Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. King. Greek adds, “of all the earth.”

Ver. 3. Why. Greek, “And art come to us? For thou art come for thy own safety. Take courage, for thou shalt live this night and henceforth, as no one shall hurt thee, but shall do thee good, as the servants of my lord, Nabuchodonosor, the king, are treated.”

Ver. 4. Handmaid. Greek adds, “and I will tell no untruth to my lord this night, for,” &c. — Thing. Greek adds, “and none of the projects of my lord shall fail.” (Haydock) — All that Judith said was true in her sense, though the enemy did not understand her properly. So Josue lawfully entrapped the citizens of Hai. (St. Augustine, q. 10. in Josue viii.) (Worthington)

Ver. 5. Liveth. She imitates Joseph, (Genesis xlii. 15.) and Eliseus; (4 Kings ii. 4.) and speaks the truth, as the general had subjected many to his master. (Menochius) — Her speech was not superstitious, but shewed a civil respect. (Calmet)

Ver. 7. To him. Greek intimates that she advised him to follow his counsel. “For our nation is not punished with the sword, unless they sin against their God. But now let not my lord be at a loss what to do. For death has fallen upon them, and sin has taken possession of them, so that they have irritated God by their folly,” &c., ver. 10. This might also be true, though they had not fallen into idolatry (chap. viii. 18.; Haydock) at Bethulia. (Menochius)

Ver. 8. Prophets. Though this had been threatened by the ancient prophets, (Haydock) we cannot pretend to specify which she means. (Calmet)

Ver. 10. Famine. They might have provisions, but they would be useless, on account of excessive thirst. (Menochius)

Ver. 11. Drink. Greek, “and all that God had forbidden them to eat by his laws, (Haydock) without making any distinction between the clean and unclean. (Grotius) — Blood was prohibited even before the law, Genesis ix. 4., and Leviticus xvii. 14. (Calmet)

Ver. 12. Oil. Greek may explain this. “And the first-fruits of corn, and the tithes of wine and of oil, which they had reserved as sacred for the priests, standing in Jerusalem, before our God, they had decreed to consume; though none of the people ought so much as to touch these things. Yet they have sent to obtain permission of the senate at Jerusalem, where the people have done the like. And when they shall have obtained an answer, they will fall to work, and then they will be abandoned to be destroyed by thee.” (Haydock) — She insinuates that her countrymen are in the utmost distress, and not much attached to religion; (Calmet) though in extreme want the distinction of meats is not to be enforced. (Haydock)

Ver. 13. Tell. Greek, “To perform with thee a feat which will astonish all who shall hear of these things. For thy handmaid is religious, and serveth the God of heaven day and night; and now my lord, I am,” &c.

Ver. 14. God. Greek adds, “in the night, in the valley.”

Ver. 15. He will. Greek, “They shall have completed their sins.” — Tell thee. Greek adds, “and thou shalt go out with all thy forces, and none of them shall resist thee; and I will bring thee through Judea, over-against Jerusalem, and will place thy throne in the midst of it, and thou shalt drive them like sheep,” &c. — Dog. This is proverbial, Exodus xi. 7. (Calmet) — All Israel was at rest after the death of Holofernes. Judith brought his head in triumph through the country. The promise of dominion (Haydock) was ironical, 3 Kings xxii. 15. (Menochius)

Ver. 16. God. Greek, “My foreknowledge; and I was sent to inform thee.” (Haydock) — She flatters Holofernes with the idea that he is under the special care of heaven. (Calmet)

Ver. 20. That. Greek, “To increase our strength, and to bring destruction on those who have despised my lord.”

Ver. 21. Because. Greek, “And now thou art comely in thy appearance, and good in thy discourse. If then thou perform what thou hast spoken, thy God shall,” &c. (Haydock) — It is hardly probable that he spoke in earnest. Perhaps he did not know that the true God allowed of no other. Being captivated with Judith’s beauty, and perceiving that she was attached to religion, he had a mind to remove all her objections to his person. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:Judith’s speech to Holofernes.1 Then Holofernes said to her: Be of good comfort, and fear not in thy heart: for I have never hurt a man that was willing to serve Nabuchodonosor, the king.2 And if thy people had not despised me, I would never have lifted up my spear against them.3 But now tell me, for what cause hast thou left them, and why it hath pleased thee to come to us?4 And Judith said to him: Receive the words of thy handmaid, for if thou wilt follow the words of thy handmaid, the Lord will do with thee a perfect thing.5 For as Nabuchodonosor, the king of the earth liveth, and his power liveth, which is in thee for chastising of all straying souls: not only men serve him through thee, but also the beasts of the field obey him.6 For the industry of thy mind is spoken of among all nations, and it is told through the whole world, that thou only art excellent and mighty in all his kingdom, and thy discipline is cried up in all provinces.7 *It is known, also, what Achior said, nor are we ignorant of what thou hast commanded to be done to him.8 For it is certain that our God is so offended with sins, that he hath sent word by his prophets to the people, that he will deliver them up for their sins.9 And because the children of Israel know they have offended their God, thy dread is upon them.10 Moreover, also, a famine hath come upon them, and for drought of water they are already to be counted among the dead.11 And they have a design even to kill their cattle, and to drink the blood of them.12 And the consecrated things of the Lord, their God, which God forbade them to touch, in corn, wine, and oil, these have they purposed to make use of, and they design to consume the things which they ought not to touch with their hands: therefore, because they do these things, it is certain they will be given up to destruction.13 And I, thy handmaid, knowing this, am fled from them, and the Lord hath sent me to tell thee these very things.14 For I, thy handmaid, worship God even now that I am with thee, and thy handmaid will go out, and I will pray to God,15 And he will tell me when he will repay them for their sins, and I will come and tell thee, so that I may bring thee through the midst of Jerusalem, and thou shalt have all the people of Israel, as sheep that have no shepherd, and there shall not so much as one dog bark against thee:16 Because these things are told me by the providence of God.17 And because God is angry with them, I am sent to tell these very things to thee.18 And all these words pleased Holofernes, and his servants, and they admired her wisdom, and they said one to another:19 There is not such another woman upon earth in look, in beauty, and in sense of words.20 And Holofernes said to her: God hath done well who sent thee before the people, that thou mightest give them into our hands:21 And because thy promise is good, if thy God shall do this for me, he shall also be my God, and thou shalt be great in the house of Nabuchodonosor, and thy name shall be renowned through all the earth.____________________*7: Judith v. 5.