Day 251: Judith and HOlofernes

Jeremiah 41:1-18 Ishmael assassinated Gedaliah and a number of others in his party, eventually taking most of Mizpah hostage. The hostages were freed when Johanan’s men pursued Ishmael, who fled to the land of the Ammonites. There was a general fear of repercussions from Babylon since their appointed governor had been slain.


Ch 42:1-22 The “remnant” left in Judah approached Jeremiah for a word from the Lord, promising to obey. Jeremiah told them that the Lord wanted them to remain in their land and trust in him rather than flee to Egypt as some had been planning. (CCC 711)


Judith 12:1-20 Judith carried out her plan cleverly, remaining faithful to the dietary laws of the Jews while showing proper decorum in attending the commander’s meals. Holofernes’ drunkenness was his undoing.


Ch 13:1-20 In the tradition of the Church, Judith’s decapitation of the drunken commander calls to mind the Protoevangelium in Genesis, in which Mary, through Christ, would crush the head of the serpent (cf. Gn 3:15). For this reason, Judith is a figure of Mary, the New Eve of the New Covenant. Uzziah made references to these three women when he used the words similar to Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary (cf. Lk 1:28, 42, 48).


Strike the head: This phrase, reminiscent of the Protoevangelium, describes Judith’s victory (Jdt 13:18). These verses are prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and verses 18-20 comprise an option for the Responsorial Psalm at a Mass from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (CCC 1078)


Ch 14:1-19 Achior, overwhelmed by Judith’s success, converted immediately to the faith of Israel. The Assyrians discovered that their commander was dead and were left grief-stricken and at a loss as to what to do next.

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • Since Nebuchadnezzar would clearly perceive Gedaliah’s murder as an act of rebellion, the air in Jerusalem becomes tense.

  • Amid the chaos, however, Jeremiah warns his countrymen not to go down to Egypt (Jer 42) but to remain in Jerusalem.

  • The Lord himself, he says, will protect them and give them his blessing.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)


  • If only on Day 251 you would subscribe to this podcast, and all would be right with this world 😉

  • GOSH YOU GUYS!

  • JEREMIAH MAN (OH MAN!)

  • GOLLY!

  • In Jeremiah Chs 41 and 42 we not only have the destruction of Jerusalem

  • We also have Gedaliah who is appointed governor of the remnant by King Nebuchadnezzar

  • We also have this guy Ishamel who wants to have an insurrection against Gedaliah

  • So remember, what is left back in the Promised Land are PEOPLE THAT NO ONE WANTS

  • THEY ARE THE POOR

  • THEY ARE THE WEAK

  • THEY ARE THE SICK

  • There is Gedaliah who is the governor over them

  • There is also the resistance, kind of like the roving band of marauders

  • The structure of government is kind of thrown to the wind

  • It is basically the WILD WEST

  • In this wild west is Ishmael

  • He belongs to THE HOUSE OF JUDAH

  • Jeremiah 41:1, “...Ishmael...of the royal family…”

  • Maybe he resents the fact that Nebuchadnezzar did not appoint HIM or any members of his family to be the governor of Judah as it is now under Babylonian occupation and rule

  • Now this is crazy

  • Gedaliah already knows that Ishmael has a plot to kill him

  • What does he do?

  • He does not take ANY STEPS to protect himself

  • Not only that, but he also BREAKS BREAD with Ishmael and his roving band of marauders

  • At that moment of breaking bread, Ishmael murders Gedaliah and everyone with him

  • That’s like a DOUBLE OFFENSE (Similar to the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones 🤓)

  • We know that sharing a meal with someone, even in our context today, is KIND OF A BIG DEAL

  • In the ancient world, and even in the Middle East now, to share a meal with someone and to break bread with someone is INCREDIBLY SIGNIFICANT

  • Here is Ishmael breaking bread with Gedaliah, the person he KNOWS he will murder in moments from now

  • Psalm 41:9, “Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”

  • Jesus lived that out perfectly as a good friend of his, Judas, betrays him even after they SHARED THE EUCHARIST

  • WHICH IS JUST INCREDIBLE!!

  • The Book of Jeremiah wants to highlight how BAD Ishmael is

  • Jeremiah 41:4-5, “On the day after the murder of Gedaliah, before anyone knew of it, eighty men arrived from Shechem and Shiloh and Samaria, with their beards shaved and their clothes torn, and their bodies gashed, bringing cereal offerings and incense to present at the temple of the Lord.”

  • These were essentially PILGRIMS

  • They are men of faith who are going to worship at the Temple even though the Temple is destroyed

  • They are going to find some place to worship God around that area

  • Even though Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed, they are on their way to worship the Lord

  • Ishmael just kills them and casts their bodies into the cistern

  • Jeremiah 41:9, “Now the cistern into which Ishmael cast all the bodies of the men whom he had slain was the large cistern which King Asa had made for defense against Baasha king of Israel.”

  • HE FILLED IT WITH BODIES

  • THIS MASSIVE CISTERN WAS FULL OF BODIES

  • This is how EVIL and WILD that after all this pain that the Jewish people have gone through and now it is COMPLETE AND UTTER CHAOS

  • Now the people are afraid of Ishmael who has just killed Gedaliah

  • They were afraid of the fact that there were people like Ishmael there, the guy with the black hat who rides into town, so who knows if he’s going to ride into OUR TOWN AND KILL US?

  • BUT ALSO…

  • The guy in the black hat, Ishmael, killed Gedaliah who was appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar and who’s to say that King Nebuchadnezzar isn’t going to hear about this insurrection and say, “You know what? Forget those people. Forget the remnant. We’re just going to wipe them all out. What if he comes back with his army and wipes everyone out?”

  • That is the big fear because of what Ishmael had done

  • So the people of Israel are living in fear of EITHER THE OUTLAWS LIKE ISHMAEL

  • OR KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR

  • So they come to Jeremiah and have these great words

  • THIS IS SO REMARKABLE!!

  • Jeremiah 42:2-3, “Let our supplication come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant (for we are left but a few of many, as your eyes see us), that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the things we should do.”

  • Jeremiah 42:5-6, “Then they said to Jeremiah, ‘May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord you God sends you to us. Whether it is good or evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.’”

  • Jeremiah prays for TEN DAYS and he get the Word of the Lord back to them

  • Jeremiah 42:17, “All the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to live there shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence…”

  • “If you stay here in Jerusalem, if you stay here in Judah, you will be saved. You just have to trust in the Lord. Just stay here.”

  • And what do the remnant people say?

  • “Nope. We are not going to do as the Lord God has spoken to us” (AYE AYE AYE!!! PEOPLE!!! 😨😨😨)

  • THIS IS JUST SO AWFUL

  • Tomorrow we will hear about how Jeremiah makes ANOTHER PLEA TO THEM

  • “Please, do not do this thing. Do not flee to Egypt because you will not be able to escape death. But if you stay here and TRUST IN THE LORD, God is going to do something INCREDIBLE with you here.”

  • THE PEOPLE WILL NOT LISTEN

  • So Jeremiah has a couple last WORDS OF JUDGMENT he will say over the next couple of days

  • Now on to The Book of Judith

  • Judith has killed Holofernes and cut off his head

  • Not only that, but she tells the people of Bethulia, “Here’s the plan. Walk down as if you are going to battle. But don’t go to battle because they are going to wake everyone up and then they will realize that Holofernes is dead. Then they are going to be fleeing and while they are fleeing, that is when you charge after them and that is when you destroy the fleeing army.”

  • JUDITH IS SO WISE

  • JUDITH IS SO PRUDENT

  • JUDITH IS SO GENIUS

  • JUDITH IS SO BRILLIANT

  • BUT ALSO…

  • JUDITH IS SO VIRTUOUS

  • Scripture makes a VERY CLEAR POINT that Judith was NEVER COMPROMISED IN HER PURITY

  • Someone related to Fr. Mike always wanted to be a spy but all the spies in the movies have to sleep around to get information and stuff

  • She said, “I would never do that. I could never compromise myself like that.”

  • Judith was able to be in this position of intrigue and espionage and she makes a point of saying all throughout it that she DID NOT VIOLATE HER PURITY

  • It’s important because here is a woman who is RIGHTEOUS

  • Here is a woman who is VIRTUOUS FROM BEGINNING TO END

  • There is this INCREDIBLE PRAYER that Uzziah says basically praising God about Judith and what she has done

  • Judith 13:18, “And Uzziah said to her, “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth, who has guided you to strike the head of the leader of our enemies.”

  • YOU GUYS!!

  • DO YOU REALIZE ONCE AGAIN…

  • We had Jael, in The Book of Judges, who drove the tent peg through Sisera’s head into the ground (Do you remember this? Go back and read Day 90: Ruth and Boaz in The Bible in a Year Study Guide for a refresher on this amazing event 😁)

  • CRUSHING THE HEAD OF THE ENEMY

  • In Genesis 3:15 we have this PROPHECY called the PROTOEVANGELIUM (What does PROTOEVANGELIUM mean? Do you remember? Go back and read Day 2: The Fall of Adam and Eve in The Bible in a Year Study Guide to refresh your memory of this amazing first prophecy in The Bible 🤯🤯😁)

  • Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

  • CRUSHING THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT

  • JAEL CRUSHES THE HEAD OF THE ENEMY

  • JUDITH CRUSHES THE HEAD OF THE ENEMY

  • That PROPHECY that ultimately Jesus Christ, the offspring of THE WOMAN, is going to CRUSH THE POWERFUL HEAD OF DEATH

  • AND YET…

  • These women: Jael, Judith, and others are a TYPE (TYPOLOGY!!) of the ROLE OF MARY!!

  • MARY IS THE ONE WHO CRUSHES THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT THROUGH THE POWER OF JESUS, HER SON!!

  • We will see how The Gospel of Luke will echo these words that are spoken by Uzziah to Judith

  • THE ONE WHO HAS CRUSHED THE HEAD OF THE ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD

  • Judith 13:19, “Your hope will never depart from the hearts of men, as they remember the power of God.”

  • Go back and reread that GREAT PRAYER that praises this HEROINE OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL

  • She took her life in her hands to deliver the people of Israel

  • A month from now, we will read about ESTHER who also took her life in her hands to deliver the people of Israel

  • That will be an INCREDIBLE STORY AS WELL

  • BUT…

  • Today...THE BRAVERY, THE COURAGE

  • We have SO MANY STORIES of men of COURAGE in The Bible

  • But also men of CORRUPTION in The Bible

  • BUT…

  • This is one of those INCREDIBLE STORIES we get to highlight about the INCREDIBLE COURAGE OF THE WOMAN OF GOD

  • THE INCREDIBLE COURAGE OF THESE DAUGHTERS OF THE FATHER

  • My SISTERS AND MY DAUGHTERS, YOU are called to walk in COURAGE every day because the Lord God, just like he was with Judith, the Lord God is with YOU as well

  • So, my brothers, let us pray for all of our SISTERS IN CHRIST

  • So, my sisters, let us pray for all of our BROTHERS IN CHRIST

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you. Gosh, God, this day we give you praise. You are good and you are just and you are fair and you are faithful. And you continue for whatever reason, God-because of your unstoppable love for us-you continue to call us to yourself and you call us to be yours. Help us to say yes today and help us to say yes every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”