Reading 147/341, 1 Maccabees 4.8-5.48

Then said Judas to the men that were with him, Fear you not their multitude, nor be you afraid of their assault. Remember how our fathers were delivered in the Red sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with an army. Now therefore let us cry unto heaven, if peradventure the Lord will have mercy upon us, and remember the covenant of our fathers, and destroy this host before our face this day, That so all the heathen may know that there is one who delivereth and saveth Israel. Then the strangers lifted up their eyes, and saw them coming over against them. Wherefore they went out of the camp to battle; but they that were with Judas sounded their trumpets. So they joined battle, and the heathen being discomfited fled into the plain. Howbeit all the hindmost of them were slain with the sword, for they pursued them unto Gazera, and unto the plains of Idumea, and Azotus, and Jamnia, so that there were slain of them upon a three thousand men. This done, Judas returned again with his host from pursuing them, And said to the people, Be not greedy of the spoil inasmuch as there is a battle before us, And Gorgias and his host are here by us in the mountain, but stand you now against our enemies, and overcome them, and after this you may boldly take the spoils. As Judas was yet speaking these words, there appeared a part of them looking out of the mountain, Who when they perceived that the Jews had put their host to flight and were burning the tents; for the smoke that was seen declared what was done, When therefore they perceived these things, they were sore afraid, and seeing also the host of Judas in the plain ready to fight, They fled every one into the land of strangers. Then Judas returned to spoil the tents, where they got much gold, and silver, and blue silk, and purple of the sea, and great riches. After this they went home, and sung a song of thanksgiving, and praised the Lord in heaven, because it is good, because his mercy endureth forever. Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day. Now all the strangers that had escaped came and told Lysias what had happened, Who, when he heard thereof, was confounded and discouraged, because nor such things as he would were done unto Israel, nor such things as the king commanded him were come to pass. The next year therefore following Lysias gathered together threescore thousand choice men of foot, and five thousand horsemen, that he might subdue them. So they came into Idumea, and pitched their tents at Bethsura, and Judas met them with ten thousand men. And when he saw that mighty army, he prayed and said, Blessed art thou, O Saviour of Israel, who didst quell the violence of the mighty man by the hand of your servant David, and gavest the host of strangers into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul, and his armourbearer; Shut up this army in the hand of your people Israel, and let them be confounded in their power and horsemen, Make them to be of no courage, and cause the boldness of their strength to fall away, and let them quake at their destruction, Cast them down with the sword of them that love you, and let all those that know your name praise you with thanksgiving. So they joined battle, and there were slain of the host of Lysias about five thousand men, before them were they slain. Now when Lysias saw his army put to flight, and the manliness of Judas' soldiers, and how they were ready either to live or die valiantly, he went into Antiochia, and gathered together a company of strangers, and having made his army greater than it was, he purposed to come again into Judea. Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are discomfited, let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary. Upon this all the host assembled themselves together, and went up into mount Sion. And when they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and the priests' chambers pulled down; They rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast ashes upon their heads, And fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an alarm with the trumpets, and cried toward heaven. Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary. So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law, Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place. And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt offerings, which was profaned; They thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it, wherefore they pulled it down, And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them. Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former; And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts. They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table. And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple. Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make. Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made. Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success. And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with shields, and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away. Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness. At that time also they builded up the mount Sion with high walls and strong towers round about, lest the Gentiles should come and tread it down as they had done before. And they set there a garrison to keep it, and fortified Bethsura to preserve it; that the people might have a defence against Idumea. Now when the nations round about heard that the altar was built and the sanctuary renewed as before, it displeased them very much. Wherefore they thought to destroy the generation of Jacob that was among them, and thereupon they began to slay and destroy the people. Then Judas fought against the children of Esau in Idumea at Arabattine, because they besieged Gael, and he gave them a great overthrow, and abated their courage, and took their spoils. Also he remembered the injury of the children of Bean, who had been a snare and an offence unto the people, in that they lay in wait for them in the ways. He shut them up therefore in the towers, and encamped against them, and destroyed them utterly, and burned the towers of that place with fire, and all that were therein. Afterward he passed over to the children of Ammon, where he found a mighty power, and much people, with Timotheus their captain. So he fought many battles with them, till at length they were discomfited before him, and he smote them. And when he had taken Jazar, with the towns belonging thereto, he returned into Judea. Then the heathen that were at Galaad assembled themselves together against the Israelites that were in their quarters, to destroy them; but they fled to the fortress of Dathema. And sent letters unto Judas and his brethren, The heathen that are round about us are assembled together against us to destroy us, And they are preparing to come and take the fortress whereunto we are fled, Timotheus being captain of their host. Come now therefore, and deliver us from their hands, for many of us are slain, Yea, all our brethren that were in the places of Tobie are put to death, their wives and their children also they have carried away captives, and borne away their stuff, and they have destroyed there about a thousand men. While these letters were yet reading, behold, there came other messengers from Galilee with their clothes rent, who reported on this wise, And said, They of Ptolemais, and of Tyrus, and Sidon, and all Galilee of the Gentiles, are assembled together against us to consume us. Now when Judas and the people heard these words, there assembled a great congregation together, to consult what they should do for their brethren, that were in trouble, and assaulted of them. Then said Judas unto Simon his brother, Choose you out men, and go and deliver your brethren that are in Galilee, for I and Jonathan my brother will go into the country of Galaad. So he left Joseph the son of Zacharias, and Azarias, captains of the people, with the remnant of the host in Judea to keep it. Unto whom he gave commandment, saying, Take you the charge of this people, and see that you make not war against the heathen until the time that we come again. Now unto Simon were given three thousand men to go into Galilee, and unto Judas eight thousand men for the country of Galaad. Then went Simon into Galilee, where he fought many battles with the heathen, so that the heathen were discomfited by him. And he pursued them unto the gate of Ptolemais, and there were slain of the heathen about three thousand men, whose spoils he took. And those that were in Galilee, and in Arbattis, with their wives and their children, and all that they had, took he away with him, and brought them into Judea with great joy. Judas Maccabeus also and his brother Jonathan went over Jordan, and travelled three days' journey in the desert, Where they met with the Nabathites, who came unto them in a peaceable manner, and told them every thing that had happened to their brethren in the land of Galaad, And how that many of them were shut up in Bosora, and Bosor, and Alema, Casphor, Maked, and Carnaim; all these cities are strong and great, And that they were shut up in the rest of the cities of the country of Galaad, and that against to morrow they had appointed to bring their host against the forts, and to take them, and to destroy them all in one day. Hereupon Judas and his host turned suddenly by the way of the desert unto Bosora, and when he had won the city, he slew all the males with the edge of the sword, and took all their spoils, and burned the city with fire, From whence he removed by night, and went till he came to the fortress. And betimes in the morning they looked up, and, behold, there was an innumerable people bearing ladders and other engines of war, to take the fortress, for they assaulted them. When Judas therefore saw that the battle was begun, and that the cry of the city went up to heaven, with trumpets, and a great sound, He said unto his host, Fight this day for your brethren. So he went forth behind them in three companies, who sounded their trumpets, and cried with prayer. Then the host of Timotheus, knowing that it was Maccabeus, fled from him, wherefore he smote them with a great slaughter; so that there were killed of them that day about eight thousand men. This done, Judas turned aside to Maspha, and after he had assaulted it he took and slew all the males therein, and received the spoils thereof and and burnt it with fire. From thence went he, and took Casphon, Maged, Bosor, and the other cities of the country of Galaad. After these things gathered Timotheus another host and encamped against Raphon beyond the brook. So Judas sent men to espy the host, who brought him word, saying, All the heathen that be round about us are assembled unto them, a very great host. He hath also hired the Arabians to help them and they have pitched their tents beyond the brook, ready to come and fight against you. Upon this Judas went to meet them. Then Timotheus said unto the captains of his host, When Judas and his host come near the brook, if he pass over first unto us, we shall not be able to withstand him; for he will mightily prevail against us, But if he be afraid, and camp beyond the river, we shall go over unto him, and prevail against him. Now when Judas came near the brook, he caused the scribes of the people to remain by the brook, unto whom he gave commandment, saying, Suffer no man to remain in the camp, but let all come to the battle. So he went first over unto them, and all the people after him, then all the heathen, being discomfited before him, cast away their weapons, and fled unto the temple that was at Carnaim. But they took the city, and burned the temple with all that were therein. Thus was Carnaim subdued, nor could they stand any longer before Judas. Then Judas gathered together all the Israelites that were in the country of Galaad, from the least unto the greatest, their wives, and their children, and their stuff, a very great host, to the end they might come into the land of Judea. Now when they came unto Ephron, (this was a great city in the way as they should go, very well fortified) they could not turn from it, either on the right hand or the left, but must needs pass through the midst of it. Then they of the city shut them out, and stopped up the gates with stones. Whereupon Judas sent unto them in peaceable manner, saying, Let us pass through your land to go into our own country, and none shall do you any hurt; we will only pass through on foot, howbeit they would not open unto him.

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