11The brethren, the Jews that be at Jerusalem and in the land of Judea, wish unto the brethren, the Jews that are throughout Egypt health and peace:
2God be gracious unto you, and remember his covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his faithful servants;
3And give you all an heart to serve him, and to do his will, with a good courage and a willing mind;
4And open your hearts in his law and commandments, and send you peace,
5And hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in time of trouble.
6And now we be here praying for you.
7What time as Demetrius reigned, in the hundred threescore and ninth year, we the Jews wrote unto you in the extremity of trouble that came upon us in those years, from the time that Jason and his company revolted from the holy land and kingdom,
8And burned the porch, and shed innocent blood: then we prayed unto the Lord, and were heard; we offered also sacrifices and fine flour, and lighted the lamps, and set forth the loaves.
9And now see that ye keep the feast of tabernacles in the month Casleu.
10In the hundred fourscore and eighth year, the people that were at Jerusalem and in Judea, and the council, and Judas, sent greeting and health unto Aristobulus, king Ptolemeus’ master, who was of the stock of the anointed priests, and to the Jews that were in Egypt:
11Insomuch as God hath delivered us from great perils, we thank him highly, as having been in battle against a king.
12For he cast them out that fought within the holy city.
13For when the leader was come into Persia, and the army with him that seemed invincible, they were slain in the temple of Nanea by the deceit of Nanea’s priests.
14For Antiochus, as though he would marry her, came into the place, and his friends that were with him, to receive money in name of a dowry.
15Which when the priests of Nanea had set forth, and he was entered with a small company into the compass of the temple, they shut the temple as soon as Antiochus was come in:
16And opening a privy door of the roof, they threw stones like thunderbolts, and struck down the captain, hewed them in pieces, smote off their heads and cast them to those that were without.
17Blessed be our God in all things, who hath delivered up the ungodly.
18Therefore whereas we are now purposed to keep the purification of the temple upon the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, we thought it necessary to certify you thereof, that ye also might keep it, as the feast of the tabernacles, and of the fire, which was given us when Neemias offered sacrifice, after that he had builded the temple and the altar.
19For when our fathers were led into Persia, the priests that were then devout took the fire of the altar privily, and hid it in an hollow place of a pit without water, where they kept it sure, so that the place was unknown to all men.
20Now after many years, when it pleased God, Neemias, being sent from the king of Persia, did send of the posterity of those priests that had hid it to the fire: but when they told us they found no fire, but thick water;
21Then commanded he them to draw it up, and to bring it; and when the sacrifices were laid on, Neemias commanded the priests to sprinkle the wood and the things laid thereupon with the water.
22When this was done, and the time came that the sun shone, which afore was hid in the cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that every man marvelled.
23And the priests made a prayer whilst the sacrifice was consuming, I say, both the priests, and all the rest, Jonathan beginning, and the rest answering thereunto, as Neemias did.
24And the prayer was after this manner; O Lord, Lord God, Creator of all things, who art fearful and strong, and righteous, and merciful, and the only and gracious King,
25The only giver of all things, the only just, almighty, and everlasting, thou that deliverest Israel from all trouble, and didst choose the fathers, and sanctify them:
26Receive the sacrifice for thy whole people Israel, and preserve thine own portion, and sanctify it.
27Gather those together that are scattered from us, deliver them that serve among the heathen, look upon them that are despised and abhorred, and let the heathen know that thou art our God.
28Punish them that oppress us, and with pride do us wrong.
29Plant thy people again in thy holy place, as Moses hath spoken.
30And the priests sung psalms of thanksgiving.
31Now when the sacrifice was consumed, Neemias commanded the water that was left to be poured on the great stones.
32When this was done, there was kindled a flame: but it was consumed by the light that shined from the altar.
33So when this matter was known, it was told the king of Persia, that in the place, where the priests that were led away had hid the fire, there appeared water, and that Neemias had purified the sacrifices therewith.
34Then the king, inclosing the place, made it holy, after he had tried the matter.
35And the king took many gifts, and bestowed thereof on those whom he would gratify.
36And Neemias called this thing Naphthar, which is as much as to say, a cleansing: but many men call it Nephi.
21It is also found in the records, that Jeremy the prophet commanded them that were carried away to take of the fire, as it hath been signified:
2And how that the prophet, having given them the law, charged them not to forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds, when they see images of silver and gold, with their ornaments.
3And with other such speeches exhorted he them, that the law should not depart from their hearts.
4It was also contained in the same writing, that the prophet, being warned of God, commanded the tabernacle and the ark to go with him, as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God.
5And when Jeremy came thither, he found an hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door.
6And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it.
7Which when Jeremy perceived, he blamed them, saying, As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather his people again together, and receive them unto mercy.
8Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified.
9It was also declared, that he being wise offered the sacrifice of dedication, and of the finishing of the temple.
10And as when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the sacrifices: even so prayed Solomon also, and the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offerings.
11And Moses said, Because the sin offering was not to be eaten, it was consumed.
12So Solomon kept those eight days.
13The same things also were reported in the writings and commentaries of Neemias; and how he founding a library gathered together the acts of the kings, and the prophets, and of David, and the epistles of the kings concerning the holy gifts.
14In like manner also Judas gathered together all those things that were lost by reason of the war we had, and they remain with us,
15Wherefore if ye have need thereof, send some to fetch them unto you.
16Whereas we then are about to celebrate the purification, we have written unto you, and ye shall do well, if ye keep the same days.
17We hope also, that the God, that delivered all his people, and gave them all an heritage, and the kingdom, and the priesthood, and the sanctuary,
18As he promised in the law, will shortly have mercy upon us, and gather us together out of every land under heaven into the holy place: for he hath delivered us out of great troubles, and hath purified the place.
19Now as concerning Judas Maccabeus, and his brethren, and the purification of the great temple, and the dedication of the altar,
20And the wars against Antiochus Epiphanes, and Eupator his son,
21And the manifest signs that came from heaven unto those that behaved themselves manfully to their honour for Judaism: so that, being but a few, they overcame the whole country, and chased barbarous multitudes,
22And recovered again the temple renowned all the world over, and freed the city, and upheld the laws which were going down, the Lord being gracious unto them with all favour:
23All these things, I say, being declared by Jason of Cyrene in five books, we will assay to abridge in one volume.
24For considering the infinite number, and the difficulty which they find that desire to look into the narrations of the story, for the variety of the matter,
25We have been careful, that they that will read may have delight, and that they that are desirous to commit to memory might have ease, and that all into whose hands it comes might have profit.
26Therefore to us, that have taken upon us this painful labour of abridging, it was not easy, but a matter of sweat and watching;
27Even as it is no ease unto him that prepareth a banquet, and seeketh the benefit of others: yet for the pleasuring of many we will undertake gladly this great pains;
28Leaving to the author the exact handling of every particular, and labouring to follow the rules of an abridgement.
29For as the master builder of a new house must care for the whole building; but he that undertaketh to set it out, and paint it, must seek out fit things for the adorning thereof: even so I think it is with us.
30To stand upon every point, and go over things at large, and to be curious in particulars, belongeth to the first author of the story:
31But to use brevity, and avoid much labouring of the work, is to be granted to him that will make an abridgment.
32Here then will we begin the story: only adding thus much to that which hath been said, that it is a foolish thing to make a long prologue, and to be short in the story itself.
31Now when the holy city was inhabited with all peace, and the laws were kept very well, because of the godliness of Onias the high priest, and his hatred of wickedness,
2It came to pass that even the kings themselves did honour the place, and magnify the temple with their best gifts;
3Insomuch that Seleucus of Asia of his own revenues bare all the costs belonging to the service of the sacrifices.
4But one Simon of the tribe of Benjamin, who was made governor of the temple, fell out with the high priest about disorder in the city.
5And when he could not overcome Onias, he gat him to Apollonius the son of Thraseas, who then was governor of Celosyria and Phenice,
6And told him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of infinite sums of money, so that the multitude of their riches, which did not pertain to the account of the sacrifices, was innumerable, and that it was possible to bring all into the king’s hand.
7Now when Apollonius came to the king, and had shewed him of the money whereof he was told, the king chose out Heliodorus his treasurer, and sent him with a commandment to bring him the foresaid money.
8So forthwith Heliodorus took his journey; under a colour of visiting the cities of Celosyria and Phenice, but indeed to fulfil the king’s purpose.
9And when he was come to Jerusalem, and had been courteously received of the high priest of the city, he told him what intelligence was given of the money, and declared wherefore he came, and asked if these things were so indeed.
10Then the high priest told him that there was such money laid up for the relief of widows and fatherless children:
11And that some of it belonged to Hircanus son of Tobias, a man of great dignity, and not as that wicked Simon had misinformed: the sum whereof in all was four hundred talents of silver, and two hundred of gold:
12And that it was altogether impossible that such wrongs should be done unto them, that had committed it to the holiness of the place, and to the majesty and inviolable sanctity of the temple, honoured over all the world.
13But Heliodorus, because of the king’s commandment given him, said, That in any wise it must be brought into the king’s treasury.
14So at the day which he appointed he entered in to order this matter: wherefore there was no small agony throughout the whole city.
15But the priests, prostrating themselves before the altar in their priests’ vestments, called unto heaven upon him that made a law concerning things given to be kept, that they should safely be preserved for such as had committed them to be kept.
16Then whoso had looked the high priest in the face, it would have wounded his heart: for his countenance and the changing of his colour declared the inward agony of his mind.
17For the man was so compassed with fear and horror of the body, that it was manifest to them that looked upon him, what sorrow he had now in his heart.
18Others ran flocking out of their houses to the general supplication, because the place was like to come into contempt.
19And the women, girt with sackcloth under their breasts, abounded in the streets, and the virgins that were kept in ran, some to the gates, and some to the walls, and others looked out of the windows.
20And all, holding their hands toward heaven, made supplication.
21Then it would have pitied a man to see the falling down of the multitude of all sorts, and the fear of the high priest being in such an agony.
22They then called upon the Almighty Lord to keep the things committed of trust safe and sure for those that had committed them.
23Nevertheless Heliodorus executed that which was decreed.
24Now as he was there present himself with his guard about the treasury, the Lord of spirits, and the Prince of all power, caused a great apparition, so that all that presumed to come in with him were astonished at the power of God, and fainted, and were sore afraid.
25For there appeared unto them an horse with a terrible rider upon him, and adorned with a very fair covering, and he ran fiercely, and smote at Heliodorus with his forefeet, and it seemed that he that sat upon the horse had complete harness of gold.
26Moreover two other young men appeared before him, notable in strength, excellent in beauty, and comely in apparel, who stood by him on either side; and scourged him continually, and gave him many sore stripes.
27And Heliodorus fell suddenly unto the ground, and was compassed with great darkness: but they that were with him took him up, and put him into a litter.
28Thus him, that lately came with a great train and with all his guard into the said treasury, they carried out, being unable to help himself with his weapons: and manifestly they acknowledged the power of God.
29For he by the hand of God was cast down, and lay speechless without all hope of life.
30But they praised the Lord, that had miraculously honoured his own place: for the temple; which a little afore was full of fear and trouble, when the Almighty Lord appeared, was filled with joy and gladness.
31Then straightways certain of Heliodorus’ friends prayed Onias, that he would call upon the most High to grant him his life, who lay ready to give up the ghost.
32So the high priest, suspecting lest the king should misconceive that some treachery had been done to Heliodorus by the Jews, offered a sacrifice for the health of the man.
33Now as the high priest was making an atonement, the same young men in the same clothing appeared and stood beside Heliodorus, saying, Give Onias the high priest great thanks, insomuch as for his sake the Lord hath granted thee life:
34And seeing that thou hast been scourged from heaven, declare unto all men the mighty power of God. And when they had spoken these words, they appeared no more.
35So Heliodorus, after he had offered sacrifice unto the Lord, and made great vows unto him that had saved his life, and saluted Onias, returned with his host to the king.
36Then testified he to all men the works of the great God, which he had seen with his eyes.
37And when the king asked Heliodorus, who might be a fit man to be sent yet once again to Jerusalem, he said,
38If thou hast any enemy or traitor, send him thither, and thou shalt receive him well scourged, if he escape with his life: for in that place, no doubt, there is an especial power of God.
39For he that dwelleth in heaven hath his eye on that place, and defendeth it; and he beateth and destroyeth them that come to hurt it.
40And the things concerning Heliodorus, and the keeping of the treasury, fell out on this sort.