The Bible in Its Traditions

2 Maccabees 13:1–8


In the one hundred and forty-ninth year, Judas realized that Antiochus Eupator was coming with a multitude against Judea.

2Mc13:1  In the hundred forty and ninth year it was told Judas, that Antiochus Eupator was coming with a great power into Judea,

And with him was Lysias, the procurator, who was in charge of the government, having with him one hundred and ten thousand foot soldiers, five thousand horsemen, and twenty-two elephants, and three hundred swift chariots with curved blades.

2Mc13:2  And with him Lysias his protector, and ruler of his affairs, having either of them a Grecian power of footmen, an hundred and ten thousand, and horsemen five thousand and three hundred, and elephants two and twenty, and three hundred chariots armed with hooks.


Menelaus also joined himself to them, and with many lies he pleaded with Antiochus, not for the welfare of his country, but hoping that he would be appointed as first ruler.


But the King of kings awakened the mind of Antiochus against the sinner. And when Lysias was suggesting this to be the cause of all the evils, he ordered (as is the custom with them) that he should be apprehended and killed in the same place.

2Mc13:4  But the King of kings moved Antiochus’ mind against this wicked wretch, and Lysias informed the king that this man was the cause of all mischief, so that the king commanded to bring him unto Berea, and to put him to death, as the manner is in that place.

Now there was, in the same place, a tower of fifty cubits, having a pile of ashes on every side. This had a lookout over a precipice.

2Mc13:5  Now there was in that place a tower of fifty cubits high, full of ashes, and it had a round instrument which on every side hanged down into the ashes.

From there, he ordered this sacrilegious one to be thrown down into the ashes, with all propelling him into the afterlife.

2Mc13:6  And whosoever was condemned of sacrilege, or had committed any other grievous crime, there did all men thrust him unto death.

And by such a law, it turned out that the betrayer of the law, Menelaus, died, not having so much as a burial in the earth.

2Mc13:7  Such a death it happened that wicked man to die, not having so much as burial in the earth; and that most justly

And indeed, this satisfied justice, for just as he had committed many offenses toward the altar of God, the fire and ashes of which are holy, so was he condemned to die in ashes.

2Mc13:8  For inasmuch as he had committed many sins about the altar, whose fire and ashes were holy, he received his death in ashes.