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2 Maccabees 6:1-11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

Abolition of Judaism. Not long after this the king sent an Athenian senator[a] to force the Jews to abandon the laws of their ancestors and live no longer by the laws of God, also to profane the temple in Jerusalem and dedicate it to Olympian Zeus,[b] and the one on Mount Gerizim to Zeus the Host to Strangers, as the local inhabitants were wont to be. This was a harsh and utterly intolerable evil. The Gentiles filled the temple with debauchery and revelry; they amused themselves with prostitutes and had intercourse with women even in the sacred courts. They also brought forbidden things into the temple, so that the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the laws.

No one could keep the sabbath or celebrate the traditional feasts, nor even admit to being a Jew. Moreover, at the monthly celebration of the king’s birthday the Jews, from bitter necessity, had to partake of the sacrifices, and when the festival of Dionysus[c] was celebrated, they were compelled to march in his procession, wearing wreaths of ivy.

Following upon a vote of the citizens of Ptolemais, a decree was issued ordering the neighboring Greek cities to adopt the same measures, obliging the Jews to partake of the sacrifices and putting to death those who would not consent to adopt the customs of the Greeks. It was obvious, therefore, that disaster had come upon them. 10 Thus, two women who were arrested for having circumcised their children were publicly paraded about the city with their babies hanging at their breasts and then thrown down from the top of the city wall. 11 Others, who had assembled in nearby caves to observe the seventh day in secret, were betrayed to Philip and all burned to death. In their respect for the holiness of that day, they refrained from defending themselves.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:1 Athenian senator: or, Geron the Athenian, since geron can also be a proper name.
  2. 6:2 Olympian Zeus: equated with the Syrian Baal Shamen (“the lord of the heavens”), a term which the Jews mockingly rendered as shiqqus shomem, “desolating abomination” (Dn 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; 1 Mc 1:54).
  3. 6:7 Dionysus: also called Bacchus, the god of the grape harvest and of wine; ivy was one of his symbols.
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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