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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 6

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Defeat and Death of Antiochus IV. 1 m 1–13: 2 Mc 1, 12–17; 9, 1–29 . As King Antiochus was traversing the inland provinces, he heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais,* famous for its wealth in silver and gold, 2and that its temple was very rich, containing gold helmets, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander, son of Philip, king of Macedon, the first king of the Greeks. 3He went therefore and tried to capture and pillage the city. But he could not do so, because his plan became known to the people of the city 4who rose up in battle against him. So he retreated and in great dismay withdrew from there to return to Babylon.

5While he was in Persia, a messenger brought him news that the armies sent into the land of Judah had been put to flight; 6that Lysias had gone at first with a strong army and been driven back by the Israelites; that they had grown strong by reason of the arms, men, and abundant possessions taken from the armies they had destroyed; 7that they had pulled down the Abomination which he had built upon the altar in Jerusalem; and that they had surrounded with high walls both the sanctuary, as it had been before, and his city of Beth‐zur. n 1 Mc 1, 54; 4, 41ff.60f .

8When the king heard this news, he was struck with fear and very much shaken. Sick with grief because his designs had failed, he took to his bed. 9There he remained many days, overwhelmed with sorrow, for he knew he was going to die.

10So he called in all his Friends and said to them: “Sleep has departed from my eyes, for my heart is sinking with anxiety. 11I said to myself: ‘Into what tribulation have I come, and in what floods of sorrow am I now! 12Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.’ But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem, when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver that were in it, and for no cause gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed. 13I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me; and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land.”

14Then he summoned Philip, one of his Friends, and put him in charge of his whole kingdom. 15He gave him his crown, his robe, and his signet ring, so that he might guide the king's son Antiochus and bring him up to be king. 16King Antiochus died in Persia in the year one hundred and forty‐nine.*

The Citadel Besieged. 17When Lysias learned that the king was dead, he set up the king's son Antiochus,* whom he had reared as a child, to be king in his place; and he gave him the title Eupator. o 2 Mc 10, 10f .

18The men in the citadel were hemming in Israel around the sanctuary, continually trying to harm them and to strengthen the Gentiles. p 1 Mc 1, 33ff . 19But Judas planned to destroy them, and called all the people together to besiege them. 20So in the year one hundred and fifty* they assembled and stormed the citadel, for which purpose he constructed catapults and other devices. 21Some of the besieged escaped, joined by impious Israelites; 22they went to the king and said:

“How long will you fail to do justice and avenge our kinsmen? 23We agreed to serve your father and to follow his orders and obey his edicts. 24And for this the sons of our people have become our enemies; they have put to death as many of us as they could find and have plundered our estates. 25They have acted aggressively not only against us, but throughout their whole territory. 26Look! They have now besieged the citadel in Jerusalem in order to capture it, and they have fortified the sanctuary and Beth‐zur. 27Unless you quickly forestall them, they will do even worse things than these, and you will not be able to stop them.”

Campaign against Judas. 28 q 28–54: 2 Mc 13, 1–23 . When the king heard this he was angry, and he called together all his Friends, the officers of his army, and the commanders of the cavalry. r 28ff: 2 Mc 13, 1f . 29Mercenary forces also came to him from other kingdoms and from the islands of the seas. 30His army numbered a hundred thousand foot‐soldiers, twenty thousand cavalry, and thirty‐two elephants trained for war. 31They passed through Idumea and camped before Beth‐zur. For many days they attacked it; they constructed siege‐devices, but the besieged made a sortie and burned these, and they fought bravely.

32Then Judas marched away from the citadel and moved his camp to Beth‐zechariah, on the way to the king's camp. 33The king, rising before dawn, moved his force hastily along the road to Beth‐zechariah; and the armies prepared for battle, while the trumpets sounded. 34They made the elephants drunk on grape and mulberry wine to provoke them to fight. 35The beasts were distributed along the phalanxes, each elephant having assigned to it a thousand men in coats of mail, with bronze helmets, and five hundred picked cavalry. 36These anticipated the beast wherever it was; and wherever it moved, they moved too and never left it. 37A strong wooden tower covering each elephant, and fastened to it by a harness, held, besides the Indian mahout, three soldiers who fought from it. 38The remaining cavalry were stationed on one or the other of the two flanks of the army, to harass the enemy and to be protected from the phalanxes. 39When the sun shone on the gold and bronze shields, the mountains gleamed with their brightness and blazed like flaming torches. 40Part of the king's army extended over the heights, while some were on low ground, but they marched forward steadily and in good order. 41All who heard the noise of their numbers, the tramp of their marching, and the clashing of the arms, trembled; for the army was very great and strong.

42Judas with his army advanced to fight, and six hundred men of the king's army fell. 43Eleazar, called Avaran, saw one of the beasts bigger than any of the others and covered with royal armor, and he thought the king must be on it. s 2 Mc 13, 15 . 44So he gave up his life to save his people and win an everlasting name for himself. 45He dashed up to it in the middle of the phalanx, killing men right and left, so that they fell back from him on both sides. 46He ran right under the elephant and stabbed it in the belly, killing it. The beast fell to the ground on top of him, and he died there.

47When the Jews saw the strength of the royal army and the ardor of its forces, they retreated from them. 48 t 48f: 2 Mc 13, 22–23 . A part of the king's army went up to Jerusalem to attack them, and the king established camps in Judea and at Mount Zion. 49 u Lv 25, 2 . He made peace with the men of Beth‐zur, and they evacuated the city, because they had no food there to enable them to stand a siege, for that was a sabbath year in the land.* 50The king took Beth‐zur and stationed a garrison there to hold it. 51For many days he besieged the sanctuary, setting up artillery and machines, fire‐throwers, catapults and mechanical bows for shooting arrows and slingstones. 52The Jews countered by setting up machines of their own, and kept up the fight a long time. 53But there were no provisions in the storerooms, because it was the seventh year, and the tide‐over provisions had been eaten up by those who had been rescued from the Gentiles and brought to Judea. 54Few men remained in the sanctuary; the rest scattered, each to his own home, for the famine was too much for them.

Peace Treaty. 55 v 55–63: 2 Mc 13, 23–26 . Lysias heard that Philip, whom King Antiochus, before his death, had appointed to train his son Antiochus to be king, 56had returned from Persia and Media with the army that accompanied the king, and that he was seeking to take over the government. 57So he hastily resolved to withdraw. He said to the king, the leaders of the army, and the soldiers: “We are growing weaker every day, our provisions are scanty, the place we are besieging is strong, and it is our duty to take care of the affairs of the kingdom. w 2 Mc 11, 13ff . 58Therefore let us now come to terms with these men, and make peace with them and all their nation. 59Let us grant them freedom to live according to their own laws as formerly; it was on account of their laws, which we abolished, that they became angry and did all these things.”

60The proposal found favor with the king and the leaders; he sent peace terms to the Jews, and they accepted. 61So the king and the leaders swore an oath to them, and on these terms they evacuated the fortification. 62But when the king entered Mount Zion and saw how the place was fortified, he broke the oath he had sworn and gave orders for the encircling wall to be destroyed. 63Then he departed in haste and returned to Antioch, where he found Philip in possession of the city. He fought against him and took the city by force.


m: 1–13: 2 Mc 1, 12–17; 9, 1–29 .

n: 1 Mc 1, 54; 4, 41ff.60f .

o: 2 Mc 10, 10f .

p: 1 Mc 1, 33ff .

q: 28–54: 2 Mc 13, 1–23 .

r: 28ff: 2 Mc 13, 1f .

s: 2 Mc 13, 15 .

t: 48f: 2 Mc 13, 22–23 .

u: Lv 25, 2 .

v: 55–63: 2 Mc 13, 23–26 .

w: 2 Mc 11, 13ff .

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