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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



JUDITH 12

 

CHAPTER XII.

 

Ver. 1.  And bade.  Gr. "and ordered a bed (or table) to be prepared for her, to eat of his own meat, and drink of his wine," (H.) that her beauty might be enhanced, (Dan. i.) and to honour her.  M.

 

Ver. 2.  Upon me, as these meats had been offered to idols; (W.) or she might fear they had, and wished to avoid all scandal.  2 Mac. vi. 21.  Tob. i. 12.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Thee.  Gr. adds, "for there is none of thy race."

 

Ver. 4.  Which I.  Gr. "he." --- Which.  Gr. "and she slept till midnight and she arose at the  morning watch."  H. --- The mode of counting by hours prevailed after the captivity.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  And.  Gr. "and she sent to Holofernes, saying: May my lord please to order that thy handmaid may go out to pray.  And," &c. v. 6.  H. --- She had prepared him to grant this request before: but out of civility, and that he may have greater confidence in her, she asks again.  The choice of a retired place for prayer is very commendable, but she made choice of the fields, that she might go out of the camp afterwards without being suspected.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Chamberlains.  Gr. "life-guards, not to hinder her; and she remained in the camp three days."  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Water.  Gr. "in the camp;" perhaps she washed only her hands and face.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Pure, from forbidden food.  W. --- Evening.  Thus she continued to fast, to draw down the blessing of God.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Servants.  Gr. adds, "only, and he did not call any of those whom he usually employed," (H.) that they might not witness his excesses.  Vagao, or Bagoas, the Persian name for an "eunuch," or chief officer; though such were generally to wait on the ladies.

                            Quem penes est Dominam servandi cura BagoƦ.  Ovid, Amor. ii.

--- Eunuch.  Gr. and Syr. add, "who was appointed over all his affairs.  Persuade the Hebrew woman who is with thee to come to us, and to eat and drink with us.  For we deem it shameful to dismiss such a woman, without having commerce with her; and if we do not attract her, she will deride us."

 

Ver. 12.  Merry.  This would pave the way for greater liberties.  C. --- Gr. adds, "and to become this day as a daughter of the Assyrians, standing to wait in the house of Nabuchodonosor."  He probably alludes to those courtezans (C.) who sung at night, before the palace, &c.  Athen. Dip. xii. 2.  The Persians admitted women to their feasts, though they were generally excluded in the East.  Est. i. 12.  Herod. v. 18.

 

Ver. 14.  Best.  Gr. "a boast, or matter of exultation."  H. --- This answer seems to shock our delicacy.  Did she not understand the meaning of the eunuch, which was sufficiently plain?  She only passed a compliment, which always implies a tacit condition, if the thing be practicable and honest: as the words might have two meanings, she was bound in charity to interpret them in the best sense.  C. --- It was surely lawful to be merry.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Garments.  Gr. adds, "and all her female ornaments; and her servant came and spread on the ground, before Holofernes, the fleeces which she had received from Bagoas, for her daily use, to eat lying upon them.  And coming in, Judith fell prostrate."  H. --- The custom of sitting on the ground, upon skins, to eat, is very ancient, (Targum, Est. i.) and is still observed by the Turks.  The kings of Persia let none eat with them at the same table.  Heraclides.  Athen. v. 10. --- The character of drunkenness, with which this nation has been branded, seems not unfounded.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Her.  Gr. adds, "company; and he had sought an opportunity of deluding her, from the day when he first beheld her."  He justly, therefore, fell into the snare which he had laid.

 

Ver. 20.  Life.  Gr. adds, "in any one day," (H.) at supper.  M.

 

 








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