1 Maccabees - 4


1Gorgias took with him five thousand foot and a thousand picked cavalry, and the force moved off bynight 2with the object of attacking the Jewish position and dealing them an unexpected blow; the men fromthe Citadel were there to guide him. 3Judas got wind of it and himself moved off with his fighters to strike at the royal army at Emmaus, 4while its fighting troops were stil dispersed outside the camp. 5Hence, when Gorgias reached Judas' camp, he found no one and began looking for the Jews in themountains. 'For', he said, 'we have got them on the run.' 6First light found Judas in the plain with three thousand men, although these lacked the armour andswords they would have wished. 7They could now see the gentile encampment with its strong fortifications and cavalry surrounding it,clearly people who understood warfare. 8Judas said to his men, 'Do not be afraid of their numbers, and do not flinch at their attack. 9Remember how our ancestors were delivered at the Red Sea when Pharaoh was pursuing them inforce. 10And now let us cal on Heaven: if he cares for us, he wil remember his covenant with our ancestorsand will destroy this army confronting us today; 11then all the nations wil know for certain that there is One who ransoms and saves Israel.' 12The foreigners looked up and, seeing the Jews advancing against them, 13came out of the camp to join battle. Judas' men sounded the trumpet 14and engaged them. The gentiles were defeated and fled towards the plain 15and al the stragglers fel by the sword. The pursuit continued as far as Gezer and the plains ofIdumaea, Azotus and Jamnia, and the enemy lost about three thousand men. 16Breaking off the pursuit, Judas returned with his men 17and said to the people, 'Never mind the booty, for we have another battle ahead of us. 18Gorgias and his troops are still near us in the mountains. First stand up to our enemies and fight them,and then you can safely collect the booty.' 19The words were hardly out of Judas' mouth, when a detachment came into view, peering down fromthe mountain. 20Observing that their own troops had been routed and that the camp had been fired -- since the smoke,which they could see, attested the fact- 21they were panic-stricken at the sight; and when, furthermore, they saw Judas' troops drawn up forbattle on the plain, 22they al fled into Philistine territory. 23Judas then turned back to plunder the camp, and a large sum in gold and silver, with violet and sea-purple stuffs, and many other valuables were carried off. 24On their return, the Jews chanted praises to Heaven, singing, 'He is kind and his love is everlasting!' 25That day had seen a remarkable deliverance in Israel. 26Those of the foreigners who had escaped came and gave Lysias an account of all that had happened. 27The news shocked and dismayed him, for affairs in Israel had not gone as he intended, and the resultwas quite the opposite to what the king had ordered. 28The next year he mobilised sixty thousand picked troops and five thousand cavalry with the intentionof finishing off the Jews. 29They advanced into Idumaea and made their base at Beth-Zur, where Judas met them with tenthousand men. 30When he saw their military strength he offered this prayer, 'Blessed are you, Saviour of Israel, whoshattered the mighty warrior's attack at the hand of your servant David, and delivered the Philistine camp into thehands of Jonathan son of Saul, and his armour-bearer. 31Crush this expedition in the same way at the hands of your people Israel; let their troops and cavalrybring them nothing but shame. 32Sow panic in their ranks, confound the confidence they put in their numbers and send them reeling indefeat. 33Overthrow them by the sword of those who love you, and all who acknowledge your name wil singyour praises.' 34The two forces engaged, and five thousand men of Lysias' troops fel in hand-to-hand fighting. 35Seeing the rout of his army and the courage of Judas' troops and their readiness to live or die nobly,Lysias withdrew to Antioch, where he recruited mercenaries for a further invasion of Judaea in even greaterstrength. 36Judas and his brothers then said, 'Now that our enemies have been defeated, let us go up to purifythe sanctuary and dedicate it.' 37So they marshal ed the whole army, and went up to Mount Zion. 38There they found the sanctuary deserted, the altar desecrated, the gates burnt down, and vegetationgrowing in the courts as it might in a wood or on some mountain, while the storerooms were in ruins. 39They tore their garments and mourned bitterly, putting dust on their heads. 40They prostrated themselves on the ground, and when the trumpets gave the signal they cried aloud toHeaven. 41Judas then ordered his men to keep the Citadel garrison engaged until he had purified the sanctuary. 42Next, he selected priests who were blameless and zealous for the Law 43to purify the sanctuary and remove the stones of the 'Pollution' to some unclean place. 44They discussed what should be done about the altar of burnt offering which had been profaned, 45and very properly decided to pul it down, rather than later be embarrassed about it since it had beendefiled by the gentiles. They therefore demolished it 46and deposited the stones in a suitable place on the hil of the Dwel ing to await the appearance of aprophet who should give a ruling about them. 47They took unhewn stones, as the Law prescribed, and built a new altar on the lines of the old one. 48They restored the Holy Place and the interior of the Dwel ing, and purified the courts. 49They made new sacred vessels, and brought the lamp-stand, the altar of incense, and the table intothe Temple. 50They burned incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lamp-stand, and these shone inside theTemple. 51They placed the loaves on the table and hung the curtains and completed al the tasks they hadundertaken. 52On the twenty-fifth of the ninth month, Chislev, in the year 148 they rose at dawn 53and offered a lawful sacrifice on the new altar of burnt offering which they had made. 54The altar was dedicated, to the sound of hymns, zithers, lyres and cymbals, at the same time of yearand on the same day on which the gentiles had original y profaned it. 55The whole people fel prostrate in adoration and then praised Heaven who had granted them success. 56For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar, joyful y offering burnt offerings, communionand thanksgiving sacrifices. 57They ornamented the front of the Temple with crowns and bosses of gold, renovated the gates andstorerooms, providing the latter with doors. 58There was no end to the rejoicing among the people, since the disgrace inflicted by the gentiles hadbeen effaced. 59Judas, with his brothers and the whole assembly of Israel, made it a law that the days of thededication of the altar should be celebrated yearly at the proper season, for eight days beginning on the twenty-fifth of the month of Chislev, with rejoicing and gladness. 60They then proceeded to build high wal s with strong towers round Mount Zion, to prevent the gentilesfrom coming and riding roughshod over it as in the past. 61Judas stationed a garrison there to guard it; he also fortified Beth-Zur, so that the people would havea fortress confronting Idumaea.
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