1 Maccabees 6
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1 Maccabees 6
The Last Days of Antiochus Epiphanes
1King Anti'ochus was going through the upper provinces when he heard that Elyma'is in Persia was a city famed for its wealth in silver and gold. 2Its temple was very rich, containing golden shields, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander, the son of Philip, the Macedonian king who first reigned over the Greeks. 3So he came and tried to take the city and plunder it, but he could not, because his plan became known to the men of the city 4and they withstood him in battle. So he fled and in great grief departed from there to return to Babylon.
5Then some one came to him in Persia and reported that the armies which had gone into the land of Judah had been routed; 6that Lys'ias had gone first with a strong force, but had turned and fled before the Jews;a that the Jewsb had grown strong from the arms, supplies, and abundant spoils which they had taken from the armies they had cut down; 7that they had torn down the abomination which he had erected upon the altar in Jerusalem; and that they had surrounded the sanctuary with high walls as before, and also Beth-zur, his city.
8When the king heard this news, he was astounded and badly shaken. He took to his bed and became sick from grief, because things had not turned out for him as he had planned. 9He lay there for many days, because deep grief continually gripped him, and he concluded that he was dying. 10So he called all his friends and said to them, "Sleep departs from my eyes and I am downhearted with worry. 11I said to myself, 'To what distress I have come! And into what a great flood I now am plunged! For I was kind and beloved in my power.' 12But now I remember the evils I did in Jerusalem. I seized all her vessels of silver and gold; and I sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judah without good reason. 13I know that it is because of this that these evils have come upon me; and behold, I am perishing of deep grief in a strange land."
14Then he called for Philip, one of his friends, and made him ruler over all his kingdom. 15He gave him the crown and his robe and the signet, that he might guide Anti'ochus his son and bring him up to be king. 16Thus Anti'ochus the king died there in the one hundred and forty-ninth year.c 17And when Lys'ias learned that the king was dead, he set up Anti'ochus the king'sd son to reign. Lys'iase had brought him up as a boy, and he named him Eu'pator.
Renewed Attacks from Syria
18Now the men in the citadel kept hemming Israel in around the sanctuary. They were trying in every way to harm them and strengthen the Gentiles. 19So Judas decided to destroy them, and assembled all the people to besiege them. 20They gathered together and besieged the citadelf in the one hundred and fiftieth year;g and he built siege towers and other engines of war. 21But some of the garrison escaped from the siege and some of the ungodly Israelites joined them. 22They went to the king and said, "How long will you fail to do justice and to avenge our brethren? 23We were happy to serve your father, to live by what he said and to follow his commands. 24For this reason the sons of our people besieged the citadelh and became hostile to us; moreover, they have put to death as many of us as they have caught, and they have seized our inheritances. 25And not against us alone have they stretched out their hands, but also against all the lands on their borders. 26And behold, today they have encamped against the citadel in Jerusalem to take it; they have fortified both the sanctuary and Beth-zur; 27and unless you quickly prevent them, they will do still greater things, and you will not be able to stop them."
28The king was enraged when he heard this. He assembled all his friends, the commanders of his forces and those in authority.i 29And mercenary forces came to him from other kingdoms and from islands of the seas. 30The number of his forces was a hundred thousand foot soldiers, twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two elephants accustomed to war. 31They came through Idume'a and encamped against Beth-zur, and for many days they fought and built engines of war; but the Jewsj sallied out and burned these with fire, and fought manfully.
The Battle at Beth-zechariah
32Then Judas marched away from the citadel and encamped at Beth-zechari'ah, opposite the camp of the king. 33Early in the morning the king rose and took his army by a forced march along the road to Beth-zechari'ah, and his troops made ready for battle and sounded their trumpets. 34They showed the elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries, to arouse them for battle. 35And they distributed the beasts among the phalanxes; with each elephant they stationed a thousand men armed with coats of mail, and with brass helmets on their heads; and five hundred picked horsemen were assigned to each beast. 36These took their position beforehand wherever the beast was; wherever it went they went with it, and they never left it. 37And upon the elephantsk were wooden towers, strong and covered; they were fastened upon each beast by special harness, and upon each were fourl armed men who fought from there, and also its Indian driver. 38The rest of the horsemen were stationed on either side, on the two flanks of the army, to harass the enemy while being themselves protected by the phalanxes. 39When the sun shone upon the shields of gold and brass, the hills were ablaze with them and gleamed like flaming torches.
40Now a part of the king's army was spread out on the high hills, and some troops were on the plain, and they advanced steadily and in good order. 41All who heard the noise made by their multitude, by the marching of the multitude and the clanking of their arms, trembled, for the army was very large and strong. 42But Judas and his army advanced to the battle, and six hundred men of the king's army fell. 43And Elea'zar, called Av'aran, saw that one of the beasts was equipped with royal armor. It was taller than all the others, and he supposed that the king was upon it. 44So he gave his life to save his people and to win for himself an everlasting name. 45He courageously ran into the midst of the phalanx to reach it; he killed men right and left, and they parted before him on both sides. 46He got under the elephant, stabbed it from beneath, and killed it; but it fell to the ground upon him and there he died. 47And when the Jewsm saw the royal might and the fierce attack of the forces, they turned away in flight.
The Siege of the Temple
48The soldiers of the king's army went up to Jerusalem against them, and the king encamped in Judea and at Mount Zion. 49He made peace with the men of Beth-zur, and they evacuated the city, because they had no provisions there to withstand a siege, since it was a sabbatical year for the land. 50So the king took Beth-zur and stationed a guard there to hold it. 51Then he encamped before the sanctuary for many days. He set up siege towers, engines of war to throw fire and stones, machines to shoot arrows, and catapults. 52The Jewsn also made engines of war to match theirs, and fought for many days. 53But they had no food in storage,o because it was the seventh year; those who found safety in Judea from the Gentiles had consumed the last of the stores. 54Few men were left in the sanctuary, because famine had prevailed over the rest and they had been scattered, each to his own place.
Syria Offers Terms
55Then Lys'ias heard that Philip, whom King Anti'ochus while still living had appointed to bring up Anti'ochus his son to be king, 56had returned from Persia and Media with the forces that had gone with the king, and that he was trying to seize control of the government. 57So he quickly gave orders to depart, and said to the king, to the commanders of the forces, and to the men, "We daily grow weaker, our food supply is scant, the place against which we are fighting is strong, and the affairs of the kingdom press urgently upon us. 58Now then let us come to terms with these men, and make peace with them and with all their nation, 59and agree to let them live by their laws as they did before; for it was on account of their laws which we abolished that they became angry and did all these things."
60The speech pleased the king and the commanders, and he sent to the Jewsp an offer of peace, and they accepted it. 61So the king and the commanders gave them their oath. On these conditions the Jewsq evacuated the stronghold. 62But when the king entered Mount Zion and saw what a strong fortress the place was, he broke the oath he had sworn and gave orders to tear down the wall all around. 63Then he departed with haste and returned to Antioch. He found Philip in control of the city, but he fought against him, and took the city by force.