141After three years was Judas informed, that Demetrius the son of Seleucus, having entered by the haven of Tripolis with a great power and navy,
2Had taken the country, and killed Antiochus, and Lysias his protector.
3Now one Alcimus, who had been high priest, and had defiled himself wilfully in the times of their mingling with the Gentiles, seeing that by no means he could save himself, nor have any more access to the holy altar,
4Came to king Demetrius in the hundred and one and fiftieth year, presenting unto him a crown of gold, and a palm, and also of the boughs which were used solemnly in the temple: and so that day he held his peace.
5Howbeit having gotten opportunity to further his foolish enterprize, and being called into counsel by Demetrius, and asked how the Jews stood affected, and what they intended, he answered thereunto:
6Those of the Jews that he called Assideans, whose captain is Judas Maccabeus, nourish war and are seditious, and will not let the rest be in peace.
7Therefore I, being deprived of mine ancestors’ honour, I mean the high priesthood, am now come hither:
8First, verily for the unfeigned care I have of things pertaining to the king; and secondly, even for that I intend the good of mine own countrymen: for all our nation is in no small misery through the unadvised dealing of them aforersaid.
9Wherefore, O king, seeing thou knowest all these things, be careful for the country, and our nation, which is pressed on every side, according to the clemency that thou readily shewest unto all.
10For as long as Judas liveth, it is not possible that the state should be quiet.
11This was no sooner spoken of him, but others of the king’s friends, being maliciously set against Judas, did more incense Demetrius.
12And forthwith calling Nicanor, who had been master of the elephants, and making him governor over Judea, he sent him forth,
13Commanding him to slay Judas, and to scatter them that were with him, and to make Alcimus high priest of the great temple.
14Then the heathen, that had fled out of Judea from Judas, came to Nicanor by flocks, thinking the harm and calamities of the Jews to be their welfare.
15Now when the Jews heard of Nicanor’s coming, and that the heathen were up against them, they cast earth upon their heads, and made supplication to him that had established his people for ever, and who always helpeth his portion with manifestation of his presence.
16So at the commandment of the captain they removed straightways from thence, and came near unto them at the town of Dessau.
17Now Simon, Judas’ brother, had joined battle with Nicanor, but was somewhat discomfited through the sudden silence of his enemies.
18Nevertheless Nicanor, hearing of the manliness of them that were with Judas, and the courageousness that they had to fight for their country, durst not try the matter by the sword.
19Wherefore he sent Posidonius, and Theodotus, and Mattathias, to make peace.
20So when they had taken long advisement thereupon, and the captain had made the multitude acquainted therewith, and it appeared that they were all of one mind, they consented to the covenants,
21And appointed a day to meet in together by themselves: and when the day came, and stools were set for either of them,
22Judas placed armed men ready in convenient places, lest some treachery should be suddenly practised by the enemies: so they made a peaceable conference.
23Now Nicanor abode in Jerusalem, and did no hurt, but sent away the people that came flocking unto him.
24And he would not willingly have Judas out of his sight: for he loved the man from his heart.
25He prayed him also to take a wife, and to beget children: so he married, was quiet, and took part of this life.
26But Alcimus, perceiving the love that was betwixt them, and considering the covenants that were made, came to Demetrius, and told him that Nicanor was not well affected toward the state; for that he had ordained Judas, a traitor to his realm, to be the king’s successor.
27Then the king being in a rage, and provoked with the accusations of the most wicked man, wrote to Nicanor, signifying that he was much displeased with the covenants, and commanding him that he should send Maccabeus prisoner in all haste unto Antioch.
28When this came to Nicanor’s hearing, he was much confounded in himself, and took it grievously that he should make void the articles which were agreed upon, the man being in no fault.
29But because there was no dealing against the king, he watched his time to accomplish this thing by policy.
30Notwithstanding, when Maccabeus saw that Nicanor began to be churlish unto him, and that he entreated him more roughly than he was wont, perceiving that such sour behaviour came not of good, he gathered together not a few of his men, and withdrew himself from Nicanor.
31But the other, knowing that he was notably prevented by Judas’ policy, came into the great and holy temple, and commanded the priests, that were offering their usual sacrifices, to deliver him the man.
32And when they sware that they could not tell where the man was whom he sought,
33He stretched out his right hand toward the temple, and made an oath in this manner: If ye will not deliver me Judas as a prisoner, I will lay this temple of God even with the ground, and I will break down the altar, and erect a notable temple unto Bacchus.
34After these words he departed. Then the priests lifted up their hands toward heaven, and besought him that was ever a defender of their nation, saying in this manner;
35Thou, O Lord of all things, who hast need of nothing, wast pleased that the temple of thine habitation should be among us:
36Therefore now, O holy Lord of all holiness, keep this house ever undefiled, which lately was cleansed, and stop every unrighteous mouth.
37Now was there accused unto Nicanor one Razis, one of the elders of Jerusalem, a lover of his countrymen, and a man of very good report, who for his kindness was called a father of the Jews.
38For in the former times, when they mingled not themselves with the Gentiles, he had been accused of Judaism, and did boldly jeopard his body and life with all vehemency for the religion of the Jews.
39So Nicanor, willing to declare the hate that he bare unto the Jews, sent above five hundred men of war to take him:
40For he thought by taking him to do the Jews much hurt.
41Now when the multitude would have taken the tower, and violently broken into the outer door, and bade that fire should be brought to burn it, he being ready to be taken on every side fell upon his sword;
42Choosing rather to die manfully, than to come into the hands of the wicked, to be abused otherwise than beseemed his noble birth:
43But missing his stroke through haste, the multitude also rushing within the doors, he ran boldly up to the wall, and cast himself down manfully among the thickest of them.
44But they quickly giving back, and a space being made, he fell down into the midst of the void place.
45Nevertheless, while there was yet breath within him, being inflamed with anger, he rose up; and though his blood gushed out like spouts of water, and his wounds were grievous, yet he ran through the midst of the throng; and standing upon a steep rock,
46When as his blood was now quite gone, he plucked out his bowels, and taking them in both his hands, he cast them upon the throng, and calling upon the Lord of life and spirit to restore him those again, he thus died.
151But Nicanor, hearing that Judas and his company were in the strong places about Samaria, resolved without any danger to set upon them on the sabbath day.
2Nevertheless the Jews that were compelled to go with him said, O destroy not so cruelly and barbarously, but give honour to that day, which he, that seeth all things, hath honoured with holiness above all other days.
3Then the most ungracious wretch demanded, if there were a Mighty one in heaven, that had commanded the sabbath day to be kept.
4And when they said, There is in heaven a living Lord, and mighty, who commanded the seventh day to be kept:
5Then said the other, And I also am mighty upon earth, and I command to take arms, and to do the king’s business. Yet he obtained not to have his wicked will done.
6So Nicanor in exceeding pride and haughtiness determined to set up a publick monument of his victory over Judas and them that were with him.
7But Maccabeus had ever sure confidence that the Lord would help him:
8Wherefore he exhorted his people not to fear the coming of the heathen against them, but to remember the help which in former times they had received from heaven, and now to expect the victory and aid, which should come unto them from the Almighty.
9And so comforting them out of the law and the prophets, and withal putting them in mind of the battles that they won afore, he made them more cheerful.
10And when he had stirred up their minds, he gave them their charge, shewing them therewithall the falsehood of the heathen, and the breach of oaths.
11Thus he armed every one of them, not so much with defence of shields and spears, as with comfortable and good words: and beside that, he told them a dream worthy to be believed, as if it had been so indeed, which did not a little rejoice them.
12And this was his vision: That Onias, who had been high priest, a virtuous and a good man, reverend in conversation, gentle in condition, well spoken also, and exercised from a child in all points of virtue, holding up his hands prayed for the whole body of the Jews.
13This done, in like manner there appeared a man with gray hairs, and exceeding glorious, who was of a wonderful and excellent majesty.
14Then Onias answered, saying, This is a lover of the brethren, who prayeth much for the people, and for the holy city, to wit, Jeremias the prophet of God.
15Whereupon Jeremias holding forth his right hand gave to Judas a sword of gold, and in giving it spake thus,
16Take this holy sword, a gift from God, with the which thou shalt wound the adversaries.
17Thus being well comforted by the words of Judas, which were very good, and able to stir them up to valour, and to encourage the hearts of the young men, they determined not to pitch camp, but courageously to set upon them, and manfully to try the matter by conflict, because the city and the sanctuary and the temple were in danger.
18For the care that they took for their wives, and their children, their brethren, and folks, was in least account with them: but the greatest and principal fear was for the holy temple.
19Also they that were in the city took not the least care, being troubled for the conflict abroad.
20And now, when as all looked what should be the trial, and the enemies were already come near, and the army was set in array, and the beasts conveniently placed, and the horsemen set in wings,
21Maccabeus seeing the coming of the multitude, and the divers preparations of armour, and the fierceness of the beasts, stretched out his hands toward heaven, and called upon the Lord that worketh wonders, knowing that victory cometh not by arms, but even as it seemeth good to him, he giveth it to such as are worthy:
22Therefore in his prayer he said after this manner; O Lord, thou didst send thine angel in the time of Ezekias king of Judea, and didst slay in the host of Sennacherib an hundred fourscore and five thousand:
23Wherefore now also, O Lord of heaven, send a good angel before us for a fear and dread unto them;
24And through the might of thine arm let those be stricken with terror, that come against thy holy people to blaspheme. And he ended thus.
25Then Nicanor and they that were with him came forward with trumpets and songs.
26But Judas and his company encountered the enemies with invocation and prayer.
27So that fighting with their hands, and praying unto God with their hearts, they slew no less than thirty and five thousand men: for through the appearance of God they were greatly cheered.
28Now when the battle was done, returning again with joy, they knew that Nicanor lay dead in his harness.
29Then they made a great shout and a noise, praising the Almighty in their own language.
30And Judas, who was ever the chief defender of the citizens both in body and mind, and who continued his love toward his countrymen all his life, commanded to strike off Nicanor’s head, and his hand with his shoulder, and bring them to Jerusalem.
31So when he was there, and called them of his nation together, and set the priests before the altar, he sent for them that were of the tower,
32And shewed them vile Nicanor’s head, and the hand of that blasphemer, which with proud brags he had stretched out against the holy temple of the Almighty.
33And when he had cut out the tongue of that ungodly Nicanor, he commanded that they should give it by pieces unto the fowls, and hang up the reward of his madness before the temple.
34So every man praised toward the heaven the glorious Lord, saying, Blessed be he that hath kept his own place undefiled.
35He hanged also Nicanor’s head upon the tower, an evident and manifest sign unto all of the help of the Lord.
36And they ordained all with a common decree in no case to let that day pass without solemnity, but to celebrate the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which in the Syrian tongue is called Adar, the day before Mardocheus’ day.
37Thus went it with Nicanor: and from that time forth the Hebrews had the city in their power. And here will I make an end.
38And if I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired: but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto.
39For as it is hurtful to drink wine or water alone; and as wine mingled with water is pleasant, and delighteth the taste: even so speech finely framed delighteth the ears of them that read the story. And here shall be an end.