Judas purifies the temple
1 With Godís help Maccabeus and his men seized the Temple and the city. 2 They destroyed the altars built by the foreigners in the public squares, as well as the sacred enclosures. 3 After purifying the Temple, they built a new altar. They kindled fire from flint and for the first time in two years offered sacrifices. Once again, there were incense, lamps, and the bread of presence.
4 Having done all this they threw themselves flat on the ground and asked the Lord not to send them such calamities anymore. But if they should sin again, they asked that he would cor rect them with gentleness and not hand them over again into the hands of blasphemous and ferocious foreigners.
5 The purification of the Temple took place on the same date on which the foreigners had profaned it, that is, on the twenty-fifth of the month of Chislev. 6 For eight days they celebrated the feast with rejoicing, in the same way that they celebrated the Feast of the Tabernacles re membering how, not long before on that same date, they were dwelling in the mountains and caves like wild animals.
7 Then, carrying leafy branches and palms, they chanted hymns to Him who had brought the cleansing of his own Holy Place to a happy end.
8 They also decided by public vote that this event would be commemorated annually by the whole Jewish nation.
Victories of Judas in Idumea
9 This is all that refers to the death of Antiochus, called Epiphanes. 10 We shall now proceed to narrate the events that happened under Antiochus Eupator, son of the impious, and to relate briefly the calamities brought about by the war.
11 In fact, once he inherited the kingdom, he appointed Lysias to be in charge of his affairs and to act as high commissioner for Coele-Syria and Phoenicia. 12 Now Ptolemy, called Macron, was the first governor to do justice to the Jews. He was upset by injustices done against them, so he tried to solve all their problems satis factorily. 13 But the Friends of King Eupator made use of this to accuse him before the king. They continually called him a traitor, reminding him that he had once abandoned the land of Cyprus, which had been entrusted to him by Philometor, in order to go over to Antio chus Epiphanes.
13 Since he could not discharge his high office with dignity, he was driven to despair and com mitted suicide by poisoning himself.
14 It was then that Gorgias was ap pointed military commissioner of those regions, and began to stir up war against the Jews by any means. 15 On the other hand, the Idumeans had strong fortresses and harassed the Jews. Gathering the fugitives from Jerusalem, they man aged to prolong the war.
16 The men of Maccabeus, after praying and asking the Lord to come and fight at their side, attacked the fortresses of the Idumeans. 17 They carried on with their assaults and the place fell into their power. They repelled those who fought on the ramparts, slaughtered all who fell into their hands, and killed more than twenty thousand men.
18 At least nine thousand men took refuge in the two towers that were strongly fortified with everything they needed to withstand a prolonged siege. 19 Mac ca beus left Simon, Joseph, and also Zaccheus and his men in suf ficient numbers to sustain the siege, and went off to where his presence was more needed.
20 Yet the men of Simon were tempted by greed, and let themselves be bought with the silver of those in the towers. So in exchange for sixty thousand pieces of silver, they allowed a number of them to escape. 21 As soon as Mac ca beus learned this, he assembled the leaders of the people and accused those men of having sold their brothers for money by letting their ene mies escape. 22 He condemned them to death as traitors, and proceeded at once to cap ture the towers. 23 He killed more than twenty thousand men in those two towers, successfully bringing to an end the undertaking they had begun.
24 Timothy, who had been defeated before by the Jews, gathered together an enormous num ber of foreign troops and a great number of horses from Asia. He appeared in Judea in or der to conquer it by force of arms. 25 Before his attack, the men of Maccabeus sprinkled dust on their heads and put on sackcloth as a means of entreating God. 26 They bowed at the foot of the altar and asked God to treat them well and to be the enemy of their enemies, the adversary of their adversaries, as written in the Law.
27 After praying, they armed themselves and advanced from the city. They stopped when they came close to the enemy. 28 Right at daybreak, they attacked from both sides. One side placed their confidence in their Lord as the pledge of success and victory be sides their bravery, while the others were moved by hatred. 29 When the battle was at its height, there appeared from heaven before the enemies, five radiant men riding on horses with golden bridles, who put themselves at the head of the Jews.
30 They surrounded Maccabeus and defended him with their weapons, making him invulnerable. At the same time, they rained arrows and thunderbolts on the enemy, who in turn fell and were dispersed in great disorder, blinded and confused. 31 Twenty thousand five hundred infantrymen and six hundred horsemen died.
32 Timothy took refuge in a heavily guarded fortress called Gezer where Chereas was in com mand. 33 The forces of Maccabeus gallantly besieged the fortress for four days. 34 Those with in were confident in the strength of the fortress, so they hurled insults and curses at the Jews.
35 At daybreak on the fifth day, twenty young men from the troops of Macca beus, enraged by the blasphemies they had been hearing, bravely stormed the wall and with brutal fury killed everyone who stood before them. 36 Others took advantage of this diversion to climb the walls and set fire to the towers. They made bonfires and burned the blasphemers alive. Others destroyed the gates while the rest of the army entered to occupy the city.
37 They killed Timothy who had hidden in a well, and his brother Chereas, and Apollo phanes. 38 When all this was over, they chanted hymns and praises to the Lord who had exalted Israel and had given them victory.