15 When the soldiers heard what had happened, they were horrified2 and began to tremble with fear. They all scattered in different directions from the camp, making no effort to stay together as they tried to escape along the paths in the mountains and valleys.3 The soldiers who had camped in the mountains around Bethulia also began to retreat. Then all the Israelite soldiers came charging down on them.
4 Uzziah sent messengers to the towns of Betomesthaim, Bebai, Choba, and Kola, and throughout the land of Israel to tell everyone what had happened and to urge them to join in pursuing and destroying the enemy.5 When they received the message, they all attacked the Assyrians and chased them as far as Choba, slaughtering them as they went. Even the people of Jerusalem and others living in the mountains joined the attack when the messengers told them what had happened in the Assyrian camp. The people of the regions of Gilead and Galilee blocked the path of the retreating Assyrians and inflicted heavy losses on them. They pursued them as far as the region around Damascus.
6 The rest of the people in Bethulia went down to the Assyrian camp, plundered it and carried away enough loot to make themselves very rich.7 When the Israelite soldiers returned from the slaughter, they helped themselves to what was left. There was so much of it that the people of the towns and villages in the hill country also shared in the loot.
Israel Celebrates the Victory
8 The High Priest Joakim and the Council of Israel came from Jerusalem to see for themselves what great things the Lord had done for his people and to meet Judith and congratulate her.9 When they arrived, they all praised her,
You are Jerusalem's crowning glory, the heroine of Israel, the pride and joy of our people!10 You have won this great victory for Israel by yourself. God, the Almighty, is pleased with what you have done. May he bless you as long as you live.
All the people responded, Amen.
11 It took the people thirty days to finish looting the camp of the Assyrians. Judith was given Holofernes' tent, all his silver, his bowls, his couches, and all his furniture. She took them and loaded as much as she could on her mule; then she brought her wagons and loaded them too.12 All the Israelite women came to see her; they sang her praises and danced in her honor. On this joyful occasion Judith and the other women waved ivy-covered branches13 and wore wreaths of olive leaves on their heads. Judith took her place at the head of the procession to lead the women as they danced. All the men of Israel followed, wearing wreaths of flowers on their heads, carrying their weapons, and singing songs of praise.
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