~Reading: Judith: Chapter 2 (second half)
So Holofernes left the presence of his lord, and summoned all the princes, and the generals and officers of the Assyrian army. He mustered a hundred and twenty thousand picked troops, as his lord had commanded, and twelve thousand mounted archers, and grouped them into a complete combat force. He took along a very large numbers of camels, asses, and mules for their baggage; innumerable sheep, cattle, and goats for their food supply; abundant provisions for each man, and much gold and silver from the royal palace.
Then he and his whole army proceeded on their expedition in advance of King Nebuchadnezzar, to cover all the western region with their chariots and cavalry and regular infantry. A huge, irregular force, too many to count, like locusts or the dust of the earth, went along with them.
After a three-day march from Nineveh, they reached the plain of Bectileth, and from Bectileth they next encamped near the mountains to the north of Upper Cilicia. From there Holofernes took his whole force, the infantry, cavalry, and chariots, and marched into the mountain region. He devastated Put and Lud, and plundered all the Rassisites and the Ishmaelites on the border of the desert toward the south of Chaldea.
Then, following the Euphrates, he went through Mesopotamia, and battered down every fortified city along the Wadi Abron, until he reached the sea. He seized the territory of Cilicia, and cut down everyone who resisted him. Then he proceeded to the southern borders of Japheth, toward Arabia. He surrounded all the Midianites, burned their tents, and plundered their sheepfolds. Descending to the plain of Damascus at the time of the wheat harvest, he set fire to all their fields, destroyed their flocks and herds, despoiled their cities, devastated their plains, and put all their youths to the sword.
The fear and dread of him fell upon all the inhabitants of the coastland, upon those in Sidon and Tyre, and those who dwelt in Sur and Ocina, and the inhabitants of Jamnia. Those in Azotus and Ascalon also feared him greatly.
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