Life And Writings Of Sulpitius Severus by Sulpitius Severus
Chapter XIV. To this series of events it will be right that I should append an account√†
To this series of events it will be right that I should append an account of the doings of Judith; for she is related to have lived after the captivity, but the sacred history has not revealed who was king of the Persians in her day. It, however, calls the king under whom her exploits were performed by the name of Nabuchodonosor, and that was certainly not the one who took Jerusalem. But I do not find that any one of that name reigned over the Persians after the captivity, unless it be that, on account of the wrath and like endeavors which he manifested, any king acting so was styled Nabuchodonosor by the Jews. Most persons, however, think that it was Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, on this ground that he, as a conqueror, penetrated into Egypt and Ethiopia. But the sacred history is opposed to this opinion; for Judith is described as having lived in the twelfth year of the king in question. Now, Cambyses did not possess the supreme power for more than eight years. Wherefore, if it is allowable to make a conjecture on a point of history, I should be inclined to believe that her exploits were performed under king Ochus, who came after the second Artaxerxes. I found this conjecture on the fact that (as I have read in profane histories) he is related to have been by nature cruel and fond of war. For he both engaged in hostilities with his neighbors, and recovered by wars Egypt, which had revolted many years before. At that time, also, he is related to have ridiculed the sacred rites of the Egyptians and Apis, who was regarded by them as a god; a thing which Baguas, one of his eunuchs, an Egyptian by nation, and indignant at the king's conduct, afterwards avenged by the death of the king, considering that the king had insulted the race to which he belonged. Now, the inspired history makes mention of this Baguas; for, when Holofernes by the order of the king led an army against the Jews, it has related that Baguas was among the host. Wherefore, not without reason may I bring it forward in proof of the opinion I have expressed that that king who was named Nabuchodonosor was really Ochus, since profane historians have related that Baguas lived in his reign. But this ought not to be felt at all remarkable by any one, that mere worldly writers have not touched on any of those points which are recorded in the sacred writings. The spirit of God thus took care that the history should be strictly confined within its own mysteries, unpolluted by any corrupt mouth, or that which mingled truth with fiction. That history being, in fact, separated from the affairs of the world, and of a kind to be expressed only in sacred words, clearly ought not to have been mixed up with other histories, as being on a footing of equality with them. For it would have been most unbecoming that this history should be commingled with others treating of other things, or pursuing different inquiries. But I will now proceed to what remains, and will narrate in as few words as I can the acts performed by Judith.