Second Maccabees Chapters
1 But Nicanor, hearing that Judas and his company were in the region of Samaria, resolved to set upon them with all security on the day of rest.
2 And when the Jews that were compelled to follow him said, O destroy not so savagely and barbarously, but give due glory to the day which he that sees all things has honoured and hallowed above other days;
3 then the thrice-accursed wretch asked if there were a Sovereign in heaven that had commanded to keep the Sabbath day.
4 And when they declared, There is the Lord, living himself a Sovereign in heaven, who bade us observe the seventh day;
5 then says the other, I also am a sovereign upon the earth, who now command to take up arms and execute the king’s business. Nevertheless he prevailed not to execute his cruel purpose.
6 And Nicanor, bearing himself haughtily in all vaingloriousness, had determined to set up a monument of complete victory over Judas and all those who were with him:
7 but Maccabaeus still trusted unceasingly, with all hope that he should obtain help from the Lord.
8 And he exhorted his company not to be fearful at the inroad of the heathen, but, keeping in mind the help which of old they had oftentimes received from heaven, so now also to look for the victory which would come to them from the Almighty;
9 and comforting them out of the law and the prophets, and withal putting them in mind of the conflicts that they had maintained, he made them more eager for the battle.
10 And when he had roused their spirit, he gave them his commands, at the same time pointing out the perfidiousness of the heathen and their breach of their oaths.
11 And arming each one of them, not so much with the sure defence of shields and spears as with the encouragement that lies in good words, and moreover relating to them a dream worthy to be believed, he made them all exceedingly glad.
12 And the vision of that dream was this: He saw Onias, him that was high priest, a noble and good man, reverend in bearing, yet gentle in manner and well-spoken, and exercised from a child in all points of virtue, with outstretched hands invoking blessings on the whole body of the Jews:
13 thereupon he saw a man appear, of venerable age and exceedingly glory, and wonderful and most majestic was the dignity around him:
14 and Onias answered and said, This is the lover of the kindred, he who prays much for the people and the holy city, Jeremiah the prophet of God:
15 and Jeremiah stretching forth his right hand delivered to Judas a sword of gold, and in giving it addressed him thus,
16 Take the holy sword, a gift from God, wherewith you shall strike down the adversaries.
17 And being encouraged by the words of Judas, which were of a lofty strain, and able to incite to virtue and to stir the souls of the young to manly courage, they determined not to carry on a campaign, but nobly to bear down upon the enemy, and fighting hand to hand with all courage bring the matter to an issue, because the city and the sanctuary and the temple were in danger.
18 For their fear for wives and children, and furthermore for kindred and kinsfolk, was in less account with them; but greatest and first was their fear for the consecrated sanctuary.
19 And they also that were shut up in the city were in no light distress, being troubled because of the encounter in the open ground.
20 And when all were now waiting for the decision of the issue, and the enemy had already joined battle, and the army had been set in array, and the elephants brought back to a convenient post, and the horsemen drawn up on the flank,
21 Maccabaeus, perceiving the presence of the troops, and the various arms with which they were equipped, and the savageness of the elephants, holding up his hands to heaven called upon the Lord that works wonders, recognising that success comes not by arms, but that, according as the Lord shall judge, he gains the victory for those who are worthy.
22 And calling upon God he said after this manner: You, O Sovereign Lord, did send your angel in the time of Hezekiah king of Judea, and he killed of the army of Sennacherib as many as a hundred fourscore and five thousand;
23 so now also, O Sovereign of the heavens, send a good angel before us to bring terror and trembling:
24 through the greatness of your arm let them be stricken with dismay that with blasphemy are come here against your holy people. And as he ended with these words,
25 Nicanor and his company advanced with trumpets and victory songs;
26 but Judas and his company joined battle with the enemy with invocation and prayers.
27 And contending with their hands, and praying to God with their hearts, they killed no less than thirty five thousand men, being made exceedingly glad by the manifestation of God.
28 And when the engagement was over, and they were returning again with joy, they recognised Nicanor lying dead in full armour;
29 and there arose a shout and tumult, and then they blessed the Sovereign Lord in the language of their fathers.
30 And he that in all things was in body and soul the foremost champion of his fellow-citizens, he that kept through life the good will of his youth towards his countrymen, commanded to cut off Nicanor’s head, and his hand with the shoulder, and bring them to Jerusalem.
31 And when he had arrived there, and had called his countrymen together and set the priests before the altar, he sent for those who were in the citadel;
32 and showing the head of the vile Nicanor, and the hand of that profane man, which with proud brags he had stretched out against the holy house of the Almighty,
33 and cutting out the tongue of the impious Nicanor, he said that he would give it by pieces to the birds, and hang up the rewards of his madness near the sanctuary.
34 And they all looking up to heaven blessed the Lord who had manifested himself, saying, Blessed be he that has preserved his own place undefiled.
35 And he hanged Nicanor’s head and shoulder from the citadel, a sign, evident to all and manifest, of the help of the Lord.
36 And they all ordained with a common decree in no wise to let this day pass undistinguished, but to mark with honour the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (it is called Adar in the Syrian tongue), the day before the day of Mordecai.
37 THIS then having been the issue of the attempt of Nicanor, and the city having from those times been held by the Hebrews, I also will here make an end of my book.
38 And if I have written well and to the point in my story, this is what I myself desired; but if meanly and indifferently, this is all I could attain to.
39 For as it is distasteful to drink wine alone and in like manner again to drink water alone, while the mingling of wine with water at once gives full pleasantness to the flavour; so also the fashioning of the language delights the ears of those who read the story. And here shall be the end.
First Maccabees First Esdras Prayer of Manasses
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