21And in the eighteenth year, the two and twentieth day of the first month, there was talk in the house of Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians that he should, as he said, avenge himself on all the earth.
2So he called unto him all his officers, and all his nobles, and communicated with them his secret counsel, and concluded the afflicting of the whole earth out of his own mouth.
3Then they decreed to destroy all flesh, that did not obey the commandment of his mouth.
4And when he had ended his counsel, Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians called Holofernes the chief captain of his army, which was next unto him, and said unto him.
5Thus saith the great king, the lord of the whole earth, Behold, thou shalt go forth from my presence, and take with thee men that trust in their own strength, of footmen an hundred and twenty thousand; and the number of horses with their riders twelve thousand.
6And thou shalt go against all the west country, because they disobeyed my commandment.
7And thou shalt declare unto that they prepare for me earth and water: for I will go forth in my wrath against them and will cover the whole face of the earth with the feet of mine army, and I will give them for a spoil unto them:
8So that their slain shall fill their valleys and brooks and the river shall be filled with their dead, till it overflow:
9And I will lead them captives to the utmost parts of all the earth.
10Thou therefore shalt go forth. and take beforehand for me all their coasts: and if they will yield themselves unto thee, thou shalt reserve them for me till the day of their punishment.
11But concerning them that rebel, let not thine eye spare them; but put them to the slaughter, and spoil them wheresoever thou goest.
12For as I live, and by the power of my kingdom, whatsoever I have spoken, that will I do by mine hand.
13And take thou heed that thou transgress none of the commandments of thy lord, but accomplish them fully, as I have commanded thee, and defer not to do them.
14Then Holofernes went forth from the presence of his lord, and called all the governors and captains, and the officers of the army of Assur;
15And he mustered the chosen men for the battle, as his lord had commanded him, unto an hundred and twenty thousand, and twelve thousand archers on horseback;
16And he ranged them, as a great army is ordered for the war.
17And he took camels and asses for their carriages, a very great number; and sheep and oxen and goats without number for their provision:
18And plenty of victual for every man of the army, and very much gold and silver out of the king’s house.
19Then he went forth and all his power to go before king Nabuchodonosor in the voyage, and to cover all the face of the earth westward with their chariots, and horsemen, and their chosen footmen.
20A great number also sundry countries came with them like locusts, and like the sand of the earth: for the multitude was without number.
21And they went forth of Nineve three days’ journey toward the plain of Bectileth, and pitched from Bectileth near the mountain which is at the left hand of the upper Cilicia.
22Then he took all his army, his footmen, and horsemen and chariots, and went from thence into the hill country;
23And destroyed Phud and Lud, and spoiled all the children of Rasses, and the children of Israel, which were toward the wilderness at the south of the land of the Chellians.
24Then he went over Euphrates, and went through Mesopotamia, and destroyed all the high cities that were upon the river Arbonai, till ye come to the sea.
25And he took the borders of Cilicia, and killed all that resisted him, and came to the borders of Japheth, which were toward the south, over against Arabia.
26He compassed also all the children of Madian, and burned up their tabernacles, and spoiled their sheepcotes.
27Then he went down into the plain of Damascus in the time of wheat harvest, and burnt up all their fields, and destroyed their flocks and herds, also he spoiled their cities, and utterly wasted their countries, and smote all their young men with the edge of the sword.
28Therefore the fear and dread of him fell upon all the inhabitants of the sea coasts, which were in Sidon and Tyrus, and them that dwelt in Sur and Ocina, and all that dwelt in Jemnaan; and they that dwelt in Azotus and Ascalon feared him greatly.
31So they sent ambassadors unto him to treat of peace, saying,
2Behold, we the servants of Nabuchodonosor the great king lie before thee; use us as shall be good in thy sight.
3Behold, our houses, and all our places, and all our fields of wheat, and flocks, and herds, and all the lodges of our tents lie before thy face; use them as it pleaseth thee.
4Behold, even our cities and the inhabitants thereof are thy servants; come and deal with them as seemeth good unto thee.
5So the men came to Holofernes, and declared unto him after this manner.
6Then came he down toward the sea coast, both he and his army, and set garrisons in the high cities, and took out of them chosen men for aid.
7So they and all the country round about received them with garlands, with dances, and with timbrels.
8Yet he did cast down their frontiers, and cut down their groves: for he had decreed to destroy all the gods of the land, that all nations should worship Nabuchodonosor only, and that all tongues and tribes should call upon him as god.
9Also he came over against Esdraelon near unto Judea, over against the great strait of Judea.
10And he pitched between Geba and Scythopolis, and there he tarried a whole month, that he might gather together all the carriages of his army.
41Now the children of Israel, that dwelt in Judea, heard all that Holofernes the chief captain of Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians had done to the nations, and after what manner he had spoiled all their temples, and brought them to nought.
2Therefore they were exceedingly afraid of him, and were troubled for Jerusalem, and for the temple of the Lord their God:
3For they were newly returned from the captivity, and all the people of Judea were lately gathered together: and the vessels, and the altar, and the house, were sanctified after the profanation.
4Therefore they sent into all the coasts of Samaria, and the villages and to Bethoron, and Belmen, and Jericho, and to Choba, and Esora, and to the valley of Salem:
5And possessed themselves beforehand of all the tops of the high mountains, and fortified the villages that were in them, and laid up victuals for the provision of war: for their fields were of late reaped.
6Also Joacim the high priest, which was in those days in Jerusalem, wrote to them that dwelt in Bethulia, and Betomestham, which is over against Esdraelon toward the open country, near to Dothaim,
7Charging them to keep the passages of the hill country: for by them there was an entrance into Judea, and it was easy to stop them that would come up, because the passage was straight, for two men at the most.
8And the children of Israel did as Joacim the high priest had commanded them, with the ancients of all the people of Israel, which dwelt at Jerusalem.
9Then every man of Israel cried to God with great fervency, and with great vehemency did they humble their souls:
10Both they, and their wives and their children, and their cattle, and every stranger and hireling, and their servants bought with money, put sackcloth upon their loins.
11Thus every man and women, and the little children, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fell before the temple, and cast ashes upon their heads, and spread out their sackcloth before the face of the Lord: also they put sackcloth about the altar,
12And cried to the God of Israel all with one consent earnestly, that he would not give their children for a prey, and their wives for a spoil, and the cities of their inheritance to destruction, and the sanctuary to profanation and reproach, and for the nations to rejoice at.
13So God heard their prayers, and looked upon their afflictions: for the people fasted many days in all Judea and Jerusalem before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty.
14And Joacim the high priest, and all the priests that stood before the Lord, and they which ministered unto the Lord, had their loins girt with sackcloth, and offered the daily burnt offerings, with the vows and free gifts of the people,
15And had ashes on their mitres, and cried unto the Lord with all their power, that he would look upon all the house of Israel graciously.