1-Maccabees - 6:1-63

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Judas Attacks the Citadel and Antiochus Dies

      1 And king Antiochus was traveling through the upper regions, and he heard that the city of Elymais in Persia was very noble and abundant in silver and gold, 2 and that the temple in it was very opulent, and that there were, in that place, coverings of gold, and breastplates and shields, which Alexander, the son of Philip, king of Macedonia, who reigned first in Greece, had left behind. 3 So he came and sought to seize the city and to pillage it. And he was not able, because this plan became known to those who were in the city. 4 And they rose up in battle, and he fled away from there, and he departed with great sadness, and he returned into Babylon. 5 And someone arrived to report to him in Persia, that those who were in the land of Judah were forced to flee the camp, 6 and that Lysias went forth with a particularly strong army, and he was forced to flee before the face of the Jews, and that they were strengthened by the weapons, and resources, and many spoils which they seized from the camps they demolished, 7 and that they had destroyed the abomination, which he had established on the altar that was in Jerusalem, and that the sanctuary, just as before, had been encircled with high walls, along with Bethzur, his city. 8 And it happened that, when the king heard these words, he was terrified and very moved. And he fell down on his bed, and he fell into feebleness out of grief. For it had not happened to him as he had intended. 9 And he was in that place through many days. For a great grief was renewed in him, and he concluded that he would die. 10 And he called all his friends, and he said to them: "Sleep has withdrawn from my eyes, and I am declining, and my heart has collapsed out of anxiety. 11 And I said in my heart: How much trouble has come to me, and what floods of sorrow there are, where I am now! I used to be cheerful and beloved in my power! 12 Truly, now, I remember the evils that I did in Jerusalem, from which place I also took away all the spoils of gold and silver that were in it, and I sent to carry away the inhabitants of Judah without cause. 13 Therefore, I know that it is because of this that these evils have found me. And behold, I perish with great sorrow in a foreign land." 14 Then he called Philip, one of his friends, and he placed him first over all his kingdom. 15 And he gave him the diadem, and his robe, and his ring, so that he would guide Antiochus, his son, and raise him, and so that he would reign. 16 And king Antiochus died there, in the one hundred and forty-ninth year. 17 And Lysias knew that the king was dead, and he appointed Antiochus, his son, to reign, whom he had raised from adolescence. And he called his name Eupator. 18 And those who were in the stronghold had enclosed the Israelites by surrounding the holy places. And they continually sought to do evil to them and to support the Gentiles. 19 And Judas intended to disperse them. And he called together all the people, in order to besiege them. 20 And they came together and besieged them in the one hundred and fiftieth year, and they made catapults and other machines. 21 And certain ones of these, who were besieged, escaped. And some of the impious out of Israel joined themselves to them. 22 And they went to the king, and they said: "How long will you not act with judgment and vindicate our brothers? 23 We resolved to serve your father, and to walk according to his precepts, and to obey his edicts. 24 And because of this, the sons of our people have alienated themselves from us, and they have put to death as many of us as they could find, and they have torn apart our inheritances. 25 And they have not extended their hand against us only, but also against all within our borders. 26 And behold, this day they have taken a position near the stronghold of Jerusalem to occupy it, and they have fortified the stronghold of Bethzur. 27 And, unless you quickly act to prevent them, they will do greater things than these, and you will not be able to subdue them." 28 And the king was angry when he heard this. And he called together all his friends, and the leaders of his army, and those who were over the horsemen. 29 But there even came to him mercenary armies from other kingdoms and from the islands of the sea. 30 And the number of his army was one hundred thousand footmen, and twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two elephants trained for battle. 31 And they traveled through Idumea, and they took a position near Bethzur. And they fought for many days, and they made machines of war. But they came out and burnt them with fire, and they fought manfully. 32 And Judas departed from the stronghold, and he moved the camp to Bethzechariah, opposite the camp of the king. 33 And the king rose up, before it was light, and he forced his troops to march toward the way of Bethzechariah. And the armies prepared themselves for battle, and they sounded the trumpets. 34 And they showed the elephants the blood of grapes and mulberries, to provoke them to fight. 35 And they divided the beasts by the legions, and there stood by every elephant a thousand men, with shields joined together and with brass helmets on their heads. And five hundred well-ordered horsemen were chosen for every beast. 36 These were ready beforehand, and wherever the beast was, they were there; and whenever it moved, they moved, and they did not depart from it. 37 Moreover, upon them there were strong wooden turrets, watching over every beast, with machines upon them, and on them were thirty-two valiant men, who fought from above, and an Indian to rule each beast. 38 And the rest of the horsemen, he stationed here and there, in two parts, with trumpets to stir up the army and to urge on those who were slow to move within its legions. 39 And so, when the sun reflected off the shields of gold and of brass, the mountains were resplendent from them, and they glowed like lamps of fire. 40 And part of the king's army was divided to the high mountains, and the other part to the low places. And they went forth with order and caution. 41 And all the inhabitants of the land were shaken at the voice of their multitude, and at the advance of the company, and at the clash of the armor. For the army was very great and strong. 42 And Judas and his army drew near for battle. And there fell of the king's army six hundred men. 43 And Eleazar, the son of Saura, saw one of the beasts shielded with the king's shield, and it was higher than the other beasts. So it seemed to him that the king must be on it. 44 And he gave himself for the freedom of his people, and to obtain for himself a name in eternity. 45 And he ran up to it boldly in the midst of the legion, killing on the right and on the left, and they fell down before him on this side and that. 46 And he went between the feet of the elephant, and put himself under it, and he killed it. And it fell to the ground upon him, and he died there. 47 And, seeing the strength of the king and the forcefulness of his army, they turned themselves away from them. 48 But the king's camp went up against them in Jerusalem. And the king's camp took up a position near Judea and Mount Zion. 49 And he made peace with those who were in Bethzur. And they went out of the city, because they had no provisions in their confinement, for it was the Sabbath of the land. 50 And the king captured Bethzur, and he stationed a garrison there to keep it. 51 And he turned his camp against the place of sanctification for many days. And he stationed there catapults and other machines: machines to cast fire, and windlasses to cast stones and darts, and small catapults to cast arrows and metal. 52 But they also made machines against their machines, and they fought for many days. 53 But there were no foods in the city, because it was the seventh year. And those who had remained in Judea were from the Gentiles, so they consumed all that they had left from what had been stored up. 54 And there remained in the holy places a few men, for the famine had prevailed over them. And they were scattered, each one to his own place. 55 Then Lysias heard that Philip, whom king Antiochus had appointed, when he was still alive, to raise his son, Antiochus, and to reign, 56 had returned from Persia and Media, with the army that went with him, and that he sought to take upon himself the affairs of the kingdom. 57 He hurried to go and to say to the king and the commanders of the army: "We are weakened every day, and our food is limited, and the place that we besiege is strong, and it is incumbent upon us to put the kingdom in order. 58 And so now, let us bestow a pledge to these men, and make peace with them and with all their nation. 59 And let us establish for them that they may walk according to their own laws, just as before. For, because of their laws, which we despised, they have become angry and have done all these things." 60 And the idea was pleasing in the sight of the king and the leaders. And he sent to them to make peace. And they accepted it. 61 And the king and the leaders swore to them. And they went out of the stronghold. 62 Then the king entered into Mount Zion, and saw the fortifications of the place, and so he abruptly broke the oath that he had sworn, and he commanded the surrounding wall to be destroyed. 63 And he departed in haste and returned to Antioch, where he found Philip ruling the city. And he fought against him and occupied the city.

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