1 And it happened that these words were heard by Judith, a widow who was the daughter of Merari, the son of Idox, the son of Joseph, the son of Oziel, the son of Elai, the son of Jamnor, the son of Gideon, the son of Raphaim, the son of Ahitub, the son of Melchiel, the son of Enan, the son of Nathaniel, the son of Salathiel, the son of Simeon, the son of Ruben.
2 And her husband was Manasseh, who died in the days of the barley harvest.
3 For he was standing over those who bound sheaves in the field, and the heat overcame his head, and he died in Bethulia, his own city, and he was buried there with his fathers.
4 But Judith, his bereaved, was a widow now for three years and six months.
5 And she made herself a private chamber in the upper part of her house, in which she stayed enclosed with her handmaids.
6 And she had haircloth around her waist, and she fasted all the days of her life, except Sabbaths, and new moons, and the feasts of the house of Israel.
7 Moreover, she was exceedingly elegant in appearance, and her husband left her many riches, and an abundant household, as well as the ownership of plentiful herds of oxen and flocks of sheep.
8 And she was greatly renowned among all, because she feared the Lord very much, nor was there anyone who spoke an ill word about her.
9 And so, when she heard that Uzziah had promised that he would hand over the city with the passing of five days, she sent to the elders Chabris and Charmis.
10 And they came to her, and she said to them: “What is this word, by which Uzziah has consented to hand over the city to the Assyrians, if within five days no help arrives for us?
11 And who are you to test the Lord?
12 This is not a word that will provoke mercy, but rather one that may excite wrath and enkindle fury.
13 You have set a time limit for the mercy of the Lord, and you have established a day for him, according to your choice.
14 But, since the Lord is patient, let us be repentant about this same matter, and let us beg his indulgence with many tears.
15 For God will not threaten like man, nor will he be inflamed to anger like a son of man.
16 And, for this reason, let us humble our souls before him, and, continuing to serve him in a spirit of humility,
17 let us speak to the Lord with tears, so that he may act according to his will in his mercy toward us. So then, just as our heart is disturbed by their arrogance, so also may we glory in our humility.
18 For we have not followed the sins of our fathers, who abandoned their God in order to worship strange gods.
19 Because of this crime, they were given over to their enemies: to the sword, and to pillaging, and to confusion. But we know no other God except him.
20 Let us wait with humility for his consolation, and the Lord our God will requite our blood by the afflictions of our enemies, and he will humble all the nations that will rise up against us, and he will cause them to be without honor.
21 And now, brothers, because you are the elders among the people of God, and their very soul hangs upon you, rescue their hearts by your eloquence, so that they may remember that our fathers were tested in order to prove whether or not they truly worshiped their God.
22 They are obliged to remember how our father Abraham was tested, and being proved by many tribulations, he was made the friend of God.
23 So Isaac, so Jacob, so Moses, and all that have pleased God, passed through many tribulations, remaining faithful.
24 But those who did not accept the trials with the fear of the Lord, and who brought forward their impatience and the disgrace of their murmuring against the Lord,
25 were exterminated by the exterminator, and they perished by serpents.
26 And as for us, therefore, let us not revenge ourselves for these things that we suffer.
27 But, in considering these same sufferings to be less than our sins deserve, let us believe that the scourges of the Lord, by which we are corrected like servants, have occurred for our improvement and not for our destruction.”
28 And Uzziah and the elders said to her: “All the things that you have spoken are true, and there is nothing reprehensible in your words.
29 Now, therefore, pray for us, because you are a holy woman, and one fearing God.”
30 And Judith said to them: “You know that what I have been able to say is of God.
31 So, concerning that which I propose to do, examine whether or not it is from God, and pray that God may act to strengthen my plan.
32 You will stand at the gate this night, and I will go forth with my handmaid. And pray that, just as you have said, within five days the Lord may look kindly on his people Israel.
33 But I am not willing to have you examine my actions, and, until I report to you, let nothing else be done, except to pray for me to the Lord our God.”
34 And Uzziah, the leader of Judah, said to her, “Go in peace, and may the Lord be with you to take revenge among our enemies.” So, turning back, they departed.
1 Woe to the city of blood, filled with all manner of lies and violence. Crime shall not depart from you:
2 the voice of the whip, and the voice of the turning wheels, and of the neighing horse, and the burning chariot, and the horsemen who ride,
3 and of the flashing sword and the shining spear, and of a multitude executed and a grievous ruination. Neither is there an end to the dead bodies, and they will fall down upon their dead bodies.
4 Because of the multitude of fornications of the kept woman, beautiful and pleasing and practicing evil deeds, who sold nations by her fornications, and families by her evil doing:
5 behold, I will come to you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will reveal your shame to your face, and I will show your nakedness to the Gentiles, and your disgrace to kingdoms.
6 And I will cast abominations over you, and I will afflict you with abuse, and I will make an example of you.
7 And this shall be: everyone who sees you, will recoil from you, and he will say: “Nineveh has been devastated.” Who will shake his head over you? Where might I seek consolation for you?
8 Are you better than the populous Alexandria, which dwells along the rivers? Waters encircle it: the sea, with its riches. The waters are its walls.
9 Ethiopia and Egypt were its strength, and there is no limit. Africa and Northern Africa have been your helpers.
10 Nevertheless, she has been led away with the transmigration into captivity. Her little ones have been dashed in pieces at the top of every street, and they have cast lots over her celebrities, and all her elite have been fastened together in shackles.
11 Therefore, you also will become inebriated, and you will be despised, and you will seek help from the opposition.
12 All your fortresses will be like fig trees with their green figs. If they are shaken violently, they will fall into the mouth of the one who devours.
13 Behold, women are at the center of your people. The gates of your land will be opened wide for your enemies; fire will devour your bars.
14 Draw in water because of the blockade; build up your fortresses. Go into the clay and tread; work it to make brick.
15 There, fire will devour you. You will perish by the sword; it will devour you like the beetle. Gather together like the beetle. Multiply like the locust.
16 You have made more negotiations than there are stars in the sky. The beetle has spread out and flown away.
17 Your guardians are like locusts, and your little ones are like locusts among locusts, which alight on hedges on a cold day. The sun rose up, and they flew away, and there was no way to know the place where they had been.
18 Your shepherds have become drowsy, king Assur. Your princes will be buried. Your people have remained hidden in the mountains, and there is no one to gather them.
19 Your destruction is not hidden; your wound is grievous. All who have heard of your fame have clenched their hands over you, because over whom has your wickedness not trampled continually?
1 Unto the end, a psalm for David.
2 O God, be not thou silent in thy praise: for the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful man is opened against me.
3 They have spoken against with deceitful tongues; and they have compassed me about with words of hatred; and have fought against me without cause.
4 Instead of making me a return of love, they detracted me: but I gave myself to prayer.
5 And they repaid me evil for good: and hatred for my love.
1 If it is necessary (though certainly not expedient) to glory, then I will next tell of visions and revelations from the Lord.
2 I know a man in Christ, who, more than fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I do not know, or out of the body, I do not know: God knows), was enraptured to the third heaven.
3 And I know a certain man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I do not know: God knows),
4 who was enraptured into Paradise. And he heard words of mystery, which it is not permitted for man to speak.
5 On behalf of someone like this, I will glory. But on behalf of myself, I will not glory about anything, except my infirmities.
6 For even though I am willing to glory, I will not be foolish. But I will speak the truth. Yet I will do so sparingly, lest anyone may consider me to be anything more than what he sees in me, or anything more than what he hears from me.
7 And lest the greatness of the revelations should extol me, there was given to me a prodding in my flesh: an angel of Satan, who struck me repeatedly.
8 Because of this, three times I petitioned the Lord that it might be taken away from me.
9 And he said to me: “My grace is sufficient for you. For virtue is perfected in weakness.” And so, willingly shall I glory in my weaknesses, so that the virtue of Christ may live within me.
10 Because of this, I am pleased in my infirmity: in reproaches, in difficulties, in persecutions, in distresses, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am powerful.
11 I have become foolish; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you. For I have been nothing less than those who claim to be above the measure of Apostles, even though I am nothing.
12 And the seal of my Apostleship has been set over you, with all patience, with signs and wonders and miracles.
13 For what is there that you have had which is less than the other churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this injury.
14 Behold, this is the third time I have prepared to come to you, and yet I will not be a burden to you. For I am seeking not the things that are yours, but you yourselves. And neither should the children store up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15 And so, very willingly, I will spend and exhaust myself for the sake of your souls, loving you more, while being loved less.
16 And so be it. I have not burdened you, but instead, being astute, I obtained you by guile.
17 And yet, did I defraud you by means of any of those whom I sent to you?
18 I asked for Titus, and I sent a brother with him. Did Titus defraud you? Did we not walk with the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?
19 Have you ever thought that we should explain ourselves to you? We speak in the sight of God, in Christ. But all things, most beloved, are for your edification.
20 Yet I fear, lest perhaps, when I have arrived, I might not find you such as I would want, and I might be found by you, such as you would not want. For perhaps there may be among you: contention, envy, animosity, dissension, detraction, whispering, self-exaltation, and rebellion.
21 If so, then, when I have arrived, God may again humble me among you. And so, I mourn for the many who sinned beforehand, and did not repent, over the lust and fornication and homosexuality, which they have committed.
1 Behold, this is the third time that I am coming to you. By the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall stand.
2 I have preached when present, and I will preach now while absent, to those who sinned before, and to all the others, because, when I arrive again, I will not be lenient with you.
3 Do you seek evidence that it is Christ who speaks in me, who is not weak with you, but is powerful with you?
4 For although he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. And yes, we are weak in him. But we shall live with him by the power of God among you.
5 Test yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not know whether Christ Jesus is in you? But perhaps you are reprobates.
6 But I hope you know that we ourselves are not reprobates.
7 Now we pray to God that you shall do nothing evil, not so that we may seem to be approved, but so that you may do what is good, even if we seem like reprobates.
8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
9 For we rejoice that we are weak, while you are strong. This is also what we pray for: your perfection.
10 Therefore, I write these things while absent, so that, when present, I may not have to act more harshly, according to the authority which the Lord has given to me, for edification and not for destruction.
11 As to the rest, brothers, rejoice, be perfect, be encouraged, have the same mind, have peace. And so the God of peace and love will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
13 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.