Holofernes is enraged that one people have refused to surrender to him. But he takes counsel. A man called Achior, the leader of Ammonites, stands up and gives a potted history of Israel. He seems to know a lot about them. He describes them as “the descendants of some Babylonians” who refused to worship their gods and instead followed the God of heaven. Under this god they prospered, overcame the Egyptians, invaded Canaan and took it for their own. There they lived in great prosperity until they disobeyed their god, at which point they began to lose battles and eventually were defeated and flung out. But, they’re back.
Achior’s advice is simple - find out how faithful these people are. If they are being good, you’ll never beat them. If they are disobeying God, then attack them, you’ll easily win.
Holofernes’ other advisors think he’s talking rubbish. They point out the size and power of Holofernes’ army. How can you lose, general? Don’t listen to this madman!
What will the general decide?