A True Woman of God
One of the 7 books that are included in the Catholic Bible, the book of Judith is a narrative about difficult times & God's hand of providential activity.
In this study, we will learn why the book of Judith is included in Catholic scripture but not Protestant versions of the bible. More importantly, we will also see how we can get our strength from God through hard times and to learn to trust the plans that God makes for us.
This book includes battle + deliverance; love + loss. Think of how those things affect you today. How can Judith's story impact our trust in God?
Join us in a 24 day study on the book of Judith.
The "Book of Judith" music playlist. Enjoy these songs, themed around our current bible study - curated by HOMWF.
Thank you so much for joining us on the book of Judith!
I pray Judith helped you conquer your fears and face your enemies with the strength of God.
Judith began this thanksgiving with a song of praise for the Lord.
It’s easy to sing praises when our cups are full and every need is met. When the enemy has been crushed, and the people have been saved, it’s appropriate to celebrate.
As we wrap up our Judith study, we see a happy ending. The Assyrian army flees, and the Israelites celebrate.
Here, Judith leads everyone with specific instructions on how to seize the Assyrians without even trying.
And because she just beheaded the leader of their enemy, everyone followed every word to the T. This woman knows what she’s talking about!
Can I just be real with you for a minute?
I feel like this entire book would make a great movie. My heart was pounding furiously in this chapter!
From the moment Judith was alone with Holofernes in the bedchamber, to her prayer right before she beheaded him, andrunning in the night and returning to Bethulia, screaming at the watchmen to open the gates - I literally held my breath!
Even as a guest in an unfamiliar culture with different traditions and practices, Judith remains faithful to the Lord. She politely refused to eat the food and wine offered to her by Holofernes
From the moment Judith speaks her first words to Holofernes, she has him hooked.
Her beauty, of course, plays a huge part in deceiving him. But he is not easily fooled by beauty. Judith presents herself as a sharp, insightful, and intelligent woman that he can’t help but be impressed by the whole package.
When Judith walks through the valley, she doesn’t hesitate to tell the Assyrian patrol the reason for her visit. Struck by her marvelous beauty, he immediately believes her.
Judith is preparing herself to meet Holofernes. She removes her modest widow’s garments, which she has worn for years, and I imagine to be plain, ordinary, and dull in color. Nothing exciting or fancy.
This entire chapter is, by far, one of my favorite prayers. Judith, with great humility and reverence, asks the Lord for help in defeating the enemy. She praises God and His strength and power. She vows to bring Him glory by bringing all the nations and tribes to understand and know that He is God.
Judith does not waste a single second and cuts right to the chase, telling Uzziah and the elders what’s on her mind.
“Who are you that have put God to the test this day?” (v.12)
And she is absolutely right. We have no right to do that, yet we do every day.
Finally we learn about Judith!
Every Christian woman is familiar with Proverbs 31 and strives to be a Proverbs 31 Woman.But here is Judith who embodies what it means to be a God-fearing woman!
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak…” (Matt 26:41)
Eventually, the Israelites went to the rulers of the city and begged for peace with the Assyrians. They had already endured so much, and they needed relief. After all they had been through, who could blame them?
The plan for siege at Bethulia to completely surround the Israelites is absolutely heartwrenching, and cutting off the water supply at Bethulia is ruthless. I cannot fathom how is it that people can allow themselves to partake in creating such evil for others.
There is great arrogance on the part of Holofernes in promising death for Alchior, who shall “fall among [the] wounded” of the Israelites. Alchior is seized by Holofernes’ servants who leave him lying in the middle of hill country as punishment for his “moment of perversity.”
I am saddened by Holofernes’ answer to Alchior’s speech because although he has heard the truth, it does not speak to him.Sometimes, people hear the truth when it is spoken to them, but they choose not to listen to or act upon it. Conversely, people hear the truth and choose to listen and act upon it. Other times, people cannot even hear the truth even when it is spoken to them, like Holofernes.
Today’s reflection is on the same chapter as yesterday’s, but I would like to illuminate a different area of significance.
Most of what constitutes Alchior’s speech is pure description of the Israelites: their ancestral history, their reliance on the God of heaven during adversity, and their strength.
The last part of Alchior’s speech is an interpretation of this description and how it is relevant to Holofernes’ attack on the Israelites.
In this short passage, you’ll notice that before the Israelites make fervent pleas to God to save them from ruin and seizure, they all do one thing in common: drape themselves in sackcloth. The sackcloth is a sign of penitence or mourning.
What’s so important about what the Israelites cover themselves with?
This tradition speaks to a few things.
When I read how Israel prepares for war in this chapter, I think of the preparation we need to do to arm ourselves against the destruction of the devil. In 1 Peter 5:8, we are advised to “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.”
We can learn a great deal from the servants of King Neb. The first thing they say to Holofernes is to “do with us as you will.” They offer him everything that they have for him to do as he sees fit, all because of being of service to their King. Already there is so much about service in the beginning chapter of Judith.
So far in our study, we’ve learned what bad leadership looks like. From Luther’s changing of the Bible and omitting books, to King Neb abusing his power and authority for selfish reasons.King Neb meets in secret with his advisors + officers and forms a plan to destroy anyone who didn’t obey his command.
King Nebuchadnezzar wages war against King Arphaxad. He orders people to fight for him, but they refuse.They’re not afraid of him and sent back his messengers empty-handed.King Neb is, obviously, outraged + furious. How dare they turn down a king. How DARE they!
Welcome to the book of Judith! This book is one of seven that has been omitted from the Old Testament in several translations.Maybe you’re new to Bible studies (or the Bible, period), and you had no idea about this.