1 Maccabees 7Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Expedition of Bacchides and Alcimus
7 In the one hundred and fifty-first year[a] Deme′trius the son of Seleu′cus set forth from Rome, sailed with a few men to a city by the sea, and there began to reign. 2 As he was entering the royal palace of his fathers, the army seized Anti′ochus and Lys′ias to bring them to him. 3 But when this act became known to him, he said, “Do not let me see their faces!” 4 So the army killed them, and Deme′trius took his seat upon the throne of his kingdom.
5 Then there came to him all the lawless and ungodly men of Israel; they were led by Al′cimus, who wanted to be high priest. 6 And they brought to the king this accusation against the people: “Judas and his brothers have destroyed all your friends, and have driven us out of our land. 7 Now then send a man whom you trust; let him go and see all the ruin which Judas[b] has brought upon us and upon the land of the king, and let him punish them and all who help them.”
8 So the king chose Bac′chides, one of the king’s friends, governor of the province Beyond the River; he was a great man in the kingdom and was faithful to the king. 9 And he sent him, and with him the ungodly Al′cimus, whom he made high priest; and he commanded him to take vengeance on the sons of Israel. 10 So they marched away and came with a large force into the land of Judah; and he sent messengers to Judas and his brothers with peaceable but treacherous words. 11 But they paid no attention to their words, for they saw that they had come with a large force.
12 Then a group of scribes appeared in a body before Al′cimus and Bac′chides to ask for just terms. 13 The Haside′ans were first among the sons of Israel to seek peace from them, 14 for they said, “A priest of the line of Aaron has come with the army, and he will not harm us.” 15 And he spoke peaceable words to them and swore this oath to them, “We will not seek to injure you or your friends.” 16 So they trusted him; but he seized sixty of them and killed them in one day, in accordance with the word which was written,
17 “The flesh of thy saints and their blood
18 Then the fear and dread of them fell upon all the people, for they said, “There is no truth or justice in them, for they have violated the agreement and the oath which they swore.”
19 Then Bac′chides departed from Jerusalem and encamped in Beth-zaith. And he sent and seized many of the men who had deserted to him,[c] and some of the people, and killed them and threw them into the great pit. 20 He placed Al′cimus in charge of the country and left with him a force to help him; then Bac′chides went back to the king.
21 Al′cimus strove for the high priesthood, 22 and all who were troubling their people joined him. They gained control of the land of Judah and did great damage in Israel. 23 And Judas saw all the evil that Al′cimus and those with him had done among the sons of Israel; it was more than the Gentiles had done. 24 So Judas[d] went out into all the surrounding parts of Judea, and took vengeance on the men who had deserted, and he prevented those in the city[e] from going out into the country. 25 When Al′cimus saw that Judas and those with him had grown strong, and realized that he could not withstand them, he returned to the king and brought wicked charges against them.
Nicanor in Judea
26 Then the king sent Nica′nor, one of his honored princes, who hated and detested Israel, and he commanded him to destroy the people. 27 So Nica′nor came to Jerusalem with a large force, and treacherously sent to Judas and his brothers this peaceable message, 28 “Let there be no fighting between me and you; I shall come with a few men to see you face to face in peace.” 29 So he came to Judas, and they greeted one another peaceably. But the enemy were ready to seize Judas. 30 It became known to Judas that Nica′nor[f] had come to him with treacherous intent, and he was afraid of him and would not meet him again. 31 When Nica′nor learned that his plan had been disclosed, he went out to meet Judas in battle near Caphar-sal′ama. 32 About five hundred men of the army of Nica′nor fell, and the rest[g] fled into the city of David.
Nicanor Threatens the Temple
33 After these events Nica′nor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests came out of the sanctuary, and some of the elders of the people, to greet him peaceably and to show him the burnt offering that was being offered for the king. 34 But he mocked them and derided them and defiled them and spoke arrogantly, 35 and in anger he swore this oath, “Unless Judas and his army are delivered into my hands this time, then if I return safely I will burn up this house.” And he went out in great anger. 36 Then the priests went in and stood before the altar and the temple, and they wept and said,
37 “Thou didst choose this house to be called by thy name,
The Death of Nicanor
39 Now Nica′nor went out from Jerusalem and encamped in Beth-hor′on, and the Syrian army joined him. 40 And Judas encamped in Ad′asa with three thousand men. Then Judas prayed and said, 41 “When the messengers from the king spoke blasphemy, thy angel went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the Assyrians.[h] 42 So also crush this army before us today; let the rest learn that Nica′nor[i] has spoken wickedly against thy sanctuary, and judge him according to this wickedness.” 43 So the armies met in battle on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. The army of Nica′nor was crushed, and he himself was the first to fall in the battle. 44 When his army saw that Nica′nor had fallen, they threw down their arms and fled. 45 The Jews[j] pursued them a day’s journey, from Ad′asa as far as Gazar′a, and as they followed kept sounding the battle call on the trumpets. 46 And men came out of all the villages of Judea round about, and they out-flanked the enemy[k] and drove them back to their pursuers,[l] so that they all fell by the sword; not even one of them was left. 47 Then the Jews[m] seized the spoils and the plunder, and they cut off Nica′nor’s head and the right hand which he had so arrogantly stretched out, and brought them and displayed them just outside Jerusalem. 48 The people rejoiced greatly and celebrated that day as a day of great gladness. 49 And they decreed that this day should be celebrated each year on the thirteenth day of Adar. 50 So the land of Judah had rest for a few days.