1. When Judith had finished her prayer to the God of Israel,

2. she rose from the ground, and after calling her maidservant, she went down into the house where she usually spent the sabbath days and the feasts.

3. She took off the sackcloth and her widow's clothes in which she was dressed. She washed her whole body with water, anointed it with rich perfume, combed her hair and placed a jewelled band around it. She dressed herself in the beautiful garments she had been accustomed to wear when her husband, Manasseh, was living.

4. She put sandals on her feet, put on her anklets, bracelets and rings, her earrings and all her jewels. She made herself extremely beautiful in order to attract the attention of the men who would see her.

5. She gave the servant a skin of wine and a jar of oil, she filled a bag with flour made from barley and some small cakes made from dried figs and fine flour. She wrapped up all these things and put the maid in charge of them.

6. Then they set out in the direction of the gate of the town of Bethulia where they found stationed Uzziah and the elders of the town, Chabris and Charmis.

7. As soon as the men saw her, her face so transformed and her clothes so different, they were full of admiration for her beauty and said to her,

8. "May the God of our fathers grant that you may find favor and that your undertakings may be successful for the glory of the sons of Israel and the exaltation of Jerusalem." She adored God and said to them,

9. "Command that the gate of the town be opened for me and I will go forth in order to accomplish what you have just said." They ordered the young men to open the gate as she had asked.

10. They carried out the command and Judith went out with her maidservant. The townsmen watched her until she reached the foot of the mountain and crossed the valley, then they lost sight of her.

11. Judith and the maid walked straight through the valley and a sentry for the Assyrians came to meet them.

12. He stopped them and asked, "Who are you? Where have you come from? Where are you going?" She replied, "I am a daughter of the Hebrews; I am fleeing far from them because they are on the point of handing themselves over to be despoiled by you.

13. I have come to present myself to Holofernes, the general-in-chief of your army, to speak to him in all sincerity. I will show him a way by which he can advance and become master of the whole mountain without losing a single man either from injury or loss of life."

14. As soon as the men had heard her words and noticed her face (for she was strikingly beautiful) they said to her,

15. "You have saved your life by hurrying to present yourself before our lord. Approach his tent; certain men from among us will accompany you until they have handed you over safely into his hands.

16. When you stand before him, do not have any fear in your heart, but tell him what you have to say and he will treat you well."

17. They chose one hundred men from their number; these men accompanied Judith and the maid and led them to the tent of Holofernes.

18. In the whole camp the news of her arrival spread from tent to tent, and throughout the whole camp men came running. They made a circle round her as she stood waiting outside Holofernes' tent while someone informed him of her arrival.

19. They were captivated by her beauty and, on seeing her, they praised the sons of Israel and said to one another, "Who can look down on the people who have such women? It would be a mistake to leave one man alive; they would be able to deceive the whole world."

20. Those who were sleeping near Holofernes and all his officers came out and led her into the tent.

21. Holofernes was lying on his bed under hangings of purple and gold set with emerald and precious stones.

22. Having been informed about her, he moved towards the entrance of the tent, with silver lamps carried before him.

23. As Judith came before him and his officers, they all admired the beauty of her face. Throwing herself face downwards to the ground, she bowed before him; the servants of Holofernes raised her up.

“Onde não há obediência, não há virtude. Onde não há virtude, não há bem, não há amor; e onde não há amor, não há Deus; e sem Deus não se chega ao Paraíso. Tudo isso é como uma escada: se faltar um degrau, caímos”. São Padre Pio de Pietrelcina