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1 Maccabees 2

2In those days rose up Mattathias, the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem; and he dwelt at Modin. And he had five sons: John, who was surnamed Gaddis; Simon, who was called Thassis; Judas, who was called Maccabaeus; Eleazar, who was called Auaran; and Jonathan, who was called Aphphus.

2:6–14. A Dirge over the desecration of the Holy City.

And he saw the blasphemous things that were done in Judah and in Jerusalem, and said, ‘Woe is me, why was I born to behold the ruin of my people and the ruina of the holy city, and to sit still there while it was being given into the hand of enemies, and the sanctuaryb into the hand of strangers?’

cHer housed is become like (that of) a man dishonourede c;

fHer glorious vessels are carried away captive;

Her infants have been slain in her streets,

Her young men with the sword of the enemy.

10 What nation hath the kingdom not taken possession of,

(Of what nation) hath it not seized the spoils?

11 Her adornment hath all been taken away,

gInstead of a free woman she is become a slaveg.

12 And, behold, our holy things, and our beauty, and our glory have been laid waste,

13 And the heathen have profaned them! To what purpose should we continue to live?

14 And Mattathias and his sons rent their garments, and covered themselves with sackcloth, and mourned greatly.

2:15–28. The commencement of the Maccabaean Revolt.

15 And the king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the city of Modin hto make them sacrificeh. 16 And many from Israel went unto them; but Mattathias and his sonsi gathered themselves together. 17 Then the king’s officers answered and spake unto Mattathias, saying: ‘A ruler art thou, and illustrious and great in this city, and upheld by sons and brothers. 18 Do thou, therefore, come first, and carry out the king’s command, as all the nations have done, and all the peoplek of Judah, and they that have remained in Jerusalem; then shalt thoul and mthy housem be (numbered among) the friends of the king, and thou and thy sons shall be honoured with silver and gold, and with many gifts.’ 19 Thereupon Mattathias answered and said with a loud voice: ‘If all the nations that are within the king’s dominions obey him by forsaking, nevery one of themn, the worship of their fathers, 20 and have chosen for themselves to follow his commands, yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. 21 Heaven forbid that we should forsake the Law and the ordinances; 22 (but) the lawo of the king we will not obey by departing from our worship either to the right hand or to the left.’ 23 And as hep ceased speaking qthese wordsq, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to sacrificer upon the altar in Modin in accordance with the king’s command. 24 And when Mattathias saw it, shis zeal was kindleds, and his heart quivered (with wrath); and his indig nation burst forth for judgement, 25 so that he ran and slew him on the altar; and tat the same timet he [also] killed the king’s officer who had come to enforce the sacrificing, 26 pulled down the altar, and [thus] showed forth his zeal for the Law, just as Phinehas had done in the case of Zimri the son of Salom. 27 And Mattathias cried out with a loud voice in the city, saying, ‘Let everyone that is zealous for the Law and that would maintain the covenant come forth after me!’ 28 And he and his sons fled unto the mountains, and left all that they possessed in the city.

2:29–38. A strict observance of the Sabbath results in the massacre of a thousand Jewish people.

29 At that time many who were seeking righteousness and judgement went down to the wilderness to abide there, they and their sons, and their wives, and their cattle; 30 for misfortunes ufell hardlyu upon them. 31 And it was reported to the king’s officers and to the troops that were in Jerusalem, the city of David, that men who had set at nought the king’s commandx had gone down into hiding-places in the wilderness. 32 And many ran after them, and having overtaken them, ythey encamped against them, andy set the battle in array against them on the Sabbath day. 33 And they said unto them: ‘zLet it suffice nowz; come forth, and do according to the command of the king, and ye shall live.’ 34 And they answered, ‘We will not come forth, nor will we do according to the command of the king, and thereby profane the Sabbath day. 35 Thereupon they immediately attacked them. 36 But they answered them not, 37 nor did they cast a stone at them, nor even block up their hiding-places, saying, ‘Let us all die in our innocency; Heaven and earth bear us witness that ye destroy us wrongfully’a. 38 And they attacked them on the Sabbath; and they died, they and their wives, and their children, and their cattle, about a thousand souls.

2:39–48. Mattathias, supported by the Chasidim, continues the war with success.

39 And when Mattathias and his friends knewb it they mourned greatly for them. 40 And one said to another, ‘If we all do as our brethren have done, and do not fight against the Gentiles for our lives and our ordinances, they will soon destroy us from off the earth.’ 41 And they took counsel on that day, saying, ‘Whosoever attacketh us on the Sabbath day, let us fight against him, that we may not in any case all die, as our brethren died in their hiding-places.’ 42 Then were there gathered unto them ca company of the Chasidimc, mighty men of Israel who willingly offered themselves for the Law, every one of them. 43 And all they that fled from the evils were added unto them, and reinforced them. 44 And they mustered a host, and smote sinners in their anger, and lawless men in their wrath; and the rest fled to the Gentiles to save themselves. 45 And Mattathias and his friendsd went round aboute, 46 and pulled down altarsf, and they circumcised by force the children that were uncircumcised, as many as theyg found hwithin the bordersh of Israel. 47 And they pursued after the sons of pride, and thei work prospered in their hand. 48 And they rescuedk the Law out of the hand of the Gentiles, and lout of the handl of them kings, neither suffered they the sinner to triumph.

2:49–70. The last words of Mattathias; his death.

49 And the days drew near that Mattathias should die, and he said unto his sons: ‘Now have pride and rebuken gotten strength and a season of destruction and wrath of indignation. 50 And now (my) children, be zealous for the Law, and give your lives for the covenant of youro fathersq. 51 pAnd call to mind the deeds of ther fatherss p which they did int their generationsq; uthat ye may receiveu great glory and an everlasting name. 52 Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was reckoned unto him forx righteousness? 53 Joseph, in the time of his distress, kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. 54 Phinehas, our father, for that he was zealous exceedingly, obtained the covenanty of an everlastingz priesthood. 55 Joshua, for fulfilling the worda, became a judge in Israel. 56 Caleb, for bearing witness inb the congregation, obtained cland (as) an heritagec. 57 David, for being merciful, inheritedd the throne ofd a ekingdom for ever and evere. 58 Elijah, for that he was exceeding zealous for the Law, was taken up into heavenf. 59 Hananiah, Azariah (and) Mishael, believing (in God)g, were saved from the flame. 60 Daniel, for his innocency, was delivered from the mouth of the lionsh. 61 And thus consider ye ifrom generation to generationi;—all who hope in Him shall want for nothing. 62 Andk be not afraid of the words of a sinful man, for his glory [shall be]l dung and wormsm. 63 To-day he shall be lifted up, and to-morrown he shall in no wise be found, because he is returned unto his dust, and his thought is perished. 64 oAnd yeo, (my) children, be strong and show yourselves men pon behalf of theq Lawp; for therein shall ye obtain glory. 65 And behold Simeon yourr brother, I know that he is a man of counsels; give ear unto him alwayt; he shall be a father unto you. 66 And Judas Maccabaeus, heu hath been strong and mightyv wfrom his youthw; he shall be your captain and shall fightx the battley of the peoplez. 67 And ye, take you unto you all those who observe the Law, and avenge the wrong of your people. 68 aRender a recompense to the Gentiles, and take heed to the commandments of the Law.’

69 And he blessed them, and was gathered unto hisb fathers. 70 cAnd hed died in the one hundred and forty-sixthe yearf c; gand his sons buried himg hin the sepulchresi of his fathersh at Modin; kand all Israel made great lamentation for himk.

Judas Maccabaeus. 3:1–9:22.

3:1–9. A Song of praise in honour of Judas Maccabaeus.

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