1Now the children of Israel, that dwelt in Judea, heard all that Holofernes the chief captain of Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians had done to the nations, and after what manner he had spoiled all their temples, and brought them to nought.
2Therefore they were exceedingly afraid of him, and were troubled for Jerusalem, and for the temple of the Lord their God:
3for they were newly returned from the captivity, and all the people of Judea were lately gathered together: and the vessels, and the altar, and the house, were sanctified after the profanation.
4Therefore they sent into all the coasts of Samaria, and the villages, and to Beth-horon, and Belmain, and Jericho, and to Choba, and Aesora, and to the Valley of Salem:
5and possessed themselves beforehand of all the tops of the high mountains, and fortified the villages that were in them, and laid up victuals for the provision of war: for their fields were of late reaped.
6Also Joakim the high priest, which was in those days in Jerusalem, wrote to them that dwelt in Bethulia, and Betomasthaim, which is over against Esdraelon toward the open country, near to Dothan,
7charging them to keep the passages of the hill country: for by them there was an entrance into Judea, and it was easy to stop them that would come up, because the passage was strait, for two men at the most.
8And the children of Israel did as Joakim the high priest had commanded them, with the ancients of all the people of Israel, which dwelt at Jerusalem.
9Then every man of Israel cried to God with great fervency, and with great vehemency did they humble their souls:
10both they, and their wives, and their children, and their cattle, and every stranger and hireling, and their servants bought with money, put sackcloth upon their loins.
11Thus every man and woman, and the little children, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fell before the temple, and cast ashes upon their heads, and spread out their sackcloth before the face of the Lord: also they put sackcloth about the altar,
12and cried to the God of Israel all with one consent earnestly, that he would not give their children for a prey, and their wives for a spoil, and the cities of their inheritance to destruction, and the sanctuary to profanation and reproach, and for the nations to rejoice at.
13So God heard their prayers, and looked upon their afflictions: for the people fasted many days in all Judea and Jerusalem before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty.
14And Joakim the high priest, and all the priests that stood before the Lord, and they which ministered unto the Lord, had their loins girded with sackcloth, and offered the daily burnt offerings, with the vows and free gifts of the people,
15and had ashes on their miters, and cried unto the Lord with all their power, that he would look upon all the house of Israel graciously.