2 Maccabees 2Common English Bible (CEB)
2 One finds in the records that the prophet Jeremiah commanded those who were deported to take some of the fire, which is the story I’ve just related. 2 Having given them the Law, the prophet commanded those who were deported not to forget the Lord’s commands or to be led astray in their thoughts when they saw gold and silver idols and how they were decorated. 3 With these kinds of words, he urged them not to forget the Law. 4 The same document also states that the prophet commanded, with a solemn divine pronouncement, that the meeting tent and the chest containing the covenant should go with him. The documents reported that he went to the mountain that Moses ascended to see the inheritance that God promised.
5 When Jeremiah arrived, he discovered a cave where he deposited the meeting tent, the covenant chest, and the incense altar. He blocked up the opening. 6 Some who had accompanied him went along to mark the way but couldn’t find it again. 7 When Jeremiah found out, he rebuked them and said: “The place will remain unknown until God gathers the people together again and shows mercy. 8 Then the Lord will disclose these things. The Lord’s glory will appear with the cloud, as they were revealed in the time of Moses and when Solomon prayed that the place might be made holy.”
9 It was also made clear that, since Solomon possessed wisdom, he offered up a sacrifice for the inauguration and completion of the temple. 10 Just as Moses prayed to the Lord and fire came down from heaven and consumed the components of the sacrifice, so also Solomon prayed and fire came down to consume the entirely burned offerings. 11 Moses said, “Because the purification offering had not been eaten, it was destroyed by fire.” 12 Likewise, Solomon observed the eight days.[a]
13 Nehemiah also narrated the same things in his writings and journals. He also told how, when Solomon established a library, he gathered the scrolls concerning the kings and prophets and the scrolls of David and letters of kings regarding offerings for solemn promises. 14 In the same way, Judas also gathered together all the scrolls that went missing because of the war, so that those documents are now in our possession. 15 So if you need them, send messengers to carry them back.
16 Now as we are about to celebrate the Purification Festival, we write to you. Act honorably by observing the days. 17 God has saved all of his people and restored to all the inheritance, even the kingdom, the priesthood, and the holy place, 18 as he promised through the Law. We have hope in God that he will quickly extend mercy and gather us from everywhere under heaven into the holy place. He has brought us out of great evils and purified the place.
19 This scroll is about the stories of Judas the Maccabee and his brothers, the purification of the great temple, and the restoration of the altar. 20 It will tell of the wars against Antiochus Epiphanes and his son Eupator, 21 and the appearances from heaven to those who had gloriously performed brave deeds for Judaism. Though they were few in number, they took back the whole country, chased off the barbaric hordes, 22 regained the temple renowned throughout the whole inhabited world, freed the city, and restored the laws that were almost abolished—because the Lord with all kindness was merciful to them.
23 Jason of Cyrene recorded all of these things in five scrolls, which we will attempt to condense into one.
24 Jason’s scrolls contain an abundance of material and pose serious difficulty for those wanting to plunge into the historical accounts because of the amount of detail. 25 We aimed, therefore, to provide something amusing for those who want to read, to make it easy for those inclined to commit facts to memory, and to offer something useful to all those who happen to pick up the scroll. 26 For those of us who engage in the strenuous task of abbreviation, it isn’t easy but involves sweat and loss of sleep, 27 just as it isn’t easy to prepare a banquet for the enjoyment of others. Nevertheless, in order to gain the praise of many, we endure the task cheerfully.
28 Leaving the responsibility for accuracy in the details to the original writer, we must follow the guidelines for preparing a summary. 29 Just as the builder of a new house must give thought to the foundation of the whole, so also the one attempting to paint and decorate must investigate what is suitable for its own decoration. This I think also applies to us. 30 The duty of the first author of the history is to occupy the ground, to explore the subject fully, and to inquire closely into the details in particular. 31 The one retelling the shorter version should be allowed to pursue conciseness of expression and to be excused from an exhaustive treatment of the matter. 32 From this point then we will begin the narrative, not adding further to what was already said. After all, it would be absurd to prolong the preface but then cut short the history.