King Seleucus IV Philopator of the Seleucid Empire arrived from Rome. He built an army to attack Judas Maccabees and his rebels, but suffered total defeat.
KING DEMETRIUS ATTACKS JUDAS MACCABEES
Verse 1. In the hundred and one and fifties year Demetrius the son of Seleucus came forth from Rome, and went up with a few men to a city by the sea, and reigned there.
Demetrius the son of Seleucus. That is, Seleucus IV Philopator (circa 218 – 175 BC).
Verse 2. And it came to pass, when he would go into the house of the kingdom of his fathers, that the army laid hands on Antiochus and Lysias, to bring them to him.
Verse 3. And the thing was known to him, and he said, show me not their faces.
Verse 4. And the army killed them. And Demetrius sat upon the throne of his kingdom.
Verse 5. And there came to him all the lawless and ungodly men of Israel; and Alcimus was their leader, desiring to be high priest;
all the lawless and ungodly men. Demetrius attracted the worst of people to himself.
Verse 6. and they accused the people to the king, saying, Judas and his kindred have destroyed all your friends, and have scattered us from our own land.
Verse 7. Now therefore send a man whom you trust, and let him go and see all the havock which he has made of us, and of the king’s country, and how he has punished them and all that helped them.
Verse 8. And the king chose Bacchides, one of the king’s Friends, who was ruler in the country beyond the river, and was a great man in the kingdom, and faithful to the king.
Verse 9. And he sent him, and that ungodly Alcimus, and made sure to him the high priesthood, and he commanded him to take vengeance upon the children of Israel.
Verse 10. And they removed, and came with a great army into the land of Judah, and he sent messengers to Judas and his kindred with words of peace deceitfully.
with words of peace deceitfully. That is, they lied.
Verse 11. And they gave no heed to their words; for they saw that they were come with a great army.
Verse 12. And there were gathered together to Alcimus and Bacchides a company of scribes, to seek for justice.
Verse 13. And the Hasidaeans were the first among the children of Israel that sought peace of them;
Verse 14. for they said, One that is a priest of the seed of Aaron is come with the forces, and he will do us no wrong.
Verse 15. And he spoke with them words of peace, and sware to them, saying, We will seek the hurt neither of you nor your friends.
Verse 16. And they gave him credence: and he laid hands on threescore men of them, and killed them in one day, according to the word which the psalmist wrote,
Verse 17. The flesh of your saints did they cast out, And their blood did they shed round about Jerusalem; And there was no man to bury them.
Verse 18. And the fear and the dread of them fell upon all the people, for they said, There is neither truth nor judgement in them; for they have broken the covenant and the oath which they sware.
Verse 19. And Bacchides removed from Jerusalem, and encamped in Bezeth; and he sent and took away many of the deserters that were with him, and certain of the people, and he killed them, and cast them into the great pit.
Verse 20. And he made sure the country to Alcimus, and left with him a force to aid him; and Bacchides went away to the king.
Verse 21. And Alcimus strove for his high priesthood.
Alcimus strove for his high priesthood. Just because someone has a paid position in religious ministry does not mean they are sincere. It does not mean that they even believe in the religion itself.
Verse 22. And there were gathered to him all those who troubled their people, and they got the mastery of the land of Judah, and did great hurt in Israel.
Verse 23. And Judas saw all the mischief that Alcimus and his company had done among the children of Israel, even above the Gentiles,
Verse 24. and he went out into all the coasts of Judea round about, and took vengeance on the men that had deserted from him, and they were restrained from going forth into the country.
Verse 25. But when Alcimus saw that Judas and his company waxed strong, and knew that he was not able to withstand them, he returned to the king, and brought evil accusations against them.
brought evil accusations against them. When an enemy is desperate to prevail over you, their last-ditch act of desperation is a false allegation.
JUDAS MACCABEES DEFEATS KING DEMETRIUS
Verse 26. And the king sent Nicanor, one of his honorable princes, a man that hated Israel and was their enemy, and commanded him to destroy the people.
Verse 27. And Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a great army; and he sent to Judas and his kindred deceitfully with words of peace, saying,
Verse 28. Let there be no battle between me and you; I will come with a few men, that I may see your faces in peace.
Verse 29. And he came to Judas, and they saluted one another peaceably. And the enemies were ready to take away Judas by violence.
Verse 30. And the thing was known to Judas, to wit, that he came to him with deceit, and he was sore afraid of him, and would see his face no more.
Verse 31. And Nicanor knew that his counsel was discovered; and he went out to meet Judas in battle beside Capharsalama;
Verse 32. and there fell of Nicanor’s side about † five hundred men, and they fled into the city of David.
Verse 33. And after these things Nicanor went up to mount Sion: and there came some of the priests out of the sanctuary, and some of the elders of the people, to salute him peaceably, and to show him the whole burned sacrifice that was being offered for the king.
Verse 34. And he mocked them, and laughed at them, and ‡ entreated them shamefully, and spoke haughtily,
Verse 35. and sware in a rage, saying, Unless Judas and his army be now delivered into my hands, it shall be that, if I come again in peace, I will burn up this house: and he went out in a great rage.
sware in a rage. Nicanor is raging out. Such a person is incapable of reasoned discussion.
Verse 36. And the priests entered in, and stood before the altar and the temple; and they wept, and said,
Verse 37. You did choose this house to be called by your name, to be a house of prayer and supplication for your people:
a house of prayer. This reminds us of what was said by Isaiah the prophet:
Isaiah 56:7. I will bring these to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
Verse 38. take vengeance on this man and his army, and let them fall by the sword: remember their blasphemies, and suffer them not to live any longer.
Verse 39. And Nicanor went forth from Jerusalem, and encamped in Bethhoron, and there met him the army of Syria.
Verse 40. And Judas encamped in Adasa with three thousand men: and Judas prayed and said,
Verse 41. When those who came from the king blasphemed, your angel went out, and struck among them a hundred and fourscore and five thousand.
Verse 42. Even so discomfit you this army before us today, and let all the rest know that he has spoken wickedly against your sanctuary, and judge you him according to his wickedness.
Verse 43. And on the thirteenth day of the month Adar the armies joined battle: and Nicanor’s army was discomfited, and he himself was the first to fall in the battle.
Verse 44. Now when his army saw that Nicanor was fallen, they cast away their arms, and fled.
Verse 45. And they pursued after them a day’s journey from Adasa until you come to Gazara, and they sounded an alarm after them with the * solemn trumpets.
Verse 46. And they came forth out of all the villages of Judea round about, and † closed them in; and these turned them back on those, and they all fell by the sword, and there was not one of them left.
there was not one of them left. This was a colossal victory for Judas Maccabees and his tiny band of rebels.
Verse 47. And they took the spoils, and the booty, and they struck off Nicanor’s head, and his right hand, which he stretched out so haughtily, and brought them, and hanged them up beside Jerusalem.
Verse 48. And the people were exceedingly glad, and they kept that day as a day of great gladness.
Verse 49. And they ordained to keep this day year by year, to wit, the thirteenth day of Adar.
Verse 50. And the land of Judah had rest a little while.
a little while. There was peace. But only for a short time.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.