Second Maccabees Chapters
1 Now after a very little time Lysias, the king’s guardian and kinsman and chancellor, being sore displeased for the things that had come to pass,
2 collected about fourscore thousand footmen and all his horsemen and came against the Jews, thinking to make the city a place for Greeks to dwell in,
3 and to levy tribute on the temple, as on the other sacred places of the nations, and to put up the high priesthood to sale every year;
4 holding in no account the might of God, but puffed up with his ten thousands of footmen, and his thousands of horsemen, and his fourscore elephants.
5 And coming into Judea and drawing near to Bethsuron, which was a strong place and distant from Jerusalem about five leagues, he pressed it hard.
6 But when Maccabaeus and his men learnt that he was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people with lamentations and tears made supplication to the Lord to send a good angel to save Israel.
7 And Maccabaeus himself took up arms first, and exhorted the others to put themselves in jeopardy together with him and help their kindred; and they went out with him very willingly.
8 And as they were there, close to Jerusalem, there appeared at their head one on horseback in white apparel, brandishing weapons of gold.
9 And they all together praised the merciful God, and were yet more strengthened in heart: being ready to assail not men only but the wildest beasts, and walls of iron,
10 they advanced in array, having him that is in heaven to fight on their side, for the Lord had mercy on them.
11 And hurling themselves like lions upon the enemy, they killed of them eleven thousand footmen and sixteen hundred horsemen, and forced all the rest to flee.
12 But the more part of them escaped wounded and naked; and Lysias also himself escaped by shameful flight.
13 But as he was a man not void of understanding, weighing with himself the defeat which had befallen him, and considering that the Hebrews could not be overcome, because the Almighty God fought on their side, he sent again to them,
14 and persuaded them to come to terms on condition that all their rights were acknowledged, and promised that he would also persuade the king to become their friend.
15 And Maccabaeus gave consent upon all the conditions which Lysias proposed to him, being careful of the common good; for whatever requests Maccabaeus delivered in writing to Lysias concerning the Jews the king allowed.
16 For the letters written to the Jews from Lysias were to this effect: Lysias to the people of the Jews, greeting.
17 John and Absalom, who were sent from you, having delivered the petition written below, made request concerning the things signified therein.
18 Whatever things therefore had need to be brought before the king I declared to him, and what things were possible he allowed.
19 If then you° will preserve your good will towards the state, henceforward I will also endeavour to contribute to your good.
20 And on this behalf I have given order in detail, both to these men and to those that are sent from me, to confer with you.
21 Fare you° well. Written in the hundred and forty and eighth year, on the four and twentieth day of the month Dioscorinthius.
22 And the king’s letter was in these words: King Antiochus to his brother Lysias, greeting.
23 Seeing that our father passed to the gods having the wish that the subjects of his kingdom should be undisturbed and give themselves to the care of their own affairs,
24 we, having heard that the Jews do not consent to our father’s purpose to turn them to the customs of the Greeks, but choose rather their own manner of living, and make request that the customs of their law be allowed to them,—
25 choosing therefore that this nation also should be free from disturbance, we determine that their temple be restored to them, and that they live according to the customs that were in the days of their ancestors.
26 You will therefore do well to send messengers to them and give them the right hand of friendship, that they, knowing our mind, may be of good heart, and gladly occupy themselves with the conduct of their own affairs.
27 And to the nation the king’s letter was after this manner: King Antiochus to the senate of the Jews and to the other Jews, greeting.
28 If you° fare well, we have our desire: we ourselves also are in good health.
29 Menelaus informed us that your desire was to return home and follow your own business.
30 They therefore that depart home up to the thirties day of Xanthicus shall have our friendship, with full permission
31 that the Jews use their own proper meats and observe their own laws, even as formerly; and none of them shall be in any way molested for the things that have been ignorantly done.
32 Moreover I have sent Menelaus also, that he may encourage you.
33 Fare you° well. Written in the hundred and forty and eighth year, on the fifteenth day of Xanthicus.
34 And the Romans also sent to them a letter in these words: Quintus Memmius and Titus Manius, ambassadors of the Romans, to the people of the Jews, greeting.
35 In regard to the things which Lysias the king’s kinsman granted you, we also give consent.
36 But as for the things which he judged should be referred to the king, send one forthwith, after you° have advised thereof, that we may publish such decrees as befit your case; for we are on our way to Antioch.
37 Wherefore send some with speed, that we also may learn what is your mind.
38 Farewell. Written in the hundred and forty and eighth year, on the fifteenth day of Xanthicus.
First Maccabees First Esdras Prayer of Manasses
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