Cleansing and Dedication of the Temple
36Then Judas and his brothers said, “See, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.”37So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion.38There they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins.39Then they tore their clothes and mourned with great lamentation; they sprinkled themselves with ashes40and fell face down on the ground. And when the signal was given with the trumpets, they cried out to Heaven.41Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary.42He chose blameless priests devoted to the law,43and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place.44They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been profaned.45And they thought it best to tear it down, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar,46and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them.47Then they took unhewn stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one.48They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts.49They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple.50Then they offered incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple.51They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.52Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year,53they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built.54At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals.55All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them.56So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt offerings; they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering.57They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and fitted them with doors.58There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed.59Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.60At that time they fortified Mount Zion with high walls and strong towers all around, to keep the Gentiles from coming and trampling them down as they had done before.61Judas stationed a garrison there to guard it; he also fortified Beth-zur to guard it, so that the people might have a stronghold that faced Idumea.