THIS MONTH ONLY: FREE CURRICULUM BOOKS with your Annual CatholicBrain Subscription. Upgrade now Register Now

2 Maccabees 12

Please or start a free trial to access this content.

2 Maccabees 12

Incidents at Joppa and Jamnia

1When this agreement had been reached, Lys'ias returned to the king, and the Jews went about their farming.

2But some of the governors in various places, Timothy and Apollo'nius the son of Gennae'us, as well as Hiero'nymus and De'mophon, and in addition to these Nica'nor the governor of Cyprus, would not let them live quietly and in peace. 3And some men of Joppa did so ungodly a deed as this: they invited the Jews who lived among them to embark, with their wives and children, on boats which they had provided, as though there were no ill will to the Jews;a 4and this was done by public vote of the city. And when they accepted, because they wished to live peaceably and suspected nothing, the men of Joppab took them out to sea and drowned them, not less than two hundred. 5When Judas heard of the cruelty visited on his countrymen, he gave orders to his men 6and, calling upon God the righteous Judge, attacked the murderers of his brethren. He set fire to the harbor by night, and burned the boats, and massacred those who had taken refuge there. 7Then, because the city's gates were closed, he withdrew, intending to come again and root out the whole community of Joppa. 8But learning that the men in Jam'nia meant in the same way to wipe out the Jews who were living among them, 9he attacked the people of Jam'nia by night and set fire to the harbor and the fleet, so that the glow of the light was seen in Jerusalem, thirty milesc distant.

The Campaign in Gilead

10When they had gone more than a miled from there, on their march against Timothy, not less than five thousand Arabs with five hundred horsemen attacked them. 11After a hard fight Judas and his men won the victory, by the help of God. The defeated nomads besought Judas to grant them pledges of friendship, promising to give him cattle and to help his peoplee in all other ways. 12Judas, thinking that they might really be useful in many ways, agreed to make peace with them; and after receiving his pledges they departed to their tents.

13He also attacked a certain city which was strongly fortified with earthworksf and walls, and inhabited by all sorts of Gentiles. Its name was Caspin. 14And those who were within, relying on the strength of the walls and on their supply of provisions, behaved most insolently toward Judas and his men, railing at them and even blaspheming and saying unholy things. 15But Judas and his men, calling upon the great Sovereign of the world, who without battering-rams or engines of war overthrew Jericho in the days of Joshua, rushed furiously upon the walls. 16They took the city by the will of God, and slaughtered untold numbers, so that the adjoining lake, a quarter of a mileg wide, appeared to be running over with blood.

Judas Defeats Timothy's Army

17When they had gone ninety-five milesh from there, they came to Charax, to the Jews who are called Toubia'ni. 18They did not find Timothy in that region, for he had by then departed from the region without accomplishing anything, though in one place he had left a very strong garrison. 19Dosith'eus and Sosip'ater, who were captains under Maccabe'us, marched out and destroyed those whom Timothy had left in the stronghold, more than ten thousand men. 20But Maccabe'us arranged his army in divisions, set meni in command of the divisions, and hastened after Timothy, who had with him a hundred and twenty thousand infantry and two thousand five hundred cavalry. 21When Timothy learned of the approach of Judas, he sent off the women and the children and also the baggage to a place called Car'naim; for that place was hard to besiege and difficult of access because of the narrowness of all the approaches. 22But when Judas' first division appeared, terror and fear came over the enemy at the manifestation to them of him who sees all things; and they rushed off in flight and were swept on, this way and that, so that often they were injured by their own men and pierced by the points of their swords. 23And Judas pressed the pursuit with the utmost vigor, putting the sinners to the sword, and destroyed as many as thirty thousand men.

24Timothy himself fell into the hands of Dosith'eus and Sosip'ater and their men. With great guile he besought them to let him go in safety, because he held the parents of most of them and the brothers of some and no consideration would be shown them. 25And when with many words he had confirmed his solemn promise to restore them unharmed, they let him go, for the sake of saving their brethren.

Judas Wins Other Victories

26Then Judasj marched against Car'naim and the temple of Atar'gatis, and slaughtered twenty-five thousand people. 27After the rout and destruction of these, he marched also against Ephron, a fortified city where Lys'ias dwelt with multitudes of people of all nationalities.k Stalwart young men took their stand before the walls and made a vigorous defense; and great stores of war engines and missiles were there. 28But the Jewsl called upon the Sovereign who with power shatters the might of his enemies, and they got the city into their hands, and killed as many as twenty-five thousand of those who were within it.

29Setting out from there, they hastened to Scythop'olis, which is seventy-five milesm from Jerusalem. 30But when the Jews who dwelt there bore witness to the good will which the people of Scythop'olis had shown them and their kind treatment of them in times of misfortune, 31they thanked them and exhorted them to be well disposed to their race in the future also. Then they went up to Jerusalem, as the feast of weeks was close at hand.

Judas Defeats Gorgias

32After the feast called Pentecost, they hastened against Gor'gias, the governor of Idume'a. 33And he came out with three thousand infantry and four hundred cavalry. 34When they joined battle, it happened that a few of the Jews fell. 35But a certain Dosith'eus, one of Bace'nor's men, who was on horseback and was a strong man, caught hold of Gor'gias, and grasping his cloak was dragging him off by main strength, wishing to take the accursed man alive, when one of the Thracian horsemen bore down upon him and cut off his arm; so Gor'gias escaped and reached Mar'isa.

36As Esdris and his men had been fighting for a long time and were weary, Judas called upon the Lord to show himself their ally and leader in the battle. 37In the language of their fathers he raised the battle cry, with hymns; then he charged against Gor'gias' men when they were not expecting it, and put them to flight.

Prayers for Those Killed in Battle

38Then Judas assembled his army and went to the city of Adul'lam. As the seventh day was coming on, they purified themselves according to the custom, and they kept the sabbath there.

39On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jam'nia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. 41So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.