1. Gorgias took with him five thousand infantry and a thousand picked cavalry, and moved out by night

2. to fall upon the Jews and take them by surprise. He had asked men from the Citadel to guide his troops.

3. But Judas learned of this, so he went out with his men to attack the king's army in Emmaus

4. while the enemy troops were still dispersed outside the camp.

5. Gorgias arrived at the camp of the Jews by night but found no one there. He then began to search for them in the mountains, for he thought: "They are running away from us."

6. But at daybreak, Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men who had not the armor or swords they would have liked.

7. They saw the camp of the pagans with its strong fortifications and the calvary surrounding it - all trained men in war.

8. Judas said to his men: "Do not fear the number of the enemy or be afraid of their attack.

9. Remember how our ancestors were saved at the Red Sea when Pharaoh's army pursued them.

10. Cry out to God, for if he so wishes he will remember his Covenant and destroy that army before us this very day.

11. And all the nations will know that Someone saves and liberates Israel."

12. The pagans looked up and saw the Jews coming down against them,

13. so they came out of their camp to face them in battle. Judas had the trumpets sounded

14. and his men attacked. The pagans were defeated and fled to the plain,

15. but all the rear guard fell by the sword. They pursued them to Gazara, to the plains of Idumea, of Azot and Jamnia and killed about three thousand of the enemy.

16. When Judas and his army stopped chasing them,

17. he said to the men with him: "Do not think of the booty now, for another battle awaits us.

18. Gorgias with his army is in the hills close by. Remain ready to fight them, and afterwards you can gather the plunder with nothing to worry about."

19. He had barely finished speaking when an army detachment appeared on the hillside.

20. These men saw that their own troops had fled and their camp had been destroyed, for the smoke that rose up from the camp was enough to tell them this.

21. So they were terrified. And when they saw the army of Judas drawn up on the plain ready for battle,

22. they fled to the land of the Philistines.

23. So Judas and his men returned to plunder the camp. They carried off valuable booty.

24. And on their return, they sang and praised heaven: For he is good, and his mercy is eternal.

25. That day was a great victory for Israel.

26. The pagans who had escaped went to Lysias and told him what had happened.

27. When he heard this, he was dismayed and depressed because things in Israel had not gone as expected, and he had not carried out the king's command.

28. The following year, he organized an army of sixty thousand men and five thousand cavalry to confront the Jews.

29. They advanced into Idumea and encamped at Bethzur. Judas came out with ten thousand men to meet them in battle.

30. When he saw their military strength, he prayed, "Blessed are you, Savior of Israel, who broke the warrior's strength by the hand of your servant David, and handed over the camp of the Philistines to the power of Jonathan, son of Saul, and to his armor-bearer.

31. In the same way, give this army into the hands of your people Israel, and let the confidence they place in their power and in their horses be destroyed.

32. Fill them with fear; shatter their confidence in their own strength. May they be defeated and recover no more.

33. Deliver them to the sword of your faithful people so that all who know you may praise your name."

34. Both sides attacked, and five thousand men from the army of Lysias fell dead.

35. Lysias saw that his army was disheartened, while Judas and his men grew bolder and were ready to live or to die nobly. So he retreated to Antioch, where he recruited mercenaries to strengthen his army, for he planned to return to Judea.

36. Then Judas and his brothers said: "Our enemies are defeated, so let us go up and purify the Holy Place and consecrate it again."

37. And all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion.

38. There they found the sanctuary abandoned, the altar profaned, the gates burned, bushes growing in the courtyard as in a forest or on a mountain, and the rooms destroyed.

39. They tore their garments and wept bitterly. Some sprinkled ashes on their heads,

40. while others prostrated themselves on the ground. They sounded the trumpets and cried aloud to Heaven.

41. Then Judas chose men to fight against the defenders of the Citadel until he had purified the temple.

42. He chose blameless priests who showed great zeal for the Law

43. and had them purify the temple and bring the stones of the abominable altar of the pagans to an unclean place.

44. They held a council to decide on what should be done with the altar of the holocausts which had been defiled.

45. And they decided to destroy it, so that shame brought about by the pagans might not remain with it.

46. They deposited the stones of the said altar in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should appear to settle the matter.

47. Then they took uncut stones as the Law prescribed, and built a new altar like the former one.

48. They repaired the sanctuary, and the interior of the house, and consecrated the courts.

49. They made new sacred vessels and brought in the lampstand, the altar of incense and the table.

50. They burned incense on the altar, and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these began to shine in the temple.

51. They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains - bringing to completion all that had been decided.

52. On the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight (164 B.C.)

53. they arose at dawn and offered the sacrifice prescribed by the Law on the new altar of holocausts which they had built.

54. It was precisely at that same time and date that the pagans had profaned it before; but now they consecrated it with songs accompanied by zithers, harps and cymbals.

55. All the people fell prostrate and blessed Heaven that had given them happiness and success.

56. They celebrated the consecration of the altar for eight days, joyfully offering holocausts and celebrating sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise.

57. The front of the temple was adorned with crowns of gold and shields; the gates and the rooms had been restored and fitted with doors.

58. There was no end to the celebration among the people, and so the profanation of the temple by the pagans was forgotten.

59. Finally, Judas, his brothers and the whole assembly of Israel agreed to celebrate the anniversary of the consecration of the altar annually for eight days, from the twenty-fifth of the month of Chislev, in high festivity.

60. At that time, they built around Mount Zion high walls and strong towers to prevent the pagans from coming in to occupy it as they had done before.

61. Judas stationed a garrison there to defend it. He also fortified Bethzur so that the people might have a fortress against Idumea.

Livros sugeridos

“Seja paciente e espere com confiança o tempo do Senhor”. São Padre Pio de Pietrelcina


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