Judas goes to rescue the scattered Jews
1 When the pagans who lived around them learned that the altar had been rebuilt and the temple restored as before, they became very angry. 2 They determined to destroy the descendants of Jacob who lived among them; so they began killing and driving away the Jews.
3 That is why Judas declared war against the sons of Esau in Idumea and in the province of Akrabattene, for they surrounded Israel. He dealt them a mortal blow – he humbled them and looted them. 4 Then he remembered the wicked ness of the gangs of Baean who were a plague and a permanent source of trouble for the Jews with their ambushes on the roads. 5 So Judas, after blockading and besieging them in their towers, took an oath to exterminate them; he then burned the towers with all who were inside.
6 From there he crossed over to the land of the Ammonites where he encountered a large and well-organized army under the command of Timo theus. 7 He engaged them in many encounters, de feated them and crushed them. 8 He attacked and captured the city of Yazer with its neighboring villages and then returned to Judea.
9 The pagans of Gilead gathered to gether to destroy the Israelites who lived in their territory. But the Israelites took refuge in the fortress of Dathema, 10 and sent a letter to Judas and his brothers which said, “The pagans around us have joined forces to crush us 11 and are now preparing to storm the fortress where we have taken refuge. Timothy is their leader. 12 Come at once and rescue us from their hands since many among us have already died; 13 all our brothers living in the land of Tobias have been murdered, their women and children taken captives; about a thousand men have been killed.”
14 They were reading this letter when other messengers arrived from Galilee tearing their garments as they gave this message: 15 “The people of Ptolemais, Tyre, Sidon and the whole of heathen Galilee have united to destroy us!”
16 When Judas and his men heard this news, they summoned a great assembly to deter mine what could be done for their brothers and sisters in distress who were fighting for their lives. 17 Judas said to his brother Simon: “Choose your men; go and free our brothers in Galilee; I and my brother Jonathan will go to Gilead.”
18 He left the rest of the troops under the command of Joseph the son of Ze chariah, and Azariah, a leader of the people, to defend the land of Judea, 19 and gave them this order: “Remain at the head of the people, but do not attack the pagans until we return.”
20 Three thousand men were assigned to Simon for the campaign in Galilee, and eight thousand men to Judas for Gilead. 21 Simon left for Galilee and defeated the pagans in many encounters, 22 and pursued them to the gates of Ptolemais. About three thousand of the pagans fell, and Simon seized their spoils. 23 Then he took away with him the Jews who were in Galilee and Arbatta as well as their women and children, and all they had, and brought them into Judea with great rejoicing.
24 Meanwhile, Judas Maccabeus and his broth er Jonathan crossed the Jordan and journeyed through the desert for three days. 25 There they encountered the Nabateans who received them in a friendly way and told them all that had happened to their brothers in the region of Gilead. 26 They gave them the news that many Jews were imprisoned in Alema, Chas pho, Maked and Carnaim, all large and fortified towns in the vicinity of Bozrah and Bosor. 27 They also related that Jews were also blockaded in other cities of Gilead, and that the pagans had decided to attack their strongholds on the following day intending to destroy all of them in one day.
28 Judas quickly turned off with his army by the desert road to Bozrah; he occupied the city, put all the men to the sword, seized the booty and then burned the city. 29 He left the place at night and advanced until they reached the fortress. 30 At dawn, the Jews looked up and saw an innumerable army carrying ladders and engines of war to attack and capture the fortress.
31 Judas saw that the attack had be gun; from the city an uproar rose up to heaven with shouts and trumpet blast. 32 He said to his men: “Let us now fight for our brothers.” 33 Then he divided his troops into three groups, and attacked the enemy from behind, sounding the trumpets and praying out loud. 34 When the army of Timothy recognized that it was Maccabeus, they began to escape, but Ju das dealt them a heavy blow, and about five thousand of the enemy fell that day.
35 From there, Judas went to Alema; he attacked and occupied the city, killed all the men and seized the booty, and then he burned the city. 36 From there, he captured Chaspho, Maked and Bosor and the remaining towns of Gilead.
37 After these events, Timothy gathered a new army and encamped opposite Raphon, at the other side of the stream. 38 Judas sent men to explore the camp and they brought back the following information: “All the pagans of this region have joined forces under Timothy, forming a powerful army. 39 They have also hired Arab mercenaries as auxiliaries, and they are now encamped at the other side of the stream, ready to attack you.” So Judas set out to confront them in battle.
40 Timothy saw that Judas was ap proach ing the stream with his army, so he said to the captains of his troops, “If he crosses first and advances against us, he shall attack us with such great force that we will not be able to withstand him. 41 But if he hesitates and encamps at the other side of the river, then we shall cross over to attack and defeat him.”
42 When Judas reached the banks of the stream, he assigned the officials of his men along the stream and ordered them: “Do not let anyone pitch his tent; all are to fight.” 43 Judas was the first to cross to the enemy, and all his men followed. They defeated all the pagans who threw down their weapons and took refuge in the sacred enclosure of Carnaim. 44 But the Jews captured the city and burned the sacred en closure with everyone inside. So Carnaim was crushed, and no one was able to withstand Judas.
45 Judas gathered together all the Israelites from the region of Gilead, small and great, their women and children and their belongings, an immense multitude, to take them into the land of Judea. 46 They reached Ephron, a strong and im portant town, situated by the road. It was impossible to go around it either to the right or to the left, so they were forced to go through it, 47 but the inhabitants entrenched themselves inside and blocked the en trance with stones. 48 Judas sent them a message of peace saying: “Allow us to go through your land as we go back to ours; we will simply walk through and none of us will do you any harm.” But they refused to open the gates to him.
49 So Judas gave orders to his army for everyone to take up his position where he was. 50 The men of war took up their positions, and Judas attacked the city all day and night until it fell into his hands. 51 He put all the male inhabitants to the sword, razed the city and took its plunder. 52 Then they passed through the city over the bodies of the dead and came to the great plain after crossing the Jordan opposite Beth shan.
53 Throughout the journey Judas kept on encouraging his people and rallying those who fell behind, until they reached the land of Judah. 54 They went up to Mount Zion joyfully and well con tented, and they offered holocausts because they had returned safe and sound, without losing a single man.
Joseph and Azariah are defeated
55 While Judas and Jona than were in the land of Gilead, and their brother Simon was encamped in Galilee opposite Ptolemais, 56 Ze cha riah’s son Joseph and Azariah were in command of the army. When they heard of their exploits and how well they had done in battle, 57 they said, “We also have to win renown, so let us go and fight the pagans who live around us.”
58 So they gave orders to their army to march against Jamnia. 59 But Gorgias came out of the city with his men and attacked them. 60 Joseph and Azariah were defeated and pursued as far as the borders of Judea, and about two thousand Israelites fell that day. 61 The people suffered this great defeat because the Jewish commanders did not listen to Judas and his brothers, thinking they themselves were cap able of great deeds. 62 They did not belong to those to whom the deliverance of Israel had been entrusted.
63 The valiant Judas and his brothers were greatly honored in Israel and be came famous among the foreigners who heard of them, 64 and many came to congratulate them.
65 Judas with his brothers went to the Negeb to fight the Edomites. He seized Hebron and its villages, demolished its walls and burned its defending towers. 66 Then he left for the land of the Philis tines, passing through Marisa. 67 That day some priests who wanted to be valiant fell because they imprudently attacked the enemy. 68 From there Judas turned to wards Azotus in the land of the Philis tines. He destroyed their altars, burned the statues of their gods, plundered the city and then returned to Judah.