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2 Maccabees 13-14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 13

Death of Menelaus. In the one hundred and forty-ninth year,[a] Judas and his men learned that Antiochus Eupator was invading Judea with a large force, and that with him was Lysias, his guardian, who was in charge of the government. They led[b] a Greek army of one hundred and ten thousand foot soldiers, fifty-three hundred cavalry, twenty-two elephants, and three hundred chariots armed with scythes.

Menelaus also joined them, and with great duplicity kept urging Antiochus on, not for the welfare of his country, but in the hope of being established in office. But the King of kings aroused the anger of Antiochus against the scoundrel. When the king was shown by Lysias that Menelaus was to blame for all the trouble, he ordered him to be taken to Beroea[c] and executed there in the customary local method. There is at that place a tower seventy-five feet high, full of ashes,[d] with a circular rim sloping down steeply on all sides toward the ashes. Anyone guilty of sacrilege or notorious for certain other crimes is brought up there and then hurled down to destruction. In such a manner was Menelaus, that transgressor of the law, fated to die, deprived even of burial. It was altogether just that he who had committed so many sins against the altar with its pure fire and ashes, in ashes should meet his death.

Battle near Modein. The king was advancing, his mind full of savage plans for inflicting on the Jews things worse than those they suffered in his father’s time. 10 When Judas learned of this, he urged the people to call upon the Lord day and night, now more than ever, to help them when they were about to be deprived of their law, their country, and their holy temple; 11 and not to allow this people, which had just begun to revive, to be subjected again to blasphemous Gentiles. 12 When they had all joined in doing this, and had implored the merciful Lord continuously with weeping and fasting and prostrations for three days, Judas encouraged them and told them to stand ready.

13 After a private meeting with the elders, he decided that, before the king’s army could invade Judea and take possession of the city, the Jews should march out and settle the matter with God’s help. 14 Leaving the outcome to the Creator of the world, and exhorting his followers to fight nobly to death for the laws, the temple, the city, the country, and the government, he encamped near Modein. 15 Giving his troops the battle cry “God’s Victory,” he made a night attack on the king’s pavilion with a picked force of the bravest young men and killed about two thousand in the camp. He also stabbed the lead elephant and its rider. 16 Finally they withdrew in triumph,[e] having filled the camp with terror and confusion. 17 Day was just breaking when this was accomplished with the help and protection of the Lord.

Treaty with Antiochus V. 18 The king, having had a taste of the Jews’ boldness, tried to take their positions by a stratagem. 19 So he marched against Beth-zur, a strong fortress of the Jews; but he was driven back, checked, and defeated. 20 Judas sent supplies to the men inside, 21 but Rhodocus, of the Jewish army, betrayed military secrets[f] to the enemy. He was found out, arrested, and imprisoned. 22 The king made a second attempt by negotiating with the people of Beth-zur. After giving them his pledge and receiving theirs, he withdrew 23 and attacked Judas’ men. But he was defeated. Next he heard that Philip, who was left in charge of the government in Antioch, had rebelled. Dismayed, he negotiated with the Jews, submitted to their terms, and swore to observe all their rights. Having come to this agreement, he offered a sacrifice, and honored the sanctuary and the place with a generous donation. 24 He received Maccabeus, and left Hegemonides as governor of the territory from Ptolemais to the region of the Gerrhenes.[g] 25 When he came to Ptolemais, the people of Ptolemais were angered by the peace treaty; in fact they were so indignant that they wanted to annul its provisions. 26 But Lysias took the platform, defended the treaty as well as he could and won them over by persuasion. After calming them and gaining their goodwill, he returned to Antioch. That is the story of the king’s attack and withdrawal.

Chapter 14

Three years later,[h] Judas and his companions learned that Demetrius, son of Seleucus, had sailed into the port of Tripolis with a powerful army and a fleet, and that he had occupied the country, after doing away with Antiochus and his guardian Lysias.

A certain Alcimus, a former high priest,[i] who had willfully incurred defilement before the time of the revolt, realized that there was no way for him to be safe and regain access to the holy altar. So he went to King Demetrius around the one hundred and fifty-first year and presented him with a gold crown and a palm branch, as well as some of the customary olive branches from the temple. On that day he kept quiet. But he found an opportunity to further his mad scheme when he was invited to the council by Demetrius and questioned about the dispositions and intentions of the Jews. He replied: “Those Jews called Hasideans, led by Judas Maccabeus,[j] are warmongers, who stir up sedition and keep the kingdom from enjoying peace. For this reason, now that I am deprived of my ancestral dignity, that is to say, the high priesthood, I have come here, first, out of my genuine concern for the king’s interests, and second, out of consideration for my own compatriots, since our entire nation is suffering no little affliction from the rash conduct of the people just mentioned. When you have informed yourself in detail on these matters, O king, provide for our country and its hard-pressed people with the same gracious consideration that you show toward all. 10 As long as Judas is around, it is impossible for the government to enjoy peace.” 11 When he had said this, the other Friends who were hostile to Judas quickly added fuel to Demetrius’ indignation.

Dealings with Nicanor. 12 The king immediately chose Nicanor, who had been in command of the elephants, and appointed him governor of Judea. He sent him off 13 with orders to put Judas to death, to disperse his followers, and to set up Alcimus as high priest of the great temple. 14 The Gentiles from Judea, who had fled before Judas, flocked to Nicanor, thinking that the misfortunes and calamities of the Jews would mean prosperity for themselves.

15 When the Jews heard of Nicanor’s coming, and that the Gentiles were rallying to him, they sprinkled themselves with earth and prayed to him who established his people forever, and who always comes to the aid of his heritage by manifesting himself. 16 At their leader’s command, they set out at once from there and came upon the enemy at the village of Adasa. 17 Judas’ brother Simon had engaged Nicanor, but he suffered a slight setback because of the sudden appearance of the enemy.

18 However, when Nicanor heard of the valor of Judas and his companions, and the great courage with which they fought for their country, he shrank from deciding the issue by bloodshed. 19 So he sent Posidonius, Theodotus and Mattathias to exchange pledges of friendship. 20 After a long discussion of the terms, each leader communicated them to his troops; and when general agreement was expressed, they assented to the treaty. 21 A day was set on which the leaders would meet by themselves. From each side a chariot came forward, and thrones were set in place. 22 Judas had posted armed men in readiness at strategic points for fear that the enemy might suddenly commit some treachery. But the conference was held in the proper way.

23 Nicanor stayed on in Jerusalem, where he did nothing out of place. He disbanded the throngs of people who gathered around him; 24 and he always kept Judas in his company, for he felt affection[k] for the man. 25 He urged him to marry and have children; so Judas married and settled into an ordinary life.

Nicanor’s Threat Against Judas. 26 When Alcimus saw their mutual goodwill, he took the treaty that had been made, went to Demetrius, and said that Nicanor was plotting against the government, for he had appointed Judas, that conspirator against the kingdom, as his successor. 27 Stirred up by the villain’s slander, the king became enraged. He wrote to Nicanor, stating that he was displeased with the treaty, and ordering him to send Maccabeus at once as a prisoner to Antioch. 28 When this message reached Nicanor he was dismayed and troubled at the thought of annulling his agreement with a man who had done no wrong. 29 However, there was no way of opposing the king, so he watched for an opportunity to carry out this order by a stratagem. 30 But Maccabeus, noticing that Nicanor was more harsh in his dealings with him, and acting with unaccustomed rudeness when they met, concluded that this harshness was not a good sign. So he gathered together not a few of his men, and went into hiding from Nicanor.

31 When Nicanor realized that he had been cleverly outwitted by the man, he went to the great and holy temple, at a time when the priests were offering the customary sacrifices, and ordered them to surrender Judas. 32 As they declared under oath that they did not know where the man they sought was, 33 he stretched out his right arm toward the temple and swore this oath: “If you do not hand Judas over to me as prisoner, I will level this shrine of God to the ground; I will tear down the altar, and erect here a splendid temple to Dionysus.”

34 With these words he went away. The priests stretched out their hands toward heaven, calling upon the unfailing defender of our nation in these words: 35 “Lord of all, though you are in need of nothing, you were pleased to have a temple for your dwelling place among us. 36 Therefore, Holy One, Lord of all holiness, preserve forever undefiled this house, which has been so recently purified.”

Martyrdom of Razis.[l] 37 A certain Razis, one of the elders of Jerusalem, was denounced to Nicanor as a patriot. A man highly regarded, he was called a father of the Jews because of his goodwill toward them. 38 In the days before the revolt, he had been convicted of being a Jew, and had risked body and soul in his ardent zeal for Judaism. 39 Nicanor, to show his disdain for the Jews, sent more than five hundred soldiers to arrest him. 40 He thought that by arresting that man he would deal the Jews a hard blow.

41 But when the troops, on the point of capturing the tower, were forcing the outer gate and calling for fire to set the door ablaze, Razis, now caught on all sides, turned his sword against himself, 42 preferring to die nobly[m] rather than fall into the hands of vile men and suffer outrages unworthy of his noble birth. 43 In the excitement of the struggle he failed to strike exactly. So while the troops rushed in through the doors, he gallantly ran up to the top of the wall and courageously threw himself down into the crowd. 44 But as they quickly drew back and left an opening, he fell into the middle of the empty space. 45 Still breathing, and inflamed with anger, he got up and ran through the crowd, with blood gushing from his frightful wounds. Then, standing on a steep rock, 46 as he lost the last of his blood, he tore out his entrails and flung them with both hands into the crowd, calling upon the Lord of life and of spirit to give these back to him again. Such was the manner of his death.

Footnotes:

  1. 13:1 In the one hundred and forty-ninth year: 163/162 B.C.
  2. 13:2 They led: the Greek means literally “each (of them) led,” but it is unlikely that the author meant the already immense numbers to be doubled; the numbers are similar to those in 1 Mc 6:30.
  3. 13:4 Beroea: the Greek name of Aleppo in Syria.
  4. 13:5 Ashes: probably smoldering ashes; the tower resembles the ancient Persian fire towers.
  5. 13:16 They withdrew in triumph: according to 1 Mc 6:47 they fled.
  6. 13:21 Military secrets: probably about the lack of provisions in the besieged city; cf. 1 Mc 6:49.
  7. 13:24 Gerrhenes: probably the inhabitants of Gerar, southeast of Gaza.
  8. 14:1 Three years later: actually, Demetrius (I Soter), son of Seleucus (IV), landed at Tripolis in the year 151 of the Seleucid era (1 Mc 14:4), i.e., 162/161 B.C.; cf. 1 Mc 7:1–7.
  9. 14:3 Alcimus, a former high priest: he was apparently appointed high priest by Antiochus V after Menelaus was executed, and then deposed for collaborating with the Seleucids.
  10. 14:6 Hasideans, led by Judas Maccabeus: according to 1 Mc 2:42 and 7:12–17, the Hasideans were a party separate from the Maccabees.
  11. 14:24 Affection: compare 1 Mc 7:26–32, where there is no hint of this cordial relationship between Nicanor and Judas.
  12. 14:37–46 The story of Razis belongs to the “martyrology” class of literature; it is similar to the stories in 6:18–7:42.
  13. 14:42 Die nobly: Razis’s willingness to die nobly rather than to fall into enemy hands had a precedent in Saul (1 Sm 31:4). Razis took his life because he was convinced that God would restore his body in the resurrection of the dead (see 7:11, 22–23; 14:46).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Wisdom 4:20-5:14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The Judgment of the Wicked

20 Fearful shall they come, at the counting up of their sins,
    and their lawless deeds shall convict them to their face.

Chapter 5

[a]Then shall the righteous one with great assurance confront
    his oppressors who set at nought his labors.
Seeing this, the wicked shall be shaken with dreadful fear,
    and be amazed at the unexpected salvation.
They shall say among themselves, rueful
    and groaning through anguish of spirit:

“This is the one whom once we held as a laughingstock
    and as a type for mockery,
    fools that we were!
His life we accounted madness,
    and death dishonored.
See how he is accounted among the heavenly beings;[b]
    how his lot is with the holy ones!
We, then, have strayed from the way of truth,
    and the light of righteousness did not shine for us,
    and the sun did not rise for us.
We were entangled in the thorns of mischief and of ruin;
    we journeyed through trackless deserts,
    but the way of the Lord we never knew.
What did our pride avail us?
    What have wealth and its boastfulness afforded us?
All of them passed like a shadow
    and like a fleeting rumor;
10 Like a ship traversing the heaving water:
    when it has passed, no trace can be found,
    no path of its keel in the waves.
11 Or like a bird flying through the air;
    no evidence of its course is to be found—
But the fluid air, lashed by the beating of pinions,
    and cleft by the rushing force
Of speeding wings, is traversed;
    and afterward no mark of passage can be found in it.
12 Or as, when an arrow has been shot at a mark,
    the parted air straightway flows together again
    so that none discerns the way it went—
13 Even so, once born, we abruptly came to nought
    and held no sign of virtue to display,
    but were consumed in our wickedness.”

14 [c]Yes, the hope of the wicked is like chaff borne by the wind,
    and like fine, storm-driven snow;
Like smoke scattered by the wind,
    and like the passing memory of the nomad camping for a single day.

Footnotes:

  1. 5:1–13 In contrast to their speech in chap. 2 the wicked now regret their assessment of life and righteousness.
  2. 5:5 Heavenly beings: lit., “sons of God.” These are the holy ones, members of the heavenly court, among whom the righteous are to be found. A bodily resurrection does not seem to be envisioned.
  3. 5:14–23 A picture of the reward of the righteous which develops into an apocalyptic description of the divine warrior’s destruction of evil. The author utilizes Is 59–62.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Luke 17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 17

Temptations to Sin. He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard![a] If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”

Saying of Faith. And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to [this] mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Attitude of a Servant.[b] “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

The Cleansing of Ten Lepers.[c] 11 As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.[d] 12 As he was entering a village, ten lepers met [him]. They stood at a distance from him 13 and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” 14 And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”[e] As they were going they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; 16 and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? 18 Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” 19 Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

The Coming of the Kingdom of God. 20 [f]Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, 21 [g]and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”

The Day of the Son of Man. 22 Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ [or] ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. 24 For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be [in his day]. 25 But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation. 26 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; 27 they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; 29 on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. 30 So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind. 32 Remember the wife of Lot. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. 34 I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. 35 And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” [36 ][h] 37 They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”

Footnotes:

  1. 17:3 Be on your guard: the translation takes Lk 17:3a as the conclusion to the saying on scandal in Lk 17:1–2. It is not impossible that it should be taken as the beginning of the saying on forgiveness in Lk 17:3b–4.
  2. 17:7–10 These sayings of Jesus, peculiar to Luke, which continue his response to the apostles’ request to increase their faith (Lk 17:5–6), remind them that Christian disciples can make no claim on God’s graciousness; in fulfilling the exacting demands of discipleship, they are only doing their duty.
  3. 17:11–19 This incident recounting the thankfulness of the cleansed Samaritan leper is narrated only in Luke’s gospel and provides an instance of Jesus holding up a non-Jew (Lk 17:18) as an example to his Jewish contemporaries (cf. Lk 10:33 where a similar purpose is achieved in the story of the good Samaritan). Moreover, it is the faith in Jesus manifested by the foreigner that has brought him salvation (Lk 17:19; cf. the similar relationship between faith and salvation in Lk 7:50; 8:48, 50).
  4. 17:11 Through Samaria and Galilee: or, “between Samaria and Galilee.”
  5. 17:14 See note on Lk 5:14.
  6. 17:20–37 To the question of the Pharisees about the time of the coming of God’s kingdom, Jesus replies that the kingdom is among you (Lk 17:20–21). The emphasis has thus been shifted from an imminent observable coming of the kingdom to something that is already present in Jesus’ preaching and healing ministry. Luke has also appended further traditional sayings of Jesus about the unpredictable suddenness of the day of the Son of Man, and assures his readers that in spite of the delay of that day (Lk 12:45), it will bring judgment unexpectedly on those who do not continue to be vigilant.
  7. 17:21 Among you: the Greek preposition translated as among can also be translated as “within.” In the light of other statements in Luke’s gospel about the presence of the kingdom (see Lk 10:9, 11; 11:20) “among” is to be preferred.
  8. 17:36 The inclusion of Lk 17:36, “There will be two men in the field; one will be taken, the other left behind,” in some Western manuscripts appears to be a scribal assimilation to Mt 24:40.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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