1The next day Holofernes commanded all his army, and all his people which were come to take his part, that they should remove their camp against Bethulia, to take beforehand the ascents of the hill country, and to make war against the children of Israel.
2Then their strong men removed their camps in that day, and the army of the men of war was an hundred and seventy thousand footmen, and twelve thousand horsemen, beside the baggage, and other men that were afoot among them, a very great multitude.
3And they camped in the valley near to Bethulia, by the fountain, and they spread themselves in breadth over Dothaim even to Belmaim, and in length from Bethulia to Cynamon, which is over against Esdraelon.
4Now the children of Israel, when they saw the multitude of them, were greatly troubled, and said every one to his neighbor, Now will these men lick up the face of the earth; for neither the high mountains, nor the valleys, nor the hills, are able to bear their weight.
5Then every man took up his weapons of war, and when they had kindled fires upon their towers, they remained and watched all that night.
6But in the second day Holofernes brought forth all his horsemen in the sight of the children of Israel which were in Bethulia,
7And viewed the passages up to the city, and came to the fountains of their waters, and took them, and set garrisons of men of war over them, and he himself removed toward his people.
8Then came to him all the chief of the children of Esau, and all the governors of the people of Moab, and the captains of the sea coast, and said,
9Let our lord now hear a word, that there be not an overthrow in your army.
10For this people of the children of Israel do not trust in their spears, but in the height of the mountains wherein they dwell, because it is not easy to come up to the tops of their mountains.
11Now therefore, my lord, fight not against them in battle array, and there shall not so much as one man of your people perish.
12Remain in your camp, and keep all the men of your army, and let your servants get into their hands the fountain of water, which issues forth of the foot of the mountain:
13For all the inhabitants of Bethulia have their water thence; so shall thirst kill them, and they shall give up their city, and we and our people shall go up to the tops of the mountains that are near, and will camp upon them, to watch that none go out of the city.
14So they and their wives and their children shall be consumed with fire, and before the sword come against them, they shall be overthrown in the streets where they dwell.
15Thus shall you render them an evil reward; because they rebelled, and met not your person peaceably.
16And these words pleased Holofernes and all his servants, and he appointed to do as they had spoken.
17So the camp of the children of Ammon departed, and with them five thousand of the Assyrians, and they pitched in the valley, and took the waters, and the fountains of the waters of the children of Israel.
18Then the children of Esau went up with the children of Ammon, and camped in the hill country over against Dothaim: and they sent some of them toward the south, and toward the east over against Ekrebel, which is near to Chusi, that is upon the brook Mochmur; and the rest of the army of the Assyrians camped in the plain, and covered the face of the whole land; and their tents and carriages were pitched to a very great multitude.
19Then the children of Israel cried to the Lord their God, because their heart failed, for all their enemies had compassed them round about, and there was no way to escape out from among them.
20Thus all the company of Assur remained about them, both their footmen, chariots, and horsemen, four and thirty days, so that all their vessels of water failed all the inhibitants of Bethulia.
21And the cisterns were emptied, and they had not water to drink their fill for one day; for they gave them drink by measure.
22Therefore their young children were out of heart, and their women and young men fainted for thirst, and fell down in the streets of the city, and by the passages of the gates, and there was no longer any strength in them.
23Then all the people assembled to Ozias, and to the chief of the city, both young men, and women, and children, and cried with a loud voice, and said before all the elders,
24God be judge between us and you: for you have done us great injury, in that you have not required peace of the children of Assur.
25For now we have no helper: but God has sold us into their hands, that we should be thrown down before them with thirst and great destruction.
26Now therefore call them to you, and deliver the whole city for a spoil to the people of Holofernes, and to all his army.
27For it is better for us to be made a spoil to them, than to die for thirst: for we will be his servants, that our souls may live, and not see the death of our infants before our eyes, nor our wives nor our children to die.
28We take to witness against you the heaven and the earth, and our God and Lord of our fathers, which punishes us according to our sins and the sins of our fathers, that he do not according as we have said this day.
29Then there was great weeping with one consent in the midst of the assembly; and they cried to the Lord God with a loud voice.
30Then said Ozias to them, Brethren, be of good courage, let us yet endure five days, in the which space the Lord our God may turn his mercy toward us; for he will not forsake us utterly.
31And if these days pass, and there come no help to us, I will do according to your word.
32And he dispersed the people, every one to their own charge; and they went to the walls and towers of their city, and sent the women and children into their houses: and they were very low brought in the city.
Commentaries for Judith 7:0