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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



JUDITH 8

 

CHAPTER VIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Idox.  Gr. "ox," &c.  All the versions disagree, as the copyists have probably taken in part of v. 3 too soon, supposing that the genealogy of women was never given.  S. Fulgentius (ep. ad Gallam) differs from all, giving the ancestors of Manasses as the same with those of Judith.  C. --- Simeon, the son of Ruben.  In the Greek it is, the son of Israel.  For Simeon, the patriarch, from whom Judith descended, was not the son, but the brother of Ruben.  It seems more probable, that the Simeon and the Ruben here mentioned are not the patriarchs, but two of the descendants of the patriarch Simeon: and that the genealogy of Judith, recorded in this place, is not carried up so high as the patriarchs.  No more than that of Elcana, the father of Samuel, (1 K. i. 1.) and that of king Saul.  1 K. ix. 1.  Ch. --- Others think that Judith descended from Ruben, by her father, and from Simeon, by her mother; (E.) or that, instead of son of Ruben, we should read "brother."  But as we know that Judith calls Simeon her father, (C. ix. 2.) it is more likely that Ruben has been placed for Israel, as it is in Syr. S. Fulg. &c.  This correction is maintained by Bellarmine, Salien, M.  C. --- Thus both Judith and her husband were of the same tribe, the former by Salathiel, the latter by Sarisadai.  C. --- Innumerable are the mistakes in the proper names, in Scripture.  H. --- Some of these might have had more than one.  Gr. has Sarasdai, (Compl. "Saladai;" Alex. Sept. "Salasadai.") instead of Simeon, son of Israel: (C.) Alex. "Jeél," which is probably a contraction for Israel.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Who.  Gr. adds, "of her tribe and family, and he died in the days," &c.

 

Ver. 3.  Died.  Gr. "fell upon his couch; (Grabe adds, "an died in Betuloua, his own city,") and they buried him with his fathers, in the field between Dothaim and Balamo."  H. --- These places seem to be added without reason, as they were too remote from Bethulia.  C.

 

Ver. 4-5.  Six.  So the old Vulg. Gr. and Syr. have, four months. --- Private.  Gr. "a tent on the roof," that she might look towards Jerusalem, and pray with less distraction.  Absalom lay in such a situation.  2 K. xvi. 22.  C. --- In which.  Gr. "and she put sackcloth," &c. v. 6.  H. --- It was a rough sort of garment.  C. --- Judith led a most religious life, in prayer, hair-cloth, and fasting, all the year, except on the festivals.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Loins.  Gr. "and she had on the garments of her widowhood, and."  H. --- She laid these aside.  C. x. ii.  C. --- Life.  Gr. "widowhood, except the day before the sabbath, and the sabbaths, and the new moons, and feasts, and days of rejoicing of the house of Israel."  H. --- Syr. and old Vulg. omit, "the day before the sabbath;" and perhaps it may not have been in the original, the Greek translator having inserted it conformably to the practice of his times.  It was then prescribed to abstain from fasting, that the joy of the festival might not be impaired, (Grot.) and because it would be necessary to taste what was made ready for the sabbath; (Skikard, Purim) or rather because, as the festival began on Friday, between the two vespers, or from three to six in the afternoon, during the equinoxes, the fast could not be rigorously observed on Friday.  C. --- New moons were days of rejoicing.  M.  1 K. xx. 5. --- The Jews kept two days together, for fear of missing the day on which the moon really appeared.  Several feasts were also prescribed perhaps before this time, on the 1st and 22nd of Nisan, &c.

 

Ver. 7.  Of oxen.  Gr. Syr. &c. add, "and fields, and she lived on them."

 

Ver. 8.  Her.  "The reputation of chastity in women is tender, and, like a beautiful flower, presently withers at the least blast, and perishes; particularly when they are at an age prone to vice, and destitute of the authority of a husband, whose shadow is the safeguard to a wife."  S. Jer. ad Salvinam. --- The Scripture could not give Judith a greater character.  C. --- How few can obtain it at present, though their virtue may be most pure, detraction is so keen!  H.

 

Ver. 9.  When.  Gr. and Syr. "and she heard of the evil discourses of the populace against the magistrate, as they lost courage on account of the scarcity of water; and Judith heard of all the words of Ozias to them, how he had sworn to them that he would deliver up the city to the Assyrians after five days.  Then sending her maid, whom she had placed at the head of all her possessions, she called Ozias," &c.  The following verses give the same sense as the Vulg. though in other words, and with some additional circumstances.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Pleasure.  She blames the magistrates for taking a rash oath, pretending to fathom the designs of God, and to fix a time for him, and not attempting to make any resistance, though the welfare of the whole nation, and the sacred things, depended on their exertions.  C. --- They had been assured that God had heard their prayer, (C. iv. 9.) and had often witnessed a miraculous interference of Providence.  In other circumstances (H.) the magistrates would not have been to blame, though Judith might think them so; (Serarius.  See v. 26.  M.) and, in effect, they ought rather to have died than thus to have exposed all to certain ruin.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Man.  Gr. "But do not you govern the designs of the Lord, our God, for God is not to be menaced like a man, nor forced to give an account like the son of man."  H.  Num. xxiii. 19.

 

Ver. 18.  For.  Gr. "As there has not arisen in our families generations, nor is there at this day either tribe, or family, or populace, or city among us, adoring gods made with hands, as it happened in days past;" in the former part of the reign of Manasses.  All had begun to open their eyes, at the sight of the dreadful catastrophe.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  Let.  Gr. "Wherefore we hope that he will not despise us, nor those of our race; nor, if we be taken, will Judea be so styled, our sacred things will be plundered.  He will require his profanation at our mouth," &c.  She shews the dread consequences which will ensue from the rash oath, and from such dastardly conduct under trial.  H.

 

Ver. 21.  Brethren.  Gr. adds, "Let us shew our brethren that their soul depends on us, and the holy things, and the house, (temple) and the altar, are supported by us."  These were not therefore demolished.  C. v. 22.  H. --- "Yea, let us give thanks, above all, to the Lord our God, who tries us like our fathers.  Remember," &c.

 

Ver. 23.  Jacob.  Gr. adds, "in Mesopotamia...because he does not take vengeance on us, as he made them pass through fire to examine their heart.  But the Lord, for an admonition, chastises those who approach to him.  And Ozias," v. 28.  H.

 

Ver. 25.  Destroyer.  As this word is not used elsewhere, (W.) S. Paul seems to allude to this passage, (1 Cor. x. 10.) as Judith does to various punishments (Num. xi. 1. and xiv. 12. and xx. 4.  C.) inflicted by an angel.  M.

 

Ver. 26.  Suffer, as if to shew our impatience (H.) and anger against God.  M.

 

Ver. 28.  Words.  Gr. adds, "for it is not to-day only that thy wisdom has appeared, but from thy earliest days all the people has known thy prudence, as the formation (H.  Syr. the thought.  C.) of thy heart is good.  But the people was much oppressed with thirst, and they forced us to...take an oath, which we shall not break.  Now," &c.  H. --- It hence appears that Judith was not very young; and as many desired to marry her, (C. ult. Gr.) we may conclude that she was of a middle age, or about thirty-five.  Houbigant.

 

Ver. 29.  God.  Gr. adds, "and the Lord will send rain to fill our reservoirs, and we shall faint no longer.  And Judith replied: Hear me, and I will perform an action which shall come to the ears of all future generations of our race.  You," &c. v. 32.  H. --- She did not tell what she was going to do.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Servant.  Gr. abra, commonly (H.) denotes a maid of honour, (W.) or companion, though sometimes it is applied to people of loose morals.  This servant had probably the administration of the affairs of her mistress, v. 9.  C. --- Pray.  Gr. "as you...the Lord will by my hand look," &c.

 

Ver. 33.  And till.  Gr. "for I shall not tell you, till what I am about be accomplished.  And Ozias, with the princes, said to her."

 

Ver. 34.  Departed.  Gr. adds, "from the tent to their respective stations."

 

 








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