Early Accounts of the Temple of Jerusalem – Sources     HomeSourcesTopicsViews

Chapters 1 – 4
World English version of the
Apocrypha of the Hebrew Bible

Antiochus forbids the worship of God, desecrates the Temple, plunders Jerusalem, and after further resis­tance, orders the complete destruction of the Jews. Judas Maccabeus leads a revolt and restores the Temple and worship.

Chapter 1.  16Now when the kingdom was established before Antiochus, he thought to reign over Egypt that he might have the dominion of two realms. 17Wherefore he entered into Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy, 18And made war against Ptolemee king of Egypt; but Ptolemee was afraid of him, and fled; and many were wounded to death. 19Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt and he took the spoils thereof.
    20And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, 21And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, 22And the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials. and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled off. 23He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels; also he took the hidden treasures which he found. 24And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.
    25Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were; 26So that the princes and elders mourned, the virgins and young men were made feeble, and the beauty of women was changed. 27Every bridegroom took up lamentation, and she that sat in the marriage chamber was in heaviness, 28The land also was moved for the inhabitants thereof, and all the house of Jacob was covered with confusion.
    29And after two years fully expired the king sent his chief collector of tribute unto the cities of Juda, who came unto Jerusalem with a great multitude, 30And spake peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit; for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel. 31And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on fire, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side. 32But the women and children took they captive, and possessed the cattle. 33Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them. 34And they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein. 35They stored it also with armour and victuals, and when they had gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem, they laid them up there, and so they became a sore snare; 36For it was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and an evil adversary to Israel. 37Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it; 38Insomuch that the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled because of them; whereupon the city was made an habitation of strangers, and became strange to those that were born in her; and her own children left her. 39Her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness, her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach her honour into contempt. 40As had been her glory, so was her dishonour increased, and her excellency was turned into mourning.
    41Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, 42And every one should leave his laws; so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. 43Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath. 44For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the land, 45And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days; 46And pollute the sanctuary and holy people; 47Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh, and unclean beasts; 48That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation; 49To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances. 50And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die.
    51In the selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Juda to sacrifice, city by city. 52Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land; 53And drove the Israelites into secret places, even wheresoever they could flee for succour.
    54Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side; 55And burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and in the streets. 56And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire. 57And whosoever was found with any the book of the testament, or if any committed to the law, the king's commandment was, that they should put him to death. 58Thus did they by their authority unto the Israelites every month, to as many as were found in the cities. 59Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of God. 60At which time according to the commandment they put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised. 61And they hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them.
    62Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing. 63Wherefore the rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant; so then they died. 64And there was very great wrath upon Israel.

Chapter 2.  1In those days arose Mattathias the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin. 2And he had five sons, Joannan, called Caddis; 3Simon, called Thassi; 4Judas, who was called Maccabeus; 5Eleazar, called Avaran; and Jonathan, whose surname was Apphus. . . . [v. 6-69]

Chapter 3.  1Then his son Judas, called Maccabeus, rose up in his stead. 2And all his brethren helped him, and so did all they that held with his father, and they fought with cheerfulness the battle of Israel. . . . [v. 3-24]
    25Then began the fear of Judas and his brethren, and an exceeding great dread, to fall upon the nations round about them; 26Insomuch as his fame came unto the king, and all nations talked of the battles of Judas.
    27Now when king Antiochus heard these things, he was full of indignation; wherefore he sent and gathered together all the forces of his realm, even a very strong army. 28He opened also his treasure, and gave his soldiers pay for a year, commanding them to be ready whensoever he should need them. 29Nevertheless, when he saw that the money of his treasures failed and that the tributes in the country were small, because of the dissension and plague, which he had brought upon the land in taking away the laws which had been of old time; 30He feared that he should not be able to bear the charges any longer, nor to have such gifts to give so liberally as he did before; for he had abounded above the kings that were before him. 31Wherefore, being greatly perplexed in his mind, he determined to go into Persia, there to take the tributes of the countries, and to gather much money.
    32So he left Lysias, a nobleman, and one of the blood royal, to oversee the affairs of the king from the river Euphrates unto the borders of Egypt; 33And to bring up his son Antiochus, until he came again. 34Moreover he delivered unto him the half of his forces, and the elephants, and gave him charge of all things that he would have done, as also concerning them that dwelt in Juda and Jerusalem; 35To wit, that he should send an army against them, to destroy and root out the strength of Israel, and the remnant of Jerusalem, and to take away their memorial from that place; 36And that he should place strangers in all their quarters, and divide their land by lot. 37So the king took the half of the forces that remained, and departed from Antioch, his royal city, the hundred forty and seventh year; and having passed the river Euphrates, he went through the high countries.
    38Then Lysias chose Ptolemee the son of Dorymenes, Nicanor, and Gorgias, mighty men of the king's friends; 39And with them he sent forty thousand footmen, and seven thousand horsemen, to go into the land of Juda, and to destroy it, as the king commanded. 40So they went forth with all their power, and came and pitched by Emmaus in the plain country. 41And the merchants of the country, hearing the fame of them, took silver and gold very much, with servants, and came into the camp to buy the children of Israel for slaves; a power also of Syria and of the land of the Philistines joined themselves unto them.
    42Now when Judas and his brethren saw that miseries were multiplied, and that the forces did encamp themselves in their borders; for they knew how the king had given commandment to destroy the people, and utterly abolish them; 43They said one to another, Let us restore the decayed fortune of our people, and let us fight for our people and the sanctuary. 44Then was the congregation gathered together, that they might be ready for battle, and that they might pray, and ask mercy and compassion. . . . [v. 45-60]

Chapter 4.  1Then took Gorgias five thousand footmen, and a thousand of the best horsemen, and removed out of the camp by night; 2To the end he might rush in upon the camp of the Jews, and smite them suddenly. And the men of the fortress were his guides. 3Now when Judas heard thereof he himself removed, and the valiant men with him, that he might smite the king's army which was at Emmaus, 4While as yet the forces were dispersed from the camp. 5In the mean season came Gorgias by night into the camp of Judas; and when he found no man there, he sought them in the mountains; for said he, These fellows flee from us
    6But as soon as it was day, Judas shewed himself in the plain with three thousand men, who nevertheless had neither armour nor swords to their minds. 7And they saw the camp of the heathen, that it was strong and well harnessed, and compassed round about with horsemen; and these were expert of war. 8Then said Judas to the men that were with him, Fear ye not their multitude, neither be ye afraid of their assault. 9Remember how our fathers were delivered in the Red sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with an army. 10Now therefore let us cry unto heaven, if peradventure the Lord will have mercy upon us, and remember the covenant of our fathers, and destroy this host before our face this day; 11That so all the heathen may know that there is one who delivereth and saveth Israel.
    12Then the strangers lifted up their eyes, and saw them coming over against them. 13Wherefore they went out of the camp to battle; but they that were with Judas sounded their trumpets. 14So they joined battle, and the heathen being discomfited fled into the plain. 15Howbeit all the hindmost of them were slain with the sword; for they pursued them unto Gazera, and unto the plains of Idumea, and Azotus, and Jamnia, so that there were slain of them upon a three thousand men. 16This done, Judas returned again with his host from pursuing them, 17And said to the people, Be not greedy of the spoil inasmuch as there is a battle before us, 18And Gorgias and his host are here by us in the mountain; but stand ye now against our enemies, and overcome them, and after this ye may boldly take the spoils.
    19As Judas was yet speaking these words, there appeared a part of them looking out of the mountain; 20Who when they perceived that the Jews had put their host to flight and were burning the tents; for the smoke that was seen declared what was done; 21When therefore they perceived these things, they were sore afraid, and seeing also the host of Judas in the plain ready to fight, 22They fled every one into the land of strangers. 23Then Judas returned to spoil the tents, where they got much gold, and silver, and blue silk, and purple of the sea, and great riches. 24After this they went home, and sung a song of thanksgiving, and praised the Lord in heaven; because it is good, because his mercy endureth forever. 25Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.
    26Now all the strangers that had escaped came and told Lysias what had happened; 27Who, when he heard thereof, was confounded and discouraged, because neither such things as he would were done unto Israel, nor such things as the king commanded him were come to pass. 28The next year therefore following Lysias gathered together threescore thousand choice men of foot, and five thousand horsemen, that he might subdue them. 29So they came into Idumea, and pitched their tents at Bethsura, and Judas met them with ten thousand men.
    30And when he saw that mighty army, he prayed and said, Blessed art thou, O Saviour of Israel, who didst quell the violence of the mighty man by the hand of thy servant David, and gavest the host of strangers into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul, and his armourbearer; 31Shut up this army in the hand of thy people Israel, and let them be confounded in their power and horsemen; 32Make them to be of no courage, and cause the boldness of their strength to fall away, and let them quake at their destruction; 33Cast them down with the sword of them that love thee, and let all those that know thy name praise thee with thanksgiving.
    34So they joined battle; and there were slain of the host of Lysias about five thousand men, even before them were they slain. 35Now when Lysias saw his army put to flight, and the manliness of Judas' soldiers, and how they were ready either to live or die valiantly, he went into Antiochia, and gathered together a company of strangers, and having made his army greater than it was, he purposed to come again into Judea.
    36Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are discomfited; let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary. 37Upon this all the host assembled themselves together, and went up into mount Sion. 38And when they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and the priests' chambers pulled down; 39They rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast ashes upon their heads, 40And fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an alarm with the trumpets, and cried toward heaven. 41Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary.
    42So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law; 43Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place. 44And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt offerings, which was profaned; 45They thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it; wherefore they pulled it down, 46And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them. 47Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former; 48And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts. 49They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table. 50And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple. 51Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make.
    52Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, 53And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made. 54Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. 55Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success. 56And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. 57They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. 58Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away.
    59Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.
    60At that time also they builded up the mount Sion with high walls and strong towers round about, lest the Gentiles should come and tread it down as they had done before. 61And they set there a garrison to keep it, and fortified Bethsura to preserve it; that the people might have a defence against Idumea.

© 2005   A. vander Nat   Email   03-2007 Go to:   A. vander Nat's Homepage