Then many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to dwell there,
they, their sons, their wives, and their cattle, because evils pressed heavily upon them.
And it was reported to the king's officers, and to the troops in Jerusalem the city of David, that men who had rejected the king's command had gone down to the hiding places in the wilderness.
Many pursued them, and overtook them; they encamped opposite them and prepared for battle against them on the sabbath day.
And they said to them, "Enough of this! Come out and do what the king commands, and you will live."
But they said, "We will not come out, nor will we do what the king commands and so profane the sabbath day."
Then the enemy hastened to attack them.
But they did not answer them or hurl a stone at them or block up their hiding places,
for they said, "Let us all die in our innocence; heaven and earth testify for us that you are killing us unjustly."
So they attacked them on the sabbath, and they died, with their wives and children and cattle, to the number of a thousand persons.
When Mattathias and his friends learned of it, they mourned for them deeply.
And each said to his neighbor: "If we all do as our brethren have done and refuse to fight with the Gentiles for our lives and for our ordinances, they will quickly destroy us from the earth."
So they made this decision that day: "Let us fight against every man who comes to attack us on the sabbath day; let us not all die as our brethren died in their hiding places."
Then there united with them a company of Hasideans, mighty warriors of Israel, every one who offered himself willingly for the law.
And all who became fugitives to escape their troubles joined them and reinforced them.
Now the days drew near for Mattathias to die, and he said to his sons: "Arrogance and reproach have now become strong; it is a time of ruin and furious anger.
Now, my children, show zeal for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by 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. (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)