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  • Judith 6

    Achior is handed over to the Israelites

    When the commotion of the men who surrounded the council quieted down, Holofernes the general of the Assyrian army said to Achior and all the Moabites in the presence of all the assembled foreigners: “Who are you, Achior, and you soldiers-for-hire from Ephraim, that you prophesy to us as you have today and say that we shouldn’t attack the Israelites because their God will protect them? Who is god except Nebuchadnezzar? He will send his power and destroy them from the earth, and their God won’t rescue them. We, on the other hand, are Nebuchadnezzar’s servants and will destroy them as if they were only a single man. They won’t be able to resist the power of our cavalry, which will wipe them out. Their hills will be drunk with their blood, and their fields will be filled with their dead. Not even their footprints will survive! They will be completely destroyed. So says King Nebuchadnezzar, master of all the earth, for he has spoken and none of his words will fail.

    “But as for you, Achior, you Ammonite mercenary, what you’ve said today comes from your own wickedness. You won’t see me again from now until the day I take revenge on this race that came out of Egypt. And when I return, the sword of my army and the spear of my servants will pierce through your ribs, and you will fall among their wounded. Now my servants will deliver you to the highlands and leave you in one of the cities near the mountain passes. You won’t die until you are destroyed along with them. If in your heart you really do hope that they won’t be conquered, cheer up! But I promise you, nothing I have spoken will fail to happen.”

    10 Then Holofernes ordered the slaves who were waiting on him in the tent to seize Achior, deliver him to Bethulia, and hand him over to the Israelites. 11 So the slaves seized him and led him out of the camp to the plain and from the plain to the highlands, and they arrived at the springs below Bethulia. 12 When the men of the city saw them, they grabbed their weapons and ran out of the city to the hilltop. They kept them off the mountain pass by throwing stones at them with their slings. 13 By finding shelter below the hill, the Assyrians tied up Achior and left him at the bottom of the hill, and then returned to their master.

    14 When the Israelites came down from their city, they found Achior. They untied him and led him into Bethulia, and presented him to the rulers of their city. 15 In those days the rulers were Uzziah, Micah’s son, from the tribe of Simeon, and Chabris, Gothoniel’s son, and Charmis, Melchiel’s son. 16 They called together all the elders of the city, and all their young men and women ran to the assembly. They set Achior in the middle of all their people, and Uzziah questioned him about what had happened. 17 He answered and told them what was said in Holofernes’ council—both what he had said among the Assyrian commanders and what Holofernes had boasted he would do to the house of Israel.

    18 Then the people fell down and worshipped God. They cried out: 19 “Lord God of heaven, look at their arrogance and have mercy on our nation in its humble state. Look favorably this day upon those who have been dedicated to you.” 20 They comforted Achior and praised him greatly. 21 Uzziah took him from the assembly to his own house and made a feast for the elders, and all through the night they called on Israel’s God for help.