mythology meme: [5/8] myths, legends, and stories
↳ the book of judith
Often regarded as the first historical novel or a parable, The Book of Judith appears in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Septuagint Christian Old Testament of the Bible.
King Nebuchadnezzar, a powerful ruler of Assyria, sends the fearsome leader of his army, Holofernes, to wipe out the city states that had refused to aid him in a previous war. One of the cities targeted is Bethulia, which was located near Jerusalem. Holofernes lays siege on the city; the people soon run out of drinking water. They pray to God to help them, but after five days no relief has come. Judith, an influential and beautiful widow, decides to take matters into her own hands.
She prays to God to make her a good liar, and to give her, his loyal servant, the power to help her people. After dressing in her finest garments and best jewellery, she lets herself and her maidservant be captured by Assyrians just outside of city walls, promising a way to take the city easily, without losing but a single soldier, if she’s taken to Holofernes. The soldiers were enchanted by her beauty and fulfilled her request. When she is presented to Holofernes, he’s taken aback by her beauty and quick wit. He tells all his soldiers to leave the tent and lies down on his sheepskins to get drunk in the company of Judith. After a while, he’s out cold, and Judith, seeing no other way, takes his sword from its sheath and hacks off Holofernes’s head. She wraps it in a cloth and brings it to Bethulia, where it’s deliberately put in view of the Assyrians’ battlements. Terrified, the now leaderless Assyrians flee and are easily picked off one by one by the Israelites. Judith becomes a national heroine, and lives to be a hundred and five.