As the ancient story relates, Assyrian king Nebuchadnezzar sent his general Holofernes to besiege the Jewish city of Bethulia. Judith, described as a beautiful young widow, resolves to save her people by slaying Holofernes herself. After reciting a long prayer to God, she dons her finest clothes in order to seduce him. After Holofernes has drank enough wine to become intoxicated, Judith decapitates him with his own sword, winning a decisive victory for the Israelites.
Judith is not the only biblical heroine to commit such bloody acts for the sake of her tribe. In the Book of Judges, Jael similarly kills the Canaanite general Sisera by first inviting him to her tent, serving him milk, and then driving a tent peg through his temple. In a reversal of roles, the New Testamenttells of Salome asking for the head of John the Baptist to be delivered to her on a silver platter.