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28 In the following year Lysias gathered an army of 60,000 well-trained infantry and 5,000 cavalry, intending to conquer the Jews. 29 They marched into Idumea and camped at Bethzur. Judas came to meet them with 10,000 men. 30 (A)When Judas saw how strong the enemy's army was, he prayed,

We will praise you, Savior of Israel. You broke the attack of the giant by the hand of your servant David and you let Saul's son Jonathan and the young man who carried his weapons defeat the entire Philistine army. 31 Now in the same way let your people Israel defeat our enemy. Put them to shame, in spite of all their confidence in their infantry and cavalry. 32 Make them afraid; let their bold strength melt away; let them tremble at the prospect of defeat. 33 We love and worship you; so let us kill our enemies, that we may then sing your praises.

34 The battle began, and in the hand-to-hand fighting about 5,000 of Lysias' men were killed. 35 When Lysias saw that his army was being defeated and when he saw the reckless courage of Judas and his men, who showed that they were ready to live or die with honor, he returned to Antioch. There he recruited some mercenaries and planned to return to Judea later with a much larger army.

The Purification of the Temple(B)

36 Judas and his brothers said,
    Now that our enemies have been defeated, let's go to Jerusalem to purify the Temple and rededicate it. 37 So the whole army was assembled and went up to Mount Zion. 38 There they found the Temple abandoned, the altar profaned, the gates burned down, the courtyards grown up in a forest of weeds, and the priests' rooms torn down. 39 In their sorrow, they tore their clothes, cried loudly, threw ashes on their heads, 40 and fell face down on the ground. When the signal was given on the trumpets, everyone cried out to the Lord.

41 Then Judas ordered some of his soldiers to attack the men in the fort, while he purified the Temple. 42 He chose some priests who were qualified and who were devoted to the Law. 43 They purified the Temple and took the stones that had been defiled and put them in an unclean place. 44 They discussed what should be done with the altar of burnt offerings, which had been desecrated 45 by the Gentiles, and decided to tear it down, so that it would not stand there as a monument to their shame. So they tore down the altar 46 and put the stones in a suitable place on the Temple hill, where they were to be kept until a prophet should appear and decide what to do with them. 47 (C)Then they took uncut stones, as the Law of Moses required, and built a new altar like the old one. 48 They repaired the Temple, inside and out, and dedicated its courtyards. 49 They made new utensils for worship and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table for the bread into the Temple. 50 They burned incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and there was light in the Temple! 51 They placed the loaves of bread on the table, hung the curtains, and completed all the work.

52-54 (D)The twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev, in the year 148[a] was the anniversary of the day the Gentiles had desecrated the altar. On that day a sacrifice was offered on the new altar in accordance with the Law of Moses. The new altar was dedicated and hymns were sung to the accompaniment of harps, lutes, and cymbals. 55 All the people bowed down with their faces to the ground and worshiped and praised the Lord for giving them victory.

56 For eight days they celebrated the rededication of the altar. With great joy they brought burnt offerings and offered fellowship offerings and thank offerings. 57 They decorated the front of the Temple with gold crowns and shields, rebuilt the gates and the priests' rooms and put doors on them. 58 Now that the Jews had removed the shame which the Gentiles had brought, they held a great celebration. 59 Then Judas, his brothers, and the entire community of Israel decreed that the rededication of the altar should be celebrated with a festival of joy and gladness at the same time each year, beginning on the twenty-fifth of the month of Kislev and lasting for eight days.

60 Then they built high walls and strong towers around Mount Zion, so that the Gentiles could not come in and trample and defile it again.

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Footnotes

  1. 1 Maccabees 4:52 the year 148: This corresponds to 164 B.C.

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