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THE BATTLE OF EMMA▄S
 THE effort to wipe out the disgrace of the two defeats and
to restore the Greek supremacy was not long delayed;
and when it was made, it was made with all the force
which the lieutenants of Antiochus could command. The
himself was absent in Persia; but his vicegerent had
carte blanche for the preparations which they were to
make. Lysias, Governor of Syria, had collected forty
thousand foot and seven thousand horse, and this force
been put under the command of Nicanor, Gorgias being
his principal lieutenant. This time, it was intended,
work should be done thoroughly. This Jewish people, so
obstinately troublesome, was to be absolutely
extirpated. Not a single native inhabitant was to be
left in Palestine, which was to be peopled in future by
more accommodating and manageable race.
This scheme, if it was to be carried out, would
 involve huge dealings in human flesh, and the
slave-merchants of the sea-coast cities were,
interested in its success. Anxious to do the business
as cheaply and effectively as possible, they formed
in the language of modern commerce, would be called a
"Syndicate," and sent parties of dealers to follow the
two armies, and act as their agents when the scheme
should begin to come into practical working.
This was the occupation, then, of four
repulsive-looking creatures who had obtained permission
to follow the
army of Nicanor, and whom we may see discussing a
flagon of the best Chian wine—the trade was as
it was odious—and canvassing the prospects of
"Well," said one of the four, pursuing the narrative of
an interview which he had just been having with Lysias,
"we had a long debate about terms. The Governor was
quite firm about one thing: there must be no picking
choosing. 'No,' he said, 'either you buy them all, or
they shall be put up in the open market.' 'But what,' I
said, 'am I to do with the old and the weak?' 'And what
am I to do with them?' he answered. 'No; you must buy
them all or none.' There I could not move him. He could
not be bothered with detail. For so many prisoners, so
many talents, half paid down, half six months credit.
Old men and women at their last gasp, and new-born
 were all to be counted in. Those were his terms and I
had to accept them, or we should not have come to an
"That does not seem a good bargain," interrupted
another member of the company.
"Wait a moment," said the first speaker, "till you hear
the price. I think you will agree that there is no
reason to complain. At first he wanted a talent
for every fifty. That of course was out of the question
on the 'take-all' terms, and I told our friend so quite
plainly. 'No,' I said, 'a talent for every hundred is
about the right price, and even then we may very well
lose,' which, you will allow, was sailing very near the
wind indeed. Well, we had a long argument. First he
would meet me half way. But I held out. You know they
must have money. There is Antiochus—the
call him—gone off to Persia on a wild goose chase
after some treasures he has heard of. I'll wager that
spend more than he gets by a long way. I have friends
at Court, and they tell me that the treasury is as
as—well, we'll say a wine jar, after our friend
Nicias there has had it at his mouth for a minute. So I
firm. And at last—to make a long story
short—we came to terms at a talent for ninety.
And I can't help thinking
that it is not by any means a bad bargain."
 "And what are we to do with the worthless ones?" said
one of the dealers. "Surely having to keep them will
all the shine off our profits."
"Keeping them! Who talks about keeping them? We shall
only have to bury them, and that does not cost very
You have not been long in the trade, my good friend,
and you don't know how soon their food seems to
with the poor wretches whom we can't sell."
He smiled an evil smile, and the others burst out into
a laugh, in which, however, the young man who "had not
been long in the trade" did not join.
"And what becomes of all the money?" said one of the
dealers, who had hitherto taken no part in the
"Well, a part will be wanted for present expenses, pay
of the troops, stores, and so forth; and that is to be
paid in gold. But the greater part has to go to
Rome—the King, you know, owes a great deal on the
account. For that we shall find bills of exchange."
"Most of the money, then, is to go to Rome?"
"Yes; and don't you see the advantage of the
arrangement? Of course most of it will come back into
Slaves from this part of the world are quite the
fashion in Rome now; and I am very much mistaken if
Jewish slaves don't turn out a great success. They are
quite a novelty; I should think that they have hardly
been seen in the Roman
 markets. And then they have a very distinguished look,
and the girls are sometimes remarkably handsome. I
don't like to brag—and of course this is all
between ourselves—but I think that we shall make
a very good
business indeed out of this campaign."
"If our side wins, that is," said the youngest of the
dealers, who was evidently a little discomposed by what
he had heard.
"If, indeed! There is not 'if' in the matter.
You don't suppose this set of ragged beggars can stand
against the army of Lysias?"
"Well, they stood against Apollonius, and killed him;
and they stood against Seron."
"Yes, but this is another matter altogether. Lysias
has got fifty thousand as good troops as there are in
world, barring of course, the Romans; and they must
win. And then we shall all make our fortunes as
as the sun is in the sky."
And, indeed, as viewed from without, the prospects of
success which seemed to lie before the forces of
Antiochus were very great. The army was
powerful—it numbered nearly eight times as many
as that of the
patriots—it was thoroughly well equipped, and it
was led by men who at least had the reputation of being
This time it was judged expedient to avoid the
difficult pass of Beth-horon and to advance by the
of EmmaŘs. At EmmaŘs, accordingly,
 Nicanor had pitched his camp for the night, intending
to move early the next day on Jerusalem, to occupy that
city with overwhelming force, and to carry on the
operations of the campaign from that base. He was the
hopeful of success because he had received exact
information of the position of the patriot general.
had never forgiven the painful wound which he had
received from the arrow of one of the Chasidim after
battle of Beth-horon. The injury had galled him all the
more because his feelings had been really touched by
the appeals of Seraiah, and he had seriously meditated
throwing in his fortunes once more with the cause of
countrymen. He now made his way to the camp of Nicanor,
and told him all that he knew of the position of Judas.
The Greek general despatched his lieutenant with a
picked force to attack him. While the enemy was thus
occupied he should be able, he thought, to make the
passage of the mountains without hindrance or loss.
Judas was at Mizpeh, in command of a force more
numerous than any he had before been able to collect,
not amounting to more than six thousand men. But the
sight that this six thousand saw from the Mizpeh
watch-tower, as it was called—was such as to
rouse to fury the hearts of all who beheld it. For
before them, was the city of their love, the city of
David, of Solomon, of Josiah, of Hezekiah, of Ezra, and
Nehe-  miah and they could see, only too plainly in the clear
sunset light, the horror of its desolation. The streets
empty; the walls, in old time thronged at evening by
crowds of citizens and their families, were deserted;
gates were shut. The Temple could be seen, but its
courts were silent and empty. And, rising above, in the
of David, in the very heart of the Jewish kingdom, was
the fort of the Greek garrison—the hateful sign
domination of the heathen. Then followed a touching
ceremony, by which the servants of the Lord, banished
the courts of His House, yet sought to show the
reverence and the love which they felt for its sacred
precincts, for the Holy Place which they could see with
their eyes, though they might not tread it with their
feet. A numerous company of mourners, chosen to
represent the whole people, ranged themselves on the
which commanded the prospect so sad and yet so dear.
They were clad in garments of black sackcloth, itself
ragged and tattered, and had strewn ashes on their
heads. They spread out copies of the Law—that Law
heathen had silenced in its own peculiar seat, and
which they had insulted and profaned, picturing on its
pages the cruel and lustful demons whom they
worshipped; the functions of the priests had ceased,
could at least display within sight of the Sanctuary
the garments which they wore; the sacrifices could not
offered, but they could at least show the bullocks
 and rams, the firstfruits of the cornfield and the
vineyard, and present them in heart and will; vows
be performed, but the Nazarites, with their unshorn
locks, could stretch out their hands to the Sanctuary,
dedicate themselves in intention. And then from the
whole multitude rose the cry, "What shall we do with
and whither shall we carry them? For Thy Sanctuary is
trodden down and profaned, and Thy priests are in
heaviness and brought low. And lo! the heathen are
assembled together against us to destroy us; what
they imagine against us, Thou knowest. How shall we be
able to stand against them, except Thou, O God, be our
This done, the trumpets sounded, as if to remind the
mourners that they were soldiers again, and the whole
multitude fell at once into military order. Judas
carefully inspected his force. Mindful of the old
given by the Law, he proclaimed that any among his
followers who were building a house, or planting a
or had left behind him at home a newly-married wife,
should depart. Those were not days when houses were
built or vineyards planted, for the land, save for some
barren mountain ranges, was in the power of the
heathen; nor was it a time for marrying or giving in
marriage. Scarcely a man out of the whole array claimed
the exemption. And when the leader went on, "If any man
be timid or of a faint heart, let him turn
 back, while there is time," only two or three slunk
To those that remained Judas addressed a few stirring
words. "You have seen," he said, "the city of your
fathers from afar, how it lies desolate and
dishonoured. Be bold and quit you like men, and the
deliver it into your hands, for He can deliver both by
many and by few. Arm yourselves at dawn, and we will
fight with those nations who have defiled our sanctuary
and have now come out to destroy us."
But the struggle was to come sooner than any one had
looked for it. Azariah had been setting the sentinels
were to watch the northern side of the encampment, when
he heard a voice that seemed to have a familiar sound.
"Azariah!" it said, in a penetrating whisper.
"I am here; say on;" and he felt sure that he
recognized the voice of Benjamin.
"Tell your captain that Gorgias has come out of the
camp of Nicanor with six thousand men, the very
his army, and that he will attack him this night.
And before Azariah could answer he was out of sight and
hearing. A quick remorse had overtaken the robber for
his treacherous act, and he had done his best to remedy
Judas, on hearing the news, lost no time in making his
resolve. It was bold, even audacious.
 He would not wait to be attacked, but would himself
attack, and that not the detachment under Gorgias,
was quite possible he might have some difficulty in
meeting, but the main body itself. Here he would
have the advantage of being utterly unexpected. And a
victory over this would be almost, if not absolutely,
Accordingly he left his camp at Mizpeh without
attempting to remove any of his belongings. In truth,
scanty enough, and, if things went well with him, he
should secure spoil of a hundred-fold more value than
that he had left. With nothing but their arms, and such
scanty provision as they could carry in their pouches,
his men marched through the darkness down into the
The day was dawning when he came within sight of the
camp of Nicanor. Though not regularly fortified, it was
place of considerable strength, which an army far more
numerous and better equipped than that which Judas had
under his command might hesitate to attack. The cavalry
had bivouacked outside; the infantry were within the
lines, but might be seen passing out of the gates.
So formidable a task did it seem to attack a fortified
camp, held by a vastly superior force, that even
band of heroes hesitated for a moment. He felt it at
once, and at once addressed himself to check it. He
a halt, and bidding the ranks close in to as small a
space as possible, he addressed
 them, sending his mighty voice in the still air of the
morning with so commanding a power that it reached the
very extremity of the crowd. In a few stirring words he
reminded them of the deliverances which God had wrought
in old time for His people. He spoke of the three
hundred of Gideon, how they had discomfited the host of
Midianites, of the angel that had smitten with an
unseen sword the legions of the haughty Sennacherib. He
them of the day when Macedonian and Jew had stood side
by side against the Gallic invaders of Asia, and of how
the Jew had stood firm while the Greek had fled before
the fury of the barbarian onset. Finally he reminded
them of the victories which they themselves had so
lately won against overwhelming odds.
When he had finished his harangue, he divided the host
between himself and his brothers, John, Simon and
Jonathan. Eleazar was to recite the Holy Book, and to
give his name as the watchword of the day. These
arrangements made, he gave a signal to the trumpeters.
They blew a piercing blast. Then, with a shout, "The
Help of God! The Help of God!"
the patriots charged. It might have
seemed to an onlooker the strategy of despair, but it
successful, as it had been many a time in history
before, as it has been many a time since.
 The Greeks stared at them, as they advanced, with
astonishment. Were these men madmen, or were they fired
some Divine fury? In either case they would be
dangerous antagonists. As the patriots drew nearer,
sign of hesitation or holding back, the terror which
had been creeping over the minds of the Greeks became
insupportable. They broke and fled, and did not even,
so complete was their demoralization, attempt to hold
their camp. Though pursuit was shortened by the
approach of the Sabbath, which Judas would not suffer
infringed upon even to complete his victory, more than
three thousand fell, and as the Greek line had not
waited to receive the onset of the patriots, all of
them perished in the flight.
The work was not yet done, for the detachment under
Gorgias had still to be accounted for. This, however,
the conquerors very little trouble. That general had
found the camp of Judas empty, and had naturally
that its occupants had been frightened away by his
approach. He started in pursuit, but without being able
find any clear traces of the route which the supposed
fugitives had taken. Probably, he thought, this would
in the direction of the mountain retreat from which
they had issued. It was long before he satisfied
that he was mistaken; but the peasants whom he
questioned were evidently truthful when they declared
had seen nothing of the force
 of which he was in search. He had to retrace his steps,
and could not do this till he had given his men a rest,
wearied as they were with almost incessant marching for
a night and a day. It was late in the afternoon before
he arrived in sight of the camp of the main body, and
by that time Judas's victory had been won. He was
astonished and alarmed to see that part of it was on
fire. Shortly afterwards a fugitive from the defeated
came in with news of what had happened. Neither Gorgias
nor his men were in any humour to encounter the
patriots; they hastily turned and made the best of
their way to Jerusalem.
Information of this retreat was soon brought to Judas
by his scouts, and he felt that now at last he and his
followers might enjoy their victory. The Sabbath was
given, as usual, to rest and devotion. A great service
held, a prominent feature of it being the chanting of
the great Psalm of Thanksgiving,
"O give thanks unto the Lord, for His mercy endureth
for ever." The marvels of creation, the deliverance
Egypt, the passage of the hosts of the Lord through the
Red Sea, the fall of the Amorite kings who had sought
to stop their way to the Promised Land, the possession
of the inheritance which had been promised to the
fathers—all these blessings were enumerated, and
after each new theme, given by the clear voices of the
 the thunderous chorus of reply from the multitude, "For
His mercy endureth for ever."
On the first day of the week the spoils were divided.
The division was made with scrupulous fairness, and
a reverent regard to the injunctions of the Law. The
wounded received a special consideration for their
sufferings; a share was reserved for the widows and
orphans of the slain; and those to whom had been given
unwelcome duty of staying behind to guard the
encampment were not forgotten. The rich furniture of
officers' tents, the gold and silver plate, the
many-coloured silks, and robes of Tyrian purple, with a
well-furnished pay-chest, made together a splendid
Among the prisoners was the party of slave-dealers to
whom our readers were introduced at the beginning of
"Who are you?" cried Judas, when they were brought
before him, "and what do you here?"
"We are merchants," said their spokesman, "brought by
business into the camp of his Excellency Nicanor."
"And in what merchandize do you deal?" asked Judas,
though, as may be supposed, he was perfectly well
acquainted with their occupation.
"We deal in the prisoners of war," answered the man.
"Permit me, sir," he went on, "to congratulate your
Excellency on the splendid victory
 that you have won, and to beg the favour of your
custom. We offer the best of prices for goods, and pay
ready money or in bills on the best houses, quite as
safe as cash, I can assure you, and far more convenient
"Do you know this document?" asked Judas, holding up a
piece of parchment which had been found among the
property of the slave-dealers.
The man turned pale and said nothing.
Judas then proceeded to read aloud: "It is hereby
covenanted between the most excellent Lysias, Governor
Syria, on the first part, and Theron and his Company,
dealers in slaves, on the second part, that the said
Lysias shall hand over, and that the said Theron and
his Company shall take all persons that shall be
in the operations now about to be begun by the army of
the said Lysias. And it is further covenanted that the
said Theron and Company shall pay to the said Lysias or
such other persons as he shall appoint, the sum of one
talent of gold for every ninety persons delivered alive
into the hands of the said Theron and Company.
Furthermore it is agreed that the said Theron and
Company shall have no claim for a drawback for any such
persons dying after they have been once delivered; but
that a drawback shall be allowed at the rate of six
for every person, who, as being a loyal subject of our
lord and king Antiochus, or of
 any prince in friendship and alliance with him, shall
have been wrongfully taken prisoner."
"Know you this document?"
Theron stammered an assent. "It is but a common matter
of business, my lord. Such covenants must be drawn up,
and, doubtless, they sound somewhat harsh."
"Ye have digged a pit, and are fallen into the midst of
it yourselves," said Judas, in a voice of thunder. "Let
them be taken with the followers of the camp to the
slave-market of Sidon."
"Mercy, my lord!" cried the dealers, falling on their
"Such mercy as you have shown yourselves you shall
have, and no more. Lead them away."
"Nay, my lord," cried Theron, struggling away from the
soldier who had grasped him by the arms, "you do ill to
deal so harshly with men that have not borne arms
"You have done tenfold worse," was the answer. "I know
your works. You sell our youths to the mines, where the
young man grows old and decrepit before he has reached
to middle age, and the maidens you sell to shame; and
the old and sick you slay with the sword or poison.
Take them away."
"Listen once more, my lord," cried the man, in an agony
of despair. "We have money; not here, of course, but
with those whom we represent; if
 you should want a loan, we can find it for your
Excellency, and at low interest, lower than you will
"Take them away!" thundered Judas.
And taken away they were, still screaming out, as they
were dragged off, offers of ransom, or loans at five
percent interest, or no interest at all.
The next day Judas and his army, richly laden with
spoils of every kind, returned to the sanctuary among