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Judas Maccabaeus

1. Judas assumed the surname of Maccabaeus, as has been mentioned above, carried on the war with the same prudence and energy with which it had been commenced. Antiochus had collected a powerful army to put down the revolt, but being called to the eastern provinces of his empire (B. C. ]66), he left the conduct of it to his friend and minister Lysias, who was also entrusted with the guardianship of his son and the government of the provinces from the Euphrates to the sea. [LYSIAS, No. 4.] Lysias sent against the Jews a large force under the command of Ptolemy, the son of Dorymenes, Nicanor, and Gorgias, but they were entirely defeated by Judas near Emmaus in B. C. 165. In the next year (B. C. 164) Lysias took the field in person with a still larger army, but he met with the same fate as his generals, and was overthrown a little to the north of Hebron. The death of Antiochus Epiphanes, which happened in this year at Tabae in Persia, and the struggle which arose between Lysias and Philip for the guardianship of the young Antiochus Eupator and for the administration of the empire, paralysed for the time the exertions of the Syrians. Judas and his brothers entered Jerusalem in B. C. 163 and purified the temple; they then proceeded to expel the Syrians and Hellenising Jews from every part of Judaea. Meantime, however, Lysias, with the aid of the apostate Jews, had again collected a formidable army, with which he marched against Judas, accompanied by the young king. His forces were arrested by the strong fortress of Bethsura, which commands the narrow passes that lead to Jerusalem; and notwithstanding an heroic battle near this place, in which Eleazar, the brother of Judas, perished, the town was obliged to capitulate and Judas to retire to Jerusalem. Here Judas shut himself up, and successfully resisted all the attempts of Lysias to take the place; but as both parties suffered dreadfully from famine, and the approach of Philip made Lysias anxious to be at liberty to oppose his rival, a treaty was concluded between Judas and Lysias, and the latter withdrew his troops.

This peace, however, was of short duration. Demletrius, who was the rightful heir to the throne of Syria, had escaped front Rome, where he had been a hostage, and on his arrival in Syria succeeded in getting into his power Lysias and the young Antiochus, both of whom he put to death, B. C. 162. He then proceeded to sow dissension along the patriotic party in Judaea, by proclaiming Alcimus high-priest. Several of the zealots for the law declared in favour of the latter, and his claims were supported by a Syrian army. But as Judas would not own the authority of a highpriest who owed his appointment to the Syrians, the war broke out again. At first the Maccabee met with great success; he defeated the Syrians under Nicanor in two successive battles, and then sent an embassy to Rome to form an alliance with the republic. His offer was eagerly accepted by the Roman senate; but before this alliance became known, he was attacked by an overwhelming Syrian force under the command of Bacchides, and having only 800 men with him, fell in battle after performing prodigies of valour, B. C. 160. He was succeeded in the command of the patriotic party by his brother,

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