1 Maccabees 2:15-3:41
Apostasy at Modein
15 Now those from the king who were enforcing the apostasy journeyed to the city of Modein to make them offer sacrifice, 16 and many from Israel also came with them. So Mattathias and his sons gathered together. 17 Then those from the king spoke to Mattathias, saying, “You are a great and glorious leader in this city and supported by your sons and brothers. 18 Now come, be the first to follow the decree of the king, as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah have done, and those who remain in Jerusalem; and you and your sons will be among the king’s friends, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many rewards.”
19 Then Mattathias answered, speaking with a loud voice, “Though all the Gentiles in the house of the kingdom of the king obey him, and each turns from the worship of their fathers and chooses to follow his commands, 20 my sons and my brothers and I will continue in the covenant of our fathers. 21 Far be it from us to forsake the law and the ordinances. 22 We will not obey the words of the king to turn aside from our worship to the right or to the left.”
23 When he finished saying these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of everyone to sacrifice upon the altar in Modein in accordance with the king’s decree. 24 When Mattathias saw him, he was filled with zeal, and his heart trembled and poured forth anger in judgment. Then he ran and slew him upon the altar. 25 So he killed the king’s man who wanted to offer sacrifice at that time, and he tore down the altar. 26 Thus he had zeal for the law, just as Phinehas had against Zambri the son of Salome.
Warfare in the Wilderness
27 Then Mattathias cried out with a loud voice in the city, saying, “Every one who has zeal for the law and holds to the covenant, let him follow me.” 28 So he and his sons fled into the mountains and left behind whatever they had in the city.
29 Then many who sought righteousness and judgment went down to the desert to live there, 30 they, their sons, their women, and their cattle, because evils increased severely against them. 31 It was also announced to the king’s men and the soldiers in Jerusalem, the city of David, that certain men who had scattered when the command of the king was made known had gone into hiding in the desert. 32 Thus, many ran after them, tracked them down, marched against them, and engaged them in battle on the Sabbath day.
33 Then they said to them, “Now, come out and do the will of the king and you shall live.” 34 But they answered, “We will not come out, nor will we do the will of the king to desecrate the Sabbath day.” 35 So the enemy rushed into battle against them. 36 Yet they did not answer them, nor did they cast a stone, nor did they block up their hiding places, 37 saying, “Let us all die in our innocence. Heaven and earth will testify for us that you destroyed us unjustly.” 38 So the king’s men rose against them in battle on the Sabbath, and they died along with their women, children, and cattle, as many as a thousand people.
39 Then Mattathias and his friends grieved for them exceedingly. 40 So each one said to his neighbor, “If we do as our brothers did and fail to fight against the Gentiles for our life and our ordinances, they will quickly wipe us off the earth.” 41 So they resolved on that day, saying, “Every man who comes against us for battle on the Sabbath day, let us war against him, and we shall not all die as our brothers did in their hiding places.”
42 Then the synagogue of the Hasideans gathered with them, a mighty army from Israel, everyone who willingly offered himself for the law. 43 Everyone who escaped from evils was added to them and became their support. 44 So they formed an army, and struck the sinners in their wrath and the lawless men in their anger. The rest fled to the Gentiles to be rescued. 45 Mattathias and his allies also surrounded the altars and tore them down, 46 and they circumcised the uncircumcised boys by force, as many as they found in the mountains of Israel. 47 Thus they pursued the sons of arrogance, and the undertaking prospered in their hand. 48 They took the law out of the hand of the Gentiles and the kings, and did not allow the sinners to dominate them.
Last Days of Mattathias
49 Then the days approached for Mattathias to die, and he spoke to his sons, saying, “Now arrogance and scorn and the time of destruction and furious anger have been strengthened. 50 Therefore, children, be zealous for the law, and offer your lives for the covenant of our fathers; 51 and remember the deeds our fathers did in their generations, and receive great honor and an everlasting name. 52 Was not Abraham found faithful in trial, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? 53 And Joseph at the time of his trouble kept the commandment and became ruler of Egypt. 54 Phinehas our father showed true zeal and received a covenant of eternal priesthood. 55 Joshua fulfilled the word and became a judge in Israel. 56 Caleb testified in the assembly and received an inheritance in the land. 57 David, in the mercy shown him, inherited the throne of the kingdom forever. 58 In his great zeal for the law, Elijah was taken up into heaven. 59 Ananias, Azarias, and Mishael believed and were saved from the fiery furnace. 60 In his innocence, Daniel was delivered from the mouth of lions. 61 Thus, understand from generation to generation that all who hope in the Lord will not be weak. 62 Do not fear the words of a sinful man, because his glory is like manure and worms. 63 Today he will be exalted, but tomorrow he will not be found; for he returned to his dust, and his purpose will perish. 64 Children, be courageous and strong in the law, because you will be honored by it.
65 “So behold Simeon, your brother. I know he is a man of wisdom. Listen to him every day, and he shall be your father. 66 Judas Maccabeus, mighty in fighting from his youth, he shall be the leader of your army, and he will fight the fight of the people. 67 And you, bring forth with you all those who are doers of the law, and seek justice for your people. 68 Repay the Gentiles in full, and hold fast to the ordinance of the law.”
69 Then he blessed them and was added to his fathers. 70 So he died in the one hundred and forty-sixth year and was buried in the tomb of his fathers in Modein; and all of Israel mourned him with great mourning.
Judas Maccabeus Succeeds His Father
1 Then Judas his son, who was called Maccabeus, rose up in his place. 2 His brothers all helped him, and everyone who had been allied with his father, and they fought the battle for Israel with gladness.
Eulogy to Mattathias
3 He enlarged his people’s glory
And was clothed with a breastplate like a giant;
And he girded on his weapons And waged war,
Sheltering the camp with his sword.
4 He was like a lion in his deeds,
Like a young lion roaring for its prey.
5 For he pursued the lawless and searched them out;
And he set on fire those who troubled his people.
6 The lawless were humbled from fear of him,
And all the workers of lawlessness were troubled;
For deliverance prospered by his hand.
7 He embittered many rulers,
And brought joy to Jacob by his deeds;
And may his memory be blessed forever.
8 He passed through the cities of Judah
And destroyed the ungodly from the land;
And he turned wrath away from Israel.
9 His name was known to the ends of the earth,
And he gathered those who were perishing.
Judas’ Early Victories
10 Then Apollonius gathered the Gentiles together and brought a great army from Samaria to wage war with Israel. 11 But Judas knew it and went out to meet him. He struck and killed him, and many wounded fell; and the rest fled. 12 They took their spoils, and Judas took the sword of Apollonius and fought with it every day.
13 Now Seron, the leader of the army of Syria, heard Judas had gathered a large assembly of faithful men with him, and they were going out into battle. 14 So he said, “I will make a name for myself and be honored in the kingdom. I will fight Judas and his followers who despised the word of the king.” 15 He set forth, and with him went an army of godless men, strong enough to help him take vengeance on the sons of Israel.
16 So he drew near to the highlands of Beth-Horon, and Judas went out to meet him with only a few allies. 17 As they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas, “How will we, being few, be able to fight against such a powerful number? We who have come out today are weak from lack of food.” 18 Then Judas said, “It is easy to hem in many at the hands of a few, and it makes no difference before heaven to save with many or with few. 19 For victory in battle does not come from the size of the army, but from the might of heaven. 20 These come against us in the abundance of insolence and lawlessness, to seize us and our women and children, and to take spoils from us; 21 but we are fighting for our lives and our laws. 22 God Himself will crush them from before our face; but as for you, do not fear because of them.”
23 When he was through speaking, Judas suddenly rushed against them, and Seron and his army were destroyed before him. 24 He pursued him into the descent of Beth-Horon as far as the plain. Around eight hundred of their soldiers perished; the remainder fled into the land of the Philistines. 25 Then fear of Judas and his brothers began, and terror fell upon the nations around them. 26 So his fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked about the battles of Judas.
27 When Antiochus the king heard these words, he was very angry, and he sent and gathered all the forces of his kingdom, an exceedingly strong army. 28 He also opened his treasury and gave a year’s wages to the troops, and commanded them to be ready for any need. 29 Then he noticed the silver in the treasury was depleted, and the taxes from the region were small, because of the dissension and misfortune he caused in the land when he took away the laws that existed from the earliest days. 30 So he took care not to pay out expenditures and give gifts as abundantly as he had done before, even more lavishly than the previous kings. 31 He was very disturbed in himself, so he decided to go to Persia and collect taxes from those regions and gather abundant silver.
32 He left Lysias, a man of distinction from the royal lineage, in charge of all the king’s affairs, from the river Euphrates to the boundary of Egypt. 33 He was also to take care of his son Antiochus until his return. 34 Then he handed over to Lysias half of the armies and the elephants. He gave him orders concerning all his wishes and concerning those who lived in Judea and Jerusalem. 35 He ordered him to send an army against them, to destroy them and remove the might of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem, and to remove their memory from that place. 36 He was also to settle foreigners in all their regions and distribute their land by lot. 37 Then the king took half of the remaining armies and left Antioch, the capital of his kingdom. In the one hundred and forty-seventh year, he crossed over the Euphrates River and entered the regions on the other side.
38 Lysias appointed Ptolemy, the son of Dorymenes, and Nicanor and Gorgias, valiant men who were loyal to the king, 39 and he sent with them forty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry to go into the region of Judah and crush it according to the king’s orders. 40 So he set out with the whole army, and they went and camped near Emmaus on the plain. 41 When the merchants of the region heard about them, they took a very large amount of silver and gold and shackles and went into the camp to obtain the sons of Israel as slaves. The army of Syria and of the land of the Philistines joined them as well.
1 For the End; a psalm by David.
In the Lord I trust. How will you say to my soul,
“Flee to the mountains like a sparrow”?
2 See, the sinners stretch tight their bow;
They prepare their arrows in the quiver,
That in a moonless night they may shoot down the upright in heart.
3 For the things You created, they destroyed.
But what did the righteous man do?
4 The Lord is in His holy temple;
The Lord, His throne is in heaven;
His eyes are fixed upon the poor man,
His eyelids examine the sons of men.
5 The Lord examines the righteous man and the ungodly man,
And he who loves unrighteousness hates his own soul.
6 He shall rain down snares upon sinners;
Fire and brimstone and a raging wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 The righteous Lord loves righteousness;
His face beholds the upright.
1 For the End, concerning the eighth; a psalm by David.
2 Save me, O Lord, for the holy man has ceased;
The truthful are diminished from among the sons of men.
3 Each one speaks useless things to his neighbor;
Deceptive lips speak with a double heart.
4 May the Lord destroy all deceptive lips
And the tongue that speaks boastful things,
5 Saying, “We will make our tongue powerful;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
6 “Because of the suffering of the needy,
And because of the groaning of the poor,
Now I will arise,” says the Lord;
“I will establish them in salvation;
I will declare it boldly.”
7 The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver fired in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.
8 You shall guard us, O Lord;
You shall preserve us from this generation forever.
9 The ungodly walk in a circle;
In Your exaltation, You highly exalted the sons of men.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom,
And from His face come knowledge and understanding;
7 And He stores up salvation for the upright;
He will protect their journey,
8 That He might guard the ways of His ordinances;
And He will carefully guard the way of those who reverence Him.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and judgment,
And accomplish successfully every good path for yourself.
16 Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in [a]Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the [b]Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the [c]foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.