2 Maccabees 9-10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
Punishment and Death of Antiochus IV.[a] 1 About that time Antiochus retreated in disgrace from the region of Persia. 2 He had entered the city called Persepolis and attempted to rob the temples and gain control of the city. Thereupon the people had swift recourse to arms, and Antiochus’ forces were routed, so that in the end Antiochus was put to flight by the people of that region and forced to beat a shameful retreat. 3 On his arrival in Ecbatana, he learned what had happened to Nicanor and to Timothy’s forces. 4 Overcome with anger, he planned to make the Jews suffer for the injury done by those who had put him to flight. Therefore he ordered his charioteer to drive without stopping until he finished the journey. Yet the condemnation of Heaven rode with him, because he said in his arrogance, “I will make Jerusalem the common graveyard of Jews as soon as I arrive there.”
5 So the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him down with an incurable and invisible blow; for scarcely had he uttered those words when he was seized with excruciating pains in his bowels and sharp internal torment, 6 a fit punishment for him who had tortured the bowels of others with many barbarous torments. 7 Far from giving up his insolence, he was all the more filled with arrogance. Breathing fire in his rage against the Jews, he gave orders to drive even faster. As a result he hurtled from the speeding chariot, and every part of his body was racked by the violent fall. 8 Thus he who previously, in his superhuman presumption, thought he could command the waves of the sea, and imagined he could weigh the mountaintops in his scales, was now thrown to the ground and had to be carried on a litter, clearly manifesting to all the power of God. 9 The body of this impious man swarmed with worms, and while he was still alive in hideous torments, his flesh rotted off, so that the entire army was sickened by the stench of his corruption. 10 Shortly before, he had thought that he could reach the stars of heaven, and now, no one could endure to transport the man because of this intolerable stench.
11 At last, broken in spirit, he began to give up his excessive arrogance, and to gain some understanding, under the scourge of God, for he was racked with pain unceasingly. 12 When he could no longer bear his own stench, he said, “It is right to be subject to God, and not to think one’s mortal self equal to God.” 13 Then this vile man vowed to him who would never again show him mercy, the Sovereign Lord, 14 that the holy city, toward which he had been hurrying with the intention of leveling it to the ground and making it a common graveyard, he would now set free; 15 that the Jews, whom he had judged not even worthy of burial, but fit only to be thrown out with their children to be eaten by vultures and wild animals—all of them he would make equal to the Athenians; 16 that he would adorn with the finest offerings the holy temple which he had previously despoiled, restore all the sacred vessels many times over, and provide from his own revenues the expenses required for the sacrifices. 17 Besides all this, he would become a Jew himself and visit every inhabited place to proclaim there the power of God. 18 But since his sufferings were not lessened, for God’s just judgment had come upon him, he lost hope for himself and wrote the following letter to the Jews in the form of a supplication. It read thus:
19 [b]“To the worthy Jewish citizens, Antiochus, king and general, sends hearty greetings and best wishes for their health and prosperity. 20 If you and your children are well and your affairs are going as you wish, I thank God very much, for my hopes are in heaven. 21 Now that I am ill, I recall with affection your esteem and goodwill. On returning from the regions of Persia, I fell victim to a troublesome illness; so I thought it necessary to form plans for the general security of all. 22 I do not despair about my health, since I have much hope of recovering from my illness. 23 Nevertheless, I know that my father, whenever he went on campaigns in the hinterland, would name his successor, 24 so that, if anything unexpected happened or any unwelcome news came, the people throughout the realm would know to whom the government had been entrusted, and so not be disturbed. 25 I am also bearing in mind that the neighboring rulers, especially those on the borders of our kingdom, are on the watch for opportunities and waiting to see what will happen. I have therefore appointed as king my son Antiochus, whom I have often before entrusted and commended to most of you, when I made hurried visits to the outlying provinces. I have written to him what is written here. 26 Therefore I beg and entreat each of you to remember the general and individual benefits you have received, and to continue to show goodwill toward me and my son. 27 I am confident that, following my policy, he will treat you with equity and kindness in his relations with you.”
28 So this murderer and blasphemer, after extreme sufferings, such as he had inflicted on others, died a miserable death in the mountains of a foreign land. 29 His foster brother[c] Philip brought the body home; but fearing Antiochus’ son, he later withdrew into Egypt, to Ptolemy Philometor.
Purification of the Temple. 1 When Maccabeus and his companions, under the Lord’s leadership, had recovered the temple and the city, 2 they destroyed the altars erected by the foreigners in the marketplace and the sacred shrines. 3 After purifying the temple, they made another altar. Then, with fire struck from flint, they offered sacrifice for the first time in two years,[d] burned incense, and lighted lamps. They also set out the showbread. 4 When they had done this, they prostrated themselves and begged the Lord that they might never again fall into such misfortunes, and that if they should sin at any time, he might chastise them with moderation and not hand them over to blasphemous and barbarous Gentiles. 5 On the anniversary of the day on which the temple had been profaned by the foreigners, that is, the twenty-fifth of the same month Kislev, the purification of the temple took place. 6 The Jews celebrated joyfully for eight days as on the feast of Booths, remembering how, a little while before, they had spent the feast of Booths living like wild animals in the mountains and in caves. 7 Carrying rods entwined with leaves,[e] beautiful branches and palms, they sang hymns of grateful praise to him who had successfully brought about the purification of his own place. 8 By public decree and vote they prescribed that the whole Jewish nation should celebrate these days every year. 9 Such was the end of Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes.
VI. Renewed Persecution
Accession of Antiochus V. 10 Now we shall relate what happened under Antiochus Eupator, the son of that godless man, and shall give a summary of the chief evils caused by the wars. 11 When Eupator succeeded to the kingdom, he put a certain Lysias in charge of the government as commander-in-chief of Coelesyria and Phoenicia. 12 Ptolemy, called Macron,[f] had taken the lead in treating the Jews fairly because of the previous injustice that had been done them, and he endeavored to have peaceful relations with them. 13 As a result, he was accused before Eupator by the King’s Friends. In fact, on all sides he heard himself called a traitor for having abandoned Cyprus, which Philometor had entrusted to him, and for having gone over to Antiochus Epiphanes. Since he could not command the respect due to his high office, he ended his life by taking poison.
Victory over the Idumeans.[g] 14 When Gorgias became governor of the region, he employed foreign troops and used every opportunity to attack the Jews. 15 At the same time the Idumeans, who held some strategic strongholds, were harassing the Jews; they welcomed fugitives from Jerusalem and endeavored to continue the war. 16 Maccabeus and his companions, after public prayers asking God to be their ally, moved quickly against the strongholds of the Idumeans. 17 Attacking vigorously, they gained control of the places, drove back all who were fighting on the walls, and cut down those who opposed them, killing no fewer than twenty thousand. 18 When at least nine thousand took refuge in two very strong towers, well equipped to sustain a siege, 19 Maccabeus left Simon and Joseph, along with Zacchaeus and his forces, in sufficient numbers to besiege them, while he himself went off to places where he was more urgently needed. 20 But some of those in Simon’s force who were lovers of money let themselves be bribed by some of those in the towers; on receiving seventy thousand drachmas, they allowed a number of them to escape. 21 When Maccabeus was told what had happened, he assembled the rulers of the people and accused those men of having sold their kindred for money by setting their enemies free to fight against them. 22 So he put them to death as traitors, and without delay captured the two towers. 23 As he was successful at arms in all his undertakings, he destroyed more than twenty thousand in the two strongholds.
Victory over Timothy. 24 Timothy, who had previously been defeated by the Jews,[h] gathered a tremendous force of foreign troops and collected a large number of cavalry from Asia; then he appeared in Judea, ready to conquer it by force. 25 At his approach, Maccabeus and his companions made supplication to God, sprinkling earth upon their heads and girding their loins in sackcloth. 26 Lying prostrate at the foot of the altar, they begged him to be gracious to them, and to be an enemy to their enemies, and a foe to their foes, as the law declares. 27 After the prayer, they took up their weapons and advanced a considerable distance from the city, halting when they were close to the enemy. 28 As soon as dawn broke,[i] the armies joined battle, the one having as pledge of success and victory not only their valor but also their reliance on the Lord, and the other taking fury as their leader in the fight.
29 In the midst of the fierce battle, there appeared to the enemy five majestic men from the heavens riding on golden-bridled horses, leading the Jews. 30 They surrounded Maccabeus, and shielding him with their own armor, kept him from being wounded. They shot arrows and hurled thunderbolts at the enemy, who were bewildered and blinded, routed in utter confusion. 31 Twenty thousand five hundred of their foot soldiers and six hundred cavalry were slain.
32 Timothy, however, fled to a well-fortified stronghold called Gazara, where Chaereas was in command. 33 For four days Maccabeus and his forces eagerly besieged the fortress. 34 Those inside, relying on the strength of the place, kept repeating outrageous blasphemies and uttering abominable words. 35 When the fifth day dawned, twenty young men in the army of Maccabeus, angered over such blasphemies, bravely stormed the wall and with savage fury cut down everyone they encountered. 36 Similarly, others climbed up and swung around on the defenders; they put the towers to the torch, spread the fire and burned the blasphemers alive. Still others broke down the gates and let in the rest of the troops, who took possession of the city. 37 Timothy had hidden in a cistern, but they killed[j] him, along with his brother Chaereas, and Apollophanes. 38 On completing these exploits, they blessed, with hymns of grateful praise, the Lord who shows great kindness to Israel and grants them victory.
Wisdom 4:1-14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
1 Better is childlessness with virtue;
C. On Early Death[a]
7 But the righteous one, though he die early, shall be at rest.
Luke 15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
The Parable of the Lost Sheep. 1 [a]The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, 2 but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So to them he addressed this parable. 4 “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? 5 And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy 6 and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.
The Parable of the Lost Coin. 8 “Or what woman having ten coins[b] and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ 10 In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The Parable of the Lost Son. 11 Then he said, “A man had two sons, 12 and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. 13 After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. 14 When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. 15 So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. 16 And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. 17 Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. 18 I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ 20 So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22 But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. 25 Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. 27 The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. 30 But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ 31 He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. 32 But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”