1. We who
are at Jerusalem and in all the land of Judea wish our brothers the Jews, which
are in Egypt health and peace.
be gracious to you and remember His covenant that He made with Abraham Isaac and
Jacob His faithful servants, and grant you a heart to serve Him to perform His
will with good courage and a willing mind.
open your hearts in His law and commandments, and sent you peace hearing your
prayers, and be gracious to you and not forsake you in time of trouble, we pray
for you continually.
time now when Demetrius reigned in the 169th year, we the Jews wrote to you of
our need which were most urgent when Jason and his company revolted from the
holy land and the kingdom burning our gates and shedding innocent blood.
time we prayed and the Lord heard us, and we offered sacrifices with fine flower
and lighted lamps and set forth the loaves, and now we desire that you keep the
feast of purification with us in the month of Kislev.
6. We at
Jerusalem and of all Judea with the elders and Judas sent greetings and peace to
Aristobulus teacher of King Ptolemy who is of the lineage of the priests, and to
all the Jews that are in Egypt.
God greatly that He delivered us from such perils, we who had to defend
ourselves against such a mighty king, for He our Lord cast them out of our holy
having come in Persia with his seemingly invincible army, they were slain in the
temple of nanea by the deceit of the priests thereof.
Antiochus came there with his friends as if he wished to marry her, and as dowry
to give her all the moneys of the temple, then the priest did bring them
having gone inside the temple with a small company, the priests shut the doors
on him. And opening the hidden door
of the ceiling they cast stones on him and all that were with him killing them,
and cutting him in pieces they threw him out to those who were outside.
be therefore the Lord our God in all things that He so delivers His people from
therefore we purpose to celebrate the purification of the temple on the 25th day
of the month Kislev, we thought it necessary to notify you thereof that you
might also keep it as a feast with us.
as the fire which was given us when Nehemiah built the temple and the altar and
so again offered sacrifices.
14. For when
our fathers were led into Persia, we the devout priests hid the fire in a deep
and dry pit in order to secure it unknown to anyone.
15. And after
some years when Nehemiah was sent home by the king of Persia after the will of
God, he instructed the descendants of those priests that had hid the fire, to
find it again, but they told us that they found no fire but only murky water.
16. And he
commanded to draw up that water, and the sacrifices being laid up, Nehemiah
commanded them to pour that water over the wood and the offerings.
having done this, and the sun having come out, which until then was hid behind
the clouds, a great fire was kindled on it so that every man marveled at it.
priests and the people began to pray until the offering was consumed, and
Jonathan began to sing with the others repeating them, and also Nehemiah.
19. And this
was the prayer; O Lord our God, Creator of all things who art fearful strong and
righteous, and merciful, and the only, and gracious King, the only giver of all
things, the only just Almighty and everlasting.
20. Thou who
delivered Israel from all troubles, and who choose our fathers and hallowed
them, receive this offering for Thy whole people Israel and preserve Thy holy
again those that are scattered from us, deliver them that serve the heathen look
on them that are despised and abhorred. And
let the heathen know that Thou art our God, punish them that oppress us and
wrong us with much pride, plant again Thy people in Thy holy place as Moses
22. And the
priests sang psalms of thanksgiving, and when the sacrifice was consumed,
Nehemiah commanded the water which was left to be poured on the great stones,
and from it also a great flame went up from the flame of the fire of the altar.
23. This then
became known to the king of Persia, how - where in the place where they had hid
the fire only water was found, and that it had kindled the fire of the offering.
24. Then the
king searched this matter and preserved the place declaring it holy, and gave
much money for it.
then called the place Naphtha, which means, cleansing, while others called it
26. And it is
also found in the records that the prophet Jeremiah commanded those who were led
away that they should take the fire with them, and giving them the law, he
charged them not to forget the commandments of the Lord.
err in their minds when they would see the images of silver and gold with their
ornaments, and with other such speeches he exhorted them that the law should not
depart from their heart.
then are about to celebrate the purification, we wished to write you this, for
it becomes you that you also keep the same.
29. We then
hope that the Lord God who helps His people and gave them a heritage and a
kingdom and priesthood, and a sanctuary as promised in the law, that He will
shortly have mercy on us, and gather us out of every land under heaven into the
holy place, even as He has now already delivered us out of great troubles and
purified this place.
Introduction to the story of the Maccabees.
history now of Judas Maccabees and his brothers, and the purification of the
great temple, and the dedication of the altar, and the wars against Antiochus
Epifanes, and Eupator his son, and the signs that came from heaven to those that
behaved themselves manfully to their honor for Judaism, is like this;
2. For with
but a few they overcame the whole country and chased a great multitude of
heathen, and recovered again the temple which is renowned the world over, and
freed the city, and upheld the laws which had been put down, the Lord being
gracious to them.
things were declared by Jason of Cyrene in five books which we will assay to
abridge in one volume, for this greatly detailed work is such that they who look
for a narration of the story shall find it difficult reading.
therefore have taken it on ourselves that it may be read with delight and with
ease to memory so that it would be useful to everyone.
5. We found
that such is not easy but a painful matter, for there is much labor and stress
involved, just as it is to him who prepares a banquet seeking to please all the
6. Yet for
the pleasure of many we will gladly undertake this and not count the pain, we
will not change on the historic account, but recapture it as it was written,
except in a abridged form.
7. For just
as a carpenter in building a house - his responsibility is no further than that
the framework is built correctly, leaving it to others how it shall he painted
or adorned, so also shall we do, and leave it to the first author how he
obtained the particulars.
8. We thus
shall do no more than to condense the contents, and thus we shall begin with the
story having said this as introduction, that also the introduction may not
become greater than the story.
The defeat of a certain Simon.
again the holy city was inhabited with all peace, and the law was kept very well
for the Godliness of Onias the high priest, and his hatred for wickedness, the
kings themselves came to honor the place and magnified the temple with their
best gifts so much that Salacious, king of Asia, of his own revenues bore all
the cost belonging to the service of the sacrifices.
then a certain Simon of the tribe of Benjamin who in that time was governor of
the temple, and he was at enmity with Onias because he would not allow him his
disorder of the city.
being mightier than him, he went to Appolonius, son of Thraseas, who at that
time was governor of Celosyria and Phenice, and told him that the treasury in
Jerusalem was full of money. And
that there was much too much which did not pertain to the account of the
sacrifices, and that it was possible to bring it all into the kings hand.
Apollonius then came to the king, he told him what Simon had said to him of the
moneys, and the king charged his servant Heliodorus to go and obtain this money.
5. And he
forthwith took his journey under the disguise of visiting the cities of
Celosyria and Phenice, his real intent being to fulfill the command of his king.
having come to Jerusalem where the high priest courteously received him, he
revealed what the king had said and why he was there, and he asked if these
things were indeed so.
7. The high
priest then told him that there was a certain part which was put in safe keeping
for the widows and orphans, and that some of it belonged to Hircanus, son of
Tobias, a man of great dignity, and that it was not at all as Simon had informed
there was no more than 400 talents of silver and 200 talents of gold, and that
it would be very wrong to take such away from those who had entrusted the same
to the holy place and the majesty of the temple which is honored the world over.
Heliodorus, because of the kings command, replied, that it must nevertheless be
brought into the kings treasury. And
accordingly on a certain day he entered the temple to attempt it.
10. Then a
great commotion came into the whole city, and the priests in their vestments
knelled before the altar calling to God in heaven who had commanded that
anything given for safekeeping should be kept, that they should preserve it for
those which had committed it to them.
11. The High
priest then was so concerned that anyone looking at him would feel with him, for
his countenance was thus changed that it was obvious to anyone who saw him that
he was in great agony of heart, and trembled from fear.
ran flocking out of their houses to the general supplication, for the place was
likely to come into contempt. And
women wearing sackcloth came into the streets and virgins that otherwise would
not go out, walked in the gate and on the walls, while others looked out of the
13. And they
all held their hands towards heaven and prayed, it was indeed pitiful to see the
people so scared, and the high priest so undone.
they thus called on God to keep the things entrusted to them, Heliodorus though
to execute his intentions. But
having come to the treasury with his guard, the Lord caused a great apparition
so that everyone was astonished at the power of God, and fell into great fear
15. For there
appeared to them a well adorned horse with a terrible rider on it, which ran
fiercely to Heliodorus and smote him with his forefeet.
16. The rider
of that horse appeared to have a harness completely made of gold, and they also
saw two well dressed youths that were excellent in beauty and in strength, who
stood on both sides of Heliodorus scourging him with many sore stripes till he
fell blinded to the ground.
17. They then
that were with him, took him up, and carried him out on a litter, so he who came
with great luster and with all his guards to the treasury was now shamefully
carried out, all his might being of no avail to him.
thus was the power of God acknowledged, for by the hands of God he was cast
down, and lay speechless without all hope of life.
Jews praised the Lord that He had thus honored His temple, for the temple which
just before was full of fear and trouble, was now full of joy and gladness after
the sign manifested of the Almighty Lord.
Heliodorus friends then came to Onias praying him that he would pray to the Lord
to spare the life of Heliodorus who was near to death.
The high priest then suspecting that the king might misconceive this as
if they had mistreated him, he made an offering for the health of the man.
he thus prayed, the two youths appeared again in the same clothing and said to
Heliodorus. Give Onias the high
priest great thanks because for his sake the Lord has granted you your life, and
seeing you were scourged from heaven, declare to all men the power of God.
having said these words they appeared no more, and Heliodorus, after he had
offered sacrifice to the Lord, and made great vows to Him in saving his life. He saluted Onias and returned with his host to the king, and
testified to all men the great works of the Lord, which he had seen with his own
the king asked him who might be a fit man to once again be sent to Jerusalem, he
answered. If you have any enemy or
traitor, sent him there, and you shall receive him well scourged if he escapes
with his life, for in that place no doubt there is the special power of God.
24. For He
that dwells in heaven has His eye on that place and defends it, and He punishes
and destroys them that come to hurt it. This
then is enough of Heliodorus and the treasury.
Onias deceitfully put out by Jason.
Simon having betrayed the money and his nation, he slandered Onias as if he had
terrified Heliodorus, and accused him of attempting to gain the rule in the
land, while in fact Onias did well for the city and was zealous for the law.
his hatred went so far that by some of his factions murders were committed, and
Appolonius the governor in his rage increased Simon’s malice, Onias
recognizing the danger of his contention went to the king.
not an accuser of his countryman, but seeking the good of all both public and
private, for he saw that was impossible to without the king keep peace within
the state, or to bolster Simon’s folly.
the death of Seleucius, when Antiochus Epifanes took the kingdom, Jason the
brother of Onias labored deceitfully to become high priest promising the king
360 talents of silver and 80 more of other revenues.
this he promised to assign 150 talents more if he were allowed to set up a place
of games and training of the youth in the fashion of the heathen, and to write
them that were Antiochians in as the citizens of Jerusalem.
king granted him this, and he immediately brought the nation to the heathen rule
of the Greeks, and took away the royal privileges which were granted to the Jews
by John the father of Eupolemus, who went to Rome for peace and aid.
putting down the old honorable laws, he instituted new heathen customs against
the law, and it pleased him to built a place of exercise by the tower where he
brought the young men under his subjection making
them wear a hat. (an idolatry
continued to this day)
heathen lifestyle thus took the overhand because of that ungodly Jason so that
the priest no longer considered the altar but went to the games to watch them
play discus, so they forsook the honor of their fathers keeping the heathen
pleasures for glory
had to pay dearly for this, for God sent the very same whose customs they
followed as avengers against them to punish them, for God's word is not to be
mocked, which thing man finds out in the end.
the game, which was done every fifth year (probably like the Olympics) was held
at Tyrus, and the king himself was going to be there, the ungracious Jason sent
special messengers from Jerusalem who were Antiochians, to bring 300 drachms of
silver as sacrifice to hercules.
the bearers did not find it fit to bestow this on such an ungodly sacrifice, and
were not of mind to use it to that purpose, and so that which was sent for
hercules by the sender was instead used for the making of galleys.
Apollonius was sent to Egypt for the coronation of King Ptolemy Philomentor, and
learning that he was in dislikes there, he returned and came to Joppe.
13. And from
there came to Jerusalem where Jason and the city received him honorably bringing
him in with lights and great shouting's, and afterwards he went to Phenice,
years thereafter Jason sent Menelaus, brother of Simon, to the king to bring him
money, and to remind him of certain matters.
coming to the king he flattered him to bring the high priesthood to himself
giving the king 300 talents of silver more than Jason, and so he returned with
the command of the king.
16. But he
did not conduct himself as a high priest, but as a raging tyrant and a savage
beast, so thus was Jason put out of his post by another just as he put out his own
brother, and he had to flee to the land of the Ammonites.
17. So did
Menelaus obtain the high priesthood, but he took no care for the money, which he
had promised to the king, and was unable to come up with it when Sotratus, the
ruler of the fortress, required it, it being his task to gather the duties.
18. And so
the king called both of them to himself, and Menelaus left his brother
Lysimechus in his stead while Sotratus deft Crates, was governor of the
Onias murdered by Andronicus.
was going on the people of Tarsus and Mallus made insurrection because the king
had awarded them to his concubine called Antiochis
then in all haste came to appease matters leaving Andronicus in charge as his
Menelaus supposing that he had gotten a convenient time, stole certain vessels
of gold out of the temple, and gave some to Andronicus, and some he sold into
Tyrus and the cities round about.
22. And Onias
hearing of it reproved him for it and withdrew into a sanctuary at Daphene, that
lies by Antiochia, and Menelaus, taking Andronicus aside, asked him to get Onias
into his hands.
persuaded to do so, he came to Onias in deceit giving him the right hand with an
oath in order to get him to come out of his hiding place.
For he knew that Onias did not trust him, and so when he came forth he
pierced him without any regard for justice.
only caused grief to the Jews but many other nations also took great
indignation, and were much grieved for the unjust murder of the man.
25. And when
the king had come again from the place of Cilicia, the Jews of the city, and
also certain of the Greeks, that abhorred the fact, complained to him about
Onias that he was slain without cause.
then was indeed very grieved because of this mild and honorable man so murdered.
And he was angry with Andronicus, and took away his purple robe.
And tearing his clothes, he led him through the city to the very place
where he had murdered Onias, and there he slew the murderer.
27. So the
Lord rewarded him, giving him his punishment as he deserved.
The temple thief finds reward.
Lysimachus now with the counsel of his brother Menelaus, had stolen many things
from the temple, and this had come known to the people, and much of the gold
vessels had disappeared, they gathered themselves being angry.
Lysimachus assembled about 3000 men intending to defend himself with force, and
appointed a cunning captain over them.
citizens, seeing this, took stones and big sticks, and some cast ashes in their
eyes, so that many were wounded, and some wholly defeated.
while others fled, and they caught the temple thief by the, treasury and
that they brought Menelaus to judgment, and while the king had come to Tyrus,
three men of the counsel gave him to know what had happen, so he might pronounce
judgment concerning it.
Menelaus, being convicted, promised Ptolemy, son of Dorymenes, much money if he
would pacify the king towards him, and this man took the king aside to a certain
gallery to get a breath of fresh air.
changed the king's mind to let the scoundrel, who was the cause of all the
trouble, free, the one who caused the poor to be sentenced to death, who even by
barbarians would not have been found innocent.
such as were diligent for the cause of the people, and for the temple, were
unjustly condemned to death, this however grieved some that were in Tyrus, and
they buried them with honor.
Menelaus remained in his post with the help of the greedy that were in power,
and he increased in malice, a traitor to the citizens.
that time Antiochus prepared for a second voyage to Egypt, and it happened in
the city for about forty days, there was seen in the air a band of soldiers and
troops of horsemen in array, the soldiers running with clothing as of gold and
armed with lances.
were running against one another with their shields and swords, and casting
darts, and their golden armor of various sort glittered, so that everyone in the
city prayed that such sight might not mean something bad.
a false rumor came that Antiochus was dead Jason took 1000 men and suddenly made
an assault on the city, and having climbed the walls, and taken the city,
Menelaus fled into the castle.
however slew his own people without mercy, not considering that while he
prospered, it was his own defeat and agony, for he vain imagined that he
overcame an enemy, instead of his own citizens.
5. But he
was unable to obtain the rule, but received his reward like he deserved.
And he fled again with shame into the land of the Ammonites where he was
promptly accused before Aretas, king of Arabia, so that he had to flee from city
to city not finding safety anywhere.
everyone was at enmity with him as one who had departed from his law, and
everyone cursed him as a traitor, and enemy of the fatherland, and so he was
driven to Egypt.
he drove many people out of their homeland, so he was driven away and had to die
in exile at Lacedeminia where he hoped to have a haven because of family of him
which were there.
as he cast away many, not bothering to bury them, so he also cried with no-one
grieving for him, and not awarded the privilege to be buried in his homeland, he
was not even allowed a grave in a strange country.
Antiochus takes Jerusalem.
it came to the ear of king Antiochus that all Judea would fall away from him, he
in anger came from Egypt and took Jerusalem with force, and commanded his men
not to spare anyone, but to kill anyone they found the streets and in the
killed young and old, women and children, and even babies in the cribs, so that
in these three days 80.000 died with 40.000 as prisoners, and equally as many
Antiochus was not satisfied with this, but thought to take the most holy place
on earth, and Menelaus, the traitor, being his guide, he took the holy vessels
with his defiled hands together with what other kings had given for decoration
and honor with his thieving hands.
magnified himself, not considering that the Lord suffered this on the people of
the city for their sins. For had
they not sinned, this man would have been scourged as soon is he would have
entered, and been defeated in his presumption like as Heliodorus was whom
Seleucus sent for the treasury.
did not choose the people for the place, but the place for the people’s sake,
therefore the temple also had to suffer in the punishment of the people, even as
again the Lord rejoiced in the good of the people.
as the temple was taken by the enemies when the Lord was angry, so also again it
came to glory when the Lord was again gracious to them.
15. The sum
then of what Antiochus stole from the temple was 18.000 talents of silver as he
departed for Antioch with great pride as if conceiving to have made the land
navigable for ships and the sea passable for men on foot.
left some captains to vex the people at Jerusalem, which were Philip, the
Phrygian, who in manners was more barbarians than him who left him there, and
Garizirn Andronicus, and besides these was Menelaus who was worse than all
others to plague his own citizens.
Antiochus was thus at enmity with the Jews, he also sent that detestable
ringleader Appolonius with an army of 22.000 commanding him to slay all those
that were in the prime of their age, and to sell the women and the younger ones.
therefore he came before Jerusalem, he pretended peace until the day on which
the Jews rested, commanding his men to be ready for the day of the Sabbath.
19. He then
slew all that came to the celebration of the Sabbath, and going through the city
he slew a great multitude, but Judas Maccabees with about nine others withdrew
into the wilderness.
they lived in the mountains with all that cane to them, living off the herbs of
the field, so they might not partake of the pollution of the city.
Persecution and the temple defiled.
long afterwards the king sent an old man from Athens; to compel the Jews to
depart from the law of their fathers, no longer to serve the Lord, and to
pollute the temple in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of jupiter olympius,
call the temple at Gerizim - of xenius, even though strangers lived there.
But this foul thing grieved everyone, for the temple was filled with riot
and reveling of the heathen many of them bringing in whores with them.
offered on the altar what was forbidden, nor did they allow any man to keep the
Sabbath, or the feasts, and many dared not to profess himself Jews.
day they constrained them to eat of the foul sacrifices, and on the day of the
king's birth, when the feast of bacchus was kept, they compelled them to go in
5. And at
the counsel of Ptolemy they had made a command that everywhere in the cities
around Jerusalem they should force the Jews to partake of the sacrilege and that
anyone who did not confirm - be put to death.
6. A great
misery was then seen, two women, who had circumcised their children, were
brought, and binding their children to their breasts, they led them through the
city till at last they cast them from the wall.
had hid themselves in the caves so the might keep the Sabbath, and this being
brought to the attention of Philip, were burned, for they refused to defend
themselves in order not to defile the Sabbath.
must caution the reader here, that he does not overly vex himself for this
misery, but consider that this punishment was not for destruction, but came to
them for a warning.
For it is
a token of goodness when sinners are not suffered for any long time, but
forthwith punished, for not like with other nations where the Lord forbears to
punish until they are come to the fullness of their sins, to punish them
10. But He
stops us, so that we should not fill up the measure, after which He would have
to pass His wrath on us, therefore also did He never at any time take His
compassion from us, and though He chastens us, He has not fully left us.
11. This I
wished to say here as an admonition, and now we shall continue with the history.
an aged man of the foremost of the scribes named Eleazar, a well looking man
whom they constrained to eat the flesh of swine’s.
wished rather to die with honor than to live stained with such an abomination,
and he spit out the vile meat, and coming to the place of torment, he rebuked
those that ate forbidden meats for love of this temporal life.
then that were chosen to constrain the people to eat the meat of swine’s,
which is against the law, took him whom they had know for such a long time -
15. And they
told him that they would bring him meat which he was allowed to eat, and he
needed only to fake as if it were the meat of the swine from the sacrifice so
commanded by the king, to save him from death, and to continue to enjoy the old
16. But he
considered himself according to his age and his gray hair and his upbringing
from his youth, and as it becomes the holy Godly law, and said forthwith;
no longer to put me to death, for it would be an disgrace to my age that I
should thus fake it, that the young men should think that this Eleazar now 80
years old has also become an heathen, and they be misled thereby to live a
little longer in hypocrisy, and I should stain my old age making myself
though I might be delivered of the punishment of men for the present, yet will I
not escape the hand of Almighty God, neither alive nor dead.
Therefore I will die rejoicing, as it becomes me, an old man, and leave
an example to the young that they also might die heroic for the holy law.
having spoken these words, those who before were so friendly, now were angry at
these words, and brought him to the torments, for they supposed that he had said
it out of pride.
having been beaten, and being about to die, he said; The Lord before whom
nothing is hidden knows that I could have escaped from these beatings and pain
of my body, but for the sake of my soul I suffer it gladly for the will of God.
And so he
died leaving a good example of courage, and a memorial of virtue, which was not
only to the young men, but also to the whole nation.
Victory of the seven sons and their mother.
also came to pass that seven brothers with their mother were taken and compelled
to eat the meat of swine’s as by the order of the king against the law, and
they were tormented with scourges and whips.
eldest of them then first said; what will you ask or learn from us?
We will rather die than to transgress the law of our fathers.
then in rage commanded the pans and cauldrons to be made hot, and this being
done, he commanded that the tongue be cut off of the eldest, and also his hand
and feet in full view of his mother and brothers.
4. When he
was thus maimed, he let him he brought to the fire to roast in the pot, and when
the flame began to burn there in, they exhorted one another and the mother to
said; The Lord God shall behold justice and grant us mercy as Moses testified in
his song saying; and He shall comfort His servants.
one then having died, they brought the second to take their pleasure on him, and
having pulled off the skin of his head with the hair, they asked; Will you eat
before you are tormented in all your members?
answered in his language saying; no I will not. Then they took him and tormented him as the first, and being
at his last breath he said; You accursed men, you take from me my mortal life,
but the God of the whole world shall raise us, who died for His law, to life
that they took the third son doing their pleasure on him, and being asked of
them to eat, he of himself put forth his tongue and put out his arms and said;
members were given me of God, and for His law I will gladly give them, for I
know that He will again return them to me.
10. The king
then and his servants were very astonished that the young man spoke so boldly
not regarding the torment, and having died they took the fourth and whipped him.
11. But as he
was near to dying he said; this is a great comfort on which we hope, that when
men kill us, God shall again raise us, but you shall not be raised to life.
that they took the fifth son and mangled him, but this one looked at Antiochus
and said to him. You are a man, and
must die, and while you have power on earth, you do as you please, but do not
think that the Lord has left us, wait only a little while and you shall find out
how mighty God is, who shall plague you and your congregations.
they brought also the sixth, and this one also said when he was about to die.
/ Be not deceived, for we suffer these things for our sins which we have
committed against God, and He dealt marvelously with us, but you will not remain
unpunished to so rage against God.
mother was wondrous above all, and worthy of an honorable memory, for she saw
her seven sons die in one day one after the other in torments, and bore it with
great courage for the hope, which she had in God.
therein she was so courageous that she admonished one after the other in her own
language with a manly spirit saying;
I am your
mother and bore you, but your life and breath you have not of me, nor have I
made your members as they are. He
therefore that created the world and all men, shall give you again in mercy your
breath and your life which you now forfeit, and grant for sake of His law.
Antiochus hearing this, thought that she despised him and was scorning him in
her language. And he called the
youngest before him admonishing him with friendly words that if he would depart
from the law of his fathers, he would be merciful to him, and swore it with an
18. But the
young man would in no way listen to him, and the king called his mother to
counsel the young man to save his life, and having exhorted her with many words,
she promised that she would counsel her son.
only mocked with the tyrant, for she went to her son and spoke to him in her
language saying. O my son have pity
on me who bore you for nine months in my womb, and suckled you and brought you
up to this age enduring the troubles of education.
I ask you
my son, look on heaven and earth and all that is therein, and consider that God
made them of things that were not, and mankind was likewise made. Fear therefore not this tormentor, but be worthy of your
brothers and take your death that I may receive you again in mercy with your
21. And while
she was yet speaking these words, the young man said; What are you waiting for,
do not think that I will obey the king's command, but I will obey the
commandment of the law that was given of our father by Moses.
22. And you O
king who has been the author of mischief against the Hebrews, you shall not
escape the hand of God. We indeed
suffer for our sins, and though the living Lord be angry with us for a while,
chastening us to correction, He will nonetheless again be merciful with His
23. But you O
you godless and accursed man, do not lift yourself up for your power, nor be
puffed up for a vain hope persecuting the children of God, for you have not
escaped the wrath of God who sees all things.
brothers, who let themselves be tortured for a small moment, are now awaiting
everlasting life, but you in the judgment of God shall receive just punishment
for your pride.
brothers and I offer our lives for the laws of our fathers, praying God that He
will speedily be merciful to our nation, and that you by torments and plagues
may confess that He alone is God. And
that in me and my brothers the wrath of the Almighty, which is justly brought on
our nation, may cease.
king in rage handled him worse than all the rest, taking it grievously that he
was mocked, and so this man died undefiled putting his whole trust in the Lord.
all the mother died, and let this be enough to have said of the idolous feasts
and the extreme tortures.
Judas takes the lead.
Maccabees then, and they that were with him, went privately into the towns
calling together their kinfolk’s such as kept the Jewish law, and so assembled
about 6000 men
2. And they
called on the Lord that He would look on the people that were downtrodden and to
pity the temple that was profaned with ungodly men, and to have compassion on
the city, which was become a desolation.
He would remember the wicked slaughter of the harmless infants, and the
blasphemies committed against His name, and to show His hatred against the
with his men plagued the heathens greatly, for the Lord's anger ceased, and He
being merciful with them. These
then came unaware into the cities and towns, and burned them, and took the
foremost places doing much harm to the enemy, this was done mostly by night, and
from far and wide his deeds were spoken of.
Philip, seeing that he became stronger and stronger prospering, he wrote to
Ptolemy, governor of Celosyria, to yield more aid to the king.
then send one of his special friends named Nicanor, son of Parelus, with 20,000
men on foot out to the Jews, and with him he sent one named Gorgias, well
experienced in warfare.
then undertook to make profit of the Jews, to capture them in order to defray a
tribute of 2000 talents, which the king owed to the Romans.
thereafter he sent to the cities by the sea proclaiming a sale of the Jews to
sell 90 of them for a talent, not surmising that the wrath of God was near to
come on him.
Judas then heard that Nicanor was coming, he told the Jews that an army was
coming, and that he would punish them who had not the faith and trust in God,
these then walked off and fled.
10. But the
others sold all they had and prayed the Lord that He would deliver them (noting
that Nicanor had already sold them before he had captured them).
if not for their sakes, that He would deliver them for the sake of the covenant
which He had made with their fathers for His glorious name after which they were
Maccabees therefore had brought his men together, about 6000, he exhorted them
with care that they be not afraid of the enemy nor fear for their multitude that
wrongfully was coming against them.
13. But to
fight bravely, and to think of the scorn they had done to the holy places, and
how they had mocked and plagued the city and done away with the ancestral law.
trust in their weapons and pride, so he said, but we trust in Almighty God who
not only in one moment can put them that are come against us down, but the whole
also related to them the stories of how the Lord mercifully had helped their
fathers, how Sannecherib with 185.000 men had perished in one night.
the battle they had in Babylon with the Galatians, how they came with 80.000 men
and 10.000 Macedonians and how the Macedonians lost heart, and the Jews with the
help of God and only 8000 men defeated 120.000 men, and obtained great spoils.
therefore he had put zeal into them with these words, so that they would gladly
die for their nation and the law, he set them into four troops, and put his
brothers up front in the battle to lead them on.
These were Simon, Joseph, and Jonathan, and he placed 1500 with each.
this he let Eleazar read from the holy book, and gave them a watchword, saying,
our help is our God. And so he went
foremost in the order, and took on Nicanor.
Defeat of Nicanor.
19. And the
Lord Almighty was with them so that they put the whole army in flight, and
wounding many, they killed about 9000, and they took their money, which had come
to purchase them.
pursued them, but lacking the time, they returned, for it was the day before the
sabhath for which reason they no longer pursued them.
taking their weapons and the spoils, they kept the Sabbath and honored and
praised the Lord who had saved them this day to begin again to show His mercy.
22. And after
the Sabbath they gave of the spoil to widows and orphans, With the rest among
themselves and their own children, and together they asked of the compassionate
Lord that His anger might depart from them fully.
this, they had many battles with Timotheus, and Bacchides, and slew in excess of
20.000 men and took the strongholds and divided much spoil among themselves and
with the widows and orphans, and with the aged equally as much.
gathering the weapons they laid them up in the strongholds, bringing the great
spoil to Jerusalem, and they killed Philarches, captain of Timothius, who had
sorely vexed Israel.
25. And they
celebrated the victory at home in Jerusalem, and burned Calisthenes, and yet
others who had put fire to the holy gates and had fled into a small house, he
therefore received the just reward for his wickedness.
that unsavory Nicanor, who had brought a thousand merchants to purchase the
Jews, was by the help of the Lord defeated before them, which he considered as
having put off his glorious apparel and discharging his company, he became like
a fugitive through the midst of the land up to Antioch, being greatly grieved
that his host was destroyed.
therefore that had thought to gain the tribute due to the Romans, by selling the
Jews, had to confess that it was God who fought for the Jews, for which reason
they were invincible. For they
walked in the law that He had given them.
that time, Antiochus had to retreat with dishonor out of Persia, for having come
to Persepolis, he undertook to plunder the temple, and to take the city, but the
citizens stood up and drove him back so that he had to flee with shame.
coming to Ecabane, he learned what had befallen Nicanor and Timotheus, and this
made him angry, and he thought to avenge on the Jews the disgrace done to him by
those that made him flee.
drove his chariots night and day, for the anger of God drove him, because he had
spoken so proudly saying; that as soon as he would come to Jerusalem, to make a
grave out of her.
did the Lord punish him with a hidden plague which no-one could heal, for no
sooner had he spoken it or he got such a pain in his body and cramp in his
insides, which was most just because he had tormented other man's bowels with
however did not at all cease from bragging, but still filled with pride, and in
rage against the Jews, he hasted, but it came to pass as he was running his
chariot so hard, that he fell from it, and he had much pain in all his members.
that had just thought he could command the waves of the sea, and to weigh the
heights of the mountains in a balance, such a man now by the simple fall had to
be carried off on a litter, which to all showed the manifest power of God.
7. And worms
also carne out of the body of this wicked man, and living in sorrow and pain,
whole pieces of his rotten flesh fell away, and the stench was such that no one
could stand it.
8. The man
had just before thought to reach the stars of heaven, and now no man could
endure to carry him for the stench that was intolerable.
had to come down from his pride to come to himself, being thus plagued by God,
his pains increasing moment by moment, nor could he abide his own smell, and
spoke at last;
right that a man humbles himself before God, that a mortal man shall not be so
proud to imagine that he is like God.
the wicked man began to pray to God who now would no longer have mercy on him,
and he promised that he would free the holy city, which before he had thought to
destroy and make into a grave.
the Jews whom just previously he had not thought worthy to be buried, but to
give them as food for the birds and wild beasts, he would now set free? and make them like the citizens of Athens.
holy temple that he previously had plundered, that now he would adorn it with
all sorts of goodly things, and to restore the holy vessels with many more from
his own revenue.
14. And to
give of his own income that which was yearly required for the sacrifices, and on
top of that, he wanted himself to become a Jew, and to praise God in all places,
declaring His power, of Antiochus to the Jews.
15. But for
all this his pains would not cease, for the just judgment of God was come on
him, and despairing of his life, he wrote the following supplicating letter to
king and governor to the good Jews, greetings. If you and your children fare
well and all is to your contentment I give great thanks to God having my hope in
me, I am ill and weak; or else I would have remembered you kindly to have
general peace with you, which is quite needful now that I have come from Syria
having become ill. And I recall
your trust and friendship, and having great hope that I shall be well again.
considering my father, when he led an army into the high country, he appointed a
successor so that if things did not go as expected that the people of the land
might know to whom the state was left, and not to be troubled.
considering how the princes that border my realm wait on an opportunity to try
for my kingdom in the event it went amiss with me, I have appointed my son
Antiochus, whom I often commended unto you when I was in the high country, as
Him now I
again commend to you and I also pray and request of you to remember the benefits
that I have done to you in general, and in special.
And that every man will be faithful to my son and me for I am persuaded
that, understanding my mind, he will yield favorably and graciously to your
21. Thus the
murderer and blasphemer having suffered grievously as he had done to other men,
so he died a miserable death in a strange country in the mountains.
Philip that was brought up with him carried his body away, and fearing the son
of Antiochus, he went to Egypt, to Ptolemy Philomentor.
The cleansing of the temple.
thus the Lord gave to the Maccabees and them that were with them the city and
the temple, and they destroyed the altars, which the heathen had put in the
having cleansed the temple they made another altar, and taking flint-stones,
they made fire, and again made offerings which had not happen in two years, and
incense was again offered, the lamps lit, and the showbread laid down.
all being done, they bowed on their faces before the Lord, and asked of Him that
they might not again come into such troubles.
But if they sinned anymore, that He Himself would chasten them with
mercy, and not to be delivered in the hands of blasphemers and barbarians.
day then, on the 25th of Kislev the offerings again being made, they kept it
eight days with gladness, as in the feast of tabernacles.
5. And they
carried palm branches and boughs and sang psalms to Him that had given them
victory, and that the temple was again cleansed.
6. And they
ordained that the whole nation of the Jews would keep this year by year, and
thus Antiochus Epifanes came to his end.
Judas defeats the Edomites.
we will declare the acts of Antiochus Eupator, who was the son of this wicked
had become king, he appointed one named Lysias over the affairs of his realm,
making him governor of Celosyria and Phenice, since Ptolemy, surnamed Macron,
chose rather to do justice to the Jews for the wrong that had been done to them.
was accused by the king's friends before Eupator, being called a traitor and
every other word, for he had left Cyprus, which Philomentor had committed to
him, and had come to Antiochus Epifanes.
10. And so,
seeing that his honor was taken from him, and no place was left him, he was so
discouraged that he killed himself with poison.
Gorgias was governor of the holds, he hired soldiers, and continually made war
with the Jews, and also the Edomites, since they had well located strongholds,
and did much to harm the Jews, and they took to themselves every deserter of
those that were with the Maccabees prayed to the Lord that He would help them,
and they fell on the Edomites in their strongholds with much courage, and slew
all that came into their hands killing no less than 20.000.
13. And about
9000 fled to two strong towers which were well fortified having all manner of
things to sustain a siege. Simon
and Joseph then were left with Zacheus, and such as were with them counting
these sufficient for the siege and Maccabees himself departed for such places
that were in more need of his help.
men that were with Simon allowed themselves to be bribed by those that were in
the towers, and taking 70.000 drachms, they let some escape.
Maccabees was told of this, he called the captains of captains of these people
together accusing them that they had sold their brothers for money and allowed
the enemies to escape, and he caused them to be slain as traitors.
went forthwith up against the two towers, and having good success, he slew more
than 20.000 men of these two strongholds.
Defeat and death of Timotheus.
now, whom the Jews had overcome before, gathered much foreign forces and cavalry
from Asia thinking with much force to fully destroy the Jews.
But as he
drew near, the men with Maccabees prayed to the Lord humbling themselves putting
ashes on their heads, and girded with sackcloth, they knelled at the foot of the
altar entreating God to be merciful to them, and to be at enmity with their
enemies, to set Himself against them that set themselves against Him as declared
in the law.
the prayer they took their weapons, and going on out of the city, drew near to
their enemies, and at dawn they joined battle, the Jews trusting on the Lord -
which is a sure sign of victory, while the others had their foolish pride for
the heat of the battle there appeared to the enemies five glorious men on horses
with bridles of gold, and two of them sided with the Jews keeping Maccabees
between them safeguarding him.
shot arrows and lightning against the enemies confounding and blinding them,
thus there were slain 20500 footmen, and 600 of the cavalry.
however fled to the stronghold at Gazara where Chereas was captain, and Maccabees
laid siege against it for four days.
then that were in that stronghold trusting in the strength thereof spoke very
blasphemous with very wicked words. And
on the fifth day 20 of the young men of Maccabees inflamed with anger because of
the blasphemies, courageously assaulted the wall, and in their anger killed all
that were, within their reach.
others followed and climbed the wall on the other side and burned the towers
with the blasphemers inside it, and still others broke open the gates so that
the whole company could enter, and thus they took the city and killed Timotheus
who had hid himself in a pit.
also killed his brother Chereas, arid Apollophanes, and they praised the Lord
with palms and thanksgiving who had done such great things for Israel giving
them the victory.
Judas defeats Lysias.
long after this, Lysias, the king's protector and cousin, who also managed the
affairs, took sore displeasure for the things that were done, and having
gathered about 80.000 men and all the cavalry, he came up against the Jews.
as he did, to make the city a habitation of Gentiles, and to use the temple to
his gain, like as he did with the heathen temples setting up the yearly
priesthood for sale.
3. He did of
course not consider that God was mightier, for he was proud in his great troops,
those that he had on horseback and on foot, and on 80 elephants.
And so he
came to Judea drawing near to Bethsura, which was a strong fortress, but some
distance from Jerusalem, about five furlongs, and he laid siege against it.
Maccabees then on hearing this, they and all the people sought the Lord with
lamentations and tears that He would sent a good angel to deliver Israel
Maccabees himself first took up his weapons imploring the others that they would
come with them to help their brothers, and so they went together.
7. And as
they were going and yet at Jerusalem, there appeared to them a rider on
horseback in white clothing and a golden harness that went before them.
praised the merciful Lord, and took heart, ready to fight, even if it had been
with wild beast or if the wall had been of steel.
they marched forth in their armor with their helper of heaven whom the Lord in
His mercy had sent to them, and they attacked their enemies as lions, and slew
11.000 footmen, 1600 horsemen and put all the others to flight.
of them that fled were wounded, and Lysias himself fled away shamefully, and so
Antiochus and Lysias bid peace with Israel.
however was an understanding man, and seeing what he had lost, and how the
Hebrews were not to be overcome because the Lord Almighty helped them, he sent
to them for peace under conditions.
promised them that he would persuade the king to be their friend, and Maccabees
consented, for he considered the common good, and also the king consented to the
decree of Lysias with the Jews.
letter then that Lysias wrote to the Jews read as follows; Lysias to the people
of the Jews, greetings. Your
ambassadors, John and Absolon, brought the letter for which they were sent.
which was to be made known to the king I have done, and the king has agreed to
all that is beneficial, if therefore you shall keep trust and faith, it will
also be diligent to in the future care for whatsoever is best towards you.
15. Both my
and your ambassadors then are charged to define to you each of the articles.
Farewell, signed in the year 146, the 24th day of the month Dioskorus.
king's letter then contained these words, King Antiochus to his brother Lysias,
father died and became a god, there is nothing better for us but that there be
peace in our realm so that everyone may attend to his own affairs.
understood that the Jews have not been willing to change their worship to do
after the manner of the Gentiles, but they are firmly set to remain with their
own service, and they require of us that we suffer them to live after their own
therefore we deem it right that this nation also live in peace, we determined to
restore them their temple, that they may live according to the customs of their
do well therefore to send representatives to them granting peace, and giving
them to understand our meaning to he of good comfort, and to perform their own
affairs without any fear.
21. And the
letter of the king to the Jews was as follows, Kin Antiochus to the counsel of
the Jews, greetings.
22. If you
fare well, we have our desire, and we also are in good health.
Menelaus declared to us that it was your desire to return home, to follow
your own affairs.
23. All the
Jews therefore that will so travel between now and the 30th day of Xanthicus
will have safe conduct, so that in what they eat, and in all other things they
may conduct themselves according to the law as they did before.
24. And no
one shall be done any harm for anything that has been done before, and as
evidence I have sent Menelaus that he may comfort you, Fare well, signed in the
148th year, the 15th of the month Xanthicus.
Romans also sent them a letter containing these words, Quintus Memius, and Titus
Manlius, ambassadors of the Romans, to the people of the Jews.
Lysias, the king's cousin, has granted with that we also are well pleased, but
concerning the things which he judged to be referred to the king, consult with
one another, and sent someone forthwith so that we may redress our confederacy,
for we are now going to Antioch.
haste therefore send one so we may know what is on your mind.
Farewell, this 148th year the 15th day of Xanthicus.
Judas punishes Joppe and Jamnia.
these covenants were made, Lysias went to the king, and the Jews went about
2. But the
governors Timotheus, and Apollonius son of Genneus, also Heironymus, and
Demophon, and Nicanor governor of Cyprus, suffered them not to live in peace.
of Joppe then did an ungodly deed, they convinced the Jews that dwelt among them
to with their wives and children enter into the boats which they had prepared as
though they meant them no harm.
4. And the
Jews accepted it, it being decreed in the city, and suspecting no evil - they
came at sea, and there they drowned them no less than two hundred of them.
hearing of this cruelty to his countrymen, commanded those that were with him to
get ready. And calling on God the
righteous Judge, he came against those murderers of his brothers and burned the
haven by night setting also the boats on fire, and slew them that were in the
city itself being shut-up, he acted as if he left with the intend to return and
root them all out of the city of Joppe.
hearing that the Jamites were like minded to do to the Jews that were among
them, he came on them in the night and set fire to the harbor and the navy, so
that the light of the fire was seen at Jerusalem 240 furlongs off.
having gone from there some 9 furlongs going towards Timotheus, no fewer than
5000 men on foot and a cavalry of 500 of the Arabians met them.
9. And a
sore battle ensued, but Judas with the help of God got the victory so that the
Nomads of Arabia were overcome and asked Judas for peace promising him cattle
and other help.
thinking that they indeed could be profitable granted them peace, and they shook
hands and departed to their towns.
Judas takes Kaspin and defeats
went to a city named Kaspin, which was well fortified with bridges and walls in
which people of various countries lived. And
they were confident in their strong wails and the great store of food, wherefore
they behaved rude towards Judas and his men blaspheming them with words such as
are not to be spoken.
his company then called on the great Lord of the world who without any rams or
engines of war cast Jericho down in the time of Joshua, and they made a fierce
assault on the walls and took the city.
13. And they
killed a great many so that the nearby lake, which was two furlongs broad,
looked as though it was filled with blood.
there they departed some 740 furlongs and came to Caraca to the Jews which were
called Tobieni, but they did not find Timotheus, for he had left there already
before he was able to do anything, and left only a garrison in a stronghold.
and Sosipater, two of the captains of Maccabees, however, went and slew those
that Timotheus had left in the stronghold, which were more than 10.000 men
then arranged his army by bands, and they went up against Timotheus who had
12.000 men on foot, and a cavalry of 500 men.
Timotheus then got knowledge of it that Judas was coming up against him, he sent
the women the children and baggage to a fortress called Carnion, which was among
steep rocks in the mountains, hard to lay any siege against.
soon as the enemy saw the first band of Judas, they were smitten with fear and
terror in the appearance of Him who sees all things, and they fled one way and
another so that in the tumult they hurt and wounded each other.
pursued them killing the wicked wretches of whom he slew 30.000 men, and
Timotheus himself fell into the hands of Dositheus and Sosipater.
prayed them earnestly not to kill him, for he held many of their fathers and
brothers hostage, which if they killed him, they also would die.
having assured him with many words that he would restore them without any harm
according to an agreement for his life, they let him go for the sake of their
Judas takes Carnion and defeats Gorgias.
Maccabees marched forth against Carnion and the temple of atargatis, where he
slew 20.000 persons, and having put them to flight and destruction, he went on
strong city was Lysias with a great many of divers nations, but the young men in
front of the city defended themselves bravely having ample arrows and other
Judas and his company called on the Almighty Lord who with His strength breaks
the power of His enemies, they won the city and 25.000 of: them that were
there they departed to Scytopolis which is 600 furlongs from Jerusalem, but when
the Jews that dwelt there testified that the citizens dealt lovingly with them
at any time during their adversity, they thanked them.
bade them to continue to be favorable to their people, and so they came to
Jerusalem at a time when the feast of weeks was near.
the feast of Pentecost they went forth against Gorgias governor of Idumean, who
came out with 3000 footmen and 400 men on horses, and the battle being fought, a
few of the Jews were killed.
Dositheus who was on horseback, took Gorgias by his coat drawing him by force,
for he wanted him alive, but a horseman from Thracian coming on him cut off his
arm so that Gorgias fled to Marisa.
the battle with Gorgias continued long, and they were weary, Judas called on the
Lord that He would show Himself to be their helper and leader of the battle.
30. And he
called to the people in the Hebrew tongue singing a psalm with a loud voice, and
the men of Gorgias of a sudden took to flight.
31. And Judas
gathered his host and came to the city of Odullam, and on the seventh day they
purified themselves as was the custom, and kept the Sabbath there.
following day Judas and his company, as was their habit, took up the bodies of
the men that were slain to bury them, and under the coats of everyone of these
they found images of the idols of the Jaminite which is forbidden in the law of
therefore saw that for that reason they were slain, and they praised the Lord
the righteous Judge who had shown them the things that were hid, and prayed to
Him that He would not for this sin destroy them altogether.
exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, for as much as they saw before
them the destruction which had come to pass on them that were slain for their
having gathered from his company the sum of 2000 drachms of silver, he sent it
to Jerusalem for a sin offering, doing very well therein, being mindful of the
For if he
had not hoped that those who were slain would rise again, it would have been
vain and foolish to pray for the dead.
also considered that those who die in faith have joy and salvation to hope for,
thus it was a holy and good thought; therefore did he pray for the dead, that
they might be delivered from sin.
Judas defeats Antiochus.
the 149th year it was told Judas that Antiochus Eupator was coming with a great
power into Judea, and with him Lysias his protector and ruler of his affairs. And with him were 110.000 Grecian men on foot, and a cavalry
of 5000, with 300 elephants and 2300 chariots with hooks.
joined with him was Menelaus who deceitfully encouraged Antiochus to destroy his
nation, for he thought to be made high priest and governor
3. But the
King of all kings, the Lord moved Antiochus mind against this wicketd wretch, and
Lysias informed the king that this man was the cause of all mischief, so that
the king commanded him to be brought to Berea to be put to death according to
the manner of that place.
4. In that
place then there was a tower 50 cubits high, full of ashes, and it had a round
instrument which on every side hanged down into the ashes, and whoever was
condemned for sacrilege or had committed any other grievous crime, they were put
to death on that instrument.
5. Such a
death thus came to that wicked man, for in as much as he had committed any sins
about the altar, the fire and ashes of which were holy, he received his death in
6. But the
king was very angry with the Jews, and in pride thought to bring harm to them
more than his father had done.
Judas, coming to know this, commanded his multitude to call on the Lord night
and day, that if at any time He would help, now was the time, since they were
about to be severed from their law and their country and from the temple.
8. That He
would not suffer the people, who at last had some refreshing, to be in
subjection to blasphemous nations, and doing so altogether, they entreated the
Lord with weeping and fasting, and prostrated themselves for three days.
Judas comforted them, and commanded them to be ready, and consulting with the
elders, they determined to go forth against him before he would enter Judea or
the city, to so bring the matter to an end with the help of God.
having committed all things to the Creator of the world, he admonished his men
to fight manfully even to death for the law, for the temple, the city, the
country, and for the people, and he encamped by Modin, and gave them a lore
saying; Victory is of God.
11. He then
went up in the night with his best warriors into the king's camp and slew 4000
men together with the forefront of the elephants, and everyone that was in the
brought great fear and confusion to the whole army, and so by daybreak they
departed having had good success because of the help of the Lord with
then, having had a taste of the manliness of the Jews, turned to take the
stronghold by deceit, and marched towards Bethsura, which was a stronghold of
the Jews. But failing, he was put
to flight suffering loss, for Judas had seen to it that they were well equipped
14. But there
was one among the Jews, a certain Rhoducus, who disclosed the secret to the
enemies wherefore they searched for him, and when they had gotten him, they put
him in prison.
that the king made peace with Bethsura and departing from there he fought with
Judas, but lost.
made with the Jews.
told that Philip, whom he had left over his affairs in Antioch, was become a
traitor against him, he sent to make a treaty with the Jews, and swore to keep
it, so becoming a friend.
offered to, and honored the temple, being friendly with the city, and he
accepted Maccabees as friend, and made him principal governor of Ptolemais unto
the king came to Ptolemais, the people there did not like the agreement, and
they assembled in order to void it, Lysias then stood up and defended the king
pacifying them to be content, and to be at ease, for they expected good things
that he returned to Antioch. So
then it went with the coming and the return of the king.
Alcimus betrays his people.
years thereafter, Judas was informed that Demetrius, son of Seleucus, had
entered the haven of Tripolis with a great power, and had taken that countryside
as well as killing Antiochus, and Lysias.
2. Then one
named Alcimus, who had been a high priest, who had defiled himself with the
filth of the heathen, seeing that he could no longer save himself, nor be made
high priest, fled to Demetrius in the year 151.
3. And he
brought him a golden crown and palm and olive branches that belonged to the
temple, and the first day he held his peace awaiting his opportunity to further
his foul enterprise.
4. And being
called to the counsel by Demetrius who asked how it was with the Jews and what
their intend was, he answered; The Jews that call themselves pious, whose
captain is Judas Maccabees, are seditious continually making war, and they will
not let your realm in peace.
5. They have
robbed me of my ancestral honor, namely, the high priesthood, wherefore I am
come here, in the first place for the good of the king for the unfeigned care
that I have.
the second place, I intend to bring help to my nation, for with such disorder
our whole nation will go under, wherefore I am come that the king may pay
attention to it.
he according to his mercy may counsel and help our land and our people, for as
long as Judas is alive, it is not possible that there shall be peace.
Nicanor sent against the Jews.
8. When he
had thus spoken, the others also became angry with Judas and angered Demetrius
up against him. And forthwith
calling Nicanor, who was master over the elephants, and making him governor of
Judea, he sent him forth commanding him to slay Judas and to scatter them that
were with him, and to make Alcimus high priest of the great temple.
9. Then all
the heathens that had fled Judea from Judas came by troops to Nicanor thinking
that the calamity of the Jews would be to their welfare.
Judas there fore heard that Nicanor was coming up against him with the heathen
that had joined with him, they cast ashes on their heads and prayed to Him that
had established His people forever, and who had helped them with manifestations
of His presence.
command of the captain then they went up and met the enemy at Dessau, and Simon,
the brother of Judas, took Nicanor on, but was somewhat discomfited since the
enemy overcame him before he was aware of it.
Nicanor heard of the manliness of them that were with Judas, how courageously
they fought for their country, he feared them and dared not to battle wherefore
he sent Posidinius, Theodorus, and Matthathias to make peace.
therefore they had debated it long, their captain in inquired into every matter
so that they were in agreement; they consented in the pack, and determined a day
on which both would come together.
day then came, a chair was set for each of them, and Judas positioned some with
their armor not far from him so that the enemy might not play a trick on him
unaware, and so they made a peaceable conference.
then abode in Jerusalem and did not hurt any, but sent away the people that came
flocking to him, and he showed great honor for Judas conducting himself
counseled Judas to take a wife and beget children, and Judas took a wife, and
having peace, he lived quietly
Alcimus perceiving the love that was between them, and considering the covenants
that were made, he went to Demetrius telling him that Nicanor was not well
effected towards the state, for he ordained Judas (so he said,) a traitor to his
realm) to be the king's successor.
18. Then the
king in rage and provoked by the accusation of that most wicked man, wrote to
Nicanor signifying that he was much displeased with the covenants, and
commanded him that he should sent Maccabees as prisoner in all haste to Antioch.
Nicanor now received this command, he was grieved, it going against him that he
should void the articles, which were agreed upon, the man Judas being in no
20. But since
he dared not go against the king, he thought to take him by deceit, but
Maccabees noticing that he was less friendly than otherwise, and that this was
not a good sign, he took some men with him and hid himself.
Nicanor finding that Judas was him the head in his cunning, he went into the
great and holy temple, and demanded of the priests that were offering their
usual sacrifices, to deliver this man.
swearing they knew not where the man was whom he sought, he stretched forth his
right hand towards the temple, and made an oath in this manner;
will not deliver Judas to me as prisoner, I will flatten this temple of God to
the ground, and I will break down the altar and instead erect a temple of
24. And so he
departed, but the priests lifted up their hands to heaven calling on Him who was
always a defender of our nation and said;
25. Thou O
Lord of all things, who has need of nothing, Thou were pleased that the temple
of Thy habitation should be among us, therefore O Holy Lord of all holiness keep
this house ever undefiled which just lately was cleansed and stop every
was told Nicanor that one of the elders of Jerusalem, one named Razis, a lover
of his people, and a man of good report, who for his kindred was called a father
of the Jews.
27. Who in
former times, when they would not mingle with the Gentiles, had been accused of
Judaism, and bodily had jeopardized his body and life with all diligence for the
Nicanor wanting to show his hatred for the Jews, sent more than 500 men to take
him prisoner, for he thought that if he took him prisoner, he could do great
harm to them.
then stormed the doors of the tower wherein he was, and commanded fire to be
brought to burn the doors down, and Razis conceiving that he would be taken, he
wished to pierce himself.
30. For he
would rather die with honor than fall into the hands of the ungodly and to he
shamefully mocked of them, but in his fear he did not pierce himself correctly.
many rushed in by the doors, he escaped on the wall, and cast himself boldly
down upon the people that were below, but they stepped aside to make room for
him, and he fell face down on the hard ground.
32. But he
was still alive, and rose in anger although he was bleeding much, and his wounds
pained him, so he walked through the people and went up on a high rock.
33. And his
blood gone, he pulled yet his guts from him and cast it among the warriors, and
called to God who rules over life and spirit to grant him this once again, and
so he died.
comes to battle with Judas.
now hearing that Judas and his company were in the strong places around Samnia
he thought to attack them safely on a Sabbath.
Jews, which he compelled to go along, exhorted him not to deal with such cruelty
and barbarism, but to give honor to the day, which God had honored and made
Then the wicked man asked them; "Is He who commanded the Sabbath a Lord in
heaven?" And when they
answered him; "Yes it is the living Lord, it is the Lord in heaven who
commanded to hallow the seventh day." he then said;
I am lord on earth and command you to prepare yourself to fulfill the command of
who was not able to fulfill his intend yet boasted in pride that he would have
victory against Judas.
Maccabees had sure confidence that the Lord would help him, wherefore he
exhorted his people not to fear the heathens, but to remember the help, which
they had received in former times, and to expect aid and victory from the Lord
7. And so
comforting them from the law and the prophets, putting them in mind of the
battles that they won previously, he made them more cheerful.
having thus encouraged them, he also reminded them that the heathen had sinned
against their oath, and were acting against their duty, he thus did not arm them
with pride on spears or shields, but with comfort on the word of God.
also related to them a vision that was faith-worthy which he had seen by which
they all took courage, and this was the vision.
That Onias, who had been high priest, a virtues and good man, honored in
conversation, gentle, and well spoken of, who from his youth had given himself
to all virtue he holding out his hands prayed for the whole body of the Jews.
appeared to him an old honorable man in glorious royal appearance, excellent in
majesty, and Onias spoke to Judas saying; This is Jeremiah the prophet of the
Lord who loves your brothers very much, and who continually prays for the people
and the holy city.
that Jeremiah gave to Judas a golden sword, and said to him: Take this holy
sword which God gives you, with this you shall slay the enemies.
Judas so comforted the people with these beautiful words which put courage in
them, they determined not to pitch camp but manfully put the matter to an end by
city and the sanctuary and the temple were in danger, while the danger on their
wives and children they did not consider as great, their greatest care being for
15. And those
that remained in the city were in great care for their warriors in the field,
and when it had come to conflict, and the enemies had organized themselves, the
elephants also being at their places with the cavalry set on both sides.
then seeing the multitude and all their weaponry and the terrible beasts, he put
his hands out to heaven and prayed to the marvelous Lord who sees all things,
for he knew that victory would not be by armor, but that God gives that to
whosoever He will.
17. And he
prayed as follows, O Lord Thou did sent Thy angel in the time of Hezekiah king
of Judea slaying the host of Sennacherib a 185.000 men.
Now then O Lord sent a good angel before us for fear and dread on them,
and by the might of Thy arm let them who have come against Thy holy temple be
stricken with terror.
Then Nicanor and them that were with him came forward with trumpets and
songs, but Judas and his company encountered the enemy with invocations and prayer so that
fighting with their hands and praying to God with their heart, they slew no less
than 35.000 men.
rejoiced that the Lord had shown Himself so mercifully, and the battle being
ended, they found, as they were returning, Nicanor slain and on his harness.
made a great shout praising the Lord Almighty in their own language. And Judas who was ever the chief defender of his people both
in body and mind, and who in love continued towards his countrymen all his life,
commanded to cut off the head of Nicanor, and also his arm with the shoulder,
and to bring them, to Jerusalem.
coming there he called the people together, and setting the priest before the
altar, and sending for the enemies at the tower, he showed them the head of the
blasphemer and the hand which he had stretched out against the holy house of the
Lord in blatant pride.
also cut out the tongue of the ungodly Nicanor and commanded it to be cut in
pieces for the birds, and to hang up the hand, which he had used for his madness
against the temple.
the people praised the Lord in heaven and said; praised is He who has saved this
city that it not be defiled.
hung up the head of Nicanor on the tower as an evident sign to all of the
manifested help of God.
ordained with a common decree to not let this day pass, but to remember it on
the 13th of the 12th month, in the Syrian tongue called Adar, the day before
26. Thus it
went with Nicanor, and from that time forth the Hebrews had the city in their
power, and here I will make an end
27. And if I
have done well, and it fits the story, then I have done as I desired, but if it
is too little or lean, I have nonetheless done as much as I could.
28. For to
always drink only wine or only water is not pleasing, but sometimes wine and
other times water is pleasing, so also with reading, it is a pleasure to read