2 Maccabees, 15
1. But when Nicanor discovered Judas to be in the places of Samaria, he decided to meet him in warfare with all violence, on the Sabbath day.
2. In truth, the Jews who followed him out of necessity were saying: “Do not act so fiercely and barbarously, but give honor to the day of sanctification and reverence to him who beholds all things.”
3. That unhappy man asked, “Is there a powerful One in heaven, who commanded the day of the Sabbath to be kept.”
4. And they responded to him, “There is the living Lord himself in heaven, the powerful One, who ordered the seventh day to be kept.”
5. And so he said: “I also am powerful upon the earth, so I command arms to be taken up and the king’s plans to be fulfilled.” Nevertheless, he did not succeed in accomplishing his plan.
6. And Nicanor, being certainly lifted up with the greatest arrogance, had decided to establish a public monument of his victory over Judas.
7. But Maccabeus, as always, trusted with all hope that God would be present to help them.
8. And he exhorted his own not to fear the arrival of the nations, but to keep in mind the assistance they had received before from heaven, and now to hope for a future victory from the Almighty.
9. And speaking to them from the law and the prophets, reminding them even of the conflicts they had fought before, he made them more willing.
10. And so, having raised up their courage, at the same time he revealed the deceitful plan of the Gentiles and their betrayal of the oaths.
11. Then he armed every one of them, not with the weapons of shield and spear, but with the best speeches and exhortations; and he explained to them a dream, worthy to be believed, in which he rejoiced with them all.
12. Now the vision was in this manner: Onias, who had been high priest, a good and kind man, modest in appearance, gentle in manners, and noble in speech, and who from boyhood was trained in the virtues, extending his hands, prayed on behalf of all the people of the Jews.
13. After this, there appeared also another man, admirable in age and glory, and with a bearing of great dignity about him.
14. In truth, Onias responded by saying: “This one loves his brothers and the people of Israel. This is he who prays greatly for the people and for all the holy city: Jeremiah, the prophet of God.”
15. Then Jeremiah extended his right hand, and he gave to Judas a sword of gold, saying:
16. “Receive this holy sword as a gift from God, with it you shall cast down the adversaries of my people Israel.”
17. And so, having been exhorted by the very good words of Judas, by which the readiness and courage of the young men were able to be raised and strengthened, they resolved to strive and to contend with fortitude, so that virtue would judge the matter, because the holy city and the temple were in peril.
18. For their concern was less for their wives and sons, and likewise less for their brothers and relatives; in truth, their greatest and first fear was for the sanctity of the temple.
19. But those also who were in the city had no small concern for those who had gathered together.
20. And, when all now hoped that judgment would soon occur, and when the enemies were near, and the army was set in order, with the beasts and the horsemen positioned in strategic places,
21. Maccabeus, considering the arrival of the multitude, and the various preparations of weapons, and the fierceness of the beasts, extending his hands to heaven, called upon the Lord, who works miracles, who gives victory to those who are worthy, not according to the power of the weapons, but just as it pleases him.
22. Then, calling out in this way, he said: “You, O Lord, who sent your Angel under Hezekiah, king of Judah, and who killed one hundred and eighty-five thousand from the camp of Sennacherib,
23. now also, O Ruler of the heavens, send your good Angel before us, who are in fear and trembling at the greatness of your arm,
24. so that those who approach against your holy people with blasphemy may be afraid.” And in this way, indeed, he concluded his prayer.
25. But Nicanor, and those who were with him, advanced with trumpets and songs.
26. In truth, Judas, and those who were with him, calling upon God through prayers, came together against them.
27. Indeed, fighting with their hands, but praying to the Lord with their hearts, they struck down no less than thirty-five thousand, being delighted by the presence of God.
28. And when they had ceased and were returning with gladness, they realized, by his armor, that Nicanor had been slain.
29. And so, making a loud noise and inciting a disturbance, they blessed the Almighty Lord in the language of the fathers.
30. But Judas, who was prepared throughout all his body and soul to die for his citizens, instructed that Nicanor’s head, and his hand with the arm, should be cut off and carried through to Jerusalem.
31. When it arrived, having called together his fellow tribesmen, and the priests to the altar, he summoned those also who were in the stronghold.
32. And he displayed the head of Nicanor, and his nefarious hand, which he had extended against the holy house of Almighty God with magnificent boasting.
33. He even ordered now that the tongue of the impious Nicanor should be cut up and given in pieces to the birds, but that the hand of this demented man should be suspended opposite the temple.
34. Therefore, they all blessed the Lord of heaven, saying, “Blessed is he who has kept his own place uncontaminated.”
35. Then he suspended Nicanor’s head at the top of the stronghold, so that it would be an evident and manifest sign of the assistance of God.
36. And so, they all decreed by common counsel in no way to let this day pass without celebration,
37. but to hold a celebration on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, which was called in the Syrian language: the day before Mardochias’ day.
38. Therefore, these things were accomplished concerning Nicanor, and from that time the city was possessed by the Hebrews. And so, I will bring an end to my narration here.
39. And, indeed, if I have done well, so as to have made an adequate history, this also is what I wanted. But if it is less than worthy, may it be permitted me.
40. For, just as it is adverse to drink always wine, or always water, so also it is pleasant to use sometimes the one, and sometimes the other. So, if the words were always exact, it would not be pleasing to the readers. Therefore, here it shall be completed.