29 Two years later Antiochus sent a large army from Mysia[a] against the towns of Judea. When the soldiers entered Jerusalem,30 their commander spoke to the people, offering them terms of peace and completely deceiving them. Then he suddenly launched a fierce attack on the city, dealing it a major blow and killing many of the people.31 He plundered the city, set it on fire, and tore down its buildings and walls.32 He and his army took the women and children as prisoners and seized the cattle.
33 Then Antiochus and his forces built high walls and strong towers in the area north of the Temple, turning it into a fort.34 They brought in a group of traitorous Jews and installed them there.35 They also brought in arms and supplies and stored in the fort all the loot that they had taken in Jerusalem. This fort became a great threat to the city.
36 The fort was a threat to the Temple, a constant, evil menace for Israel. 37 Innocent people were murdered around the altar; the Holy Place was defiled by murderers. 38 The people of Jerusalem fled in fear, and the city became a colony of foreigners. Jerusalem was foreign to its own people, who had been forced to abandon the city. 39 Her Temple was as empty as a wilderness; her festivals were turned into days of mourning, her Sabbath joy into shame. Her honor became an object of ridicule. 40 Her shame was as great as her former glory, and her pride was turned into deepest mourning.
41-43 Antiochus now issued a decree that all nations in his empire should abandon their own customs and become one people. All the Gentiles and even many of the Israelites submitted to this decree. They adopted the official pagan religion, offered sacrifices to idols, and no longer observed the Sabbath.
44 The king also sent messengers with a decree to Jerusalem and all the towns of Judea, ordering the people to follow customs that were foreign to the country.45 He ordered them not to offer burnt offerings, grain offerings, or wine offerings in the Temple, and commanded them to treat Sabbaths and festivals as ordinary work days.46 They were even ordered to defile the Temple and the holy things in it.[b]47 They were commanded to build pagan altars, temples, and shrines, and to sacrifice pigs and other unclean animals there.48 They were forbidden to circumcise their sons and were required to make themselves ritually unclean in every way they could,49 so that they would forget the Law which the Lord had given through Moses and would disobey all its commands.50 The penalty for disobeying the king's decree was death.
51 The king not only issued the same decree throughout his whole empire, but he also appointed officials to supervise the people and commanded each town in Judea to offer pagan sacrifices.52 Many of the Jews were ready to forsake the Law and to obey these officials. They defiled the land with their evil,53 and their conduct forced all true Israelites to hide wherever they could.
54 On the fifteenth day of the month of Kislev in the year 145,[c] King Antiochus set up The Awful Horror on the altar of the Temple, and pagan altars were built in the towns throughout Judea.55 Pagan sacrifices were offered in front of houses and in the streets.56 Any books of the Law which were found were torn up and burned,57 and anyone who was caught with a copy of the sacred books or who obeyed the Law was put to death by order of the king.58 Month after month these wicked people used their power against the Israelites caught in the towns.
59 On the twenty-fifth of the month, these same evil people offered sacrifices on the pagan altar erected on top of the altar in the Temple.60 Mothers who had allowed their babies to be circumcised were put to death in accordance with the king's decree.61 Their babies were hung around their necks, and their families and those who had circumcised them were put to death.62 But many people in Israel firmly resisted the king's decree and refused to eat food that was ritually unclean.63 They preferred to die rather than break the holy covenant and eat unclean food—and many did die.64 In his anger God made Israel suffer terribly.
1 Maccabees 1:29Probable text a large army from Mysia; Greek a tax collector with a large army.
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