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AND it came to pass, when she had ceased to cry to the Lord, that she rose from the place wherein she lay prostrate before the Lord. 2 And she called her maid, and going down into her house she took off her haircloth, and put away the garments of her widowhood,

Ver. 2.  House.  Gr. adds, "where she spent the sabbath and festival days, she rolled up her," &c.  H.

 

--- She remained in her oratory therefore only on other days.  C.


3 And she washed her body, and anointed herself with the best ointment, and plaited the hair of her head, and put a bonnet upon her head, and clothed herself with the garments of her gladness, and put sandals on her feet, and took her bracelets, and lilies, and earlets, and rings, and adorned herself with all her ornaments.

Ver. 3.  Body.  Compl. Gr. "mouth."  But other editions seem more accurate.  H. --- Best.  Gr. "thick," probably the myrobalanum of Pliny xii. 21. and xiii. 1.

 

--- Bonnet, or mitre, tied with ribbands, hanging down behind, like those of bishops.

 

--- Sandals, highly ornamented, and worn by people of quality.  C.

 

--- Lilies, pendent from the neck.  Grot.


4 And the Lord also gave her more beauty: because all this dressing up did not proceed from sensuality, lent from virtue: and therefore the Lord increased this her beauty, so that she appeared to all men's eyes incomparably lovely.

Ver. 4.  And.  Gr. "and she was richly adorned, so that she might captivate (literally, deceive) the eyes of whatever men should behold her.  And," v. 5.  H.

 

--- The fathers highly extol her virtue, and shew was, no doubt, actuated by the purest motives.  Yet she might be guilty of some indiscretion.  Even the working of miracles would not prove the contrary, as wicked priests may confer the sacraments; and Moses was reprehensible the moment (C.) before (H.) he wrought a miracle.  Num. xx. 10.  Mat. vii. 22.  God inspired her with the laudable design of freeing her country, but the means were left to her own choice.  C.

 

--- The making use of this rich attire was not, however, sinful in itself; and we have no right to suspect that Judith gave any way either to vanity or to sensuality.  How many ladies of quality are dressed so as to enchant all those who are not upon their guard!  Yet, provided they observe due modesty, who will blame their rich attire or perfumes?  H.

 

--- Judith might lawfully desire to marry Holofernes for the good of her nation, (M.) as Esther became the wife of Assuerus, though an infidel.  The general seemed even willing to become a convert.  C. xi. 21.  H.


5 And she gave to her maid a bottle of wine to carry, and a vessel of oil, and parched corn, and dry figs, and bread and cheese, and went out.

Ver. 5.  Bottle; made of leather, (C.) used for carrying wine.  Pollox.  M.

 

--- Corn.  It was eaten either steeped in water or mixed with oil.

 

--- Cheese.  So the Syr. reads.  Gr. "pure loaves."  C.

 

--- Why she took her provisions with her, she explains.  C. xii. 2.  M.


6 And when they came to the gate of the city, they found Ozias, and the ancients of the city waiting. 7 And when they saw her they were astonished, and admired her beauty exceedingly.

Ver. 7.  Her.  Gr. adds, "with her countenance and robes changed."


8 But they asked her no question, only they let her pass, saying: The God of our fathers give thee grace, and may he strengthen all the counsel of thy heart with his power, that Jerusalem may glory in thee, and thy name may be in the number of the holy and just.

Ver. 8.  But.  Gr. "And they said to her, May God, the God of."

 

--- With.  Gr. "For the glory of the Israelites, and the exaltation of Jerusalem; and they adored God.  And she said to them, Order the gate of the city to be opened for me, and I will go out to accomplish what you were talking about to me.  And they commanded the young men to open for her; and they did so.  But Judith and her maid went out.  And the citizens looked at her while she descended the hill, till she had passed the valley, when they lost sight of her; and they passed along straight through the vale, and the advanced guard of," &c.  H.

 

--- It appears that there was still day-light, (C.) or the moon shone brightly.  H.




9 And they that were there said, all with one voice: So be it, so be it. 10 But Judith praying to the Lord, passed through the gates, she and her maid. 11 And it came to pass, when she went down the hill, about break of day, that the watchmen of the Assyrians met her and stopped her, saying: Whence comest thou? or whither goest thou? 12 And she answered: I am a daughter of the Hebrews, and I am fled from them, because I knew they would be made a prey to you, because they despised you, and would not of their own accord yield themselves, that they might find mercy in your sight.

Ver. 12.  Because I knew, &c.  In this and the following chapter, some things are related to have been said by Judith, which seem hard to reconcile with truth.  But all that is related in Scripture of the servants of God, is not approved by the Scripture: and even the saints in their enterprizes may sometimes slip into venial sins.  Ch.

 

--- By means of mental reservation, we may exculpate her from lying.  Serar.  M.

 

--- But this expedient is bad and childish.  H.

 

--- She might speak ironically, (Carthus.) or prophetically.  Raban.  Glossa, &c.

 

--- Still it might be an untruth, (C.) to be excused, like stratagems in war.  M.

 

--- How often does an enemy give out that he is going to march to some place, when he intends to go quite another way!  H.

 

--- I knew.  Gr. "Because they are about to be given up a prey to you.  Therefore, I come to Holofernes, general in chief of your army, to inform him of the truth, and to shew," &c.  H.

 

--- She spoke many things certainly true, and others which would probably have taken place, if God had not sent relief.  W.


13 For this reason I thought with myself, saying: I will go to the presence of the prince Holofernes, that I may tell him their secrets, and shew him by what way he may take them, without the loss of one man of his army. 14 And when the men had heard her words, they beheld her face, and their eyes were amazed, for they wondered exceedingly at her beauty. 15 And they said to her: Thou hast saved thy life by taking this resolution, to come down to our lord.

Ver. 15.  Lord.  Gr. adds, "and now proceed to his tent, and some of us shall give thee into his hands.  But if thou stand before him, let not thy heart fear, but tell him this, and he will treat thee well.  And they selected 100 men, and surrounded her and her servant-maid, and conducted her to the tent of Holofernes.  And they ran from all parts of the camp, as soon as her coming was made known, and they came round her as she stood without the tent of Holofernes, till they had told him of her.  And they were astonished at her beauty, and at the Israelites, and said to each other, Who," &c. v. 18.


16 And be assured of this, that when thou shalt stand before him, he will treat thee well, and thou wilt be most acceptable to his heart. And they brought her to the tent of Holofernes, telling him of her. 17 And when she was come into his presence, forthwith Holofernes was caught by his eyes. 18 And his officers said to him: Who can despise the people of the Hebrews who have such beautiful women, that we should not think it worth our while for their sakes to fight against them?

Ver. 18.  That we.  Gr. "For it is not expedient to leave one man of them alive, lest they should delude all the earth."  (Old Vulg. omits the negation.)  "And all who slept near Holofernes, and all his servants, came out and introduced her into the tent;" (H. which was divided into two apartments.  Heraclides) "and Holofernes was reposing on a bed in the canopy, (or inner room) which," &c.  H.

 

--- The curtain was intended to keep off gnats.  M. Anthony imitated this delicacy.

                        Interque signa (turpe!) militaria,

                        Sol aspicit conopæum.  Hor. epod. ix.  C.


19 And Judith seeing Holofernes sitting under a canopy, which was woven of purple and gold, with emeralds and precious stones: 20 After she had looked on his face bowed down to him, prostrating herself to the ground. And the servants of Holofernes lifted her up, by the command of their master.

Ver. 20.  After.  Gr. "And they told him of her, and he came out to the forepart of the tent, and silver lamps preceded him, (H.) either for grandeur, as they did the kings of Persia and the emperors of Rome and of the Turks, or because it was still dark."  C.

 

--- "But as soon as Judith came in sight of him and of his ministers, they all were astonished at the beauty of her face; and falling prostrate, she adored him, (with civil respect) and his servants lifted her up."  H.

 

--- S. Fulgentius (ep. 2.) judges, with great probability, that Judith was now about 40 years old.  W.


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