“On the next day, as had now become necessary, Judas Maccabeus and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen. He wanted to bring them back to lie with their kindred in the sepulchres of their ancestors. Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. It became clear to all that this was the reason that these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden. They turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas Maccabeus exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin. They had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen.”
This is one of the few passages where there seems to be respect for the fallen soldiers, other than the leaders. They went out to pick up the bodies of the dead Jewish fighters so that they could be put in the tomb of their ancestors. To their surprise, they found that all the dead Jewish fighters were wearing the sacred tokens of the idols from Jamnia. How and why they had these tokens was not clear. Of course, this was forbidden to all Jewish people. They then prayed that the sins of these fallen men might be blotted out. Judas Maccabeus reminded them to keep themselves from sin. They had seen with their own eyes what happened to sinners.
“When Judas Maccabeus heard of the cruelty visited on his compatriots, he gave orders to his men, calling upon God the righteous judge, to attack the murderers of his kindred. He set fire to the harbor by night. He burned the boats. He massacred those who had taken refuge there. Then, because the city’s gates were closed, he withdrew, intending to come again and root out the whole community of Joppa. But learning that the people in Jamnia meant in the same way to wipe out the Jews who were living among them, he attacked the people of Jamnia by night. He also set fire to the harbor and the fleet, so that the glow of the light was seen in Jerusalem, thirty miles distant.”
Judas Maccabeus gave orders to his men to attack the murders of his compatriots and relatives. This was after he called upon the righteous God to help him. He burned the harbor and the boats there with the people in them. He was not able to get into the city because the city gates were locked. However, he heard that the people of Jamnia were about to drown the people there. Jamnia was about 12 miles south of Joppa on the Mediterranean coast. Thus he went there where he once again set fire to the boats in the harbor. The fire was so great that you could see it in Jerusalem some 30 miles away. The motto of this story was “do not try to drown Jews.”