Book of Judith, A Deuterocanonical Book

Book of Judith

Judith or The Book of Judith is a notable deuterocanonical book included in Septuagint as well as the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Old Testament. The Book of Judith contains several historical anachronisms, a reason for which numerous scholars have considered it to be a non-historical text. Judith is an apocryphal work that narrates the account of the titular figure Judith, a Jewish widow who delivers Israel from the clutches of the Assyrian forces. The name Judith is the female form of the male name Judah.

As to the language of the original text is concerned, it is still not clearly known whether this book of Judith was written in Greek or in Hebrew. The oldest version of the text is in the Septuagint, which could either be a Greek composition or one that has been translated from Hebrew. Finer points of phrasing and vocabulary indicate a Greek text created in a language based on Greek but developed from the translation of other texts of the Septuagint.

The book of Judith can be divided into two acts or parts of almost equal length. The first seven chapters of the Book of Judith discuss the rising threat against Israel that is led by evil Assyrian king Nebuchadnezzar along with his obsequious general Holofernes, which gradually comes to a stage where the Assyrian forces converge at a mountain pass near Bethulia. Chapters 8 to 16 introduce the protagonist Judith and narrate her heroic acts that eventually save the people of her country.

The book of Judith presents a tragic setting which appealed significantly to the people of Jewish nation. It also reinforced the importance of being true to the Mosaic Law. However, what matters the most is the eternal appeal of the drama presented in the story’s narrative. The Book of Judith presents the account where we find the Assyrian ruler King Nebuchadnezzar orders his general Holofernes to go on a military expedition against Palestine.

When the Assyrian forces captured the city of Bethulia, the general by the name of Achior warned Holofernes not to attack the land of the Jews lest there be serious dangers. Judith, a beautiful widow who had the virtue of courage, was upset with her countrymen for not putting their trust on God for delivering them from foreign invaders. She hatches up a plan and along with her maid she visits the camp of enemy general Holofernes. By being friendly with the general and enticing him, she promises him valuable information on the Israeli forces. Gaining his trust gradually, she arranges a way to have open access to the general’s camp.

One night, Judith visits the camp at a time when the general lies unconscious in a drunken state. She decapitates the general and then carries his head to Bethulia to show her fearful countrymen. When the Assyrian forces realize they lost their leader, they decide to retreat and the people of Israel are saved. Being the central figure responsible for this Jewish victory, Judith is courted by several suitors. However, she remains unmarried throughout her life.  Interested in receiving Book of Judith Bible Quotes?