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1 Maccabees 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

II. Leadership of Judas Maccabeus

Chapter 3

Judas and His Early Victories. Then his son Judas, who was called Maccabeus, took his place. All his brothers and all who had joined his father supported him, and they gladly carried on Israel’s war.

He spread abroad the glory of his people,
    and put on his breastplate like a giant.
He armed himself with weapons of war;
    he fought battles and protected the camp with his sword.
In his deeds he was like a lion,
    like a young lion roaring for prey.
He pursued the lawless, hunting them out,
    and those who troubled his people he destroyed by fire.
The lawless were cowed by fear of him,
    and all evildoers were dismayed.
By his hand deliverance was happily achieved,
    and he afflicted many kings.
He gave joy to Jacob by his deeds,
    and his memory is blessed forever.
He went about the cities of Judah
    destroying the renegades there.
He turned away wrath from Israel,
    was renowned to the ends of the earth;
    and gathered together those who were perishing.

10 Then Apollonius[a] gathered together the Gentiles, along with a large army from Samaria, to fight against Israel. 11 When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him and struck and killed him. Many fell wounded, and the rest fled. 12 They took their spoils, and Judas took the sword of Apollonius and fought with it the rest of his life.

13 But Seron, commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had mustered an assembly of faithful men ready for war. 14 So he said, “I will make a name for myself and win honor in the kingdom. I will wage war against Judas and his followers, who have despised the king’s command.” 15 And again a large company of renegades advanced with him to help him take revenge on the Israelites.

16 When he reached the ascent of Beth-horon,[b] Judas went out to meet him with a few men. 17 But when they saw the army coming against them, they said to Judas: “How can we, few as we are, fight such a strong host as this? Besides, we are weak since we have not eaten today.” 18 But Judas said: “Many are easily hemmed in by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few; 19 for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven. 20 With great presumption and lawlessness they come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us; 21 but we are fighting for our lives and our laws. 22 He[c] will crush them before us; so do not fear them.” 23 When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly upon Seron and his army, who were crushed before him. 24 He pursued Seron down the descent of Beth-horon into the plain. About eight hundred[d] of their men fell, and the rest fled to the land of the Philistines. 25 Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and dread fell upon the Gentiles about them. 26 His fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked about the battles of Judas.

The King’s Strategy. 27 When King Antiochus heard these reports, he was filled with rage; so he ordered that all the forces of his kingdom be gathered, a very strong army. 28 He opened his treasury, gave his soldiers a year’s pay, and commanded them to be prepared for anything. 29 But then he saw that this exhausted the money in his treasury; moreover the tribute from the province was small because of the dissension and distress he had brought upon the land by abolishing the laws which had been in effect from of old. 30 He feared that, as had happened once or twice, he would not have enough for his expenses and for the gifts that he was accustomed to give with a lavish hand—more so than all previous kings. 31 Greatly perplexed, he decided to go to Persia and levy tribute on those provinces, and so raise a large sum of money.

32 He left Lysias, a noble of royal descent, in charge of the king’s affairs from the Euphrates River to the frontier of Egypt, 33 and commissioned him to take care of his son Antiochus until his return. 34 He entrusted to him half of his forces, and the elephants, and gave him instructions concerning everything he wanted done. As for the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem, 35 Lysias was to send an army against them to crush and destroy the power of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem and efface their memory from the place. 36 He was to settle foreigners in all their territory and distribute their land by lot. 37 [e]The king took the remaining half of the army and set out from Antioch, his capital, in the year one hundred and forty-seven; he crossed the Euphrates River and went through the provinces beyond.

Preparations for Battle. 38 Lysias chose Ptolemy, son of Dorymenes, and Nicanor[f] and Gorgias, powerful men among the King’s Friends, 39 and with them he sent forty thousand foot soldiers and seven thousand cavalry to invade and ravage the land of Judah according to the king’s orders. 40 Setting out with their whole force, they came and pitched their camp near Emmaus[g] in the plain. 41 When the merchants of the region heard of their prowess, they came to the camp, bringing a huge sum of silver and gold, along with fetters, to buy the Israelites as slaves. A force from Edom and from Philistia joined with them.

42 Judas and his brothers saw that evils had multiplied and that armies were encamped within their territory. They learned of the orders which the king had given to destroy and utterly wipe out the people. 43 So they said to one another, “Let us raise our people from their ruin and fight for them and for our sanctuary!”

44 The assembly gathered together to prepare for battle and to pray and ask for mercy and compassion.

45 Jerusalem was uninhabited, like a wilderness;
    not one of her children came in or went out.
The sanctuary was trampled on,
    and foreigners were in the citadel;
    it was a habitation for Gentiles.
Joy had disappeared from Jacob,
    and the flute and the harp were silent.

46 [h]Thus they assembled and went to Mizpah near Jerusalem, because formerly at Mizpah there was a place of prayer for Israel. 47 That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their garments. 48 They unrolled the scroll of the law, to learn about the things for which the Gentiles consulted the images of their idols.[i] 49 They brought with them the priestly garments, the first fruits, and the tithes; and they brought forward the nazirites[j] who had completed the time of their vows. 50 And they cried aloud to Heaven: “What shall we do with these, and where shall we take them? 51 For your sanctuary has been trampled on and profaned, and your priests are in mourning and humbled. 52 Now the Gentiles are gathered together against us to destroy us. You know what they plot against us. 53 How shall we be able to resist them unless you help us?” 54 Then they blew the trumpets and cried out loudly.

55 After this Judas appointed officers for the people, over thousands, over hundreds, over fifties, and over tens. 56 He proclaimed that those who were building houses, or were just married, or were planting vineyards, and those who were afraid, could each return home, according to the law. 57 Then the army moved off, and they camped to the south of Emmaus. 58 Judas said: “Arm yourselves and be brave; in the morning be ready to fight these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. 59 It is better for us to die in battle than to witness the evils befalling our nation and our sanctuary. 60 Whatever is willed in heaven will be done.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:10 Apollonius: the Mysian commander mentioned in 1 Mc 1:29; 2 Mc 5:24.
  2. 3:16 Beth-horon: the famous pass leading up from the coastal plain to the Judean hill country. Here Joshua won an important battle (Jos 10:10–11), and in A.D. 66 a Roman force under Cestius was trapped and massacred.
  3. 3:22 He: out of reverence for God, the author of 1 Maccabees prefers to use the pronoun and other expressions, such as “Heaven,” instead of the divine name. Cf. v. 50.
  4. 3:24 About eight hundred: the figures given in this book for strength of armies and number of casualties are not always to be taken literally. In accordance with biblical usage, they indicate rather the importance of the battle described or the greatness of the victory.
  5. 3:37 This expedition, in the spring of 165 B.C., resulted in failure; cf. chap. 6.
  6. 3:38 Nicanor: perhaps the leader of another attack against the Jews four years later; he was finally killed by Judas; cf. 7:26–46.
  7. 3:40 Emmaus: probably not the village mentioned in Lk 24:13 but a settlement about twenty miles west of Jerusalem at the edge of the hill country.
  8. 3:46 Mizpah…a place of prayer for Israel: a holy place of great antiquity eight miles north and slightly west of Jerusalem. It was here that Samuel began to judge the Israelites (1 Sm 7:5–11; 10:17).
  9. 3:48 To learn…idols: favorable omens for the coming battle. A contrast is intended between the idol worship of the pagans and the consultation of the word of God by the Jews; cf. 2 Mc 8:23.
  10. 3:49 Nazirites: see note on Nm 6:2–21.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ecclesiastes 10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 10

Dead flies corrupt and spoil the perfumer’s oil;
    more weighty than wisdom or wealth is a little folly![a]
The wise heart turns to the right;
    the foolish heart to the left.[b]

Even when walking in the street the fool, lacking understanding, calls everyone a fool.[c]

Should the anger of a ruler burst upon you, do not yield your place; for calmness[d] abates great offenses.

I have seen under the sun another evil, like a mistake that proceeds from a tyrant: a fool put in high position, while the great and the rich sit in lowly places. I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes[e] went on foot like slaves.

Whoever digs a pit may fall into it,
    and whoever breaks through a wall, a snake may bite.
Whoever quarries stones may be hurt by them,
    and whoever chops wood[f] is in danger from it.

10 If the ax becomes dull, and the blade is not sharpened, then effort must be increased. But the advantage of wisdom is success.

11 If the snake bites before it is charmed,
    then there is no advantage in a charmer.[g]
12 Words from the mouth of the wise win favor,
    but the lips of fools consume them.
13 The beginning of their words is folly,
    and the end of their talk is utter madness;
14     yet fools multiply words.
No one knows what is to come,
    for who can tell anyone what will be?
15 The toil of fools wearies them,
    so they do not know even the way to town.

No One Knows What Evil Will Come

16 Woe to you, O land, whose king is a youth,[h]
    and whose princes feast in the morning!
17 Happy are you, O land, whose king is of noble birth,
    and whose princes dine at the right time—
    for vigor[i] and not in drinking bouts.
18 Because of laziness, the rafters sag;
    when hands are slack, the house leaks.
19 A feast is made for merriment
    and wine gives joy to the living,
    but money answers[j] for everything.
20 Even in your thoughts do not curse the king,
    nor in the privacy of your bedroom curse the rich;
For the birds of the air may carry your voice,
    a winged creature[k] may tell what you say.

Footnotes:

  1. 10:1 Dead flies…a little folly: wisdom is vulnerable to even the smallest amount of folly. The collection of proverbs and sayings in chaps. 10 and 11 demonstrates the author’s sharp insight and strengthens his credentials as a sage. It thus adds weight to his critique of the wisdom tradition’s tendencies to self-assurance and naive optimism.
  2. 10:2 Right…left: the right hand is identified with power, moral goodness, favor; the left hand with ineptness and bad luck.
  3. 10:3 Calls everyone a fool: or, “tells everyone that he (himself) is a fool.”
  4. 10:4 Calmness: a frequent motif of wisdom; silence and reserve characterize the wise, while boisterousness and impetuosity identify the fool.
  5. 10:6–7 A fool…the rich…slaves…princes: another wisdom motif: astonishment at the reversal of the usual order in the world and in human affairs.
  6. 10:8–9 A pit…a wall…stones…wood: popular sayings reflecting the need for caution and alertness against the unexpected. Snakes could find a home in the stone walls of ancient Palestine; cf. Am 5:19.
  7. 10:10–11 Ax…success…snake…charmer: possession of the proper skill (a form of “wisdom”) can ensure success, as in the case of a sharpened ax; but one must use it before it is too late (v. 11). Cf. Sir 12:13.
  8. 10:16 A youth: thus too young and inexperienced to govern effectively. Feast in the morning: either concluding a whole night of revelry or beginning a new round of merrymaking.
  9. 10:17 For vigor: or, “with self-control, restraint.”
  10. 10:19 Money answers: a stark reminder that such a life requires money. It could also be an affirmation of the power of wealth: “Money conquers all.”
  11. 10:20 Birds of the air…winged creature: a common motif in ancient literature, and a vivid reminder of the need for caution in dealing with the rich and powerful.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Luke 6:37-49 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

37 “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. 38 Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” 39 And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? 40 No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.

A Tree Known by Its Fruit. 43 [a]“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. 45 A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

The Two Foundations. 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? 47 [b]I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. 48 That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. 49 But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”

Footnotes:

  1. 6:43–46 See notes on Mt 7:15–20 and 12:33.
  2. 6:47–49 See note on Mt 7:24–27.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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