1 Maccabees - 7

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1In the year 151, Demetrius son of Seleucus left Rome and arrived with a few men at a town on thecoast, where he inaugurated his reign.
2It so happened that, as he was entering the royal residence of his ancestors, the army capturedAntiochus and Lysias, and intended to bring them to him.
3On hearing this, he said, 'Keep them out of my sight.'
4The army put them to death, and Demetrius ascended his throne.
5Next, al those Israelites without law or piety, led by Alcimus, whose ambition was to become highpriest,
6approached the king and denounced our people to him. 'Judas and his brothers', they said, 'have kil edal your friends, and he has driven us out of our country.
7Send someone now whom you can trust; let him go and see the wholesale ruin Judas has brought onus and on the king's dominions, and let him punish the wretches and al who assist them.'
8The king chose Bacchides, one of the Friends of the King, governor of Transeuphrates, an importantpersonage in the kingdom and loyal to the king.
9He sent him with the godless Alcimus, whom he confirmed in the high priesthood, with orders to exactretribution from the Israelites.
10So they set out with a large force and, on reaching Judaea, sent emissaries to Judas and his brotherswith proposals peaceable yet treacherous.
11The latter, however, did not put any faith in their words, aware that they had come with a large force.
12Nevertheless, a commission of scribes presented themselves before Alcimus and Bacchides, to suefor just terms.
13The first among the Israelites to ask them for peace terms were the Hasidaeans,
14who reasoned thus, 'This is a priest of Aaron's line who has come with the armed forces; he wil notwrong us.'
15He did in fact discuss peace terms with them and gave them his oath, 'We shal not attempt to injureyou or your friends.'
16They believed him, but he arrested sixty of them and put them to death on one day, fulfil ing the wordsof scripture:
17They have scattered the bodies of your faithful, and shed their blood all round Jerusalem, leaving noone to bury them!
18At this, fear and dread gripped the whole people. 'There is no truth or virtue in them,' they said, 'theyhave broken their agreement and their sworn oath.'
19Bacchides then left Jerusalem and encamped at Beth-Zeth, and from there sent and arrested many ofthe men who had deserted him and a few of our people too; he had them kil ed and thrown down the great wel .
20He then put Alcimus in charge of the province, leaving an army with him to support him; Bacchideshimself returned to the king.
21Alcimus continued his struggle to become high priest,
22and al who were disturbing the peace of their own people ral ied to him, and, having won control ofJudaea, did much harm in Israel.
23Seeing that al the wrongs done to the Israelites by Alcimus and his supporters exceeded what thegentiles had done,
24Judas went right round the whole territory of Judaea to take vengeance on those who had desertedhim and to prevent their free movement about the country.
25When Alcimus saw how strong Judas and his supporters had grown and realised that he waspowerless to resist them, he went back to the king, to whom he made malicious accusations against them.
26The king sent Nicanor, one of his generals ranking as Il ustrious and a bitter enemy of Israel, withorders to exterminate the people.
27Reaching Jerusalem with a large force, Nicanor sent a friendly, yet treacherous, message to Judasand his brothers, as follows:
28'Let us have no fighting between you and me; I shall come with a smal escort for a peaceful meetingwith you.'
29He met Judas and they exchanged friendly greetings; the enemy, however, had made preparations toabduct Judas.
30When Judas became aware of Nicanor's treacherous purpose in coming to see him, he took fright andrefused any further meeting.
31Nicanor then realised that his plan had been discovered, and took the field against Judas, to givebattle near Caphar-Salama.
32About five hundred of Nicanor's men fell; the rest took refuge in the City of David.
33After these events Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests came out of the Holy Placewith some elders, to give him a friendly welcome and show him the burnt offering being presented for the king.
34But he ridiculed them, laughed at them, defiled them and used insolent language, swearing in hisrage,
35'Unless Judas is handed over to me this time with his army, as soon as I am safely back, I promiseyou, I shal burn this building down!'
36Then he went off in a fury. At this, the priests went in again, and stood weeping in front of the altarand the Temple, saying,
37'You have chosen this house to be cal ed by your name, to be a house of prayer and petition for yourpeople.
38Take vengeance on this man and on his army, and let them fal by the sword; remember theirblasphemies and give them no respite.'
39Nicanor left Jerusalem and encamped at Beth-Horon, where he was joined by an army from Syria.
40Judas, meanwhile, camped at Adasa with three thousand men, and offered this prayer,
41'When the king's envoys blasphemed, your angel went out and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand of his men.
42In the same way let us see you crush this army today, so that everyone else may know that this manhas spoken blasphemously against your sanctuary: pass judgement on him as his wickedness deserves!'
43The armies met in battle on the thirteenth of the month Adar, and Nicanor's army was crushed, hehimself being the first to fal in the battle.
44When Nicanor's soldiers saw him fal , they threw down their arms and fled.
45The Jews pursued them a day's journey, from Adasa to the approaches of Gezer; they sounded theirtrumpets in warning as they fol owed them,
46and people came out of al the surrounding Judaean vil ages to encircle the fugitives, who then turnedback on their own men. Al fel by the sword, not one being left alive.
47Having col ected the spoils and booty, they cut off Nicanor's head and the right hand he had stretchedout in a display of insolence; these were taken and displayed within sight of Jerusalem.
48The people were overjoyed and kept that day as a great holiday:
49indeed they decided to celebrate it annual y on the thirteenth of Adar.
50For a short while Judaea enjoyed peace.
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