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  • 1 Maccabees 5

    Wars with neighboring peoples

    When the Gentiles living nearby learned that the altar had been rebuilt and the sanctuary had been dedicated just as it was before, they became very angry. They sought to wipe out Jacob’s descendants who lived among them. So they started to kill and destroy the people.

    But Judas waged war on the descendants of Esau in Idumea at Akrabattene because they kept ambushing Israelites. He dealt them a heavy blow, humbling them and taking their goods. He also took note of the wickedness of Baean’s sons, who were trapping, catching, and ambushing people on the highways. Judas shut them up in their towers. He camped against them, and by promising their complete destruction, he burned their towers and all who were in them. Then he moved against the Ammonites. He found a strong group with many people and a man named Timothy as their leader. Judas had many battles with them, beat them severely, and struck them down. He also captured Jazer and its villages. Then he went back to Judea.

    Liberation of Galilean Jews

    Then the Gentiles in Gilead gathered together against the Israelites who lived in their territory, planning to destroy them. So the Jews fled to the fortress of Dathema. 10 They sent a letter to Judas and his brothers:

    The Gentiles around us have gathered to destroy us. 11 They are making preparations to come and capture the fortress to which we’ve escaped, and Timothy is leading them. 12 Please, come and rescue us from them because many of us have died already. 13 Our people who were in the land of Tob have been killed. The enemy captured their wives, children, and goods. They killed nearly a thousand people there.

    14 While the letter was still being read, other messengers from Galilee, with torn clothing, said similar things. 15 They related that the people of Ptolemais, Tyre, Sidon, and all Galilee of the Gentiles had gathered together “to annihilate us.” 16 When Judas and the people heard all this, a great assembly was called to decide what they should do to assist their people who were in distress and were being attacked by enemies. 17 Then Judas said to Simon his brother: “Choose your men and go rescue your people in Galilee. My brother Jonathan and I will go to Gilead.” 18 He left Joseph, Zechariah’s son, and Azariah, a leader of the people, with the rest of the forces in Judea to guard it. 19 He commanded them, “Take charge of this people, but don’t engage in battle with the Gentiles before we return.” 20 Three thousand men were assigned to Simon to go to Galilee, and eight thousand were to go with Judas to Gilead.

    21 So Simon went to Galilee, fought several battles with the Gentiles, and crushed them. 22 He pursued them to the gate of Ptolemais. As many as three thousand Gentiles died, and he plundered their possessions. 23 Then he took the Jews of Galilee and Arbatta, together with their wives and children and all they owned, and led them to Judea with great rejoicing.

    Judas and Jonathan in Gilead

    24 Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the Jordan and traveled for three days into the wilderness. 25 They encountered the Nabateans, who greeted them in peace and related all that had happened to their people in Gilead: 26 “Many of them have been cornered inside Bozrah and Bosor, in Alema and Chaspho, in Maked and Carnaim.” These were strong and large towns. 27 “Some have been confined in other towns in Gilead. The enemy is getting ready to attack the fortresses tomorrow. They intend to capture and destroy all these people in a single day.”

    28 So Judas and his army turned back quickly to Bozrah by the wilderness road. He took the town and killed every male by the sword. He seized all their goods and burned down the town. 29 He left there by night and went all the way to the fortress. 30 At daybreak they looked around and saw a large company, too many to count, carrying ladders and war engines to use to capture the fortress. They were attacking those inside. 31 So Judas saw that the battle had already begun and that the cries of the townspeople went up to heaven. There were trumpet blasts and loud shouts. 32 He said to his forces: “Fight today for your people!” 33 He came up behind them in three companies. They sounded their trumpets and cried out in prayer. 34 When Timothy’s army realized that it was Maccabeus, they ran away. But Judas dealt them a heavy blow. As many as eight thousand of the enemy died that day.

    35 Judas turned next to Maapha. He fought against it and took it. He killed every male in it, plundered it, and burned it with fire. 36 After that he marched ahead and took Chaspho, Maked, Bosor, and the other towns of Gilead.

    37 Following this, Timothy assembled another army and encamped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream. 38 Judas sent spies to observe the camp, and they reported: “All the Gentiles around us have gone over to him—it’s a very large force. 39 They have also hired Arabs to help them. They’re camped across the stream, and they’re ready to come and fight against you.” So Judas went out to meet them.

    40 As Judas and his army were drawing near to the stream of water, Timothy told the officers of his forces, “If Judas crosses the water first, we won’t be able to resist him, and he’ll surely defeat us. 41 But if he hesitates out of fear and camps on the other side of the river, then we’ll cross over and defeat him.”

    42 When Judas came to the stream of water, he stationed the scribes of the people there and issued this command: “Don’t let anyone start to make camp. Instead, force them all to enter the battle.” 43 He then crossed over against them first, and the whole army followed him. All the Gentiles were defeated. They threw down their weapons and ran away into the sacred grounds at Carnaim. 44 But Judas took the town and burned the sacred grounds with fire, together with all who were hiding there. Even Carnaim was conquered, and they couldn’t oppose Judas any longer.

    Return to Jerusalem

    45 Then Judas gathered all the Israelites in Gilead to go to the land of Judah. It was a very large group, both small and great, with all their wives, children, and goods. 46 They came to Ephron, a large and secure town along the way. They couldn’t go around it on either side. They had to go through it. 47 But the townspeople shut them out and blocked up the gates with rocks.

    48 Judas sent them a peaceful message: “Let us pass through your land to get to ours. We won’t do you any harm. We’ll just pass through by foot.” But they still refused to open to him. 49 So Judas ordered that the army camp wherever they were, 50 and the forces did so. All that day and night he fought against the town, and it was handed over to him. 51 He killed every male by the edge of the sword, and he demolished and plundered the town. Then he passed through it, walking over the dead bodies.

    52 After that they crossed the Jordan and came into the large plain in front of Beth-shan. 53 Judas kept rallying those who fell behind and encouraged the people all along the way until he came to the land of Judah. 54 They went up to Mount Zion with joy and gladness. They made entirely burned offerings, because they had returned safely. Not one of them had died.

    Joseph and Azariah defeated

    55 Now this is what happened while Judas and Jonathan were in Gilead and their brother Simon was in Galilee in front of Ptolemais. 56 Joseph, Zechariah’s son, and Azariah (the commanders of the forces that had remained behind) heard about their brave deeds and the war they had fought. 57 So they said, “Let’s make a name for ourselves too. Let’s go and make war on the Gentiles around us.” 58 They gave orders to the troops who were with them and marched against Jamnia. 59 Gorgias and his troops came out from the town to engage them in battle. 60 Joseph and Azariah were decisively defeated, and they were pursued to the borders of Judea. As many as two thousand Israelites died that day. 61 As a result, the people of Israel suffered a great defeat because, wanting to do a brave thing, they didn’t obey Judas and his brothers. 62 Furthermore, they didn’t belong to the family of those men through whom deliverance was given to Israel.

    63 All Israel and all the Gentiles greatly esteemed Judas and his brothers, wherever their name was heard. 64 People gathered to them and praised them.

    Success at Hebron and Philistia

    65 At that time, Judas and his brothers headed out and fought Esau’s descendants in the land to the south. He struck Hebron and its villages, tore down its fortress, and burned its towers all around. 66 He then set out to enter the land of the Philistines and passed through Marisa. 67 That day some priests who wished to do a brave deed died in battle because they had gone out to battle unwisely. 68 But Judas turned aside to Azotus in the land of the Philistines. Judas tore down their altars, and he burned the carved images of their gods with fire. He plundered the towns and returned to Judah.