The Speech of Holofernes
1 When the noise of the crowd around the council had subsided, Holofernes spoke to Achior in front of the entire group, those from the Mediterranean coast, the Moabites, and the Ammonite mercenaries.
2 “Achior, who do you think you are, acting like a prophet? Who are you to tell us not to go to war against the Israelites because some god will defend them? Nebuchadnezzar is our god, and that's all that matters. He will send his army and wipe these Israelites off the face of the earth. Their god can't help them. 3 But we serve Nebuchadnezzar, and we will beat them as easily as if their whole army were one man. They will not be able to hold their ground against our cavalry; 4 it will overwhelm them. The mountains will be soaked with their blood, and the valleys will be filled with their corpses. After our attack, they will be completely wiped out; not a trace of them will be left. This is the command of Nebuchadnezzar, the lord of the whole earth, and he doesn't speak idle words. 5 Achior, you are nothing but an Ammonite mercenary, and you talk like a traitor. You will not see me again until I come and punish this race of runaway slaves. 6 And when I do, my soldiers will put you to death. You will be just another name on the casualty list.
7 “Now my men will take you into the mountains and leave you in one of the Israelite towns, 8 and you will die with the people there. 9 Why look so worried, Achior? Don't you think the town can stand against me? I will carry out all my threats; you can be sure of that!”
Achior Is Brought to Bethulia
10 Then Holofernes ordered his men, who were waiting in his tent, to seize Achior, take him to Bethulia, and hand him over to the Israelites. 11 So the men seized Achior and took him out of the camp into the valley. From there they led him into the mountains, as far as the spring which was below Bethulia.
12 When the men of that town saw them approaching, they picked up their weapons and ran to the top of the hill. Every man who used a sling as a weapon rained stones down on Holofernes' soldiers, and this stopped them from coming any farther up the mountain. 13 The Assyrians were forced to take cover along the mountainside, where they tied Achior up and left him lying at the foot of the mountain. Then they returned to Holofernes.
14 Later, when the Israelites came down from Bethulia, they untied Achior, brought him into the town, and took him before the town officials, 15 who at that time were Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon, Chabris son of Gothoniel, and Charmis son of Melchiel. 16 The officials called together the town elders, and all the women and the young men also ran to the assembly. Achior was brought before the people, and Uzziah began questioning him. 17 Achior told them what had been said at Holofernes' war council, what he himself had said to the Assyrian officers, and how Holofernes had boasted about what he would do to the Israelites. 18 When the people heard this, they fell on their knees and worshiped God. They prayed: 19 “O Lord God of heaven, look how our boastful enemies have humiliated your people! Have pity on us and help us.” 20 Then they reassured Achior and praised him for what he had done. 21 After the assembly was over, Uzziah took Achior home with him, and gave a banquet there for the elders. All that night they prayed to the God of Israel for help.