The prayer of Judas Maccabeus and his men (2 Macc 8:1-8:4)

“Meanwhile Judas, who was also called Maccabeus, and his companions secretly entered the villages. They summoned their kindred. They enlisted those who had continued in the Jewish faith. They gathered about six thousand men. They implored the Lord to look upon the people who were oppressed by all. They wanted the Lord to have pity on the temple which had been profaned by ungodly men. They wanted him to have mercy on the city that was being destroyed, and about to be leveled to the ground. They wanted the Lord to hearken to the blood that cried out to him. They wanted him to remember also the lawless destruction of the innocent babies. They wanted him to remember the blasphemies committed against his name. They wanted him to show his hatred of evil.”

Judas Maccabeus and his companions, and not just his brothers, entered the villages. There is no mention of Mattathias, the father of Judas, as if nothing happened until Judas came on the scene. This is the first mention of Judas in chapter 8, outside of the author’s preface in chapter 2 of this book. In 1 Maccabees, Judas came on the scene in chapter 3, after the death of his father, who had started the uprising. Judas gathered about 6,000 men. The first thing they did was pray to the Lord. They wanted God to look on their oppression and have pity on the Temple and its profanation. They wanted mercy for their city Jerusalem that was being leveled to the ground. They wanted God to listen to the innocent blood crying out to him from innocent babies. They wanted him to remember the blasphemies against his name and all the other evils that was going on.

First battle with Lysias (1 Macc 4:34-4:35)

“Then both sides attacked as five thousand of the army of Lysias fell in action. Lysias saw the rout of his troops. He observed the boldness which inspired those troops of Judas. He saw how ready they were either to live or to die nobly. Then he withdrew to Antioch. There he enlisted mercenaries in order to invade Judea again with an even larger army.”

Both sides attacked. However, the army of Lysias lost 5,000 men. Lysias, the Syrian general saw how bold the men of Judas were since they were ready to die nobly. Then he withdrew to Antioch to enlist more mercenaries for a larger invasion of Judea.