Battle of Emmaus

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Battle of Emmaus
Part of the Maccabean Revolt
Date 166 BC[1]
Location near Emmaus
Result Jewish victory
Belligerents
Maccabees Seleucid Empire
Commanders and leaders
Judas Maccabeus Gorgias, Nicanor and Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes
Strength
c. 3,000 At least 5,000
Casualties and losses
Minimal 3,000

The Battle of Emmaus took place in 166 BC[2] between the Hasmonean forces of Judea, led by Judas Maccabeus, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabaeus, known to history as Judas the Hammer, and the third expedition of Greek forces given by Antiochus IV Epiphanes to Lysias. The generals for the expedition were Gorgias, Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes and Nicanor.[3]

Battle[edit]

Gorgias established his base camp at the town of Emmaus, along the western border of Judea, while Judas Maccabeus' camp was located in the town of Mitzpah, north of Jerusalem. Word reached Maccabeus that Gorgias was leading 5,000 troops on a march against his camp and was planning to surprise the Jewish rebels in a night-time attack, Judas abandoned his camp and led his forces to Emmaus, to attack the Hellenic base camp that remained there. Gorgias found the camp at Mizpah empty and deserted. The only obvious place in the area to hide was the mountains. So Gorgias and his men scoured the hills for Jewish soldiers. They were unsuccessful.

Judas Maccabeus organized his men, to attack the Emmaus camp, into units resembling a regular army, with units of 10, 50, 100, and 1,000. They set up a fortified camp on the south side of Emmaus. Judas addressed his men, urging them to fight valiantly, "for it is better for us to die in battle than to see the evils of our nation, and of the holies. Nevertheless, as it shall be the will of God in heaven, so be it done." Though he spoke these words, Judas Maccabeus was seeking victory, not death and glory through martyrdom.

Gorgias returned to Emmaus, only to find his camp destroyed with the rebel army in possession of the camp and in position against his troops. Gorgias did not give battle after the destruction of his base but fled to the coastal plains with Judas' pursuing his army. It was considered one of Judas Maccabeus' most important victories in the war for Judean independence.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ This date is wrong since the Maccabee rebellion was not until 140 BCE according to Jewish reckoning and information with Jewish sources (Talmud). [Mattis Kantor, "The Jewish Timeline Encyclopedia," (1989: Jason Aronson, Inc., NJ), p.83]
  2. ^ This date is wrong since the Maccabee rebellion was not until 140 BCE according to Jewish reckoning and information with Jewish sources (Talmud). [Mattis Kantor, "The Jewish Timeline Encyclopedia," (1989: Jason Aronson, Inc., NJ), p.83]
  3. ^ Machabeus 1 ch 3 verse 38

Bibliography[edit]

  • Weir, William. 50 Battles That Changed the World: The Conflicts That Most Influenced the Course of History. Savage, Md: Barnes and Noble Books. ISBN 0-7607-6609-6. 

See also[edit]

Emmaus Nicopolis

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°50′21.48″N 34°59′22.05″E / 31.8393000°N 34.9894583°E / 31.8393000; 34.9894583