2 Maccabees - Chapter 12
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2 Among the local generals, Timotheus and Apollonius son of Gennaeus, as also Hieronymus and Demophon, and Nicanor the Cypriarch as well, would not allow the Jews to live in peace and quiet.
3 The people of Joppa committed a particularly wicked crime: they invited the Jews living among them to go aboard some boats they had lying ready, taking their wives and children. There was no hint of any intention to harm them;
4 there had been a public vote by the citizens, and the Jews accepted, as well they might, being peaceable people with no reason to suspect anything. But once out in the open sea they were all sent to the bottom, a company of at least two hundred.
5 When Judas heard of the cruel fate of his countrymen, he issued his orders to his men
8 But hearing that the people of Jamnia were planning to treat their resident Jews in the same way,
11 A fierce engagement followed, and with God's help Judas' men won the day; the defeated nomads begged Judas to offer them the right hand of friendship, and promised to surrender their herds and make themselves generally useful to him.
14 Confident in the strength of their walls and their stock of provisions, the besieged adopted an insolent attitude to Judas and his men, reinforcing their insults with blasphemies and profanity.
15 But Judas and his men invoked the great Sovereign of the world who without battering-ram or siege-engine had overthrown Jericho in the days of Joshua; they then made a fierce assault on the wall.
17 Ninety-five miles further on from there, they reached the Charax, in the country of Jews known as Tubians.
20 Maccabaeus himself divided his army into cohorts to which he assigned commanders, and then hurried in pursuit of Timotheus, whose troops numbered one hundred and twenty thousand infantry and two thousand five hundred cavalry.
21 Timotheus' first move on learning of Judas' advance was to send away the women and children and the rest of the baggage train to the place called the Carnaim, since it was an impregnable position, difficult of access owing to the narrowness of all the approaches.
22 Judas' cohort came into sight first. The enemy, seized with fright and panic-stricken by the manifestation of the All-seeing, began to flee, one running this way, one running that, often wounding one another in consequence and running on the points of one another's swords.
24 Timotheus himself, having fallen into the hands of Dositheus and Sosipater and their men, very craftily pleaded with them to let him go with his life, on the grounds that he had the relatives and even the brothers of many of them in his power, and that these could otherwise expect short shrift.
25 When at long last he convinced them that he would honour his promise and return these people safe and sound, they let him go for the sake of saving their brothers.
27 Having defeated and destroyed them, he led his army against Ephron, a fortified town, where Lysanias was living. Stalwart young men drawn up outside the walls offered vigorous resistance, while inside there were quantities of war-engines and missiles in reserve.
30 seventy-five miles from Jerusalem. But as the Jews who had settled there assured Judas that the people of Scythopolis had always treated them well and had been particularly kind to them when times were at their worst,
31 he and his men thanked them and urged them to extend the same friendship to his race in the future. They reached Jerusalem shortly before the feast of Weeks.
34 in the course of the ensuing battle a few Jews lost their lives.
35 A man called Dositheus, a horseman of the Tubian contingent, a valiant man, overpowered Gorgias and, gripping him by the cloak, was forcibly dragging him along, intending to take the accursed man alive, but one of the Thracian cavalry, hurling himself on Dositheus, slashed his shoulder and Gorgias escaped to Marisa.
38 Judas then rallied his army and moved on to the town of Adullam where, as it was the seventh day of the week, they purified themselves according to custom and kept the Sabbath.
39 Next day, they came to find Judas (since the necessity was by now urgent) to have the bodies of the fallen taken up and laid to rest among their relatives in their ancestral tombs.
40 But when they found on each of the dead men, under their tunics, objects dedicated to the idols of Jamnia, which the Law prohibits to Jews, it became clear to everyone that this was why these men had lost their lives.
42 and gave themselves to prayer, begging that the sin committed might be completely forgiven. Next, the valiant Judas urged the soldiers to keep themselves free from all sin, having seen with their own eyes the effects of the sin of those who had fallen;
43 after this he took a collection from them individually, amounting to nearly two thousand drachmas, and sent it to Jerusalem to have a sacrifice for sin offered, an action altogether fine and noble, prompted by his belief in the resurrection.
45 whereas if he had in view the splendid recompense reserved for those who make a pious end, the thought was holy and devout. Hence, he had this expiatory sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sin.
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Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel, Matthew 9:18-26
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