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3 Maccabees 2

2Then the High-Priest Simon bowing his knees before the holy place, and spreading out his hands in calm reverence, prayed after this manner: Lord, Lord, king of the heavens, and sovereign of all creation, holy among the holy ones, only ruler, almighty, give ear to us who are grievously troubled by one wicked and profane, made wanton in insolence and might. For thou who hast created all things, and governest the whole world, art a righteous ruler, and judgest those who do aught in violence and arrogance. Thou didst destroy those who aforetime did iniquity, among whom were giants trusting in their strength and boldness, bringing upon them a boundless flood of water. Thou didst burn up with fire and brimstone the men of Sodom, workers of arrogance, who had become known of all for their crimes, and didst make them an example to those who should come after. Thou didst try with manifold and grievous punishments the insolent Pharaoh when he enslaved thy holy people Israel, and didst make known thy mighty power. And when he pursued with chariots and a multitude of peoples thou didst overwhelm him in the depth of the sea, but those who trusted in thee, the ruler of all creation, thou didst bring safely through. And they seeing the works of thy hands did praise thee, the almighty. Thou, O King, when thou didst create the boundless and measureless earth, didst choose this city and sanctify this place [for thy name] for thyself, who hast need of nothing, and didst glorify it by a splendid manifestation, establishing, it to the glory of thy great and honourable name. 10 And loving the house of Israel, thou didst promise that if there should be a falling away, and distress should overtake us, and we should come to this place and make our supplication, thou wouldst hear our prayer. 11 And indeed thou art faithful and true. 12 And seeing that oftentimes when our fathers were afflicted thou didst succour them in their humiliation, and didst deliver them from great evils, 13 behold now, O holy king, for our many great sins we are grievously troubled and put into subjection to our foes, and faint in our weakness. 14 In our low estate this insolent and profane man seeketh to do violence to the holy place which is consecrated upon earth to the name of thy glory. 15 For man cannot reach thy dwelling place, the heaven of heavens. 16 But since thy good pleasure was in thy glory amongst thy people Israel, thou didst hallow this place. 17 Punish us not by the uncleanness of these men, neither chastise us by their profane doings, lest the transgressors boast in their wrath or exult in the insolence of their tongue, saying, 18 We have trodden down the house of the sanctuary as the houses of the abominations are trodden down. 19 Blot out our sins and scatter abroad our offences and manifest thy mercy at this hour. 20 Let thy compassion speedily overtake us, and put praises in the mouth of the fallen and broken in heart, granting us peace.

21 Then the God who beholds all, the Father of all holy among the holy ones, hearing the supplication spoken according to the law, scourged him who was greatly uplifted in violence and insolence, 22 shaking him to and fro as a reed by the wind, so that lying on the ground powerless and paralysed in body he could not so much as speak, being smitten by a righteous judgement. 23 Where-upon his friends and body-guard, seeing that the chastisement which had overtaken him was swift, and fearing lest he should even die, speedily drew him out, being overwhelmed by an exceeding great fear. 24 But having after some time recovered himself, he by no means came to repentance though he had been thus punished, but departed with bitter threats.

25 So, arriving in Egypt, and going on further in his wickedness, through his boon companions and associates, 26 who have been already mentioned, utter strangers to all justice, he was not content with his countless excesses, but even reached such a pitch of insolence that he raised evil reports in those parts, and many of his friends watching carefully the royal purpose, themselves also followed his will. 27 He purposed publicly to inflict a disgrace upon the Jewish nation, and erected a pillar on the tower in the palace with the inscription, 28 That none who did not sacrifice should be allowed to enter their temples; and that all Jews should be degraded to the rank of natives and the condition of serfs, 29 and that those who spoke against it should be taken by force and put to death; and that those who were registered should even be branded on their bodies with an ivy-leaf, the emblem of Dionysus, and be reduced to their former limited status. 30 But that he might not appear an enemy to all, he added: But if any of them prefer to join those who are initiated into the mysteries, they shall have equal rights with the citizens of Alexandria.

31 Some obviously hating the price paid for the religion of their city readily gave themselves up, expecting to gain great glory from their association with the king. 32 But the greater part stood firm with a noble courage, and departed not from their religion; and paying money as a ransom for their lives fearlessly attempted to save themselves from the registration. 33 And they remained of good hope that they should find help, and abhorred those who parted from them, accounting them as enemies of their nation, and excluding them from social intercourse and the rendering of any service.

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