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The Prayer of Judith

Then Judith prostrated herself, put ashes on her head, and uncovered the sackcloth she was wearing. At the very time when the evening incense was being offered in the house of God in Jerusalem, Judith cried out to the Lord with a loud voice and said,(A)

“O Lord God of my ancestor Simeon, to whom you gave a sword to take revenge on those strangers who had torn off a virgin’s clothing[a] to defile her and exposed her thighs to put her to shame and profaned her womb to disgrace her, for you said, ‘It shall not be done’—yet they did it,(B) so you gave up their rulers to be killed, and their bed, which was ashamed of the deceit they had practiced, was stained with blood, and you struck down slaves along with princes and princes on their thrones. You gave up their wives for plunder and their daughters to captivity and all their spoils to be divided among your beloved children who burned with zeal for you and abhorred the pollution of their blood and called on you for help. O God, my God, hear me also, a widow.(C)

“For you have done these things and those that went before and those that followed. You have designed the things that are now and those that are to come. What you had in mind has happened;(D) the things you decided on presented themselves and said, ‘Here we are!’ For all your ways are prepared in advance, and your judgment is with foreknowledge.(E)

“Here now are the Assyrians, a greatly increased force, priding themselves in their horses and riders, boasting in the strength of their foot soldiers, and trusting in shield and spear, in bow and sling. They do not know that you are the Lord who crushes wars; the Lord is your name.(F) Break their strength by your might, and bring down their power in your anger, for they intend to profane your sanctuary and to pollute the tabernacle where your glorious name resides and to break off the horns[b] of your altar with the sword.(G) Look at their pride, and send your wrath upon their heads. Give to me, a widow, the strong hand to do what I plan. 10 By the deceit of my lips strike down the slave with the prince and the prince with his attendant; crush their arrogance by the hand of a woman.(H)

11 “For your strength does not depend on numbers nor your might on the powerful. But you are the God of the lowly, helper of the oppressed, upholder of the weak, protector of the forsaken, savior of those without hope.(I) 12 Please, please, God of my father, God of the heritage of Israel, Lord of heaven and earth, Creator of the waters, King of all your creation, hear my prayer!(J) 13 Make my deceitful words bring wound and bruise on those who have planned cruel things against your covenant and against your sacred house and against Mount Zion and against the house your children possess. 14 Let your whole nation and every tribe know and understand that you are God, the God of all power and might, and that there is no other who protects the people of Israel but you alone!”(K)


  1. 9.2 Cn: Gk loosed her womb
  2. 9.8 Syr: Gk horn