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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 5*

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Punishment of Hostile Acts. 1 d 1f: 1 Mc 13, 6 . When the Gentiles round about heard that the altar had been rebuilt and the sanctuary consecrated as before, they were very angry. 2So they decided to destroy the descendants of Jacob who were among them, and they began to massacre and persecute the people. 3 e 3ff: 2 Mc 10, 15–23 . Then Judas attacked the sons of Esau at Akrabattene* in Idumea, because they were blockading Israel; he defeated them heavily, overcame and despoiled them. 4He also remembered the malice of the sons of Baean,* who had become a snare and a stumblingblock to the people by ambushing them along the roads. 5He forced them to take refuge in towers, which he besieged; he vowed their annihilation and burned down the towers along with all the persons in them. 6 *Then he crossed over to the Ammonites, where he found a strong army and a large body of people with Timothy as their leader. 7He fought many battles with them, routed them, and struck them down. 8After seizing Jazer and its villages, he returned to Judea.

Liberation of Galilean Jews. 9The Gentiles in Gilead assembled to attack and destroy the Israelites who were in their territory; these then fled to the stronghold of Dathema. 10They sent a letter to Judas and his brothers saying: “The Gentiles around us have combined against us to destroy us, 11and they are preparing to come and seize this stronghold to which we have fled. Timothy is the leader of their army. 12Come at once and rescue us from them, for many of us have fallen. 13All our kinsmen who were among the Tobiads have been killed; the Gentiles have carried away their wives and children and their goods, and they have slain there about a thousand men.” f 2 Mc 12, 17 .

14While they were reading this letter, suddenly other messengers, in torn clothes, arrived from Galilee to deliver a similar message: 15that the inhabitants of Ptolemais,* Tyre, and Sidon, and the whole of Gentile Galilee had joined forces to destroy them. 16When Judas and the people heard this, a great assembly convened to consider what they should do for their unfortunate kinsmen who were being attacked by enemies.

17Judas said to his brother Simon: “Choose men for yourself, and go, rescue your kinsmen in Galilee; I and my brother Jonathan will go to Gilead.”

18In Judea he left Joseph, son of Zechariah, and Azariah, leader of the people, with the rest of the army to guard it. 19“Take charge of these people,” he commanded them, “but do not fight against the Gentiles until we return.” 20Three thousand men were allotted to Simon, to go into Galilee, and eight thousand men to Judas, for Gilead.

21Simon went into Galilee and fought many battles with the Gentiles. They were crushed before him, 22and he pursued them to the very gate of Ptolemais. About three thousand men of the Gentiles fell, and he gathered their spoils. 23He took with him the Jews who were in Galilee and in Arbatta, with their wives and children and all that they had, and brought them to Judea with great rejoicing.

Rescue in Gilead. 24 g 24–36: 2 Mc 12, 10ff . Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the Jordan and marched for three days through the desert. 25There they met some Nabateans,* who received them peacefully and told them all that had happened to the Jews in Gilead: 26“Many of them have been imprisoned in Bozrah, in Bosor near Alema, in Chaspho, Maked, and Carnaim”—all of these are large, fortified cities— 27“and some have been imprisoned in the other cities of Gilead. Tomorrow their enemies plan to attack the strongholds and to seize and destroy all these people in one day.”

28Thereupon Judas suddenly changed direction with his army, marched across the desert to Bozrah, and captured the city. He slaughtered all the male population, took all their possessions, and set fire to the city. 29He led his army from that place by night, and they marched toward the stronghold of Dathema. 30When morning came, they looked ahead and saw a countless multitude of people, with ladders and devices for capturing the stronghold, and beginning to attack the people within. 31When Judas perceived that the struggle had begun and that the noise of the battle was resounding to heaven with trumpet blasts and loud shouting, 32he said to the men of his army, “Fight for our kinsmen today.”

33He came up behind them with three columns blowing their trumpets and shouting in prayer. 34When the army of Timothy realized that it was Maccabeus, they fell back before him, and he inflicted on them a crushing defeat. About eight thousand of their men fell that day. 35Then he turned toward Alema and attacked and captured it; he killed all the male population, plundered the place, and burned it down. 36From there he moved on and took Chaspho, Maked, Bosor, and the other cities of Gilead.

37 h 37–44; 2 Mc 12, 20–26 . After these events Timothy assembled another army and camped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream. 38Judas sent men to spy on the camp, and they reported to him: “All the Gentiles around us have rallied to him, making a very large force; 39they have also hired Arabs to help them, and have camped beyond the stream, ready to attack you.” So Judas went forward to attack them.

40As Judas and his army were approaching the running stream, Timothy said to the officers of his army: “If he crosses over to us first, we shall not be able to resist him; he will certainly defeat us. i 1 Sm 14, 9f . 41But if he is afraid and camps on the other side of the river, we will cross over to him and defeat him.”

42But when Judas reached the running stream, he stationed the officers of the people beside the stream and gave them this order: “Do not allow any man to pitch a tent; all must go into battle.” 43He was the first to cross to the attack, with all the people behind him, and the Gentiles were crushed before them; they threw away their arms and fled to the temple enclosure at Carnaim. 44The Jews captured that city and burnt the enclosure with all who were in it. So Carnaim was subdued, and Judas met with no more resistance. j 2 Mc 12, 21 .

45Then he assembled all the Israelites, great and small, who were in Gilead, with their wives and children and their goods, a great crowd of people, to go into the land of Judah. 46 k 46–54; 2 Mc 12, 27–31 . When they reached Ephron,* a large and strongly fortified city along the way, they found it impossible to encircle it on either the right or the left; they would have to march right through it. 47But the men in the city shut them out and blocked up the gates with stones. l Nm 20, 17–21; 21, 21–25 . 48Then Judas sent them his peaceful message: “We wish to cross your territory in order to reach our own; no one will harm you; we will only march through.” But they would not open to him.

49So Judas ordered a proclamation to be made in the camp that everyone make an attack from the place where he was. 50When the men of the army took up their positions, he assaulted the city all that day and night, and it was delivered to him. 51He slaughtered every male, razed and plundered the city, and passed through it over the slain.

52Then they crossed the Jordan to the great plain in front of Beth‐shan; 53and Judas kept rounding up the stragglers and encouraging the people the whole way, until he reached the land of Judah. 54They ascended Mount Zion in joy and gladness and offered holocausts, because not one of them had fallen; they returned in safety.

Joseph and Azariah Defeated. 55During the time that Judas and Jonathan were in the land of Gilead, and Simon his brother was in Galilee opposite Ptolemais, 56Joseph, son of Zechariah, and Azariah, the leaders of the army, heard about the brave deeds and the fighting that they were doing. 57They said, “Let us also make a name for ourselves by going out and fighting against the Gentiles around us.”

58They gave orders to the men of their army who were with them, and marched toward Jamnia. 59But Gorgias and his men came out of the city to meet them in battle. 60Joseph and Azariah were beaten, and were pursued to the frontiers of Judea, and about two thousand Israelites fell that day. 61It was a bad defeat for the people, because they had not obeyed Judas and his brothers, thinking that they would do brave deeds. 62But they did not belong to the family of those men to whom it was granted to achieve Israel's salvation. 63The valiant Judas and his brothers were greatly renowned in all Israel and among all the Gentiles, wherever their name was heard; 64and men gathered about them and praised them.

65Then Judas and his brothers went out and attacked the sons of Esau* in the country toward the south; he took Hebron and its villages, and he destroyed its strongholds and burned the towers around it. 66He then set out for the land of the Philistines and passed through Marisa. 67At that time some priests fell in battle who had gone out rashly to fight in their desire to distinguish themselves. 68Judas then turned toward Azotus in the land of the Philistines. He destroyed their altars and burned the statues of their gods; and after plundering their cities he returned to the land of Judah.


d: 1f: 1 Mc 13, 6 .

e: 3ff: 2 Mc 10, 15–23 .

f: 2 Mc 12, 17 .

g: 24–36: 2 Mc 12, 10ff .

h: 37–44; 2 Mc 12, 20–26 .

i: 1 Sm 14, 9f .

j: 2 Mc 12, 21 .

k: 46–54; 2 Mc 12, 27–31 .

l: Nm 20, 17–21; 21, 21–25 .

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