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Judith 12New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

Judith as a Guest of Holofernes

12 Then he commanded them to bring her in where his silver dinnerware was kept, and ordered them to set a table for her with some of his own delicacies, and with some of his own wine to drink. But Judith said, ‘I cannot partake of them, or it will be an offence; but I will have enough with the things I brought with me.’ Holofernes said to her, ‘If your supply runs out, where can we get you more of the same? For none of your people are here with us.’ Judith replied, ‘As surely as you live, my lord, your servant will not use up the supplies I have with me before the Lord carries out by my hand what he has determined.’

Then the servants of Holofernes brought her into the tent, and she slept until midnight. Towards the morning watch she got up and sent this message to Holofernes: ‘Let my lord now give orders to allow your servant to go out and pray.’ So Holofernes commanded his guards not to hinder her. She remained in the camp for three days. She went out each night to the valley of Bethulia, and bathed at the spring in the camp.[a] After bathing, she prayed the Lord God of Israel to direct her way for the triumph of his[b] people. Then she returned purified and stayed in the tent until she ate her food towards evening.

Judith Attends Holofernes’ Banquet

10 On the fourth day Holofernes held a banquet for his personal attendants only, and did not invite any of his officers. 11 He said to Bagoas, the eunuch who had charge of his personal affairs, ‘Go and persuade the Hebrew woman who is in your care to join us and to eat and drink with us. 12 For it would be a disgrace if we let such a woman go without having intercourse with her. If we do not seduce her, she will laugh at us.’

13 So Bagoas left the presence of Holofernes, and approached her and said, ‘Let this pretty girl not hesitate to come to my lord to be honoured in his presence, and to enjoy drinking wine with us, and to become today like one of the Assyrian women who serve in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.’ 14 Judith replied, ‘Who am I to refuse my lord? Whatever pleases him I will do at once, and it will be a joy to me until the day of my death.’ 15 So she proceeded to dress herself in all her woman’s finery. Her maid went ahead and spread for her on the ground before Holofernes the lambskins she had received from Bagoas for her daily use in reclining.

16 Then Judith came in and lay down. Holofernes’ heart was ravished with her and his passion was aroused, for he had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her from the day he first saw her. 17 So Holofernes said to her, ‘Have a drink and be merry with us!’ 18 Judith said, ‘I will gladly drink, my lord, because today is the greatest day in my whole life.’ 19 Then she took what her maid had prepared and ate and drank before him. 20 Holofernes was greatly pleased with her, and drank a great quantity of wine, much more than he had ever drunk in any one day since he was born.


  1. Judith 12:7 Other ancient authorities lack in the camp
  2. Judith 12:8 Other ancient authorities read her
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 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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