Good News Translation (GNB)

Judas Maccabaeus Defeats Lysias

(1 Macc 4.26–35)

111Not long after Timothy was defeated, Lysias, the king's guardian and relative, and head of the government, heard what had happened. He became angry 2and led 80,000 infantry and all his cavalry against the Jews with the intention of turning Jerusalem into a Greek city. 3The Temple would be taxed, as were all Gentile places of worship, and the office of High Priest would be up for sale each year. 4Lysias was so pleased with his tens of thousands of infantry, his thousands of cavalry, and his eighty elephants that he failed to take into account the power of God. 5He invaded Judea and attacked the fort of Bethzur, about thirty kilometres south of Jerusalem.

6When Judas and his men heard that Lysias was laying siege to their forts, they and all the people cried and wept, begging the Lord to send a good angel to save them. 7Judas was the first to take up his weapons, and he urged the others to join him in risking their lives to help the other Jews. So with great eagerness they all set out together. 8But they had not gone far from Jerusalem, when suddenly they noticed that they were being led by a horseman dressed in white and carrying gold weapons. 9Immediately all of them together thanked God for his mercy; he had made them brave enough to attack not only men, but also the most savage animals or even walls of iron. 10So they marched in battle formation, and with them went the one whom the Lord in his mercy had sent to fight on their side. 11Then they charged into the enemy like lions, killing 11,000 infantry and 1,600 cavalry, and forcing the rest to run for their lives. 12Most of those who ran were wounded and had lost their weapons, and Lysias himself managed to escape only because he ran away like a coward.

Lysias Makes Peace with the Jews

(1 Macc 6.56–61)

13Lysias was no fool. As he thought about the defeat he had suffered, he realized it was because the mighty God had fought for the Jews, making it impossible for them to be defeated. So he sent a message to the Jews, 14trying to persuade them to agree to a just settlement and promising to do all he could to make the king friendly towards them.11.14 to dothem: Greek unclear. 15Judas Maccabaeus considered what would be best for the people, and so he agreed to all the proposals Lysias had made, since the king had granted every written request that Judas had presented to Lysias.11.15 sinceLysias; or and the king granted every written request that Judas presented to Lysias.

The Letter of Lysias to the Jews

16Here is a copy of the letter which Lysias wrote to the Jews:

“Lysias to the Jewish people, greetings. 17Your representatives John and Absalom have delivered to me the official document which you sent with them, and they have asked me to agree to what is contained in it. 18I have informed the king of the matters that needed to be brought to his attention, and he has agreed to do whatever is possible. 19If you continue to be loyal to the government, I will do everything I can in the future to benefit your nation. 20I have instructed your representatives and mine to meet with you to discuss the details of these matters. 21May all go well with you. Dated the 24th day of the month of Dioscorinthius in the year 148.”11.21 the year 148: This corresponds to 164 bc.

The King's Letter to Lysias

22This is a copy of the king's letter:

“King Antiochus to the honourable Lysias, greetings. 23Now that my father has gone to be with the gods, I want the subjects of my kingdom to conduct their own affairs without interference. 24I understand that the Jews do not wish to adopt the Greek way of life, as my father had intended, but prefer their own way of life and have requested that they be allowed to live according to their own customs. 25Since I desire that they live undisturbed like the other nations in my empire, I hereby decree that their Temple be restored to them and that they be allowed to live according to the customs of their ancestors. 26Please inform them of this decision and assure them of my friendship, so that they may conduct their own affairs in peace, without anything to worry about.”

27Here is a copy of the king's letter to the Jewish people:

“King Antiochus to the Jewish leaders and all the Jews, greetings. 28I hope that all is going well for you. I am in good health. 29Menelaus has informed me of your desire to return home and attend to your own affairs. 30So then, those of you who return home by the 30th of the month of Xanthicus may rest assured that you have nothing to fear. 31You may continue to observe your food laws and other laws, as you used to do, and no Jew will be punished for any crime done in ignorance. 32I am sending Menelaus to set your minds at ease. 33May all go well with you. Dated the 15th day of the month of Xanthicus in the year 148.”11.33 the year 148: This corresponds to 164 bc.

The Letter of the Romans to the Jews

34The Romans also sent the Jews the following letter:

“Quintus Memmius and Titus Manius, representatives of the Romans, to the Jews, greetings. 35We are in complete agreement with all that has been granted to you by the noble Lysias. 36We are now on our way to Antioch, so please examine carefully those matters that Lysias referred to the king. Then send a reply to us immediately so that we can represent your best interests before him. Do this as soon as you can, 37without delay, so that we may know what you have decided. 38May all go well with you. Dated the 15th day of the month of Xanthicus in the year 148.”