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Archive for January 5th, 2023


Judith 13: God’s Yardstick – Judith

Fidelity’s Gift

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Caravaggio: Judith Beheading Holofernes (detail)

Caravaggio: Judith Beheading Holofernes (detail)

In these opening days of a new year, we look for ways to better see God’s yardstick in our lives, and for ways to leave the world’s yardstick behind.

When we explore different versions of Judith 13 we find these quiet clues that will lead us to a deeper understanding of these verses.

They were all overcharged with wine. Douay-Rheims 1899

Judith stood by Holofernes’ bed and prayed silently, O Lord, God Almighty, help me with what I am about to do for the glory of Jerusalem. Good News Translation

O Lord, God of all might, in this hour look graciously on the work of my hands for the exaltation of Jerusalem. Now is the time for aiding your heritage and for carrying out my design to shatter the enemies who have risen against us. New American Bible Revised Edition

Judith was left alone in the tent, with Holofernes stretched out on his bed, for he was dead drunk. New Revised Standard Version

Judith’s victory will represent a contradiction of the gentle, persistent love of Mary, Hannah, Anne and Elizabeth; it is a stark contrast to the New Testament Law of Love that Jesus brings to us. So how do we make sense of Judith’s story? Is the violence we find here the foundational reason that this book is considered by some a parable in which Judith is a metaphor for Israel? Do the anachronisms we find in this story mean that is it an ancient historical novel rather than an inspired text? Has Judith been laid aside by many with a disdain for women figuring as powerful and clever? Read this chapter along with Judith’s victory in Chapter 15 and decide how to best consider Judith. Decide how or if she represents God’s yardstick. What does her fidelity to God through prayer and deed mean for us today?

Caravaggio: Judith beheading Holofernes

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio: Judith beheading Holofernes

For more reflections on this woman’s life, enter her name into the blog search bar and explore.

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