Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster , at sacred-texts.com
XCV. (1) Now, when it came to the ear of Antiochus Eopator, son of Antiochus called Epiphanes, who had wrought such evil in Jerusalem, who slew the pious men, and who ultimately died from the severe plagues inflicted upon him, as we have stated above, (2) this Antiochus Eopator sent Lysias, his cousin, with an army of 80,000 horsemen and eighty elephants, a mighty army. They came to Judah and Jerusalem and gave battle at Bethter (###); building a ditch round about the city, he began to attack the city with a battering-ram and with stones, while Judah and the whole army of the Hasmoneans dwelt in the forests and on the mountains away from the Greek army. Judah said to his men, 'Come, let us approach the Lord our God in fasting and in supplication, and then let us march against the Greek army of Javan, who are attacking Bethter.'
(3) After the fast he blew the Shofar, and then gave the signal for battle, and he and all his men went to assist their brethren in Bethter. When they came to Jerusalem they entered the temple, offered peace-offerings, sacrificed burnt-offerings, and cried to the Lord. Then, departing from Jerusalem to go to Bethter to the Macedonian camp, Judah said to his men, 'Be strong and of good cheer; for the people of the Lord and for our brethren, let us rather perish together in the fight than see any evil fall upon our people.'
(4) When he had finished speaking, he lifted up his eyes and beheld between heaven and earth a man, well dressed, riding upon a horse like a flame of fire, and in his hand a spear. His back was turned towards the Hasmoneans and his face to the camp of the Greeks, with his hand stretched out ready to smite it. Judah then exclaimed, 'Blessed be He who has sent His messenger to save His people and
smite the camp of His enemies.' Hastening thence, they went to Bethter, and, springing upon the Macedonian camp, they put them into confusion, and slaughtered 11,000 foot and 1,600 horsemen. Lysias and his men fled for their lives in shame and disorder, and Lysias then knowing that God was fighting against the enemies of Israel, made a covenant with Judah.
(5) The following is the letter which Lysias sent to the people of Judah:
'Lysias, chief of the king's army and vicegerent of Antiochus, to Judah the Anointed of battle and to all his people be there greeting! Be it known to you that I have received letters you sent through your messengers, Johanan and Absalom, and that I have carried out whatever they told me. I read the letter with good feeling and have fulfilled everything contained therein. I have told the king the message on your behalf, and have given answer to Johanan and Absalom. I have further charged the messengers I sent to you with words of peace.'
(6) This is the contents of the letter which the king sent to Lysias, his cousin:
'King Antiochus to Lysias my brother greeting! Be it known to thee that we have received the letter thou didst send us concerning the Jews, and that we have read it with every good feeling. My father has gone the way of all flesh, he has ceased to be with men and has been taken with angels; but I seek for the welfare of all my kingdom, to stop wars, and to establish peace. I have heard that the Jews refused to listen to my father to violate their law, and that they have therefore conquered by the sword and slain the chief men and the most honoured of my father's kingdom. Now give them thy right hand, and make a covenant with them that they may know it to be my will and my hearty desire that they live in peace and observe their law according to their own wish.'
(7) And this is the contents of the letter which the king
sent to Judah: 'King Antiochus Eopator to Judah the Anointed one of battle and to the rest of the people greeting! Be it known to you that I have issued a decree throughout all my cities and to all the peoples subjected to my rule, that they should not oppress the Jews, but leave them to keep and to observe your law. Pardon whatever actions my father erringly did, and if we have also erred we send you Menelaos to speak to you words of peace.'