,
exalt and acclaim his name.
2For the Lord is a God who crushes wars;b
he sets his encampment among his people;
he delivered me from the hands of my pursuers.
3“The Assyrian came from the mountains of the north,
with myriads of his forces he came;
Their numbers blocked the wadies,
their cavalry covered the hills.
4He threatened to burn my territory,
put my youths to the sword,
Dash my infants to the ground,
seize my children as plunder.
And carry off my virgins as spoil.
5“But the Lord Almighty thwarted them,
by the hand of a female!
6Not by youths was their champion struck down,c
nor did Titans bring him low,
nor did tall giants attack him;d
But Judith, the daughter of Merari,
by the beauty of her face brought him down.
7She took off her widow’s garb
to raise up the afflicted in Israel.
She anointed her face with fragrant oil;
8fixed her hair with a diadem,
and put on a linen robe to beguile him.
9Her sandals ravished his eyes,e
her beauty captivated his mind,
the sword cut through his neck!f
10“The Persians trembled at her boldness,
the Medes were daunted at her daring.
11When my lowly ones shouted,
and my weak ones cried out,
The enemy was terrified,
screamed and took to flight.
12Sons of maidservants pierced them through;
wounded them like deserters’ children.
They perished before the ranks of my Lord.
13“I will sing a new song to my God.g
O Lord, great are you and glorious,
marvelous in power and unsurpassable.
14Let your every creature serve you;
for you spoke, and they were made.
You sent forth your spirit, and it created them;h
no one can resist your voice.i
15For the mountains to their bases
are tossed with the waters;
the rocks, like wax, melt before your glance.j
“But to those who fear you,
you will show mercy.
16Though the sweet fragrance of every sacrifice is a trifle,
and the fat of all burnt offerings but little in your sight,
one who fears the Lord is forever great.
17“Woe to the nations that rise against my people!
the Lord Almighty will requite them;
in the day of judgment he will punish them:
He will send fire and worms into their flesh,k
and they will weep and suffer forever.”
18When they arrived at Jerusalem, they worshiped God. As soon as the people were purified, they offered their burnt offerings, voluntary offerings, and donations.l 19Judith dedicated to God all the things of Holofernes that the people had given her, putting under the ban the canopy that she herself had taken from his bedchamber.m 20For three months the people continued their celebration in Jerusalem before the sanctuary, and Judith remained with them.
The Renown and Death of Judith. 21When those days were over, all of them returned to their inheritance. Judith went back to Bethulia and remained on her estate. For the rest of her life she was renowned throughout the land. 22Many wished to marry her, but she gave herself to no man all the days of her life from the time her husband, Manasseh, died and was gathered to his people. 23Her fame continued to increase, and she lived in the house of her husband, reaching the advanced age of one hundred and five.* n She set her maid free. And when she died in Bethulia, they buried her in the cave of her husband, Manasseh;o 24and the house of Israel mourned her for seven days.* p Before she died, she distributed her property to the relatives of her husband, Manasseh, and to her own relatives.q
25r During the lifetime of Judith and for a long time after her death, no one ever again spread terror* among the Israelites.
* [16:23] One hundred and five: long life was a sign of blessing (see Jb 42:16; Prv 16:31; 20:29). The fact that the Maccabean period was one hundred and five years long (168–63 B.C.) may account for assigning this age to Judith.
* [16:24] Seven days: the customary period for mourning the dead (1 Sm 31:13).
* [16:25] Spread terror: Judith is compared to the heroes of the Book of Judges (cf. Jgs 3:11, 30).
a. [16:1] Gn 31:27; Ex 15:20; 1 Sm 18:6; 2 Sm 6:5; 1 Chr 13:8; Ps 68:26; 81:3; 149:3; Jer 31:4.
d. [16:6] Gn 6:1–4; Dt 2:10, 21; 2 Sm 21:16–22; 1 Chr 20:4–8.
g. [16:13] Ps 33:3; 40:4; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Is 42:10.
h. [16:14] Gn 1; Ps 104:30; 148:5.
i. [16:14] Est C:3–4; Ps 33:9; Is 55:11.
j. [16:15] Ps 97:5; Mi 1:4; Na 1:5.
k. [16:17] Sir 7:17; Is 66:24; Mk 9:48.
l. [16:18] Nm 19:11–22; 31:19.
n. [16:23] Jb 42:16; Prv 16:31; 20:29; Sir 18:9; Lk 2:36.
o. [16:23] Gn 23:19; 25:9; 49:29–32; 50:13.
p. [16:24] Gn 50:3; 1 Sm 31:13; 1 Chr 10:12; Sir 22:12.