Meet the Biblical heroine who beheaded a Babylonian to save her people
Using her brains and looks, the widow Judith infiltrated Nebuchadrezzars's army and slayed its commander, Holofernes.
The story of Judith and Holofernes is found among the apocryphal works of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of Hebrew Scripture, which formed the basis for the Old Testament. The purpose of the book is to inspire courage and patriotism through its heroine, a widow named Judith. (See the world's oldest Torah scrolls.)
According to the story, a military commander named Holofernes had been dispatched by King Nebuchadnezzar on a punitive expedition against Israel. The Babylonians soon besieged the Israelite town of Bethulia, where Judith lived.
As the situation became desperate, Judith prayed to God, then put aside the sackcloth of her widowhood and “made herself very beautiful, to entice the eyes of all the men” (Judith 10:4).