Judith 7Good News Translation (GNT)
The Siege of Bethulia
1-2 The next day Holofernes gathered his whole army together, as well as his allied forces. It was an immense army, consisting of 170,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry, not counting the support troops who took care of the equipment. He ordered them to march on Bethulia, seize the mountain passes, and attack the Israelites. So they moved out 3 and set up camp beside the spring in the valley near Bethulia. The camp was so wide that it spread out toward the town of Dothan as far as Balbaim, and so long that it stretched from Bethulia to Cyamon, which faces Jezreel Valley.
4 When the Israelites saw the size of the army, they were terrified and said to one another,
8 All the leaders of the Edomite and Moabite forces, along with the commanders of the troops from the Mediterranean coast, came to Holofernes and said,
16 Holofernes and his entire staff were pleased with this suggestion, so he gave orders to put the plan into action. 17 The Moabites and 5,000 Assyrians moved their camp into the valley to control the source of the town's water. 18 The Edomites and the Ammonites went up into the mountains and set up their camp opposite the town of Dothan. They sent some of their men to the southeast in the direction of Acraba, near Chusi, which is beside the Mochmur River. The rest of the Assyrian army set up camp in the valley. Their camp was spread out over the whole countryside, because the number of tents and the amount of equipment needed for such a large army were immense.
19 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord their God for help. They had lost their courage, for with the enemy all around them there was no way to escape. 20 The entire Assyrian army—infantry, chariots, and cavalry—blockaded Bethulia for thirty-four days until the town ran out of water. 21 All the reservoirs and cisterns went dry, so that the drinking water had to be rationed, and not a day passed when there was enough water to go around. 22 Children were becoming weak; everywhere throughout the town women and young people were collapsing. No one had any strength left.
23 All the people of the town—men, women, and children alike—gathered around Uzziah and the town officials and shouted in protest,
29 Everyone there began to weep loudly and to pray to the Lord their God. 30 Then Uzziah said to them,
Don't give up, my friends! Let's wait five more days to see if the Lord our God will be merciful to us. Surely he will not abandon us completely. 31 But if no help comes after five days, then I will do as you say.
32 So Uzziah dismissed the people. All the men returned to their guard posts on the walls and towers, while the women and children went back to their homes. The morale of the entire town was very low.
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