Lysias chose Nicanor, Gorgias, and Ptolemy son of Dorymenes as army commanders; all three were able men who bore the title "Friend of the King."
He put them in charge of 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry and ordered them to invade the land of Judea and destroy it as the king had commanded.
These commanders set out with their entire force, and when they came to the plains near Emmaus, they made camp.
A force from Idumea and Philistia joined them. The merchants of the region heard about the strength of the army, and they came to the camp with chains and a large amount of money, hoping to buy some Jewish slaves.
Judas and his brothers saw that their situation was getting more and more difficult, with foreign armies camped within their own borders. They also learned that the king had commanded the complete destruction of the people.
So they determined to rebuild their ruined nation and fight for their country and the Temple.
Then the whole community came together to prepare for war and to pray for God's mercy.
Jerusalem was as empty as a wilderness; no citizens left or entered the city. The holy Temple was profaned by foreigners, and Gentiles camped in the city's fort; so joy departed from the people of Israel, and the sound of music was heard no more.
Then Judas and his men assembled and marched to Mizpah, opposite Jerusalem, because the people of Israel had previously had a place of worship there.
In deep mourning, they fasted all that day, put on sackcloth, threw ashes on their heads, and tore their clothes.
The Gentiles would have consulted their idols in such a situation, but the Israelites unrolled the book of the Law to search for God's guidance.