Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster , at sacred-texts.com
XCVIII. (1) When the festival was at an end he marched out to Gorgios, the captain of the army of Edom, with 3,000 foot and 4,000 horse. A fierce battle took place between their two armies, in which some Hasmoneans were slain, and among them was Dostios, the captain of the host, who was sorely wounded on the shoulders; some of the Hasmonean warriors were nearly thrown back. When Judah realized what had happened, he then prayed to the Lord, and, encouraging his men, leaped forward into the camp of Gorgios and slaughtered many of his men. He then shouted out, 'At thee, Gorgios!' and stretched out his right hand to smite him, but Gorgios stepped back and thus escaped the blow, and throwing down his weapons, fled and made his escape, nor has he ever since been seen or recognised alive or dead. Some hold the opinion that he fled to the desert of Maresha (###), in the wilderness of Edom, and there died.
(2) Judah now returned to Edom, and, after destroying all their cities, took all the inhabitants prisoners. At this time graven images of the nations were discovered under the clothes of those Hasmoneans that were slain in battle.
[paragraph continues] Judah then knew that they had fallen through their iniquity, and said, 'Blessed be the Lord, who discovers that which is hidden, and who revealed these secrets.' He then exhorted the people to serve the Lord in holiness and purity, and returned to Jerusalem.
(3) Now, when Antiochus Eopator heard of all the battles Judah had waged and of the cities he had captured, he broke the covenant he had made with Judah, and marched out against him with an army as numerous as the sand upon the seashore, together with Lysias, his cousin, who also marched out at the head of a huge army. Having arrived in the land of Judah, he laid siege to Bethter. (4) Seeing this, Judah and all the elders of Israel called upon the Lord in fasting, tears, and in supplication. They also sacrificed burnt-offerings and offered peace-offerings. On that night Judah mustered all his chosen men of the Hasmoneans, and, dividing them round the camp of the king, he slew 4,000 men and the largest elephant. In the morning the king arranged his men in line of battle opposite Judah, and a very fierce engagement took place.
(5) Judah suddenly noticed an elephant coated with armour of gold, and as it was greater than all the other elephants, he thought the king must be riding it, and shouted out to his men, 'Who of you are with me?' And forthwith Eleazar, one of the young Hasmoneans, sprang forward and faced the elephant, felling to the ground all who came in his way, and, striking out right and left, the slain fell on either side of him; then, rushing in the thick of the fight, and placing himself between the elephant's legs, he pierced its belly with his sword, and it fell upon him, so that he died, having sacrificed his life for the Lord and for his people, and left a name after him, and courage to all who heard it. It was a day of mourning to his people. There fell in battle on that day 800 of the king's nobles, besides the other people that were slain among them.
(6) The king then ceased fighting, and returned to his tent. Soon after his return, he was informed that Phillip
had revolted against him, and that Demetrius, the son of Seleucus the king, was coming from Rome with a large army, in order to wrest the kingdom from his hands. Being sorely frightened, the king made peace, and made a covenant with Judah, embracing and kissing him, and ratified it by an oath, in which Lysias joined, saying, 'We shall never as long as we live go to war against Jerusalem.' The king then brought out much gold from his treasury, and gave it as a present to the house of God in Jerusalem.
(7) He took Menelaus, a Judæan, prisoner, who brought Antiochus to Jerusalem, and caused him to do evil, and also Eopator. The king, being very wrath with him, ordered him to be carried to a lofty tower, fifty cubits in height, and near it there was dust and ashes in immense quantities. Then, commanding him to be bound hand and foot, they cast him into the ashes, and buried him beneath them, so that he died in torment, through his iniquity, for he had committed many abominations before the altar of the Lord with the sacred dust and ashes. Thus this wicked man died, suffocated with the very ashes with which he committed abominations. Just is the Lord, who requites man according to his deeds and the fruit of his actions.
XCIX. (1) After this the king went his way to Macedon and Judah, judged his people, and did righteousness and justice. At that time Demetrius, the son of Seleucus the king, with a Roman army, engaged in battle with Antiochus Eopator, in which Antiochus and Lysias were slain, and he held the reins of government in Antiochia in Macedon.
(2) Now, Alkimos the priest, a worthless man, who ate swine's flesh during the reign of Antiochus, came to Demetrius, and said, 'Long live King Demetrius! How long wilt thou remain inactive on behalf of thy servants in the land of Judah, who have fallen by the sword of Judah, the son of Mattathias, and his people the Jews, who are called Ḥassidim? He slays us because we refuse to comply with many precepts of their law.'
(3) Demetrius, stirred to anger by this, sent Nicanor,
the captain of his army, with a strong army, and chariots, horsemen, elephants, and footmen without number. Arriving at Jerusalem, he sent word professing his friendship, and said, 'Come and let us see each other, and consult in a friendly manner.' Judah, fearing no treachery, went to meet him. When Nicanor met him, he embraced him, and asked after his welfare. Then, placing seats for both of them, they sat down and conversed. Judah, however, had commanded his young Hasmoneans to remain armed ready for battle, lest the enemy suddenly attack them. Accordingly, his men stood near him, ready at any moment for the fray, as Judah had ordered. Judah and Nicanor at length rose from their seats, and went into their respective tents, and they dwelt both in Jerusalem, there being no war between them. On the contrary, Nicanor was very fond of Judah, and said to him, 'Would it not be meet for a man like thee to take a wife and beget children?' Judah married, and begat children.
(4) When Alkimos recognised the love Judah and Nicanor bore each other, he again went to the king, and informed him what had taken place. The king thereupon sent a letter to Nicanor, saying, 'If thou wilt not send me Judah, son of Mattathiah, bound in chains, know that thou wilt surely be slain.' Judah soon became aware of this, and, leaving the city by night, he sounded the trumpet-call and gave the battle-signal, and when all the valiant Ḥassidim and Hasmoneans had mustered in full force, he went to Samaria, and remained there.
(5) In the meantime Nicanor went to the temple of the Lord, and said to the priests, 'Bring ye out the man who fled from me, that I may send him to the king bound in chains.' But the priests swore unto him, saying, 'He has not been here, nor have we seen him since the day before yesterday.' At this reply, Nicanor spoke blasphemously of the temple, and, spitting upon it, stretched out his right hand, and, baring his arm for slaughter, he said, 'I will overthrow this temple, and will not leave one single stone in its place, and I shall dig up and overturn all its foundations.'
[paragraph continues] With this, he departed in anger, and the priests went about crying between the porch and the altar, and said, 'O God, whose dwelling-place has of old been in this temple, now continue to rest here, for here is Thy throne, and here is Thy footstool, and all Thy service. The heart of Nicanor was filled with blasphemy towards Thy house and towards Thy habitation. He acted treacherously against the temple of Thy glory, and has committed abomination, therefore let him die as an abomination.'
(6) Nicanor searched all the houses of Jerusalem for Judah, and sent 500 troops to the house of Daqsios (###), the Elder of Ḥassidim, who was tested in Antiochus's reign and found perfect, for he had suffered many tortures, and was called 'Father of the Jews and Judge in Jerusalem.'
(7) And as Nicanor was trying to show his bitter hatred of the Jews, he sent a messenger to fetch the old man, while his men surrounded the house to catch him; but the old man, unsheathing his sword and piercing his bowels, ran upon the wall, and threw himself upon Nicanor's troops, who made room for him, and he fell to the ground. But he soon rose up again, and went towards the troops. He stood on a large stone, and from the great loss of blood which was rapidly flowing from him, he became distracted, and took part of his entrails and threw it at the troops. Then, calling upon the Lord in prayer, he died, and was gathered to his people.
(8) When Judah heard these things, he waxed furious, and sent a message to Nicanor, saying, 'Why dost thou delay? Come into the field, and I will show thee the man thou hast been seeking in the chamber. Behold, he is here waiting for thee in the valley and in the plain.' Nicanor then gathered all his forces, and went to meet the Jews on a Sabbath. The Jews that were with him said, 'O my lord, we beseech thee, do not act presumptuously; grant Him honour who gave the Sabbath.' 'And who, indeed, gave the Sabbath?' asked Nicanor. 'The God whose dwelling is in heaven,' answered they, 'and whose
dominion extends over the whole world.' Nicanor then spoke such words of blasphemy as are not fit to be written down.
(9) Judah heard of this, and said to his men, 'How long will we be indolent, and refuse to give battle to this reviler and blasphemer? for who is this dead dog and outcast that defies the strength and glory of Israel?'
(10) He then marched in great anger and zeal to attack Nicanor, who came to meet him with a huge and powerful army. And Judah cried to the Lord, saying, 'O Lord my God, Thou didst send a messenger into the camp of Sennacherib, whose men stood up outside the city and blasphemed Thee, and Thou didst smite his multitude by slaying 175,000 men; the slain we counted, but the slayer we did not see. Now, how much more deserving of death is this man, who has stood up against Thy temple, and has blasphemed Thy might and Thy glory?'
(11) On that day a very fierce and bloody battle was fought. When Judah saw Nicanor with drawn sword, he cried out, 'At thee, Nicanor!' and then ran against him in the fury of his anger. And Nicanor turned his back to flee, but Judah laid hold of him, and, cutting him in two, cast him to the ground. There fell on that day 30,000 men of the Macedonian army. The remainder fled, but were pursued by Judah's men, who all the while were sounding the Shofar. All the cities of Judah turned out to meet the enemy, and smote them, cutting them to pieces, so that not one of them remained alive. Then, proceeding to strip the slain, they found abundance of gold, precious stones, and purple garments. They cut off the head of Nicanor and the arm that he had stretched out against God's temple, and hung them up before the gate, which has henceforth until this very day been called 'The gate of Nicanor.' The people then rejoiced exceedingly, and sang the Psalms of David, King of Israel, concluding, 'For He is good, and His mercy endureth for ever.'
(12) Ever since that time the Jews celebrate this day as a feast and a holiday, on which wine is drunk—viz., the
[paragraph continues] 13th day of Adar, one day before 'Purim.' And Judah judged all his people, and did justice and righteousness in the land.
C. (1) At the end of the year, the days of Judah drew to a close, and the Lord ordained that Judah end his days, and be gathered to his people the Ḥassidim. At this time Baqidos (###) suddenly came upon Judah with 30,000 men of the Macedonian army, while he was in Laish (Leshem ?). The 3,000 men that were with him fled as one man, and the only ones that remained were himself, his brothers, and 800 chosen men of Israel, who did not stir from their places. All these men were Judah's associates, tried veterans in all the wars that Judah had waged with the nations.
(2) Baqidos then brought forward 15,000 men, and arranged them in line of battle on the right of Judah, while on his left he placed another army to the number of 15,000. There was a great shouting, both on the right and left of Judah; but when he saw that the battle was very fierce, and that Baqidos stood on his right—for all the warriors of Baqidos remained on the right, and that the right wing was with him—he shouted and leaped forward followed by his brothers, and the few Hasmoneans. (3) He ran in the direction of Baqidos, and a fierce and terrible battle ensued, at the beginning of which heaps of Macedonians were slain. As soon as Judah saw Baqidos standing in the midst of the people, he ran towards him in the strength of his anger, and smote many of his warriors. He struck out right and left at all who came in his way, slaying enemies without number, until he had no 'place to walk except upon the slain. Upon these he made his way. (4) He then came face to face with Baqidos, with sword unsheathed and steeped in blood. As soon as Baqidos beheld Judah's face, it appeared to him like that of a lion robbed of its prey, and fear and trembling seized him. Turning his back, he attempted to flee in the direction of Ashdod, but Judah pursued him, and put all his men, 15,000, to the edge of the sword.
(5) Baqidos succeeded in effecting his escape to Ashdod, and his army, which was behind him, finding Judah faint and weary, fell upon him. Baqidos came out from the city, and war was waged on every side, and many more were slain, Judah being among the number, falling upon those he had slain. His brothers Simeon and Jonathan took him and buried him on Mount Moda‘ith, and all Israel mourned for him many days. The number of years during which Judah, surnamed Maccabee, ministered unto Israel was six years, and the Lord caused him to prosper all the days of his life.
[End of the Book of the Maccabee.]