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Judith 2:14-3:10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

14 So Holofernes left the presence of his lord, and summoned all the commanders, generals, and officers of the Assyrian forces. 15 He mustered one hundred and twenty thousand picked troops, as his lord had commanded, and twelve thousand mounted archers, 16 and drew them up as a vast force organized for battle. 17 He took along a very large number of camels, donkeys, and mules for carrying their supplies; innumerable sheep, cattle, and goats for their food; 18 abundant provisions for each man, and much gold and silver from the royal palace.

19 Then he and all his forces set out on their expedition in advance of King Nebuchadnezzar, to overrun all the lands of the western region with their chariots, cavalry, and picked infantry. 20 A huge, irregular force, too many to count, like locusts, like the dust of the earth, went along with them.

21 After a three-day march[a] from Nineveh, they reached the plain of Bectileth, and camped opposite Bectileth near the mountains to the north of Upper Cilicia. 22 From there Holofernes took all his forces, the infantry, cavalry, and chariots, and marched into the hill country. 23 He devastated Put and Lud,[b] and plundered all the Rassisites and the Ishmaelites on the border of the wilderness toward the south of the Chelleans.

24 Then, following the Euphrates, he went through Mesopotamia, and battered down every fortified city along the Wadi Abron, until he reached the sea. 25 He seized the territory of Cilicia, and cut down everyone who resisted him. Then he proceeded to the southern borders of Japheth, toward Arabia. 26 He surrounded all the Midianites, burned their tents, and sacked their encampments. 27 Descending to the plain of Damascus at the time of the wheat harvest, he set fire to all their fields, destroyed their flocks and herds, looted their cities, devastated their plains, and put all their young men to the sword.

28 Fear and dread of him fell upon all the inhabitants of the coastland, upon those in Sidon and Tyre, and those who dwelt in Sur and Ocina, and the inhabitants of Jamnia. Those in Azotus and Ascalon also feared him greatly.[c]

Chapter 3

Submission of the Vassal Nations. So they sent messengers to him to sue for peace in these words: “We, the servants of Nebuchadnezzar the great king, lie prostrate before you; do with us as you will. See, our dwellings and all our land and every wheat field, our flocks and herds, and all our encampments are at your disposal; make use of them as you please. Our cities and their inhabitants are also at your service; come and deal with them as you see fit.”

After the spokesmen had reached Holofernes and given him this message, he went down with his forces to the seacoast, stationed garrisons in the fortified cities, and took selected men from them as auxiliaries. The people of these cities and all the inhabitants of the countryside received him with garlands and dancing to the sound of timbrels. But he devastated their whole territory and cut down their sacred groves, for he was allowed to destroy all the gods of the land, so that every nation might worship only Nebuchadnezzar, and all their tongues and tribes should invoke him as a god.[d] At length Holofernes reached Esdraelon in the neighborhood of Dothan,[e] the approach to the main ridge of the Judean mountains; 10 he set up his camp between Geba[f] and Scythopolis, and stayed there a whole month to replenish all the supplies of his forces.


  1. 2:21 A three-day march: no ancient army could have traveled three hundred miles from Nineveh to Cilicia in three days.
  2. 2:23 Put and Lud: mentioned together in Jer 46:9; Ez 27:10; 30:5. Put is thought to be in Libya in Africa; Lud is usually identified with Lydia in Asia Minor. Rather than indicating definite localities here, Put and Lud add assonance and prophetic overtones to the narrative.
  3. 2:28 Symbolic of the completeness of the terror that descended on the area, seven towns are listed: Tyre, Sidon, Sur, Ocina, Jamnia, Ashdod, and Ashkelon.
  4. 3:8 Invoke him as a god: Holofernes violates Nebuchadnezzar’s instructions (see 2:5–13). No Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, or Persian king is known to have claimed divinity. During Hellenistic times, Ptolemy V (203–181 B.C.) and the Seleucid Antiochus IV made claims to divinity. In Dn 3 and 6, divinity is ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, respectively.
  5. 3:9 Dothan: a town in Ephraimite territory fourteen miles north of Shechem, mentioned elsewhere only twice (Gn 37:17 and 2 Kgs 6:13), but five times in Judith (3:9; 4:6; 7:3, 18; 8:3). Destroyed in 810 B.C. by Aramean invasions, Dothan was deserted until the Hellenistic period when a small settlement was constructed. Because it is mentioned so often, Dothan is sometimes thought to be the author’s home.
  6. 3:10 Geba: location uncertain. Scythopolis, the Greek name for ancient Beth-shean (Jos 17:11), the only city in Judith given its Greek name, strategically guarded the eastern end of the Valley of Jezreel.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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