A day before the race Ilderim prepared his horses and Judah appoints Malluch to organize his support campaign for him. Meanwhile, Messala organizes his own huge campaign, revealing Judah Ben-Hur’s real identity to the world as an outcast and convict. Malluch challenges Messala and his cronies to a vast wager, which, if the Roman loses, would bankrupt him.
The day of the race comes. During the race Messala and Judah become the clear leaders. Judah deliberately scrapes his chariot wheel against Messala’s and Messala’s chariot breaks apart. Judah is crowned winner and showered with prizes, claiming his first strike against Rome.
After the race, Judah Ben-Hur receives a letter from Iras asking him to go to the Roman palace of Idernee. When he arrives there, he sees that he has been tricked. Thord, a Saxon, hired by Messala, comes to kill Judah. They duel, but before it is over Ben-Hur offers Thord four thousand sestercii to let him live. Thord returns to Messala claiming he has killed Judah – so collecting money from both Messala and Judah, returning to Rome to open a wine shop. Being supposedly dead, Judah Ben-Hur goes to the desert with Ilderim to plan a secret campaign.
Book Six — Judah’s mother and sister
Simonides bribes Sejanus to remove the prefect Valerius Gratus from his post, as a service to Ben-Hur. Soon after the accession of the new prefect, Pontius Pilate, Ben-Hur sets out for Jerusalem to find his mother and sister. Pilate orders a review of the prison records which reveals great injustice and that Gratus was deliberately trying to conceal the existence of one walled up cell. Pilate’s troops reopen the cell and find that there are two leprous women inside – Judah’s mother and sister. They are released and stop for a while at the old vacant Hur house. Here, they find Judah sleeping on the steps, and they offer thanks to God. They don’t wake him but weep that, as lepers, they are to be banished, never seeing him again. They leave.
Amrah, the Egyptian maid that once served the Hur house, discovers Ben-Hur, wakes him, and they are reunited. Amrah reveals that she has stayed in the Hur house for all these years. She had also kept in touch with the loyal Simonides and discouraged many potential buyers of the house because they thought she was a ghost. They pledge to find out more about the lost family. Judah discovers an official Roman report about the release of two leprous women. Amrah hears rumors of the mother and sister’s fate.
Meanwhile, a plan is approved to use funds from the corban treasury, of the Temple in Jerusalem, to build a new aqueduct. This is seen as sacrilegious by the Jewish people, who petition Pilate to veto the plan. Pilate sends his soldiers in disguise to mingle with the crowd. At the appointed time, they massacre the protesters. Judah kills a Roman guard in a duel, and becomes a hero in the eyes of a group of Galilean protesters.