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.
141Three years later, Judas and his men learnt that Demetrius son of Seleucus had sailed into the port of Tripolis with a powerful army and a fleet. 2It was reported that he had killed King Antiochus and his guardian Lysias and had taken over the country.
3There was a man by the name of Alcimus, who had formerly been High Priest but who had gladly adopted the Greek way of life during the revolt. Realizing that he could never again be High Priest and fearful of what the Jews might do to him, 4he went to see King Demetrius in the year 151.14.4 the year 151: This corresponds to 161 bc. On this occasion he presented the king with a gold crown and a palm branch, together with some olive branches traditionally presented to the Temple, but he said nothing about his plans. 5Later, however, he got the chance to put his foolish plans into effect when Demetrius summoned him to a meeting of his advisers and asked him what the Jews were intending to do.
Alcimus said, 6“The followers of Judas Maccabaeus think of themselves as devout and patriotic; they love war and are constantly inciting the people to rebellion and will never leave the nation in peace. 7It is their fault that I no longer hold the glorious position of High Priest, to which I am entitled by birth. And so I have come here, 8primarily out of a genuine concern for your interests as king, but also out of consideration for my own people, for the foolish policies of Judas and his followers have brought terrible suffering on our entire nation. 9When Your Majesty has examined all the details of these matters, please act in your usual kind and generous manner to relieve the oppression of our nation and its people. 10As long as Judas is alive, it will be impossible for our nation to enjoy peace.”
11As soon as Alcimus had finished his speech, the other advisers quickly seized this opportunity to arouse Demetrius' anger against Judas, because they also hated him. 12So King Demetrius immediately appointed Nicanor, who was the commander of his elephant forces, to be governor of Judea, and sent him there 13with orders to kill Judas, scatter his followers, and make Alcimus High Priest of the greatest Temple in all the world. 14All the foreigners in Judea, who had fled from Judas' attacks, now rushed to join forces with Nicanor, because they thought that any defeat or trouble that came to the Jews would be to their own advantage.
The Jews heard that Nicanor was attacking and that the foreigners in their country were giving him their support. So they threw earth on themselves and prayed to their God, who had chosen their nation as his possession for ever and had never failed to help them in time of need. 16Then Judas, their leader, gave the order, and they immediately marched out to engage the enemy in battle near the village of Adasa.14.16 Probable text Adasa; Greek Dessau. 17Judas' brother Simon was fighting Nicanor but was gradually losing the battle because of an unexpected move on the part of the enemy. 18However, when Nicanor heard how bravely and courageously Judas and his men were fighting for their country, he decided not to settle the matter in battle. 19Instead, he sent Posidonius, Theodotus, and Mattathias to make a treaty with the Jews.
20After the terms of the treaty had been worked out in detail, Nicanor informed his troops, and they unanimously agreed. 21Then a day was set on which the leaders would meet in private. Ceremonial chairs were brought out from each camp and set up. 22Judas had taken the precaution of placing fully-armed troops in strategic places, in case of sudden treachery on the part of the enemy. But the two leaders had a friendly meeting. 23Nicanor stayed on in Jerusalem for some time after that. He did not ill-treat the Jews in any way, and even sent away the people who had come over to his side. 24The two men became the best of friends, and Judas was Nicanor's constant companion. 25Nicanor urged him to marry and start a family. So Judas did this and settled down to a peaceful life.
26When Alcimus noticed how well Judas and Nicanor were getting along, he obtained a copy of the treaty and went to see King Demetrius. He told the king that Nicanor was disloyal to the government, because he had appointed the traitor Judas to be his successor. 27These false accusations infuriated the king, and in his anger he wrote to Nicanor, informing him that he was dissatisfied with the treaty and ordering him to arrest Judas Maccabaeus and send him to Antioch at once.
28When this message reached Nicanor, he was hurt and didn't know what to do, because he did not like having to break an agreement with a man who had kept his part of the bargain. 29Yet it was impossible for him to ignore the king's command, so he began looking for a way to trap Judas. 30Judas, however, noticed that Nicanor was becoming hostile and rude towards him, and he knew that this was a bad sign. So he gathered a large number of his followers and went into hiding.
When Nicanor realized that Judas had been too clever for him, he went to the great and holy Temple at the time when the priests were offering sacrifice and ordered them to surrender Judas to him. 32But the priests declared under oath that they had no idea where Judas was hiding. 33Then Nicanor raised his right arm in the direction of the Temple and made a solemn threat: “If you do not hand Judas over to me as a prisoner, I will level God's Temple to the ground, demolish this altar, and on this spot build a glorious temple to Dionysus.” 34Then he left, and immediately the priests raised their arms towards heaven and prayed to God, the faithful Defender of our nation: 35“Lord, you are in need of nothing, yet it has pleased you to place your Temple here and to live among us. 36You alone are holy, and your Temple has only recently been purified, so now protect its holiness for ever.”
37One of the leaders in Jerusalem, a man by the name of Razis, was denounced to Nicanor. It was said that he had helped his people in many ways and was so highly respected by them that he was known as “the Father of the Jews.” 38During the early days of the revolution he had risked his life for Judaism and had been brought to trial because of his loyalty. 39Wishing to show clearly how much he disliked the Jews, Nicanor sent more than 500 soldiers to arrest Razis, 40because he thought his arrest would be a crippling blow to the Jews. 41The soldiers were about to capture the tower where Razis had gone. They were forcing open the gates to the courtyard, and the order had been given to set the door on fire. Razis realized there was no escape, so he tried to commit suicide with his sword, 42preferring to die with honour rather than suffer humiliation at the hands of evil men.
43Under the pressure of the moment, Razis misjudged the thrust of the sword, and it did not kill him. So, while the soldiers were swarming into the room, he rushed to the wall and jumped off like a brave hero into the crowd below. 44The crowd quickly moved back, and he fell in the space they left. 45Still alive, and burning with courage, he got up, and with blood gushing from his wounds, he ran through the crowd and finally climbed a steep rock. 46Now completely drained of blood, he tore out his intestines with both hands and threw them at the crowd, and as he did so, he prayed for the Lord of life and breath to give them back to him. That was how he died.