Sacred Texts  Bible  Index  Previous  Next 

Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

XCIV. (1) Judah, the son of Mattathias, and with him the assembly of the Ḥassidim, now went up to Jerusalem, and overthrowing the altars which the uncircumcised had built, they cleansed the temple of the abominations of the nations, and building a new altar, they placed upon it the flesh of the sacrifice, and arranged the wood, but the holy

p. 276

fire they could not find. Then calling in prayer upon the Lord, fire came forth from a stone upon the altar, and they placed the wood upon it. This fire remained with them until the time of the third captivity. On the 25th of Kislev they dedicated the altar, and placing the showbread in its place and kindling the lights, they praised the name of the Lord by reading the 'Hallel Psalms' for eight days.

(2) After this dedication, Judah marched to the land of Edom, and Gorgias came to meet him with a huge multitude of men, but Judah smote Gorgias and his camp, and put them all to flight. Pursuing them, Judah's men left upon the field 20,000 of the enemy slain. Gorgias then fled to Arabia to Timotheos. And Timotheos, marching out with 120,000 men of the Macedonian and Arabian armies, went into the land of Gad and Gilead, and slew many of the Jews, so that they sent a letter to Judah, saying, 'Come up and save us, for the sword of Timotheos is consuming us.' Again another letter arrived, saying, 'The sword of Tyre and Sidon is destroying us, and the men of Macedonia who dwell there.' (3) As soon as Judah heard these words, he cried to the Lord in fasting and prayer, and selecting all the valiant men and the Ḥassidim, he made haste to pass the Jordan. Simeon also took with him 3,000 men of Judah, and hastening to Galilee, engaged in a fierce battle, in which he slew 8,000 men, and thus delivered his brethren in Galilee. Then, taking the spoil of the slain, he returned to Jerusalem.

(4) Judah the Anointed one of battle, having passed the Jordan, arrived at Gilead, where they found Timotheos attacking the city on Mount Gilead, and, having girded himself for the fray, a fierce battle ensued. The two armies stood opposite each other, that of Timotheos being mighty and strong, while Judah's army was few in number. And in the midst of the fight Judah cried unto the Lord, when he suddenly beheld five young horsemen, clothed in gold. Two of them stood in front of Judah, and then, placing themselves one on each side of him, protected him with their shields, while the other three fought against the

p. 277

camp of Timotheos. As soon as Judah saw them, he at once knew that they were sent from heaven to assist the pious, and, encouraging his men, he pressed hard upon Timotheos's army and smote 20,500 of his men. Timotheos himself and his army fled thence towards the Jordan, but Judah was after him, making havoc among them all the time until they came to Aza.

(5) Here Timotheos recruited his men and prepared again for battle, for the whole army of Philistia had now joined his ranks. When Judah arrived at that place he leaped upon them as a lion upon a flock of sheep. Timotheos took to flight, and his whole army was scattered in confusion. The Hasmoneans pursued them and cut them to pieces until there were none left. Timotheos fled to Aza, and there took refuge within the closed gates of the city, from the high walls of which he still gave battle. For five days Judah and his men besieged it.

(6) On the fifth day the men of Timotheos, ascending the high tower, cursed and defied the Anointed one of battle, and taunted them all with words of insolence. At length twenty Hasmoneans, becoming heated through passion on account of the reproaches, took their shields in their left hands and their swords in their right hands, and, running towards the wall, scaled it one after another by means of a ladder. Then, smiting those upon the wall, they made room for their fellows, all of whom likewise scaled the wall. The twenty men then went into the market-place of the city, shouting and killing many of the enemy. Then, going towards the gate, they attacked it within, while the whole army of the Hasmoneans approached it from without, and set fire to it, whereupon the gate fell to the ground. In this manner was the city of Aza captured. Then, seizing the men who defied the Anointed one of battle, they burnt them to death, and put the inhabitants to the edge of the sword. For two whole days they did not cease from their deadly work of slaughter.

(7) Timotheos, fleeing, hid himself in one of the pits and could not be found. But they discovered his brothers,

p. 278

[paragraph continues] Birean (###) and Apollopanis (###), and brought them to Judah, who ordered their heads to be cut off. The spoil of the city they carried to Jerusalem with songs, praises and thanksgivings, and sang the Psalms of David, King of Israel, to the Lord, whose mercy endureth for ever.

Next: XCV