By the Hand of a Woman – Yahudith Part 1
Yahudith was a Ivriyt (Hebrew) widow living in Bethulia and they had not long come out of a recent time of captivity. Her husband’s name was Manasses and he died during the barley harvest. Now Manasses was a wise and very well off man because Yahudith did not have to want for anything when he died. She had fields, lands, servants, attendants, gold, silver, and cattle. There are several scriptures that show different grieving times, some say seven days and others say thirty days. But she remained in her grief a long time – three years and four months! She lived in tent on top of her house, fasted everyday accept the Sabbath and Festival days and wore widows garments. Yahudith 8:1-8
This let’s me know that she loved her husband and they must have had a great relationship. I wonder what their marriage was like? How did they get along? How did they resolve conflict? How long had they been married before he died?
In the 12th year of Nabuchodonsor’s (Nebuchadnezzar)reign – he was king of the Assyrians (in Nineveh) he made war with king Arphaxad. So Nabuchodonsor sent to all that lived In Persia, Dilicia, Damascus, Libanus, Antilibanus, all that were on the sea coast, the nations of Carmel, Gallaad, Galilee, Esdrelom, Samaria, beyond the river Jordan, Yerushalyim, Ramesses, Gesem, Tahpnes for all of them to come and help in battle against Arphaxad. But they refused and didn’t’ think much of him. So he became very angry and said that he would destroy basically North Africa.
In the 17th year of his reign he marched against Arphaxad and won. Then he returned to Nineveh and had a party for 120 days. Later in the 18th year of his reign someone reminded him of an oath he made to destroy all those who would not come to war with him. So he called Holofernes who was the chief captain on his army and told him to destroy all the cities who would not help. Holofernes was told to slaughter everyone who rebelled against his command.
So Holofernes did what he was told and gathered some men for battle, 120,000 and 12,000 archers on horseback. Not to mention the other countries that came to help…they were as locusts and unable to be numbered! He destroyed Phud and Lud Rasses, Ishmael, all the cities that were on the river Arbonai. He killed all that resisted him, burned tabernacles, burned harvest fields, destroyed flocks and herds, utterly destroyed their countries, and killed their young men.
Nations were so afraid of him so they sent ambassadors of peace to him saying they would be servants of Nabuchodonosor. So Holofernes said okay and took his men throughout the cities and pitched a tent between Geba and Scythopolis and waited a whole month.
Now when the children of Yisra’el heard all that Holofernes had done they were very afraid. They were particularly afraid because they had just returned from captivity – they did not want to be taken captive again! So the priest Joacim, told them to be ready for war and stop anyone from coming in the entrances of Yehudah. Then everyone one humbled themselves by fasting and prayed to YAHUAH.
When Holofernes heard that they had prepared for war he became very angry and asked those who were with him “Why did these people not come and meet me…?”
Then Achior who was a captain of all the sons of Ammon basically told Holofernes the story of the Yisra’elites and how YAHUAH had moved on their behalf many times. He ended by saying this:
Keep Achior and what he said in your mind.
So the other people who were with Holofernes were upset and wanted to kill Achior for what he said, saying “we will not be afraid of the face of the children of Yisra’el; for lo, it is a people that have no strength nor power for a strong battle.” Holofernes didn’t like what Archior had to say either and told Archoir that he would not see his face anymore. He then commanded his men to take Archior to the children of Yisra’el and leave him there with them (obviously he planned to kill him too).
Part 2 up tomorrow