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1 Maccabees 7 (Common English Bible w/ Apocrypha)

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Expedition of Bacchides and Alcimus

1 In the year 151,a Demetrius the son of Seleucus set out from Rome. He sailed with a small group to a town by the sea and claimed the kingship there. 2 As he entered the royal palace of his ancestors, the army seized Antiochus and Lysias, intending to bring them to him. 3 But when he learned about this act, he said, "Don't let me see their faces!" 4 So the soldiers killed them. Demetrius then took his seat on the throne of the kingdom. 5 All the immoral and sinful Israelites came to him. Alcimus, who wanted to be high priest, led them. 6 They made an accusation to King Demetrius against the people, "Judas and his brothers have destroyed all your political advisorsb and have driven us out of our land. 7 Now send someone that you trust to go and see all the ruin that Judas has brought on us and on the king's land. Let that person punish them and all who help them." 8 The king selected Bacchides, one of the king's chief political advisors and governor of the province called Beyond the River. He was a powerful man in the kingdom and was loyal to the king. 9 The king sent him and sent the wicked Alcimus along with him. He made Alcimus high priest and authorized him to take vengeance on the Israelites. 10 So they marched forward and came with a large force into the land of Judah. Bacchides sent messengers to Judas and his brothers using peaceful but deceitful words. 11 But they ignored the messengers because they saw that they had come with a large military force. 12 Then a group of legal experts came before Alcimus and Bacchides to ask for just terms. 13 The Hasideans were the first among the Israelites to seek peace with them. 14 They said, "A priest who is descended from Aaron has come with the army, and he won't harm us." 15 Alcimus spoke peaceably to them and made a pledge to them: "We won't seek to injure you or your friends." 16 So they trusted him. But he seized sixty of them and killed them in one day. This was in keeping with the written word: 17 The flesh of your faithful ones… and their blood they poured out all around Jerusalem; there was no one to bury them.c 18 Then fear and dread came over all the people. They said, "They are not truthful or just, because they broke the promise they made." 19 Bacchides retreated from Jerusalem and camped in Beth-zaith. He captured many of the soldiers and some of the people who had deserted to his side. He killed them and threw them into a great pit. 20 He put Alcimus in charge of the country and left a force to assist him. Then Bacchides went back to the king. 21 Alcimus struggled to maintain the high priesthood. 22 All the troublemakers joined him. They gained control of Judah and did great damage in Israel. 23 Judas saw all the wrongs that Alcimus and those with him had done among the Israelites, exceeding what the Gentiles had done. 24 So Judas went into the surrounding Judean highlands and took vengeance on those who had deserted. He prevented them from going out into the country. 25 When Alcimus saw that Judas and his companions had grown strong, he knew he couldn't resist them. So he returned to the king and brought spiteful charges against them.

Nicanor in Judea

26 Then the king sent for Nicanor, one of his honored princes who hated and despised Israel, and the king commanded him to destroy the people. 27 So Nicanor went to Jerusalem with a large force. He deceitfully sent a peaceful message to Judas and his brothers: 28 "Let there be no fighting between you and me. I'll come with a few men to see you personally in peace." 29 So he came to Judas, and they greeted each other peaceably. But the enemy was preparing to kidnap Judas. 30 Judas found out that Nicanor had come to him with treacherous intentions. He was afraid of him and wouldn't meet with Nicanor again. 31 When Nicanor learned that his plan had been discovered, he went out to meet Judas in battle near Caphar-salama. 32 About five hundred of Nicanor's soldiers died. The rest fled into David's City.

Nicanor threatens the temple

33 After these events, Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some priests from the sanctuary and some of the elders of the people came out to greet him peacefully. They pointed out to him the entirely burned offering that was being offered on behalf of the king. 34 But he mocked, ridiculed, and defiled them, and spoke in an arrogant way. 35 Angrily, he swore, "Unless Judas and his army are handed over to me this time, I will burn down this house if I return safely in the future." And he departed in great fury. 36 Then the priests went inside and stood before the altar and the temple. They wept out loud and said: 37 You, heavenly one, chose this house to be called by your name and to be a house of prayer and petition for your people. 38 Take vengeance on this man and on his army! Make them die by the sword. Remember their evil slander. Don't let them live any longer.

Death of Nicanor

39 Now Nicanor, along with the Syrian army, left Jerusalem and camped in Beth-horon. 40 Judas camped in Adasa with three thousand men. Then Judas prayed: 41 When the messengers from the king of the Assyrians insulted us with words, your angel went out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand. 42 So crush this army before us today. Let the rest learn that he has spoken against your sanctuary in an evil way, and judge him for this wickedness. 43 So the armies met in battle on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar.d Nicanor's army was crushed, and he himself was the first to die in the battle. 44 When his army saw that Nicanor had died, they threw down their weapons and fled. 45 The Jews pursued them a day's journey, from Adasa to Gazara. As they followed them, they kept blasting the battle call on the trumpets. 46 People came out of the surrounding Judean villages. They outflanked the enemy and drove them back toward their pursuers so that they all died by the sword. Not a single one of them was left alive. 47 Then the Jews seized the spoils and the goods left behind. They cut off Nicanor's head and his right hand, which he had arrogantly stretched out. They brought them and displayed them just outside Jerusalem. 48 The people rejoiced greatly and celebrated that day as a day of great happiness. 49 They established this day as a day of annual celebration on the thirteenth day of Adar.e 50 And the land of Judah enjoyed peace for a while.
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