1 Maccabees 6

6And king Antiochus was journeying through the upper countries; and he heard that Elymaisa, in Persia, wasb a city crenowned for riches, for silver and goldc, and that the temple which was in it (was) rich exceedingly, and that therein (were) golden shields, and breastplates, and arms, which Alexander, son of Philipd, the Macedoniane king, who reigned first among fthe Greeksf, had left behind there. So he came and sought to take the city, gand to pillage itg; but he was not able (to do so) because the thing had become known to them of the city. And they rose uph against him to battlei; and he fled, and removedk thence with great heaviness, to return to Babylon.

And lthere came one bringing him tidingsl into Persiam that nthe armies, which went against othe land ofo Judahn, had been put to flight; and that Lysias had gone forth at the head of a strong army, and had been put to shame before them; pand that they had waxed strong by reason of arms qand power, and with store of spoilsq, which they took from the rarmies that they had cut offr p s; and that they had pulled down tthe abomination which he had builtu upon the altar that was in Jerusalemt; and that they had compassed about the sanctuaryv with high walls, was (had been the case) formerlyw, and Bethsura, xhis cityx. And it came to pass, when the king heard these words, he was struck with amazement and greatly moved; and he laid him down upon (his) bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he had looked for. And he was there many days, because greaty grief was renewed upon him; and hez reckoned that he was about to die. 10 And he called for all his Friends, and said unto them: ‘Sleep departeth from mine eyes, and (my)a heart faileth bfor careb. 11 cAnd I said in (my) heartc, Unto what tribulation am I come, and how great a flood is it wherein I now am! For I was gracious and beloved in my power. 12 But now I remember the evils which I did at Jerusalem, and that I took alld the vessels eof silver and gold that were therein, and sent forth (armies) to destroy thef inhabitantse of Judah without a cause. 13 I perceive that on this account these evils are come upon me, and, behold, I perish gthrough great griefg in a strange land.’ 14 And heh called for Philip, ione of his Friendsk i, and set him over all his kingdom, and gave him (his) diadem, 15 and his robe, and (his) signet-ring, lto the end that he should educatel Antiochus his son, mand bring him up to be kingm. 16 And kingn Antiochus died there oin the one hundred and forty-ninth yearo. 17 And when Lysias knew that the king was dead, he set up Antiochus his (i.e. the king’s) son to reignp, whom he had nourished up while yet young, and he called his name Eupator.

6:18–54. The struggle between Judas and the forces under Lysias and Eupator for the possession of Jerusalem and Bethsura.

18 And they that were in the citadel kept enclosing Israel round about the sanctuary, and continually sought their hurt, qand (acted as) a support to the Gentilesq. 19 And Judasr purposed to destroy them, and called alls the people together to besiege them. 20 tAnd they were gathered together, and besieged themt in uthe one hundred and fiftieth yearu; and hev constructed siege-towersw against them, and engines (of war). 21 And there came forth some xof themx that were shut up, and unto them were joined certain ungodly men of Israely. 22 And they went unto the king and said: ‘How long wilt thou not execute judgement, and (when wilt thou) avenge our brethren? 23 We were willing to serve thy father, and to walk after his words, aand to follow his commandmentsa. 24 b cFor this causec the children of our people dbesieged it (i.e. the citadel)e b, and were alienated from us, andf gas many of us as they could light ong they killedh, iand they spoiledk our inheritancesi. 25 And not against us only did they stretch out their hand, but also against all theirl borderlands. 26 And, behold, they are encamped this day against the citadel in Jerusalem with the object of capturing it, and they have fortified the sanctuarym and Bethsura. 27 And if thou art notn beforehand with them quickly they will do greater things than these, and thou wilt noto be able to control them.’

28 And the king was angry when he heard (this); andp he gathered together all his Friends, (who were) the leaders of his host, and them that were over the horseq. 29 And there came unto himr from other kingdomss, and from tthe isles of the seat, bands of mercenaries. 30 And the number of his forces was a hundred thousand footmen, and twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two elephants trained for war. 31 And they went through Idumaea, and encamped against Bethsura, and fought against (it) many days, and made engines (of war); but uthey (that were besieged)u came out and burned them with fire, and fought manfully. 32 And Judas removed from the citadel, and encamped at Bethzacharias, over against the king’s camp. 33 And the king rose early in the morning, and removed the army in its eagerness valong the road to Beth-zachariasv; and his forces prepared themselvesw for the battle, and sounded with trumpets. 34 And they showed the elephants the blood of grapes and mulberries, that they might prepare them for the battle. 35 And they divided the beasts among the phalanxesx, and they set by each elephant a thousand men armed with coats of mail, and helmets of brass yon their headsy; and for each beast were appointed five hundred chosen horsemen. 36 These had previously been (with the beasts) zwherever a beast wasz; aand whithersoever it went, bthey went together with (it)b; they did not leave ita. 37 And towers of wood (were) upon them, strong (and) covered, (one) upon each beast, girt fast c dupon them withd (special) contrivancesc; 38 and upon each were thirty-etwo mene, fighting ffrom themf, gand (each beast had) its Indiang. hAnd the residue of the horsemen he placed on this side and that side, on either wing of the army, i(thus) striking terror (into the enemy, while) covering the phalanxesi h. 39 Now when the sun shone upon the shields of gold kand brassk, the mountains shone therewith, and blazed like torches lof fire. 40 And a partl of the king’sm army lwas spreadl upon the highn mountains, and some on the olow groundo, and they went on psafelyq and in orderp. 41 And all thatr heard the noise of their multitude, sand of the marching of the multitude, and the rattling of the armss, did quake; for the army was exceedingt ugreat andu strong. 42 And Judas and his army drew near for battle, and there fell of the king’s army six hundred men.

43 And Eleazar Avaran saw one of the beasts armed with royal breastplates, and he was higher than all the (other) beasts, so that it appeared as though the king were upon it; 44 and he gave himself to deliver his people and to acquire an everlasting name; 45 and he ran upon it courageously into the midst of the phalanxv, and slew on the right hand and on the left, and they parted asunder wfrom himw on this side and on that; 46 and he crept under the elephant, xandy thrust him from beneathx, and slew it; and it fell to the earth upon him, and he died there. 47 And when theyz saw the strength of the royala (army), and the fierce onslaughtb of the hosts, theyc turned away from them.

48 dBut theyd of the king’s army went up to Jerusalem to meet them, and the king encamped toward Judaea, and toward mount Sion. 49 And he made peacee with them of Bethsura; forf theyg came out of the city, because they had no food thereh to be shut up therein (any longer), ibecause it was a sabbath to the landi. 50 And the king took Bethsura, and appointedk a garrison there to keep it. 51 And he encamped against the sanctuary many days, and set there siege-towersl, and engines (of war), and instruments for casting fire mand stonesm, and pieces to cast darts and slings. 52 And they (who were besieged) also made engines against their engines, and fought for manyn days. 53 But there were no victuals in the store-chamberso pbecause it was the seventh yearp, and they that had fled for safety qto Judaeaq from the Gentiles had eaten up the residue of the store; 54 and there were (but) a few men left in the sanctuary, because the famine prevailed against them, and they were scattered, each man to his own place.

6:55–63. An abortive treaty of peace.

55 And Lysias heard that Philip, whom Antiochus the kingr—while he was yet alive—appointed to nourish up his son Antiochuss that he might be king, 56 had returned from Persia tand Mediat, and with him the forces that went withu the king, and that he was seeking to take unto him the governmentv. 57 And hew made haste, and gave consent to depart; and hex said yto the king andy to the leaders of the host and to thez men: ‘aWe languish dailya, and our food is scant, and the place which we are besieging is strongb, 58 and the affairs of the kingdom lie upon us; now therefore let us give the right hand to these men, 59 and make peace cwith themc, dand with all their nationd; and let us settle with them that they (be permitted) to walk after their own laws, as aforetime; for because of their laws which we abolished were they angered, and did all these things.’ 60 And the saying pleased the king and the leaders, and he sent unto them to make peacee; and theyf accepted thereof. 61 And the king gand the leadersg sware unto them in accordance with these (conditions); (thereupon) theyh came forth from the stronghold, and the king entered into mount Sion. 62 But (when) he saw the strength of the place, he set at nought the oath iwhich he had sworn, and gave commandmenti to pull downk the wall round about. 63 And hel removed in haste, and returned unto Antioch, and found Philip master of the city; and he fought against him, and took the city mby forcem.

7:1–20. Demetrius becomes king of Syria; Bacchides and Alchimus sent against the Jews.

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