Third Maccabees Chapters
1 Now was it that the high priest Simon bowed his knees near the holy place, and spread out his hands in reverent form, and uttered the following supplication:
2 O Lord, Lord, King of the heavens, and Ruler of the whole creation, Holy among the holy, sole Governor, Almighty, give ear to us who are oppressed by a wicked and profane one, who celebrates in his confidence and strength.
3 It is you, the Creator of all, the Lord of the universe, who are a righteous Governor, and judge all who act with pride and insolence.
4 It was you who did destroy the former workers of unrighteousness, among whom were the giants, who trusted in their strength and daring, by covering them with a measureless flood.
5 It was you who did make the Sodomites, those workers of exceedingly iniquity, men notorious for their vices, an example to after generations, when you did cover them with fire and brimstone.
6 You did make known your power when you caused the bold Pharaoh, the enslaver of your people, to pass through the ordeal of many and diverse inflictions.
7 And you rolled the depths of the sea over him, when he made pursuit with chariots, and with a multitude of followers, and gave a safe passage to those who put their trust in you, the Lord of the whole creation.
8 These saw and felt the works of your hands, and praised you the Almighty.
9 You, O King, when you created the illimitable and measureless earth, did choose out this city: you did make this place sacred to your name, albeit you need nothing: you did glorify it with your illustrious presence, after constructing it to the glory of your great and honorable name.
10 And you did promise, out of love to the people of Israel, that should we fall away from you, and become afflicted, and then come to this house and pray, you would hear our prayer.
11 Truly you are faithful and true.
12 And when you did often aid our fathers when hard pressed, and in low estate, and delivered them out of gret dangers,
13 see now, holy King, how through our many and great sins we are borne down, and made subject to our enemies, and are become weak and powerless.
14 We being in this low condition, this bold and profane man seeks to dishonor this your holy place, consecrated out of the earth to the name of your Majesty.
15 Your dwelling place, the heaven of heavens, is indeed unapproachable to men.
16 But since it seemed good to you to exhibit your glory among your people Israel, you did sanctify this place.
17 Punish us not by means of the uncleanness of their men, nor chastise us by means of their profanity; lest the lawless ones should boast in their rage, and exult in exuberant pride of speech, and say,
18 We have trampled upon the holy house, as idolatrous houses are trampled upon.
19 Blot out our iniquities, and do away with our errors, and show forth your compassion in this hour.
20 Let your mercies quickly go before us. Grant us peace, that the cast down and broken hearted may praise you with their mouth.
21 At that time God, who sees all things, who is beyond all Holy among the holy, heard that prayer, so suitable; and scourged the man greatly uplifted with scorn and insolence.
22 Shaking him to and fro as a reed is shaken with the wind, he cast him upon the pavement, powerless, with limbs paralyzed; by a righteous judgment deprived of the faculty of speech.
23 His friends and bodyguards, beholding the swift recompense which had suddenly overtaken him, struck with exceeding terror, and fearing that he would die, speedily removed him.
24 When in course of time he had come to himself, this severe check caused no repentance within him, but he departed with bitter threatenings.
25 He proceeded to Egypt, grew worse in wickedness through his before mentioned companions in wine, who were lost to all goodness;
26 and not satisfied with countless acts of impiety, his audacity so increased that he raised evil reports there, and many of his friends, watching his purpose attentively, joined in furthering his will.
27 His purpose was to indict a public stigma upon our race; wherefore he erected a pillar at the tower-porch, and caused the following inscription to be engraved upon it:
28 That entrance to their own temple was to be refused to all those who would not sacrifice; that all the Jews were to be registered among the common people; that those who resisted were to be forcibly seized and put to death;
29 that those who were thus registered, were to be marked on their persons by the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysus, and to be set apart with these limited rights.
30 To do away with the appearance of hating them all, he had it written underneath, that if any of them should elect to enter the community of those initiated in the rites, these should have equal rights with the Alexandrians.
31 Some of those who were over the city, therefore, abhorring any approach to the city of piety, unhesitatingly gave in to the king, and expected to derive some great honor from a future connection with him.
32 A nobler spirit, however, prompted the majority to cling to their religious observances, and by paying money that they might live unmolested, these sought to escape the registration:
33 cheerfully looking forward to future aid, they abhorred their own apostates, considering them to be national foes, and debarring them from the common usages of social intercourse.
Psalm 151 Second Esdras Fourth Maccabees
Visit Catholic Gallery Main Site