2 Maccabees, 11
1. But a short time afterwards, Lysias, the procurator of the king and a near relative, who also was in charge of the government, was heavily weighed upon by what had happened.
2. Gathering together eight thousand, along with all the horsemen, he came against the Jews, thinking that the city would certainly be captured, making it a dwelling place for the Gentiles,
3. in truth, also thinking to make a profit in money from the temple, just as from the other shrines of the Gentiles, and to put the priesthood up for sale every year.
4. Never recognizing the power of God, but inflated in mind, he trusted in the multitude of the foot soldiers, and in the thousands of horsemen, and in the eighty elephants.
5. And so, he entered Judea, and, approaching Bethzur, which was in a narrow place, at an interval of five stadia from Jerusalem, he laid siege to that stronghold.
6. But when Maccabeus and those who were with him realized that the strongholds were besieged, they and all the crowd together petitioned the Lord with weeping and tears, that he would send a good Angel to save Israel.
7. And so the leader Maccabeus, taking up arms, exhorted the others, to undergo the peril together with him, and to bring assistance to their brothers.
8. And when they together were going forth with a ready spirit, there appeared at Jerusalem a horseman, preceding them in radiant clothing and with weapons of gold, waving a spear.
9. Then they all together blessed the merciful Lord, and strengthened their souls, being prepared to break through not only men, but also the most ferocious beasts and walls of iron.
10. Thus, they went forth readily, having a helper from heaven, and with the Lord taking pity on them.
11. Then, rushing violently against the enemy, in the manner of lions, they struck down from among them: eleven thousand foot soldiers and one thousand six hundred horsemen.
12. And they turned all the rest to flight. But many of them, being wounded, escaped with nothing. And Lysias himself also escaped, fleeing in disgrace.
13. And because he was not irrational, thinking to himself about the loss that had happened against him, and understanding the Hebrews to be invincible because they depend upon the help of Almighty God, he sent to them,
14. and he promised that he would agree to all things that are just, and that he would persuade the king to be their friend.
15. Then Maccabeus assented to the request of Lysias, considering it useful in every way. And whatever Maccabeus wrote to Lysias, concerning the Jews, the king consented to it.
16. For there were letters written to the Jews from Lysias, which, indeed, were composed in this way: “Lysias, to the people of the Jews: greetings.
17. John and Absalom, who had been sent from you to deliver your writings, requested that I would implement these things that were signified by them.
18. Therefore, whatever things could be brought before the king, I have presented them. And he has conceded to those things that are permitted.
19. If, therefore, you will keep yourselves faithful in these matters, then, from now on, I will endeavor to be a cause of your good.
20. But as for other particulars, I have given orders by word, both to these, and to those who have been sent by me, to confer with you.
21. Farewell. In the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the twenty-fourth day of the month of Dioscorus.”
22. But the letter of the king contained this: “King Antiochus to Lysias, his brother: greetings.
23. Since our father has been transferred among the gods, we are willing that those who are in our kingdom should act without tumult, and should attend diligently to their own concerns.
24. We have heard that the Jews would not consent to my father to convert to the rites of the Greeks, but that they chose to keep to their own institutions, and, because of this, that they ask of us to leave them to their own laws.
25. Therefore, wanting this nation, likewise, to be at rest, we have reached a judgment that the temple should be restored to them, so that they may act according to the custom of their ancestors.
26. You will do well, therefore, if you send to them and grant them a pledge, so that our will becomes known, and they may be of good courage, and may look after their own needs.”
27. Truly, the letter of the king to the Jews was such as this: “King Antiochus to the senate of the Jews, and to the rest of the Jews: greetings.
28. If you are well, such is what we desire. But we ourselves are also well.
29. Menelaus came to us, saying that you wished to come down to your own, who are among us.
30. Therefore, we grant a pledge of security to those who come and go, even until the thirtieth day of the month of Xanthicus,
31. so that the Jews may make use of their own foods and laws, just as also before, and so that none of them should endure any kind of trouble for things which have been done by ignorance.
32. And so, we have also sent Menelaus, who will talk with you.
33. Farewell. In the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the fifteenth day of the month of Xanthicus.”
34. But the Romans also now sent a letter, having this in it: “Quintus Memmius and Titus Manilius, ambassadors of the Romans, to the people of the Jews: greetings.
35. Concerning these things that Lysias, the relative of the king, has conceded to you, we also have conceded.
36. But about such things as he judged should be referred to the king, send someone, as soon as you have diligently conferred among yourselves, so that we may make a decree, just as it is agreeable to you. For we are going to Antioch.
37. And, therefore, make haste to write back, so that we may know whatever your will may be.
38. Farewell. In the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the fifteenth day of the month of Xanthicus.”