1Maccabées (NAB) 1


Alexander the Great

1 1 After Alexander the Macedonian, Philip's son, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, he became king in his place, having first ruled in Greece. 2 He fought many campaigns, captured fortresses, and put kings to death.3 He advanced to the ends of the earth, gathering plunder from many nations; the earth fell silent before him, and his heart became proud and arrogant.4 He collected a very strong army and conquered provinces, nations, and rulers, and they became his tributaries.
But after all this he took to his bed, realizing that he was going to die.6 He therefore summoned his officers, the nobles, who had been brought up with him from his youth, to divide his kingdom among them while he was still alive.7 Alexander had reigned twelve years when he died. 8 So his officers took over his kingdom, each in his own territory,9 and after his death they all put on royal crowns, and so did their sons after them for many years, causing much distress over the earth.

Antiochus Epiphanes and Renegade Jews

10 There sprang from these a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome. He became king in the year one hundred and thirty-seven of the kingdom of the Greeks.
In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people, saying: "Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us."12 The proposal was agreeable;13 some from among the people promptly went to the king, and he authorized them to introduce the way of living of the Gentiles.14 Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to the Gentile custom. 15 They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant; they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves to wrongdoing.

Antiochus in Egypt

16 When his kingdom seemed secure, Antiochus proposed to become king of Egypt, so as to rule over both kingdoms.17 He invaded Egypt with a strong force, with chariots and elephants, and with a large fleet, 18 to make war on Ptolemy, king of Egypt. Ptolemy was frightened at his presence and fled, leaving many casualties.19 The fortified cities in the land of Egypt were captured, and Antiochus plundered the land of Egypt.

Persecution of the Jews

20 After Antiochus had defeated Egypt in the year one hundred and forty-three, he returned and went up to Israel and to Jerusalem with a strong force. 21 He insolently invaded the sanctuary and took away the golden altar, the lampstand for the light with all its fixtures,22 the offering table, the cups and the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the golden ornament on the facade of the temple. He stripped off everything,23 and took away the gold and silver and the precious vessels; he also took all the hidden treasures he could find.24 Taking all this, he went back to his own country, after he had spoken with great arrogance and shed much blood.
And there was great mourning for Israel, in every place where they dwelt,
and the rulers and the elders groaned. Virgins and young men languished, and the beauty of the women was disfigured.
Every bridegroom took up lamentation, she who sat in the bridal chamber mourned,
And the land was shaken on account of its inhabitants, and all the house of Jacob was covered with shame.

The Occupation of Jerusalem

29 Two years later, the king sent the Mysian commander to the cities of Judah, and he came to Jerusalem with a strong force.30 He spoke to them deceitfully in peaceful terms, and won their trust. Then he attacked the city suddenly, in a great onslaught, and destroyed many of the people in Israel.31 He plundered the city and set fire to it, demolished its houses and its surrounding walls,32 took captive the women and children, and seized the cattle.33 Then they built up the City of David with a high, massive wall and strong towers, and it became their citadel. 34 There they installed a sinful race, perverse men, who fortified themselves inside it,35 storing up weapons and provisions, and depositing there the plunder they had collected from Jerusalem. And they became a great threat.
The citadel became an ambush against the sanctuary, and a wicked adversary to Israel at all times.
And they shed innocent blood around the sanctuary; they defiled the sanctuary.
Because of them the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled away, and she became the abode of strangers. She became a stranger to her own offspring, and her children forsook her.
Her sanctuary was as desolate as a wilderness; her feasts were turned into mourning, Her sabbaths to shame, her honor to contempt.
Her dishonor was as great as her glory had been, and her exalation was turned into mourning.

Installation of Gentile Cults

41 Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,42 each abandoning his particular customs. All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king,43 and many Israelites were in favor of his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.44 The king sent messengers with letters to Jerusalem and to the cities of Judah, ordering them to follow customs foreign to their land;45 to prohibit holocausts, sacrifices, and libations in the sanctuary, to profane the sabbaths and feast days,46 to desecrate the sanctuary and the sacred ministers,47 to build pagan altars and temples and shrines, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals,48 to leave their sons uncircumcised, and to let themselves be defiled with every kind of impurity and abomination,49 so that they might forget the law and change all their observances.50 Whoever refused to act according to the command of the king should be put to death.51 Such were the orders he published throughout his kingdom. He appointed inspectors over all the people, and he ordered the cities of Judah to offer sacrifices, each city in turn.
Many of the people, those who abandoned the law, joined them and committed evil in the land.53 Israel was driven into hiding, wherever places of refuge could be found.
On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-five, the king erected the horrible abomination upon the altar of holocausts, and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars. 55 They also burnt incense at the doors of houses and in the streets.56 Any scrolls of the law which they found they tore up and burnt. 57 Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant, and whoever observed the law, was condemned to death by royal decree.58 So they used their power against Israel, against those who were caught, each month, in the cities.59 On the twenty-fifth day of each month they sacrificed on the altar erected over the altar of holocausts.60 Women who had had their children circumcised were put to death, in keeping with the decree,61 with the babies hung from their necks; their families also and those who had circumcised them were killed.
But many in Israel were determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean;63 they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. Terrible affliction was upon Israel.

Mattathias and His Sons

2 1 In those days Mattathias, son of John, son of Simeon, a priest of the family of Joarib, left Jerusalem and settled in Modein. 2 He had five sons: John, who was called Gaddi;3 Simon, who was called Thassi;4 Judas, who was called Maccabeus;5 Eleazar, who was called Avaran; and Jonathan, who was called Apphus.
When he saw the sacrileges that were being committed in Judah and in Jerusalem,7 he said: "Woe is me! Why was I born to see the ruin of my people and the ruin of the holy city, and to sit idle while it is given into the hands of enemies, and the sanctuary into the hands of strangers?
"Her temple has become like a man disgraced,9 her glorious ornaments have been carried off as spoils, Her infants have been murdered in her streets, her young men by the sword of the enemy.
What nation has not taken its share of her realm, and laid its hand on her possessions?
All her adornment has been taken away. From being free, she has become a slave.
We see our sanctuary and our beauty and our glory laid waste, And the Gentiles have defiled them!
Why are we still alive?"
Then Mattathias and his sons tore their garments, put on sackcloth, and mourned bitterly.

Pagan Worship Refused

15 The officers of the king in charge of enforcing the apostasy came to the city of Modein to organize the sacrifices.16 Many of Israel joined them, but Mattathias and his sons gathered in a group apart.17 Then the officers of the king addressed Mattathias: "You are a leader, an honorable and great man in this city, supported by sons and kinsmen.18 Come now, be the first to obey the king's command, as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah and those who are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons shall be numbered among the King's Friends, and shall be enriched with silver and gold and many gifts." 19 But Mattathias answered in a loud voice: "Although all the Gentiles in the king's realm obey him, so that each forsakes the religion of his fathers and consents to the king's orders,20 yet I and my sons and my kinsmen will keep to the covenant of our fathers.21 God forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments.22 We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree."
As he finished saying these words, a certain Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein according to the king's order.24 When Mattathias saw him, he was filled with zeal; his heart was moved and his just fury was aroused; he sprang forward and killed him upon the altar.25 At the same time, he also killed the messenger of the king who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar.26 Thus he showed his zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did with Zimri, son of Salu.
Then Mattathias went through the city shouting, "Let everyone who is zealous for the law and who stands by the covenant follow after me!"28 Thereupon he fled to the mountains with his sons, leaving behind in the city all their possessions.
Many who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom went out into the desert to settle there, 30 they and their sons, their wives and their cattle, because misfortunes pressed so hard on them.31 It was reported to the officers and soldiers of the king who were in the City of David, in Jerusalem, that certain men who had flouted the king's order had gone out to the hiding places in the desert.32 Many hurried out after them, and having caught up with them, camped opposite and prepared to attack them on the sabbath.33 "Enough of this!" the pursuers said to them. "Come out and obey the king's command, and your lives will be spared."
But they replied, "We will not come out, nor will we obey the king's command to profane the sabbath."35 Then the enemy attacked them at once;36 but they did not retaliate; they neither threw stones, nor blocked up their own hiding places.37 They said, "Let us all die without reproach; heaven and earth are our witnesses that you destroy us unjustly."38 So the officers and soldiers attacked them on the sabbath, and they died with their wives, their children and their cattle, to the number of a thousand persons.
When Mattathias and his friends heard of it, they mourned deeply for them.40 "If we all do as our kinsmen have done," they said to one another, "and do not fight against the Gentiles for our lives and our traditions, they will soon destroy us from the earth."41 On that day they came to this decision: "Let us fight against anyone who attacks us on the sabbath, so that we may not all die as our kinsmen died in the hiding places."


42 Then they were joined by a group of Hasideans, valiant Israelites, all of them devout followers of the law. 43 And all those who were fleeing from the disaster joined them and supported them.44 They gathered an army and struck down sinners in their anger and lawbreakers in their wrath, and the survivors fled to the Gentiles for safety.45 Mattathias and his friends went about and tore down the pagan altars;46 they also enforced circumcision for any uncircumcised boys whom they found in the territory of Israel.47 They put to flight the arrogant, and the work prospered in their hands.48 They saved the law from the hands of the Gentiles and of the kings and did not let the sinner triumph.

The Last Words of Mattathias

49 When the time came for Mattathias to die, he said to his sons: "Arrogance and scorn have now grown strong; it is a time of disaster and violent anger.50 Therefore, my sons, be zealous for the law and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers.
"Remember the deeds that our fathers did in their times, and you shall win great glory and an everlasting name.
Was not Abraham found faithful in trial, and it was reputed to him as uprightness?
Joseph, when in distress, kept the commandment, and he became master of Egypt.
Phinehas our father, for his burning zeal, received the covenant of an everlasting priesthood.
Joshua, for executing his commission, became a judge in Israel.
Caleb, for bearing witness before the assembly, received an inheritance in the land.
David, for his piety, received as a heritage a throne of everlasting royalty.
Elijah, for his burning zeal for the law, was taken up to heaven.
Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, for their faith, were saved from the fire.
Daniel, for his innocence, was delivered from the jaws of lions.
And so, consider this from generation to generation, that none who hope in him shall fail in strength.
Do not fear the words of a sinful man, for his glory ends in corruption and worms.
Today he is exalted, and tomorrow he is not to be found, because he has returned to his dust, and his schemes have perished.
Children! be courageous and strong in keeping the law, for by it you shall be glorified.
"Here is your brother Simeon who I know is a wise man; listen to him always, and he will be a father to you.66 And Judas Maccabeus, a warrior from his youth, shall be the leader of your army and direct the war against the nations.67 You shall also gather about you all who observe the law, and you shall avenge the wrongs of your people.68 Pay back the Gentiles what they deserve, and observe the precepts of the law."
Then he blessed them, and he was united with his fathers.70 He died in the year one hundred and forty-six, and was buried in the tombs of his fathers in Modein, and all Israel mourned him greatly.

The Early Victories of Judas

3 1 Then his son Judas, who was called Maccabeus, took his place.2 All his brothers and all who had joined his father supported him, and they carried on Israel's war joyfully.
He spread abroad the glory of his people, and put on his breastplate like a giant. He armed himself with weapons of war; he planned battles and protected the camp with his sword.
In his actions he was like a lion, like a young lion roaring for prey.
He pursued the wicked, hunting them out, and those who troubled his people he destroyed by fire.
The lawbreakers were cowed by fear of him, and all evildoers were dismayed. By his hand redemption was happily achieved,
and he afflicted many kings; He made Jacob glad by his deeds, and his memory is blessed forever.
He went about the cities of Judah destroying the impious there. He turned away wrath from Israel
and was renowned to the ends of the earth; he gathered together those who were perishing.
Then Apollonius gathered the Gentiles, together with a large army from Samaria, to fight against Israel. 11 When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him and defeated and killed him. Many fell wounded, and the rest fled.
Their possessions were seized and the sword of Apollonius was taken by Judas, who fought with it the rest of his life.
But Seron, commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had gathered many about him, an assembly of faithful men ready for war.14 So he said, "I will make a name for myself and win glory in the kingdom by defeating Judas and his followers, who have despised the king's command."15 And again a large company of renegades advanced with him to help him take revenge on the Israelites.16 When he reached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a few men. 17 But when they saw the army coming against them, they said to Judas: "How can we, few as we are, fight such a mighty host as this? Besides, we are weak today from fasting."18 But Judas said: "It is easy for many to be overcome by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few;19 for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven.20 With great presumption and lawlessness they come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us;21 but we are fighting for our lives and our laws.22 He himself will crush them before us; so do not be afraid of them." 23 When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly upon Seron and his army, who were crushed before him.24 He pursued Seron down the descent of Beth-horon into the plain. About eight hundred of their men fell, and the rest fled to the country of the Philistines.
Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and dread fell upon the Gentiles about them.
His fame reached the king, and all the Gentiles talked about the battles of Judas.

The Policy of Antiochus

27 When Antiochus heard about these events, he was angry; so he ordered a muster of all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army.28 He opened his treasure chests, gave his soldiers a year's pay, and commanded them to be prepared for anything.29 He then found that this exhausted the money in his treasury; moreover the income from the province was small, because of the dissension and distress he had brought upon the land by abolishing the laws which had been in effect from of old.30 He feared that, as had happened more than once, he would not have enough for his expenses and for the gifts that he had previously given with a more liberal hand than the preceding kings.31 Greatly perplexed, he decided to go to Persia and levy tribute on those provinces, and so raise a large sum of money.
He left Lysias, a nobleman of royal blood, in charge of the king's affairs from the Euphrates River to the frontier of Egypt,33 and commissioned him to take care of his son Antiochus until his own return.34 He entrusted to him half of the army, and the elephants, and gave him instructions concerning everything he wanted done. As for the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem,35 Lysias was to send an army against them to crush and destroy the power of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem and efface their memory from the land.36 He was to settle foreigners in all their territory and distribute their land by lot.37 The king took the remaining half of the army and set out from Antioch, his capital, in the year one hundred and forty-seven; he crossed the Euphrates River and advanced inland.

Preparations for Battle

38 Lysias chose Ptolemy, son of Dorymenes, and Nicanor and Gorgias, capable men among the King's Friends, 39 and with them he sent forty thousand men and seven thousand cavalry to invade the land of Judah and ravage it according to the king's orders.40 Setting out with all their forces, they came and pitched their camp near Emmaus in the plain. 41 When the merchants of the country heard of their fame, they came to the camp, bringing fetters and a large sum of silver and gold, to buy the Israelites as slaves. A force from Idumea and from Philistia joined with them.
Judas and his brothers saw that the situation had become critical now that armies were encamped within their territory; they knew of the orders which the king had given to destroy and utterly wipe out the people.43 So they said to one another, "Let us restore our people from their ruined estate, and fight for our people and our sanctuary!"44 The assembly gathered together to prepare for battle and to pray and implore mercy and compassion.
Jerusalem was uninhabited, like a desert; not one of her children entered or came out. The sanctuary was trampled on, and foreigners were in the citadel; it was a habitation of Gentiles. Joy had disappeared from Jacob, and the flute and the harp were silent.
Thus they assembled and went to Mizpah near Jerusalem, because there was formerly at Mizpah a place of prayer for Israel. 47 That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes.48 They unrolled the scroll of the law, to learn about the things for which the Gentiles consulted the images of their idols. 49 They brought with them the priestly vestments, the first fruits, and the tithes; and they brought forward the nazirites who had completed the time of their vows. 50 And they cried aloud to Heaven: "What shall we do with these men, and where shall we take them?51 For your sanctuary has been trampled on and profaned, and your priests are in mourning and humiliation.52 Now the Gentiles are gathered together against us to destroy us. You know what they plot against us.53 How shall we be able to resist them unless you help us?"54 Then they blew the trumpets and cried out loudly.
After this Judas appointed officers among the people, over thousands, over hundreds, over fifties, and over tens.56 He proclaimed that those who were building houses, or were just married, or were planting vineyards, and those who were afraid, could each return to his home, according to the law.57 Then the army moved off, and they camped to the south of Emmaus.58 Judas said: "Arm yourselves and be brave; in the morning be ready to fight these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary.59 It is better for us to die in battle than to witness the ruin of our nation and our sanctuary. Whatever Heaven wills, he will do."

The Battle at Emmaus

4 1 Now Gorgias took five thousand infantry and a thousand picked cavalry, and this detachment set out at night2 in order to attack the camp of the Jews and take them by surprise. Some men from the citadel were their guides.3 Judas heard of it, and himself set out with his soldiers to attack the king's army at Emmaus,4 while the latter's forces were still scattered away from the camp.5 During the night Gorgias came into the camp of Judas, and found no one there; so he began to hunt for them in the mountains, saying, "They are fleeing from us."6 But at daybreak Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men, who lacked such armor and swords as they would have wished.7 They saw the army of the Gentiles, strong and breastplated, flanked with cavalry, and made up of expert soldiers.
Judas said to the men with him: "Do not be afraid of their numbers or dread their attack.9 Remember how our fathers were saved in the Red Sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with an army.10 So now let us cry to Heaven in the hope that he will favor us, remember his covenant with our fathers, and destroy this army before us today.11 All the Gentiles shall know that there is One who redeems and delivers Israel."
When the foreigners looked up and saw them marching toward them,13 they came out of their camp for battle, and the men with Judas blew the trumpet.14 The battle was joined and the Gentiles were defeated and fled toward the plain.15 Their whole rearguard fell by the sword, and they were pursued as far as Gazara and the plains of Judea, to Azotus and Jamnia. About three thousand of their men fell.
When Judas and the army returned from the pursuit,17 he said to the people: "Do not be greedy for the plunder, for there is a fight ahead of us,18 and Gorgias and his army are near us on the mountain. But now stand firm against our enemies and overthrow them. Afterward you can freely take the plunder."19 As Judas was finishing this speech, a detachment appeared, looking down from the mountain.20 They saw that their army had been put to flight and their camp was being burned. The smoke that could be seen indicated what had happened.21 When they realized this, they were terrified; and when they also saw the army of Judas in the plain ready to attack,22 they all fled to Philistine territory. 23 Then Judas went back to plunder the camp, and his men collected much gold and silver, violet and crimson cloth, and great treasure.24 As they returned, they were singing hymns and glorifying Heaven, "for he is good, for his mercy endures forever."25 Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

First Campaign of Lysias

26 But those of the foreigners who had escaped went and told Lysias all that had occurred.27 When he heard it he was disturbed and discouraged, because things in Israel had not turned out as he intended and as the king had ordered.
So the following year he gathered together sixty thousand picked men and five thousand cavalry, to subdue them.29 They came into Idumea and camped at Beth-zur, and Judas met them with ten thousand men. 30 Seeing that the army was strong, he prayed thus: "Blessed are you, O Savior of Israel, who broke the rush of the mighty one by the hand of your servant David and delivered the camp of the Philistines into the hand of Jonathan, the son of Saul, and his armor-bearer.31 Give this army into the hands of your people Israel; make them ashamed of their troops and their cavalry.32 Strike them with fear, weaken the boldness of their strength, and let them tremble at their own destruction.33 Strike them down by the sword of those who love you, that all who know your name may hymn your praise."
Then they engaged in battle, and about five thousand of Lysias' men fell in hand-to-hand fighting.35 When Lysias saw his ranks beginning to give way, and the increased boldness of Judas, whose men were ready either to live or to die bravely, he withdrew to Antioch and began to recruit mercenaries so as to return to Judea with greater numbers.

Cleansing and Dedication of the Temple

36 Then Judas and his brothers said, "Now that our enemies have been crushed, let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it." 37 So the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion.38 They found the sanctuary desolate, the altar desecrated, the gates burnt, weeds growing in the courts as in a forest or on some mountain, and the priests' chambers demolished.39 Then they tore their clothes and made great lamentation; they sprinkled their heads with ashes40 and fell with their faces to the ground. And when the signal was given with trumpets, they cried out to Heaven.
Judas appointed men to attack those in the citadel, while he purified the sanctuary.42 He chose blameless priests, devoted to the law;43 these purified the sanctuary and carried away the stones of the Abomination to an unclean place.
They deliberated what ought to be done with the altar of holocausts that had been desecrated.45 The happy thought came to them to tear it down, lest it be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it; so they tore down the altar.46 They stored the stones in a suitable place on the temple hill, until a prophet should come and decide what to do with them.47 Then they took uncut stones, according to the law, and built a new altar like the former one.48 They also repaired the sanctuary and the interior of the temple and purified the courts.49 They made new sacred vessels and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple.50 Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand, and these illuminated the temple.
They also put loaves on the table and hung up curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.52 Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, that is, the month of Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight, 53 they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law on the new altar of holocausts that they had made.54 On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it, on that very day it was reconsecrated with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals.55 All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success.56 For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar and joyfully offered holocausts and sacrifices of deliverance and praise.57 They ornamented the facade of the temple with gold crowns and shields; they repaired the gates and the priests' chambers and furnished them with doors.58 There was great joy among the people now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed.
Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.
At that time they built high walls and strong towers around Mount Zion, to prevent the Gentiles from coming and trampling over it as they had done before.61 Judas also placed a garrison there to protect it, and likewise fortified Beth-zur, that the people might have a stronghold facing Idumea.

Wars with Neighboring Peoples

5 1 When the Gentiles round about heard that the altar had been rebuilt and the sanctuary consecrated as before, they were very angry. 2 So they decided to destroy the descendants of Jacob who were among them, and they began to massacre and persecute the people.
Then Judas attacked the sons of Esau at Akrabattene in Idumea, because they were blockading Israel; he defeated them heavily, overcame and despoiled them.
He also remembered the malice of the sons of Baean, who had become a snare and a stumbling block to the people by ambushing them along the roads. 5 He forced them to take refuge in towers, which he besieged; he vowed their annihilation and burned down the towers along with all the persons in them.
Then he crossed over to the Ammonites, where he found a strong army and a large body of people with Timothy as their leader. 7 He fought many battles with them, routed them, and struck them down.8 After seizing Jazer and its villages, he returned to Judea.

Liberation of Galilean Jews

9 The Gentiles in Gilead assembled to attack and destroy the Israelites who were in their territory; these then fled to the stronghold of Dathema.10 They sent a letter to Judas and his brothers saying: "The Gentiles around us have combined against us to destroy us,11 and they are preparing to come and seize this stronghold to which we have fled. Timothy is the leader of their army.12 Come at once and rescue us from them, for many of us have fallen.13 All our kinsmen who were among the Tobiads have been killed; the Gentiles have carried away their wives and children and their goods, and they have slain there about a thousand men."
While they were reading this letter, suddenly other messengers, in torn clothes, arrived from Galilee to deliver a similar message:15 that the inhabitants of Ptolemais, Tyre, and Sidon, and the whole of Gentile Galilee had joined forces to destroy them.
When Judas and the people heard this, a great assembly convened to consider what they should do for their unfortunate kinsmen who were being attacked by enemies.17 Judas said to his brother Simon: "Choose men for yourself, and go, rescue your kinsmen in Galilee; I and my brother Jonathan will go to Gilead."
In Judea he left Joseph, son of Zechariah, and Azariah, leader of the people, with the rest of the army to guard it.19 "Take charge of these people," he commanded them, "but do not fight against the Gentiles until we return."20 Three thousand men were allotted to Simon, to go into Galilee, and eight thousand men to Judas, for Gilead.
Simon went into Galilee and fought many battles with the Gentiles. They were crushed before him,22 and he pursued them to the very gate of Ptolemais. About three thousand men of the Gentiles fell, and he gathered their spoils.23 He took with him the Jews who were in Galilee and in Arbatta, with their wives and children and all that they had, and brought them to Judea with great rejoicing.

Judas and Jonathan in Gilead

24 Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the Jordan and marched for three days through the desert.25 There they met some Nabateans, who received them peacefully and told them all that had happened to the Jews in Gilead: 26 "Many of them have been imprisoned in Bozrah, in Bosor near Alema, in Chaspho, Maked, and Carnaim"-- all of these are large, fortified cities-- 27 "and some have been imprisoned in other cities of Gilead. Tomorrow their enemies plan to attack the strongholds and to seize and destroy all these people in one day."
Thereupon Judas suddenly changed direction with his army, marched across the desert to Bozrah, and captured the city. He slaughtered all the male population, took all their possessions, and set fire to the city.29 He led his army from that place by night, and they marched toward the stronghold of Dathema.30 When morning came, they looked ahead and saw a countless multitude of people, with ladders and devices for capturing the stronghold, and beginning to attack the people within.31 When Judas perceived that the struggle had begun and that the noise of the battle was resounding to heaven with trumpet blasts and loud shouting,32 he said to the men of his army, "Fight for our kinsmen today."33 He came up behind them with three columns blowing their trumpets and shouting in prayer.34 When the army of Timothy realized that it was Maccabeus, they fell back before him, and he inflicted on them a crushing defeat. About eight thousand of their men fell that day.35 Then he turned toward Alema and attacked and captured it; he killed all the male population, plundered the place, and burned it down.36 From there he moved on and took Chaspho, Maked, Bosor, and the other cities of Gilead.
After these events Timothy assembled another army and camped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream.38 Judas sent men to spy on the camp, and they reported to him: "All the Gentiles around us have rallied to him, making a very large force;39 they have also hired Arabs to help them, and have camped beyond the stream, ready to attack you." So Judas went forward to attack them.40 As Judas and his army were approaching the running stream, Timothy said to the officers of his army: "If he crosses over to us first, we shall not be able to resist him; he will certainly defeat us.41 But if he is afraid and camps on the other side of the river, we will cross over to him and defeat him."
But when Judas reached the running stream, he stationed the officers of the people beside the stream and gave them this order: "Do not allow any man to pitch a tent; all must go into battle."43 He was the first to cross to the attack, with all the people behind him, and the Gentiles were crushed before them; they threw away their arms and fled to the temple enclosure at Carnaim.44 The Jews captured that city and burnt the enclosure with all who were in it. So Carnaim was subdued, and Judas met with no more resistance.

The Return to Jerusalem

45 Then he assembled all the Israelites, great and small, who were in Gilead, with their wives and children and their goods, a great crowd of people, to go into the land of Judah.46 When they reached Ephron, a large and strongly fortified city along the way, they found it impossible to encircle it on either the right or the left; they would have to march right through it. 47 But the men in the city shut them out and blocked up the gates with stones.48 Then Judas sent them this peaceful message: "We wish to cross your territory in order to reach our own; no one will harm you; we will only march through." But they would not open to him.49 So Judas ordered a proclamation to be made in the camp that everyone make an attack from the place where he was.50 When the men of the army took up their positions, he assaulted the city all that day and night, and it was delivered to him.51 He slaughtered every male, razed and plundered the city, and passed through it over the slain.52 Then they crossed the Jordan to the great plain in front of Beth-shan;53 and Judas kept rounding up the stragglers and encouraging the people the whole way, until he reached the land of Judah.54 They ascended Mount Zion in joy and gladness and offered holocausts, because not one of them had fallen; they had returned in safety.

Joseph and Azariah Defeated

55 During the time that Judas and Jonathan were in the land of Gilead, and Simon his brother was in Galilee opposite Ptolemais,56 Joseph, son of Zechariah, and Azariah, the leaders of the army, heard about the brave deeds and the fighting that they were doing.57 They said, "Let us also make a name for ourselves by going out and fighting against the Gentiles around us."58 They gave orders to the men of their army who were with them, and marched toward Jamnia.59 But Gorgias and his men came out of the city to meet them in battle.60 Joseph and Azariah were beaten, and were pursued to the frontiers of Judea, and about two thousand Israelites fell that day.61 It was a bad defeat for the people, because they had not obeyed Judas and his brothers, thinking that they would do brave deeds.62 But they did not belong to the family of those men to whom it was granted to achieve Israel's salvation.
The valiant Judas and his brothers were greatly renowned in all Israel and among all the Gentiles, wherever their name was heard;64 and men gathered about them and praised them.

Success at Hebron and Philistia

65 Then Judas and his brothers went out and attacked the sons of Esau in the country toward the south; he took Hebron and its villages, and he destroyed its strongholds and burned the towers around it. 66 He then set out for the land of the Philistines and passed through Marisa.67 At that time some priests fell in battle who had gone out rashly to fight in their desire to distinguish themselves.68 Judas then turned toward Azotus in the land of the Philistines. He destroyed their altars and burned the statues of their gods; and after plundering their cities he returned to the land of Judah.

The Last Days of Antiochus Epiphanes

1Maccabées (NAB) 1