Lysias decides to take over the temple and sells the high priest's office to the highest bidder every year. Judas Maccabeus hears about it and raises an army. While they pray, someone appears on horseback dressed in white and gold armour, which does not seem smart, because even though I quit chemistry at the end of high school, I still remember that it's a pretty soft metal and anyone with something harder would just pierce it. In other words, this armour is the equivalent of vanity muscles.
We get the death tolls, and also the information that some of Lysias' forces escape naked. Lysias himself flees and then offers to make peace with the king. Then there's a bunch of letter writing restoring the peace and the ability of the Jews to eat their preferred meats.
When peace is restored, the city of Joppe convinces its Jews to get on a boat, promising them a pleasure cruise, but really the boat sinks and takes 200 people with it. Judas hears and burns the harbour down at night. He plans to go back and raze the city, but before he can, he hears the Jamnites are planning to pull the same trick on their Jews, which, like, fool me twice, idiots. But really, Judas has just developed a new fetish for burning down harbours. I mean, he's kind of burnt every other structure at this point.
For a bit, Judas can't find any matches, so instead he goes around doing infrastructure projects. But only for a bit. One of them is to build a bridge to the walled city of Caspis. But the people are so confident of their walls that they're rude to Judas and he hears them shouting and blaspheming from outside. So they kill everyone so hard a lake 14 miles away turns red with the blood. This whets his appetite for killing again, so he goes and does that for awhile, supposedly in search of the general Timotheus, but really because he's a mass murderer. He does eventually catch up with Timotheus, and exchanges him for several of his men's parents, but the number of deaths in this chapter is staggering.
At some point they have to stop fighting so they can bury the dead, and as they go to loot their bodies, they discover they were all carrying false idols, so they also get to act smug about the enemies whose gods have failed to protect them.
This chapter starts with a lovely description of a tower in a town called Berea where they kill all the sinners by throwing them off the top into a giant fire. King Antiochus arrives in Berea intending to do far worse, for some damned reason. Judas hears about the plan and goes to the king's camp one night and kills 4000 of his men and the biggest elephants. Apparently this makes the king think the Jews are manly.
Now Demetrius is back and he killed king Antiochus and Lysias. He comes to the high priest Alcimus, who has sinned by mixing with gentiles, and gives him some tat for his temple. Demetrius meets with him and asks what the Jews actually want. Alcimus tells him Judas Maccabeus is a bloodthirsty warmonger who doesn't actually want peace and the people are miserable. Seems pretty accurate. So the king appoints someone to kill Judas, but they make peace and the guy buys a nice house in Jerusalem, where Judas frequently comes to tea and he urges him to get married and start a family. Judas does and he does calm down some, but Alcimus the priest is jealous and tells the king his general has appointed Judas the crown prince. This causes a rift between Judas and the general, and the general goes to the temple to make up, but Judas won't see him and the priests won't tell him where he is. So he threatens to pull down the temple and build a pagan one instead. One of the priests is an old man named Razis, speaks out, and the general sends 500 men to take him, but instead he conducts a long, elaborate suicide that ends with him throwing his disemboweled intestines at a crowd. It's worse than torture porn.
The general pursues Judas into Samaria during the sabbath. He happens to have some Jews in his army who don't want to attack anyone on the day of rest. But the general tells them to fight anyway. And they refuse.
Judas, for his part, is confident nothing will happen and sets about praying. While he's doing that, a man with grey hair appears and gives him a useless gold sword, which he uses to kill the general. Then he desecrates the body. The writer of the book encourages us to read it with a big glass of wine.