Judith Remains Faithful to Her Religion
1 Holofernes commanded his men to take Judith to the table which was set with his silverware and to serve her some of his own special food and wine. 2 But Judith refused. “I cannot eat your food,” she said, “for I would be breaking the laws of my God. I will eat only what I have brought with me.”
3 “But what will you do when your food and wine are gone?” Holofernes asked. “Where will we get more food for you? There are no Israelites here in our camp.”
4 “Sir,” Judith answered, “as surely as you live, I have more than enough food to last until the Lord has used me to carry out his plan.”
5 Then Holofernes' personal servants led Judith to a tent. She slept there until the time of the morning watch just before dawn, when she got up 6 and sent a message to Holofernes requesting permission to go out into the valley to pray. 7 Holofernes ordered his guards to let Judith leave the camp. So for three days Judith lived in the camp, and each night she would go out to the valley near Bethulia and bathe at the spring. 8 After she had bathed, she would pray to the Lord God to guide her in her plan to bring victory to Israel. 9 Then she would return to the camp ritually pure and remain in her tent until after the evening meal.
Holofernes' Banquet
10 On the fourth day of Judith's stay in the camp, Holofernes gave a banquet for his highest ranking officers, but he did not invite any of the officers who were on duty. 11 He said to Bagoas, the eunuch who was in charge of his personal affairs, “Go and persuade the Hebrew woman, who is in your care, to come to my tent to eat and drink with us. 12 It would be a shame to pass up an opportunity to make love to a woman like that. If I don't try to seduce her, she will laugh at me.”
13 So Bagoas left Holofernes and went to Judith. “Lovely lady,” he said, “the general invites you to his tent for some drinks. Come and enjoy yourself like the Assyrian women who serve in Nebuchadnezzar's palace. This is a great honor.”
14 “I shall be glad to accept,” Judith answered. “How could I refuse? I'll remember this happy night as long as I live.”
15 So Judith got up and put on her prettiest clothes. Her slave woman went ahead of her and placed on the ground in front of Holofernes the lamb skins that Bagoas had given Judith to sit on when she ate. 16 Judith came into the tent and sat down there. Holofernes was aroused when he saw her and had an uncontrollable desire to make love to her. From the first day he had seen her, he had been waiting for a chance to seduce her. 17 “Join us for a drink and enjoy yourself,” he said to her.
18 “I'll be glad to, sir,” Judith replied; “this is the happiest day of my life.” 19 But even then Judith ate and drank only what her slave had prepared. 20 Holofernes was so charmed by her that he drank more wine than he had ever drunk at one time in his whole life.