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1 Maccabees 4

The Battle at Emmaus

4Now Gorgias took five thousand infantry and one thousand picked cavalry, and this division moved out by night 2to fall upon the camp of the Jews and attack them suddenly. Men from the citadel were his guides. 3But Judas heard of it, and he and his warriors moved out to attack the king’s force in Emmaus 4while the division was still absent from the camp. 5When Gorgias entered the camp of Judas by night, he found no one there, so he looked for them in the hills, because he said, ‘These men are running away from us.’

6 At daybreak Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men, but they did not have armour and swords such as they desired. 7And they saw the camp of the Gentiles, strong and fortified, with cavalry all around it; and these men were trained in war. 8But Judas said to those who were with him, ‘Do not fear their numbers or be afraid when they charge. 9Remember how our ancestors were saved at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh with his forces pursued them. 10And now, let us cry to Heaven, to see whether he will favour us and remember his covenant with our ancestors and crush this army before us today. 11Then all the Gentiles will know that there is one who redeems and saves Israel.’

12 When the foreigners looked up and saw them coming against them, 13they went out from their camp to battle. Then the men with Judas blew their trumpets 14and engaged in battle. The Gentiles were crushed, and fled into the plain, 15and all those in the rear fell by the sword. They pursued them to Gazara, and to the plains of Idumea, and to Azotus and Jamnia; and three thousand of them fell. 16Then Judas and his force turned back from pursuing them, 17and he said to the people, ‘Do not be greedy for plunder, for there is a battle before us; 18Gorgias and his force are near us in the hills. But stand now against our enemies and fight them, and afterwards seize the plunder boldly.’

19 Just as Judas was finishing this speech, a detachment appeared, coming out of the hills. 20They saw that their army* had been put to flight, and that the Jews* were burning the camp, for the smoke that was seen showed what had happened. 21When they perceived this, they were greatly frightened, and when they also saw the army of Judas drawn up in the plain for battle, 22they all fled into the land of the Philistines. 23Then Judas returned to plunder the camp, and they seized a great amount of gold and silver, and cloth dyed blue and sea purple, and great riches. 24On their return they sang hymns and praises to Heaven—‘For he is good, for his mercy endures for ever.’ 25Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

First Campaign of Lysias

26 Those of the foreigners who escaped went and reported to Lysias all that had happened. 27When he heard it, he was perplexed and discouraged, for things had not happened to Israel as he had intended, nor had they turned out as the king had ordered. 28But the next year he mustered sixty thousand picked infantry and five thousand cavalry to subdue them. 29They came into Idumea and encamped at Beth-zur, and Judas met them with ten thousand men.

30 When he saw that their army was strong, he prayed, saying, ‘Blessed are you, O Saviour of Israel, who crushed the attack of the mighty warrior by the hand of your servant David, and gave the camp of the Philistines into the hands of Jonathan son of Saul, and of the man who carried his armour. 31Hem in this army by the hand of your people Israel, and let them be ashamed of their troops and their cavalry. 32Fill them with cowardice; melt the boldness of their strength; let them tremble in their destruction. 33Strike them down with the sword of those who love you, and let all who know your name praise you with hymns.’

34 Then both sides attacked, and there fell of the army of Lysias five thousand men; they fell in action.* 35When Lysias saw the rout of his troops and observed the boldness that inspired those of Judas, and how ready they were either to live or to die nobly, he withdrew to Antioch and enlisted mercenaries in order to invade Judea again with an even larger army.

Cleansing and Dedication of the Temple

36 Then Judas and his brothers said, ‘See, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.’ 37So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion. 38There they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. 39Then they tore their clothes and mourned with great lamentation; they sprinkled themselves with ashes 40and fell face down on the ground. And when the signal was given with the trumpets, they cried out to Heaven.

41 Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary. 42He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, 43and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. 44They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt-offering, which had been profaned. 45And they thought it best to tear it down, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, 46and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them. 47Then they took unhewn* stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. 48They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. 49They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. 50Then they offered incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. 51They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.

52 Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year,* 53they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt-offering that they had built. 54At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. 55All the people fell on their faces and worshipped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. 56So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt-offerings; they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving-offering. 57They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and fitted them with doors. 58There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed.

59 Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.

60 At that time they fortified Mount Zion with high walls and strong towers all round, to keep the Gentiles from coming and trampling them down as they had done before. 61Judas* stationed a garrison there to guard it; he also fortified Beth-zur to guard it, so that the people might have a stronghold that faced Idumea.

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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.7 10 February 2011.