1 And king Antiochus was journeying through the upper countries; and he heard say, that in Elymais in Persia there was a city renowned for riches, for silver and gold; 2 and that the temple which was in it was rich exceedingly, and that therein were golden shields, and breastplates, and arms, which Alexander, son of Philip, the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the Greeks, left behind there. 3 And he came and sought to take the city, and to pillage it; and he was not able, because the thing was known to them of the city, 4 and they rose up against him to battle: and he fled, and removed thence with great heaviness, to return to Babylon.
5 And there came one bringing him tidings into Persia, that the armies, which went against the land of Judah, had been put to flight; 6 and that Lysias went first with a strong army, and was put to shame before them; and that they had waxed strong by reason of arms and power, and with store of spoils, which they took from the armies that they had cut off; 7 and that they had pulled down the abomination which he had built upon the altar that was in Jerusalem; and that they had compassed about the sanctuary with high walls, as before, and Bethsura, his city. 8 And it came to pass, when the king heard these words, he was astonished and moved exceedingly: and he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he looked for. 9 And he was there many days, because great grief was renewed upon him, and he made account that he should die. 10 And he called for all his* See 1 Maccabees 2:18. Friends, and said to them, Sleep departs from my eyes, and my heart fails for care. 11 And I said in my heart, To what suffering am I come, and how great a flood is it, wherein I now am! for I was gracious and beloved in my power. 12 But now I remember the evils which I did at Jerusalem, and that I took all the vessels of silver and gold that were therein, and sent forth to destroy the inhabitants of Judah without a cause. 13 I perceive that on this account these evils are come upon me, and, behold, I perish through great grief in a strange land. 14 And he called for Philip, one of his† See 1 Maccabees 2:18. Friends, and set him over all his kingdom, 15 and gave him his diadem, and his robe, and his signet ring, to the end he should bring Antiochus his son, and nourish him up that he might be king. 16 And king Antiochus died there in‡ Circa B.C. 164. the hundred and forty and ninth year. 17 And Lysias knew that the king was dead, and he set up Antiochus his son to reign, whom he had nourished up being young, and he called his name Eupator.
18 And those who were in the citadel shut up Israel round about the sanctuary, and sought always their hurt, and the strengthening of the Gentiles. 19 And Judas thought to destroy them, and called all the people together to besiege them. 20 And they were gathered together, and besieged them in§ circa B.C. 163. the hundred and fiftieth year, and he made mounds to shoot from, and engines of war. 21 And there came forth some of those who were shut up, and there were joined to them certain ungodly men of Israel. 22 And they went to the king, and said, How long will you not execute judgement, and avenge our kindred? 23 We were willing to serve your father, and to walk after his words, and to follow his commandments; 24 and for this cause the children of our people besieged* Gr. it. the citadel, and were alienated from us; but as many of us as they could light on they killed, and plundered our inheritances. 25 And not against us only did they stretch out their hand, but also against all their borders. 26 And, behold, they are encamped this day against the citadel at Jerusalem, to take it: and the sanctuary and Bethsura have they fortified. 27 And if you° are not beforehand with them quickly, they will do greater things than these, and you shall not be able to control them.
28 And when the king heard this, he was angry, and gathered together all his† See 1 Maccabees 2:18. Friends, even the rulers of his army, and those who were over the horse. 29 And there came to him from other kingdoms, and from isles of the sea, bands of hired soldiers. 30 And the number of his forces was a hundred thousand footmen, and twenty thousand horsemen, and two and thirty elephants trained for war. 31 And they went through Idumaea, and encamped against Bethsura, and fought against it many days, and made engines of war; and they of Bethsura came out, and burned them with fire, and fought valiantly. 32 And Judas removed from the citadel, and encamped at Bethzacharias, near the king’s camp. 33 And the king rose early in the morning, and removed his army‡ Or, itself eager for the fight at full speed along the road to Bethzacharias, and his forces made them ready to battle, and sounded with the trumpets. 34 And they showed the elephants the blood of grapes and mulberries, that they might prepare them for the battle. 35 And they divided the beasts among the phalanxes, and they set by each elephant a thousand men armed with coats of mail, and helmets of brass on their heads; and for each beast were appointed five hundred chosen horsemen. 36 These were ready beforehand, wherever the beast was; and wherever the beast went, they went with him; they departed not from him. 37 And towers of wood were upon them, strong and covered, one upon each beast, girded fast upon him with cunning contrivances; and upon each beast were two and thirty valiant men that fought upon them, beside his Indian 38 (and the residue of the horsemen he set on this side and that side at the two parts of the army), striking terror into the enemy, and protected by the phalanxes. 39 Now when the sun shone upon the shields of gold and brass, the mountains shone therewith, and blazed like torches of fire. 40 And a part of the king’s army was spread upon the high mountains, and some on the low ground, and they went on firmly and in order. 41 And all that heard the noise of their multitude, and the marching of the multitude, and the rattling of the arms, did quake: for the army was exceedingly great and strong. 42 And Judas and his army drew near for battle, and there fell of the king’s army six hundred men. 43 And Eleazar, who was called Avaran, saw one of the beasts armed with royal breastplates, and he was higher than all the beasts, and the king seemed to be upon him; 44 and he gave himself to deliver his people, and to get him an everlasting name; 45 and he ran upon him courageously into the midst of the phalanx, and killed on the right hand and on the left, and they parted asunder from him on this side and on that. 46 And he crept under the elephant, and thrust him from beneath, and killed him; and the elephant fell to the earth upon him, and he died there. 47 And they saw the strength of the kingdom, and the fierce onset of the army, and turned away from them.
48 But they of the king’s army went up to Jerusalem to meet them, and the king encamped toward Judea, and toward mount Sion. 49 And he made peace with them of Bethsura; and he came out of the city, because they had no food there to endure the siege, because it was a Sabbath to the land. 50 And the king took Bethsura, and appointed a garrison there to keep it. 51 And he encamped against the sanctuary many days; and set there mounds to shoot from, and engines of war, and instruments for casting fire and stones, and pieces to cast darts, and slings. 52 And they also made engines against their engines, and fought for many days. 53 But there were no food in the sanctuary, because it was the seventh year, and those who fled for safety into Judea from among the Gentiles had eaten up the residue of the store; 54 and there were but a few left in the sanctuary, because the famine prevailed against them, and they were scattered, each man to his own place.
55 And Lysias heard say, that Philip, whom Antiochus the king, whiles he was yet alive, appointed to nourish up his son Antiochus, that he might be king, 56 was returned from Persia and Media, and with him the forces that went with the king, and that he was seeking to take to him the government. 57 And he made haste, and gave consent to depart; and he said to the king and the leaders of the army and to the men, We decay daily, and our food is scant, and the place where we encamp is strong, and the affairs of the kingdom lie upon us: 58 now therefore let’s give the right hand to these men, and make peace with them and with all their nation, 59 and covenant with them, that they shall walk after their own laws, as aforetime: for because of their laws which we abolished they were angered, and did all these things. 60 And the saying pleased the king and the princes, and he sent to them to make peace; and they accepted thereof. 61 And the king and the princes sware to them: thereupon they came forth from the stronghold. 62 And the king entered into mount Sion; and he saw the strength of the place, and set at nothing the oath which he had sworn, and gave commandment to pull down the wall round about. 63 And he removed in haste, and returned to Antioch, and found Philip master of the city; and he fought against him, and took the city by force.
‡6:16 Circa B.C. 164.
§6:20 circa B.C. 163.
*6:24 Gr. it.
‡6:33 Or, itself eager for the fight