A biographical genre story for faithwriters. Most of her speech was excerpted from the book of Judith, chapter 8.
I’m quite sure my mouth fell open when Sarah told me. She noticed the shocked expression on my face and nodded sagely.
“It’s true,” she confirmed, “And in my opinion, about time, too. But why in five days is my question. The people of this city might not even survive the lack of water that long. We should just hand it over today. Oh, and you wouldn’t believe what Miriam said…”
“It’s not any man’s place to give away what God has given to us,” I half whispered angrily.
Sarah stopped mid-sentence, “Eh?” I stood from my place,
“Susannah!” I called. Susannah rushed into the room and gave a little dip of a bow, her dark hair falling in her face.
“Please go to Uzziah, Chabris and Charmis and ask them to visit me. I would like a word with them.”
Susannah’s eyes popped open wide at hearing the names of the city’s elders, but she nodded and ran out of the room, barely making a sound on her bare feet.
I heard spluttering behind me and remembered that Sarah was there. I turned and forced a nervous smile.
“It’s been a pleasure visiting with you, Sarah. Thank you for informing me on the city’s news, but I am expecting visitors soon and will have to ask you to come back another time.”
The three elders faces were an amusing mixture of curiosity, annoyance and concern when they arrived at my doorstep.
I gestured for them to sit down and then sat across from them. There was silence, for a moment, but Uzziah broke it.
“What’s the matter, Judith?” He asked. I took a deep breath,
“Listen to me. What you have said to the people today isn’t right. Can you bargain with God by saying that you’ll surrender the city to our enemies if the Lord doesn’t send help within a certain time? So who are you to test God today? You can question the Lord Almighty, but you won’t ever learn anything. You can’t sound the depths of a person’s heart or comprehend the thoughts of that person’s mind. How then will you search out God, who made all these things?
“Brothers, don’t provoke the Lord our God, even if he chooses not to help us in the next five days. God has the power to visit us in however many days he wishes or to destroy us in front of our enemies. Don’t attempt to block the plans of the Lord our God. God isn’t like a human being who can be argued with, a person who can be threatened. While we’re waiting for his rescue, we should call upon him for help, and he will hear our voice if it pleases him. There hasn’t been in our generation, nor is there today, a tribe, a family, a people, or a city among us who worships gods made with human hands as happened in times past. This is the reason why our ancestors were handed over to the sword and to plunder, and they suffered greatly in the presence of our enemies. But we have known no other gods except him.
“If we are captured, so also will the rest of Judea be captured. Then our sanctuary will be plundered, and God will hold us responsible for its ruin with our own blood. He will bring the murder of our families, the captivity of the land, and the destruction of our inheritance down upon our heads, wherever we may be enslaved among the nations. Those who purchase us as slaves will consider us offensive and disgraceful. Our slavery won’t bring us favor. Rather, the Lord our God will turn it into a disgrace.
“Now, brothers, let us be an example to those whose lives depend on us. The sanctuary, the temple, and the altar depend on us as well. In the midst of all this, let us give thanks to the Lord our God, who is testing us just as he did our ancestors.
Remember what he did with Abraham, how he tested Isaac, and what happened to Jacob while he was in Mesopotamia of Syria, tending his uncle Laban’s sheep? He hasn’t yet tested us with fire, as he did them to examine their hearts, nor has he taken vengeance upon us. Rather, the Lord afflicts those close to him in order to warn them.”
I paused and took a breath,
“I have a plan…”
Please tell me what you thought!