When the peace agreement between the Jews and the Syrians was completed, Lysias returned to the king, and the Jews went back to their farming.
But some of the local governors, Timothy and Apollonius son of Gennaeus, as well as Hieronymus and Demophon, would not let them live in peace; and neither would Nicanor, the commander of the mercenaries from Cyprus.
About this time, the people of Joppa did a cruel thing to the Jews of their city. They pretended to be friendly to the Jews and invited them and their families to go sailing with them on ships they had provided.
Since all the people of the town had decided to do this, the Jews suspected nothing and accepted the invitation out of a feeling of good will. But when they were out at sea, the people of Joppa drowned all two hundred of them.
As soon as Judas heard of this inhuman thing that had been done to those Jews, he informed his men.
After they had prayed to God, the just judge, they attacked the murderers. Under cover of darkness they set fire to the harbor, burning all the ships, and killing everyone they found hiding there.
The gates of the city were locked, so Judas withdrew; but he was determined to return at some other time and wipe out everyone living there.
Judas heard that the people of Jamnia had plans to kill the Jews of their city also.
So he attacked Jamnia at night, setting fire to its harbor and the ships there. The flames could be seen as far as Jerusalem, thirty miles away.
When Judas and his men were about a mile away from Jamnia on their way to meet Timothy in battle, they were attacked by more than 5,000 Arabs, supported by 500 cavalry.
It was a hard fight, but with the help of God they defeated these desert tribesmen, who then asked to be on friendly terms with the Jews, promising to give them some livestock and offering to help them in other ways as well.
Judas thought their friendship might prove useful in many ways, so he agreed to make peace with them; after that the Arabs returned to their tents.
Judas also attacked the heavily fortified walled city of Caspin. The people who lived there were a mixed population of Gentiles
who relied on the strength of their walls and felt confident that they had enough food stored up to last through a siege. So they made fun of Judas and his men, shouting out insults against them and profanities against their God.
But the Jews prayed to the Almighty Lord of the universe, who had torn down the walls of Jericho in the days of Joshua without using battering rams or siege weapons. Then they made a fierce attack against the wall
and because it was God's will, they captured the city. The Jews slaughtered so many people that a nearby lake, which was about a quarter of a mile wide, seemed to be overflowing with blood.
From the city of Caspin, Judas and his men marched about 95 miles, until they came to the Jewish settlement of Charax, near the city of Tob.
But they did not find Timothy there, because he had already left the region. He had been able to do nothing there except leave behind a strong garrison in one place.
Two of Judas' generals, Dositheus and Sosipater, attacked the garrison and killed all 10,000 men stationed there.
Then Judas divided his army into several divisions, placing Dositheus and Sosipater each in command of a division, and hurried after Timothy, who had a force of 120,000 infantry and 2,500 cavalry.
When Timothy found out that Judas was coming after him, he sent the women and the children on ahead with the baggage to the city of Karnaim, which was almost impossible to besiege or even to reach, because of the narrow passes that led up to it.
But at the moment that Judas' first division came into sight, the enemy forces were thrown into panic by a vision sent by God, who sees everything. In terror they began to run wildly about and many of them were wounded by the swords of their own men.
So Judas and his men pursued them as hard as they could, killing at least 30,000 of the enemy.
Timothy himself was captured by the troops of Dositheus and Sosipater. But he was very shrewd and managed to convince them that many of their relatives were his prisoners and would be put to death if anything happened to him.
Finally, after he had promised to send their relatives home safely, they let him go free.
Next, Judas attacked the city of Karnaim and the temple of the goddess Atargatis there, killing 25,000 people
and completely destroying both the city and the temple. Then he attacked the fortified city of Ephron where Lysias and people of all nationalities were living. Strong young men took up their positions in front of the walls and fought bravely, while inside the city were stored large quantities of military supplies and weapons.
But the Jews prayed for help to the Lord, who crushes the power of his enemies. So they captured the city and killed about 25,000 people.
From there they hurried on to the city of Beth Shan, seventy-five miles north of Jerusalem.
The Jews there told Judas how kindly the people of the city had treated them, especially during hard times.
So Judas and his men thanked the people and urged them to show the same good will toward the Jews in the future. Then they left for Jerusalem, where they arrived shortly before the Harvest Festival.
After Pentecost (as the Harvest Festival is called in Greek) Judas and his men quickly marched out against Gorgias, the governor of Idumea, 1
who met them with 3,000 infantry and 400 cavalry.
In the battle that followed, a few Jews were killed.
Then a Jew from the city of Tob, a powerful cavalry soldier by the name of Dositheus, grabbed Gorgias by his cloak and started dragging him away by brute force, intending to take the worthless man alive. But suddenly one from the Thracian cavalry rushed at Dositheus and chopped off his arm, allowing Gorgias to escape to the city of Marisa.
By now the Jewish men under the command of Esdrias had been fighting for a long time and were exhausted. So Judas prayed that the Lord would show that he was on their side and in command of their troops.
Then, while Judas sang a hymn in his native language as a battle cry, the Jews made a surprise attack against Gorgias and his men and put them to flight.
After the battle Judas led his men to the town of Adullam. It was the day before the Sabbath, so they purified themselves according to Jewish custom and then observed the holy day.
By the following day it was urgent that they gather up the bodies of the men who had been killed in battle and bury them in their family tombs.
But on each of the dead, hidden under their clothes, they found small images of the gods worshiped in Jamnia, which the Law forbids Jews to wear. Everyone then knew why these men had been killed. 2
So they praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge, who reveals what is hidden,
and they begged him that this sin might be completely blotted out. Then, Judas, that great man, urged the people to keep away from sin, because they had seen for themselves what had happened to those men who had sinned.
He also took up a collection from all his men, totaling about four pounds of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. Judas did this noble thing because he believed in the resurrection of the dead.
If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them.
In his firm and devout conviction that all of God's faithful people would receive a wonderful reward, Judas made provision for a sin offering to set free from their sin those who had died.