51When the neighbouring nations heard that the Jews had built the altar and restored the Temple as it had been before, they were so furious 2that they made up their minds to destroy all the Jews who were living among them. So they began to murder and kill our people.
3The Idumeans were blockading the Israelites, so Judas went to war against them at Akrabattene, crushed them, and looted them. 4He also dealt with the people of Baean, who were a constant threat to the people of Israel, because they used to lie in ambush waiting to trap Israelite travellers. 5He shut the Baeanites up in their forts, took a solemn oath that he would destroy them, and burnt their forts with everyone in them. 6Then he marched against the land of Ammon, where he met a large and powerful army under the command of a man named Timothy. 7Judas won many battles against them and finally defeated them. 8He captured Jazer and its surrounding villages and then returned to Judea.
9The Gentiles in Gilead assembled to attack and destroy the Israelites living in their territory. But the Israelites fled to the fortress of Dathema 10-11and sent the following letter to Judas and his brothers: “The Gentiles round us are joining forces under Timothy. We have fled to this fortress for protection, and now they are getting ready to capture it and destroy us. 12Many of us have already been killed. Come and rescue us! 13All the Jewish men in the region of Tob5.13 in the region of Tob; or who were fighting with Tobias. have been killed, their wives and their children have been taken captive, and their possessions have been carried off. A force of about a thousand men has been destroyed there.”
14This letter was still being read when other messengers, who had torn their clothes in sorrow, arrived with a report from Galilee. 15They said, “An army from Ptolemais, Tyre, Sidon, and the whole of Galilee has come together to destroy us.”
16When Judas and the people heard all this, a great assembly was held to decide what should be done to help their countrymen, who were in such difficulty under enemy attack. 17Judas said to his brother Simon, “Choose some men and go and rescue our fellow-Jews in Galilee; our brother Jonathan and I will go to Gilead.” 18Judas left the rest of his army to defend Judea and put the two leaders, Azariah and Joseph son of Zechariah, in charge of the people. 19He said to them: “I am leaving you in command here, but don't go out and fight the Gentiles until we get back.” 20Then 3,000 men joined Simon for the march into Galilee, and 8,000 men remained with Judas for the march into Gilead.
21Simon went into Galilee and fought many battles with the Gentiles. He defeated them 22and pursued them all the way to the city of Ptolemais, killing about 3,000 of them, and taking the loot. 23Then he took the Jews who were in Galilee and Arbatta, with their wives, their children, and all they owned, and brought them back to Judea with him. There was great rejoicing.
24During this time, Judas Maccabaeus and his brother Jonathan had crossed the River Jordan and had marched for three days through the desert. 25They met some friendly Nabateans who told them all that had happened to the Jews in Gilead. 26They reported that many Jews were imprisoned in the fortified cities of Bozrah, Bosor, Alema, Chaspho, Maked, and Karnaim, 27while others were imprisoned in the smaller towns of Gilead. They also reported that the enemy was drawn up to make an attack the next day on the Jewish fortresses, hoping to destroy all the Jews in a single day.
28So Judas and his army suddenly turned and attacked Bozrah by the desert road, captured the town, and killed every man in it. They looted the town and set it on fire. 29They left there and marched all night to the fortress at Dathema. 30At dawn Judas and his men saw a vast army attacking the fortress; they were bringing up ladders, siege-platforms, and battering-rams in an effort to capture it. 31When Judas heard the noise, the shouts, and the sound of trumpets coming from the city, he realized that the battle had begun, 32so he said to his men, “Fight today for our fellow-Jews!”
33He ordered his men to march in three columns and attack the enemy from the rear. As they moved forward, they blew trumpets and shouted prayers. 34When the army under Timothy's command saw that it was Judas Maccabaeus, the soldiers turned and fled. Judas crushed them and killed about 8,000 men that day.
35Then Judas turned aside to attack the town of Alema;5.35 ALEMA: The name of the town is not certain. he captured it and killed all the men in it. He looted the town and set fire to it. 36From there he went on and captured Chaspho, Maked, Bosor, and the other towns of Gilead.
37After this, Timothy gathered another army and camped opposite Raphon, on the other side of a river. 38Judas sent some men to spy out the camp, and they reported back to him that all the Gentiles in the region had joined Timothy and had formed a large army. 39Timothy had also hired Arab mercenaries to help him, and these were camped on the other side of the river ready to attack Judas. So Judas went out to meet them in battle.
40As Judas and his army came closer to the water, Timothy said to his officers, “If he keeps on coming and crosses the river, we won't be able to turn back his attack, and he will defeat us. 41But if he is afraid and stops on the other side of the river, we will cross over to attack and defeat him.” 42When Judas reached the bank of the river, he gave orders to his officers to let no one stop but to push everyone forward into battle. 43Judas was the first to cross the river against the enemy, and all his men followed him. The Gentiles broke ranks before them, threw away their arms, and fled to the pagan temple at Karnaim. 44But Judas and his men took the city and burnt down the temple with all who were in it. With Karnaim overthrown, the Gentiles could no longer offer any resistance to Judas.
45Then Judas gathered together all the Jews in Gilead to take them back to Judea with him. It was a large group of all kinds of people, together with their wives and children and all that they owned. 46They went as far as Ephron, a large, well-fortified town. It was impossible to go round it on either side, and the road passed directly through the town. 47But the people there would not let them pass and blocked the town gates with stones. 48Then Judas sent a friendly message to them: “Let us pass through your territory to return home. No one will harm you; we will just pass through.” But they still refused to open the gates.
49So Judas told everyone in the group, except the fighting men, to camp where they were. 50The fighting men were ordered to take up their positions and attack the town. They fought all that day and all night, until they had taken it. 51Judas had all the men of Ephron put to death, plundered the town, and levelled it. Then he and his army marched through the town over the dead bodies. 52They crossed the Jordan into the wide plain opposite Beth Shan. 53Throughout the whole march Judas kept gathering up the stragglers and encouraging the people until they reached the land of Judea. 54With thanksgiving and rejoicing, they went up to Mount Zion and sacrificed burnt offerings because they had returned safely without the loss of a single person.
55While Judas and Jonathan were in Gilead and their brother Simon was attacking Ptolemais in Galilee, 56Joseph and Azariah, the commanders of the army in Judea, heard about their brave deeds and victories. 57They said to one another, “Let us go to war with the Gentiles around us and win some fame for ourselves.” 58So they and their men attacked Jamnia. 59Gorgias and his men went out of the town to meet them in battle. 60They defeated Joseph and Azariah and pursued them as far as the borders of Judea. At least 2,000 Israelite men were killed that day. 61This great defeat came about because the Jewish commanders wanted to be heroes and refused to obey Judas and his brothers. 62Besides, they did not belong to the family of the Maccabees, whom God had chosen to bring freedom to the people of Israel.
63But Judas Maccabaeus and his brothers won great respect among all the Israelites and all the Gentiles. When people heard of their fame, 64large crowds gathered to praise them.
65Then Judas and his brothers went to war against the Edomites to the south. He attacked Hebron and its surrounding towns, destroyed its fortifications, and burnt down the towers round it. 66Then he marched into the land of the Philistines and passed through Marisa.5.66 Some ancient translations Marisa; Greek Samaria. 67That day a number of priests were killed in battle because they wanted to be heroes and foolishly went out to fight. 68Judas turned aside to Azotus in Philistia. He pulled down the altars, burnt the images of their gods, plundered their towns, and then returned to Judea.