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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Genre.

1.

Whether labelled novella, novel, historical fiction, or romance (see details in Wills 1995 ), Judith should be regarded as fiction, as the opening lines clearly signal. The more blatant errors include the identification of Nebuchadnezzar as ruler of Assyria rather than Babylon, and of his capital as Nineveh ( 1:1 ), which had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 612 BCE, before Nebuchadnezzar ascended the throne. The same chapter claims that Ecbatana was captured by Nebuchadnezzar; it fell instead to Cyrus of Persia in 550 BCE. Disrupting even the internal attempts at verisimilitude, the Ammonite Achior's recitation of Jewish history includes reference to both the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by Nebuchadnezzar and its rebuilding, following Persia's defeat of Babylon.

2.

Consistent with the fictional genre is the absence from any other ancient sources of several major figures, of whom Arphaxad the ruler of the Medes ( 1:1–6 ) is the most conspicuous example, as well as of several nations, such as the Cheleoudites ( 1:6 ) and the Rassites ( 2:23 ). Although Judith includes several specific dates and times, such as the year of a king's reign ( 1:1, 13 ) and the number of days of a particular siege ( 7:20; 15:11 ), the enumerations function more to convey a sense of verisimilitude—this is what ancient historiography looks like—than they do to demonstrate historicity.

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