Then stood up Judas Macabeus in his fathers stead, and all his brethren helped him: and so did all they that held with his father, and fought with cheerfulness for Israel. So Judas gat his people great honor: He put on a breastplate as a giant, and arrayed himself with his harness, and defended the host with his sword. In his acts he was like a Lion, and as a lions whelp roaring at his prey. He was an enemy to the wicked, and hunted them out: and burnt up those that vexed his people. So that his enemies fled for fear of him, and all the workers of ungodliness were put to trouble: such luck and prosperity were in his hand. This grieved diverse kings, but Jacob was greatly rejoiced through his acts, and he gat himself a great name forever.
He went through the cities of Juda, destroying the ungodly out of them, turning away the wrath from Israel, and receiving such as were oppressed: and the fame of him went unto the utmost part of the earth. Then Appollonius ( a prince of Syria ) gathered a mighty great host of the Heathen, and out of Samaria, to fight against Israel. Which when Judas perceived, he went forth to meet him, fought with him: slew him, and a great multitude with him, and the remnant fled, and he took their substance. Judas also took Appollonius own sword and fought with it all his life long.
Now when Seron, ( another prince of Syria ) heard say, that Judas had gathered unto him the congregation and ***church of the faithful he said: I will get me a name and a praise throughout the realm: for I will go fight with Judas and them that are with him, as many as despise the kings commandment. So he made him ready, and there went with him a great mighty host of the ungodly, to stand by him, and to be avenged of the children of Israel. And when they came nye unto Bethoron, Judas went forth against them a small company. And when his people saw such a great host before them, they said unto Judas: How are we able ( being so few ) to fight against so great a multitude and so strong ? seeing we be so weary, and have fasted all this day?
But Judas said: It is a small matter for many to be overcome with a few: yee there is no difference to the God of heaven, to deliver by a great multitude or by a small company: for the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of the host, but strength cometh from heaven. Behold, they come against us with a presumptuous and proud multitude, to destroy us, our wives and our children, and rob us. But we fight for our lives, and for our laws, and the Lord himself shall destroy them before our face: therefore be ye not afraid of them.
As soon as he had spoken these words, he leapt suddenly upon them. Thus was Seron smitten, and his host put to flight, and Judas followed upon them beyond Bethoron unto the plain field: where were slain eight hundred men of them, and the residue fled into the land of the Philistines. Then all the Heathen on every side were afraid for Judas and his brethren: so that the rumor of him came unto the kings ears for all the Gentiles could tell of the wars of Judas.
So when king Antiochus heard these things, he was angry in his mind: wherefore he sent forth and gathered an host of his whole realm very strong armies: and opened his treasury, and gave his host a years wages in hand, commanding them to be ready at all times.
Nevertheless when he saw, that there was not money enough in his treasuries, and that through the discord and persecution, which he made in the land ( to put down the laws that had been of old times ) his customs and tributes of the land were minished: he feared that he was not able for to bear the costs and charges any longer, nor to have such gifts, to give so liberally as he did afore, more than the kings that were before him.
Wherefore he was heavy in his mind, and thought to go into Persdes, for to take tributes of the land, and so to gather much money. So he left Lysias ( a noble man of the kings blood ) to oversee the kings business, from the water Euphrates unto the borders of Egypt: And to keep well his son Antiochus, until he came again.
Moreover, he gave him half of his host and Elephants, committed unto him everything of his mind, concerning those which dwelt in Juda and Jerusalem: that he should send out an army against them, to destroy and root out the power of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem: to put out their memorial from that place, to set strangers for to inhabit all their quarters, and part their land among them. Thus the king took the other part of the host, and departed from Antioch ( a city of his realm ) over the water of Euphrates, in the hundred and forty seventh year, and went through the high countries.
And Lysias chose unto him Ptolomy the son of Doriminus, Nicanor and Gorgias mighty men, and the kings friends. These he sent with forty thousand footmen and seven thousand horsemen, for to go into the land of Juda, and to destroy it, as the king commanded. So they went forth with all their power, and came to Emmaus into the plain field. When the merchants heard the rumor of them, they and their servants took very much silver and gold, for to buy the children of Israel to be their bond men. There came unto them also yet more men of war on every side, out of Syria and from the Palestines.
Now when Judas and his brethren saw that trouble increased, and that the host drew nye unto their borders: considering the kings words which he commanded unto the people: namely that they should utterly waste and destroy them: They said one to another: Let us *redress the decay of our people, and let us fight for our folk and for our Sanctuary. Then the congregation were soon ready gathered to fight, to pray and to make supplication unto God for mercy and grace.
As for Jerusalem, it lay void, and was as it had been a wilderness. There went no man in or out at it, and the Sanctuary was trodden down. The aliens kept the castle, there was the habitation of the Heathen. The mirth of Jacob was taken away, the pipe and the harp was gone from among them.
The Israelites gathered them together, and came to Maspha, before Jerusalem: for in Maspha was the place where they prayed afore time. So they fasted that day, and put sackclothes upon them, cast ashes upon their heads, rent their clothes, and laid forth the books of the law ( whereout the Heathen sought the likeness of their images ) and brought the Priests ornaments, the firstlings and the tithes. They set there also the abstainers ( which had fulfilled their days ) before God, and cried with a loud voice toward heaven, saying: What shall we do with these? and whither shall we carry them away? For the Sanctuary is trodden down and defiled, thy priests are come to heaviness and dishonor: and behold, the Heathen are come together for to destroy us. Thou knowest what things they imagine against us. How may we stand before thee, except thou ( O' God ) be our help?
They blew out the trumpet also with a loud voice. Then Judas ordained captains over the people: over thousands, over hundreds, over fifty and over tens. But as for such as builded them houses, married wives, planted them vineyards, and those that were fearful: he commanded them every man to go home, according to the law. So the host removed, and pitched upon the south side of Emmaus.
And Judas said, arm yourselves, be strong ( O' my children ) make you ready against tomorrow in the morning, that ye may fight with these people, which are agreed together to destroy us and our sanctuary. Better is it for us to die in battle, than to see our people and our sanctuary in such a miserable case. Nevertheless, as the will is in heaven, so be it.