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2 Maccabees 11 Good News Translation (GNT)

Judas Maccabeus Defeats Lysias

11 Not long after Timothy was defeated, Lysias, the King's guardian and relative, and head of the government, heard what had happened. He became angry and led 80,000 infantry and all his cavalry against the Jews with the intention of turning Jerusalem into a Greek city. The Temple would be taxed, as were all Gentile places of worship, and the office of High Priest would be up for sale each year. Lysias was so pleased with his tens of thousands of infantry, his thousands of cavalry, and his eighty elephants that he failed to take into account the power of God. He invaded Judea and attacked the fort of Bethzur, about twenty miles south of Jerusalem.

When Judas and his men heard that Lysias was laying siege to their forts, they and all the people cried and wept, begging the Lord to send a good angel to save them. Judas was the first to take up his weapons, and he urged the others to join him in risking their lives to help the other Jews. So with great eagerness they all set out together. But they had not gone far from Jerusalem, when suddenly they noticed they were being led by a horseman dressed in white and carrying gold weapons. Immediately all of them together thanked God for his mercy; he had made them brave enough to attack not only men, but even the most savage animals or even walls of iron. 10 So they marched in battle formation, and with them went the one whom the Lord in his mercy had sent to fight on their side. 11 Then they charged into the enemy like lions, killing 11,000 infantry and 1,600 cavalry, and forcing the rest to run for their lives. 12 Most of those who ran were wounded and had lost their weapons, and Lysias himself managed to escape only because he ran away like a coward.

Lysias Makes Peace with the Jews

13 Lysias was no fool. As he thought about the defeat he had suffered, he realized it was because the mighty God had fought for the Jews, making it impossible for them to be defeated. So he sent a message to the Jews, 14 trying to persuade them to agree to a just settlement and promising to do all he could to make the king friendly toward them.[a] 15 Judas Maccabeus considered what would be best for the people, and so he agreed to all the proposals Lysias had made, since the king had granted every written request that Judas had presented to Lysias.[b]

The Letter of Lysias to the Jews

16 Here is a copy of the letter which Lysias wrote to the Jews:

Lysias to the Jewish people, greetings. 17 Your representatives John and Absalom have delivered to me the official document you sent with them, and they have asked me to agree to what is contained in it. 18 I have informed the king of the matters that needed to be brought to his attention, and he has agreed to do whatever is possible. 19 If you continue to be loyal to the government, I will do everything I can in the future to benefit your nation. 20 I have instructed your representatives and mine to meet with you to discuss the details of these matters. 21 May all go well with you. Dated the twenty-fourth day of the month of Dioscorinthius in the year 148.[c]

The King's Letter to Lysias

22 Here is a copy of the King's letter:

King Antiochus to the honorable Lysias, greetings. 23 Now that my father has gone to be with the gods, I want the subjects of my kingdom to conduct their own affairs without interference. 24 I understand that the Jews do not wish to adopt the Greek way of life, as my father had intended, but prefer their own way of life and have requested that they be allowed to live according to their own customs. 25 Since I desire that they live undisturbed like the other nations in my empire, I hereby decree that their Temple be restored to them and that they be allowed to live according to the customs of their ancestors. 26 Please inform them of this decision and assure them of my friendship, so that they may conduct their own affairs in peace, without anything to worry about.

27 Here is a copy of the king's letter to the Jewish people:

King Antiochus to the Jewish leaders and all the Jews, greetings. 28 I hope that all is going well for you. I am in good health. 29 Menelaus has informed me of your desire to return home and attend to your own affairs. 30 So then, those of you who return home by the thirtieth of the month of Xanthicus may rest assured that you have nothing to fear. 31 You may continue to observe your food laws and other laws, as you used to do, and no Jew will be punished for any crime done in ignorance. 32 I am sending Menelaus to set your minds at ease. 33 May all go well with you. Dated the fifteenth day of the month of Xanthicus in the year 148.[d]

The Letter of the Romans to the Jews

34 The Romans also sent the Jews the following letter:

Quintus Memmius and Titus Manius, representatives of the Romans, to the Jews, greetings. 35 We are in complete agreement with all that has been granted to you by the honorable Lysias. 36 We are now on our way to Antioch, so please examine carefully those matters that Lysias referred to the king. Then send a reply to us immediately so that we can represent your best interests before him. Do this as soon as you can, 37 without delay, so that we may know what you have decided. 38 May all go well with you. Dated the fifteenth day of the month of Xanthicus in the year 148.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Maccabees 11:14 to do...them; Greek unclear.
  2. 2 Maccabees 11:15 since...Lysias; or and the king granted every written request that Judas presented to Lysias.
  3. 2 Maccabees 11:21 the year 148: This corresponds to 164 B.C.
  4. 2 Maccabees 11:33 the year 148: This corresponds to 164 B.C.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

2 Maccabees 11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Lysias Besieges Beth-zur

11 Very soon after this, Lysias, the king’s guardian and kinsman, who was in charge of the government, being vexed at what had happened, gathered about eighty thousand infantry and all his cavalry and came against the Jews. He intended to make the city a home for Greeks, and to levy tribute on the temple as he did on the sacred places of the other nations, and to put up the high priesthood for sale every year. He took no account whatever of the power of God, but was elated with his ten thousands of infantry, and his thousands of cavalry, and his eighty elephants. Invading Judea, he approached Beth-zur, which was a fortified place about five stadia[a] from Jerusalem, and pressed it hard.

When Maccabeus and his men got word that Lysias[b] was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people, with lamentations and tears, prayed the Lord to send a good angel to save Israel. Maccabeus himself was the first to take up arms, and he urged the others to risk their lives with him to aid their kindred. Then they eagerly rushed off together. And there, while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white and brandishing weapons of gold. And together they all praised the merciful God, and were strengthened in heart, ready to assail not only humans but the wildest animals or walls of iron. 10 They advanced in battle order, having their heavenly ally, for the Lord had mercy on them. 11 They hurled themselves like lions against the enemy, and laid low eleven thousand of them and sixteen hundred cavalry, and forced all the rest to flee. 12 Most of them got away stripped and wounded, and Lysias himself escaped by disgraceful flight.

Lysias Makes Peace with the Jews

13 As he was not without intelligence, he pondered over the defeat that had befallen him, and realized that the Hebrews were invincible because the mighty God fought on their side. So he sent to them 14 and persuaded them to settle everything on just terms, promising that he would persuade the king, constraining him to be their friend.[c] 15 Maccabeus, having regard for the common good, agreed to all that Lysias urged. For the king granted every request in behalf of the Jews which Maccabeus delivered to Lysias in writing.

16 The letter written to the Jews by Lysias was to this effect:

“Lysias to the people of the Jews, greetings. 17 John and Absalom, who were sent by you, have delivered your signed communication and have asked about the matters indicated in it. 18 I have informed the king of everything that needed to be brought before him, and he has agreed to what was possible. 19 If you will maintain your goodwill toward the government, I will endeavor in the future to help promote your welfare. 20 And concerning such matters and their details, I have ordered these men and my representatives to confer with you. 21 Farewell. The one hundred forty-eighth year,[d] Dioscorinthius twenty-fourth.”

22 The king’s letter ran thus:

“King Antiochus to his brother Lysias, greetings. 23 Now that our father has gone on to the gods, we desire that the subjects of the kingdom be undisturbed in caring for their own affairs. 24 We have heard that the Jews do not consent to our father’s change to Greek customs, but prefer their own way of living and ask that their own customs be allowed them. 25 Accordingly, since we choose that this nation also should be free from disturbance, our decision is that their temple be restored to them and that they shall live according to the customs of their ancestors. 26 You will do well, therefore, to send word to them and give them pledges of friendship, so that they may know our policy and be of good cheer and go on happily in the conduct of their own affairs.”

27 To the nation the king’s letter was as follows:

“King Antiochus to the senate of the Jews and to the other Jews, greetings. 28 If you are well, it is as we desire. We also are in good health. 29 Menelaus has informed us that you wish to return home and look after your own affairs. 30 Therefore those who go home by the thirtieth of Xanthicus will have our pledge of friendship and full permission 31 for the Jews to enjoy their own food and laws, just as formerly, and none of them shall be molested in any way for what may have been done in ignorance. 32 And I have also sent Menelaus to encourage you. 33 Farewell. The one hundred forty-eighth year,[e] Xanthicus fifteenth.”

34 The Romans also sent them a letter, which read thus:

“Quintus Memmius and Titus Manius, envoys of the Romans, to the people of the Jews, greetings. 35 With regard to what Lysias the kinsman of the king has granted you, we also give consent. 36 But as to the matters that he decided are to be referred to the king, as soon as you have considered them, send some one promptly so that we may make proposals appropriate for you. For we are on our way to Antioch. 37 Therefore make haste and send messengers so that we may have your judgment. 38 Farewell. The one hundred forty-eighth year,[f] Xanthicus fifteenth.”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Maccabees 11:5 Meaning of Gk uncertain
  2. 2 Maccabees 11:6 Gk he
  3. 2 Maccabees 11:14 Meaning of Gk uncertain
  4. 2 Maccabees 11:21 164 b.c.
  5. 2 Maccabees 11:33 164 b.c.
  6. 2 Maccabees 11:38 164 b.c.
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.

2 Maccabees 11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 11

Defeat of Lysias.[a] Very soon afterward, Lysias, guardian and kinsman of the king and head of the government, being greatly displeased at what had happened, mustered about eighty thousand infantry and all his cavalry and marched against the Jews. His plan was to make their city a Greek settlement; to levy tribute on the temple, as he did on the shrines of the other nations; and to put the high priesthood up for sale every year. He did not take God’s power into account at all, but felt exultant confidence in his myriads of foot soldiers, his thousands of cavalry, and his eighty elephants. So he invaded Judea, and when he reached Beth-zur, a fortified place about five stadia[b] from Jerusalem, launched a strong attack against it.

When Maccabeus and his companions learned that Lysias was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people begged the Lord with lamentations and tears to send a good angel to save Israel. Maccabeus himself was the first to take up arms, and he exhorted the others to join him in risking their lives to help their kindred. Then they resolutely set out together. Suddenly, while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white garments and brandishing gold weapons. Then all of them together thanked the merciful God, and their hearts were filled with such courage that they were ready to assault not only human beings but even the most savage beasts, or even walls of iron. 10 Now that the Lord had shown mercy toward them, they advanced in battle order with the aid of their heavenly ally. 11 Hurling themselves upon the enemy like lions, they laid low eleven thousand foot soldiers and sixteen hundred cavalry, and put all the rest to flight. 12 Most of those who survived were wounded and disarmed, while Lysias himself escaped only by shameful flight.

Peace Negotiations. 13 But Lysias was not a stupid man. He reflected on the defeat he had suffered, and came to realize that the Hebrews were invincible because the mighty God was their ally. He therefore sent a message 14 persuading them to settle everything on just terms, and promising to persuade the king also, and to induce him to become their friend. 15 Maccabeus, solicitous for the common good, agreed to all that Lysias proposed; and the king granted on behalf of the Jews all the written requests of Maccabeus to Lysias.

16 These are the terms of the letter which Lysias wrote to the Jews: “Lysias sends greetings to the Jewish people. 17 John and Absalom, your envoys, have presented your signed communication and asked about the matters contained in it. 18 Whatever had to be referred to the king I called to his attention, and the things that were acceptable he has granted. 19 If you maintain your loyalty to the government, I will endeavor to further your interests in the future. 20 On the details of these matters I have authorized my representatives, as well as your envoys, to confer with you. 21 Farewell.” The one hundred and forty-eighth year,[c] the twenty-fourth of Dioscorinthius.

22 The king’s letter read thus: “King Antiochus sends greetings to his brother Lysias. 23 Now that our father has taken his place among the gods, we wish the subjects of our kingdom to be undisturbed in conducting their own affairs. 24 We have heard that the Jews do not agree with our father’s change to Greek customs but prefer their own way of life. They are petitioning us to let them retain their own customs. 25 Since we desire that this people too should be undisturbed, our decision is that their temple be restored to them and that they live in keeping with the customs of their ancestors. 26 Accordingly, please send them messengers to give them our assurances of friendship, so that, when they learn of our decision, they may have nothing to worry about but may contentedly go about their own business.”

27 The king’s letter to the people was as follows: “King Antiochus sends greetings to the Jewish senate and to the rest of the Jews. 28 If you are well, it is what we desire. We too are in good health. 29 Menelaus has told us of your wish to return home and attend to your own affairs. 30 Therefore, those who return by the thirtieth of Xanthicus will have our assurance of full permission 31 to observe their dietary and other laws, just as before, and none of the Jews shall be molested in any way for faults committed through ignorance. 32 I have also sent Menelaus to reassure you. 33 Farewell.” In the one hundred and forty-eighth year, the fifteenth of Xanthicus.[d]

34 The Romans also sent them a letter as follows: “Quintus Memmius and Titus Manius, legates of the Romans, send greetings to the Jewish people. 35 What Lysias, kinsman of the king, has granted you, we also approve. 36 But for the matters that he decided should be submitted to the king, send someone to us immediately with your decisions so that we may present them to your advantage, for we are on our way to Antioch. 37 Make haste, then, to send us those who can inform us of your preference. 38 Farewell.” In the one hundred and forty-eighth year, the fifteenth of Xanthicus.[e]

Footnotes:

  1. 11:1–12 The defeat of Lysias at Beth-zur probably occurred before the purification of the Temple; cf. 1 Mc 4:26–35.
  2. 11:5 Five stadia: one stadium is equal to about six hundred six feet. The actual distance to Beth-zur is about twenty miles.
  3. 11:21 The one hundred and forty-eighth year: 164 B.C. The reading of the name of the month and its position in the calendar are uncertain. The most likely chronological sequence of the four letters is vv. 16–21; vv. 34–38; vv. 27–33; vv. 22–26.
  4. 11:33 The date, which is the same as the date of the Romans’ letter (v. 38), cannot be correct. The king’s letter must be connected with the peace treaty of the one hundred forty-ninth year of the Seleucid era, i.e., 163 B.C. Perhaps the mention of the month of Xanthicus in the body of the letter (v. 30) caused the date of the Romans’ letter to be transferred to this one.
  5. 11:38 The date is March 12, 164 B.C.
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.

2 Maccabees 11 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Lysias Besieges Beth-zur

11 Very soon after this, Lysias, the king’s guardian and kinsman, who was in charge of the government, being vexed at what had happened, gathered about eighty thousand infantry and all his cavalry and came against the Jews. He intended to make the city a home for Greeks, and to levy tribute on the temple as he did on the sacred places of the other nations, and to put up the high priesthood for sale every year. He took no account whatever of the power of God, but was elated with his ten thousands of infantry, and his thousands of cavalry, and his eighty elephants. Invading Judea, he approached Beth-zur, which was a fortified place about five stadia[a] from Jerusalem, and pressed it hard.

When Maccabeus and his men got word that Lysias[b] was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people, with lamentations and tears, prayed the Lord to send a good angel to save Israel. Maccabeus himself was the first to take up arms, and he urged the others to risk their lives with him to aid their kindred. Then they eagerly rushed off together. And there, while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white and brandishing weapons of gold. And together they all praised the merciful God, and were strengthened in heart, ready to assail not only humans but the wildest animals or walls of iron. 10 They advanced in battle order, having their heavenly ally, for the Lord had mercy on them. 11 They hurled themselves like lions against the enemy, and laid low eleven thousand of them and sixteen hundred cavalry, and forced all the rest to flee. 12 Most of them got away stripped and wounded, and Lysias himself escaped by disgraceful flight.

Lysias Makes Peace with the Jews

13 As he was not without intelligence, he pondered over the defeat that had befallen him, and realized that the Hebrews were invincible because the mighty God fought on their side. So he sent to them 14 and persuaded them to settle everything on just terms, promising that he would persuade the king, constraining him to be their friend.[c] 15 Maccabeus, having regard for the common good, agreed to all that Lysias urged. For the king granted every request in behalf of the Jews which Maccabeus delivered to Lysias in writing.

16 The letter written to the Jews by Lysias was to this effect:

“Lysias to the people of the Jews, greetings. 17 John and Absalom, who were sent by you, have delivered your signed communication and have asked about the matters indicated in it. 18 I have informed the king of everything that needed to be brought before him, and he has agreed to what was possible. 19 If you will maintain your goodwill toward the government, I will endeavor in the future to help promote your welfare. 20 And concerning such matters and their details, I have ordered these men and my representatives to confer with you. 21 Farewell. The one hundred forty-eighth year,[d] Dioscorinthius twenty-fourth.”

22 The king’s letter ran thus:

“King Antiochus to his brother Lysias, greetings. 23 Now that our father has gone on to the gods, we desire that the subjects of the kingdom be undisturbed in caring for their own affairs. 24 We have heard that the Jews do not consent to our father’s change to Greek customs, but prefer their own way of living and ask that their own customs be allowed them. 25 Accordingly, since we choose that this nation also should be free from disturbance, our decision is that their temple be restored to them and that they shall live according to the customs of their ancestors. 26 You will do well, therefore, to send word to them and give them pledges of friendship, so that they may know our policy and be of good cheer and go on happily in the conduct of their own affairs.”

27 To the nation the king’s letter was as follows:

“King Antiochus to the senate of the Jews and to the other Jews, greetings. 28 If you are well, it is as we desire. We also are in good health. 29 Menelaus has informed us that you wish to return home and look after your own affairs. 30 Therefore those who go home by the thirtieth of Xanthicus will have our pledge of friendship and full permission 31 for the Jews to enjoy their own food and laws, just as formerly, and none of them shall be molested in any way for what may have been done in ignorance. 32 And I have also sent Menelaus to encourage you. 33 Farewell. The one hundred forty-eighth year,[e] Xanthicus fifteenth.”

34 The Romans also sent them a letter, which read thus:

“Quintus Memmius and Titus Manius, envoys of the Romans, to the people of the Jews, greetings. 35 With regard to what Lysias the kinsman of the king has granted you, we also give consent. 36 But as to the matters that he decided are to be referred to the king, as soon as you have considered them, send some one promptly so that we may make proposals appropriate for you. For we are on our way to Antioch. 37 Therefore make haste and send messengers so that we may have your judgment. 38 Farewell. The one hundred forty-eighth year,[f] Xanthicus fifteenth.”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Maccabees 11:5 Meaning of Gk uncertain
  2. 2 Maccabees 11:6 Gk he
  3. 2 Maccabees 11:14 Meaning of Gk uncertain
  4. 2 Maccabees 11:21 164 b.c.
  5. 2 Maccabees 11:33 164 b.c.
  6. 2 Maccabees 11:38 164 b.c.
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 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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