1 Maccabees 9:10


5 Now Judas was encamped in Elasa, and with him were three thousand picked men. 6 When they saw the huge number of the enemy forces, they were greatly frightened, and many slipped away from the camp, until no more than eight hundred of them were left. 7 When Judas saw that his army had slipped away and the battle was imminent, he was crushed in spirit, for he had no time to assemble them. 8 He became faint, but he said to those who were left, "Let us get up and go against our enemies. We may have the strength to fight them." 9 But they tried to dissuade him, saying, "We do not have the strength. Let us rather save our own lives now, and let us come back with our kindred and fight them; we are too few." 10 But Judas said, "Far be it from us to do such a thing as to flee from them. If our time has come, let us die bravely for our kindred, and leave no cause to question our honor." 11 Then the army of Bacchides marched out from the camp and took its stand for the encounter. The cavalry was divided into two companies, and the slingers and the archers went ahead of the army, as did all the chief warriors. 12 Bacchides was on the right wing. Flanked by the two companies, the phalanx advanced to the sound of the trumpets; and the men with Judas also blew their trumpets.

Ambrose On the Duty of the Clergy 1.200


200 But as fortitude is proved not only by prosperity but also in adversity, let us now consider the death of Judas Maccabæus. For he, after Nicanor, the general of King Demetrius, was defeated, boldly engaged 20,000 of the king's army with 900 men who were anxious to retire for fear of being overcome by so great a multitude, but whom he persuaded to endure a glorious death rather than to retire in disgraceful flight. Let us not leave, he says, any stain upon our glory. Thus, then, engaging in battle after having fought from sunrise till evening, he attacks and quickly drives back the right wing, where he sees the strongest troop of the enemy to be. But while pursuing the fugitives from the rear he gave a chance for a wound to be inflicted. Thus he found the spot of death more full of glory for himself than any triumph.

 Notes and References

"... Treatments of 1 Maccabees in patristic writings highlighted the religious and moral virtues of Judas Maccabeus. Tertullian (Adversus Judaeos 4.1–11) and Victorinus (Routh: 3.451–483) praised Judas Maccabeus for legitimately breaking the observance of the Sabbath in order to fight his enemies. Origen, who supposedly still had access to the Hebrew original, criticized the zeal of the Jews in his Commentary on Romans 8.1, yet he emphasized the zeal and jealousy of Mattathias as being righteous and according to knowledge (8.1.2). A shift in perception is evident in Cyprian’s Testimoniorum Libri Tres, his collection of biblical passages on the moral duties of the Christian life, in which he praises the virtue and courage of Judas Maccabeus. Similarly, Ambrose of Milan stressed the courage and bravery of Judas Maccabeus ... Augustine cites 1 Maccabees 2:69 as part of an argument that righteousness does not depend on circumcision. Jerome, who primarily translated the Vulgate, was also responsible for the inclusion of 1 Maccabees ..."

Kreinath, Jens "First Book of Maccabees" in Klauck, Hans-Josef (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (pp. 324-332) Walter de Gruyter, 2019

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