The Bible in Its Traditions

2 Maccabees 11:1–38

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But a short time afterwards, Lysias, the procurator of the king and a near relative, who also was in charge of the government, was heavily weighed upon by what had happened.

2Mc11:1  Not long after the, Lysias the king’s protector and cousin, who also managed the affairs, took sore displeasure for the things that were done.

Gathering together eight thousand, along with all the horsemen, he came against the Jews, thinking that the city would certainly be captured, making it a dwelling place for the Gentiles,

2Mc11:2  And when he had gathered about fourscore thousand with all the horsemen, he came against the Jews, thinking to make the city an habitation of the Gentiles,

in truth, also thinking to make a profit in money from the temple, just as from the other shrines of the Gentiles, and to put the priesthood up for sale every year.

2Mc11:3  And to make a gain of the temple, as of the other chapels of the heathen, and to set the high priesthood to sale every year

Never recognizing the power of God, but inflated in mind, he trusted in the multitude of the foot soldiers, and in the thousands of horsemen, and in the eighty elephants.

2Mc11:4  Not at all considering the power of God but puffed up with his ten thousands of footmen, and his thousands of horsemen, and his fourscore elephants.

And so, he entered Judea, and, approaching Bethzur, which was in a narrow place, at an interval of five stadia from Jerusalem, he laid siege to that stronghold.

2Mc11:5  So he came to Judea, and drew near to Bethsura, which was a strong town, but distant from Jerusalem about five furlongs, and he laid sore siege unto it.

But when Maccabeus and those who were with him realized that the strongholds were besieged, they and all the crowd together petitioned the Lord with weeping and tears, that he would send a good Angel to save Israel.

2Mc11:6  Now when they that were with Maccabeus heard that he besieged the holds, they and all the people with lamentation and tears besought the Lord that he would send a good angel to deliver Israel.

And so the leader Maccabeus, taking up arms, exhorted the others, to undergo the peril together with him, and to bring assistance to their brothers.

2Mc11:7  Then Maccabeus himself first of all took weapons, exhorting the other that they would jeopard themselves together with him to help their brethren: so they went forth together with a willing mind.

And when they together were going forth with a ready spirit, there appeared at Jerusalem a horseman, preceding them in radiant clothing and with weapons of gold, waving a spear.

2Mc11:8  And as they were at Jerusalem, there appeared before them on horseback one in white clothing, shaking his armour of gold.

Then they all together blessed the merciful Lord, and strengthened their souls, being prepared to break through not only men, but also the most ferocious beasts and walls of iron.

2Mc11:9  Then they praised the merciful God all together, and took heart, insomuch that they were ready not only to fight with men, but with most cruel beasts, and to pierce through walls of iron.

10  Thus, they went forth readily, having a helper from heaven, and with the Lord taking pity on them.

2Mc11:10  Thus they marched forward in their armour, having an helper from heaven: for the Lord was merciful unto them

11  Then, rushing violently against the enemy, in the manner of lions, they struck down from among them: eleven thousand foot soldiers and one thousand six hundred horsemen.

2Mc11:11  And giving a charge upon their enemies like lions, they slew eleven thousand footmen, and sixteen hundred horsemen, and put all the other to flight.

12  And they turned all the rest to flight. But many of them, being wounded, escaped with nothing. And Lysias himself also escaped, fleeing in disgrace.

2Mc11:12  Many of them also being wounded escaped naked; and Lysias himself fled away shamefully, and so escaped.

13  And because he was not irrational, thinking to himself about the loss that had happened against him, and understanding the Hebrews to be invincible because they depend upon the help of Almighty God, he sent to them,

2Mc11:13  Who, as he was a man of understanding, casting with himself what loss he had had, and considering that the Hebrews could not be overcome, because the Almighty God helped them, he sent unto them,

14  and he promised that he would agree to all things that are just, and that he would persuade the king to be their friend.

2Mc11:14  And persuaded them to agree to all reasonable conditions, and promised that he would persuade the king that he must needs be a friend unto them.

15  Then Maccabeus assented to the request of Lysias, considering it useful in every way. And whatever Maccabeus wrote to Lysias, concerning the Jews, the king consented to it.

2Mc11:15  Then Maccabeus consented to all that Lysias desired, being careful of the common good; and whatsoever Maccabeus wrote unto Lysias concerning the Jews, the king granted it.

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16  For there were letters written to the Jews from Lysias, which, indeed, were composed in this way: “Lysias, to the people of the Jews: greetings.

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17  John and Absalom, who had been sent from you to deliver your writings, requested that I would implement these things that were signified by them.

2Mc11:17  John and Absalon, who were sent from you, delivered me the petition subscribed, and made request for the performance of the contents thereof.

18  Therefore, whatever things could be brought before the king, I have presented them. And he has conceded to those things that are permitted.

2Mc11:18  Therefore what things soever were meet to be reported to the king, I have declared them, and he hath granted as much as might be.

19  If, therefore, you will keep yourselves faithful in these matters, then, from now on, I will endeavor to be a cause of your good.

2Mc11:19  And if then ye will keep yourselves loyal to the state, hereafter also will I endeavour to be a means of your good.

20  But as for other particulars, I have given orders by word, both to these, and to those who have been sent by me, to confer with you.

2Mc11:20  But of the particulars I have given order both to these and the other that came from me, to commune with you.

21  Farewell. In the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the twenty-fourth day of the month of Dioscorus.”

2Mc11:21  Fare ye well. The hundred and eight and fortieth year, the four and twentieth day of the month Dioscorinthius.

22  But the letter of the king contained this: “King Antiochus to Lysias, his brother: greetings.

2Mc11:22  Now the king’s letter contained these words: King Antiochus unto his brother Lysias sendeth greeting

23  Since our father has been transferred among the gods, we are willing that those who are in our kingdom should act without tumult, and should attend diligently to their own concerns.

2Mc11:23  Since our father is translated unto the gods, our will is, that they that are in our realm live quietly, that every one may attend upon his own affairs.

24  We have heard that the Jews would not consent to my father to convert to the rites of the Greeks, but that they chose to keep to their own institutions, and, because of this, that they ask of us to leave them to their own laws.

2Mc11:24  We understand also that the Jews would not consent to our father, for to be brought unto the custom of the Gentiles, but had rather keep their own manner of living: for the which cause they require of us, that we should suffer them to live after their own laws.

25  Therefore, wanting this nation, likewise, to be at rest, we have reached a judgment that the temple should be restored to them, so that they may act according to the custom of their ancestors.

2Mc11:25  Wherefore our mind is, that this nation shall be in rest, and we have determined to restore them their temple, that they may live according to the customs of their forefathers.

26  You will do well, therefore, if you send to them and grant them a pledge, so that our will becomes known, and they may be of good courage, and may look after their own needs.”

2Mc11:26  Thou shalt do well therefore to send unto them, and grant them peace, that when they are certified of our mind, they may be of good comfort, and ever go cheerfully about their own affairs.

27  Truly, the letter of the king to the Jews was such as this: “King Antiochus to the senate of the Jews, and to the rest of the Jews: greetings.

2Mc11:27  And the letter of the king unto the nation of the Jews was after this manner: King Antiochus sendeth greeting unto the council, and the rest of the Jews

28  If you are well, such is what we desire. But we ourselves are also well.

2Mc11:28  If ye fare well, we have our desire; we are also in good health.

29  Menelaus came to us, saying that you wished to come down to your own, who are among us.

2Mc11:29  Menelaus declared unto us, that your desire was to return home, and to follow your own business

30  Therefore, we grant a pledge of security to those who come and go, even until the thirtieth day of the month of Xanthicus,

2Mc11:30  Wherefore they that will depart shall have safe conduct till the thirtieth day of Xanthicus with security.

31  so that the Jews may make use of their own foods and laws, just as also before, and so that none of them should endure any kind of trouble for things which have been done by ignorance.

2Mc11:31  And the Jews shall use their own kind of meats and laws, as before; and none of them any manner of ways shall be molested for things ignorantly done.

32  And so, we have also sent Menelaus, who will talk with you.

2Mc11:32  I have sent also Menelaus, that he may comfort you.

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33  Farewell. In the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the fifteenth day of the month of Xanthicus.”

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34  But the Romans also now sent a letter, having this in it: “Quintus Memmius and Titus Manilius, ambassadors of the Romans, to the people of the Jews: greetings.

2Mc11:34  The Romans also sent unto them a letter containing these words: Quintus Memmius and Titus Manlius, ambassadors of the Romans, send greeting unto the people of the Jews.

35  Concerning these things that Lysias, the relative of the king, has conceded to you, we also have conceded.

2Mc11:35  Whatsoever Lysias the king’s cousin hath granted, therewith we also are well pleased.

36  But about such things as he judged should be referred to the king, send someone, as soon as you have diligently conferred among yourselves, so that we may make a decree, just as it is agreeable to you. For we are going to Antioch.

2Mc11:36  But touching such things as he judged to be referred to the king, after ye have advised thereof, send one forthwith, that we may declare as it is convenient for you: for we are now going to Antioch.

37  And, therefore, make haste to write back, so that we may know whatever your will may be.

2Mc11:37  Therefore send some with speed, that we may know what is your mind.

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38  Farewell. In the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the fifteenth day of the month of Xanthicus.”