2 Maccabees Chapter 04 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 63 – 69 Book 2 B.C. 166 [PDF: 113/119 of p.524]

CHAPTER IV

(i) The wars of Judas. The sanctuary cleansed.

1 Then took Gorgias five thousand foot-men and a thousand chosen horse-men, and the army 2 removed by night ; to the end that he might rush in upon the camp of the Jews, and smite them suddenly. And the men of the fortress were his 3 guides. Now when Judas heard thereof, he himself removed, and the valiant men with him, that he might smite the king’s army which was at 4 Emmaus, while as yet the forces were dispersed 5 from the camp. In the mean season came Gorgias by night into the camp of Judas : and when he found no man there, he sought them in the mountains : for said he, These fellows flee from us. 6 But as soon as it was day, Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men, who, p. 64 nevertheless had neither armour[1]P. 64 Foot Note a. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” body armour.” Compare ch. vi. 2. nor swords to their minds. And they saw the host of the heathen, 7 that it was strong, and well armed, and the horsemen compassing it round about ; and these were expert of war. Then said Judas to the men who 8 were with him, Fear ye not the multitude, neither be ye afraid of their assault. Remember how our 9 fathers were delivered in the Red sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with an army. Now therefore 10 let us cry unto heaven, if peradventure the Lord will have mercy upon us, and remember the covenant of our fathers, and destroy this host before our face this day : that so all the heathen may 11 know that there is one, who delivereth and saveth Israel. Then the strangers lifted up their eyes, 12 and saw them coming over against them. 13 Wherefore, they went out of the camp to battle ; and they which were with Judas sounded their trumpets.

14 So they joined battle, and the heathen were discomfited, and fled into the plain. Howbeit, all 15 the hindmost of them were slain with the sword : for they pursued them unto Gazera[2]P. 64 Foot Note b. Gazara is a town not far from Azotus, or Ashdod,which is a considerable city on the sea-coast. Herodotus speaks of its great size, and mentions the circumstance of its … Continue reading, and unto the plains of Idumaea[3]P. 64/65 Foot Note c. Throughout these books the word Idumaea is to be understood as denoting that southern district of Judaea, which, when unoccupied during the captivity of Judah, was entered … Continue reading, and Azotus, and Jamnia, p. 65 so that there were slain of them about three 16 thousand men. And Judas and his host returned 17 again from pursuing them : and said to the people, Be not greedy of the spoils, inasmuch as there 18 is a battle before us. And Gorgias and his host are here by us in the mountain: but stand ye now against our enemies, and overcome them, and after 19 this ye shall freely take the spoils. As Judas was yet speaking these words, there appeared a part of 20 them, shewing itself out of the mountain. And they perceived that their host had been put to flight, and that the Jews were burning the tents ; (for the smoke which was seen declared what was 21 done:) when therefore they perceived these things, they were sore afraid, and seeing also the host of 22 Judas in the plain ready to fight, they fled every 23 one into the land of strangers. Then Judas returned to spoil the tents, where they got much gold and silver, and blue silk, and purple of the 24 sea, and great riches. After this they went home, and sung a song of thanksgiving, and praised the Lord in heaven : because it is good, because his 25 mercy endureth for ever. Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

26 Now as many of the strangers as had escaped, came and told Lysias all which had happened. 27 Who, when he heard thereof, was confounded and discouraged, because neither such things as he would were done unto Israel, nor such things as the king commanded him were come to pass. 28 The next year [B.C. 165.] therefore following, Lysias p. 66 men of foot, and five thousand horsemen, that he might subdue them. So they came into Idumaea, 29 and pitched their tents at Bethsura[4]P. 66 Foot Note d. This appears to have been the name of a small district of Judaea, as well as of its chief town. The fortress of Bethsura was originally built by king; Rehoboam, being one of … Continue reading, and Judas met them with ten thousand men. And when he 30 saw that mighty army, he prayed, and said, Blessed art thou, O Saviour of Israel, who didst quell the violence of the mighty man by the hand of thy servant David, and gavest the host of Philistines into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul, and his armour-bearer. Shut up this army 31 in the hand of thy people Israel, and let them be confounded in their power and their horsemen ; give to them cowardice, and melt away the 32 boldness of their strength, and let them be overwhelmed in their destruction ; cast them down 33 with the sword of them which love thee, and let all those who know thy name, praise thee in hymns. So they joined battle ; and there were 34 slain of the host of Lysias about five thousand men, even before them were they slain. Now 35 when Lysias saw his army put to flight, and the manliness of Judas’ soldiers, and how they were ready either to live or die valiantly, he went to Antiochia, and gathered together a company of strangers, and having made his army greater than it was, he purposed to come again into Judaea.

36 Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are discomfited : let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary. 37 Upon this all the p. 67 host assembled themselves together, and went up 38 into mount Sion. And they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burnt down, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and 39 the priests’ chambers pulled down. And they rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and 40 cast ashes upon their heads, and fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an alarm with the trumpets, and cried towards heaven. 41 Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those who were in the fortress, until he had 42 cleansed the sanctuary. So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in 43 the law : and they cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place. 44 And as they consulted what to do with the altar 45 of burnt- offerings which was profaned ; a good counsel came into their minds to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it ; wherefore they pulled it 46 down. And laid up the stones in the mountain of the house in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with 47 them. Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar, according to the 48 former. And built up the sanctuary, and the inner parts of the house, and hallowed the courts. 49 They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the 50 altar[5]P. 67/68 Foot Note e. In our common translation here follow the words, “of burnt offerings and”— but these are manifestly an interpolation. Judas had already (see ver. 47-) built up … Continue reading of incense and the table. And upon the p. 68 altar they burnt incense, and the lamps which were upon the candlestick they lighted, and they gave light in the temple. Furthermore, they set 51 the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils[6]P. 68 Foot Note f. Or ” hangings,” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge], and finished all the works which they had begun to make. Now on the five and twentieth 52 day of the ninth month, (which is called the month Casleu[7]P. 68 Foot Note g. Answering to our November and December., in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning. And 53 offered sacrifice according to the law, upon the new altar of burnt-offerings, which they had made. At what time[8]P. 68 Foot Note h. The profanation of the temple had continued exactly for three years. See chapter i. 59., and what day the heathen had 54 profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs,and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. Then all 55 the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success. And so they kept the dedication of 56 the altar eight days, and offered burnt-offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. They decked also the 57 forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with small shields ; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. Thus 58 was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away. Moreover, Judas and his brethren, with 59 the whole congregation of Israel, ordained that p. 69 the days of the dedication[9]P. 69 Foot Note 1. Josephus declares that the observance of this feast continued unto his days. ” And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it lights. I suppose the … Continue reading of the altar should be kept in the season from year to year, by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.

60 At that time also they builded up the mount Sion with high walls and strong towers round about, lest the Gentiles should come and tread 61 it down, as they had done before. And they set there a garrison to keep it : and fortified Bethsura to preserve it, that the people might have a defence against the face of Idumaea.


Original Source: Transcribed from PDF copy of Book "The Five Books of Maccabees in English. With Notes and Illustrations", by HENRY COTTON, D.C.L.(Sir) Archdeacon of Cashel, and Late Student of Christ Church, Oxford. Publication date 1832 | PDF


References

References
1 P. 64 Foot Note a. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” body armour.” Compare ch. vi. 2.
2 P. 64 Foot Note b. Gazara is a town not far from Azotus, or Ashdod,which is a considerable city on the sea-coast. Herodotus speaks of its great size, and mentions the circumstance of its having endured a siege of no less than twenty-nine years, the longest on record in any history. Jamnia also is a town on the coast of the Mediterranean, situate in the tribe of Dan, near to Joppa.
3 P. 64/65 Foot Note c. Throughout these books the word Idumaea is to be understood as denoting that southern district of Judaea, which, when unoccupied during the captivity of Judah, was entered upon and possessed by the Edomites, who p. 65 quitted their own land for this purpose. Subsequently, they became almost incorporated with the Jews.
4 P. 66 Foot Note d. This appears to have been the name of a small district of Judaea, as well as of its chief town. The fortress of Bethsura was originally built by king; Rehoboam, being one of his ” cities for defence” towards Idumaea. See 2 Chron. xi. 5, 7. It stood on a high rock (as its name imports) within a short distance from Jerusalem.
5 P. 67/68 Foot Note e. In our common translation here follow the words, “of burnt offerings and”— but these are manifestly an interpolation. Judas had already (see ver. 47-) built up p.68 a new altar of burnt offerings, which was made of stone, and did not stand within the temple itself, but in the court: the altar of incense was of  gold, small and portable. Josephus agrees with this latter statement.
6 P. 68 Foot Note f. Or ” hangings,” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
7 P. 68 Foot Note g. Answering to our November and December.
8 P. 68 Foot Note h. The profanation of the temple had continued exactly for three years. See chapter i. 59.
9 P. 69 Foot Note 1. Josephus declares that the observance of this feast continued unto his days. ” And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it lights. I suppose the reason was, because this liberty shone forth to us beyond our hopes, and that thence was the name given to that festival.” Antiq. XII. 7.

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