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Chapter XXI.

In the meantime, Matthathias dies, having appointed in his own place his son Judah, as general of the army which he had brought together. Under his leadership, several successful battles took place against the royal forces. For first of all, he destroyed, along with his whole army, Apollonius, the enemy’s general, who had entered on the conflict with a large number of troops. When a certain man, named Seron, who was then the ruler of Syria, heard of this, he increased his forces, and attacked Judah with much spirit as being superior in numbers, but when a battle took place, he was routed and put to flight; and with the loss of nearly eight hundred men, he returned to Syria. On this becoming known to Antiochus, he was filled with rage and regret, inasmuch as it vexed him that his generals had been conquered, notwithstanding their large armies. He therefore gathers aid from his whole empire, and bestows a donative on the soldiers, almost to the exhaustion of his treasury. For he was then suffering in a very special manner from the want of money. The reason of this was, on the one side, that the Jews, who had been accustomed to pay him an annual tribute of more than three hundred talents of silver, were now in a state of rebellion against him; and on the other side, that many of the Greek cities and countries were unsettled by the evil of persecution. For Antiochus had not spared even the Gentiles, whom he had sought to persuade to abandon their long-established superstitions, and to draw over to one kind of religious observance. And no doubt, those of them who regarded nothing as sacred, easily were induced to give up their ancient forms of worship, but at the same time all were in a state of alarm and disaster. For these reasons, then, the taxes had ceased to be paid. Boiling with wrath on these grounds (for he who had of old been the richest of kings now deeply felt the poverty due to his own wickedness), he divided his forces with Lysias, and committed to him Syria and the war against the Jews, while he himself set out 108against the Persians, to collect the taxes among them. Lysias, then, selected Ptolemy, Gorgias, Doro, and Nicanor, as generals in the war; and to these he gave forty thousand infantry, and seven thousand cavalry. At the first onset these caused great alarm among the Jews. Then Judah, when all were in despair, exhorted his men to go with courageous hearts to battle—that, if they put their trust in God, everything would give way before them; for that often before then the victory had been won by a few fighting against many. A fast was proclaimed, and sacrifice was offered, after which they went down to battle. The result was that the forces of the enemy were scattered, and Judah, taking possession of their camp, found in it both much gold and Tyrian treasures. For merchants from Syria, having no doubt as to victory, had followed the king’s army with the hope of purchasing prisoners, and now were themselves spoiled. When these things were reported to Lysias by messengers, he got together troops with still greater efforts, and in a year after again attacked the Jews with an enormous army; but being defeated, he retreated to Antioch.

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