DEATH OF JUDAS MACCABEUS
IT was not long before Demetrius determined to punish the Jews for the death of his general, Nicanor. So he sent Bacchides at the head of an army into Judea. With about three thousand soldiers Judas pitched his camp at a place called Bethzetho. But when Bacchides approached and the Jews saw the great number of their enemies, they became afraid, and many of them ran away, leaving Judas with only eight
 hundred men. And when these eight hundred men would have persuaded Judas to retreat and wait until he had a larger army before attacking the enemy, his answer was,—
"Let not the sun ever see such a thing as that I should show my back to the enemy. Rather let me die in this battle than so tarnish my glory."
This bold speech inspired his men with fresh courage, and they determined to stand or fall with their brave commander.
Bacchides drew his soldiers out of the camp and put them in order of battle. Then he sounded his trumpets and rushed upon Judas. For a long time the victory seemed to be doubtful. Each side fought bravely. In spite of the small number of the Jews they would not give way. After some hours of fighting, Judas noticed that Bacchides with all his strongest men were fighting in the right wing of his army. Therefore he thought that if he could defeat this wing he would gain the victory. With his bravest warriors he rushed against the right wing, and broke their ranks and slew many of them, and forced the others back for a great distance. But meanwhile the left wing of the Syrian army, seeing what had happened, rushed off in pursuit of Judas, and came up behind him in such a way that he was hemmed in between the two wings of the army, surrounded on all sides by the enemy. Judas saw that the day was lost, and that nothing was left to him but to sell his life as dearly as possible. And after killing a number of the enemy, he himself fell, covered with wounds.