Reading 149/341, 1 Maccabees 7-9.14

...1 Maccabees...

In the hundred and one and fiftieth year Demetrius the son of Seleucus departed from Rome, and came up with a few men unto a city of the sea coast, and reigned there. And as he entered into the palace of his ancestors, so it was, that his forces had taken Antiochus and Lysias, to bring them unto him. Wherefore, when he knew it, he said, Let me not see their faces. So his host slew them. Now when Demetrius was set upon the throne of his kingdom, There came unto him all the wicked and ungodly men of Israel, having Alcimus, who was desirous to be high priest, for their captain, And they accused the people to the king, saying, Judas and his brethren have slain all your friends, and driven us out of our own land. Now therefore send some man whom thou trustest, and let him go and see what havock he hath made among us, and in the king's land, and let him punish them with all them that aid them. Then the king chose Bacchides, a friend of the king, who ruled beyond the flood, and was a great man in the kingdom, and faithful to the king, And him he sent with that wicked Alcimus, whom he made high priest, and commanded that he should take vengeance of the children of Israel. So they departed, and came with a great power into the land of Judea, where they sent messengers to Judas and his brethren with peaceable words deceitfully. But they gave no heed to their words; for they saw that they were come with a great power. Then did there assemble unto Alcimus and Bacchides a company of scribes, to require justice. Now the Assideans were the first among the children of Israel that sought peace of them, For said they, One that is a priest of the seed of Aaron is come with this army, and he will do us no wrong. So he spake unto them, peaceably, and sware unto them, saying, we will procure the harm nor of you nor your friends. Whereupon they believed him, howbeit he took of them threescore men, and slew them in one day, according to the words which he wrote, The flesh of your saints have they cast out, and their blood have they shed round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them. Wherefore the fear and dread of them fell upon all the people, who said, There is nor truth nor righteousness in them; for they have broken the covenant and oath that they made. After this, removed Bacchides from Jerusalem, and pitched his tents in Bezeth, where he sent and took many of the men that had forsaken him, and certain of the people also, and when he had slain them, he cast them into the great pit. Then committed he the country to Alcimus, and left with him a power to aid him, so Bacchides went to the king. But Alcimus contended for the high priesthood. And unto him resorted all such as troubled the people, who, after they had gotten the land of Juda into their power, did much hurt in Israel. Now when Judas saw all the mischief that Alcimus and his company had done among the Israelites, above the heathen, He went out into all the coasts of Judea round about, and took vengeance of them that had revolted from him, so that they durst no more go forth into the country. On the other side, when Alcimus saw that Judas and his company had gotten the upper hand, and knew that he was not able to abide their force, he went again to the king, and said all the worst of them that he could. Then the king sent Nicanor, one of his honourable princes, a man that bare deadly hate unto Israel, with commandment to destroy the people. So Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a great force, and sent unto Judas and his brethren deceitfully with friendly words, saying, Let there be no battle between me and you; I will come with a few men, that I may see you in peace. He came therefore to Judas, and they saluted one another peaceably. Howbeit the enemies were prepared to take away Judas by violence. Which thing after it was known to Judas, to wit, that he came unto him with deceit, he was sore afraid of him, and would see his face no more. Nicanor also, when he saw that his counsel was discovered, went out to fight against Judas beside Capharsalama, Where there were slain of Nicanor's side about five thousand men, and the rest fled into the city of David. After this went Nicanor up to mount Sion, and there came out of the sanctuary certain of the priests and certain of the elders of the people, to salute him peaceably, and to shew him the burnt sacrifice that was offered for the king. But he mocked them, and laughed at them, and abused them shamefully, and spake proudly, And sware in his wrath, saying, Unless Judas and his host be now delivered into my hands, if ever I come again in safety, I will burn up this house, and with that he went out in a great rage. Then the priests entered in, and stood before the altar and the temple, weeping, and saying, Thou, O Lord, didst choose this house to be called by your name, and to be a house of prayer and petition for your people, Be avenged of this man and his host, and let them fall by the sword, remember their blasphemies, and suffer them not to continue any longer. So Nicanor went out of Jerusalem, and pitched his tents in Bethhoron, where an host out of Syria met him. But Judas pitched in Adasa with three thousand men, and there he prayed, saying, O Lord, when they that were sent from the king of the Assyrians blasphemed, your angel went out, and smote an hundred fourscore and five thousand of them. so destroy thou this host before us this day, that the rest may know that he hath spoken blasphemously against your sanctuary, and judge thou him according to his wickedness. So the thirteenth day of the month Adar the hosts joined battle, but Nicanor's host was discomfited, and he himself was first slain in the battle. Now when Nicanor's host saw that he was slain, they cast away their weapons, and fled. Then they pursued after them a day's journey, from Adasa unto Gazera, sounding an alarm after them with their trumpets. Whereupon they came forth out of all the towns of Judea round about, and closed them in; so that they, turning back upon them that pursued them, were all slain with the sword, and not one of them was left. Afterwards they took the spoils, and the prey, and smote off Nicanors head, and his right hand, which he stretched out so proudly, and brought them away, and hanged them up toward Jerusalem. For this cause the people rejoiced greatly, and they kept that day a day of great gladness. Moreover they ordained to keep yearly this day, being the thirteenth of Adar. Thus the land of Juda was in rest a little while. Now Judas had heard of the the Romans, that they were mighty and valiant men, and such as would lovingly accept all that joined themselves unto them, and make a league of amity with all that came unto them; And that they were men of great valour. It was told him also of their wars and noble acts which they had done among the Galatians, and how they had conquered them, and brought them under tribute; And what they had done in the country of Spain, for the winning of the mines of the silver and gold which is there; And that by their policy and patience they had conquered all the place, though it were very far from them, and the kings also that came against them from the uttermost part of the earth, till they had discomfited them, and given them a great overthrow, so that the rest did give them tribute every year, Beside this, how they had discomfited in battle Philip, and Perseus, king of the Citims, with others that lifted up themselves against them, and had overcome them, How also Antiochus the great king of Asia, that came against them in battle, having an hundred and twenty elephants, with horsemen, and chariots, and a very great army, was discomfited by them; And how they took him alive, and covenanted that he and such as reigned after him should pay a great tribute, and give hostages, and what was agreed upon, And the country of India, and Media and Lydia and of the goodliest countries, which they took of him, and gave to king Eumenes, Moreover how the Grecians had determined to come and destroy them; And that they, having knowledge thereof sent against them a certain captain, and fighting with them slew many of them, and carried away captives their wives and their children, and spoiled them, and took possession of their lands, and pulled down their strong holds, and brought them to be their servants unto this day, It was told him besides, how they destroyed and brought under their dominion all other kingdoms and isles that at any time resisted them; But with their friends and such as relied upon them they kept amity, and that they had conquered kingdoms both far and nigh, insomuch as all that heard of their name were afraid of them, Also that, whom they would help to a kingdom, those reign, and whom again they would, they displace, finally, that they were greatly exalted, Yet for all this none of them wore a crown or was clothed in purple, to be magnified thereby, Moreover how they had made for themselves a senate house, wherein three hundred and twenty men sat in council daily, consulting alway for the people, to the end they might be well ordered, And that they committed their government to one man every year, who ruled over all their country, and that all were obedient to that one, and that there was nor envy nor emmulation among them. In consideration of these things, Judas chose Eupolemus the son of John, the son of Accos, and Jason the son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome, to make a league of amity and confederacy with them, And to intreat them that they would take the yoke from them; for they saw that the kingdom of the Grecians did oppress Israel with servitude. They went therefore to Rome, which was a very great journey, and came into the senate, where they spake and said. Judas Maccabeus with his brethren, and the people of the Jews, have sent us unto you, to make a confederacy and peace with you, and that we might be registered your confederates and friends. So that matter pleased the Romans well. And this is the copy of the epistle which the senate wrote back again in tables of bronze, and sent to Jerusalem, that there they might have by them a memorial of peace and confederacy, Good success be to the Romans, and to the people of the Jews, by sea and by land for ever, the sword also and enemy be far from them, If there come first any war upon the Romans or any of their confederates throughout all their dominion, The people of the Jews shall help them, as the time shall be appointed, with all their heart, Nor shall they give any thing unto them that make war upon them, or aid them with victuals, weapons, money, or ships, as it hath seemed good unto the Romans; but they shall keep their covenants without taking any thing therefore. In the same manner also, if war come first upon the nation of the Jews, the Romans shall help them with all their heart, according as the time shall be appointed them, Nor shall victuals be given to them that take part against them, or weapons, or money, or ships, as it hath seemed good to the Romans; but they shall keep their covenants, and that without deceit. According to these articles did the Romans make a covenant with the people of the Jews. Howbeit if hereafter the one party or the other shall think to meet to add or diminish any thing, they may do it at their pleasures, and whatsoever they shall add or take away shall be ratified. And as touching the evils that Demetrius doeth to the Jews, we have written unto him, saying, Wherefore thou made your yoke heavy upon our friends and confederates the Jews? If therefore they complain any more against you, we will do them justice, and fight with you by sea and by land. Furthermore, when Demetrius heard the Nicanor and his host were slain in battle, he sent Bacchides and Alcimus into the land of Judea the second time, and with them the chief strength of his host, Who went forth by the way that leadeth to Galgala, and pitched their tents before Masaloth, which is in Arbela, and after they had won it, they slew much people. Also the first month of the hundred fifty and second year they encamped before Jerusalem, From whence they removed, and went to Berea, with twenty thousand footmen and two thousand horsemen. Now Judas had pitched his tents at Eleasa, and three thousand chosen men with him, Who seeing the multitude of the other army to be so great were sore afraid; whereupon many conveyed themselves out of the host, insomuch as abode of them no more but eight hundred men. When Judas therefore saw that his host slipt away, and that the battle pressed upon him, he was sore troubled in mind, and much distressed, for that he had no time to gather them together. Nevertheless unto them that remained he said, Let us arise and go up against our enemies, if peradventure we may be able to fight with them. But they dehorted him, saying, We shall never be able, let us now rather save our lives, and hereafter we will return with our brethren, and fight against them, for we are but few. Then Judas said, God forbid that I should do this thing, and flee away from them, if our time be come, let us die manfully for our brethren, and let us not stain our honour. With that the host of Bacchides removed out of their tents, and stood over against them, their horsemen being divided into two troops, and their slingers and archers going before the host and they that marched in the foreward were all mighty men. As for Bacchides, he was in the right wing, so the host drew near on the two parts, and sounded their trumpets. They also of Judas' side, they sounded their trumpets also, so that the earth shook at the noise of the armies, and the battle continued from morning till night. Now when Judas perceived that Bacchides and the strength of his army were on the right side, he took with him all the hardy men, Who discomfited the right wing, and pursued them unto the mount Azotus. But when they of the left wing saw that they of the right wing were discomfited, they followed upon Judas and those that were with him hard at the heels from behind, Whereupon there was a sore battle, insomuch as many were slain on both parts. Judas also was killed, and the remnant fled.

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