Judith's Prayer
1 Then Judith put ashes on her head, opened her robe to reveal the sackcloth she was wearing under her clothes, and bowed down with her face to the floor. It was the time that the evening incense was being offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, and Judith prayed in a loud voice: 2 “O Lord, the God of my ancestor Simeon, remember how you armed Simeon with a sword to take revenge on those foreigners who seized Dinah, who was a virgin, tore off her clothes, and defiled her; they stripped her naked and shamed her; they raped her and disgraced her, even though you had forbidden this. 3 That is why you let their leaders be killed—put to death on the same bed where they had raped the woman. You destroyed them all, slaves, princes, and rulers on their thrones. 4 You let their wives be carried off, their daughters taken captive, and their possessions plundered by the Israelites, your chosen people, who were eager to do your will. Dinah's brothers were furious because of this disgrace to their family, so they called on you for help.
“O my God, listen to my prayer, the prayer of a widow. 5 Your hand guided all that happened then, and all that happened before and after. You have planned it all—what is happening now, and what is yet to be. Your plans have always been carried out. 6 Whatever you want to be done is as good as done. You know in advance all that you will do and what decisions you will make. 7 Now the Assyrians are stronger than ever; they take pride in their cavalry and their infantry. They rely on their weapons, but they do not know that you, O Lord, are a warrior who ends war. The Lord is your name. 8 In your anger, use your power to shatter their mighty army. They plan to defile your Temple, where you are worshiped, and to hack off the corners of your altar with their swords. 9 Look how proud and boastful they are! Pour out your fury upon them! I am only a widow, but give me the strength to carry out my plan. 10 Use my deceitful words to strike them all dead, master and slave alike. Let a woman's strength break their pride. 11 Your power does not depend on the size and strength of an army. You are a God who cares for the humble and helps the oppressed. You give support and protection to people who are weak and helpless; you save those who have lost hope. 12 Now hear my prayer, O God of my ancestor Simeon, the God in whom Israel trusts, ruler of heaven and earth, creator of the rivers and the seas, king of all creation. Hear my prayer and 13 let my deceitful words wound and kill those who have planned such cruelty against your covenant and your holy Temple, against Mount Zion and the land you have given your people. 14 Make your whole nation and every tribe recognize that you are God, almighty and all-powerful, and that you alone protect the people of Israel!”