Holofer'nés Or, rather, OLOFERNES (Ο᾿λοφέρνης), a person mentioned only in the Apocrypha (Judith 2:4, etc.). The name occurs twice in Cappadocian history, as borne by the brother of Ariarathes I (B.C. cir. 350), and afterwards by a pretender to the Cappadocian throne, who was at first supported and afterwards imprisoned by Demetrius Soter (B.C. cir. 158). The termination (Tissaphernes, etc.) points to a Persian origin, but the meaning of the word is uncertain. — Smith. See Volkmar, Einleitung in die Apokryphen (Tub. 1860-3), 1, 179 sq.; Graitz, Geschichte der Juden, 4, 455. According to the account in the book of Judith, Nebuchadnezzar, "king of Nineveh," having resolved to "avenge himself on all the earth," appointed Holofernes general of the expedition intended for this purpose, consisting of 120,000 foot and 12,000 horse. Holofernes marched westward and southward, carrying devastation everywhere he came, destroying harvests, and flocks, and cities, as well as men, old and young; making even the "cities of the sea-coast," which had submitted to him, feel the weight of his arm. Having reached Esdraelon, he encamped "between Geba and Scythopolis" a whole month to collect his forces. The Jews, however, resolved to resist him, and fortified all the mountain passes. Dissuaded by Achior, "captain of the sons of Ammon," from attacking the Jews, he resented the advice and delivered Achior into the hands of the Jews in Bethulia, from whom, however, he met with a kind reception. Holofernes proceeded against Bethulia (q.v.) where he was brought to bay; and, instead of attacking it, seized upon two wells on which the city depended for water, and sat down before it to take it by siege. While here he fell a victim to the treachery of Judith, a beautiful Jewish widow, who artfully managed to be brought into his presence, and who, by playing the hypocrite, secured his favor and confidence. Having invited her to a banquet, he drank freely, and, having fallen asleep, fell beneath the arm of his fair guest, who cut off his head with his own sword, and escaped with her bloody trophy to her own people in Bethulia. The Jews immediately fell on their enemies, who, finding their general dead in his tent, fled in confusion. Such is the story. It is scarcely necessary to add that it is wholly unhistorical. — Kitto. SEE JUDITH.

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