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  • 2 Maccabees 10

    10 The Maccabee and his companions, with the Lord leading them, recovered the temple and the city. They demolished the altars that the foreigners built near the marketplace, as well as the sacred precincts. They cleansed the temple and made another altar. Then they struck flints to make fire and they offered up sacrifices after a lapse of two years, and they prepared incense, lamps, and the sacred loaves. After they had done these things, they bowed to the ground and pleaded with the Lord that they would not experience such misfortunes again, but if they should ever sin, they would be disciplined by him with fairness and not turned over to slanderous and barbaric nations. On the anniversary of the temple’s defilement by foreigners, on that very day, the sanctuary was purified, on the twenty-fifth of the month, which is Kislev. They celebrated eight days with cheer in a manner like the Festival of Booths, remembering how during the previous Festival of Booths they had been roaming about in mountains and caverns like animals. So they held ivy wands, beautiful branches, and also palm leaves, and offered hymns to the one who had made the purification of his own temple possible. They voted and issued a public decree that all Jews should celebrate these days each year. And so the matters concerning Antiochus called Epiphanes came to an end.

    Wars of Antiochus Eupator

    10 We will now report about what occurred under Antiochus Eupator, that ungodly man’s son, summarizing the distressful events of the dreadful wars. 11 When this man received the kingdom, he appointed a certain Lysias as supreme governor of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia. 12 Ptolemy, called Macron, took the lead in showing justice to the Jews because of the wrongs done to them, and he tried to handle matters concerning them peacefully. 13 Because of this, the king’s political advisors accused him before Eupator and branded him a traitor. They accused him of abandoning Cyprus after Philometor had entrusted him with it, and of going back to Antiochus Epiphanes. Because Ptolemy no longer commanded the respect of his high office, he poisoned himself and died.

    14 Gorgias, who became governor of the region, maintained a mercenary army and waged constant war against the Jews. 15 In addition to him, the Idumeans who controlled some strategic fortresses harassed the Jews. They gave safe harbor to those who were driven from Jerusalem and tried to keep the war going. 16 The Maccabee and his followers were praying and calling on God to help them. They rushed against the Idumean fortresses. 17 After mounting a vigorous attack, they gained control of all the sites and held off those fighting on the wall. They slaughtered all those they encountered, killing at least twenty thousand. 18 When no fewer than nine thousand fled into two towers well equipped for a siege, 19 the Maccabee departed to other places that needed his urgent attention, leaving Simon, Joseph, and Zacchaeus with a sufficient force for the siege of these towers. 20 Some men in the towers bribed greedy people around Simon. These people in turn, after receiving seventy thousand drachmen, allowed some of the enemy to slip away. 21 When the Maccabee found out what happened, he gathered the leaders of the people and accused them of selling their brothers for silver by setting free the enemy. 22 He executed the traitors and then quickly took the two towers. 23 He was successful in all things relating to war and killed more than twenty thousand men in the two towers.

    24 Timothy, who was defeated by the Jews earlier, assembled a large number of foreign troops and brought many horses from Asia. He arrived intending to fight against Judea. 25 As he approached, the Maccabee’s followers prayed to God for help. Sprinkling their heads with dust, wrapping themselves with mourning clothes, 26 and falling down opposite the foundation of the altar, they begged God to be gracious to them, to be hostile to those hostile to them, and to be an opponent of their opponents, just as the Law promises. 27 After praying, they took up arms and moved out some distance from the city. They drew near to their enemies and then halted. 28 At dawn, each side attacked. As an assurance of success and victory, the Jews had their courage and their trust in the Lord, but the Greeks made rage the driving force of their struggles. 29 When the battle became fierce, five magnificent men from heaven appeared to the enemy, riding on horses with gold bridles and leading the Jews. 30 Two of them took the Maccabee between them, completely protecting him against harm with their own armor, and they shot arrows and thunderbolts into the ranks of their opponents. Thrown into confusion by blindness, the enemy then ran off in different directions, filled with terror. 31 Twenty thousand five hundred foot soldiers and six hundred cavalry were cut down.

    32 But Timothy himself fled into a fortress called Gazara, a secured area commanded by Chaereas. 33 The followers of the Maccabee eagerly attacked the area for four days. 34 Because the place was strongly fortified, those inside verbally insulted the enemy, uttering unlawful words. 35 As the fifth day began, twenty of the young men among the Maccabee’s followers burned with anger because of the verbal insults, and they bravely attacked the wall. In savage fury, they cut down anyone they found. 36 As this destruction occurred, others also went up after them against those inside, set the towers on fire, stoked the flames, and burned the offenders alive. When others tore down the gates, letting in the rest of the army, they took the city. 37 They slaughtered Timothy, who had hidden himself in a cistern, as well as his brother Chaereas and also Apollophanes. 38 With these things accomplished, they praised the Lord with hymns and thanks for showing kindness to Israel and giving victory to them.