Good News Translation (GNB)

41Gorgias took 5,000 infantry and 1,000 of his most experienced cavalry and left camp by night, 2with men from the fort in Jerusalem as his guides. He had planned to make a surprise attack on the Jewish army, 3but Judas learnt of the plan and moved out with his men to attack the king's army at Emmaus 4while Gorgias and his troops were still away from the camp. 5When Gorgias and his army reached Judas' camp that night, they found no one there. They thought Judas and his men were trying to escape, so they started looking for them in the mountains.

6At dawn Judas appeared in the plain with 3,000 men, not all of them as well armed as they would have liked. 7They saw the huge Gentile army of experienced troops wearing armour and protected by cavalry. 8But Judas said to his men, “Don't worry about the size of their army, and don't be frightened when they attack. 9Remember how our ancestors were saved at the Red Sea when the king of Egypt was pursuing them with his army! 10Now let us ask the Lord to have mercy on us. Let us pray that he will honour his covenant with our ancestors and crush this army when we attack today. 11Then all the Gentiles will know that Israel has a God who rescues and saves them.”

12When the Gentiles saw Judas and his men preparing for battle, 13they moved out of their camp to fight. Then Judas and his men sounded their trumpets 14and attacked. The Gentiles broke ranks and fled to the plain, 15but all the stragglers were killed. The Israelites pursued the enemy as far as Gezer, the plains of Idumea, and the towns of Azotus and Jamnia. Altogether they killed about 3,000 of the enemy.

16When Judas and his army came back from the pursuit, 17-18he said to his men, “Don't be greedy for loot. Gorgias and his army are near by in the mountains, so there is still heavy fighting ahead of us. We must stand firm and fight. After that, you can safely take all the loot you want.” 19Judas was just finishing his speech when an enemy patrol on a scouting mission looked down from the mountains 20and saw that their army had been put to flight; they could tell from the smoke that their camp was burning. 21When they saw all this, they were terrified, and when they also saw that Judas' army was in the plain ready for battle, 22they all fled to Philistia. 23Then Judas returned to loot the enemy camp; he took large amounts of gold and silver, blue and purple cloth, and other rich plunder. 24When the Jews came back to their own camp, they sang a hymn: “The Lord is worthy of praise; his mercy endures for ever.” 25That day brought a great victory to the people of Israel.

Victory over Lysias

(2 Macc 11.1–12)

26The Gentile troops that escaped went to Lysias and reported all that had happened. 27When Lysias heard that his troops had lost the battle, he was shocked and disappointed that Israel had not been defeated as the king had commanded.

28In the following year Lysias gathered an army of 60,000 well-trained infantry and 5,000 cavalry, intending to conquer the Jews. 29They marched into Idumea and camped at Bethzur. Judas came to meet them with 10,000 men. 30

1 Sam 17.41–54
When Judas saw how strong the enemy's army was, he prayed, “We will praise you, Saviour of Israel. You broke the attack of the giant by the hand of your servant David and you let Saul's son Jonathan and the young man who carried his weapons defeat the entire Philistine army. 31Now in the same way let your people Israel defeat our enemy. Put them to shame, in spite of all their confidence in their infantry and cavalry. 32Make them afraid; let their bold strength melt away; let them tremble at the prospect of defeat. 33We love and worship you; so let us kill our enemies, that we may then sing your praises.”

34The battle began, and in the hand-to-hand fighting about 5,000 of Lysias' men were killed. 35When Lysias saw that his army was being defeated and when he saw the reckless courage of Judas and his men, who showed that they were ready to live or die with honour, he returned to Antioch. There he recruited some mercenaries and planned to return to Judea later with a much larger army.

The Purification of the Temple

(2 Macc 10.1–8)

36Judas and his brothers said, “Now that our enemies have been defeated, let's go to Jerusalem to purify the Temple and rededicate it.” 37So the whole army was assembled and went up to Mount Zion. 38There they found the Temple abandoned, the altar profaned, the gates torn down, the courtyards overgrown with a forest of weeds, and the priests' rooms burnt down. 39In their sorrow, they tore their clothes, cried loudly, threw ashes on their heads, 40and fell face downwards on the ground. When the signal was given on the trumpets, everyone cried out to the Lord.

41Then Judas ordered some of his soldiers to attack the men in the fort, while he purified the Temple. 42He chose some priests who were qualified and who were devoted to the Law. 43They purified the Temple and took the stones that had been defiled and put them in an unclean place. 44They discussed what should be done with the altar of burnt offerings, which had been desecrated 45by the Gentiles, and decided to tear it down, so that it would not stand there as a monument to their shame. So they tore down the altar 46and put the stones in a suitable place on the Temple hill, where they were to be kept until a prophet should appear and decide what to do with them. 47

Ex 20.25
Deut 27.5–6
Then they took uncut stones, as the Law of Moses required, and built a new altar like the old one. 48They repaired the Temple, inside and out, and dedicated its courtyards. 49They made new utensils for worship and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table for the bread into the Temple. 50They burnt incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and there was light in the Temple! 51They placed the loaves of bread on the table, hung the curtains, and completed all the work.


1 Macc 1.54
The 25th day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev, in the year 1484.52–54 the year 148: This corresponds to 164 bc. was the anniversary of the day the Gentiles had desecrated the altar. On that day a sacrifice was offered on the new altar in accordance with the Law of Moses. The new altar was dedicated and hymns were sung to the accompaniment of harps, lutes, and cymbals. 55All the people bowed down with their faces to the ground and worshipped and praised the Lord for giving them victory.

56For eight days they celebrated the rededication of the altar. With great joy they brought burnt offerings and offered fellowship offerings and thank-offerings. 57They decorated the front of the Temple with gold crowns and shields, rebuilt the gates and the priests' rooms and put doors on them. 58Now that the Jews had removed the shame which the Gentiles had brought, they held a great celebration. 59Then Judas, his brothers, and the entire community of Israel decreed that the rededication of the altar should be celebrated with a festival of joy and gladness at the same time each year, beginning on the 25th of the month of Kislev and lasting for eight days.

60Then they built high walls and strong towers round Mount Zion, so that the Gentiles could not come in and trample and defile it again. 61Judas placed a detachment of soldiers there to guard the Temple. He also fortified the town of Bethzur, so that the people of Israel would have a fortress facing Idumea.


Wars with Neighbouring Nations

(2 Macc 10.14–33; 12.10–45)

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.


The Death of Antiochus the Fourth

(2 Macc 1.11–17; 9.1–29; 10.9–11)

61As King Antiochus the Fourth was passing through Mesopotamia, he heard of a city in Persia, named Elymais, which was famous for its riches in silver and gold. 2The temple was very rich, containing gold shields, armour, and weapons left there by Alexander, son of King Philip of Macedonia, who was the first to rule over the Greek Empire. 3Antiochus came and tried to take the city and loot it, but he didn't succeed, because the citizens had learnt what he was planning to do, 4and they drew up their troops to resist him. In great frustration he withdrew to return to Babylonia.

5In Persia a messenger reached him with the news that the armies he had sent into Judea had been defeated. 6Lysias and his strong army had been forced to flee from the Jews, who were now reinforced by the additional weapons, supplies, and loot they had taken from the defeated armies. 7

1 Macc 1.54
The Jews had pulled down the thing they called “The Awful Horror” that Antiochus had built on the altar in Jerusalem. They had also surrounded the Temple with high walls, as it had been before, and had taken and fortified the town of Bethzur, one of the king's own towns.

8When the king heard this report, he was so dumbfounded and terribly shaken that he went to bed in a fit of deep depression because things had not turned out as he had hoped. 9He remained ill for a long time, as waves of despair swept over him, until he finally realized that he was going to die. 10He called together all those to whom he had given the title “Friends of the King” and said to them, “I cannot sleep, and my heart is broken with grief and worry. 11At first I asked myself why these great waves of trouble were sweeping over me, since I have been kind and well-liked during my reign. 12But then I remembered the wrongs I did in Jerusalem when I took all the silver and gold objects from the Temple and tried without any good reason to destroy the inhabitants of Judea. 13I know this is why all these terrible things have happened to me and I am about to die in deep despair here in this foreign land.”

14Then he called Philip, one of his most trusted advisers, and put him in charge of his whole empire. 15He gave him his crown, robe, and official ring, and authorized him to educate his son Antiochus the Fifth and bring him up to be king. 16King Antiochus died there in the year 149.6.16 the year 149: This corresponds to 163 bc.

17When Lysias heard that the king had died, he made the young Antiochus king in place of his father. He had brought up Antiochus from childhood and now gave him the name Eupator.

The Campaign of Antiochus the Fifth and Lysias

(2 Macc 13.1–26; 11.22–26)

18Meanwhile, the enemies at the fort in Jerusalem had been blockading the people of Israel in the area round the Temple, constantly causing them trouble and giving support to the Gentiles. 19So Judas decided to get rid of them and called all the people together to besiege the fort. 20The people assembled and laid siege to the fort in the year 150.6.20 the year 150: This corresponds to 162 bc. They built siege-platforms and battering-rams.

21But some of the men under siege escaped, and together with some of the renegade Jews, they went to the king and said, 22“How long are you going to wait before you take revenge for what was done to our countrymen? 23We were willing to serve your father, follow his orders, and obey his decrees. 24But what good did it do us? Now our own countrymen have become our enemies.6.24 enemies; some manuscripts add and besieged the fort. In fact, they have killed as many of us as they could find and have stolen our possessions. 25But we are not the only ones they have harmed; they have attacked all their neighbours. 26And now they have laid siege to the fort in Jerusalem and are planning to take it. They have also fortified the Temple and Bethzur. 27Unless you act immediately, they will do even more, and you will not be able to stop them.”

28When the king heard this, he was furious. He brought together all the army commanders, the cavalry officers, and his most trusted advisers. 29He also hired mercenary soldiers from other countries and from the Greek islands. 30His forces numbered 100,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, and 32 elephants trained for war. 31The king and his army passed through Idumea and laid siege to Bethzur, where they fought for a long time. They built battering-rams and siege-platforms, but the defenders fought bravely and came out of the town and burnt down the platforms.

32Then Judas withdrew his troops from the fort in Jerusalem and set up his camp at Beth Zechariah, blocking the advance of the king's army. 33Early the next morning, the king rapidly moved his army along the road to Beth Zechariah, where his troops took up battle positions and blew trumpets. 34They got the elephants ready for battle by showing them grape juice and mulberry juice. 35The huge animals were distributed among the infantry units. A thousand men, protected by chain armour and bronze helmets, were stationed with each elephant. Each animal was also accompanied by a special force of 500 cavalry, 36which always remained with the elephant. 37A strong, protected wooden platform was securely fastened by a special harness to the back of each elephant. Three6.37 Probable text Three; Greek Thirty or 32. soldiers rode on each animal, in addition to the elephant driver. 38Lysias placed the rest of the cavalry on the two flanks of the army where they could be protected by the infantry while harassing the enemy. 39The sunlight, reflected off the bronze and gold shields, shone on the mountains and flashed like burning torches. 40Part of the king's army was spread out over the higher ground of the mountain slopes and part over the lower land, but they all moved forward steadily and in good order. 41All the people were terrified when they heard the noise made by the clashing of weapons and the marching of that great and powerful army.

42Judas and his army advanced into battle, and immediately killed 600 of the king's army. 43When Eleazar Avaran saw that one of the elephants was larger than the others and that it was covered with royal armour, he thought that the king was riding on it. 44Eleazar sacrificed his life to save his people and to gain eternal fame. 45He ran boldly towards the elephant, which was in the middle of a battalion of infantry. He rushed forward killing men to the right and left, so that the enemy soldiers fell back before him on both sides. 46He slipped in under the elephant and stabbed it to death, and it fell on him and killed him. 47But when the Jews realized how strong the royal army was and how determined it was to fight, they retreated.

48The king and his army advanced to fight the Jews at Jerusalem and laid siege to the whole of Judea and Jerusalem. 49He made peace with the Jews of Bethzur, who then left the town. There had not been enough food in the town for them to withstand the siege because it was the sabbatical year, when no fields were sown. 50The king occupied Bethzur and stationed a whole body of troops there to guard it. 51Then he surrounded the Temple and besieged it for a long time. He set up siege-platforms, battering-rams, catapults for throwing fire and stones, and other weapons to throw spears and rocks. 52The defenders also made war machines to oppose those of the enemy, and so the battle went on for a long time. 53But there was no food left in the Temple storage bins because it was the sabbatical year, and the people who had fled from the Gentiles and taken refuge in Judea had eaten up all the food that had been stored there. 54The shortage of food had been so severe that many people had scattered to their homes, and only a few men were left in the Temple.

55Meanwhile, Philip, who had been appointed by King Antiochus before his death to educate his son to be king, 56returned from Persia and Media. He had come back with the royal army and planned to take control of the government. When Lysias heard this news, 57he made rapid preparations to depart. He said to the young king, to his officers, and to his men, “We are growing weaker each day; we are short of provisions, and this place we are besieging is strong. Besides, there are pressing government affairs which need our attention. 58So now let's arrange a truce and make a peace treaty with the Jews and their whole nation. 59We will allow them to follow their own laws and customs as they did before. All this trouble started when we provoked them by abolishing their laws and customs.”

60This recommendation was well received by the king and the officers, so Lysias proposed peace terms to the Jews, and they accepted them. 61When the king and his officers solemnly agreed to abide by these terms, the Jews came out of their fortress. 62But when the king entered the Temple area on Mount Zion and saw the strong fortifications, he broke his word and ordered the walls surrounding the Temple to be torn down. 63Then he hurriedly left and returned to Antioch, where he found Philip in control of the city. The king attacked the city and took it by force.