1 Maccabees - 5

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1When the surrounding nations heard that the altar had been rebuilt and the sanctuary restored to whatit had been before, they became very angry 2and decided to destroy the descendants of Jacob living among them; they began to murder and evictour people. 3Judas made war on the sons of Esau in Idumaea, in the region of Acrabattene where they werebesieging the Israelites. He dealt them a serious blow, drove them off and despoiled them. 4He also remembered the wickedness of the sons of Baean, who were a menace and a trap for thepeople with their ambushes on the roads. 5Having blockaded them in their town and besieged them, he put them under the curse of destruction;he then set fire to their towers and burned them down with everyone inside. 6Next, he crossed over to the Ammonites where he found a strong fighting force and a numerouspeople, commanded by Timotheus. 7He fought many battles with them, defeated them and cut them to pieces. 8Having captured Jazer and its dependent vil ages, he retired to Judaea. 9Next, the gentiles of Gilead banded together to destroy the Israelites living in their territory. The latter,however, took refuge in the fortress of Dathema, 10and sent the fol owing letter to Judas and his brothers: 'The gentiles round us have bandedthemselves together against us to destroy us, 11and they are preparing to storm the fortress in which we have taken refuge; Timotheus is in commandof their forces. 12Come at once and rescue us from their clutches, for we have already suffered great losses. 13Al our countrymen living in Tobias' country have been killed, their women and children have beentaken into captivity, their property has been seized, and about a thousand men have been destroyed there.' 14While the letter was being read, other messengers arrived from Galilee with their garments torn,bearing similar news, 15'The people of Ptolemais, Tyre and Sidon have joined forces with the whole of gentile Galilee todestroy us!' 16When Judas and the people heard this, they held a great assembly to decide what should be done fortheir oppressed countrymen who were under attack from their enemies. 17Judas said to his brother Simon, 'Pick your men and go and relieve your countrymen in Galilee, whilemy brother Jonathan and I make our way into Gilead.' 18He left Joseph son of Zechariah and the people's leader Azariah with the remainder of the army inJudaea to keep guard, and gave them these orders, 19'You are to be responsible for our people. Do not engage the gentiles until we return.' 20Simon was al otted three thousand men for the expedition into Galilee, Judas eight thousand forGilead. 21Simon advanced into Galilee, engaged the gentiles in several battles and swept all before him; 22he pursued them to the gate of Ptolemais, and they lost about three thousand men, whose spoils hecol ected. 23With him, he took away the Jews of Galilee and Arbatta, with their wives and children and all theirpossessions, and brought them into Judaea with great rejoicing. 24Meanwhile Judas Maccabaeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the Jordan and made a three-days'march through the desert, 25where they encountered the Nabataeans, who gave them a friendly reception and told themeverything that had been happening to their brothers in Gilead, 26many of whom, they said, were shut up in Bozrah and Bosor, Alema, Chaspho, Maked and Carnaim,al large fortified towns. 27Others were blockaded in the other towns of Gilead, and the enemy planned to attack and capturethese strongholds the very next day, and destroy all the people inside them on one day. 28Judas and his army at once turned off by the desert road to Bozrah. He took the town and, having putal the males to the sword and col ected the booty, burned it down. 29When night came, he left the place, and they continued their march until they reached the fortress. 30In the light of dawn they looked, and there was an innumerable horde, setting up ladders and enginesto capture the fortress; the assault was just beginning. 31When Judas saw that the attack had begun and that the war cry was rising to heaven from the city,mingled with trumpet cal s and a great clamour, 32he said to the men of his army, 'Into battle today for your brothers!' 33Dividing them into three commands, he advanced on the enemy's rear, with trumpets sounding andprayers shouted aloud. 34The troops of Timotheus, recognising that this was Maccabaeus, fled before his advance;Maccabaeus dealt them a crushing defeat; about eight thousand of their men fel that day. 35Then, wheeling on Alema, he attacked and captured it and, having killed all the males and col ectedthe booty, burned the place down. 36From there he moved on and took Chaspho, Maked, Bosor and the remaining towns of Gilead. 37After these events, Timotheus mustered another force and pitched camp opposite Raphon, on the farside of the stream-bed. 38Judas sent men to reconnoitre the camp, and these reported back as fol ows, 'With him are massedal the gentiles surrounding us, making a very numerous army, 39with Arab mercenaries as auxiliaries; they are encamped on the far side of the stream-bed, and readyto launch an attack on you.' Judas then advanced to engage them, 40and was approaching the watercourse with his troops when Timotheus told the commanders of hisarmy, 'If he crosses first we shal not be able to resist him, because he wil have a great advantage over us; 41but if he is afraid and camps on the other side of the stream, we shall cross over to him and theadvantage will then be ours.' 42As soon as Judas reached the watercourse, he posted people's scribes along it, giving them thisorder: 'Do not let anyone pitch his tent; al are to go into battle!' 43He was himself the first across to the enemy side, with al the people fol owing. He defeated al theopposing gentiles, who threw down their arms and ran for refuge in the sanctuary of Carnaim. 44The Jews first captured the town and then burned down the temple with everyone inside. And soCarnaim was overthrown, and the enemy could offer no further resistance to Judas. 45Next, Judas assembled al the Israelites living in Gilead, from the least to the greatest, with theirwives, children and belongings, an enormous muster, to take them to Judaea. 46They reached Ephron, a large town straddling the road and strongly fortified. As it was impossible toby-pass it either to right or to left, there was nothing for it but to march straight through. 47But the people of the town denied them passage and barricaded the gates with stones. 48Judas sent them a conciliatory message in these terms, 'We want to pass through your territory toreach our own; no one wil do you any harm, we only want to go through on foot.' But they would not open up forhim. 49So Judas sent an order down the column for everyone to halt where he stood. 50The fighting men took up their positions; Judas attacked the town al day and night, and the town fellto him. 51He put all the males to the sword, rased the town to the ground, plundered it and marched through thetown square over the bodies of the dead. 52They then crossed the Jordan into the Great Plain, opposite Beth-Shean, 53Judas al the time ral ying the stragglers and encouraging the people the whole way until they reachedJudaea. 54They climbed Mount Zion in joy and gladness and presented burnt offerings because they hadreturned safe and sound without having lost a single man. 55While Judas and Jonathan were in Gilead and Simon his brother in Galilee outside Ptolemais, 56Joseph son of Zechariah, and Azariah, who were in command of the army, heard of their valiantdeeds and of the battles they had been fighting, 57and said, 'Let us make a name for ourselves too and go and fight the nations around us.' 58So they issued orders to the men under their command and marched on Jamnia. 59Gorgias and his men came out of the town and gave battle. 60Joseph and Azariah were routed and pursued as far as the frontiers of Judaea. That day about twothousand Israelites lost their lives. 61Our people thus met with a great reverse, because they had not listened to Judas and his brothers,thinking that they would do something equal y valiant. 62They were not, however, of the same breed of men as those to whom the deliverance of Israel wasentrusted. 63The noble Judas and his brothers, however, were held in high honour throughout Israel and among althe nations wherever their name was heard, 64and people thronged round to acclaim them. 65Judas marched out with his brothers to fight the Edomites in the country towards the south; hestormed Hebron and its dependent vil ages, threw down its fortifications and burned down its encircling towers. 66Leaving there, he made for the country of the Philistines and passed through Marisa. 67Among the fal en in that day's fighting were some priests who sought to prove their courage there byjoining in the battle, a foolhardy venture. 68Judas next turned on Azotus, which belonged to the Philistines; he overthrew their altars, burned thestatues of their gods and, having pil aged their towns, withdrew to Judaea.
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