The praier of Iudith, which she made with fasting and teares, for the deliuerance of hir people the Bethulians, out of the hands of Holophernes, and the Assyrians host that besieged their citie.
Iudith. 9, 2.
O Lord God of my father Simeon, which ga∣uest him a sword for a defence against the enimies, and to take vengeance of the stran∣gers, which vsed violence in their vnclean∣nesse, and opened the wombe of the maid [Dinah,] and defiled hir: that rauished the virgine, and discouered the thigh with shame, and polluted the wombe to hir reproch & confusion. (For thou hadst commanded that it should not so be: yet they [the Sichemites I meane,] did things, for the which thou gauest their princes to the slaughter. For they were deceiued, and washed their beds with bloud.) And hast striken the seruants with the gouernors, & the gouernors vpon their thrones. Thou that gauest their wiues for a praie, and their daughters to be captiues, and all their spoiles for a bootie vnto thy children and seruants the Israelites, that thou louedst, which were mooued with thy zeale, and abhorred the pollution of their bloud, and called vpon thee for aid.
O God, O Lord my God, heare me also a widowe, and helpe mee, I beseech thee. For thou hast wrought the things afore, and these; and the things that shall be after: and thou considerest the things that are pre∣sent, and the things that are to come. For the things which thou dost purpose are present, and saie, Behold, we are heere: and looke what thou hast taken in hand and deuised, it came euer to passe. For all thy waies are readie prepared, and thy iudgements are put in thine euerlasting foreknowledge. O looke now vpon the armies of the Assyrians, like as it was thy plea∣sure sometime to looke vpon the host of the Aegyptians, Page 42 when they being weaponed, persecuted thy seruants, and put their trust in their chariots, horsemen, and in the multitude of their men of war: but thou lookedst vpon their host, casting a thicke darknes before them. And when they came into the deepe, the waters ouer∣whelmed them: euen so Lord, behold, and let it go with those Assyrians, which are multiplied by their power, and haue exalted themselues with horses, & horsemen: which glory in the strength of their footmen, that trust in shield, speare, and bowe: and do not knowe that thou only art the Lord our God, which breakest the battels, and destroiest the wars from the beginning. The Lord is thy name, and it apperteineth vnto thee to be called Lord.
O lift vp thine arme now like as euer from the be∣ginning, and breake thou their strength by thy power, & cause their force to fall by thy wrath. For they haue purposed, yea and make their vaunt and boast, to vn∣halowe and defile thy sanctuarie, to pollute the taber∣nacle where thy glorious name resteth: and to waste, spoile, and cast downe with sword and weapons the horns of thine altar. Behold their pride, and bring to passe, O Lord, that the blasphemie of this enimie [Ho∣lophernes] may be cut downe with his owne sword, and send thy wrath vpon their heads. Giue into mine hand which am a widowe, the strength that I haue concei∣ued, that he may be taken with the snare of his eies in me, and that thou maiest smite him with the lips of my loue. Smite (I saie) by the deceit of my lips, the ser∣uant with the prince, and the prince with the ser∣uant.
O giue me a stedfast mind, that I may despise him and his strength, and that I may destroie him. This shall bring thy name an euerlasting remembrance, if thou abate his strength, and ouerthrowe him by the hand of a woman. For thy power, O Lord, standeth Page 43 not in the multitude of men, nor thy might in strong men, neither hast thou anie pleasure in the strength of horses, neither was there from the beginning anie proud persons that pleased thee. But in the praier of the humble and meeke hath thy pleasure beene euer∣more. Thou (I saie) O Lord, art the helpe of the hum∣ble and little ones: the defender of the weake, and the protector of them that are forsaken, and the Sauiour of them that are without hope. Surelie, surelie, thou art the God of my fathers, and the God of the inheri∣tance of Israel: the Lord of heauen and earth: the Creator of the waters: the King and Lord of all crea∣tures. O heare thou my praiers: heare me (I saie) poore woman, calling vpon thee, and putting my trust in thy mercie. Remember thy couenant, O Lord, and minister words in my mouth, and stablish this deuise in my hart, that thy house may continue still in holinesse: yea grant me words, I saie, and craft, and a wound, and a stroke against them that enterprise cruel things against thy couenant, and against thine holie house, and against the top of Zion, and against the house of the possession of thy children. Shew euidentlie among all thy people, and all the tribes, that they and all the heathen may knowe, that thou art the God of all pow∣er and strength, and that there is none other that de∣fendeth the people of Israel, but thou: So be it.