Judith 4-6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
II. Siege of Bethulia[a]
Israel Prepares for War.[b] 1 When the Israelites who lived in Judea heard of all that Holofernes, the ranking general of Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians, had done to the nations, and how he had looted all their shrines[c] and utterly destroyed them, 2 they were in very great fear of him, and greatly alarmed for Jerusalem and the temple of the Lord, their God. 3 Now, they had only recently returned from exile, and all the people of Judea were just now reunited, and the vessels, the altar, and the temple had been purified from profanation.[d] 4 So they sent word to the whole region of Samaria, to Kona, Beth-horon, Belmain, and Jericho, to Choba and Aesora, and to the valley of Salem.[e] 5 The people there secured all the high hilltops, fortified the villages on them, and since their fields had recently been harvested, stored up provisions in preparation for war.
6 Joakim, who was high priest[f] in Jerusalem in those days, wrote to the inhabitants of Bethulia and Betomesthaim, which is opposite Esdraelon, facing the plain near Dothan, 7 and instructed them to keep firm hold of the mountain passes, since these offered access to Judea. It would be easy to stop those advancing, as the approach was only wide enough for two at a time.[g] 8 The Israelites carried out the orders given them by Joakim, the high priest, and the senate of the whole people of Israel, in session in Jerusalem.
Israel at Prayer. 9 All the men of Israel cried to God with great fervor and humbled themselves. 10 They, along with their wives, and children, and domestic animals, every resident alien, hired worker, and purchased slave, girded themselves with sackcloth.[h] 11 And all the Israelite men, women, and children who lived in Jerusalem fell prostrate in front of the temple[i] and sprinkled ashes on their heads, spreading out their sackcloth before the Lord. 12 The altar, too, they draped in sackcloth;[j] and with one accord they cried out fervently to the God of Israel not to allow their children to be seized, their wives to be taken captive, the cities of their inheritance to be ruined, or the sanctuary to be profaned and mocked for the nations to gloat over.
13 The Lord heard their cry[k] and saw their distress. The people continued fasting for many days throughout Judea and before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty in Jerusalem. 14 Also girded with sackcloth, Joakim, the high priest, and all the priests in attendance before the Lord, and those who ministered to the Lord offered the daily burnt offering, the votive offerings, and the voluntary offerings of the people. 15 With ashes upon their turbans, they cried to the Lord with all their strength to look with favor on the whole house of Israel.
Achior in the Assyrian War Council.[l] 1 It was reported to Holofernes, the ranking general of the Assyrian forces, that the Israelites were ready for battle, had blocked the mountain passes, fortified the high hilltops, and placed roadblocks in the plains. 2 In great anger he summoned all the rulers of Moab, the governors of Ammon, and all the satraps of the coastland 3 and said to them: “Now tell me, you Canaanites, what sort of people is this that lives in the hill country? Which cities do they inhabit? How large is their force? In what does their power and strength consist? Who has set himself up as their king and the leader of their army? 4 Why have they alone of all the inhabitants of the west refused to come out to meet me?”
5 [m]Then Achior, the leader of all the Ammonites, said to him: “My lord, please listen to a report from your servant. I will tell you the truth about this people that lives in the hill country near here. No lie shall escape your servant’s lips.
6 “These people are descendants of the Chaldeans. 7 They formerly lived in Mesopotamia, for they did not wish to follow the gods of their ancestors who were in the land of the Chaldeans. 8 Since they abandoned the way of their ancestors, and worshiped the God of heaven,[n] the God whom they had come to know, their ancestors expelled them from the presence of their gods. So they fled to Mesopotamia and lived there a long time. 9 Their God told them to leave the place where they were living and go to the land of Canaan. Here they settled, and grew very rich in gold, silver, and a great abundance of livestock. 10 Later, when famine had gripped the land of Canaan, they went down into Egypt. They stayed there as long as they found sustenance and there they grew into such a great multitude that the number of their people could not be counted. 11 The king of Egypt, however, rose up against them, and shrewdly forced them to labor at brickmaking; they were oppressed and made into slaves. 12 But they cried to their God, and he struck the whole land of Egypt with plagues for which there was no remedy. So the Egyptians drove them out. 13 Then God dried up the Red Sea before them 14 and led them along the route to Sinai and Kadesh-barnea. They drove out all the inhabitants of the wilderness 15 and settled in the land of the Amorites. By their strength they destroyed all the Heshbonites, crossed the Jordan, and took possession of all the hill country. 16 They drove out before them the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Shechemites,[o] and all the Gergesites, and they lived there a long time.
17 “As long as the Israelites did not sin in the sight of their God, they prospered, for their God, who hates wickedness, was with them. 18 [p]But when they abandoned the way he had prescribed for them, they were utterly destroyed by frequent wars, and finally taken as captives into foreign lands. The temple of their God was razed to the ground, and their cities were occupied by their enemies. 19 But now they have returned to their God, and they have come back from the Diaspora where they were scattered. They have reclaimed Jerusalem, where their sanctuary is, and have settled again in the hill country, because it was unoccupied.
20 “So now, my master[q] and lord, if these people are inadvertently at fault, or if they are sinning against their God, and if we verify this offense of theirs, then we will be able to go up and conquer them. 21 But if they are not a guilty nation, then let my lord keep his distance; otherwise their Lord and God will shield them, and we will be mocked in the eyes of all the earth.”
22 Now when Achior had finished saying these things, all the people standing round about the tent murmured; and the officers of Holofernes and all the inhabitants of the seacoast and of Moab alike said he should be cut to pieces. 23 “We are not afraid of the Israelites,” they said, “for they are a powerless people, incapable of a strong defense. 24 Therefore let us attack, master Holofernes. They will become fodder for your great army.”
1 When the noise of the crowd surrounding the council had subsided, Holofernes, the ranking general of the Assyrian forces, said to Achior, in the presence of the whole throng of foreigners, of the Moabites, and of the Ammonite mercenaries: 2 “Who are you,[r] Achior and the mercenaries of Ephraim, to prophesy among us as you have done today, and to tell us not to fight against the people of Israel because their God shields them? Who is God beside Nebuchadnezzar? He will send his force and destroy them from the face of the earth. Their God will not save them; 3 but we, the servants of Nebuchadnezzar, will strike them down with one blow, for they will be unable to withstand the force of our cavalry. 4 We will overwhelm them with it, and their mountains shall be drunk with their blood, and their plains filled with their corpses. Not a trace of them shall survive our attack; they will utterly perish. So says King Nebuchadnezzar, lord of all the earth. For he has spoken, and his words will not be in vain. 5 As for you, Achior, you Ammonite mercenary, for saying these things in a moment of perversity, you will not see my face after today, until I have taken revenge on this people that came out of Egypt. 6 Then at my return, the sword of my army or the spear of my attendants will pierce your sides, and you will fall among their wounded. 7 My servants will now conduct you to the hill country, and leave you at one of the cities beside the passes. 8 You will not die until you are destroyed together with them. 9 If you still harbor the hope that they will not be taken, then there is no need for you to be downcast. I have spoken, and not one of my words will fail to be fulfilled.”
10 Then Holofernes ordered the servants who were standing by in his tent to seize Achior, conduct him to Bethulia, and hand him over to the Israelites. 11 So the servants seized him and took him out of the camp into the plain. From the plain they led him up into the hill country until they reached the springs below Bethulia.
12 When the men of the city saw them, they seized their weapons and ran out of the city to the top of the hill, and all the slingers kept them from coming up by hurling stones at them. 13 So, taking cover below the hill, they bound Achior and left him lying at the foot of the hill; then they returned to their lord.
Achior in Bethulia.[s] 14 The Israelites came down from their city and found him, untied him, and brought him into Bethulia. They placed him before the rulers of the city, 15 who in those days were Uzziah,[t] son of Micah of the tribe of Simeon, and Chabris, son of Gothoniel, and Charmis, son of Melchiel. 16 They then convened all the elders of the city, and all their young men, as well as the women, gathered in haste at the place of assembly. They placed Achior in the center of the people, and Uzziah questioned him about what had happened. 17 He replied by giving them an account of what was said in the council of Holofernes, and of all his own words among the Assyrian rulers, and of all the boasting threats of Holofernes against the house of Israel.
18 At this the people fell prostrate and worshiped God,[u] and they cried out: 19 “Lord, God of heaven, look at their arrogance! Have mercy on our people in their abject state, and look with favor this day on the faces of those who are consecrated to you.” 20 Then they reassured Achior and praised him highly. 21 Uzziah brought him from the place of assembly to his home, where he gave a banquet for the elders. That whole night they called upon the God of Israel for help.
Proverbs 31:1-15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
VIII. Sayings of King Lemuel[a]
1 The words of Lemuel, king of Massa,[b] the instruction his mother taught him:
2 What are you doing, my son![c]
IX. Poem on the Woman of Worth[e]
10 Who can find[f] a woman of worth?
Luke 1:26-56 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,[a] and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, 33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”[b] 35 And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 36 And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived[c] a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; 37 for nothing will be impossible for God.” 38 Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth. 39 During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, 42 cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord[d] should come to me? 44 For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed are you who believed[e] that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
The Canticle of Mary. 46 And Mary said:[f]
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
56 Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
The Birth of John.[g]