Judith's Plan 14 1Then Judith said to them, “My friends, please follow my advice. In the morning, take this head and hang it on the town wall. 2Appoint a leader for yourselves, and at sunrise have all your able-bodied men take their weapons and march out of the town with him, as if they were going down into the valley to attack the Assyrian outpost. 3The Assyrian guards will grab their weapons and rush back to camp to wake up their officers. The officers will run to Holofernes' tent but will not find him, and the whole army will be terrified and retreat as you advance against them. 4Then you and all the other Israelites will be able to follow them and kill them as they retreat. 5But before you do any of this, send Achior the Ammonite to me. I want to see if he recognizes Holofernes, the man who spoke of Israel with contempt and sent Achior to us, thinking he would be killed along with the rest of us.” Achior's Conversion 6So they called Achior from Uzziah's house. But when he came and saw the head of Holofernes in the hands of one of the men, Achior fainted and fell to the floor. 7When they had helped him up, Achior bowed at Judith's feet in respect. “May every family in the land of Judah praise you,” he said, “and may every nation tremble with terror when they hear your name. 8Please tell me how you managed to do this.” While all the people were gathered around, Judith told him everything that she had done from the day she left the town until that moment. 9When she had finished her story, the people cheered so loudly that the whole town echoed with sounds of joy. 10When Achior heard all that the God of Israel had done, he became a firm believer. He was circumcised and made a member of the Israelite community, as his descendants are to the present day. Panic in Holofernes' Camp 11The next morning the Israelites hung the head of Holofernes on the wall of the town. All of them took up their weapons and went out in companies to the slopes in front of the town. 12When the Assyrians saw what was happening, they sent word to their officers, and these reported the matter to their superiors. 13These men then went to Holofernes' tent and said to Bagoas, “Wake up the general! Those worthless Israelites have dared to come down from the mountain to attack us; they are just asking to be destroyed.” 14Bagoas went in and clapped his hands in front of the sleeping quarters of the tent, thinking that Holofernes was in bed with Judith. 15When there was no answer, he drew the curtain aside and went in, and there he found the headless body sprawled over a footstool. 16Bagoas let out a yell. He screamed, tore his clothes, and started groaning and weeping. 17He went into the tent where Judith had stayed, but of course he did not find her. He rushed out and shouted to the officers, 18“They have tricked us! One Israelite woman has disgraced Nebuchadnezzar's whole kingdom. Look in there! Holofernes is lying dead on the ground and his head is gone!” 19When the officers heard this, they tore their clothes in grief; and as the panic spread, wild cries and shouts were heard throughout the camp.
Good News Translation Catholic Edition / ©1992 American Bible Society About