1 Maccabees - Chapter 9
1 Maccabees Chapters
2 They took the road to Galilee and besieged Mesaloth in Arbela, and captured it, putting many people to death.
7 With battle now inevitable, Judas realised that his army had melted away; he was aghast, for he had no time to rally them.
8 Yet, dismayed as he was, he said to those who were left, 'Up! Let us face the enemy; we may yet have the strength to fight them.'
9 His men tried to dissuade him, declaring, 'We have no strength for anything but to escape with our lives this time; then we can come back with our brothers to fight them; by ourselves we are too few.'
10 Judas retorted, 'That I should do such a thing as run away from them! If our time has come, at least let us die like men for our countrymen, and leave nothing to tarnish our reputation.'
11 The army marched out of camp and drew up, facing the enemy. The cavalry was drawn up in two squadrons; the slingers and archers marched in the van of the army, and all the best fighters were put in the front rank;
12 Bacchides was on the right wing. The phalanx advanced from between the two squadrons, sounding the trumpets; the men on Judas' side also blew their trumpets,
14 Judas saw that Bacchides and the main strength of his army lay on the right; all the stout-hearted rallied to him,
15 and they crushed the right wing, pursuing them as far as the Azara Hills.
16 But when the Syrians on the left wing saw that the right had been broken, they turned and followed hot on the heels of Judas and his men to take them in the rear.
19 Jonathan and Simon took up their brother Judas and buried him in his ancestral tomb at Modein.
21 'What a downfall for the strong man, the man who kept Israel safe!'
24 At that time there was a severe famine, and the country went over to their side.
25 Bacchides deliberately chose the enemies of religion to administer the country.
27 A terrible oppression began in Israel; there had been nothing like it since the disappearance of prophecy among them.
31 Whereupon, Jonathan took command, in succession to his brother Judas.
33 But this became known to Jonathan, his brother Simon and all his supporters, and they took refuge in the desert of Tekoa, camping by the water-supply at Asphar storage-well.
36 The sons of Amrai, however, those of Medeba, intercepted them, captured John and everything he had and made off with their prize.
37 Later, Jonathan and his brother Simon were told that the sons of Amrai were celebrating an important wedding, and were escorting the bride, a daughter of one of the great notables of Canaan, from Nabata with a large retinue.
39 As they were keeping watch, a noisy procession came into sight with a great deal of baggage, and the bridegroom, with his groomsmen and his family, came out to meet it with tambourines and a band, and rich, warlike display.
40 The Jews rushed down on them from their ambush and killed them, inflicting heavy casualties; the survivors escaped to the mountain, leaving their entire baggage train to be captured.
43 As soon as Bacchides heard this, he came on the Sabbath day with a considerable force to the steep banks of the Jordan.
45 You can see, we shall have to fight on our front and to our rear; we have the waters of the Jordan on one side, the marsh and scrub on the other, and we have no line of withdrawal.
50 Bacchides went back to Jerusalem and began fortifying some of the Judaean towns: the fortresses of Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-Horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon and Tephon, with high walls and barred gates,
58 The renegades then all agreed on a plan. 'Now is the time,' they said, 'while Jonathan and his supporters are living in peace and are full of confidence, for us to bring back Bacchides, and he will arrest the lot of them in one night.'
60 Bacchides at once set out with a large force, and sent secret instructions to all his allies in Judaea to seize Jonathan and his supporters. But they were unable to do this because their plan became known,
61 and Jonathan and his men arrested some fifty of the men of the country who were ringleaders in the plot, and put them to death.
69 and vented his anger on those renegades who had induced him to enter the country, putting many of them to death; he then decided to take his own troops home.
70 Discovering this, Jonathan sent envoys to negotiate peace terms and the release of prisoners with him.
72 Having surrendered to Jonathan those prisoners he had earlier taken in Judaea, he turned about and withdrew to his own country, and never again came near their frontiers.
73 The sword no longer hung over Israel, and Jonathan settled in Michmash, where he began to judge the people and to rid Israel of the godless.
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Responsorial Psalm, Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
Gospel, John 1:6-8, 19-28
Reading 2, First Thessalonians 5:16-24
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