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1 Maccabees 7-8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 7

Expedition of Bacchides and Alcimus. In the one hundred and fifty-first year,[a] Demetrius, son of Seleucus, set out from Rome, arrived with a few men at a coastal city, and began to rule there. As he was entering the royal palace of his ancestors, the soldiers seized Antiochus and Lysias to bring them to him. When he was informed of this, he said, “Do not show me their faces.” So the soldiers killed them, and Demetrius assumed the royal throne.

Then all the lawless men and renegades of Israel came to him. They were led by Alcimus,[b] who desired to be high priest. They made this accusation to the king against the people: “Judas and his brothers have destroyed all your friends and have driven us out of our land. So now, send a man whom you trust to go and see all the destruction Judas has wrought on us and on the king’s territory, and let him punish them and all their supporters.”

So the king chose Bacchides, one of the King’s Friends, who ruled the province of West-of-Euphrates, a great man in the kingdom, and faithful to the king. He sent him and the renegade Alcimus, to whom he granted the high priesthood, with orders to take revenge on the Israelites. 10 They set out and, on arriving in the land of Judah with a great army, sent messengers who spoke deceitfully to Judas and his brothers in peaceful terms. 11 But these paid no attention to their words, seeing that they had come with a great army.

12 A group of scribes, however, gathered about Alcimus and Bacchides to ask for a just agreement. 13 The Hasideans were the first among the Israelites to seek peace with them, 14 for they said, “A priest of the line of Aaron has come with the army, and he will not do us any wrong.” 15 He spoke with them peacefully and swore to them, “We will not seek to injure you or your friends.” 16 So they trusted him. But he arrested sixty of them and killed them in one day, according to the words that he wrote:[c]

17 “The flesh of your faithful,
    and their blood they have spilled all around about Jerusalem,
    and no one was left to bury them.”

18 Then fear and dread of them came upon all the people, who said: “There is no truth or justice among them; they violated the agreement and the oath that they swore.”

19 Bacchides withdrew from Jerusalem and camped in Beth-zaith.[d] He had many of the men who deserted to him arrested and some of the people. He killed them and threw them into a great cistern. 20 He handed the province over to Alcimus, leaving troops to help him, while he himself returned to the king.

21 Alcimus struggled to maintain his high priesthood, 22 and all those who were troubling the people gathered about him. They took possession of the land of Judah and caused great distress in Israel. 23 When Judas saw all the evils that Alcimus and those with him were bringing upon the Israelites, even more than the Gentiles had, 24 he went about all the borders of Judea and took revenge on the men who had deserted, preventing them from going out into the country. 25 But when Alcimus saw that Judas and his followers were gaining strength and realized that he could not resist them, he returned to the king and accused them of grave crimes.

Defeat of Nicanor. 26 Then the king sent Nicanor, one of his honored officers, who was a bitter enemy of Israel, with orders to destroy the people. 27 Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a large force and deceitfully sent to Judas[e] and his brothers this peaceable message: 28 “Let there be no fight between me and you. I will come with a few men to meet you face to face in peace.”

29 So he came to Judas, and they greeted one another peaceably. But Judas’ enemies were prepared to seize him. 30 When he became aware that Nicanor had come to him with deceit in mind, Judas was afraid of him and would not meet him again. 31 When Nicanor saw that his plan had been discovered, he went out to fight Judas near Capharsalama.[f] 32 About five hundred men of Nicanor’s army fell; the rest fled to the City of David.[g]

33 After this, Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests from the sanctuary and some of the elders of the people came out to greet him peaceably and to show him the burnt offering that was being sacrificed for the king. 34 But he mocked and ridiculed them, defiled them,[h] and spoke arrogantly. 35 In a rage he swore: “If Judas and his army are not delivered to me at once, when I return victorious I will burn this temple down.” He went away in great anger. 36 The priests, however, went in and stood before the altar and the sanctuary. They wept and said: 37 “You have chosen this house to bear your name, to be a house of prayer and supplication for your people. 38 Take revenge on this man and his army, and let them fall by the sword. Remember their blasphemies, and do not let them continue.”

39 Nicanor left Jerusalem and camped at Beth-horon, where the Syrian army joined him. 40 But Judas camped in Adasa[i] with three thousand men. Here Judas uttered this prayer: 41 “When they who were sent by the king[j] blasphemed, your angel went out and killed a hundred and eighty-five thousand of them. 42 In the same way, crush this army before us today, and let the rest know that Nicanor spoke wickedly against your sanctuary; judge him according to his wickedness.”

43 The armies met in battle on the thirteenth day of the month Adar. Nicanor’s army was crushed, and he himself was the first to fall in the battle. 44 When his army saw that Nicanor had fallen, they threw down their weapons and fled. 45 The Jews pursued them a day’s journey from Adasa to near Gazara, blowing the trumpets behind them as signals. 46 From all the surrounding villages of Judea people came out and outflanked them. They turned them back, and all the enemies fell by the sword; not a single one escaped.

47 Then the Jews collected the spoils and the plunder; they cut off Nicanor’s head and his right arm, which he had lifted up so arrogantly. These they brought and displayed in the sight of Jerusalem. 48 The people rejoiced greatly, and observed that day as a day of much joy. 49 They decreed that it should be observed every year on the thirteenth of Adar.[k] 50 And so for a few days[l] the land of Judah was at rest.

Chapter 8

Eulogy of the Romans. [m]Judas had heard of the reputation of the Romans. They were valiant fighters and acted amiably to all who took their side. They established a friendly alliance with all who applied to them. He was also told of their battles and the brave deeds that they performed against the Gauls,[n] conquering them and forcing them to pay tribute; and what they did in Spain to get possession of the silver and gold mines there. By planning and persistence they subjugated the whole region, although it was very remote from their own. They also subjugated the kings who had come against them from the far corners of the earth until they crushed them and inflicted on them severe defeat. The rest paid tribute to them every year. Philip[o] and Perseus, king of the Macedonians, and the others who opposed them in battle they overwhelmed and subjugated. Antiochus[p] the Great, king of Asia, who fought against them with a hundred and twenty elephants and with cavalry and chariots and a very great army, was defeated by them. They took him alive and obliged him and the kings who succeeded him to pay a heavy tribute, to give hostages and to cede Lycia, Mysia, and Lydia[q] from among their best provinces. The Romans took these from him and gave them to King Eumenes. [r]When the Greeks planned to come and destroy them, 10 the Romans discovered it, and sent against the Greeks a single general who made war on them. Many were wounded and fell, and the Romans took their wives and children captive. They plundered them, took possession of their land, tore down their strongholds and reduced them to slavery even to this day. 11 All the other kingdoms and islands that had ever opposed them they destroyed and enslaved; with their friends, however, and those who relied on them, they maintained friendship. 12 They subjugated kings both near and far, and all who heard of their fame were afraid of them. 13 Those whom they wish to help and to make kings, they make kings; and those whom they wish, they depose; and they were greatly exalted. 14 Yet with all this, none of them put on a diadem or wore purple as a display of grandeur. 15 But they made for themselves a senate chamber, and every day three hundred and twenty men took counsel, deliberating on all that concerned the people and their well-being. 16 They entrust their government to one man[s] every year, to rule over their entire land, and they all obey that one, and there is no envy or jealousy among them.

Treaty with the Romans. 17 So Judas chose Eupolemus, son of John, son of Accos, and Jason, son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome to establish friendship and alliance with them. 18 He did this to lift the yoke from Israel, for it was obvious that the kingdom of the Greeks was subjecting them to slavery. 19 After making a very long journey to Rome, the envoys entered the senate chamber and spoke as follows: 20 “Judas, called Maccabeus, and his brothers, with the Jewish people, have sent us to you to establish alliance and peace with you, and to be enrolled among your allies and friends.” 21 The proposal pleased the Romans, 22 and this is a copy of the reply they inscribed on bronze tablets and sent to Jerusalem,[t] to remain there with the Jews as a record of peace and alliance:

23 “May it be well with the Romans and the Jewish nation at sea and on land forever; may sword and enemy be far from them. 24 But if war is first made on Rome, or any of its allies in any of their dominions, 25 the Jewish nation will fight along with them wholeheartedly, as the occasion shall demand; 26 and to those who wage war they shall not give or provide grain, weapons, money, or ships, as seems best to Rome. They shall fulfill their obligations without receiving any recompense. 27 In the same way, if war is made first on the Jewish nation, the Romans will fight along with them willingly, as the occasion shall demand, 28 and to those who attack them there shall not be given grain, weapons, money, or ships, as seems best to Rome. They shall fulfill their obligations without deception. 29 On these terms the Romans have made an agreement with the Jewish people. 30 But if both parties hereafter agree to add or take away anything, they shall do as they choose, and whatever they shall add or take away shall be valid.

31 “Moreover, concerning the wrongs that King Demetrius is doing to them, we have written to him thus: ‘Why have you made your yoke heavy upon our friends and allies the Jews? 32 If they petition against you again, we will enforce justice and make war on you by sea and land.’”


  1. 7:1–3 The one hundred and fifty-first year: the spring of 161 B.C. Demetrius, son of Seleucus, was the lawful heir to the kingdom; but when only nine years old, he was taken as a hostage to Rome in place of his uncle, who ruled as Antiochus IV Epiphanes. At the age of twenty-five Demetrius fled secretly from Rome and, with the support of the Syrians, overcame his rival Antiochus V and put him to death. The royal palace: at Antioch.
  2. 7:5–6 Alcimus: a Jew hostile to the Maccabees, who became high priest after the death of Menelaus (2 Mc 14:3). He received confirmation in his office from the new king Demetrius (1 Mc 7:9), and brought malicious charges against Judas and his brothers and the people (1 Mc 7:6).
  3. 7:16 The words that he wrote: based on Ps 79:2–3. But who is “he”—David, Alcimus, Judas, or someone else?
  4. 7:19 Beth-zaith: about three miles north of Beth-zur and twelve miles south of Jerusalem.
  5. 7:27 Nicanor…deceitfully sent to Judas: a more favorable picture of Nicanor, as an honest man who became a personal friend of Judas, is given in 2 Mc 14:17–25. Their friendship was broken by the intrigues of Alcimus (2 Mc 14:26–30).
  6. 7:31 Capharsalama: a village north of Jerusalem whose precise location is disputed.
  7. 7:32 City of David: the citadel occupied by the Seleucid garrison in Jerusalem.
  8. 7:34 Defiled them: spitting on the priests caused them to become legally defiled.
  9. 7:40 Adasa: a village between Jerusalem and Beth-horon.
  10. 7:41 They who were sent by the king: 2 Kgs 18:19–25, 29–35; 19:10–13 recount in detail the boastful threats made by Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, through his emissaries. Your angel: a reference to 2 Kgs 19:35, which describes the fate of the Assyrian army which besieged Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah.
  11. 7:49 The thirteenth of Adar: March 27, 160 B.C. This day in the Jewish calendar was called the “Day of Nicanor” (2 Mc 15:36), but it was not long celebrated by the Jews.
  12. 7:50 For a few days: about one month following the death of Nicanor. After that began the attack of Bacchides resulting in the death of Judas (9:1–18).
  13. 8:1

    This chapter contains the account of the embassy which Judas sent to Rome, probably before the death of Nicanor, to conclude a treaty of alliance between Rome and the Jewish nation. Without precise chronology, the pertinent data are gathered into a unified theme.

    The image of the Roman Republic greatly impressed the smaller Eastern peoples seeking support against their overlords (vv. 1–16), because of Roman success in war (vv. 2–11) and effective aid to their allies (vv. 12–13). Numerous interventions by Rome in the politics of the Near East bear witness to its power and prestige in the second century B.C. See 1:10; 7:2; 12:3; 15:15–24; 2 Mc 11:34. With the increased Roman control of Palestine after 63 B.C., the Republic and later the Empire became heartily detested. The eulogy of Rome in this chapter is one of the reasons why 1 Maccabees was not preserved by the Palestinian Jews of the century that followed.

  14. 8:2 Gauls: probably the Celts of northern Italy and southern France, subdued by the Romans in 222 B.C., and again in 200–191 B.C.; but also those in Asia Minor (the Galatians), whom the Romans defeated in 189 B.C.
  15. 8:5 Philip: Philip V of Macedonia, defeated by a Graeco-Roman alliance at Cynoscephalae in 197 B.C. Perseus, his son, was defeated at Pydna in 168 B.C., and died a prisoner. With this, the kingdom of Macedonia came to an end.
  16. 8:6 Antiochus: Antiochus III, greatest of the Seleucid kings. He was defeated at Magnesia in 190 B.C. By the Treaty of Apamea in 189 B.C., he was obliged to pay Rome a crushing indemnity of 15,000 talents. The weakening of Antiochene power and the growing military and economic influence of Rome may have led Antiochus IV to adopt the policy of political, religious, and cultural unification of Syria and Palestine.
  17. 8:8 Lycia, Mysia, and Lydia: regions in western Asia Minor. “Lycia” and “Mysia” are restored here by conjectural emendation; the Greek text has “India, Media,” most likely through scribal error. Eumenes: Eumenes II (197–158 B.C.), king of Pergamum, an ally of Rome who benefited greatly from Antiochus’ losses.
  18. 8:9–10 The revolt of the Achaean League, inserted here, occurred in 146 B.C., after Judas’ time. It was crushed by the Roman consul Lucius Mummius and marked the end of Greek independence.
  19. 8:16 They entrust their government to one man: actually the Roman Republic had two consuls chosen yearly as joint heads of the government.
  20. 8:22 The reply…on bronze tablets and sent to Jerusalem: the decree of the Senate would be inscribed on bronze and kept in the Roman Capitol, with only a copy in letter form sent to Jerusalem.
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.

Song of Songs 2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

W I am a flower of Sharon,[a]
    a lily of the valleys.
M Like a lily among thorns,
    so is my friend among women.
W Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
    so is my lover among men.
In his shadow[b] I delight to sit,
    and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banquet hall[c]
    and his glance at me signaled love.
Strengthen me with raisin cakes,[d]
    refresh me with apples,
    for I am sick with love.
His left hand is under my head
    and his right arm embraces me.
I adjure you, Daughters of Jerusalem,[e]
    by the gazelles and the does of the field,
Do not awaken, or stir up love
    until it is ready.

Her Lover’s Visit Remembered

W The sound of my lover! here he comes[f]
    springing across the mountains,
    leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle[g]
    or a young stag.
See! He is standing behind our wall,
    gazing through the windows,
    peering through the lattices.
10 My lover speaks and says to me,
    M “Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
    and come!
11 For see, the winter is past,
    the rains are over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of pruning the vines has come,
    and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth its figs,
    and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
    and come!
14 My dove in the clefts of the rock,[h]
    in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
    let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.”
15 W Catch us the foxes,[i] the little foxes
    that damage the vineyards; for our vineyards are in bloom!
16 My lover belongs to me and I to him;
    he feeds among the lilies.
17 Until the day grows cool[j] and the shadows flee,
    roam, my lover,
Like a gazelle or a young stag
    upon the rugged mountains.


  1. 2:1 Flower of Sharon: probably the narcissus, which grows in the fertile Plain of Sharon lying between Mount Carmel and Jaffa on the Mediterranean coast. Lily: the lotus plant.
  2. 2:3 Shadow: suggestive of protection (cf. Jgs 9:15; Ez 17:23; Ps 17:8; 121:5) and, here, of the woman’s joy in the presence of her lover.
  3. 2:4–6 The banquet hall: the sweet things of the table, the embrace of the woman and man, express the richness of their affection and the intimacy of their love.
  4. 2:5 Raisin cakes: perhaps pastries used in the worship of the fertility goddess (cf. Hos 3:1; Jer 7:18; 44:19). Apples: this is the common translation of a fruit that cannot be identified (cf. 2:3; 8:5); it appears frequently in Sumerian love poetry associated with the worship of the goddess Inanna. Sick: love-sickness is a popular motif in ancient love poetry.
  5. 2:7 Cf. 3:5; 5:8; 8:4. By the gazelles and the does: perhaps a mitigated invocation of the divinity based on the assonance in Hebrew of the names of these animals with terms for God.
  6. 2:8–13 In this sudden change of scene, the woman describes a rendezvous and pictures her lover hastening toward her dwelling until his voice is heard calling her to him.
  7. 2:9 Gazelle: a frequent motif in ancient poems from Mesopotamia.
  8. 2:14 The woman is addressed as though she were a dove in a mountain cleft out of sight and reach.
  9. 2:15 A snatch of song in answer to the request of 2:14; cf. 8:13–14. Foxes: they threaten to disturb the security of vineyards. The vineyards are women sought after by young lovers, i.e., foxes.
  10. 2:17 Grows cool: in the evening when the sun is going down. Cf. Gn 3:8. Rugged: Hebrew obscure; some interpret it as a geographical name; others, in the sense of spices (cf. 8:14); still others, of sacrifice (Gn 15:10); the image probably refers here to the woman herself.
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 8:26-56 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

26 Then they sailed to the territory of the Gerasenes,[a] which is opposite Galilee. 27 When he came ashore a man from the town who was possessed by demons met him. For a long time he had not worn clothes; he did not live in a house, but lived among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him; in a loud voice he shouted, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me!” 29 For he had ordered the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (It had taken hold of him many times, and he used to be bound with chains and shackles as a restraint, but he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into deserted places.) 30 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”[b] He replied, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. 31 And they pleaded with him not to order them to depart to the abyss.[c]

32 A herd of many swine was feeding there on the hillside, and they pleaded with him to allow them to enter those swine; and he let them. 33 The demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 34 When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran away and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. 35 People came out to see what had happened and, when they approached Jesus, they discovered the man from whom the demons had come out sitting at his feet.[d] He was clothed and in his right mind, and they were seized with fear. 36 Those who witnessed it told them how the possessed man had been saved. 37 The entire population of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them because they were seized with great fear. So he got into a boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had come out begged to remain with him, but he sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and recount what God has done for you.” The man went off and proclaimed throughout the whole town what Jesus had done for him.

Jairus’s Daughter and the Woman with a Hemorrhage.[e] 40 When Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 And a man named Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came forward. He fell at the feet of Jesus and begged him to come to his house, 42 because he had an only daughter,[f] about twelve years old, and she was dying. As he went, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years,[g] who [had spent her whole livelihood on doctors and] was unable to be cured by anyone, 44 came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. Immediately her bleeding stopped. 45 Jesus then asked, “Who touched me?” While all were denying it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are pushing and pressing in upon you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me.” 47 When the woman realized that she had not escaped notice, she came forward trembling. Falling down before him, she explained in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how she had been healed immediately. 48 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

49 While he was still speaking, someone from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” 50 On hearing this, Jesus answered him, “Do not be afraid; just have faith and she will be saved.” 51 When he arrived at the house he allowed no one to enter with him except Peter and John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 [h]All were weeping and mourning for her, when he said, “Do not weep any longer, for she is not dead, but sleeping.” 53 And they ridiculed him, because they knew that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and called to her, “Child, arise!” 55 Her breath returned and she immediately arose. He then directed that she should be given something to eat. 56 Her parents were astounded, and he instructed them to tell no one what had happened.


  1. 8:26 Gerasenes: other manuscripts read Gadarenes or Gergesenes. See also note on Mt 8:28. Opposite Galilee: probably Gentile territory (note the presence in the area of pigs—unclean animals to Jews) and an indication that the person who receives salvation (Lk 8:36) is a Gentile.
  2. 8:30 What is your name?: the question reflects the popular belief that knowledge of the spirit’s name brought control over the spirit. Legion: to Jesus’ question the demon replies with a Latin word transliterated into Greek. The Roman legion at this period consisted of 5,000 to 6,000 foot soldiers; hence the name implies a very large number of demons.
  3. 8:31 Abyss: the place of the dead (Rom 10:7) or the prison of Satan (Rev 20:3) or the subterranean “watery deep” that symbolizes the chaos before the order imposed by creation (Gn 1:2).
  4. 8:35 Sitting at his feet: the former demoniac takes the position of a disciple before the master (Lk 10:39; Acts 22:3).
  5. 8:40–56 Two interwoven miracle stories, one a healing and the other a resuscitation, present Jesus as master over sickness and death. In the Lucan account, faith in Jesus is responsible for the cure (Lk 8:48) and for the raising to life (Lk 8:50).
  6. 8:42 An only daughter: cf. the son of the widow of Nain whom Luke describes as an “only” son (Lk 7:12; see also Lk 9:38).
  7. 8:43 Afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years: according to the Mosaic law (Lv 15:25–30) this condition would render the woman unclean and unfit for contact with other people.
  8. 8:52 Sleeping: her death is a temporary condition; cf. Jn 11:11–14.
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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