The rebel army led by Judah Maccabee was growing in strength. They had just inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Seleucid General Apollonius and now they faced the forces of the Syrian Governor Seron, who was widely overconfident. With Maccabee's' superior knowledge of the terrain, he prepared his forces to ambush the larger Seleucid force . Seron had anticipated this and spread out his force, but the Maccabees exhibited superior tactical skill by decimating the general's leading unit and killing Seron himself. With their leader dead, the shocked and disconcerted remnants of the Seleucid army took to the hills and fled.
The stubborn Seleucids refused to give up their slow phalanx-based tactics when compared to the lightweight and quick Maccabean militia thus always creating problems for them on the battlefield.
Another force was soon sent against Maccabaee, which led to the Battle of Emmaus.