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Judith is verbose. If they have, they know they will die too. Judith’s Famous Flag Challenge – Prepare for the March Winds. The townspeople retrieve him and take him inside the walls of Bethulia where Uzziah, the chief magistrate of the town, pumps him for information. Read more…, ‘Judith with the head of Holofernes’, Titian, 1570. Almost immediately she and her maid run into an Assyrian patrol, which challenges them. Judith beheading the Holofernes, Caravaggio, painted in 1598 […], […] Slayer of Holofernes, Circa 450BC, Biblical/Apocryphal […], […] Biblical stage (vv. His Judith is a luminous, serene beauty assisted by a black servant woman.

Judith means ‘the Jewess’ A rather winsome Judith has grasped the head by its hair and is moving away from the couch. Cranach the Elder is not your man. An unusual feature of the painting: Judith’s servant Abra is African, not Jewish as you might expect. Who was Judith in the Bible? He offers her something to drink, but she drinks only the wine given to her by her maid – was it watered down so she could stay sober? Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Caravaggio, ‘Judith Beheading Holofernes’, 1599. Two attendants run to light her way with torches. During a siege of her town, she undertook a daring sexual mission to save her people from annihilation. Also it is easy to see how artists throughout the years have used the story as a basis for making a great painting. Other women wordsmiths in the Biblical text are Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 8-9), Abigail (1 Samuel 25:23–31), Deborah (Judges 5), and the Beloved in Song of Songs. ‘Judith Beheading Holofernes’, Caravaggio, 1599. However, if she was a real person it would be great. ‘Judith with the head of Holofernes’, Cristofano Allori, 1613. Judith stands, her fingers clenched in the hair of Holofernes’ head. Her most recent book is Jereboam’s Wife: The Enduring Contributions of the Old Testament’s Least-Known Women (Hendrickson, 2009). His ghastly in death. She will live in peace if she can, but is prepared for war if it is forced upon her. Perhaps the painting is a comment on the balance of power within their own relationship – she having conquered him and now holding him helpless in her grip. Orazio Gentileschi, (father of Artemisia), 1610-12. ‘Judith with the head of Holofernes’, Titian, circa 1515.

The colors, harmonious composition and shading of the painting are superb, as we would expect from Caravaggio. Calling her beautiful and eloquent (Judith 11:23), he welcomes her to the camp and grants her request to travel through the camp at night to bathe at a spring and pray (Judith 12:5–7). She died at the early age of 27.

Compare the two faces: hers blank – with shock? Unpleasant yes, but this does seem mild compared with the fate described in inscriptions at Nineveh. She rolls his corpse to the floor, yanks down a jeweled canopy from above his bed, walks out of the tent, and hands his head to her waiting maid who puts it in the food sack (Judith 13:9–10). In the final scene of the story, Judith leads a dancing procession of women, singing a hymn of praise to God, towards Jerusalem. Judith seems remarkably tranquil in the circumstances, while her maid registers shock and horror. Required fields are marked *. There are only subtle indications of the violent murder that has just occurred: the reddened fingers that hold Holofernes’ head, and the spatter of blood on Judith’s right temple. During each of the three days she is in the camp she stayed in the tent during daylight hours, and ate her own food each evening. The danger of their situation is implied by the position of the sword in Judith’s hand: a few more inches and it will cut into her own white throat. Not even their footprints will survive our attack; they will utterly perish.’. The picture contains a message about her chastity, which the Bible says she retained despite every effort on Holofernes’ part to seduce her. Judith beheads Holofernes, saves her people, Ancient Jewels The maid’s anxious face looks up for reassurance to Judith, who despite the horror of the situation appears calm, almost serene. She is remote, untroubled, serene – a goddess, not a human woman who has just committed violent murder. Judith was a wealthy and beautiful young widow living in a hilltop town called Bethuliah. She is dressed in white, the color of chastity, and the sword stands firmly between her body and Holofernes’ head. Judith’s faithful maid Abra holds the bag to receive the head of Holofernes, from the painting by Caravaggio, (This bloodthirsty incident has been popular with artists. In the ensuring hours the disordered Assyrian army is easy prey for the Israelites, who are familiar with the terrain and wage guerilla warfare on the hapless, leaderless soldiers. Elisabetta Sirani (1638-1665) circa 1660. There is obviously a certain amount of personal relish in the painting, with underlying themes of castration and impotency. The tail end of winter is always he hardest time to get out and train, especially for those without a school (I know, I’m one of them! The battle of the sexes? Giorgione died young, probably of the plague in Venice, but his works have remarkable maturity and a certain enigmatic quality.

She dresses carefully, knowing the success of her ruse and assassination plan depend upon her ability to entice. “Judith” in English, and possibly in Hebrew, is the female form of the word “Jude”, the now-infamous word that means Jew. Judith has steeled herself to cut into Holofernes’ neck, using his own sword. Robin Gallaher Branch is professor of Biblical studies at Victory University (formerly Crichton College) in Memphis, Tennessee, and Extraordinary Associate Professor in the Faculty of Theology at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. Her maid Abra leans anxiously towards her, protectively, urging the dazed Judith to move with more speed. How did she kill Holofernes? Judith knows her power over men. The darkness of the painting suggests the secretive nature of what they are doing, the need for stealth. Judith tops them all with two long statements—first to Uzziah and the other Bethulian magistrates (Judith 8:11-27), and the second to Holofernes and the Assyrian forces crowding around to gaze at her beautiful face (Judith 11:5–19). 2. This is part of the painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. These earthen bridges filled any obstacle, such as moats, so that the attackers could traverse the gap and apply scaling ladders and battering rams to the walls. She enters the book bearing her name when the Assyrians have cut off the water supply of Bethulia, the town at the entrance of the narrow corridor leading to Jerusalem (Judith 7:7, 4:7). The first half of a two-part Bible History Daily presentation of Judith. All those who will not submit to Nebuchadnezzar are destroyed. Could not this ‘Judith’ be likened to a profane Mona Lisa? She braces herself, then lifts down Holofernes’ gleaming sword, hanging in its sheath from the bedpost, and raises it high above her head. Tabitha in the Bible by Robin Gallaher Branch, Anna in the Bible by Robin Gallaher Branch, Lydia and Tabitha in the Bible: Women Leaders in the Early Christian Church, Lovely, madam…..your exposition is opening. The Bible says that at the siege of Jerusalem Sennacherib’s officer, taunting the Jews who stood on the city wall, assured them that they were doomed to ‘eat their own faeces and drink their own piss’ (2 Kings 18:27).

Cranach was a close friend of Martin Luther (the famous portrait of Luther is by Cranach), and helped promote his ideas – he was a staunch supporter of the Protestant Reformation. Judith, on the other hand, slices his neck with a look of mild distaste, as if she is carving the Sunday roast.

Artemisia was a real person to her father, not just an unnamed victim of crime. His sword, which she used to kill him, is smeared with his own blood.

Her maid Abra follows with Holofernes’ head, wrapped up and carried on the woman’s head.
Although she is clothed in this iteration, her facial expression conveys a self-assured sense of power and seduction that departs from previous Judiths, whose … Yet, as in the ‘Spring’ painting, the overall impression is of fluid beauty and movement. I specially ordered a copy of the apocrypha as I am not a Catholic to study books from it, and the theory presented in there seems to go toward novel and Judith being representative of the whole of Israel. She received her Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies from the University of Texas in Austin in 2000. More of doing it half-heartedly. Who was Judith? ‘Judith and Holofernes’, Gustav Klimt, 1901-2. Judith has killed Holofernes, and now her maid Abra crams the bloody head into a sack, to carry it back to Bethuliah.

Holofernes does not respond well to this plea. Georgione’s image of Judith contrasts dramatically with other paintings of this subject. They blame Uzziah for not submitting to Holofernes in the first place, and saving them from death. Close-ups of the painting show that the brooch in her hair is a picture of a warrior, perhaps the biblical David who is the male equivalent of Judith.
Judith was a heroine. See also Bible Heroines: Judith. At great personal risk she went into the camp of Holofernes, the Assyrian commander-in-chief of the enemy forces. Her maid seems to have been a consummate gossip, and through her Judith learns of Uzziah’s promise to surrender the town after five days if God has not saved it. She grips one point between her teeth and makes an opening by holding two other points with her hands – just the way you would to make an opening for a large round object, be it a cabbage or a human head. When her town was besieged and death stared them all in the face, Judith hatched a plan to save herself and the townspeople. Here in Baglione’s painting the body itself is almost hidden. The Protestant states cast themselves as Judith, and Catholicism and the Pope as Holofernes. Hilltop towns in Judea guarded the roads below and had to be taken by any invader who wanted to secure the transport routes. What follows is one of the great statements about what God is and is not (8:12-17).

Her husband has died three years previously of sunstroke, but has left her financially independent. The head of Holofernes, hung on the town ramparts, caused panic among the Assyrians who fled in great disorder.

Uzziah means ‘the Lord is my strength’

Note: The Book of Judith was never intended as factual history – it is more like fiction with a theological message. Holofernes, on the other hand, gets down to some serious drinking. Alone with him late at night in his tent, Judith beheads him with two strokes to the neck from his own famous sword—praying beforehand, of course (Judith 13:4–7)! At this stage in the story Judith of Bethulia makes her entrance. Uzziah and the town’s other magistrates succumb the townspeople’s demands and say they will surrender to the Assyrians in five days—unless the Lord takes pity (Judith 7:29-30). 100 Famous Quotes by Henry David Thoreau, The Author of Walden. Does the oversized golden choker at her neck suggest decapitation? For more on the unfortunate Nebuchadnezzar, see Bible Villains: Nebuchadnezzar.

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