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Judith 15-16New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

The Assyrians Flee in Panic

15 When the men in the tents heard it, they were amazed at what had happened. Overcome with fear and trembling, they did not wait for one another, but with one impulse all rushed out and fled by every path across the plain and through the hill country. Those who had camped in the hills around Bethulia also took to flight. Then the Israelites, everyone that was a soldier, rushed out upon them. Uzziah sent men to Betomasthaim[a] and Choba and Kola, and to all the frontiers of Israel, to tell what had taken place and to urge all to rush out upon the enemy to destroy them. When the Israelites heard it, with one accord they fell upon the enemy,[b] and cut them down as far as Choba. Those in Jerusalem and all the hill country also came, for they were told what had happened in the camp of the enemy. The men in Gilead and in Galilee outflanked them with great slaughter, even beyond Damascus and its borders. The rest of the people of Bethulia fell upon the Assyrian camp and plundered it, acquiring great riches. And the Israelites, when they returned from the slaughter, took possession of what remained. Even the villages and towns in the hill country and in the plain got a great amount of booty, since there was a vast quantity of it.

The Israelites Celebrate Their Victory

Then the high priest Joakim and the elders of the Israelites who lived in Jerusalem came to witness the good things that the Lord had done for Israel, and to see Judith and to wish her well. When they met her, they all blessed her with one accord and said to her, “You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the great boast of Israel, you are the great pride of our nation! 10 You have done all this with your own hand; you have done great good to Israel, and God is well pleased with it. May the Almighty Lord bless you forever!” And all the people said, “Amen.”

11 All the people plundered the camp for thirty days. They gave Judith the tent of Holofernes and all his silver dinnerware, his beds, his bowls, and all his furniture. She took them and loaded her mules and hitched up her carts and piled the things on them.

12 All the women of Israel gathered to see her, and blessed her, and some of them performed a dance in her honor. She took ivy-wreathed wands in her hands and distributed them to the women who were with her; 13 and she and those who were with her crowned themselves with olive wreaths. She went before all the people in the dance, leading all the women, while all the men of Israel followed, bearing their arms and wearing garlands and singing hymns.

Judith Offers Her Hymn of Praise

14 Judith began this thanksgiving before all Israel, and all the people loudly sang this song of praise. 16 And Judith said,

Begin a song to my God with tambourines,
    sing to my Lord with cymbals.
Raise to him a new psalm;[c]
    exalt him, and call upon his name.
For the Lord is a God who crushes wars;
    he sets up his camp among his people;
    he delivered me from the hands of my pursuers.
The Assyrian came down from the mountains of the north;
    he came with myriads of his warriors;
their numbers blocked up the wadis,
    and their cavalry covered the hills.
He boasted that he would burn up my territory,
    and kill my young men with the sword,
and dash my infants to the ground,
    and seize my children as booty,
    and take my virgins as spoil.

But the Lord Almighty has foiled them
    by the hand of a woman.[d]
For their mighty one did not fall by the hands of the young men,
    nor did the sons of the Titans strike him down,
    nor did tall giants set upon him;
but Judith daughter of Merari
    with the beauty of her countenance undid him.

For she put away her widow’s clothing
    to exalt the oppressed in Israel.
She anointed her face with perfume;
    she fastened her hair with a tiara
    and put on a linen gown to beguile him.
Her sandal ravished his eyes,
    her beauty captivated his mind,
    and the sword severed his neck!
10 The Persians trembled at her boldness,
    the Medes were daunted at her daring.

11 Then my oppressed people shouted;
    my weak people cried out,[e] and the enemy[f] trembled;
    they lifted up their voices, and the enemy[g] were turned back.
12 Sons of slave-girls pierced them through
    and wounded them like the children of fugitives;
    they perished before the army of my Lord.

13 I will sing to my God a new song:
O Lord, you are great and glorious,
    wonderful in strength, invincible.
14 Let all your creatures serve you,
    for you spoke, and they were made.
You sent forth your spirit,[h] and it formed them;[i]
    there is none that can resist your voice.
15 For the mountains shall be shaken to their foundations with the waters;
    before your glance the rocks shall melt like wax.
But to those who fear you
    you show mercy.
16 For every sacrifice as a fragrant offering is a small thing,
    and the fat of all whole burnt offerings to you is a very little thing;
but whoever fears the Lord is great forever.

17 Woe to the nations that rise up against my people!
    The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them in the day of judgment;
he will send fire and worms into their flesh;
    they shall weep in pain forever.

18 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they worshiped God. As soon as the people were purified, they offered their burnt offerings, their freewill offerings, and their gifts. 19 Judith also dedicated to God all the possessions of Holofernes, which the people had given her; and the canopy that she had taken for herself from his bedchamber she gave as a votive offering. 20 For three months the people continued feasting in Jerusalem before the sanctuary, and Judith remained with them.

The Renown and Death of Judith

21 After this they all returned home to their own inheritances. Judith went to Bethulia, and remained on her estate. For the rest of her life she was honored throughout the whole country. 22 Many desired to marry her, but she gave herself to no man all the days of her life after her husband Manasseh died and was gathered to his people. 23 She became more and more famous, and grew old in her husband’s house, reaching the age of one hundred five. She set her maid free. She died in Bethulia, and they buried her in the cave of her husband Manasseh; 24 and the house of Israel mourned her for seven days. Before she died she distributed her property to all those who were next of kin to her husband Manasseh, and to her own nearest kindred. 25 No one ever again spread terror among the Israelites during the lifetime of Judith, or for a long time after her death.

Footnotes:

  1. Judith 15:4 Other ancient authorities add and Bebai
  2. Judith 15:5 Gk them
  3. Judith 16:1 Other ancient authorities read a psalm and praise
  4. Judith 16:5 Other ancient authorities add he has confounded them
  5. Judith 16:11 Other ancient authorities read feared
  6. Judith 16:11 Gk they
  7. Judith 16:11 Gk they
  8. Judith 16:14 Or breath
  9. Judith 16:14 Other ancient authorities read they were created
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ecclesiastes 3New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Everything Has Its Time

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14 I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.[a]

Judgment and the Future Belong to God

16 Moreover I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. 19 For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21 Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:15 Heb what is pursued
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Luke 3:1-14New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler[a] of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler[b] of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler[c] of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,

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

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11 In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 3:1 Gk tetrarch
  2. Luke 3:1 Gk tetrarch
  3. Luke 3:1 Gk tetrarch
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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