Judith, CHAPTER 12
Then he ordered them to lead her into the room where his silver dinnerware was kept, and ordered them to set a table for her with his own delicacies to eat and his own wine to drink.
But Judith said, “I cannot eat any of them, because it would be a scandal. Besides, I will have enough with the things I brought with me.”
Holofernes asked her, “But if your provisions give out, where can we get more of the same to provide for you? None of your people are with us.”
Judith answered him, “As surely as you live, my lord, your servant will not use up her supplies before the Lord accomplishes by my hand what he has determined.”
Then the attendants of Holofernes led her to her tent, where she slept until the middle of the night. Toward the early morning watch, she rose
and sent this message to Holofernes, “Give orders, my lord, to let your servant go out for prayer.”
So Holofernes ordered his guards not to hinder her. Thus she stayed in the camp three days. Each night she went out to the valley of Bethulia, where she bathed herself at the spring of the camp.
After bathing, she prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, to direct her way for the triumph of her people.
Then she returned purified to the tent and remained there until her food was brought to her toward evening.
Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes.
On the fourth day Holofernes gave a banquet for his servants alone, to which he did not invite any of the officers.
And he said to Bagoas, the eunuch in charge of his personal affairs, “Go and persuade the Hebrew woman in your care to come and to eat and drink with us.
It would bring shame on us to be with such a woman without enjoying her. If we do not seduce her, she will laugh at us.”
So Bagoas left the presence of Holofernes, and came to Judith and said, “So lovely a maidservant should not be reluctant to come to my lord to be honored by him, to enjoy drinking wine with us, and to act today like one of the Assyrian women who serve in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.”
Judith replied, “Who am I to refuse my lord? Whatever is pleasing to him I will promptly do. This will be a joy for me until the day of my death.”
So she proceeded to put on her festive garments and all her finery. Meanwhile her servant went ahead and spread out on the ground opposite Holofernes the fleece Bagoas had furnished for her daily use in reclining while eating.
Then Judith came in and reclined. The heart of Holofernes was in rapture over her and his passion was aroused. He was burning with the desire to possess her, for he had been biding his time to seduce her from the day he saw her.
Holofernes said to her, “Drink and be happy with us!”
Judith replied, “I will gladly drink, my lord, for today is the greatest day of my whole life.”
She then took the things her servant had prepared and ate and drank in his presence.
Holofernes, charmed by her, drank a great quantity of wine, more than he had ever drunk on any day since he was born.