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.
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 do… them: 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 since… Lysias; or and the king granted every written request that Judas presented to Lysias.
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.
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.
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.”
121When the peace agreement between the Jews and the Syrians was completed, Lysias returned to the king, and the Jews went back to their farming. 2But some of the local governors, Timothy and Apollonius son of Gennaeus, as well as Hieronymus and Demophon, would not let them live in peace; and neither would Nicanor, the commander of the mercenaries from Cyprus.
3About this time, the people of Joppa did a cruel thing to the Jews of their city. They pretended to be friendly to the Jews and invited them and their families to go sailing with them on ships they had provided. 4Since all the people of the town had decided to do this, the Jews suspected nothing and accepted the invitation out of a feeling of good will. But when they were out at sea, the people of Joppa drowned all 200 of them.
5As soon as Judas heard of this inhuman thing that had been done to his fellow-Jews, he informed his men. 6After they had prayed to God, the just judge, they attacked the murderers. Under cover of darkness they set fire to the harbour, burning all the ships, and killing everyone they found hiding there. 7The gates of the city were locked, so Judas withdrew; but he was determined to return at some other time and wipe out everyone living there.
8Judas heard that the people of Jamnia had plans to kill the Jews of their city also. 9So he attacked Jamnia at night, setting fire to its harbour and the ships there. The flames could be seen as far as Jerusalem, fifty kilometres away.
10When Judas and his men were about two kilometres away from Jamnia on their way to meet Timothy in battle, they were attacked by more than 5,000 Arabs, supported by 500 cavalry. 11It was a hard fight, but with the help of God they defeated those desert tribesmen, who then asked to be on friendly terms with the Jews, promising to give them some livestock and offering to help them in other ways as well. 12Judas thought their friendship might prove useful in many ways, so he agreed to make peace with them; after that the Arabs returned to their tents.
13Judas also attacked the heavily fortified walled city of Caspin. The people who lived there were a mixed population of Gentiles 14who relied on the strength of their walls and felt confident that they had enough food stored up to last through a siege. So they made fun of Judas and his men, shouting out insults against them and profanities against their God. 15But the Jews prayed to the Almighty Lord of the universe, who had torn down the walls of Jericho in the days of Joshua without using battering-rams or siege-weapons. Then they made a fierce attack against the wall 16and because it was God's will, they captured the city. The Jews slaughtered so many people that a nearby lake, which was about a quarter of a mile wide, seemed to be overflowing with blood.
17From the city of Caspin, Judas and his men marched about 150 kilometres, until they came to the Jewish settlement of Charax, near the city of Tob. 18But they did not find Timothy there, because he had already left the region. He had been able to do nothing there except leave behind a strong garrison in one place. 19Two of Judas' generals, Dositheus and Sosipater, attacked the garrison and killed all 10,000 men stationed there. 20Then Judas divided his army into several divisions, placing Dositheus and Sosipater each in command of a division, and hurried after Timothy, who had a force of 120,000 infantry and 2,500 cavalry. 21When Timothy found out that Judas was coming after him, he sent the women and children on ahead with the baggage to the city of Karnaim, which was almost impossible to besiege or even to reach, because of the narrow passes that led up to it. 22But at the moment that Judas' first division came into sight, the enemy forces were thrown into panic by a vision sent by God, who sees everything. In their terror they began to run wildly about and many of them were wounded by the swords of their own men. 23So Judas and his men pursued them as hard as they could, killing at least 30,000 of the enemy. 24Timothy himself was captured by the troops of Dositheus and Sosipater. But he was very shrewd and managed to convince them that many of their relatives were his prisoners and would be put to death if anything happened to him. 25Finally, after he had promised to send their relatives home safely, they let him go free.
26Next, Judas attacked the city of Karnaim and the temple of the goddess Atargatis there, killing 25,000 people 27and completely destroying both the city and the temple. Then he attacked the fortified city of Ephron where Lysias and12.27 Lysias and; some manuscripts do not have these words. people of all nationalities were living. Strong young men took up their positions in front of the walls and fought bravely, while inside the city were stored large quantities of military supplies and weapons. 28But the Jews prayed for help to the Lord, who crushes the power of his enemies. So they captured the city and killed about 25,000 people. 29From there they hurried on to the city of Beth Shan, 120 kilometres north of Jerusalem. 30The Jews there told Judas how kindly the people of the city had treated them, especially during hard times. 31So Judas and his men thanked the people and urged them to show the same good will towards the Jews in the future. Then they left for Jerusalem, where they arrived shortly before the Harvest Festival.
After Pentecost (as the Harvest Festival is called in Greek) Judas and his men quickly marched out against Gorgias, the governor of Idumea, 33who met them with 3,000 infantry and 400 cavalry. 34In the battle that followed, a few Jews were killed. 35Then a Jew from the city of Tob,12.35 a Jew from the city of Tob; some manuscripts have one of Bacenor's men. a powerful cavalry soldier by the name of Dositheus, grabbed Gorgias by his cloak and started dragging him away by brute force, intending to take the worthless man alive. But suddenly one from the Thracian cavalry rushed at Dositheus and chopped off his arm, allowing Gorgias to escape to the city of Marisa.
36By now the Jewish men under the command of Esdrias had been fighting for a long time and were exhausted. So Judas prayed that the Lord would show that he was on their side and in command of their troops. 37Then, while Judas sang a hymn in his native language as a battle-cry, the Jews made a surprise attack against Gorgias and his men and put them to flight.
38After the battle Judas led his men to the town of Adullam. It was the day before the Sabbath, so they purified themselves according to Jewish custom and then observed the holy day. 39By the following day it was urgent that they gather up the bodies of the men who had been killed in battle and bury them in their family tombs. 40
But on each of the dead, hidden under their clothes, they found small images of the gods worshipped in Jamnia, which the Law forbids Jews to wear. Everyone then knew why these men had been killed. 41So they praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge, who reveals what is hidden, 42and they begged him that this sin might be completely blotted out. Then, Judas, that great man, urged the people to keep away from sin, because they had seen for themselves what had happened to those men who had sinned. 43He also took up a collection from all his men, totalling about two kilogrammes of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. Judas did this noble thing because he believed in the resurrection of the dead. 44If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them. 45In his firm and devout conviction that all God's faithful people would receive a wonderful reward, Judas made provision for a sin offering to set free from their sin those who had died.
131In the year 14913.1 the year 149: This corresponds to 163 bc. Judas Maccabaeus and his followers found out that Antiochus Eupator was marching against Judea with a large army 2and that Lysias, the young king's guardian and the head of his government, was with him. They13.2 They; Greek unclear. had a force of Greek troops consisting of 110,000 infantry, 5,300 cavalry, 22 elephants, and 300 chariots with sharp blades attached to their wheels.
3Menelaus, trying to take advantage of the situation, went over to their side and urged them on, not because he was concerned for the country, but because he hoped to be confirmed as High Priest. 4But God, the King of kings, made Antiochus furious with Menelaus. Lysias proved to Antiochus that this criminal had been the source of all his troubles, so Antiochus ordered him to be taken to the city of Berea and put to death in the way that it was done there. 5In that city there is a tower about 22 metres high. It is filled with ashes, and all round the inside of the tower is a platform sloping down into the ashes. 6People accused of crimes against the gods or of any other serious crime are taken there and thrown down to their death. 7Menelaus was put to death in that way, without even having the privilege of a burial, 8and that was just what he deserved. He had often profaned the sacred ashes of the altar fire in the Temple, and now he met his death in ashes.
9King Antiochus arrogantly continued his barbaric invasion of Judea, intending to deal with the Jews more harshly than his father had ever done. 10When Judas learnt of this, he told the people to pray to the Lord day and night, because they were in danger of losing their Law, their country, and their holy Temple. As never before, they needed his help and protection 11to keep their newly restored country from falling into the hands of godless Gentiles. 12For three days the people did nothing but lie face downwards on the ground, fasting and crying, begging the merciful Lord for his help. Then Judas spoke words of encouragement to the people, urging them to get ready for action.
13Afterwards, Judas met privately with the Jewish leaders and decided to march out with God's help to battle against the king, rather than wait for Antiochus to invade Judea and besiege Jerusalem. 14Then, leaving the outcome of the battle to the Creator of the world, Judas encouraged his men to fight bravely and to be willing to die for their laws, the Temple, Jerusalem, their country, and their whole way of life. They set up camp near the city of Modein. 15Judas gave his men the battle-cry, “Victory comes from God,” and that night, with a picked force of his bravest young men, he attacked the area near the king's tent and killed as many as 2,000 men. They also stabbed to death13.15 Probable text stabbed to death; Greek unclear. the leading elephant and its keeper. 16Everyone in camp was terrified and in panic when Judas and his men finally left victoriously 17just before dawn. The help and protection of the Lord had made all this possible.
18This taste of Jewish daring was enough to convince King Antiochus that he had to find some better way of capturing the Jewish positions. 19He attacked the strong Jewish fort of Bethzur, but was repeatedly beaten back and finally defeated. 20Judas sent supplies to the men who were defending the fort, 21but a Jewish soldier by the name of Rhodocus gave some secret information to the enemy. He was found out, however, caught, and put to death. 22The king made a second attempt to come to terms with the people of Bethzur, and when he had reached an agreement with them, he withdrew his forces. Then he went to attack Judas, but again he was defeated. 23Meanwhile, Philip had been left at Antioch in charge of the government, but King Antiochus learnt that he had revolted. The king did not know what to do, so he initiated peace talks with the Jews, agreed to their terms, and promised to be just in his treatment of them. To put the treaty into effect, he offered a sacrifice, gave a generous gift to show his respect for the Temple, 24and graciously received Judas Maccabaeus. After that, the king appointed Hegemonides to be governor of the territory between the cities of Ptolemais and Gerar, 25and then he himself went on to Ptolemais. The people there were angry because of the treaty he had made with the Jews — so angry, in fact, that they wanted the treaty cancelled. 26But Lysias made a public speech, defending the treaty as well as he could. After he had calmed the people down and convinced them that he was right, he returned to Antioch.
In this way King Antiochus' invasion was turned into a retreat.