1 And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Makedonian, who came out of the land of Chettim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece,
2 And made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth,
3 And went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him; whereupon he was exalted and his heart was lifted up.
4 And he gathered a mighty strong host and ruled over countries, and nations, and kings, who became tributaries unto him.
5 And after these things he fell sick, and perceived that he should die.
6 Wherefore he called his servants, such as were honorable, and had been brought up with him from his youth, and parted his kingdom among them, while he was yet alive.
7 So Alexander reigned twelve years, and then died.
8 And his servants bare rule every one in his place.
9 And after his death they all put crowns upon themselves; so did their sons after them many years: and evils were multiplied in the earth.
10 And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Roma, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.
11 In those days went there out of Yisra’el wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, “Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow.”¹
12 So this device pleased them well.
13 Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them license to do after the ordinances of the heathen:
14 Whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the customs of the heathen:
15 And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief.
16 Now when the kingdom was established before Antiochus, he thought to reign over Mitsrayim (Egypt) that he might have the dominion of two realms.
17 Wherefore he entered into Mitsrayim with a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy,
18 And made war against Ptolemy king of Mitsrayim: but Ptolemy was afraid of him, and fled; and many were wounded to death.
19 Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Mitsrayim and he took the spoils thereof.
20 And after that Antiochus had smitten Mitsrayim, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Yisra’el and Yerushalayim with a great multitude,
21 And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof,
22 And the table of the showbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials. and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled off.
23 He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found.
24 And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.
25 Therefore there was a great mourning in Yisra’el, in every place where they were;
26 So that the princes and elders mourned, the virgins and young men were made feeble, and the beauty of women was changed.
27 Every bridegroom took up lamentation, and she that sat in the marriage chamber was in heaviness,
28 The land also was moved for the inhabitants thereof, and all the house of Ya’aqov was covered with confusion.
29 And after two years fully expired the king sent his chief collector of tribute unto the cities of Yehudah (Judah), who came unto Yerushalayim with a great multitude,
30 And spoke peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit: for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Yisra’el.
31 And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on fire, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side.
32 But the women and children took they captive, and possessed the cattle.
33 Then built they the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them.
34 And they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein.
35 They stored it also with armor and victuals, and when they had gathered together the spoils of Yerushalayim, they laid them up there, and so they became a sore snare:
36 For it was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and an evil adversary to Israel.
37 Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it:
38 Insomuch that the inhabitants of Yerushalayim fled because of them: whereupon the city was made an habitation of strangers, and became strange to those that were born in her; and her own children left her.
39 Her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness, her feasts were turned into mourning, her shabbats into reproach her honor into contempt.²
40 As had been her glory, so was her dishonor increased, and her excellency was turned into mourning.
41 Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people,
42 And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king.
43 Yea, many also of the Yisra’elites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the shabbat.
44 For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Yerusalem and the cities of Yehudah that they should follow the strange laws of the land,
45 And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the shabbatot and feast days:
46 And pollute the sanctuary and holy people:
47 Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine’s flesh, and unclean beasts:
48 That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation:
49 To the end they might forget the Torah, and change all the ordinances.
50 And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die.
51 In the selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Yehudah to sacrifice, city by city.
52 Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land;
53 And drove the Yisra’elites into secret places, even wherever they could flee for succour.
54 Now the fifteenth day of the month Kislev, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and built idol altars throughout the cities of Yehudah on every side;
55 And burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and in the streets.
56 And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire.
57 And whosoever was found with any the book of the testament, or if any committed to the law, the king’s commandment was, that they should put him to death.
58 Thus did they by their authority unto the Yisra’elites every month, to as many as were found in the cities.
59 Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of Elohim.
60 At which time according to the commandment they put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised.
61 And they hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them.
62 Howbeit many in Yisra’el were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing.
63 Wherefore the rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the set-apart covenant: so then they died.
64 And there was very great wrath upon Yisra’el.
*1) Deut 13,18 2) Isa 64:10; Jer 12:10
1 In those days arose Mattityahu the son of Yochanan, the son of Shim’on, a priest of the sons of Yo’arib, from Yerushalayim, and dwelt in Modin.
2 And he had five sons, Yochanan, called Caddis:
3 Shim’on; called Thassi:
4 Yehudah, who was called Maccabeus:
5 Elie’zer, called Avaran: and Yehonathan, whose surname was Apphus.
6 And when he saw the blasphemies that were committed in Yehudah and Yerushalayim,
7 He said, Woe is me! wherefore was I born to see this misery of my people, and of the set-apart city, and to dwell there, when it was delivered into the hand of the enemy, and the sanctuary into the hand of strangers?
8 Her hekal (temple) is become as a man without glory.
9 Her glorious vessels are carried away into captivity, her infants are slain in the streets, her young men with the sword of the enemy.
10 What nation hath not had a part in her kingdom and gotten of her spoils?
11 All her ornaments are taken away; of a free woman she is become a bond-slave.
12 And, behold, our sanctuary, even our beauty and our glory, is laid waste, and the Gentiles have profaned it.
13 To what end therefore shall we live any longer?
14 Then Mattityahu and his sons rent their clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourned very sore.
15 In the mean while the king’s officers, such as compelled the people to revolt, came into the city Modin, to make them sacrifice.
16 And when many of Yisra’el came unto them, Mattityahu also and his sons came together.
17 Then answered the king’s officers, and said to Mattityahu on this wise, Thou art a ruler, and an honorable and great man in this city, and strengthened with sons and brethren:
18 Now therefore come thou first, and fulfill the king’s commandment, like as all the heathen have done, yea, and the men of Yehudah also, and such as remain at Yerushalayim: so shalt thou and thy house be in the number of the king’s friends, and thou and thy children shall be honored with silver and gold, and many rewards.
19 Then Mattityahu answered and spoke with a loud voice, Though all the nations that are under the king’s dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments:
20 Yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers.
21 Yahweh forbid that we should forsake the law and the ordinances.
22 We will not hearken to the king’s words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left.
23 Now when he had left speaking these words, there came one of the Yehudim in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the king’s commandment.
24 Which thing when Mattityahu saw, he was inflamed with zeal, and his reins trembled, neither could he forbear to show his anger according to judgment: wherefore he ran, and slew him upon the altar.
25 Also the king’s commissioner, who compelled men to sacrifice, he killed at that time, and the altar he pulled down.
26 Thus dealt he zealously for the law of Elohim like as Phinehas did unto Zambri the son of Salom.
27 And Mattityahu cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, Whosoever is zealous of the law, and maintains the covenant, let him follow me.
28 So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that ever they had in the city.
29 Then many that sought after justice and judgment went down into the wilderness, to dwell there:
30 Both they, and their children, and their wives; and their cattle; because afflictions increased sore upon them.
31 Now when it was told the king’s servants, and the host that was at Yerushalayim, in the city of David, that certain men, who had broken the king’s commandment, were gone down into the secret places in the wilderness,
32 They pursued after them a great number, and having overtaken them, they camped against them, and made war against them on the Shabbat.
33 And they said unto them, Let that which you have done hitherto suffice; come forth, and do according to the commandment of the king, and you shall live.
34 But they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king’s commandment, to profane the Shabbat.
35 So then they gave them the battle with all speed.
36 Howbeit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid;
37 But said, Let us die all in our innocence: heaven and earth will testify for us, that you put us to death wrongfully.
38 So they rose up against them in battle on the Shabbat, and they slew them, with their wives and children and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people.
39 Now when Mattityahu and his friends understood hereof, they mourned for them right sore.
40 And one of them said to another, If we all do as our brethren have done, and fight not for our lives and laws against the heathen, they will now quickly root us out of the earth.
41 At that time therefore they decreed, saying, Whosoever shall come to make battle with us on the Shabbat, we will fight against him; neither will we die all, as our brethren that were murdered in the secret places.
42 Then came there unto him a company of Assideans who were mighty men of Yisra’el, even all such as were voluntarily devoted unto the law.
43 Also all they that fled for persecution joined themselves unto them, and were a stay unto them.
44 So they joined their forces, and smote sinful men in their anger, and wicked men in their wrath: but the rest fled to the heathen for succor.
45 Then Mattityahu and his friends went round about, and pulled down the altars:
46 And what children so ever they found within the coast of Yisra’el uncircumcised, those they circumcised valiantly.
47 They pursued also after the proud men, and the work prospered in their hand.
48 So they recovered the Torah out of the hand of the Gentiles, and out of the hand of kings, neither suffered they the sinner to triumph.
49 Now when the time drew near that Mattityahu should die, he said unto his sons, Now hath pride and rebuke gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of indignation:
50 Now therefore, my sons, be you zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers.
51 Call to remembrance what acts our fathers did in their time; so shall you receive great honor and an everlasting name.
52 Was not Avraham found faithful in temptation, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness?
53 Yoseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment and was made master of Mitsrayim.
54 Phinehas (Phineas) our father in being zealous and fervent obtained the covenant of an everlasting priesthood.
55 Yehoshua (Joshua) for fulfilling the word was made a judge in Yisra’el.
56 Kalev (Caleb) for bearing witness before the congregation received the heritage of the land.
57 David for being merciful possessed the throne of an everlasting kingdom.
58 Eliyahu for being zealous and fervent for the law was taken up into heaven.
59 Ananyahu, Azaryahu, and Misha’el, by believing were saved out of the flame.
60 Dani’el for his innocence was delivered from the mouth of lions.
61 And thus consider throughout all ages, that none that put their trust in him shall be overcome.
63 To day he shall be lifted up and to morrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his dust, and his thought is come to nothing.
64 Wherefore, you my sons, be valiant and show yourselves men in the behalf of the Torah; for by it shall you obtain esteem.
65 And behold, I know that your brother Shim’on is a man of counsel, give ear unto him always: he shall be a father unto you.
66 As for Yehudah Maccabeus, he hath been mighty and strong, even from his youth up: let him be your captain, and fight the battle of the people.
67 Take also unto you all those that observe the Torah, and avenge the wrong of your people.
68 Recompense fully the heathen, and take heed to the commandments of the law.
69 So he blessed them, and was gathered to his fathers.
70 And he died in the hundred forty and sixth year, and his sons buried him in the sepulchre of his fathers at Modin, and all Yisra’el made great lamentation for him.
1 Then his son Yehudah, called Maccabeus, rose up in his stead.
2 And all his brethren helped him, and so did all they that held with his father, and they fought with cheerfulness the battle of Yisra’el.
3 So he got his people great honor, and put on a breastplate as a giant, and girded his warlike harness about him, and he made battles, protecting the host with his sword.
4 In his acts he was like a lion, and like a lion’s whelp roaring for his prey. (Beresheit (Genesis) 49:9)
5 For He pursued the wicked, and sought them out, and burnt up those that vexed his people.
6 Wherefore the wicked shrunk for fear of him, and all the workers of iniquity were troubled, because salvation prospered in his hand.
7 He grieved also many kings, and made Ya’aqov glad with his acts, and his memorial is blessed for ever.
8 Moreover he went through the cities of Yehudah, destroying the ungodly out of them, and turning away wrath from Yisra’el:
9 So that he was renowned unto the utmost part of the earth, and he received unto him such as were ready to perish.
10 Then Apollonius gathered the Gentiles together, and a great host out of Shomeron, to fight against Yisra’el.
11 Which thing when Judas perceived, he went forth to meet him, and so he smote him, and slew him: many also fell down slain, but the rest fled.
12 Wherefore Yehudah took their spoils, and Apollonius’ sword also, and therewith he fought all his life long.
13 Now when Seron, a prince of the army of Assyria, heard say that Yehudah had gathered unto him a multitude and company of the faithful to go out with him to war;
14 He said, I will get me a name and honor in the kingdom; for I will go fight with Yehudah and them that are with him, who despise the king’s commandment.
15 So he made him ready to go up, and there went with him a mighty host of the unrighteous to help him, and to be avenged of the children of Yisra’el.
16 And when he came near to the going up of Beyth Choron, Yehudah went forth to meet him with a small company:
17 Who, when they saw the host coming to meet them, said unto Yehudah, How shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so great a multitude and so strong, seeing we are ready to faint with fasting all this day?
18 Unto whom Yehudah answered, It is no hard matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few; and with the Master of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company:
19 For the victory of battle stands not in the multitude of an host; but strength comes from heaven.
20 They come against us in much pride and iniquity to destroy us, and our wives and children, and to spoil us:
21 But we fight for our lives and our laws.
22 Wherefore Elohim himself will overthrow them before our face: and as for you, be not afraid of them.
23 Now as soon as he had left off speaking, he leapt suddenly upon them, and so Seron and his host was overthrown before him.
24 And they pursued them from the going down of Beyth Choron unto the plain, where were slain about eight hundred men of them; and the residue fled into the land of the Philistines.
25 Then began the fear of Yehudah and his brethren, and an exceeding great dread, to fall upon the nations round about them:
26 Insomuch as his fame came unto the king, and all nations talked of the battles of Yehudah.
27 Now when king Antiochus heard these things, he was full of indignation: wherefore he sent and gathered together all the forces of his realm, even a very strong army.
28 He opened also his treasure, and gave his soldiers pay for a year, commanding them to be ready whenever he should need them.
29 Nevertheless, when he saw that the money of his treasures failed and that the tributes in the country were small, because of the dissension and plague, which he had brought upon the land in taking away the laws which had been of old time;
30 He feared that he should not be able to bear the charges any longer, nor to have such gifts to give so liberally as he did before: for he had abounded above the kings that were before him.
31 Wherefore, being greatly perplexed in his mind, he determined to go into Persia, there to take the tributes of the countries, and to gather much money.
32 So he left Lysias, a nobleman, and one of the blood royal, to oversee the affairs of the king from the river Euphrates unto the borders of Mitsrayim (Egypt):
33 And to bring up his son Antiochus, until he came again.
34 Moreover he delivered unto him the half of his forces, and the elephants, and gave him charge of all things that he would have done, as also concerning them that dwelt in Yehudah and Yerushalayim:
35 To wit, that he should send an army against them, to destroy and root out the strength of Yisra’el, and the remnant of Yerushalayim, and to take away their memorial from that place;
36 And that he should place strangers in all their quarters, and divide their land by lot.
37 So the king took the half of the forces that remained, and departed from Antioch, his royal city, the hundred forty and seventh year; and having passed the river Euphrates, he went through the high countries.
38 Then Lysias chose Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes, Nicanor, and Gorgias, mighty men of the king’s friends:
39 And with them he sent forty thousand footmen, and seven thousand horsemen, to go into the land of Yehudah, and to destroy it, as the king commanded.
40 So they went forth with all their power, and came and pitched by Emmaus in the plain country.
41 And the merchants of the country, hearing the fame of them, took silver and gold very much, with servants, and came into the camp to buy the children of Yisra’el for slaves: a power also of Assyria and of the land of the Philistines joined themselves unto them.
42 Now when Yehudah and his brethren saw that miseries were multiplied, and that the forces did encamp themselves in their borders: for they knew how the king had given commandment to destroy the people, and utterly abolish them;
43 They said one to another, Let us restore the decayed fortune of our people, and let us fight for our people and the sanctuary.
44 Then was the congregation gathered together, that they might be ready for battle, and that they might pray, and ask mercy and compassion.
45 Now Yerushalayim lay void as a wilderness, there was none of her children that went in or out: the sanctuary also was trodden down, and aliens kept the strong hold; the heathen had their habitation in that place; and joy was taken from Ya’aqov, and the pipe with the harp ceased.
46 Wherefore the Yisra’elites assembled themselves together, and came to Masphah, over against Yerushalayim; for in Masphah was the place where they prayed aforetime in Yisra’el.
47 Then they fasted that day, and put on sackcloth, and cast ashes upon their heads, and rent their clothes,
48 And laid open the book of the law, wherein the heathen had sought to paint the likeness of their images.
49 They brought also the priests’ garments, and the first-fruits, and the tithes: and the Nazarites they stirred up, who had accomplished their days.
50 Then cried they with a loud voice toward heaven, saying, What shall we do with these, and whither shall we carry them away?
51 For your sanctuary is trodden down and profaned, and your priests are in heaviness, and brought low.
52 And lo, the heathen are assembled together against us to destroy us: what things they imagine against us, you know.
53 How shall we be able to stand against them, except thou, O Elohim, be our help?
54 Then sounded they with trumpets, and cried with a loud voice.
55 And after this Yehudah ordained captains over the people, even captains over thousands, and over hundreds, and over fifties, and over tens.
56 But as for such as were building houses, or had betrothed wives, or were planting vineyards, or were fearful, those he commanded that they should return, every man to his own house, according to the law.
57 So the camp removed, and pitched upon the south side of Emmaus.
58 And Yehudah said, arm yourselves, and be valiant men, and see that ye be in readiness against the morning, that ye may fight with these nations, that are assembled together against us to destroy us and our sanctuary:
59 For it is better for us to die in battle, than to behold the calamities of our people and our sanctuary.
60 Nevertheless, as the will of Elohim is in heaven, so let him do.