The Rededication of the Temple
(1 Maccabees 4.36-61)
1 Judas Maccabeus and his followers, under the leadership of the Lord, recaptured the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. 2 They tore down the altars which foreigners had set up in the marketplace and destroyed the other places of worship that had been built. 3 They purified the Temple and built a new altar. Then, with new fire started by striking flint, they offered sacrifice for the first time in two years, burned incense, lighted the lamps, and set out the sacred loaves. 4 After they had done all this, they lay face down on the ground and prayed that the Lord would never again let such disasters strike them. They begged him to be merciful when he punished them for future sins and not hand them over any more to barbaric, pagan Gentiles. 5 They rededicated the Temple on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev, the same day of the same month on which the Temple had been desecrated by the Gentiles. 6 The happy celebration lasted eight days, like the Festival of Shelters, and the people remembered how only a short time before, they had spent the Festival of Shelters wandering like wild animals in the mountains and living in caves. 7 But now, carrying green palm branches and sticks decorated with ivy, they paraded around, singing grateful praises to him who had brought about the purification of his own Temple. 8 Everyone agreed that the entire Jewish nation should celebrate this festival each year.
Ptolemy Macron Commits Suicide
9 The days of Antiochus Epiphanes had come to an end. 10 Now we will tell about Antiochus Eupator, the son of this godless man, and give a summary of the evil effects of his wars. 11 When he became king he appointed a man by the name of Lysias to be in charge of the affairs of state and to be chief governor of Greater Syria, 12 replacing Ptolemy Macron, who had been the first governor to treat the Jews fairly. Macron had established peaceful relations with them in an attempt to make up for the wrongs they had suffered. 13 As a result the King's Friends went to Eupator and accused Macron of treachery, because he had abandoned the island of Cyprus, which King Philometor of Egypt had placed under his command, and had gone over to Antiochus Epiphanes. In fact, everyone called Macron a traitor. No longer able to maintain the respect that his office demanded, he committed suicide by taking poison.
Judas Maccabeus Defeats the Idumeans
(1 Maccabees 5.1-8)
14 When Gorgias became governor of Idumea, he kept a force of mercenaries and attacked the Jews at every opportunity. 15 Not only this, but the Idumeans themselves controlled certain strategic fortresses and were constantly harassing the Jews. They welcomed those who fled from Jerusalem and did everything they could to keep the country in a perpetual state of war. 16 So Judas Maccabeus and his men, after offering prayers for God's help, rushed out and made a vigorous attack against the Idumean fortresses. 17 They beat back those who were defending the walls and captured the fortresses, killing everyone they found, a total of about 20,000 people.
18 About 9,000 of the enemy, however, managed to take refuge in two easily defended forts, with everything they needed to withstand a siege. 19 Judas had to go on to some other places in the country, where he was more urgently needed, but he left behind Simon and Joseph, together with Zacchaeus and his men. This force was large enough to continue the siege, 20 but some of Simon's men were greedy, and when they were offered 140 pounds of silver, they let some of the enemy escape from the forts. 21 When Judas heard what had happened, he called together the leaders of his troops and accused those men of selling their brothers by setting their enemies free to fight against them. 22 Then he executed the traitors and immediately captured the two forts. 23 Judas was always successful in battle, and in his assault on those two forts he killed more than 20,000 men.
Judas Defeats Timothy
24 Timothy, who had been defeated by the Jews once before, had gathered a large number of cavalry from Asia and a tremendous force of mercenary troops and was now advancing to take Judea by armed attack. 25 But as the enemy forces were approaching, Judas and his men prayed to God. They put on sackcloth, threw dirt on their heads, 26 and lay face downward on the steps of the altar, begging God to help them by fighting against their enemies, as he had promised in his Law.
27 When they had finished praying, they took up their weapons, went out a good distance from Jerusalem, and stopped for the night not far from the enemy. 28 At daybreak the two armies joined in battle. The Jewish forces depended upon both their bravery and their trust in the Lord for victory, while the enemy relied only on their ability to fight fiercely. 29 When the fighting was at its worst, the enemy saw five handsome men riding on horses with gold bridles and leading the Jewish forces. 30 These five men surrounded Judas, protecting him with their own armor and showering the enemy with arrows and thunderbolts. The enemy forces then became so confused and bewildered that they broke ranks, and the Jews cut them to pieces, 31 slaughtering 20,500 infantry and 600 cavalry.
32 Timothy himself escaped to the strongly defended fort of Gezer, where his brother Chaereas was in command. 33 Judas and his men besieged the fort for four days with great enthusiasm, 34 but those inside trusted to the security of their positions and shouted all sorts of terrible insults against the Jews and their God. 35 At dawn on the fifth day, twenty of Judas' men, burning with anger at these insults, bravely climbed the wall and with savage fury chopped down everyone they met. 36 At the same time, others climbed the walls on the other side of the fort and set the towers on fire. Many of the enemy were burned to death as the flames spread. A third force broke down the gates and let in the rest of Judas' men to capture the city. 37 Timothy had hidden in a cistern, but they killed him, as well as his brother Chaereas and Apollophanes.
38 When it was over, the Jews celebrated by singing hymns and songs of thanksgiving to the Lord, who had shown them great kindness and had given them victory.