The Campaign Against Bethulia, with the Distress of the Israelites   Leave a comment

Above:  King Nebuchadnezzar II

Image in the Public Domain

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READING JUDITH

PART IV

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Judith 7:1-32

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The situation at Bethulia was dire, objectively.  Holofernes and his allies, enemies of Israel, surrounded the population.  The besieged people were running out of water.  Understandably, as verse 19 tells us, 

their courage failed.

Yet there was hope.  Could the people hold out just five more days?

The allies of Holofernes were wrong; the Israelites relied on God, not the height of mountains.  These allies knew less than Achior did in Chapter 5.

The Theory of Retribution, which I explained in detail in my series on the Book of Tobit, informs the people’s interpretation of their plight in 7:28.  Yet, as Judith argues in 8:18-27, their predicament is not divine punishment for their sins and the sins of their ancestors.  The people have been pious.  They have forsaken idolatry.  No, Judith says, their suffering is testing, and God will deliver them.  Hardship refines faith.

People suffer for more than one reason.  Sometimes they suffer the consequences of their actions.  On other occasions, they suffer the consequences of other people’s actions.  In the web of mutuality, what we do affects others, for good and for ill.  And sometimes people suffer for no apparent reason.

Regardless of the cause of the suffering, hardship can test faith.  I know that it has refined and deepened my faith.  I point to times when the proverbial floor in my life has collapsed.  I report that I have clung to God and emerged better for having done so.  I also know that I am in the midst of such a prolonged experience.  I know the feeling of helplessness.  My former life can never return.  My beloved cannot return from the dead.  The proverbial boldfaced double lines run through my life again.  One side is “before.”  I live in “after.”  I must hold out a little longer then a little longer after that.  Surrender is not a feasible option.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 9, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE ELEVENTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT LIBORIUS WAGNER, GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1631

THE FEAST OF GEORGE JOB ELVEY, ANGLICAN COMPOSER AND ORGANIST

THE FEAST OF JOHN HOWARD BERTRAM MASTERMAN, ANGLICAN SCHOLAR, HYMN WRITER, PRIEST, AND BISHOP OF PLYMOUTH

THE FEAST OF OLIVIER MESSIAEN, CLAIRE DELBOS, AND YVONNE LORIOD, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSICIANS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER FOURIER, “THE GOOD PRIEST OF MATTAINCOURT;” AND ALIX LE CLERC, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF NOTRE DAME OF CANONESSES REGULAR OF SAINT AUGUSTINE

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Posted December 9, 2020 by neatnik2009 in Judith

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