1 Maccabees 3Good News Translation (GNT)
The Early Victories of Judas
3 Judas Maccabeus took the place of his father Mattathias. 2 All his brothers and all the loyal followers of his father gave him their support, and they were happy to carry on Israel's war.
3 Judas brought greater glory to his people.
10 Then Apollonius assembled a Gentile army, including a large force from Samaria, to attack the people of Israel. 11 When Judas learned of this, he marched out to battle, defeated the army, and killed Apollonius. Many Gentiles lost their lives, and the rest fled. 12 When the spoils of war were collected, Judas took the sword of Apollonius and used it in battle until the day he died.
13 Seron, the general of the Syrian forces, learned that Judas had gathered together an army, consisting of a band of loyal men who were ready to fight under his command. 14 Seron said to himself,
I will make a reputation for myself throughout the empire by defeating Judas and his men, who have no respect for the king's command. 15 Then he began a new campaign against Judas and was joined by a strong force of godless men who were eager to help him take vengeance on Israel. 16 When he approached the pass at Beth Horon, Judas went out to meet him with a small group of men. 17 When Judas' men saw the army coming against them, they asked,
18 It is not difficult, Judas answered,
23 As soon as Judas had finished speaking, he and his men made a sudden attack against Seron and his army and crushed them. 24 They pursued them down the pass at Beth Horon to the plain and killed about 800 men. Those who escaped fled to Philistia. 25 After that, Gentiles everywhere began to be afraid of Judas and his brothers. 26 His fame reached the ears of King Antiochus, and people in every nation talked about Judas and his victories.
The King Appoints Lysias as Governor
27 When Antiochus heard what had happened, he was furious. He ordered all the armies of his empire to assemble in one huge force. 28 From his treasury he paid a full year's wages to his soldiers and ordered them to be prepared for any emergency. 29 But then he found that the funds in his treasury were exhausted. Income from taxes had decreased because of the disorder and the troubles he had brought on the world by doing away with the laws which had been in force from the earliest times. 30 Antiochus had always given presents more lavishly than earlier kings, but now he was worried that he might not be able to continue this, or even to meet expenses—this had happened once or twice before. 31 He was very disturbed; but finally he decided to go to Persia, collect the taxes from the provinces there, and bring together a large sum of ready cash.
32 He appointed Lysias, an important man who had been granted the title
The Victories of Judas
38 Lysias chose Nicanor, Gorgias, and Ptolemy son of Dorymenes as army commanders; all three were able men who bore the title
42 Judas and his brothers saw that their situation was getting more and more difficult, with foreign armies camped within their own borders. They also learned that the king had commanded the complete destruction of the people. 43 So they determined to rebuild their ruined nation and fight for their country and the Temple. 44 Then the whole community came together to prepare for war and to pray for God's mercy.
45 Jerusalem was as empty as a wilderness;
46 Then Judas and his men assembled and marched to Mizpah, opposite Jerusalem, because the people of Israel had previously had a place of worship there. 47 In deep mourning, they fasted all that day, put on sackcloth, threw ashes on their heads, and tore their clothes. 48 The Gentiles would have consulted their idols in such a situation, but the Israelites unrolled the book of the Law to search for God's guidance.49 They brought the priests' robes, the offerings of the first grain, and the tithes, and then they brought in some Nazirites who had completed their vows. 50 The whole community prayed,
Lord, what shall we do with these things? Where shall we take them, 51 now that your holy Temple has been trampled and profaned by Gentiles, and your priests mourn in disgrace? 52 The Gentiles have come to attack and destroy us. You know what they plan to do! 53 If you don't help us, how can we stand up against them?
54 Then they blew trumpets and shouted loudly.
55 After that, Judas divided his men into groups of ten, fifty, a hundred, and a thousand, placing officers in charge of each group. 56 Then, in obedience to the Law, he sent home everyone who had recently been married, built a house, or planted a vineyard, as well as anyone who was afraid. 57 Finally, the army marched out and took up positions south of Emmaus, 58 where Judas said to them:
Prepare yourselves for battle and be courageous! Be ready early tomorrow morning to fight these Gentiles who have joined forces to attack us and destroy us and our Temple. 59 It is better for us to die fighting than to stand idly by and watch the destruction of our nation and our Temple. 60 But the Lord will do what he pleases.
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