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3 Maccabees 4

4In every place where this decree reached, a feast at the public charges was made for the heathen with exultation and joy, the hatred which had long before become inveterate in their hearts being now freely displayed. But among the Jews there was unceasing grief and a lamentable crying with tears, their heart being all aflame with their groanings, as they bewailed the unlooked-for destruction which had been suddenly decreed against them. What district or city or what habitable place at all or what streets were not filled with wailing and lamentation for them? For in such manner with harshness and pitiless heart were they sent away with one accord by the generals in the cities, that at the sight of their unusual sufferings even some of their enemies, with common pity before their eyes, remembering the uncertain issue of life, wept at their hapless departure. For there was carried away a multitude of old men, covered with their wealth of grey hairs, forcing to a swift journey their feet bent and sluggish from old age under the violence of their rough driving which knew no shame. And the young women who had but lately entered the marriage chamber for the society of wedded life, with lamentations instead of joy, and with their perfumed locks covered with dust, were carried away unveiled, and with one accord sang a dirge in place of the wedding hymn, scarred by the cruel treatment of the heathen; and as prisoners exposed to public gaze they were dragged along with violence until they were embarked on board. And their consorts, with ropes on their necks instead of garlands, in the flower of their youthful age, spent the remainder of the days of their marriage feast in dirges instead of mirth and youthful ease, seeing the grave already yawning at their feet. And they were brought on board driven like wild beasts under the constraint of iron bonds; some were fastened by the neck to the benches of the ships; others had their feet secured in the 10 strongest fetters; 10 and further they were shut off from the light by the thick planks above, that in entire darkness they might be treated as traitors throughout the whole voyage.

11 When they had been brought to the place called Schedia, and the voyage was completed as determined by the king, he ordered them to be imprisoned in the hippodrome that was before the city, a place of immense circuit and very suitable for making them a gazing, stock to all who entered the city, and to those of the inhabitants (?) who went into the country to sojourn, so that they might neither communicate with his army, or in any way claim protection of the walls. 12 But after this had been done, hearing that their fellow-countrymen in the city often went out in secret and bewailed the shameful fate of their brethren, 13 he was enraged and ordered that they should be treated in exactly the same way as the others, receiving in no respect a lesser punishment. 14 And he commanded that the whole race should be registered by name, not for the wearisome service of labour which was briefly described before, but that they should be tortured with the torments to which he had sentenced them, and finally be made an end of in the space of a single day. 15 The registration therefore was carried on with bitter haste and zealous diligence from sunrise to sunset, coming to an end after forty days but still uncompleted.

16 But the king was greatly and continually filled with joy, ordering feasts in the temples of his. idols, with a heart far astray from the truth and profane lips, praising dumb idols which could not speak to them or help, and uttering words which were not fitting against the most high God. 17 But after the aforesaid space of time the scribes reported to the king that they were no longer able to continue the registration of the Jews on account of their incalculable number; 18 although the greater number of them were still in the country, some still remaining in their homes and others on the journey, it was impossible for all the generals in Egypt. 19 And after he had threatened them fiercely as having been bribed to contrive their escape, 20 he was at length clearly convinced on this point, when they told him and proved that even the paper manufactory and the pens which they used for writing had already given out. 21 But this was the working of the invincible providence of him who was aiding the Jews from heaven.

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