Slayer of the Assyrian General Holofernes
609 B.C. ?
The little state of Palestine was the only available highway between those two great ancient empires, Egypt and Assyria, and was a constant prey to the cupidity or revenge or both.
In the early ages of the Hittite peoples of Syria served as a buffer between them, but after their rule was destroyed it was inevitable that Palestine should suffer from the armies of those great, ambitious, warring nations who now swept its treasure and people into their countries to build and adorn their great cities.
Sennacherib, it is recorded, employed 360,000 captives in enlarging and beautifying wonderful Nineveh, which, within two years, he boasted he had made “as splendid as the sun.”
An enormous booty and 200,000 captives were taken from Hezekiah (king of Judah), and forty-six of his cities in one campaign; and seventy-nine cities, eight hundred towns, over 200,000 captives, and immense wealth from the Babylonian states in another.
With the fall of Nineveh the great, 625 B.C., under the joint forces of the Medes, and that traitorous viceroy of Babylon, Nabopolassar, the latter became the king of Babylon, his son Nebuchandnezzar (afterwards the great builder of Babylon) being for years at the head of his armies. During this reign of Nabopolassar it is supposed the event of Judith occurred.
The mighty king, after conquering the Persians, resolved to punish the people of Palestine, Syria, and Phoenicia for refusing to aid him in the war against Persia, and to this end sent an army into Palestine under command of Holofernes, who laid siege to Bethulia in Samaria. In order to rescue the famished inhabitants, a rich widow named Judith entered the Assyrian camp under pretext of being a deserter, and willing to betray Bethulia to them. Judith was taken into the tent of Holofernes, who was enraptured by her great beauty, intellectual gifts, and piety. At a banquet in his tent, given to Judith, he became drunken, when she beheaded him, thus causing the defeat of his army.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.