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First Book of Machabees

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Chapter 5

      It happened also that when the Heathen round about heard, how that the altar and the Sanctuary were set up in their old estate: it displeased them very sore, wherefore they thought to destroy the generation of Jacob that was among them: In so much that they began to slay and persecute certain of the people. Then Judas fought against the children of Esau in Idumea, and against those which were at Arabathane, ( for they dwelt round about the Israelites) where he slew and spoiled a great multitude of them. He thought also upon the malice and unfaithfulness of the children of Bean, how they were a snare and stop unto the people, and how they layed wait for them in the high way: wherefore he shut them up in to towers, and came unto them, condemned them, and burnt up their towers, with all that were in them.
      Afterward went he against the children of Ammon, whereof he found a mighty power and a great multitude of people, with Timothy their captain. So he struck many battles with them, which were destroyed before him. And when he had slayen them, he won Gazer the city, with the towns belonging thereto, and so turned again into Jewry. The Heathen also in Galaad gathered them together, against the Israelites that were in their quarters, to slay them: but they fled to the castle of Datheman, and sent letters unto Judas and his brethren saying: The Heathen are gathered against us on every side, to destroy us, and now they make them for to come and lay siege to the castle, whereunto we are fled, and Timothy is the captain of their Host: come therefore, and deliver us out of their hands: for there is a great multitude of us slain already. Yee, and our brethren that were at Tubin, are slain and destroyed ( well nye a thousand men ) and their wives, their children and their goods have the enemies led away captive.
      While these letters were yet a reading, behold, there came other messengers from Galilee, with rent clothes: which told even the same tidings, and said, that they of Ptolomaus, of Tyrus, and of Sidon were gathered against them, and that all Galilee was filled with enemies to destroy Israel. When Judas and the people heard this, they came together ( a great congregation ) to devise, what they might do for their brethren, that were in trouble, and besieged of their enemies. And Judas said unto Simon his brother: Choose thee out certain men, and go and deliver thy brethren in Galilee: As for me and my brother Jonathas, we will go into Galaadithim. So he left Josephus the son of Zachary, and Asarias to be Captains of the people, and to keep the remnant of the Host in Jewry, and commanded them, saying: Take the oversight of this people, and see that ye make no war against the Heathen, until the time that we come again. And unto Simon he gave three thousand men for to go into Galilee, but Judas himself had eight thousand in Galaadithim.
      Then went Simon into Galilee, and struck diverse battles with the Heathen: who he discomfited, and followed upon them unto the port of *Ptolemais. And there were slain of the Heathen almost three thousand men. So he took the spoils of them, and carried away the Israelites, that were in Galilee, and in Arbatis, with their wives, their children, and all that they had, and brought them in to Jewry with great gladness. Judas Maccabeus also and his brother Jonathas, went over Jordan, and travelled three days journey in the wilderness: Where the Nebuthees met them, and received them lovingly, and told them every thing that had happened to their brethren in the land of Galaadithim, and how that many of them were besieged in Barasa, Bosor, Alimis, Casphor, Mageth, and Carnaim, ( all these cities are strong walled and mighty great cities ) And that they were kept in other cities of Galaad also: and tomorrow they are appointed to bring their Host unto these cities, to take them and to win them in one day.
      So Judas and his host turned in all the haste in the wilderness toward Bosor and won the city, slew all the males with the sword, took all their goods, and set fire upon the city. And in the night they took their journey from thence, and came to the castle. And by times in the morning when they looked up, behold, there was an innumerable people bearing ladders and other instruments of war, to take the castle and over come them.
      When Judas saw that the battle began, and that the noise thereof went up to heaven, and that there was so great a cry in the city: He said unto his host: Fight this day for your brethren. And so came behind their enemies in three companies, and blew up their trumpets, and cried in their prayer to God.
      But as soon as Timothis host perceived that Maccabeus was there, they fled from him, and the other slew them down right sore: so that there were killed of them that same day, almost eight thousand men. Then departed Judas unto Maspha, layed siege to it and won it, slew all the males in it, spoiled it, and set fire upon it. From thence went he and took Casbon, Mageth, Bosor, and the other cities in Galaad.
      After this gathered Timothy another Host, which pitched their tents before Raphon beyond the water. Judas sent to spy the host, and they brought him word again, saying: All the Heathen that be round about us, are gathered unto him, and the host is very great: Yee they have hired the Arabians to help them, and have pitched their tents beyond the water, and are ready to come and fight against thee. So Judas went on to meet them.
      And Timothy said unto the captains of his host: When Judas and his host come nye the river: if he go over first, we shall not be able to withstand him: for why? he will be too strong for us. But if he dare not come over so that he pitch his tent beyond the water: then we go over, for we shall be strong enough against him. Now as soon as Judas came near to the river, he appointed certain scribes of the people, and commanded them, saying: see that ye leave none behind upon this side of the river, but let every man come to the battle. So he went first over unto them and his people after him.
      And all the Heathen were discomfited before him, and let their weapons fall, and ran into the temple that was at Carnaim. Which city Judas won, and burnt the temple with all that were in it: So was Carnaim subdued, and might not withstand Judas. Then Judas gathered all the Israelites that were in Galaadithim, from the least unto the most, with their wives, and their children, ( very great host ) for to come into the land of Israel.
      So they came unto Ephron, which was a mighty, great and strong city, and lay in their way. For they could not go by it, neither of the right hand ner of the left, but must go through it. Nevertheless they that were in the city, would not let them go through, but walled up the ports with stones. And Judas sent unto them with peaceable words, saying: Let us pass through your land, that we may go into our own country: there shall no body do you harm, we will but only go through. But they would not let them in.
      Wherefore Judas commanded a proclamation to be made throughout the Host, that every man should keep his order: and so they did their best like valiant men.
      And Judas besieged the city all that day and all that night, and so won it: where they slew as many as were males, and destroyed the city, and spoiled it, and went through all the city over them that were slain. Then went they over Jordan into the plain field before Bethsan. And Judas helped those forward that came behind, and gave the people good exhortation all the way through, till they were come in to the land of Juda. Thus they went up unto the mount Sion, where they offered with mirth and thanksgiving: because there were none of them slain, but came home again peaceably.
      Now what time as Judas and Jonathas were in the land of Galaad, and Simon their brother in Galilee before Ptolomais: Then Josephus the son of Zachary and Asarias the captains, hearing of the acts that were done and the battles that were struck, said: Let us get us a name also, and go fight against the Heathen that are round about us.
      So they gave their host a commandment, and went toward Jamniah. Then came Gorgiah and his men out of the city, to fight against them: Josephus also and Asariah were chased unto the borders of Jewry and there were slain that day of the people of Israel two thousand men: so there was a great misery among the people, and all because they were not obedient unto Judas and his brethren, but thought they should quite themselves manfully. Nevertheless they came not of the seed of these men, by whom Israel was helped. But the men that were with Judas, were greatly commended in the sight of all Israel and all Heathen, where so ever their name was heard upon, and the people came unto them biding them welcome.
      After this went Judas forth with his brethren, and fought against the children of Esau, in the land that layeth toward the south where he won the city of Hebron and the towns that lay beside it: and as for the walls and towers round about it, he burnt them up. Then removed he to go in to the land of the Philistines, and went through Samaria. At the same time were there many priests slain in the battle, which willfully and without advisement went out for to fight to get them honor. And when Judas came to Azot in the Philistines land, he break down their altars, burned the images of their Idols, spoiled the cities, and came again into the land of Juda.


*Ptolemais. (grk = warlike)




Chapter 6

      Now when king Antiochus traveled through the high countries, he heard that Elymas in Persia was a noble and plenteous city in silver and gold, and that there was in it a very rich temple: where as were clothes, coat armorers and shields of gold, which Alexander the son of Philip king of Macedonia had left behind him. Wherefore he went about to take the city and to spoil it, but he was not able: for the citizens were warned of it, and fought with him. And so he fled and departed with great heaviness, and came again into Babylon. Moreover there came one which brought him tidings in Perside, that his hosts which were in the land of Juda, were driven away, and how that Lisias went forth first with a great power, and was driven away of the Jews: how that they had won the victory, and gotten great goods out of the hosts that perished: how they had broken down the abomination, which he had set up upon the altar in Jerusalem, and fenced the Sanctuary with high walls, like as it was afore: yee and Bethsura his city also.
      So it chanced, that when the King had heard these words, he was afraid and grieved very sore, Wherefore he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for very sorrow: and all because it had not happened as he had devised. And there continued he long, for his grief was ever more and more, so that he saw that he must needs die. Therefore he sent for his friends, and said unto them: The sleep is gone from mine eyes, for the very sorrow and vexation of heart that I have. For when I consider in my mind the great adversity that I am come unto, and the floods of heaviness which I am come in, whereas afore time I was so merry, and so greatly set by ( by reason of my power ) Again, considering the evil that I have done at Jerusalem, from whence I took all the riches of gold and silver that were in it, and sent to fetch away the inhabitors of Jewry without any reason why: I know, that these troubles are come upon me for the same cause. And behold, I must die with great sorrow in a strange land. Then called he for one Phillipe a friend of his, whom he made ruler of all his realm, and gave him the crown, his robe and his ring: that he should take his son Antiochus unto him, and bring him up, till he might reign himself. So the King Antiochus died there, in the hundred forty ninth year. When Lysias knew that the king was dead, he ordered Antiochus his son ( whom he had brought up ) to reign in his fathers stead, and called him Eupator. Now they that were in the castle ( at Jerusalem ) kept in the Jews round about the Sanctuary, and sought ever still to do them harm, for the strengthening of the Heathen.
      Wherefore Judas thought to destroy them, and called all the people together, that they might lay siege to them. So they came together in the hundred and fiftieth year, and besieged them, laying forth their ordinance and instruments of war. Then certain of them that were besieged went forth ( unto whom some ungodly men of Israel joined themselves also ) and went unto the king saying: How long will it be, or thou punish and avenge our brethren? We have ever been minded to do thy father service, to walk in his statutes, and to obey his commandments: Therefore our people fell from us, and wheresoever they found any of us, they slew them: and they have not only meddled with us, but with all our countries: and behold, this day they are besieging the castle at Jerusalem, and have made up the stronghold in Bethsura: And if thou doest not prevent them right soon, they will do more than these, and thou shalt not be able to overcome them.
      When the king heard this, he was very angry, and called all his friends, the captains of his footmen and all his horsemen together. He hired men of war also out of other realms and out of the Isles of the sea, which came unto him. And the number of his Host was an hundred thousand footmen, and twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty two Elephants well exercised to battle. These came through Idumea unto Bethsura, and besieged it a long season, and made diverse instruments of war against it. But the Jews came out and burnt them, and fought like men. Then departed Judas from the castle of Jerusalem, and removed the host toward Bethzacaran over against the kings army.
      So the king arose before the day, and brought the power of his Host in to the way to Bethzacaran, where the Hosts made them to battle, blowing the trumpets. And to provoke the Elephants to fight, they showed them the sap of reed grapes and mulberries. And divided the Elephants among the Host: so that by every Elephant there stood a thousand men well harnessed, and helmets of steel upon their heads: Yee unto every one of the Elephants also, were ordered five hundred horsemen of the best, which waited of the Elephant, going wheresoever he went, and departed not from him. Every Elephant was covered with a strong tower of wood, where upon were thirty two valiant men with weapons to fight, and with it was a man of *Inde to rule the beast.
      As for the remnant of the horsemen, he set them upon both the sides in two parties with trumpets, to provoke the Host, and to stir up such as were slow in the army. And when the sun shone upon their shields of gold and steel, the mountains glistered again at them, and were as bright as the *cressettes of fire. The kings host was also divided, one part upon the high mountains, the other low beneath: so they went on, taking good heed, and keeping their order. And all they that dwelt in the land, were afraid at the noise of their host, when the multitude went forth, and when the weapons were smote together, for the host was both great and mighty. Judas also and his host entered into the battle, and slew six hundred men of the Kings army. Now when Eleasar the son of Savara did see one of the Elephants decked with the kings badge, and was a more goodly beast then the other: he thought the king should be upon him, and jeopardied himself to deliver his people, and to get him a perpetual name.
      Wherefore he ran with courage unto the Elephant in the midst of the host, smiting them down of both the sides, and slew many about him. So went he to the Elephants feet, and gat him under him, and slew him: then fell the Elephant down upon him, and there he died. Judas also and his men seeing the power of the king and the mighty violence of his host, departed from them. And the kings army went up against them toward Jerusalem, and pitched their tents in Jewry beside mount Sion. Moreover, the king took truce with them that were in Bethsura.
      But when they came out of the city, ( because they had no victuals within, and the lay untilled ) the king took Bethsura, and set men to keep it, and turned his host to the place of the Sanctuary, and layed siege to it a great while. Where he made all manner of ordinance: handbows, fiery darts, rackets to cast stones, scorpions to shoot arrows, and slings. The Jews also made ordinance against theirs, and fought a long season.
      But in the city there were no victuals, for it was the seventh year of the wars, and those Heathen that remained in Jewry had eaten up all their store. And in the Sanctuary were very few men left, for the hunger came so upon them, that they were scattered abroad every man to his own place.
      So when Lysias heard that Philippe ( whom Antiochus the king while he was yet living, had ordered to bring up Antiochus his son, that he might be king ) was come again out of Persia and Medea with the kings host, and thought to obtain the kingdom: He gat him to the king in all haste, and to the captains of the host, and said: we decrease daily, and our vitals are but small: Again, the place that we lay siege unto, is very strong, and it were our part to see for the realm. Let us agree with these men and take truce with them, and with all their people, and grant them to live after their law, as they did afore. For they be grieved a do all these things against us, because we have despised their law. So the king and the princes were content, and sent unto them to make peace, and they received it. Now when the king and the princes had made an oath unto them, they came out of the castle, and the king went up to mount Sion. But when he saw that the place was well fenced, he break the oath that he had made, and commanded to destroy the wall round about. Then departed he in all haste, and returned unto Antioche, where he found Philippe having dominion over the city. So he fought against him, and took the city again in to his hands.




Chapter 7

      In the hundred fifty first year came Demetrius the son of Seleucus from the city of Rome with a small company of men, unto a city of the sea coast, and there he bare rule. And it chanced, that when he came to Antioch the city the city of his Progenitors, his host took Antiochus and Lysias, to bring them unto him. But when it was told him, he said: Let me not see their faces. So the host put them to death: Now when Demetrius was set upon the throne of his kingdom, there came unto him wicked and ungodly men of Israel: whose captain was Alcimus, that would have been made high priest: these men accused the people of Israel unto the king, saying: Judas and his brethren have slain thy friends, and driven us out of our own land. Wherefore send some man ( to whom thou givest credence ) that he may go and see all the destruction, which he hath done unto us and to the kings land, and let him be punished with all his friends and favorers.
      Then the king chose Bacchides a friend of his, which was a man of great power in the realm ( beyond the great river ) and faithful to the king: and sent him to see the destruction that Judas had done. And as for that wicked Alcimus, he made him high priest, and commanded him to be avenged of the children of Israel. So they stood up, and came with a great host into the land of Juda, sending messengers to Judas and his brethren, and speaking unto them with peaceable words: but under deceit. Therefore Judas and his people believed not their saying, for they saw that they were come with a great Host.
      After this came the scribes together unto Alcimus and Bacchides, trusting the best unto them. And first the Assideans required peace of them, saying: Alcimus the priest is come of the seed of Aaron, how can he deceive us ? So they gave them loving words, and swore unto them, and said: we will do you no harm, neither your friends: and they believed them. But the very same day took they sixty men of them and slew them according to the words that are written: They have cast the flesh of thy saints, and shed their blood round about Jerusalem, and there was no man that would bury them. So there came a great fear and dread among the people, saying: There is neither truth nor righteousness in them, for they have broken the appointment and oath that they made. And Bachides removed his host from Jerusalem, and pitched his tent at Bethzecha: where he sent forth, and took many of them that had forsaken him: He slew many of the people also, and cast them into a great pit. Then committed he the land to Alcimus, and left men of war with him to help him, and Bachides himself went unto the king. And thus Alcimus defended his high priesthood, and all such as vexed Israel, resorted unto him: In so much that they obtained the land of Juda, and did much evil unto the Israelites.
      Now when Judas saw all the mischief that Alcimus and his company had done ( yee more than the Heathen themselves ) unto the Israelites: He went forth round about all the borders of Jewry, and punished those unfaithful renegades, so that they came out no more into the country. So when Alcimus saw, that Judas and his people had gotten the upper hand, and that he was not able to abide them: he went again to the king, and said all the worst of them that he could. Then the king sent Nicanor, one of his chief princes, ( which bare evil will unto Israel ) and commanded him, that he should utterly destroy the people.
      So Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a great host, and sent unto Judas and his brethren with friendly words, ( but under deceit ) saying: there shall be no war between me and you: I will come with a few men, to see how ye do, with friendship. Upon this he came unto Judas, and they saluted one another peaceably: but the enemies were appointed to take Judas by violence. Nevertheless it was told Judas, that he came unto him but under deceit: wherefore he *got him away from him, and would see his face no more. When Nicanor he saw that his counsel was betrayed, went out to fight against Judas, beside Capharsalama: Where there were slain of Nicanors host, five thousand men: the residue fled into the castle of David.
      After this came Nicanor up unto mount Sion: and the priests with the elders of the people went forth to salute him peaceably and to show him the burnt sacrifices that were offered for the king. But he laughed them to scorn, mocked them, defiled their offerings, and spake *disdainedly, Yee and swore in his wrath, saying: If Judas and his host be not delivered now into my hands, as soon as ever I come again, ( and fair well ) I will burn up this house, With that, he went out in a great anger. Then the priests came in, and stood before the altar of the temple, weeping, and saying: For as much as thou ( O' Lord ) hast chosen this house, *that thy name might be called upon therein, and that it should be an house of prayer and petition *unto thy people: Be avenged of this man and his host, and let them be slain with the sword: remember the blasphemies of them, and suffer them not to continue any longer.
      When Nicanor was gone out of Jerusalem, he pitched his tents in Bethhoron, and there an host met him out of Syria. And Judas came to Adarsa with three thousand men, and made his prayer unto God, saying: O Lord, because the messengers of king *Senacherib blasphemed thee, the angel went forth, and slew an hundred eighty five thousand of them: Even so destroy thou this host before us today, that other people may know, how that he hath blasphemed thy Sanctuary: and punish him, according to his maliciousness.
      And so the hosts struck the field, the thirteenth day of the month Adar: and Nicanors host was discomfited, and he himself was first slain in the battle. When Nicanors men of war saw that he was killed, they cast away their weapons and fled: but the Jews followed upon them an whole days journey, from Adazer unto Gazara, blowing with the trumpets, and making tokens after them. So the Jews came forth of all the towns there about, and blew out their horns upon them, and turned against them: thus were they all slain, and not one of them was left.
      Then they took their substance for prey, and smote off Nicanors head and his right hand ( which he held up so proudly ) and brought it with them, and hanged it up *afere Jerusalem. Wherefore the people were exceedingly rejoiced, and passed over that day in great gladness. And Judas ordained, that the same day ( namely the thirteenth day of the month of Adar ) should be kept in mirth every year. Thus the land of Juda was in rest a little while.


*disdainedly (haughty contempt, aloofness)
*got him away from him, (kjv =was sore afraid of him)
*that thy name might be called upon therein, (kjv = called by thy name)
*and petition *unto (kjv = for) thy people
*Senacherib (kjv= of the Assyrians) *Senacherib = Heb "sin multiplied brothers"
*afere (afore =before) Jerusalem.




Chapter 8

      Judas heard also the fame of the Romans, that they were mighty and valiant men, and agreeable to all things that are required of them, and make peace with all men, which come unto them, and how they are *doughty men of strength. Besides that it was told him of their battles and noble acts which they did in Galatia, how they had conquered them, and brought them under tribute: And what great things they had done in Spaine, how that with their wisdom and sober behavior they had won the *Mines of the silver and gold the are there, and obtained all the land, with other places far from them: how they had discomfited and slain down the kings that came upon them, from the uttermost part of the earth, and how other people gave them tribute every year: How they had slain and over come Philippe and Perses king of the Cethim, and other more ( in battle ) which had brought their ordinance against them: How they had discomfited great Antiochus king of Asia ( that would needs fight with them ) having an hundred and twenty Elephants, with horsemen, chariots, and a very great host: how they took himself alive, and ordered him ( with such as should reign after him ) to pay them a great tribute, yee and to find them good sureties and pledge: besides all this, how they had taken from him India, Media and Lydia ( his best lands ) and given them to king Eumenus. Again, how they perceiving that the Greeks were coming to vex them: sent against them a captain of an host, which gave them battle, slew many of them, led away their wives and children captive, spoiled them, and took possession of their land, destroyed their strong holds, and subdued them to be their bond men, unto this day: Moreover, how that as for the other kingdoms of the Isles, which sometime withstood them, they destroyed them, and brought them under their dominion: But helped ever their own friends and those that were confederate with them, and conquered kingdoms both far and nye: and that whosoever heard of their renown, was afraid of them: for whom they would help to their kingdoms, those reigned: and whom it liked not them to reign, they put him down: And how they were put to great prominence: having no king among them, neither any man clothed in purple, to be magnified there through but ordered themselves a *parliament, where in there sat three hundred and twenty Senators daily upon the council, to dispatch ever the business of the people, and to keep good order: And how that every year they chose a Mayor, to have governance of all their land: to whom every man was obedient, and there was neither evil will ner dissention among them.
      Then Judas chose Eupolemus the son of Jhon, the son of *Jacob, and Jason the son of Eleazar, and sent them unto Rome *for to make friendship and a bond of love with them: that they might take from them the bondage of the Greeks, for the Jews saw that the Greeks would subdue the kingdom of Israel. So they went unto Rome ( a very great journey ) and came to the *Parliament and said: Judas Maccabeus with his brethren and the people of the Jews hath sent us unto you, to make a bond of friendship and peace with you, and ye to note us as you lovers and friends. And the matter pleased the Romans right well, wherefore it was written up: of the which the Romans made a writing in tables of Latin and sent it to Jerusalem: that they might have by them a memorial of the same peace and bond of friendship, after this manner: God save the Romans and the people of the Jews both by sea and by land, and keep the sword and enemy from them for evermore. If there come first any war upon the Romans or any of their friends throughout all their dominion, the people of the Jews shall help them ( as the time requireth ) and that with all their hearts. Also they shall neither give nor send unto their enemies victuals, weapons, money ner ships: but fulfill this charge at the Romans pleasure, and take nothing therefore. Again if the people of the Jews happen first to have war, the Romans shall stand by them with a good will, according as the time will *suffer. Neither shall they give unto the Jews enemies, victuals, weapons, money nor ships. Thus are the Romans content to do, and shall fulfill their charge without any deceit.
      According to these articles, the Romans made the bond with the Jews. And now after these ( said they ) if any of the parties will put to them, or take anything away from them: they shall do it with the consent of both: and whatsoever they add unto them or take away from them, it shall stand fast. And as touching the evil that Demetrius hath done unto the Jews, we have written unto him, saying: Wherefore layest thou thy heavy yoke upon the Jews our friends and lovers ? If they make any complaint of thee again unto us, we shall defend them, and fight with thee by sea and by land.


*doughty (brave) *parliament, (kjv= senate house) *Jacob (kjv = Accos),
*for to make friendship and a bond of love with them: (kjv = a league of amity and confederacy) *Parliament (senate). writing in tables of *Latin ( kjv = tables of brass)
*suffer (allow)


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