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the surname of Soter. He pursued the old plan of making war on Judea; being excited to it by the apostate Jews, at the head of whom was Alcimus. The late king had made him high-priest, after the death of Menelaus; but, having submitted to the idolatries of the Greeks, he was rejected by the true worshippers of God, as unfit for the sacred office. He therefore petitioned the new king to support his title. Demetrius, upon this, ordered Bacchides, the governor of Mesopotamia, to march into Judea, and confirm Alcimus in his office, with commission to kill Judas and his confederates.
Bacchides, on his arrival in Judea, sent a herald to Judas and his brethren, to treat with him on articles of peace; intending, at the same time, to surprise him by treachery; but Judas, suspecting his design was war, and not peace, as he had brought so great an army with him, did not attend to his .. proclamation: some of the people, however, gave ear to it, and, not suspecting Alcimus, who was their countryman, of any ill designs, they submitted to his government. Bacchides soon broke his engagements to these people, and slew many of them.
On his departure from Judea, to return into Syria, he left part of his army as a guard to Alcimus, who, by fair speeches, endeavoured to win the affections of the people, and draw them from their attachment to Judas; but was so vigorously opposed, that, perceiving he was unable to support himself against Judas, he went to Antioch, to stir up the king against bim. Demetrius, in compliance with his solicitations, sent Nicanor into Judea with a very powerful
army, commanding him to spare none of that nation.
In the first engagement, Nicanor was successful, and Judas was obliged to retreat to the fortress at Jerusalem, whither Nicanor followed him.' On his arrival, certain of the priests and elders came out to salute him peaceably, and shewed him the sacrifices which were offered up to God for the king's prosperity and health. But, instead of being won by these conciliatory measures, he broke out into blasphemy and threats, swearing, in his rage, that if they did not deliver up Judas and his host, he would destroy the temple on his return: with these menaces he departed. The priests supplicated and besought God to defend his temple, and those who called on his name therein, from the violence of their enemies,
It appears that Nicanor had only waited for reinforcements, which soon arrived from Syria. He was encamped at Bethhoron, and Judas had quitted the fortress at Jerusalem, and encamped at Adasa, with three thousand men. Judas, in this emergency,
had recourse to the Almighty, whose assistance be again implored by fervent prayer and supplication, recalling to mind, for his own encouragement and that of his troops, the great things which God had done for Israel of old; particularly how he had punished the blasphemy of the Assyrians, by sending his angel, who smote a hundred fourscore and five thousand of them. He concluded his petition by saying, Even so, O Lord! destroy thou this bost before us this day, that the rest may know that he bath spoken blasphemy against thy sanctuary; and judge thou him according to his wickedness.
The battle then commenced. Nicanor was one of the first that were slain ; and his troops, seeing their general fall, fled on every side. Judas and his men pursued them, sounding an alarm with their trumpets; upon which, the people came out from the towns, and followed in the pursuit. Thus, fighting with their hands, and praying to God with their hearts, they totally defeated the Syrian army, consisting of thirty-five thousand men; all of whom they slew to a man; so that not a single person escaped to carry the news to Antioch. Nicanor being found among the slain, Judas ordered his head, and his right hand, which had been lifted up against the temple, to be cut off, and placed upon one of the towers of Jerusalem.
Judas now turned his thoughts on forming an alliance with the Romans, who were as much esteemed for their justice as for their valour, and always appeared ready to support weak nations against the oppression of tyrants. He accordingly sent an embassy to Rome, which was well received by the senate, who passed a decree, by which the Jews were declared the friends and allies of the Romans, and a league was made with them: they even obtained a letter from the senate to the king of Syria, threatening him with an invasion of his country, both by sea and land, in case he did not desist from molesting the Jews. But, before the ambassadors returned, Judas was no more. For, as soon as Demetrius was informed of the total defeat of his army, he immediately sent the choicest of his troops, amounting to twenty thousand foot and two thousand horse, into
Judea, under the command of Bacchides. When they arrived, Judas had only three thousand men with him, and these were seized with such a panic, that they all deserted him, except eight hundred, who, together with himself, fought valiantly for a
considerable time: at length, this noble Year of the World defender of his country fell, being over
powered by numbers. The loss, as might be expected, was deplored throughout Judea with the most heart-felt grief.
You may wonder, my dear boy, that God, who had wrought such remarkable deliverances for Judas, should at last suffer him to fall by the hands of his enemies. The ways of Providence frequently appear to us strange and mysterious; but, perhaps, in the present instance, if attentively considered, they are not quite so unaccountable as may seem at first sight. Judas had certainly done wrong in attempting to form an alliance with the Romans. Was not Israel a peculiar people, a nation separated from the rest of the nations unto the Lord ? had any people such wonders wrought for them? could any defend them like the God of their fathers ? had not Judas experienced his power to save in the greatest extremity? We may indeed say, Lord, what is man! This good man, who aforétime had relied so entirely on God, now fails in his faith, and seeks aid from an arm of flesh, on which, if a man lean, he shall surely fall. When his enemies came upon him, he could not encourage his soldiers, as formerly, to rely only on God, for he himself had sought aid from another power: the consequence 'was, he was left to feel his weakness. But we need not entertain any unfavourable conjectures respecting his state, though, like good Jehoshaphat, he was left to form connections with the ungodly. And it is worthy our notice, that the very same power whose aid he sought, afterwards effected the entire ruin of the Jewish nation. These things are very instructing: let it be your concern, my dear George, to make a proper improvement of them, and the end of my writing will be attained. I remain
MY DEAR GEORGE,
MY last letter brought our history down to the death of Judas Maccabeus. After that melancholy event, the apostate Jews took courage, and went and joined Bacchides, who, strengthened by their interest, took Jerusalem, put to death the friends of Judas, and reinstated Alcimus in his office of highpriest, which he perverted to the worst of purposes; till it pleased God to cut him off in the full career of his wickedness. For, in the following year, he was struck with the palsy, his speech was taken away, and he died in great torment. This, Josephụs, says, was as great a time of affliction as any the Jews had experienced since their return from Babylon.
But those of Judas's party who survived, fearing