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First Book of Machabees

(Part Three)


The 12th Chapter
     When these covenants were made Lysias went unto the king, and the Jews tilled their ground. But Timotheus, Apollonius the son of Gemei, Jerome (kjv =Hieronymus) and Demophon the proud, Nicanor the captain of the Cypers, and they that lay in those places: would not let them live in rest and peace. They of Joppa also did even such a shameful deed. They prayed the Jews that dwelt among them, to go with their wives and children into the ships which they had prepared, and did with them, as though they had owed them no evil will. For so much then as there was gone forth a general proclamation through the city because of peace, they consented thereto, and suspect nothing: but when they were gone forth in to the deep, they drowned no less then two hundred of them.
     When Judas knew of this cruelty showed unto his people, he commanded those that were with him to make them ready, exhorting them to call upon God the righteous judge: went forth against those murderers of his brethren, set fire in the haven by night, burnt up the ships, and those that escaped from the fire, he slew with the sword. And when he had done this, he departed as though he would come again, and root out all them of Joppa. But when he had gotten word that the Jamnites were minded to do in like manner unto the Jews which dwelt among them, he came upon the Jamnites by night, and set fire in the haven with the ships: so that the light of the fire was seen at Jerusalem upon two hundred and forty furlongs.
     Now when they were gone from that place nine furlongs, in their journey toward Timotheus, five thousand men of foot and five hundred horsemen of the Arabians fought with him. So when the battle was earnest, and prospered with Judas through
the help of God: the residue of the Arabians being overcome, besought Judas to be at one with them, and promised to give him certain pastures, and to do him good in other things. Judas thinking that they should in deed be profitable concerning many things, promised them peace: whereupon they shook hands, and so they departed to their tents. Judas went also unto a city, which was very fast kept with bridges, fenced round about with walls, and diverse kinds of people dwelling therein called Caspin. (kjv= Caspis)
     They that were within it, put such trust in the strength of the walls, and in their store of victuals: that they were the slacker in their doings, cursing and reviling Judas with blasphemes, and speaking such words as it becomes not. But Machabeus calling upon the great Prince of the world (which without any battlerams or ordinance of war, did cast down the walls of Jericho, in the time of Joshua) fell manfully upon the walls, and took the city, and (through the help of the Lord) made an exceedingly great slaughter: Insomuch that a lake of two furlongs broad which lay thereby, seemed to flow with the blood of the slain.
     Then departed they from that place seven hundred and fifty furlongs, and came to Taraca (kjv=Characa) unto the Jews that are called Tubianei (kjv= Tubieni). But as for Timothe, they could not get him there: for (not one matter dispatched) he was departed from that place, and had left certain men in a very stronghold. But Dositheus and Sosipater, which were Captains with Maccabeus, slew those that Timotheus had left in the house of defense, even ten thousand men. And Maccabeus prepared him with the six thousand men that were about him, set them in order by companies, and went forth against Timotheus, which had with him an hundred and twenty thousand men of foot, two thousand five hundred horsemen.
     When Timotheus had knowledge of Judas coming, he sent the women, children and the other baggage unto a castle called Carnion.(For it could not be won and was hard to come unto, the ways of the same places were so narrow) and when Judas company came first in sight, the enemies were smitten with fear, through the presence of God, which sees all things: In so much that they fleeing one here, another there, were rather discomfited of their own people, and wounded with many strokes of their own swords. Judas also was very earnest in following upon them punishing those ungodly, and slew thirty thousand men of them. Timotheus himself fell into the hands of Dositheus and Sosipater, whom he besought with many prayers, to let him go with his life: because he had many of the Jews fathers and brethren in prison which (if they put him to death) might be disappointed. So when he had promised faithfully to deliver them again according to the condition made, they let
him go without harm, for the health of the brethren. And when Judas had slain twenty five thousand he went from Carnion.
     Now after he had chased away a slain his enemies, he removed the host toward Ephron a strong city, wherein dwelt many diverse people of the Heathen, and the strong young men kept the walls, defending them mightily. In this city was much ordinance, and provision of darts. But when Judas and his company had called upon Almighty God (which with his power breaks the strength of his enemies) they won the city and slew twenty five thousand of them, that were within. From from that place went they to the city of the Scythians, which lies six hundred furlongs from Jerusalem. But when the Jews which were in the city testified, that the citizens dealt lovingly with them, yes and entreated them kindly in the time of their adversity, Judas and his company gave them thanks, desiring them to be friendly still unto them: and so they came to Jerusalem the high feast of the weeks being at hand. And after the feast they went forth against Gorgias the governor of Idumea, with three thousand men of foot and four hundred horsemen. Which when they met together, it chanced a few of the Jews to be slain. And Dositheus one of the Bachenors a mighty horsemen took hold of Gorgias, and would have taken him quick. But a horseman of Thracia fell upon him, and smote off his arm, so that Gorgias fled into Moresa. When they now that were of Gorgias side, had fought long and were weary: Judas called upon the Lord that he would be their helper, and captain of the field: and with that, he began with a manly voice to take up a song of praise, and a cry: In so much that he made the enemies afraid, and Gorgias men of war took their flight.
     So Judas gathered his host, and came into the city of Odolla. And when the seventh day came upon them, they cleansed themselves (as the custom was) and kept the Sabbath in the same place. And upon the day following, Judas and his company came to take up the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them in the fathers graves. Now under the coats of certain Jews which were slain, they found Jewels that they had taken out of the temple and from the Idols of the Jamniters: which thing is forbidden the Jews by the law. Then every man saw that this was the cause, wherefore they were slain.
     And so every man gave thanks unto the Lord for his righteous judgment, which had opened the thing that was hid. They fell down also unto their prayers, and besought God, that the fault which was made, might be put out of remembrance. Besides that, Judas exhorted the people earnestly, to keep themselves from such sin: for so much as they saw before their eyes, that these men were slain for the same offense. So he gathered of everyone a certain, insomuch that he brought together two thousand drachms of silver, which he sent unto Jerusalem, that there might a sacrifice be offered for the misdeed. In the which place he did well and right: For he had some consideration and pondering of the life that is after this time. For if he had not thought that they, which were slain, did yet live, it had been superfluous and vain, to make any vow or sacrifice, for them, that were dead. But for so much as he saw, that they which die in favor and belief of God, are in good rest and joy, he thought it to be good and honorable for reconciling, to do the same for those which were slain, that the offense might be forgiven.

The 13th Chapter
     In the hundred forty ninth year got Judas knowledge, that Antiochus Eupator was coming with a great power into Jewry, and Lysias the steward and ruler of his matters with him: having an hundred and ten thousand men of foot five thousand horsemen, twenty two Elephants, and three hundred chariots. Menelaus also joined himself with them (but with great deceit) and spoke fair to the king, not for any good of the country, but because he thought to have been made some great man of authority. But the king of kings moved Antiochus mind against this ungodly person, and Lysias informed the king, that this Menelaus was the cause of all mischief: so that the king commanded to take him, and (as the manner of them is) to put him unto death in the same place.
     There was also in the same place a tower of fifty cubits high, heaped with ashes: but above it was so made, that men might look down on every side. Where into the king commanded that shameful person to be cast among the ashes, as one that was cause of all ungraciousness. And reason it was, that the unthrift should die such a death, and not be buried: for he had done much mischief unto the altar of God (whose fire and ashes were holy) therefore it was right, that he himself also should be destroyed with ashes.
     But the king was wood in his mind and came to show himself more cruel unto the Jews, than his father was. Which when Judas perceived, he commanded the people to call upon the Lord night and day: that he would now help them also, like as he had done always: For they were afraid to be put from their law, from their natural country and from the holy temple: and not to suffer the people (which a little while before began to recover) to be subdued again of the blasphemous nations.
     So when they had done this together, and besought the Lord for mercy, with weeping and fasting three days long, flat upon the ground: Judas exhorted them to make themselves ready. But he and the elders together devised, to go forth first with their people, before the king brought his host into Jewry, and before he besieged the city, and *so to commit the matter unto God. (kjv= to go forth and try the matter in fight by the help of the Lord.)
     Wherefore he ascribed the power of all things unto God the maker of the world, exhorting his people to fight manfully, (you even unto death) for the laws, the temple, the city, and their own natural country, and to defend the *citizens: (kjv= commonwealth) and set his host before Modin. He gave them also that were with him, a token of the victory of God, choosing out the manliest young men, went to the kings pavilion, slew of the host fourteen thousand men, and the greatest Elephants, with those that sat upon them.
     Thus when they had brought great fear and rumor among the tents of their enemies, and all things went prosperously with them, they departed in the break of the day, God being their helper and defender. Now when the king perceived the manliness of the Jews, he went about to take the strong places by craft, and removed his host unto Bethsura, which was a well kept house of defense of the Jews: but they were chased away, hurt and discomfited.
     And Judas sent unto them that were in it, such things as were necessary. In the Jews host also there was one Rhodocus, which told the enemies their secrets; but they sought him out, and when they had gotten him, they put him in prison. After this did the king commune with them in Bethsum, took truce with them, departed, and stuck battle with Judas, which over came him.
     But when he understood, that Phillip (whom he had left to be overseer of his business at Antioche) began to rebel against him, he was astonished in his mind: so that he yielded himself to the Jews, and made them an oath, to do whatsoever they thought right.
     Now when he was reconciled with them, he offered, made much of the temple, and gave great gifts unto it, embraced Maccabeus, making him captain and governor
from Ptolemais unto the Gerrenes.
     Nevertheless when he came to Ptolemais, the people of the city were not content with that bond of friendship: for they were afraid, that he would break the covenant. Then went Lysias went up in to the seat and in formed the people, showed them the cause why, and pacified them. So he came again to Antioch. This is now the matter concerning the kings journey, and his return.

The 14th Chapter
     After three years was Judas informed, how that Demetrius the son of Seleucus, was come up with great power and ships, through the haven of Tripolis, to take certain commodious places and countries, against Antiochus and his captain Lysias. Now Alcimus (which had been high Priest, and willfully defiled himself, in the time of the martyring) (kjv= mingling with the Gentiles,) seeing, that by no means he could be helped, (kjv= save himself) nor have any more entrance to the altar: he came to king Demetrius in the hundred and fifty first year, presenting unto him a crown of gold, a palm, and an olive tree: which (as men thought) belonged to the temple, and that day he held his tongue. But when he had gotten opportunity for his madness, Demetrius called him to counsel, and asked him, what things or councils the Jews leaned unto? He answered: The Jews that be called Assidei (whose captain is Judas Maccabeus) maintain wars, make insurrections, and will not let the realm be in peace.
     For being deprived of my fathers honor,(I mean the high priesthood) am come hither: partly because I was faithful unto the king, and partly because I sought the profit of the citizens. And why? all our people, through the wickedness of them, are not a little troubled. Wherefore I beseech you (O king) consider all these things diligently, and then make some provision for the land and the people, according to the kindness that you have offered unto them. For as long as Judas has the upper hand, it is not possible that men can live in peace.
     When he had spoken these words, other friends also having evil will at Judas, set the king Demetrius on fire against him. Which immediately sent Nicanor (ruler of the Elephants) a captain, in to Jewry: commanding him, to take Judas himself alive, but to slay them that were with him, and make Alcimus high priest of the temple.
     Then the Heathen which fled out of Jewry from Judas, came to Nicanor by flocks, thinking the harm and decay of the Jews to be their welfare. Now when the Jews heard of Nicanors coming, and that the gathering together of the Heathen: they sprinkled themselves with earth, and besought him, which made them his people, and ever defended his own portion with evident tokens, that he would preserve them still. So at the commandment of the captain, they removed from that place, and came to a town called Dessasan. And Simon Judas brother fell in hand with Nicanor, but through the sudden coming of the enemies, he was afraid.
     Nevertheless Nicanor hearing of the manliness of them that were with Judas, and the bold stomachs that they had to fight for their natural country, durst not prove the matter with bloodshedding. Wherefore he sent Possidonius, Theodocius, and Mathias before, to give and to take peace. So when they had taken long advisement thereupon, and the captain showed it unto the multitude: they were agreed in one mind, to have peace. And they appointed a day to sit upon these matters quietly among themselves, the stools also were set forth. Nevertheless Judas commanded certain men of arms to wait in convenient places, least there should suddenly arise any evil through the enemies. And so they communed reasonably together.
     Nicanor, while he abode in Jerusalem, ordered himself not unreasonably, but sent away the people that *were gathered together. (kjv= came flocking unto him.) He loved Judas ever in his heart, and favored him. He prayed him also to take a wife, and to bring forth children. So he married, lived in rest, and they led a common life. But Alcimus perceiving the love that was between them, and how they were agreed together, came to Demetrius, and told him that Nicanor had taken strange matters in hand, and ordained Judas (an enemy of the realm) to be the kings successor. Then the king was sore displeased, and through the wicked accusations which Alcimus made of Nicanor, he was provoked, that he wrote unto Nicanor, saying: that he was very angry for the friendship and the agreement, which he had made with Machabeus. Nevertheless he commanded him in all the haste, that he should take Maccabeus prisoner, and send him to Antioche.
     Which letters when Nicanor had seen, he was at his wits end, and sore grieved, that he should break the things wherein they had agreed: specially, saying Machabeus was the man, that never did him harm. But that he might not withstand the king, he sought opportunity to fulfill his commandment. Not withstanding when Maccabeus saw that Nicanor began to be *churlish (having a bad disposition, difficult to work with) unto him, and that he entreated him more roughly than he was wont, he perceived that such unkindness came not of good, and therefore he gathered a few of his men, and withdrew himself from Nicanor. Which when he knew that Machabeus had manfully prevented him, he came into the great and most holy temple: and commanded the priests (which were doing their usual offerings) to deliver him the man. And when they sware that they could not tell where the man was whom he sought, he stretched out his hand, and made an oath, saying: If you will not deliver me Judas captive, I shall remove this temple of God into the plain field, (kjv =even with the ground) I shall break down the altar, and consecrate this temple unto Bacchus.
     Then the priests lift up their hands toward heaven, and besought him that was ever the defender of their people, saying: You O' Lord of all, (kjv =all things) which have need of nothing, would that the temple of your habitation should be among us.
     Therefore now O' most holy Lord, keep this house ever undefiled, which lately was cleansed. Now was there accused unto Nicanor, one Razis one Alderman of Jerusalem, a lover of the whole city, and a man of good report: which for the kind heart that he bare unto the people, was called a father of the Jews. This man often times, when the Jews were minded to keep them selves undefiled, defended and delivered them, being content steadfastly to spend his body and his life for the people.
     So Nicanor willing to declare the hate, that he bare to the Jews, sent five hundred men to take him: For he thought, if he got him, he should bring the Jews in great decay. Now when the people began to rush in at his house, to break doors, and to set fire on it: he being now taken, would have defended himself with his sword: choosing rather to die manfully, than to yield himself to those wicked doers: and because of his noble stock, he had rather been put to extreme cruelty. Notwithstanding what time as he missed of his stroke for haste, and the multitude fell violently between the doors: he ran boldly to the wall, and cast himself down manfully among the heap of them, which gave soon place to his fall, so that he fell upon his belly. Nevertheless while there was yet breath within him, he was kindled in his mind, and while his blood gushed out exceedingly (for he was very sore wounded) he ran through the midst of the people, and got him to the top of a rock. So when his blood was gone, he took out his own bowels with both his hands, and threw them upon the people: calling upon the Lord of life and spirit, to reward him this again, and so he died.

The 15th Chapter
     Now when Nicanor knew that Judas was in the country of Samaria, he thought with all his power to strike a field with him upon a Sabbath day. Nevertheless the Jews that were compelled to go with him, said: O do not so cruelly and unkindly, but hallow the Sabbath day, and worship him that sees all things. For all this, yet said the ungracious person: Is there a mighty one in heaven, that commands the Sabbath day to be kept? And when they said: Yes the living God, the mighty Lord in heaven commanded the seventh day to be kept, he said: And I am mighty upon earth, to command them for to arm themselves, and to perform the kings business. Notwithstanding he might not have his purpose.
     Nicanor had devised with great pride to overcome Judas, and to bring away the victory. But Maccabeus had ever a fast confidence and a perfect hope in God that he would help him, and exhorted his people, not to be afraid at the coming of the Heathen: but always to remember the help that had been shown unto them from heaven, Yes and to be sure now also, that almighty God would give them the victory. He spoke unto them out of the law and the prophets, putting them in remembrance of the battles, that they had stricken before, and made them to be of good courage.
     So when their hearts were plucked up he showed them also the deceitfulness of the Heathen, and how they would keep no covenant nor oath. Thus he weaponed them not with the armor of the shield and spear, but with wholesome words and exhortations. (kjv = armed every one of them, not so much with defense of shields and spears, as with comfortable and good words) He showed them a dream also, where through he made them all glad, which was this: He thought that he saw Onias (which had been high priest, a virtuous and loving man, sad and of honest conversation, well spoken, and one that had been exercised in Godliness from a child) holding up his hands toward heaven, and praying for his people. After this there appeared unto him another man, which was aged, honorable and glorious. And Onias said: This is a lover of the brethren, and of the people of Israel. This is he that prays much for the people, and for all the holy city: Jeremy the prophet of God. He thought also that Jeremy held out his right hand, and gave him (namely unto Judas) a sword of gold, saying: Take this holy sword, a gift from God, wherewith you shall smite down the enemies of the people of Israel.
     And so they were well comforted through the words of Judas, and took courage unto them, so that the young men were determined in their minds to fight, and to bide stiffly at it: In so much that in the things which they took in hand, their boldness showed the same, because the holy city and the temple were in peril: for the which they took more care, then for their wives, children, brethren and kinsfolks. Again, they were in the city, were most careful for those which were to fight. Now when they were all in a hope that the judgement of the matter was at hand, and the
enemies drew nye, the host set in array, the Elephants and the horsemen everyone standing in his place: Maccabeus considered the coming of the multitude, the ordinance of divers weapons, the cruelness of the beasts, and held up his hands toward heaven, calling upon the Lord that does wonders, which gives not the victory after the multitude of weapons and power of the host (but to them that please him) according to his own will. Therefore in his prayer he said these words.
     O' Lord, you did send your Angel in the time of Ezekiah king of Judea, and in the host of Sennacherib slew an hundred and eighty five thousand: send now also your good angel before us (O' Lord of heavens) in the fearfulness and dread of your mighty arm, that they which come against your holy people to blaspheme them, may be afraid. And so he made an end of his words. Then Nicanor and they that were with him, drew near with *shawmes (like an oboe; a double reed instrument) and songs: but Judas and his company with prayer and calling upon God.
     With their hands they smote, but with their hearts they prayed unto the Lord, and slew no less than thirty five thousand men: For through the present help of God they were gloriously comforted.
     Now when they left off, and were turning away with joy, they understood that Nicanor himself was slain with other. Then they gave a great shout and cry, praising the Almighty Lord with a loud voice. And Judas (which was ever ready to spend his body and life for his citizens) (kjv = the chief defender of the citizens both in body and mind) commanded to smite off Nicanors head, with his arm and hand, and to be brought to Jerusalem. When he came there, he called all the people, and the priests at the altar with those that were in the castle, and showed them Nicanors head, and his wicked hand, which he had presumptuously holden up against the temple of God. He caused the tongue also of the ungodly Nicanor to be cut in little pieces, and to be cast to the fowls, and the cruel mans hand to be hanged up before the temple.
      So every man gave thanks unto the Lord, saying: Blessed be he, that has kept his place undefiled.
     As for Nicanors head, he hanged it up upon the castle, for an evident and plain token of the help of God. And so they agreed altogether, to keep that day holy, namely the thirtieth day of the month Adar, which in the Syrian language is called the next day before Mardocheus day. (see kjv : as if Adar is given from Syrian) Thus was Nicanor slain, and from that time forth the Jews had the city in possession: And here I will now make an end.

The end of the second book of Machabees

The end of the Books from the Hebrew


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