Posted by: goodmorningmystic | August 31, 2021

Judith…

How do you know God’s will?  Is it the same as your will?  What if God’s will is not your will?  So, who’s in charge?  Are you in command of your life or is God a puppet master pulling your strings?  And can you make a deal with God to change things in your life?  Can you give God an ultimatum?

When these types of questions wedge themselves in your mind, I encourage you to read the Book of Judith.  It offers one of the best lessons in the Bible on how to view the will of God in the context of our individual lives and in course of salvation history.

So, who was Judith?  Was she a real person?  Did a Jewess (the meaning of the name Judith) really decapitate the fierce Assyrian General Holofernes and bring peace to the Israelite people for one hundred years? 

Scholars have concluded that the story of Judith is not historical.  Rather, it serves as a spiritual teaching to remind the Jewish people that God had not forgotten them and that He would continue to intervene in salvation history for the preservation of Jerusalem. 

The story takes place during the post-Babylonian Exile period.  Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon (605 BC to 562 BC), had conquered Jerusalem.  He took many Jews captive.  Some Jews stayed behind in Jerusalem.  These Jews rebelled and did not support the Babylonian King in his war against the King of Media (ancient Iran).  Nebuchadnezzar decided to punish the Jews for their infidelity to him by sending the powerful and fierce Assyrian General Holofernes to crush them. 

Holofernes surrounded the town of Bethulia and cut off their water supply.  The people lost their faith that God would save them and demanded that the Jewish rulers, led by Uzziah, surrender to Holofernes.  Uzziah told the people that he would give God five days to help them, and if God didn’t step up , Uzziah would do as the people ask; Israel would surrender to the enemy.

Enter Judith, devout widow, whose fidelity to God makes her a greater warrior against the Assyrians than any Jewish man in Bethulia.  Judith tells Uzziah that it is wrong to “put God to the test, setting yourselves in the place of God in human affairs.”  Read Judith 8: 12-27 and she will teach you what it means to trust in God and remain faithful.  “It is not for you to make the Lord our God give surety for his plans.  God is not man that he should be moved by threats, … that he may be given an ultimatum,” she says in verse 16.  “He will hear our cry if it is his good pleasure,” she says in verse 17.  If it is His good pleasure…if it is His will.

The rest of the story shows us what it takes to participate in salvation history.  We need to recognize what needs to be done.  And if the job requires sacrifice, then so be it.  Brave Judith (and her faithful maid) walked into the enemy camp.  They were captured and then, after just a few days, the beautiful Judith tricked General Holofernes into a drunken stupor.  She cut off his head and brought it back to the people of Bethulia.  They hung the head of Holofernes on the wall of the town.  The Assyrian army were overcome with fear and trembling.  They scattered in all directions.  The Israelite warriors overwhelmed them and defeated their enemy. 

Judith lived to be 105 years of age.  The book ends with this verse.  “During the life of Judith and for a long time after her death, no one again disturbed the Israelites.”   

Judith’s spiritual lesson: employ unswerving trust in God and remain faithful to His holy will.  What is His holy will? 

It’s what happens.  And if you don’t like it or if it hurts, understand that it’s not personal.  It’s salvation history and you are a part of it.   

*Note:  You’ll need a Catholic Bible to read Judith.  Protestant Bibles do not include the Book of Judith (or Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Tobit and Wisdom).  


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