2 Maccabees 8
1 But Judas, who is also called Maccabaeus, and they that were with him, making their way privily into the villages, called unto them their kinsfolk; and taking unto them such as had continued in the Jews’ religion, gathered together as many as six thousand.
2 And they called upon the Lord, beseeching him to look upon the people that was oppressed by all; and to have compassion on the sanctuary also that had been profaned by the ungodly men;
3 and to have pity on the city also that was suffering ruin and ready to be made even even with the ground; and to hearken to the blood that cried unto him;
4 and to remember also the lawless slaughter of the innocent infants, and the blasphemies that had been committed against his name; and to shew his hatred of wickedness.
5 And when Maccabaeus had trained his men for service, the heathen at once found him irresistible, for that the wrath of the Lord was turned into pity.
6 And coming unawares he set fire to cities and villages. And in winning back the most important positions, putting to flight no small number of the enemies,
7 he specially took advantage of the nights for such assaults. And his courage was loudly talked of everywhere.
8 But when Philip saw the man gaining ground by little and little, and increasing more and more in his prosperity, he wrote unto Ptolemy, the governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, that he should support the king’s cause.
9 And Ptolemy quickly appointed Nicanor the son of Patroclus, one of the king’s Chief Friends, and sent him, in command of no fewer than twenty thousand of all nations, to destroy the whole race of Judaea; and with him he joined Gorgias also, a captain and one that had experience in matters of war.
10 And Nicanor undertook by the sale of the captive Jews to make up for the king the tribute of two thousand talents which he was to pay to the Romans.
11 And immediately he sent unto the cities upon the sea coast, inviting them to buy Jewish slaves, promising to allow fourscore and ten slaves for a talent, not expecting the judgement that was to follow upon him from the Almighty.
12 But tidings came to Judas concerning the inroad of Nicanor; and when he communicated to them that were with him the presence of the army,
13 they that were cowardly and distrustful of the judgement of God ran away and left the country.
14 And others sold all that was left over to them, and withal besought the Lord to deliver them that had been sold as slaves by the impious Nicanor or ever he met them;
15 and this, if not for their own sakes, yet for the covenants made with their fathers, and because he had called them by his reverend and glorious name.
16 And Maccabaeus gathered his men together, six thousand in number, and exhorted them not to be stricken with dismay at the enemy, nor to fear the great multitude of the heathen who came wrongfully against them; but to contend nobly,
17 setting before their eyes the outrage that had been lawlessly perpetrated upon the holy place, and the shameful handling of the city that had been turned to mockery, and further the overthrow of the mode of life received from their ancestors.
18 For they, said he, trust to arms, and withal to deeds of daring; but we trust on the almighty God, since he is able at a beck to cast down them that are coming against us, and even the whole world.
19 And moreover he recounted unto them the help given from time to time in the days of their ancestors, both the help given in the days of Sennacherib, how that a hundred fourscore and five thousand perished,
20 and the help given in the land of Babylon, even the battle that was fought against the Gauls, how that they came to the engagement eight thousand in all, with four thousand Macedonians, and how that, the Macedonians being hard pressed, the six thousand destroyed the hundred and twenty thousand, because of the succour which they had from heaven, and took great booty.
21 And when he had with these words made them of good courage, and ready to die for the laws and their country, he divided his army into four parts;
22 appointing his brethren to be with himself leaders of the several bands, to wit, Simon and Joseph and Jonathan, giving each the command of fifteen hundred men,
23 and moreover Eleazer also: then, having read aloud the sacred book, and having given as watchword, THE HELP OF GOD, leading the first band himself, he joined battle with Nicanor.
24 And, since the Almighty fought on their side, they slew of the enemy above nine thousand, and wounded and disabled the more part of Nicanor’s army, and compelled all to flee:
25 and they took the money of those that had come there to buy them. And after they had pursued them for some distance, they returned, being constrained by the time of the day;
26 for it was the day before the sabbath, and for this cause they made no effort to chase them far.
27 And when they had gathered the arms of the enemy together, and had stripped off their spoils, they occupied themselves about the sabbath, blessing and thanking the Lord exceedingly, who had saved them unto this day, for that he had caused a beginning of mercy to distil upon them.
28 And after the sabbath, when they had given of the spoils to the maimed, and to the widows and orphans, the residue they distributed among themselves and their children.
29 And when they had accomplished these things, and had made a common supplication, they besought the merciful Lord to be wholly reconciled with his servants.
30 And having had an encounter with the forces of Timotheus and Bacchides, they killed above twenty thousand of them, and made themselves masters of strongholds exceeding high, and divided very much plunder, giving the maimed and orphans and widows, and moreover the aged also, an equal share with themselves.
31 And when they had gathered the arms of the enemy together, they stored them all up carefully in the most important positions, and the residue of the spoils they carried to Jerusalem.
32 And they killed the phylarch of Timotheus’s forces, a most unholy man, and one who had done the Jews much hurt.
33 And as they kept the feast of victory in the city of their fathers, they burned those that had set the sacred gates on fire, and among them Callisthenes, who had fled into an outhouse; and so they received the meet reward of their impiety.
34 And the thrice-accursed Nicanor, who had brought the thousand merchants to buy the Jews for slaves,
35 being through the help of the Lord humbled by them who in his eyes were held to be of least account, put off his glorious apparel, and passing through the midland, shunning all company like a fugitive slave, arrived at Antioch, having, as he thought, had the greatest possible good fortune, though his host was destroyed.
36 And he that had taken upon him to make tribute sure for the Romans by the captivity of the men of Jerusalem published abroad that the Jews had One who fought for them, and that because this was so the Jews were invulnerable, because they followed the laws ordained by him.
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