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1 Maccabees 3:1-26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Early Victories of Judas

Then his son Judas, who was called Maccabeus, took command in his place. All his brothers and all who had joined his father helped him; they gladly fought for Israel.

He extended the glory of his people.
    Like a giant he put on his breastplate;
he bound on his armor of war and waged battles,
    protecting the camp by his sword.
He was like a lion in his deeds,
    like a lion’s cub roaring for prey.
He searched out and pursued those who broke the law;
    he burned those who troubled his people.
Lawbreakers shrank back for fear of him;
    all the evildoers were confounded;
    and deliverance prospered by his hand.
He embittered many kings,
    but he made Jacob glad by his deeds,
    and his memory is blessed forever.
He went through the cities of Judah;
    he destroyed the ungodly out of the land;[a]
    thus he turned away wrath from Israel.
He was renowned to the ends of the earth;
    he gathered in those who were perishing.

10 Apollonius now gathered together Gentiles and a large force from Samaria to fight against Israel. 11 When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him, and he defeated and killed him. Many were wounded and fell, and the rest fled. 12 Then they seized their spoils; and Judas took the sword of Apollonius, and used it in battle the rest of his life.

13 When Seron, the commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had gathered a large company, including a body of faithful soldiers who stayed with him and went out to battle, 14 he said, “I will make a name for myself and win honor in the kingdom. I will make war on Judas and his companions, who scorn the king’s command.” 15 Once again a strong army of godless men went up with him to help him, to take vengeance on the Israelites.

16 When he approached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a small company. 17 But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas, “How can we, few as we are, fight against so great and so strong a multitude? And we are faint, for we have eaten nothing today.” 18 Judas replied, “It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few. 19 It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven. 20 They come against us in great insolence and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us; 21 but we fight for our lives and our laws. 22 He himself will crush them before us; as for you, do not be afraid of them.”

23 When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly against Seron and his army, and they were crushed before him. 24 They pursued them[b] down the descent of Beth-horon to the plain; eight hundred of them fell, and the rest fled into the land of the Philistines. 25 Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and terror fell on the Gentiles all around them. 26 His fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked of the battles of Judas.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Maccabees 3:8 Gk it
  2. 1 Maccabees 3:24 Other ancient authorities read him
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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