1 And it was teld to Holofernes, prince of the chiualrie of Assiriens, that the children of Israel maden redi hem silf to ayenstonde, and that thei hadden closid togidere the weies of hillis.
2 And bi ouer greet woodnesse he brente out in to greet wrathfulnesse; and he clepide alle the princes of Moab, and the duykis of Amon,
3 and seide to hem, Seie ye to me, who this puple is, that bisegith the hilli places; ethir whiche, and what maner, and hou grete ben her citees; also what is the vertu of hem, ether what is the multitude of hem, ethir who is the kyng of her chyualrie;
4 and whi bifor alle men, that dwellen in the eest, han these men dispisid me, and thei han not go out to resseyue vs with pees?
5 Than Achior, duyk of alle the sones of Amon, answerde and seide, My lord, if thou vouchist saaf to here, Y schal seie treuthe in thi siyt of this puple that dwellith in the hilli places, and a fals word schal not go out of my mouth.
6 This puple is of the generacioun of Caldeis;
7 this puple dwellide firste in Mesopotanye; for thei nolden sue the goddis of her fadris, that weren in the lond of Caldeis.
8 Therfor thei forsoken the cerymonyes of her fadris, that weren with the multitude of goddis,
9 and worschipiden o God of heuene, which also comaundide to hem to go out fro thennus, and to dwelle in Carram. And whanne hungur hadde hilid al the lond, thei yeden doun in to Egipt, and there thei weren so multiplied bi foure hundrid yeer, that the oost of hem myyte not be noumbrid.
10 And whanne the kyng of Egipt hadde greuyd hem, and hadde maad hem sugetis in the bildyngis of hise citees in cley and tijl stoon, thei crieden to her God, and he smoot al the lond of Egipt with dyuerse veniaunces.
11 And whanne Egipcians hadden castid out `hem fro hem silf, and the veniaunce hadde ceessid fro hem, and efte wolden take hem, and ayen clepe to her seruyce,
12 God of heuene openyde the see to these men fleynge, so that on this side and that side the watris weren maad sad as wallis, and these men with dry foot passiden `in walkynge bi the depthe of the see.
13 In which place the while vnnoumbrable oost of Egipcians pursuede hem, it was so kyueryd with watris, that there dwellide not nameli oon, that schulde telle the dede to aftir comeris.
14 Also thei yeden out of the Reed See, and ocupieden the desertis of the hil Sina, in whiche `neuere man myyte dwelle, nethir the sone of man restyde.
15 There bittir wellis weren maad swete to hem for to drynke; and bi fourti yeer thei gaten lyuelode fro heuene.
16 Where euere thei entriden, her God fauyt for hem, and ouer cam with out bouwe and arowe, and without scheld and swerd.
17 And `noon was that castide doun this puple, no but whanne it yede awey fro the worschipyng of her Lord God.
18 Sotheli as ofte euere as thei worschipiden an other outakun thilke her God, thei weren youun in to preye, and in to swerd, and in to schenschip.
19 But as ofte euere as thei repentiden that thei hadden go awei fro the worschipyng of her God, God of heuene yaf to hem vertue to ayenstonde.
20 Forsothe thei castiden doun the kyng Cananei, and Jebusei, and Pheresei, and Ethei, and Euey, and Ammorrei, and alle the myyti men of Esebon, and thei hadden in possessioun the londis of hem, and the citees of hem;
21 and til that thei hadden synned in the siyt of her God, good thingis weren with hem, for the God of hem hatith wickidnesse.
22 For whi and bifor these yeeris, whanne thei hadden go awei fro the weie which God hadde youe to hem, that thei schulden go ther ynne, thei weren distried of naciouns bi many batels, and ful many of hem weren led prisoneris in to a lond not hern.
23 Forsothe a while agoon thei turneden ayen to `her Lord God, and weren gaderid togidere fro the scateryng, in which thei weren scaterid; and thei stieden in to alle these hilli places, and eft thei han Jerusalem in possessioun, where the hooli of hooli thingis ben.
24 Now therfor, my lord, enquere thou perfitli, if ony wickidnesse of hem is in the siyt of her God, and stie we to hem; for her God bitakynge schal bitake hem to thee, and thei schulen be maad suget vndur the yok of thi myyt.
25 Trewli if noon offense of this puple is bifor her God, we moun not ayenstonde hem; for the God of hem schal defende hem, and we schulen be in to schenschip to al erthe.
26 And it was doon, whanne Achior hadde ceessid to speke these wordis, alle the grete men of Holofernes weren wrothe, and thei thouyten to sle hym,
27 and seiden togidere, Who is this that seith, that the sones of Israel, men with outen armure, and with out vertu, and with out kunnyng of the craft of fiytynge, moun ayenstonde kyng Nabugodonosor and hise oostis?
28 Therfor that Achior knowe, that he disseyueth vs, stie we in to the hilli places; and whanne the myyti men of hem ben takun, thanne he schal be persid with swerd with the same men;
29 `that ech folk knowe, that Nabugodonosor is god of erthe, and outakun hym `noon other is.