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1 Maccabees

Wars with neighbouring nations.  1Mace.5.1-68 165-164bce (JUDAEA) - 2Mace.10.14-33, 2Mace.12.10-45

1When the Gentiles round about heard that the altar had been built and the sanctuary dedicated as it was before, they became very angry, 2and they determined to destroy the descendants of Jacob who lived among them. So they began to kill and destroy among the people. 3But Judas made war on the sons of Esau in Idumea, at Akrabattene, because they kept lying in wait for Israel. He dealt them a heavy blow and humbled them and despoiled them. 4He also remembered the wickedness of the sons of Baean, who were a trap and a snare to the people and ambushed them on the highways. 5They were shut up by him in their towers; and he encamped against them, vowed their complete destruction, and burned with fire their towers and all who were in them. 6Then he crossed over to attack the Ammonites, where he found a strong band and many people with Timothy as their leader. 7He engaged in many battles with them and they were crushed before him; he struck them down. 8He also took Jazer and its villages; then he returned to Judea.

9Now the Gentiles in Gilead gathered together against the Israelites who lived in their territory, and planned to destroy them. But they fled to the stronghold of Dathema, 10and sent to Judas and his brothers a letter which said, "The Gentiles around us have gathered together against us to destroy us. 11They are preparing to come and capture the stronghold to which we have fled, and Timothy is leading their forces. 12Now then come and rescue us from their hands, for many of us have fallen, 13and all our brethren who were in the land of Tob have been killed; the enemy have captured their wives and children and goods, and have destroyed about a thousand men there."

14While the letter was still being read, behold, other messengers, with their garments rent, came from Galilee and made a similar report; 15they said that against them had gathered together men of Ptolemais and Tyre and Sidon, and all Galilee of the Gentiles, "to annihilate us."

16When Judas and the people heard these messages, a great assembly was called to determine what they should do for their brethren who were in distress and were being attacked by enemies. 17Then Judas said to Simon his brother, "Choose your men and go and rescue your brethren in Galilee; I and Jonathan my brother will go to Gilead." 18But he left Joseph, the son of Zechariah, and Azariah, a leader of the people, with the rest of the forces, in Judea to guard it; 19and he gave them this command, "Take charge of this people, but do not engage in battle with the Gentiles until we return." 20Then three thousand men were assigned to Simon to go to Galilee, and eight thousand to Judas for Gilead.

21so Simon went to Galilee and fought many battles against the Gentiles, and the Gentiles were crushed before him. 22He pursued them to the gate of Ptolemais, and as many as three thousand of the Gentiles fell, and he despoiled them. 23Then he took the Jews of Galilee and Arbatta, with their wives and children, and all they possessed, and led them to Judea with great rejoicing.

24Judas Maccabeus and Jonathan his brother crossed the Jordan and went three days' journey into the wilderness. 25They encountered the Nabateans, who met them peaceably and told them all that had happened to their brethren in Gilead: 26"Many of them have been shut up in Bozrah and Bosor, in Alema and Chaspho, Maked and Carnaim" - all these cities were strong and large - 27"and some have been shut up in the other cities of Gilead; the enemy are getting ready to attack the strongholds tomorrow and take and destroy all these men in one day."

28Then Judas and his army quickly turned back by the wilderness road to Bozrah; and he took the city, and killed every male by the edge of the sword; then he seized all its spoils and burned it with fire. 29He departed from there at night, and they went all the way to the stronghold of Dathema. 30At dawn they looked up, and behold, a large company, that could not be counted, carrying ladders and engines of war to capture the stronghold, and attacking the Jews within. 31So Judas saw that the battle had begun and that the cry of the city went up to Heaven with trumpets and loud shouts, 32and he said to the men of his forces, "Fight today for your brethren!" 33Then he came up behind them in three companies, who sounded their trumpets and cried aloud in prayer. 34And when the army of Timothy realized that it was Maccabeus, they fled before him, and he dealt them a heavy blow. As many as eight thousand of them fell that day. 35Next he turned aside to Alema, and fought against it and took it; and he killed every male in it, plundered it, and burned it with fire. 36From there he marched on and took Chaspho, Maked, and Bosor, and the other cities of Gilead.

37After these things Timothy gathered another army and encamped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream. 38Judas sent men to spy out the camp, and they reported to him, "All the Gentiles around us have gathered to him; it is a very large force. 39They also have hired Arabs to help them, and they are encamped across the stream, ready to come and fight against you." And Judas went to meet them.

40Now as Judas and his army drew near to the stream of water, Timothy said to the officers of his forces, "If he crosses over to us first, we will not be able to resist him, for he will surely defeat us. 41But if he shows fear and camps on the other side of the river, we will cross over to him and defeat him." 42When Judas approached the stream of water, he stationed the scribes of the people at the stream and gave them this command, "Permit no man to encamp, but make them all enter the battle." 43Then he crossed over against them first, and the whole army followed him. All the Gentiles were defeated before him, and they threw away their arms and fled into the sacred precincts at Carnaim. 44But he took the city and burned the sacred precincts with fire, together with all who were in them. Thus Carnaim was conquered; they could stand before Judas no longer.

45Then Judas gathered together all the Israelites in Gilead, the small and the great, with their wives and children and goods, a very large company, to go to the land of Judah. 46So they came to Ephron. This was a large and very strong city on the road, and they could not go round it to the right or to the left; they had to go through it. 47But the men of the city shut them out and blocked up the gates with stones. 48And Judas sent them this friendly message, "Let us pass through your land to get to our land. No one will do you harm; we will simply pass by on foot." But they refused to open to him. 49Then Judas ordered proclamation to be made to the army that each should encamp where he was. 50So the men of the forces encamped, and he fought against the city all that day and all the night, and the city was delivered into his hands. 51He destroyed every male by the edge of the sword, and razed and plundered the city. Then he passed through the city over the slain.

52And they crossed the Jordan into the large plain before Beth-shan. 53And Judas kept rallying the laggards and encouraging the people all the way till he came to the land of Judah. 54So they went up to Mount Zion with gladness and joy, and offered burnt offerings, because not one of them had fallen before they returned in safety.

55Now while Judas and Jonathan were in Gilead and Simon his brother was in Galilee before Ptolemais, 56Joseph, the son of Zechariah, and Azariah, the commanders of the forces, heard of their brave deeds and of the heroic war they had fought. 57So they said, "Let us also make a name for ourselves; let us go and make war on the Gentiles around us." 58And they issued orders to the men of the forces that were with them, and they marched against Jamnia. 59And Gorgias and his men came out of the city to meet them in battle. 60Then Joseph and Azariah were routed, and were pursued to the borders of Judea; as many as two thousand of the people of Israel fell that day. 61Thus the people suffered a great rout because, thinking to do a brave deed, they did not listen to Judas and his brothers. 62But they did not belong to the family of those men through whom deliverance was given to Israel.

63The man Judas and his brothers were greatly honoured in all Israel and among all the Gentiles, wherever their name was heard. 64Men gathered to them and praised them.

65Then Judas and his brothers went forth and fought the sons of Esau in the land to the south. He struck Hebron and its villages and tore down its strongholds and burned its towers round about. 66Then he marched off to go into the land of the Philistines, and passed through Marisa. 67On that day some priests, who wished to do a brave deed, fell in battle, for they went out to battle unwisely. 68But Judas turned aside to Azotus in the land of the Philistines; he tore down their altars, and the graven images of their gods he burned with fire; he plundered the cities and returned to the land of Judah.


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