1Now after a space of three years tidings were brought to Judas and his company that Demetrius the son of Seleucus, having sailed into the haven of Tripolis with a mighty host and a fleet,
2had gotten possession of the country, having made away with Antiochus and Lysias his guardian.
3But one Alcimus, who had formerly been high priest, and had wilfully polluted himself in the times when there was no mingling with the Gentiles, considering that there was no deliverance for him in any way, nor any more access unto the holy altar,
4came to king Demetrius in about the hundred and one and fiftieth year, presenting to him a chaplet of gold and a palm, and beside these some of the festal olive boughs of the temple. And for that day he held his peace;
5but having gotten opportunity to further his own madness, being called by Demetrius into a meeting of his council, and asked how the Jews stood affected and what they purposed, he answered thereunto.
6Those of the Jews that he called Hasidaeans, whose leader is Judas Maccabaeus, keep up war, and are seditious, not suffering the kingdom to find tranquillity.
7Wherefore, having laid aside mine ancestral glory, I mean the high priesthood, I am now come hither;
8first for the unfeigned care I have for the things that concern the king, and secondly because I have regard also to mine own fellow-citizens: for, through the unadvised dealing of those of whom I spake before, our whole race is in no small misfortune.
9But do thou, O king, having informed thyself of these things severally, take thought both for our country and for our race, which is surrounded by foes, according to the gracious kindness with which thou receivest all.
10For as long as Judas remaineth alive, it is impossible that the state should find peace.
11And when he had spoken such words as these, at once the rest of the king’s Friends, having ill will against Judas, inflamed Demetrius yet more.
12And forthwith appointing Nicanor, who had been master of the elephants, and making him governor of Judaea, he sent him forth,
13giving him written instructions to make away with Judas himself and to scatter them that were with him, and to set up Alcimus as high priest of the great temple.
14And those in Judaea that had before driven Judas into exile thronged to Nicanor in flocks, supposing that the misfortunes and calamities of the Jews would be successes to themselves.
15But when the Jews heard of Nicanor’s inroad and the assault of the heathen, they sprinkled earth upon their heads and made solemn supplication to him who had established his own people for evermore, and who alway, making manifest his presence, upholdeth them that are his own portion.
16And when the leader had given his commands, he straightway setteth out from thence, and joineth battle with them at a village called Lessau.
17But Simon, the brother of Judas, had encountered Nicanor, yet not till late, having received a check by reason of the sudden consternation caused by his adversaries.
18Nevertheless Nicanor, hearing of the manliness of them that were with Judas, and their courage in fighting for their country, shrank from bringing the matter to the decision of the sword.
19Wherefore he sent Posidonius and Theodotus and Mattathias to give and receive pledges of friendship.
20So when these proposals had been long considered, and the leader had made the troops acquainted therewith, and it appeared that they were all of like mind, they consented to the covenants.
21And they appointed a day on which to meet together by themselves. And a litter was borne forward from each army; they set chairs of state;
22Judas stationed armed men ready in convenient places, lest haply there should suddenly be treachery on the part of the enemy; they held such conference as was meet.
23Nicanor tarried in Jerusalem, and did nothing to cause disturbance, but dismissed the flocks of people that had gathered together.
24And he kept Judas always in his presence; he had gained a hearty affection for the man;
25he urged him to marry and beget children; he married, settled quietly, took part in common life.
26But Alcimus, perceiving the good will that was betwixt them, and having got possession of the covenants that had been made, came unto Demetrius and told him that Nicanor was ill affected toward the state, for he had appointed that conspirator against his kingdom, Judas, to be his successor.
27And the king, falling into a rage, and being exasperated by the calumnnies of that most wicked man, wrote to Nicanor, signifying that he was displeased at the covenants, and commanding him to send Maccabaeus prisoner unto Antioch in all haste.
28And when this message came to Nicanor, he was confounded, and was sore troubled at the thought of annulling the articles that had been agreed upon, the man having done no wrong;
29but because there was no dealing against the king, he watched his time to execute this purpose by stratagem.
30But Maccabaeus, when he perceived that Nicanor was behaving more harshly in his dealings with him, and that he had become ruler in his customary bearing, understanding that this harshness came not of good, gathered together not a few of his men, and concealed himself from Nicanor.
31But the other, when he became aware that he had been bravely defeated by the stratagem of Judas, came to the great and holy temple, while the priests were offering the usual sacrifices, and commanded them to deliver up the man.
32And when they declared with oaths that they had no knowledge where the man was whom he sought,
33he stretched forth his right hand toward the sanctuary, and sware this oath: If ye will not deliver up to me Judas as a prisoner, I will lay this temple of God even with the ground, and will break down the altar, and I will erect here a temple unto Bacchus for all to see.
34And having said this, he departed. But the priests, stretching forth their hands toward heaven, called upon him that ever fighteth for our nation, in these words:
35Thou, O Lord of the universe, who in thyself hast need of nothing, wast well pleased that a sanctuary of thy habitation should be set among us;
36so now, O holy Lord of all hallowing, keep undefiled for ever this house that hath been lately cleansed.
37Now information was given to Nicanor against one Razis, an elder of Jerusalem, as being a lover of his countrymen and a man of very good report, and one called Father of the Jews for his good will toward them.
38For in the former times when there was no mingling with the Gentiles he had been accused of cleaving to the Jews’ religion, and had jeoparded body and life with all earnestness for the religion of the Jews.
39And Nicanor, wishing to make evident the ill will that he bare unto the Jews, sent above five hundred soldiers to take him;
40for he thought by taking him to inflict a calamity upon them.
41But when the troops were on the point of taking the tower, and were forcing the door of the court, and bade bring fire and burn the doors, he being surrounded on every side fell upon his sword,
42choosing rather to die nobly than to fall into the hands of the wicked wretches, and suffer outrage unworthy of his own nobleness:
43but since he missed his stroke through the excitement of the struggle, and the crowds were now rushing within the door, he ran bravely up to the wall and cast himself down manfully among the crowds.
44But as they quickly gave back, a space was made, and he fell on the middle of his side.
45And having yet breath within him, and being inflamed with passion, he rose up, and though his blood gushed out in streams and his wounds were grievous, he ran through the crowds, and standing upon a steep rock,
46when as his blood was now well nigh spent, he drew forth his bowels through the wound, and taking them in both his hands he shook them at the crowds; and calling upon him who is Lord of the life and the spirit to restore him these again, he thus died.