God's Truth

Table of Contents


Second Book of Machabees



The 1st Chapter
     The brethren of the Jews which be at Jerusalem and in the land of Jewry, wish unto those brethren of the Jews that are throughout Egypt: good fortune, health and peace. God the Lord (kjv leaves out "the Lord") be gracious unto you, and think upon his covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his faithful servants: and give you all such an heart, that you may love (kjv leaves out may love) and serve him, yes and to perform his will with an *whole heart (kjv = good courage) and a willing mind: He open your hearts and in his law and in his commandments, send you peace: hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in time of trouble. This is here our prayer for you.
     What time as Demetrius reigned, in the hundred and sixty ninth year, we Jews wrote unto you in the trouble and violence that came upon us. In those years after that Jason departed out of the holy land and kingdom, they burnt up the ports, and shed innocent blood. Then made we our prayer unto the Lord, and were heard: we offered, and lighted candles, setting forth cakes and bread. And now come you unto the feast of tabernacles in the month Casleu.
     In the hundred and eighty eighth year, the people that was at Jerusalem and in Jewry, the council and Judas himself, sent this wholesome salvation unto Aristobolus king Ptolomys master, which came of the generation of the anointed priests: and to the Jews that were in Egypt: Insomuch as God has delivered us from great perils, we thank him highly. In that we resisted so mighty a king. And why ? he brought men out of Persis by heaps, to fight against us and the holy city. For as he was in Persis (namely, the Captain with the great host) he perished in the temple of Naneas, being deceived through the device of Naneass priests. For as he was purposed to have dwelt there, Antiochus and his friends came there, to receive much money for a dowry. So when Naneas priests had layed forth the money, he entered with a small company into the compass of the temple, and so they shut the temple.
     Now when Antiochus entered by opening the private entrance of the temple, the priests stoned the captain to death, hewed them in pieces that were with them, smote off their heads, and through them out in all things. God be praised, who has delivered the wicked in to our hands.
     Whereas we now are purposed to keep the purification of the temple upon the twenty fifth day of the month Casleu, we thought it necessary to certify you thereof: that you also might keep tabernacles feast day, and the day of the fire, which was given us when Nehemiah offered, after that he had set up the temple and the altar. For what time as our fathers were led away into Persis, (Persia) the priests (*which then sought the honor of God) (kjv = leaves this line out) and took the fire privily (secretly) from the alter, and hid it in a valley, where as was a deep dry pit: and there they kept it, because the place was unknown to every man. Now after many years when it pleased God, that Nehemiah should be sent from the king of Persia: he sent the childrens children of those priests (which had hid the fire) to seek it. And as they told us, they found no fire, but thick water. Then commanded he them to draw it up, and to bring it him, and the offerings withal. Now when the sacrifices were laid on and ordered, the priest Nehemiah commanded to sprinkle them and the wood with the water. When this was done, and the time come that the *Sun shone, (cap S) which was before hid in the cloud: there was a great fire kindled. In so much that every man marvelled. Now all the priests prayed, while the sacrifice was a making. Jonathas prayed first, and the other gave answer.
     And Nehemias prayer was after this manner: O' Lord God, maker of all things, you fearful and strong, you righteous and merciful, you that are only and gracious king, only liberal, only just, Almighty and everlasting, you that deliver Israel from all trouble, you that have chosen the fathers and hallowed them: receiving the offering for the whole people of Israel, preserve your own portion, and hallow it. Gather those together, that are scattered abroad from us: deliver them that are under the Heathens bondage, look upon them that are despised and abhorred, that the Heathen may know and see, how that you are our God: Punish them that oppress, and proudly put us to dishonor. Set your people again in your holy place, like as Moses has spoken.
     And the priests song Psalmes of thanksgiving, so long as the sacrifice endured. Now when the sacrifice was burnt, Nehemia commanded the great stones to be sprinkled with the residue of the water Which when it was done, there was kindled a flame of them also: but it was consumed by the light, that shined from the altar. So when this matter was known, it was told the king of Persia, that in the place where the priests, which were led away, had hid the fire, there appeared water instead of fire, and that Nehemias had purified the sacrifices withal. Then the king considering and pondering the matter diligently, made him a temple to prove the thing that was done. And when he found it so in deed, he gave the priests many gifts and diverse rewards: yes he took them with his own hand, and gave them. And Nehemias called the same place Nephthar, which is as much to say as a cleansing: but many men call it Nephi.

The 2nd Chapter
     It is found also in the writings of Jeremy the prophet, that he commanded them which were carried away to take fire, as it is said before. He commanded them also, that they should not to forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not error in their minds, when they see Images of silver and gold, with their ornaments. These and such other things commanded he them, and exhorted them, that they should not let the law of God go out of their hearts.
     It is written also, how the prophet (at the commandment of God) charged them, to take the tabernacle and the ark with them: and he went forth unto the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God. And when Jeremy came there, he found an open cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the hole. There came certain men together also following him, to mark the place, but they could not find it. Which when Jeremy perceived, he reproved them saying: As for that place, it shall be unknown, until the time that God gather his people together again, and receive them unto mercy. Then shall God show them these things, and the majesty of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, like as it was showed unto Moses: and like as when Solomon desired that the place might be sanctified, and it was showed him.
     For he being a wise man, handled honorably and wisely offering unto God in the hallowing of the temple when it was finished. And like as when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering: Even so prayed Solomon also, and the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering. And Moses said: because the sin offering was not eaten,(kjv=was not to be eaten) therefore it is consumed. In like manner Solomon kept the dedication (or hallowing) eight days.
     In the annotations and writings of Jeremy, (kjv says of Neemias) were these things put also: and how he made a library, and how he gathered out of all countries *the books of the prophets, (kjv = together the acts of the kings), of David, the epistles of the kings, and of the presents. Even so Judas also, look what he learned by experience of war, and such things as has happened unto us, he gathered them all together, and so we have them by us. If you now desire to have the same, send somebody to fetch them unto you. Where as we are about to celebrate the purification, we have written unto you. Therefore you shall do well, if you keep the same days. We hope also, that the God,
(which delivered his people, and gave them all the heritage, kingdom, priesthood, and Sanctuary that he promised them in the law) shall shortly have mercy upon us, and gather us together from under the heaven into *his holy place (kjv =the holy place): for he has saved us from great perils, and has cleansed the place.
     As concerning Judas Machabeus and his brethren, the purification of the great temple, the dedication of the altar, yes and of wars that concern noble Antiochus and (kjv adds Epiphanes), and Eupator his son, of the shinnings that came down from heaven upon those that defended the Jews. For though they were but few, yet defended they the whole land, drove away the enemies host, recovered again the temple, that was spoken of throughout all the world, delivered the city, doing their best that the law of the Lord which was put down, might with all tranquility be restored again unto the Lord, that was so merciful unto them. As touching Jason also of Cyren, we have undertaken compendiously (complete summary) to bring into one book, the things that were comprehended of him in five. For we considering the multitude of books and how hard it should be for them that would meddle with stories and acts (and that because of so diverse matters) have undertaken so to comprehend the stories: that such as are disposed to read, might have pleasure and pastime therein: And that they which are diligent in such things, might the better think upon them: yes and that whosoever read them, might profit thereby.
     Nevertheless we ourselves that have meddled with this matter for the foreshortening of it, have taken no small labor, but great diligence, watchings and travail. Like as they that make a feast, would faine (be willing /obliged) do other men pleasure: Even so we also (for many mens sakes) are very well content to take the labor, where as we may shortly comprehend, the things that other men have truly written.
     For he that builds an house anew, must provide for many things, to the whole building: but he that paints it afterward, seeks but only what is comely, mete (worthy) and convenient to garnish withal. Even so do we also in like manner. And why? He that begins to write a story for the first, must with his understanding gather the matter together, set his words in order, and diligently seek out of every part: But he that afterward will shorten it, uses few words, and touches not the matter at the largest. Let this be sufficient for a Prologue, now will we begin to show the matter: for it is but a foolish thing to make a long Prologue, and to be short in the story it self.

The 3rd Chapter
     What time as the holy city was inhabited in all peace and wealth, and when the laws were yet very well kept, (for so was it ordained by Onias the high priest and other godly men, that were enemies of wickedness) It came therefore, that even the kings and princes themselves did the place great worship, and garnished the temple with great gifts: Insomuch that Seleucus king of Asia of his own rents bare all
the costs belonging to the service of the offerings. Then Simon of the tribe of Benjamin, a ruler of the temple, labored to work some mischief in the city: but the high priest resisted him.
     Nevertheless when he might not overcome Onias, he got him to Apollonius the son of Thersa (which then was chief lord in Celosyria and Phenice) and told him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of innumerable money, and how that the commons goods (which belonged not unto the offerings) were exceedingly great also: yes and how it were possible, that all these might come under the kings power.
     Now when Apollonius had showed the king of the money, as it was told him: the king called for Heliodorus his stewart, and sent him with a commandment, to bring him the same money. Immediately Heliodorus took his journey, but under a color, as though he would go through Celosyria and Phenices to visit the cities, but his purpose was to fulfil the kings pleasure. So when he came to Jerusalem, and was lovingly received of the high priest into the city: he told what was determined concerning the money, and showed the cause of his coming: he asked also, if it were so indeed. Then the high priest told him, that there was such money laid up for the up holding of widows and fatherless children, and how that certain of it belonged unto Hircanus Tobias a noble man: and that of all the money (which that wicked Simon had bewrayed(betrayed /disclosed)) there were four hundred talents of silver, and two hundred of gold: yes and that it were unpossible for those mens meaning to be deceived, that had layed up their money in the place and temple, (which is had in worship through the whole world) for the maintenance and honor of the same. Whereunto Heliodorus answered, that the king had commanded him in any wise, to bring him in the money.
     So at the day appointed, Heliodorus entered in to temple to order this matter. But there was no small fear throughout the whole city. The priests fell down before the altar in their vestments, and called unto heaven upon him, which had made a law concerning stuff given to keep, that they should be safely preserved, for such as commit them unto keeping. Then whoso had looked the high priest in the face, it would have grieved his heart: For his countenance and the changing of his color, declared the inward sorrow of his mind. The man was all in heaviness, and his body in fear: whereby they that looked upon him, might perceive the grief of his heart. The other people also came out of their houses by heaps unto the common prayer, because the place was like to come in to confusion. The women came together through the streets, with hairy clothes about their breasts.
     The virgins also that were kept in, ran to Onias, some to the walls, other some looked out of the windows: yes they all held their hands toward heaven, and prayed. A miserable thing was it, to look upon the common people, and the high priest being in such trouble. But they besought almighty God, that the goods that were committed unto them, might be kept whole, for those that had committed them unto their keeping. Nevertheless the thing that Heliodorus was determined to do, that performed he in the same place, he himself personally being about the treasury with his men of war. But the spirit of almighty God (kjv = the Lord of spirits, and the** Prince of all power caused a great apparition), showed himself openly, so that all they which presumed to obey Heliodorus, fell through the power of God into great fearfulness and dread. For there appeared unto them an horse, with a terrible man sitting upon him, decked in goodly array, and the horse smote at Heliodorus with his forefeet. Now he that sat upon the horse, had harness of gold upon him. ** This "Prince of the power of the air" in Ephes 2:2 (kjv) refers to Satan.
     Moreover there appeared two fair and beautiful young men in goodly array, which stood by him, scourged him of both sides, and gave him many stripes without ceasing. With that fell Heliodorus suddenly unto the ground. So that they took him up (being compassed about with great darkness) and bare him out upon a bare (litter).
Thus he that came with so many runners and men of war into the said treasury was born out, where as no man might help him: and so the power of God was manifest and known. He lay still dumb by also by the power of God, destitute of all hope and life. And they praised the Lord, that he had showed his power upon his place and temple, which a little before was full of fear and trouble: and that through the revelation of the almighty Lord it was filled with joy and gladness.
     Then certain of Heliodorus friends prayed Onias, that in all have he would call upon God, to grant him his life, which was giving up the ghost. So the high priest considered the matter, and least the king should suspect that the Jews had done Heliodorus some evil: he offered an healthoffering for him. Now when the high priest had obtained his petition, the same young men in the same clothing appeared, and stood beside Heliodorus, saying: Thank Onias the high priest, for his sake has the Lord granted you your life: Therefore seeing that God has scourged you, give him praise and thanks, and show every man his might and power. And when they had spoken these words, they appeared no more.
     So Heliodorus offered unto God, made vows unto him, which had granted him his life, thanked Onias, took his host, and went again to the king. Then testified he unto every man of the great works of God, that he had seen with his eyes. And when the king asked Heliodorus who were mete (worthy) to be sent once again to Jerusalem, he said: If you have any enemy or adversary unto your realm, send him over there, and you shall have him punished, if he escape with his life: for in that place, (no doubt) there is a special power and working of God. For he that dwells in heaven, visits and defends that place: and all that come to do it harm, he punishes and plagues them. This is now the matter concerning Heliodorus, and the keeping of the treasury at Jerusalem.

The 4th Chapter
     This Simon now (of whom we spoke before) being a betrayer of the money and of his own natural country, reported the worst of Onias: as though he had moved Heliodorus unto this, and as though he had been a bringer up of evil. Thus he was not ashamed call him an enemy of the realm, that was so faithful an overseer and defender of the city and of his people: yes and so fervent in the law of God. But when the malice of Simon increased so far, that through his friends there were certain manslaughters committed: Onias considered the peril that might come through this strife, and how that Apollonius (namely the chief lord in Celosyria and Phenices) was all set up tyranny, and Simons malice increased the same: He got him to the king, not as an accuser of the citizens, but as one that by himself intended the common wealth of the whole multitude. For he saw it was not possible to live in peace, neither Simon to leave off from his foolishness, except the king did look thereto. But after the death of Seleucus, when Antiochus (which is called the noble) (kjv =Epiphanes) took the kingdom: Jason the brother of Onias labored to be high priest: for he came unto the king, and promised him three hundred and sixty talents of silver, and of the other rents eighty talents. Beside this he promised him yet an hundred and fifty if he might have *the school of the children, and that he might call them of Jerusalem Antiochians. (kjv = *license to set him up a place for exercise, and for the training up of youth in the fashions of the heathen, and to write them of Jerusalem by the name of Antiochians.) Which when the king had granted, and he had gotten the superiority, he began immediately to draw his kinsmen to the custom of the Heathen, put down the things that the Jews had set up of love, by John the father of Eupolemius, which was sent ambassador unto Rome, for to make the bond of friendship and love. He put down all the Jews and Liberties of the Jews, and set up the wicked statutes. He durst make a frightening school under the castle, and set fair young men to learn the manners of whores and brodels.
     This was now the beginning of the Heathenish and strange conversation, brought in through the ungracious and unheard wickedness of Jason, which should not be called a Priest, but an ungodly person. In so much that the priests were now no more occupied about the service of the altar, but despised the temple, regarded not the offerings: yes gave their diligence to learn to fight, to wrestle, to leap, to dance, and to put at the stone: not setting by the honor of the fathers, but liked the glory of the Greeks best of all: for the which they strove perilously, and were greedy to follow their statutes, yes their lust was in all things to be like them, which before were their enemies and destroyers. How be it to do wickedly against the law of God, shall not escape unpunished: but of this we shall speak here after.
     What time as the Olympiades sports were played at Tyrus (the king himself being present) this ungracious Jason sent *wicked men (kjv=special messengers) bearing from them of Jerusalem (which were now called Antiochians) three hundred drachmas of silver for an offering to Hercules. These had they that carried them, desired under such a fashion, as though they should not have been offered, but bestowed to other uses. Nevertheless he that sent them, sent them to the intent that they should be offered unto Hercules. But because of those that were present, they were given as to the making of ships. And Apollonius the son of Nesteus was sent into Egypt, because of the noble men of king Ptolomy Philometor. Now when Antiochus perceived that he was put out from meddling in the realm, he sought his own profit, departed from that place, came to Joppa, and then to Jerusalem: where he was honorably received of Jason and the city, and was brought in with torch light and with great praise: and so he turned his host unto Phenices.
     After three years Jason sent Menelaus, the beforesaid Simons brother, to bear the money unto the king, and to bring him answer of other necessary matters. But he (when he was praised of the king for magnifying of his power) turned the priesthood unto himself, laying up three hundred talents of silver for Jason. So when he had gotten the commandments from the king, he came having nothing that becomes a priest, but bearing the stomach of a cruel tyrant, and the wrath of a wild brute beast. Then Jason (which had deceived his own brother) seeing that he himself was beguiled also, was faine (obligated/willing) to flee into the land of the Ammonites, and Menelaus got the dominion. But as for the money that he had promised unto the king, he did nothing therein, when Sostratus the ruler of the castle required it of him. For Sostratus was the man that gathered the customs: wherefore they were both called before the king. Thus was Menelaus put out of the priesthood, and Lysimachus his brother came in his stead. Sostratus also was made lord of the Cyprians.
     It happened in the mean season, that the Tharsians and Mallocians made insurrection, because they were given for a present unto king Antiochus concubine. Then came the king in all haste, to still them again, and to pacify the matter, leaving Andronicus there to be his deputy, as one mete (worthy) therefore. Now Menelaus supposing that he had gotten a right convenient time, stole certain vessels of gold out of the temple, and gave them to Andronicus for a present: and some he sold at Tyrus and in the cities thereby.
     Which when Onias knew of a surety, he reproved him: but he kept him in a Sanctuary beside Daphnis, that lies by Antioche. Wherefore Menelaus got him to Andronicus, and prayed him that he would slay Onias. So when he came to Onias, he counselled him craftily to come out of the Sanctuary, giving him his hand with an oath (how be it he suspected him) and then he slew Onias, without any regard of righteousness. For the which cause not only the Jews, but other nations also took indignation, and were displeased for the unrighteous death of so godly a man.
     And when the king was come again from Cilicia, the Jews and certain of the Greeks went unto him, complaining for the unrighteous death of Onias. Yes Antiochus himself was sorry in his mind for Onias, so that it pitied him, and he wept, remembering his soberness and mannerly behavior. Wherefore was he so kindled in his mind, that he commanded Andronicus to be stripped out of his purple clothing, and so to be led throughout all the city: yes and the ungracious man to be slain in the same place, where he committed his wickedness upon Onais. Thus the Lord rewarded him his punishment, as he had deserved. Now when Lysimachus had done many wicked deeds in the temple through the counsel of Menelaus, and the voice came abroad: the multitude gathered them together against Lysimachus, for he had carried out now much gold.
     So when the people arose, and were full of displeasure, Lysimachus armed three thousand unthirifties to defend him: a certain tyrant being their captain, which was grown both in age and woodness. (kjv = one Auranus being the leader) , But when the people understood the purpose of Lysimachus, some got stones, some good strong clubs, and some cast ashes upon Lysimachus. Thus there were many of them wounded, some being slain, and all the other chased away. But as for the wicked *churchrobber himself, they killed him beside the treasury. Of these matters therefore there was kept a court against Menelaus. Now when the king came to Tyrus, they made a complaint unto him of Menelaus, concerning this business, and the ambassadors were there. But Menelaus went and promised Ptolomy to give him much money, if he would persuade the king. So Ptolomy went to the king in to a court, (where as he was set to cool him) and brought him out of that mind. In so much that he discharged Menelaus from the accusations, that not withstanding was cause of all mischief: and those poor men, which if they had told their cause, yes before the Scythians, they should have been judged innocent, them he condemned to death. *church: Again this word "church" is describing the robbing of a building. RN
     Thus were they soon punished, which followed upon the matter for the city, for the people, and for the holy vessel. Wherefore they of Tyrus took indignation, and buried them honorably. And so through the covetousness of them that were in power Menelaus remained still in authority, increasing in malice, to the hurt of the citizens.

The 5th Chapter
     At the same time Antiochus made him ready to go again into Egypt. Then were there seen at Jerusalem, forty days long, horsemen running to and fro in the air, which had raiment of gold, and spears. There were seen also whole hosts of men weaponed, and horses running in an order, how they came together, how they held forth their shields, how the harnessed men drew out their swords, and shot their darts.
     The shine of the golden weapons was seen, and of all manner of armor. Wherefore every man prayed, that those tokens might turn to good. Now when there was gone forth a false rumor, as though Antiochus had been dead, Jason took a thousand men, and came suddenly upon the city. The citizens ran unto the walls, at the last was the city taken, and Menelaus fled into the castle.
     As for Jason he spared not his own citizens in the slaughter, neither considered he what great evil it were, to destroy the people of his own kinsmen: but did as one that had gotten the victory of his enemies, and not his friends. For all this got he not the superiority, but at the last received confusion for his malice, and fled again like a vagabond in to the land of the Ammonites.
     Finally, for a reward of his wickedness, he was accused before Aretha the king of the Arabians: In so much that he was faine (obliged/willing) to flee from city to city, being despised of every man as a forsaker of the laws, and an abominable person. And at the last (as an open enemy of his own natural country and of the citizens) he was driven in to Egypt.
     Thus he that before put many out of their own natural land, perished from home himself. He went into Lacedemon, thinking there to have gotten succor by reason of his kindred. And he that before had chased many one out unburied, was thrown out himself, no man mourning for him, nor putting him in his grave: so that he neither enjoyed the burial of a stranger, neither was he partaker of his fathers sepulchre.
     Now when this was done the king suspect, that the Jews would have fallen from him: wherefore he came in a great displeasure out of Egypt, and took the city by violence. He commanded his men of war also, that they should kill and not spare, but slay down such as withstood them, or climbed up upon the houses.
     Thus was there a great slaughter of young men, old men, women, children and virgins. In three days were there slain eighty thousand, forty thousand put in prison, and no less sold. Yet was he not content with this, but durst go in to the most holy temple (Menelaus that traitor to the laws and to his own natural country, being his guide) and with his wicked hands took the holy vessel, which other kings and cities had given over there for the garnishing and honor of the place: them took he in his hands unworthily, and defiled them.
     So mad was Antiochus, that he considered not, how that God was a little wroth for the sins of them that dwelt in the city, for the which such confusion came upon the that place. And why? If it had not happened them to have been lapped by many sins, this Antiochus (as soon as he had come) had so suddenly been punished, and shot out for his presumption, like as Heliodorus was, whom Seleucus the king sent to *rob (kjv =view) the treasury. Nevertheless God has not chosen the people for the places sake, but the place far the peoples sake: and therefore is the place become a partaker of the peoples trouble, but afterward shall it enjoy the wealth of them. And like as it is now forsaken in the wrath of Almighty God, so when the great God is reconciled, it shall be set up in high worship again.
     So when Antiochus had taken a thousand and eight hundred talents out of the temple, he got him to Antioche in all the hast, thinking in his pride, that he might make men sail upon the dry land, and to go upon the sea, such an high mind had he. He left deputies there to vex the people: At Jerusalem left he Philippe a Phrygian, in manners more cruel than himself that set him there: At Garizim he left Andronicus and Menelaus, which were more grievous to the citizens then other. Now as he was thus set in malice against the Jews, he sent Apollonius an hated prince, with twenty two thousand, commanding him to slay all those that were of perfect age, and to sell the women, maidens and children. When he came now unto Jerusalem, he fained (pretended) peace, and kept him still until the Sabbath day. And then he commanded his men to take themselves to their weapons (for the Jews kept the holy day) and so he slew all them that were gone forth to the open playe (plain, play), running here and there through the city with his men weaponed and murdered a great number. But Judas Maccabeus which was the tenth, fled into the wilderness, led his life there with his company among the wild beasts and upon the mountains, dwelling there, and eating grass, least they be partakers of the *filthiness. (*kjv= pollution)

CONTINUE

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