The Bible in Its Traditions

1 Maccabees 4:1–27


Then Gorgias took five thousand men and a thousand chosen horsemen, and they moved out of the camp by night,


so that they might set upon the camp of the Jews and strike them suddenly. And the sons who were from the stronghold were their guides.

To the end he might rush in upon the camp of the Jews, and smite them suddenly. And the men of the fortress were his guides.

And Judas heard of it, and he rose up, with his powerful men, to strike the force from the king’s army that was in Emmaus.

Now when Judas heard thereof he himself removed, and the valiant men with him, that he might smite the king’s army which was at Emmaus,

For the army was still dispersed from the camp.

While as yet the forces were dispersed from the camp.

And Gorgias came by night, into the camp of Judas, and found no one, and he sought them in the mountains. For he said, “These men flee from us.”

In the mean season came Gorgias by night into the camp of Judas: and when he found no man there, he sought them in the mountains: for said he, These fellows flee from us

And when it had become day, Judas appeared in the plain with only three thousand men, who had neither armor nor swords.

But as soon as it was day, Judas shewed himself in the plain with three thousand men, who nevertheless had neither armour nor swords to their minds.

And they saw the strength of the camp of the Gentiles, and the men in armor, and the horsemen surrounding them, and that these were trained to fight.

And they saw the camp of the heathen, that it was strong and well harnessed, and compassed round about with horsemen; and these were expert of war.

And Judas said to the men who were with him: “Do not be afraid of their multitude, and do not dread their attack.

Then said Judas to the men that were with him, Fear ye not their multitude, neither be ye afraid of their assault.

Remember in what way salvation came to our fathers in the Red Sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with a great army.

Remember how our fathers were delivered in the Red sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with an army.

10  And now, let us cry out to heaven, and the Lord will have mercy on us, and he will remember the covenant of our fathers, and he will crush this army before our face this day.

10  Now therefore let us cry unto heaven, if peradventure the Lord will have mercy upon us, and remember the covenant of our fathers, and destroy this host before our face this day

11  And all nations shall know that there is One who redeems and frees Israel.”

11  That so all the heathen may know that there is one who delivereth and saveth Israel.

12  And the foreigners lifted up their eyes, and they saw them coming against them.

12  Then the strangers lifted up their eyes, and saw them coming over against them.

13  And they went out of the camp into battle, and those who were with Judas sounded the trumpet.

13  Wherefore they went out of the camp to battle; but they that were with Judas sounded their trumpets.

14  And they came together. And the Gentiles were crushed, and they fled into the plains.

14  So they joined battle, and the heathen being discomfited fled into the plain.

15  But the last of them all fell by the sword, and they pursued them even to Gazara, and even to the plains of Idumea, and Azotus, and Jamnia. And there fell from them as many as three thousand men.

15  Howbeit all the hindmost of them were slain with the sword: for they pursued them unto Gazera, and unto the plains of Idumea, and Azotus, and Jamnia, so that there were slain of them upon a three thousand men.

16  And Judas returned, with his army following him.

16  This done, Judas returned again with his host from pursuing them,

17  And he said to the people: “Do not desire the spoils; for there is war before us.

17  And said to the people, Be not greedy of the spoil inasmuch as there is a battle before us,


18  And Gorgias and his army are near us on the mountain. But stand firm now against our enemies, and fight against them, and you shall take the spoils afterwards, securely.”


19  And while Judas was speaking these words, behold, a certain part of them appeared, looking out from the mountain.

19  As Judas was yet speaking these words, there appeared a part of them looking out of the mountain

20  And Gorgias saw that his men were put to flight, and that they had set fire to the camp. For the smoke that he saw declared what had happened.

20  Who when they perceived that the Jews had put their host to flight and were burning the tents; for the smoke that was seen declared what was done

21  When they had seen this, they became very afraid, seeing at the same time both Judas and his army in the plains prepared to do battle.

21  When therefore they perceived these things, they were sore afraid, and seeing also the host of Judas in the plain ready to fight,

22  So they all fled away into the encampment of the foreigners.

22  They fled every one into the land of strangers.

23  And Judas returned to take the spoils of the camp, and they obtained much gold and silver, and hyacinth, and purple of the sea, and great riches.

23  Then Judas returned to spoil the tents, where they got much gold, and silver, and blue silk, and purple of the sea, and great riches.

24  And returning, they sang a canticle, and they blessed God in heaven, because he is good, because his mercy is with every generation.

24  After this they went home, and sung a song of thanksgiving, and praised the Lord in heaven: because it is good, because his mercy endureth forever.

25  And so, a great salvation occurred in Israel in that day.

25  Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

26  But those among the foreigners who escaped went and reported to Lysias all that had happened.

26  Now all the strangers that had escaped came and told Lysias what had happened

27  And when he heard these things, he was discouraged, being alarmed to his very soul. For things had not occurred in Israel according to his wishes, nor as the king had commanded.

27  Who, when he heard thereof, was confounded and discouraged, because neither such things as he would were done unto Israel, nor such things as the king commanded him were come to pass.