Second Maccabees Chapter – 4 – World English Bible

Second Maccabees Chapters

1 But the aforesaid Simon, he who had given information of the money, and had betrayed his country, slandered Onias, saying that it was he who had incited Heliodorus, and made himself the author of these evils.

2 And him that was the benefactor of the city, and the guardian of his fellow countrymen, and a zealot for the laws, he dared to call a conspirator against the state.

3 But when the growing enmity between them waxed so great, that even murders were perpetrated through one of Simon’s trusted followers,

4 Onias, seeing the danger of the contention, and that Apollonius the son of Menestheus, the governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, was increasing Simon’s malice,

5 betook himself to the king, not to be an accuser of his fellow-citizens, but looking to the good of all the people, both public and private;

6 for he saw that without the king’s providence it was impossible for the state to obtain peace any more, and that Simon would not cease from his madness.

7 But when Seleucus was deceased, and Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, succeeded to the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias supplanted his brother in the high priesthood,

8 having promised to the king at an audience three hundred and threescore talents of silver, and out of another fund eighty talents;

9 and beside this, he undertook to assign a hundred and fifty more, if it might be allowed him through the king’s authority to set him up a Greek place of exercise and form a body of youths to be trained therein, and to register the inhabitants of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch.

10 And when the king had given assent, and he had gotten possession of the office, he forthwith brought over them of his own race to the Greek fashion.

11 And setting aside the royal ordinances of special favor to the Jews, granted by the means of John the father of Eupolemus, who went on the ambassage to the Romans for friendship and alliance, and seeking to overthrow the lawful modes of life, he brought in new customs forbidden by the law:

12 for he eagerly established a Greek place of exercise under the citadel itself; and caused the noblest of the young men to wear the Greek cap.

13 And thus there was an extreme of Greek fashions, and an advance of an alien religion, by reason of the exceeding profaneness of Jason, that ungodly man and no high priest;

14 so that the priests had no more any zeal for the services of the altar: but despising the sanctuary, and neglecting the sacrifices, they hastened to enjoy that which was unlawfully provided in the palaestra, after the summons of the discus;

15 making of no account the honors of their fathers, and thinking the glories of the Greeks best of all.

16 By reason whereof sore calamity beset them; and the men whose ways of living they earnestly followed, and to whom they desired to be made like in all things, these they had to be their enemies and to punish them.

17 For it is not a light thing to do impiously against the laws of God: but these things the time following shall declare.

18 Now when certain games that came every fifth year were kept at Tyre, and the king was present,

19 the vile Jason sent sacred envoys, as being Antiochians of Jerusalem, bearing three hundred drachmas of silver to the sacrifice of Hercules, which even the bearers thereof thought not right to use for any sacrifice, because it was not fit, but to expend on another charge.

20 And though in the purpose of the sender this money was for the sacrifice of Hercules, yet on account of present circumstances it went to the equipment of the galleys.

21 Now when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for the enthronement of Ptolemy Philometor as king, Antiochus, learning that Ptolemy had shown himself ill affected toward the state, took thought for the security of his realm; wherefore, going by sea to Joppa, he travelled on to Jerusalem.

22 And being magnificently received by Jason and the city, he was brought in with torches and shouting. This done, he afterward led his army down into Phoenicia.

23 Now after a space of three years Jason sent Menelaus, the aforesaid Simon’s brother, to bear the money to the king, and to make reports concerning some necessary matters.

24 But he being commended to the king, and having glorified himself by the display of his authority, got the high priesthood for himself, outbidding Jason by three hundred talents of silver.

25 And having received the royal mandates he came to Jerusalem, bringing nothing worthy the high priesthood, but having the passion of a cruel tyrant, and the rage of a savage beast.

26 And whereas Jason, who had supplanted his own brother, was supplanted by another and driven as a fugitive into the country of the Ammonites,

27 Menelaus had possession of the office: but of the money that had been promised to the king nothing was duly paid, and that though Sostratus the governor of the citadel demanded it

28 (for to him appertained the gathering of the revenues); for which cause they were both called by the king to his presence.

29 And Menelaus left his own brother Lysimachus for his deputy in the high priesthood; and Sostratus left Crates, who was over the Cyprians.

30 Now while such was the state of things, it came to pass that they of Tarsus and Mallus made insurrection, because they were to be given as a present to Antiochis, the king’s concubine.

31 The king therefore came to Cilicia in all haste to settle matters, leaving for his deputy Andronicus, a man of high rank.

32 And Menelaus, supposing that he had gotten a favorable opportunity, presented to Andronicus certain vessels of gold belonging to the temple, which he had stolen: other vessels also he had already sold into Tyre and the cities round about.

33 And when Onias had sure knowledge of this, he sharply reproved him, having withdrawn himself into a sanctuary at Daphne, that lies by Antioch.

34 Wherefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus apart, prayed him to kill Onias. And coming to Onias, and being persuaded to use treachery, and being received as a friend, Andronicus gave him his right hand with oaths of fidelity, and, though he was suspected by him, so persuaded him to come forth of the sanctuary; and forthwith he despatched him without regard of justice.

35 For the which cause not only Jews, but many also of the other nations, had indignation and displeasure at the unjust murder of the man.

36 And when the king was come back again from the places in Cilicia, the Jews that were in the city pleaded before him against Andronicus (the Greeks also joining with them in hatred of the wickedness), urging that Onias had been wrongfully slain.

37 Antiochus therefore was heartily sorry, and was moved to pity, and wept, because of the sober and well ordered life of him that was dead;

38 and being inflamed with passion, forthwith he stripped off Andronicus’s purple robe, and tore off his under garments, and when he had led him round through the whole city to that very place where he had committed impiety against Onias, there he put the murderer out of the way, the Lord rendering to him the punishment he had deserved.

39 Now when many sacrileges had been committed in the city by Lysimachus with the consent of Menelaus, and when the bruit thereof was spread abroad outside, the people gathered themselves together against Lysimachus, after many vessels of gold had been already dispersed.

40 And when the multitudes were rising against him, and were filled with anger, Lysimachus armed about three thousand men, and with unrighteous violence began the conflict, one Hauran, a man far gone in years and no less also in madness, leading the attack.

41 But when they perceived the assault of Lysimachus, some caught up stones, others logs of wood, and some took handfuls of the ashes that lay near, and they flung them all pell-mell upon Lysimachus and those who were with him;

42 by reason of which they wounded many of them, and some they struck to the ground, and all of them they forced to flee, but the author of the sacrilege himself they killed beside the treasury.

43 But touching these matters there was an accusation laid against Menelaus.

44 And when the king was come to Tyre, the three men that were sent by the senate pleaded the cause before him.

45 But Menelaus, seeing himself now defeated, promised much money to Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes, that he might win over the king.

46 Whereupon Ptolemy taking the king aside into a cloister, as it were to take the air, brought him to be of another mind:

47 and him that was the cause of all the evil, Menelaus, he discharged from the accusations; but these hapless men, who, if they had pleaded even before Scythians, would have been discharged uncondemned, them he sentenced to death.

48 Soon then did those who were spokesmen for the city and the families of Israel and the holy vessels suffer that unrighteous penalty.

49 For which cause even certain Tyrians, moved with hatred of the wickedness, provided magnificently for their burial.

50 But Menelaus through the covetous dealings of those who were in power remained still in his office, growing in wickedness, as a great conspirator against his fellow-citizens.

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