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2 Maccabees 12:42-15:40 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

42 And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain.

43 And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection,

44 (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,)

45 And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.

46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

13 In the year one hundred and forty-nine, Judas understood that Antiochus Eupator was coming with a multitude against Judea,

And with him Lysias the regent, who had charge over the affairs of the realm, having with him a hundred and ten thousand footmen, five thousand horsemen, twenty-two elephants, and three hundred chariots armed with hooks.

Menelaus also joined himself with them: and with great deceitfulness besought Antiochus, not for the welfare of his country, but in hopes that he should be appointed chief ruler.

But the King of kings stirred up the mind of Antiochus against the sinner, and upon Lysias suggesting that he was the cause of all the evils, he commanded (as the custom is with them) that he should be apprehended and put to death in the same place.

Now there was in that place a tower fifty cubits high, having a heap of ashes on every side: this had a prospect steep down.

From thence he commanded the sacrilegious wretch to be thrown down into the ashes, all men thrusting him forward unto death.

And by such a law it happened that Menelaus the transgressor of the law was put to death: not having so much as burial in the earth.

And indeed very justly, for insomuch as he had committed many sins against the altar of God, the fire and ashes of which were holy: he was condemned to die in ashes.

But the king, with his mind full of rage, came on to shew himself worse to the Jews than his father was.

10 Which, when Judas understood, he commanded the people to call upon the Lord day and night, that as he had always done, so now also he would help them:

11 Because they were afraid to be deprived of the law, and of their country, and of the holy temple: and that he would not suffer the people, that had of late taken breath for a little while, to be again in subjection to blasphemous nations.

12 So when they had all done this together, and had craved mercy of the Lord with weeping and fasting, lying prostrate on the ground for three days continually, Judas exhorted them to make themselves ready.

13 But he with the ancients determined, before the king should bring his army into Judea, and make himself master of the city, to go out, and to commit the event of the thing to the judgment of the Lord.

14 So committing all to God, the creator of the world, and having exhorted his people to fight manfully, and to stand up even to death for the laws, the temple, the city, their country, and citizens: he placed his army about Modin.

15 And having given his company for a watchword, The victory of God, with most valiant chosen young men, he set upon the king's quarter by night, and slew four thousand men in the camp, and the greatest of the elephants, with them that had been upon him,

16 And having filled the camp of the enemies with exceeding great fear and tumult, they went off with good success.

17 Now this was done at the break of day, by the protection and help of the Lord.

18 But the king having taken a taste of the hardiness of the Jews, attempted to take the strong places by policy:

19 And he marched with his army to Bethsura, which was a strong hold of the Jews: but he was repulsed, he failed, he lost his men.

20 Now Judas sent necessaries to them that were within.

21 But Rhodocus, one of the Jews' army, disclosed the secrets to the enemies, so he was sought out, and taken up, and put in prison.

22 Again the king treated with them that were in Bethsura: gave his right hand: took theirs: and went away.

23 He fought with Judas: and was overcome. And when he understood that Philip, who had been left over the affairs, had rebelled at Antioch, he was in a consternation of mind, and entreating the Jews, and yielding to them, he swore to all things that seemed reasonable, and, being reconciled, offered sacrifices, honoured the temple, and left gifts.

24 He embraced Machabeus, and made him governor and prince from Ptolemais unto the Gerrenians.

25 But when he was come to Ptolemais, the men of that city were much displeased with the conditions of the peace, being angry for fear they should break the covenant.

26 Then Lysias went up to the judgment seat, and set forth the reason, and appeased the people, and returned to Antioch: and thus matters went with regard to the king's coming and his return.

14 But after the space of three years Judas, and they that were with him, understood that Demetrius the son of Seleucus was come up with a great power, and a navy by the haven of Tripolis to places proper for his purpose.

And had made himself master of the countries against Antiochus, and his general Lysias.

Now one Alcimus, who had been chief priest, but had wilfully defiled himself in the time of mingling with the heathens, seeing that there was no safety for him, nor access to the altar,

Came to king Demetrius in the year one hundred and fifty, presenting unto him a crown of gold, and a palm, and besides these, some boughs which seemed to belong to the temple. And that day indeed he held his peace.

But having gotten a convenient time to further his madness, being called to counsel by Demetrius, and asked what the Jews relied upon, and what were their counsels,

He answered thereunto: They among the Jews that are called Assideans, of whom Judas Machabeus is captain, nourish wars, and raise seditions, and will not suffer the realm to be in peace.

For I also being deprived of my ancestors' glory (I mean of the high priesthood) am now come hither:

Principally indeed out of fidelity to the king's interests, but in the next place also to provide for the good of my countrymen: for all our nation suffereth much from the evil proceedings of those men.

Wherefore, O king, seeing thou knowest all these things, take care, I beseech thee, both of the country, and of our nation, according to thy humanity which is known to all men,

10 For as long as Judas liveth, it is not possible that the state should be quiet.

11 Now when this man had spoken to this effect, the rest also of the king's friends, who were enemies of Judas, incensed Demetrius against him.

12 And forthwith he sent Nicanor, the commander over the elephants, governor into Judea:

13 Giving him in charge, to take Judas himself: and disperse all them that were with him, and to make Alcimus the high priest of the great temple.

14 Then the Gentiles who had fled out of Judea from Judas, came to Nicanor by flocks, thinking the miseries and calamities of the Jews to be the welfare of their affairs.

15 Now when the Jews heard of Nicanor's coming, and that the nations were assembled against them, they cast earth upon their heads, and made supplication to him, who chose his people to keep them for ever, and who protected his portion by evident signs.

16 Then at the commandment of their captain, they forthwith removed from the place where they were, and went to the town of Dessau, to meet them.

17 Now Simon the brother of Judas had joined battle with Nicanor, but was frightened with the sudden coming of the adversaries.

18 Nevertheless Nicanor hearing of the valour of Judas' companions, and the greatness of courage with which they fought for their country, was afraid to try the matter by the sword.

19 Wherefore he sent Posidonius, and Theodotius, and Matthias before to present and receive the right hands.

20 And when there had been a consultation thereupon, and the captain had acquainted the multitude with it, they were all of one mind to consent to covenants.

21 So they appointed a day upon which they might commune together by themselves: and seats were brought out, and set for each one.

22 But Judas ordered men to be ready in convenient places, lest some mischief might be suddenly practiced by the enemies: so they made an agreeable conference.

23 And Nicanor abode in Jerusalem, and did no wrong, but sent away the flocks of the multitudes that had been gathered together.

24 And Judas was always dear to him from the heart, and he was well affected to the man.

25 And he desired him to marry a wife, and to have children. So he married: he lived quietly, and they lived in common.

26 But Alcimus seeing the love they had one to another, and the covenants, came to Demetrius, and told him that Nicanor assented to the foreign interest, for that he meant to make Judas, who was a traitor to the kingdom, his successor.

27 Then the king being in a rage and provoked with this man's wicked accusations, wrote to Nicanor, signifying, that he was greatly displeased with the covenant of friendship: and that he commanded him nevertheless to send Machabeus prisoner in all haste to Antioch.

28 When this was known, Nicanor was in a consternation, and took it grievously that he should make void the articles that were agreed upon, having received no injury from the man.

29 But because he could not oppose the king, he watched an opportunity to comply with the orders.

30 But when Machabeus perceived that Nicanor was more stern to him, and that when they met together as usual he behaved himself in a rough manner: and was sensible that this rough behaviour came not of good, he gathered together a few of his men, and hid himself from Nicanor.

31 But he finding himself notably prevented by the man, came to the great and holy temple: and commanded the priests that were offering the accustomed sacrifices, to deliver him the man.

32 And when they swore unto him, that they knew not where the man was whom he sought, he stretched out his hand to the temple,

33 And swore, saying: Unless you deliver Judas prisoner to me, I will lay this temple of God even with the ground, and will beat down the altar, and I will dedicate this temple to Bacchus.

34 And when he had spoken thus he departed. But the priests stretching forth their hands to heaven, called upon him that was ever the defender of their nation, saying in this manner:

35 Thou, O Lord of all things, who wantest nothing, wast pleased that the temple of thy habitation should be amongst us.

36 Therefore now, O Lord the holy of all holies, keep this house for ever undefiled which was lately cleansed.

37 Now Razias, one of the ancients of Jerusalem, was accused to Nicanor, a man that was a lover of the city, and of good report, who for his affection was called the father of the Jews.

38 This man, for a long time, had held fast his purpose of keeping himself pure in the Jews' religion, and was ready to expose his body and life, that he might persevere therein.

39 So Nicanor being willing to declare the hatred that he bore the Jews, sent five hundred soldiers to take him.

40 For he thought by insnaring him to hurt the Jews very much.

41 Now as the multitude sought to rush into his house, and to break open the door, and to set fire to it, when he was ready to be taken, he struck himself with his sword:

42 Choosing to die nobly rather than to fall into the hands of the wicked, and to suffer abuses unbecoming his noble birth.

43 But whereas through haste he missed of giving himself a sure wound, and the crowd was breaking into the doors, he ran boldly to the wall, and manfully threw himself down to the crowd:

44 But they quickly making room for his fall, he came upon the midst of the neck.

45 And as he had yet breath in him, being inflamed in mind he arose: and while his blood ran down with a great stream, and he was grievously wounded, he ran through the crowd:

46 And standing upon a steep rock, when he was now almost without blood, grasping his bowels with both hands, he cast them upon the throng, calling upon the Lord of life and spirit, to restore these to him again: and so he departed this life.

15 But when Nicanor understood that Judas was in the places of Samaria, he purposed to set upon him with all violence on the sabbath day.

And when the Jews that were constrained to follow him, said: Do not act so fiercely and barbarously, but give honour to the day that is sanctified: and reverence him that beholdeth all things:

That unhappy man asked, if there were a mighty One in heaven, that had commanded the sabbath day to be kept.

And when they answered: There is the living Lord himself in heaven, the mighty One, that commanded the seventh day to be kept,

Then he said: And I am mighty upon the earth, and I command to take arms, and to do the king's business. Nevertheless he prevailed not to accomplish his design.

So Nicanor being puffed up with exceeding great pride, thought to set up a public monument of his victory over Judas.

But Machabeus ever trusted with all hope that God would help them.

And he exhorted his people not to fear the coming of the nations, but to remember the help they had before received from heaven, and now to hope for victory from the Almighty.

And speaking to them out of the law, and the prophets, and withal putting them in mind of the battles they had fought before, he made them more cheerful:

10 Then after he had encouraged them, he shewed withal the falsehood of the Gentiles, and their breach of oaths.

11 So he armed every one of them, not with defence of shield and spear, but with very good speeches and exhortations, and told them a dream worthy to be believed, whereby he rejoiced them all.

12 Now the vision was in this manner: Onias who had been high priest, a good and virtuous man, modest in his looks, gentle in his manners, and graceful in his speech, and who from a child was exercised in virtues, holding up his hands, prayed for all the people of the Jews:

13 After this there appeared also another man, admirable for age, and glory, and environed with great beauty and majesty:

14 Then Onias answering, said: This is a lover of his brethren, and of the people of Israel: this is he that prayeth much for the people, and for all the holy city, Jeremias the prophet of God.

15 Whereupon Jeremias stretched forth his right hand, and gave to Judas a sword of gold, saying:

16 Take this holy sword a gift from God, wherewith thou shalt overthrow the adversaries of my people Israel.

17 Thus being exhorted with the words of Judas, which were very good, and proper to stir up the courage, and strengthen the hearts of the young men, they resolved to fight, and to set upon them manfully: that valour might decide the matter, because the holy city and the temple were in danger.

18 For their concern was less for their wives, and children, and for their brethren, and kinsfolks: but their greatest and principal fear was for the holiness of the temple.

19 And they also that were in the city, had no little concern for them that were to be engaged in battle.

20 And now when all expected what judgment would be given, and the enemies were at hand, and the army was set in array, the beasts and the horsemen ranged in convenient places,

21 Machabeus considering the coming of the multitude, and the divers preparations of armour, and the fierceness of the beasts, stretching out his hands to heaven, called upon the Lord, that worketh wonders, who giveth victory to them that are worthy, not according to the power of their arms, but according as it seemeth good to him.

22 And in his prayer he said after this manner: Thou, O Lord, who didst send thy angel in the time of Ezechias king of Juda, and didst kill a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the army of Sennacherib:

23 Send now also, O Lord of heaven, thy good angel before us, for the fear and dread of the greatness of thy arm,

24 That they may be afraid, who come with blasphemy against thy holy people. And thus he concluded his prayer.

25 But Nicanor, and they that were with him came forward, with trumpets and songs.

26 But Judas, and they that were with him, encountered them, calling upon God by prayers:

27 So fighting with their hands, but praying to the Lord with their hearts, they slew no less than five and thirty thousand, being greatly cheered with the presence of God.

28 And when the battle was over, and they were returning with joy, they understood that Nicanor was slain in his armour.

29 Then making a shout, and a great noise, they blessed the Almighty Lord in their own language.

30 And Judas, who was altogether ready, in body and mind, to die for his countrymen, commanded that Nicanor's head, and his hand with the shoulder should be cut off, and carried to Jerusalem.

31 And when he was come thither, having called together his countrymen, and the priests to the altar, he sent also for them that were in the castle,

32 And shewing them the head of Nicanor, and the wicked hand, which he had stretched out, with proud boasts, against the holy house of the Almighty God,

33 He commanded also, that the tongue of the wicked Nicanor, should be cut out and given by pieces to birds, and the hand of the furious man to be hanged up over against the temple.

34 Then all blessed the Lord of heaven, saying: Blessed be he that hath kept his own place undefiled.

35 And he hung up Nicanor's head in the top of the castle, that it might be an evident and manifest sign of the help of God.

36 And they all ordained by a common decree, by no means to let this day pass without solemnity:

37 But to celebrate the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, called, in the Syrian language, the day before Mardochias' day.

38 So these things being done with relation to Nicanor, and from that time the city being possessed by the Hebrews, I also will here make an end of my narration.

39 Which if I have done well, and as it becometh the history, it is what I desired: but if not so perfectly, it must be pardoned me.

40 For as it is hurtful to drink always wine, or always water, but pleasant to use sometimes the one, and sometimes the other: so if the speech be always nicely framed, it will not be grateful to the readers. But here it shall be ended.

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