A father and self-righteous son attempt to live in peace until the Greek King forces them to renounce their religion to follow the many Greek gods and traditions. This means war.
Vastly outnumbered, Judah devices guerrilla tactics to inflict heavy losses on the Greeks. After Matisyahu is killed in battle, an intolerant Judah assumes command but has no time for repentant Hellenists who want to join his cause. With the help of the mighty Assideans and Judah’s growing notoriety, his army grows and battles won. But, forced to fight larger and larger armies and the elite Hoplites, Judah finally relents and allows those Hellenists Jews to join their cause.
When the King brings Battle Elephants and the elite Hoplite battalions for the final battle, Judah's stupefied army is decimated. During the battle, a Hellenist sacrifices himself to save Judah, causing him to rethink his view toward them. But, things become more dire when Eleazer, his dearest, younger brother risks it all to turn the tide, but is killed. Thinking God has forsaken him, a wounded Judah has accepted defeat until an Ethiopian Jew provides him critical information, allowing him to devise a new battle plan. After the Greeks incur heavy losses and the King mysteriously mortally injured, a truce is negotiated that re-establishes Jewish independence and worship. The defiled temple is cleansed. With only one day of lamp oil found, the Temple Menorah is lit. However, it remains burning for the eight days it takes to make the sacred oil. The temple is rededicated and Hanukkah is established.