Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Friday, November 10, 2006

Epilogue: Judith 16:18-25 with poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Judith

Daily Readings
Psalm 126, Nehemiah 7:73b-8:18, Judith 16:18-25, Jude

Daily Text: Judith 16:18-25

Judith 16:18-25 serves as an epilogue to this account, and as in Job and canonical Esther, it is essentially a happy ending. God blesses Judith abundantly for her righteous service and she is honored and honorable throughout a life that lasts 105 years. Modeled after YHWH’s action with Israel, she also frees her slave, the young woman who accompanied her to the Assyrian camp. Interestingly, it appears that she did this not long before her death, which would imply that the maid lived as long as she did and longer enjoying her new freedom! That, of course, is not the point. The point is the incidental witness to the freeing of slaves, God’s will when possible. It is another of those ‘goods’ with which the texts of the ancients are peppered. Freeing slaves was a counter-cultural act, and only those with great influence could do so with wide-spread approval.

from Judith
Thomas Bailey Aldrich

So, by God’s and this one woman’s hand,
The tombs and temples of the Just were saved;
And evermore throughout fair Israel
The name of Judith meant all noblest things
In thought and deed; and Judith’s life was rich
With that content the world takes not away.
And far-off kings, enamoured of her fame,
Bluff princes, dwellers by the salt sea-sands,
Sent caskets most laboriously carved,
And cloths of gold, and papyrus scrolls, whereon
Was writ their passion; then themselves did come
With spicy caravans, in purple state,
To seek regard from her imperial eyes.
But she remained unwed, and to the end
Walked with the angels in her widow’s weeds.

Collect for the Day
Praise to you, god of our salvation. Your generous gifts surpass all that we can ask or imagine. You have delivered us from lthe exile of sin and restored us to new life in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Glory and honour and praise to you for ever and ever.

[476:885:126 Psalm prayer]


Post a Comment

<< Home