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By Isaac Asimov

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Additional info for Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The New Testament

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1 Maccabees 7:s. There came unto him [Demetrius] aU the wicked and ungodly men of Israel, having Alcimus, who was desirous to be high priest, for their cdptait~ 1 Maccabees 7:6. And they accused the p e e [the rebel forces] to the king With the Toria on the king's side and with the Assideans neutral, Demetrius felt it timely to send an army into Judea once more. At its . head was Nicanor, a general who had been with the king in Rome and, according to Josephus, had escaped with him. Judas, however, had not forgott& how to be a hammerer.

But now the forces of the Seleucid Empire were moving to put down the revolt and, as is often the case, the government began by underestimating the seriousness of die trouble. Then ApoUonius gathered the Gentiles together, and a great host out of SdWWfUt, to fight dgai'nst Israel. Judas Maccabeus came out to meet him. Apollonius was, in all likelihood, overconfident and marched forward carelessly, convinced he could easily handle a few rebels. That was his mistake. Judas' men swarmed down upon him, probably out of ambush, and his army was defeated.

1 i l&m among the Jews it was becoming customary to adopt surnames as identification. In this case, the surnames are of uncertain to meaning, except, possibly, for that of Mattathias' third son: Judas Mao" cab. It is suggested that the third son 1 MACCABEES 717 is Judas the Hammerer, so called because of the hammer blows he was soon to inflict upon the Seleucid army. On the other hand, there is some indication that he had this name before the battles were joined, and an alternate suggestion is that it is from the Hebrew "makab" ("to a p point"').

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