1But Nicanor, hearing that Judas and his company were in the region of Samaria, resolved to set upon them with all security on the day of rest.
2And when the Jews that were compelled to follow him said, O destroy not so savagely and barbarously, but give due glory to the day which he that beholdeth all things hath honoured and hallowed above other days;
3then the thrice-accursed wretch asked if there were a Sovereign in heaven that had commanded to keep the sabbath day.
4And when they declared, There is the Lord, living himself a Sovereign in heaven, who bade us observe the seventh day;
5then saith the other, I also am a sovereign upon the earth, who now command to take up arms and execute the king’s business. Nevertheless he prevailed not to execute his cruel purpose.
6And Nicanor, bearing himself haughtily in all vaingloriousness, had determined to set up a monument of complete victory over Judas and all them that were with him:
7but Maccabaeus still trusted unceasingly, with all hope that he should obtain help from the Lord.
8And he exhorted his company not to be fearful at the inroad of the heathen, but, keeping in mind the help which of old they had oftentimes received from heaven, so now also to look for the victory which would come unto them from the Almighty;
9and comforting them out of the law and the prophets, and withal putting them in mind of the conflicts that they had maintained, he made them more eager for the battle.
10And when he had roused their spirit, he gave them his commands, at the same time pointing out the perfidiousness of the heathen and their breach of their oaths.
11And arming each one of them, not so much with the sure defence of shields and spears as with the encouragement that lieth in good words, and moreover relating to them a dream worthy to be believed, he made them all exceeding glad.
12And the vision of that dream was this: He saw Onias, him that was high priest, a noble and good man, reverend in bearing, yet gentle in manner and well-spoken, and exercised from a child in all points of virtue, with outstretched hands invoking blessings on the whole body of the Jews:
13thereupon he saw a man appear, of venerable age and exceeding glory, and wonderful and most majestic was the dignity around him:
14and Onias answered and said, This is the lover of the brethren, he who prayeth much for the people and the holy city, Jeremiah the prophet of God:
15and Jeremiah stretching forth his right hand delivered to Judas a sword of gold, and in giving it addressed him thus,
16Take the holy sword, a gift from God, wherewith thou shalt smite down the adversaries.
17And being encouraged by the words of Judas, which were of a lofty strain, and able to incite unto virtue and to stir the souls of the young unto manly courage, they determined not to carry on a campaign, but nobly to bear down upon the enemy, and fighting hand to hand with all courage bring the matter to an issue, because the city and the sanctuary and the temple were in danger.
18For their fear for wives and children, and furthermore for brethren and kinsfolk, was in less account with them; but greatest and first was their fear for the consecrated sanctuary.
19And they also that were shut up in the city were in no light distress, being troubled because of the encounter in the open ground.
20And when all were now waiting for the decision of the issue, and the enemy had already joined battle, and the army had been set in array, and the elephants brought back to a convenient post, and the horsemen drawn up on the flank,
21Maccabaeus, perceiving the presence of the troops, and the various arms with which they were equipped, and the savageness of the elephants, holding up his hands unto heaven called upon the Lord that worketh wonders, recognising that success cometh not by arms, but that, according as the Lord shall judge, he gaineth the victory for them that are worthy.
22And calling upon God he said after this manner: Thou, O Sovereign Lord, didst send thine angel in the time of Hezekiah king of Judaea, and he slew of the host of Sennacherib as many as a hundred fourscore and five thousand;
23so now also, O Sovereign of the heavens, send a good angel before us to bring terror and trembling:
24through the greatness of thine arm let them be stricken with dismay that with blasphemy are come hither against thy holy people. And as he ended with these words,
25Nicanor and his company advanced with trumpets and paeans;
26but Judas and his company joined battle with the enemy with invocation and prayers.
27And contending with their hands, and praying unto God with their hearts, they slew no less than thirty and five thousand men, being made exceeding glad by the manifestation of God.
28And when the engagement was over, and they were returning again with joy, they recognised Nicanor lying dead in full armour;
29and there arose a shout and tumult, and then they blessed the Sovereign Lord in the language of their fathers.
30And he that in all things was in body and soul the foremost champion of his fellow-citizens, he that kept through life the good will of his youth toward his countrymen, commanded to cut off Nicanor’s head, and his hand with the shoulder, and bring them to Jerusalem.
31And when he had arrived there, and had called his countrymen together and set the priests before the altar, he sent for them that were in the citadel;
32and shewing the head of the vile Nicanor, and the hand of that profane man, which with proud brags he had stretched out against the holy house of the Almighty,
33and cutting out the tongue of the impious Nicanor, he said that he would give it by pieces to the birds, and hang up the rewards of his madness over against the sanctuary.
34And they all looking up unto heaven blessed the Lord who had manifested himself, saying, Blessed be he that hath preserved his own place undefiled.
35And he hanged Nicanor’s head and shoulder from the citadel, a sign, evident unto all and manifest, of the help of the Lord.
36And they all ordained with a common decree in no wise to let this day pass undistinguished, but to mark with honour the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (it is called Adar in the Syrian tongue), the day before the day of Mordecai.
37THIS then having been the issue of the attempt of Nicanor, and the city having from those times been held by the Hebrews, I also will here make an end of my book.
38And if I have written well and to the point in my story, this is what I myself desired; but if meanly and indifferently, this is all I could attain unto.
39For as it is distasteful to drink wine alone and in like manner again to drink water alone, while the mingling of wine with water at once giveth full pleasantness to the flavour; so also the fashioning of the language delighteth the ears of them that read the story. And here shall be the end.