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Judith 15-16 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 15

On hearing what had happened, those still in their tents were horrified. Overcome with fear and dread, no one kept ranks any longer. They scattered in all directions, and fled along every path, both through the valley and in the hill country. Those who were stationed in the hill country around Bethulia also took to flight. Then the Israelites, every warrior among them, came charging down upon them.

Uzziah sent messengers to Betomasthaim, to Choba and Kona, and to the whole territory of Israel to report what had happened and to urge them all to attack the enemy and destroy them. On hearing this, all the Israelites, with one accord, attacked them and cut them down as far as Choba. Even those from Jerusalem and the rest of the hill country took part in this, for they too had been notified of the happenings in the camp of their enemy. The Gileadites and the Galileans struck the enemy’s flanks with great slaughter, even beyond Damascus and its borders. The remaining people of Bethulia swept down on the camp of the Assyrians, plundered it, and acquired great riches. The Israelites, when they returned from the slaughter, took possession of what was left. Even the towns and villages in the hill country and on the plain got an enormous quantity of spoils, for there was a tremendous amount of it.

Israel Celebrates Judith’s Victory. Then the high priest Joakim and the senate of the Israelites who lived in Jerusalem came to see for themselves the good things that the Lord had done for Israel, and to meet and congratulate Judith. When they came to her, all with one accord blessed her, saying:

“You are the glory of Jerusalem![a]
    You are the great pride of Israel!
    You are the great boast of our nation!
10 By your own hand you have done all this.
    You have done good things for Israel,
    and God is pleased with them.
May the Almighty Lord bless you forever!”

And all the people said, “Amen!”

11 For thirty days[b] all the people plundered the camp, giving Judith the tent of Holofernes, with all his silver, his beds, his dishes, and all his furniture. She took them and loaded her mule, hitched her carts, and loaded these things on them.

12 All the women of Israel gathered to see her, and they blessed her and performed a dance in her honor. She took branches in her hands and distributed them to the women around her, 13 and she and the other women crowned themselves with olive leaves. Then, at the head of all the people, she led the women in the dance, while the men of Israel followed, bearing their weapons, wearing garlands and singing songs of praise. 14 [c]Judith led all Israel in this song of thanksgiving, and the people loudly sang this hymn of praise:

Chapter 16

Judith’s Hymn of Deliverance

And Judith sang:

“Strike up a song to my God with tambourines,
    sing to the Lord with cymbals;
Improvise for him a new song,
    exalt and acclaim his name.
For the Lord is a God who crushes wars;
    he sets his encampment among his people;
    he delivered me from the hands of my pursuers.

“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.
He 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.

“But the Lord Almighty thwarted them,
    by the hand of a female!
Not by youths was their champion struck down,
    nor did Titans bring him low,
    nor did tall giants attack him;
But Judith, the daughter of Merari,
    by the beauty of her face brought him down.
She took off her widow’s garb
    to raise up the afflicted in Israel.
She anointed her face with fragrant oil;
    fixed her hair with a diadem,
    and put on a linen robe to beguile him.
Her sandals ravished his eyes,
    her beauty captivated his mind,
    the sword cut through his neck!

10 “The Persians trembled at her boldness,
    the Medes were daunted at her daring.
11 When my lowly ones shouted,
    and my weak ones cried out,
The enemy was terrified,
    screamed and took to flight.
12 Sons 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.
    O Lord, great are you and glorious,
    marvelous in power and unsurpassable.
14 Let your every creature serve you;
    for you spoke, and they were made.
You sent forth your spirit, and it created them;
    no one can resist your voice.
15 For the mountains to their bases
    are tossed with the waters;
    the rocks, like wax, melt before your glance.

“But to those who fear you,
    you will show mercy.
16 Though 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,
    and they will weep and suffer forever.”

18 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they worshiped God. As soon as the people were purified, they offered their burnt offerings, voluntary offerings, and donations. 19 Judith 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. 20 For three months the people continued their celebration in Jerusalem before the sanctuary, and Judith remained with them.

The Renown and Death of Judith. 21 When 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. 22 Many 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. 23 Her fame continued to increase, and she lived in the house of her husband, reaching the advanced age of one hundred and five.[d] She set her maid free. And when she died in Bethulia, they buried her in the cave of her husband, Manasseh; 24 and the house of Israel mourned her for seven days.[e] Before she died, she distributed her property to the relatives of her husband, Manasseh, and to her own relatives.

25 During the lifetime of Judith and for a long time after her death, no one ever again spread terror[f] among the Israelites.


  1. 15:9 In the Lectionary of the Catholic Church, this passage is one of several choices for feasts of Mary (e.g., the Presentation of Mary). These words of praise are also echoed in antiphons for the Liturgy of the Hours on Marian feasts.
  2. 15:11 Thirty days: the central actions in each half of the book are accomplished in a total of thirty-four days. Bethulia was without water for thirty-four days (7:20). Judith spent four days in the enemy camp and the Israelites plunder the Assyrian camp for thirty days.
  3. 15:14–16:17 Judith’s hymn of deliverance is patterned on the Song of Miriam (Ex 15:20–21).
  4. 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.
  5. 16:24 Seven days: the customary period for mourning the dead (1 Sm 31:13).
  6. 16:25 Spread terror: Judith is compared to the heroes of the Book of Judges (cf. Jgs 3:11, 30).
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.

Ecclesiastes 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

No One Can Determine the Right Time to Act

[a]There is an appointed time for everything,
    and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
    a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
    a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time of war, and a time of peace.

What profit have workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to mortals to be busied about. 11 God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless[b] into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. 12 I recognized that there is nothing better than to rejoice and to do well during life. 13 Moreover, that all can eat and drink and enjoy the good of all their toil—this is a gift of God. 14 I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it, or taking from it. Thus has God done that he may be revered. 15 [c]What now is has already been; what is to be, already is: God retrieves what has gone by.

The Problem of Retribution. 16 And still under the sun in the judgment place I saw wickedness, and wickedness also in the seat of justice. 17 I said in my heart, both the just and the wicked God will judge, since a time is set for every affair and for every work.[d] 18 I said in my heart: As for human beings, it is God’s way of testing them and of showing that they are in themselves like beasts. 19 For the lot of mortals and the lot of beasts is the same lot: The one dies as well as the other. Both have the same life breath. Human beings have no advantage over beasts, but all is vanity. 20 Both go to the same place; both were made from the dust, and to the dust they both return. 21 Who knows[e] if the life breath of mortals goes upward and the life breath of beasts goes earthward? 22 And I saw that there is nothing better for mortals than to rejoice in their work; for this is their lot. Who will let them see what is to come after them?


  1. 3:1–8 The fourteen pairs of opposites describe various human activities. The poem affirms that God has determined the appropriate moment or “time” for each. Human beings cannot know that moment; further, the wider course of events and purposes fixed by God are beyond them as well.
  2. 3:11 The timeless: others translate “eternity,” “the world,” or “darkness.” The author credits God with keeping human beings ignorant about God’s “work”—present and future.
  3. 3:15 The verse is difficult. Literally it reads “and God seeks out what was pursued.” It appears to be a variation of the theme in 1:9, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
  4. 3:17 A time is set…work: another possible reading would see this verse referring to a judgment in or after death: “a time for every affair and for every work there” (that is, in death or in Sheol).
  5. 3:21 Who knows: the author presumes a negative answer: “No one knows.” In place of speculation on impossible questions, the author counsels enjoyment of what is possible (cf. v. 22; but see also 2:10–11).
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.

Luke 3:1-14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

III. The Preparation for the Public Ministry

Chapter 3

The Preaching of John the Baptist.[a] In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,[b] when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,[c] the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. [d]He went throughout [the] whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, [e]as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one crying out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
    and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
    and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

He said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance; and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11 He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”


  1. 3:1–20 Although Luke is indebted in this section to his sources, the Gospel of Mark and a collection of sayings of John the Baptist, he has clearly marked this introduction to the ministry of Jesus with his own individual style. Just as the gospel began with a long periodic sentence (Lk 1:1–4), so too this section (Lk 3:1–2). He casts the call of John the Baptist in the form of an Old Testament prophetic call (Lk 3:2) and extends the quotation from Isaiah found in Mk 1:3 (Is 40:3) by the addition of Is 40:4–5 in Lk 3:5–6. In doing so, he presents his theme of the universality of salvation, which he has announced earlier in the words of Simeon (Lk 2:30–32). Moreover, in describing the expectation of the people (Lk 3:15), Luke is characterizing the time of John’s preaching in the same way as he had earlier described the situation of other devout Israelites in the infancy narrative (Lk 2:25–26, 37–38). In Lk 3:7–18 Luke presents the preaching of John the Baptist who urges the crowds to reform in view of the coming wrath (Lk 3:7, 9: eschatological preaching), and who offers the crowds certain standards for reforming social conduct (Lk 3:10–14: ethical preaching), and who announces to the crowds the coming of one mightier than he (Lk 3:15–18: messianic preaching).
  2. 3:1 Tiberius Caesar: Tiberius succeeded Augustus as emperor in A.D. 14 and reigned until A.D. 37. The fifteenth year of his reign, depending on the method of calculating his first regnal year, would have fallen between A.D. 27 and 29. Pontius Pilate: prefect of Judea from A.D. 26 to 36. The Jewish historian Josephus describes him as a greedy and ruthless prefect who had little regard for the local Jewish population and their religious practices (see Lk 13:1). Herod: i.e., Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. He ruled over Galilee and Perea from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39. His official title tetrarch means literally, “ruler of a quarter,” but came to designate any subordinate prince. Philip: also a son of Herod the Great, tetrarch of the territory to the north and east of the Sea of Galilee from 4 B.C. to A.D. 34. Only two small areas of this territory are mentioned by Luke. Lysanias: nothing is known about this Lysanias who is said here to have been tetrarch of Abilene, a territory northwest of Damascus.
  3. 3:2 During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas: after situating the call of John the Baptist in terms of the civil rulers of the period, Luke now mentions the religious leadership of Palestine (see note on Lk 1:5). Annas had been high priest A.D. 6–15. After being deposed by the Romans in A.D. 15 he was succeeded by various members of his family and eventually by his son-in-law, Caiaphas, who was high priest A.D. 18–36. Luke refers to Annas as high priest at this time (but see Jn 18:13, 19), possibly because of the continuing influence of Annas or because the title continued to be used for the ex-high priest. The word of God came to John: Luke is alone among the New Testament writers in associating the preaching of John with a call from God. Luke is thereby identifying John with the prophets whose ministries began with similar calls. In Lk 7:26 John will be described as “more than a prophet”; he is also the precursor of Jesus (Lk 7:27), a transitional figure inaugurating the period of the fulfillment of prophecy and promise.
  4. 3:3 See note on Mt 3:2.
  5. 3:4 The Essenes from Qumran used the same passage to explain why their community was in the desert studying and observing the law and the prophets (1QS 8:12–15).
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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