The Bible in Its Traditions

2 Maccabees 9:1–29


At the same time, Antiochus returned in dishonor from Persia.

2Mc9:1  About that time came Antiochus with dishonour out of the country of Persia

For he had entered into the city called Persepolis, and attempted to rob the temple, and to oppress the city, but the multitude, rushing to arms, turned them to flight, and so it happened that Antiochus, after fleeing, returned in disgrace.

2Mc9:2  For he had entered the city called Persepolis, and went about to rob the temple, and to hold the city; whereupon the multitude running to defend themselves with their weapons put them to flight; and so it happened, that Antiochus being put to flight of the inhabitants returned with shame.

And when he had arrived near Ecbatana, he realized what had happened to Nicanor and Timothy.

2Mc9:3  Now when he came to Ecbatane, news was brought him what had happened unto Nicanor and Timotheus.

And so, rising up in anger, he thought to turn back upon the Jews the injury done by those who had put him to flight. And, therefore, he ordered his chariot to be driven without stopping along the way, for the judgment of heaven was urging him on, because he had spoken so arrogantly about how he would come to Jerusalem and make it into a mass grave for the Jews.

2Mc9:4  Then swelling with anger. he thought to avenge upon the Jews the disgrace done unto him by those that made him flee. Therefore commanded he his chariotman to drive without ceasing, and to dispatch the journey, the judgement of God now following him. For he had spoken proudly in this sort, That he would come to Jerusalem and make it a common burying place of the Jews.

But the Lord God of Israel, who oversees all things, struck him with an incurable and invisible plague. For, as soon as he had finished these words, a dire pain in his abdomen seized him, with bitter internal torments.

2Mc9:5  But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague: or as soon as he had spoken these words, a pain of the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts;

And, indeed, it sprung forth justly, since he had tormented the internal organs of others with many strange and new tortures, yet he in no way ceased from his malice.

2Mc9:6  And that most justly: for he had tormented other men’s bowels with many and strange torments.

But, beyond this, being filled with arrogance, breathing fire with his soul against the Jews, and instructing the task to be accelerated, it happened that, as he was rushing on forcefully, he fell from the chariot, and his limbs were afflicted with a serious bruising of the body.

2Mc9:7  Howbeit he nothing at all ceased from his bragging, but still was filled with pride, breathing out fire in his rage against the Jews, and commanding to haste the journey: but it came to pass that he fell down from his chariot, carried violently; so that having a sore fall, all the members of his body were much pained.

And he, being filled with arrogance beyond human means, seemed to himself to command even the waves of the sea and to weigh even the heights of the mountains in a balance. But now, humbled to the ground, he was carried on a stretcher, calling himself as a witness to the manifest virtue of God.

2Mc9:8  And thus he that a little afore thought he might command the waves of the sea, (so proud was he beyond the condition of man) and weigh the high mountains in a balance, was now cast on the ground, and carried in an horselitter, shewing forth unto all the manifest power of God.

So then, worms swarmed from his impious body, and, as he lived on in pain, his flesh fell away, and then his odorous stench oppressed the army.

2Mc9:9  So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and whiles he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to all his army.

10  And him who, a little before, thought that he could touch the stars of heaven, no one could endure to carry, because of the intolerable stench.

2Mc9:10  And the man, that thought a little afore he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry for his intolerable stink.

11  And so, from then on, being led away from his heavy arrogance by the admonishment of a divine plague, he began to come to an understanding of himself, with his pains increasing through every moment.

2Mc9:11  Here therefore, being plagued, he began to leave off his great pride, and to come to the knowledge of himself by the scourge of God, his pain increasing every moment.

12  And, when he could not even bear his own stench, he spoke in this way: “It is just to be subject to God, and a mortal should not consider himself equal to God.”

2Mc9:12  And when he himself could not abide his own smell, he said these words, It is meet to be subject unto God, and that a man that is mortal should not proudly think of himself if he were God.

13  Then this wicked one prayed to the Lord, from whom, subsequently, there might be no mercy.

2Mc9:13  This wicked person vowed also unto the Lord, who now no more would have mercy upon him, saying thus,

14  And the city, to which he was going in haste to pull it down to the ground and to make it a mass grave, he now wanted to make free.

2Mc9:14  That the holy city (to the which he was going in haste to lay it even with the ground, and to make it a common buryingplace,) he would set at liberty

15  And the Jews, whom he had said he certainly did not consider worthy even to be buried, but would deliver them to be torn apart by birds and wild beasts, and would exterminate them with their little ones, he now promised to make equal with the Athenians.

2Mc9:15  And as touching the Jews, whom he had judged not worthy so much as to be buried, but to be cast out with their children to be devoured of the fowls and wild beasts, he would make them all equals to the citizens of Athens

16  And even the holy temple, which before he had plundered, he would adorn with the best gifts, and increase the holy vessels, and pay out from his revenues the charges pertaining to the sacrifices.

2Mc9:16  And the holy temple, which before he had spoiled, he would garnish with goodly gifts, and restore all the holy vessels with many more, and out of his own revenue defray the charges belonging to the sacrifices

17  Beyond these things, he would even become a Jew himself, and would travel through every place on earth and declare the power of God.

2Mc9:17  Yea, and that also he would become a Jew himself, and go through all the world that was inhabited, and declare the power of God.

18  But, when his pains did not cease, (for the just judgment of God had overwhelmed him,) in despair he wrote to the Jews, in the manner of a supplication, a letter composed in this way

2Mc9:18  But for all this his pains would not cease: for the just judgement of God was come upon him: therefore despairing of his health, he wrote unto the Jews the letter underwritten, containing the form of a supplication, after this manner

19  “To the very good citizens of the Jews, Antiochus, king and ruler, wishes much health, and welfare, and happiness.

2Mc9:19  Antiochus, king and governor, to the good Jews his citizens wisheth much joy, health, and prosperity

20  If you and your sons are faring well, and if everything is according to your will, we give very great thanks.

2Mc9:20  If ye and your children fare well, and your affairs be to your contentment, I give very great thanks to God, having my hope in heaven.

21  And so, fixed in infirmity, yet kindly remembering you, I am returning from the places of Persia, and, having been seized by a serious infirmity, I considered it necessary to have a concern for the common good,

2Mc9:21  As for me, I was weak, or else I would have remembered kindly your honour and good will returning out of Persia, and being taken with a grievous disease, I thought it necessary to care for the common safety of all

22  not despairing in myself, but having a great hope to escape the infirmity.

2Mc9:22  Not distrusting mine health, but having great hope to escape this sickness.

23  Moreover, considering that my father also, during the time that he led an army into the upper regions, revealed who would take up the leadership after him,

2Mc9:23  But considering that even my father, at what time he led an army into the high countries. appointed a successor,

24  so that, if anything contrary should occur, or any if difficulties should be reported, those who were in the regions, knowing to whom the whole matter had been bequeathed, would not be disturbed.

2Mc9:24  To the end that, if any thing fell out contrary to expectation, or if any tidings were brought that were grievous, they of the land, knowing to whom the state was left, might not be troubled

25  In addition to these things, considering that whichever are the nearest powers and neighbors lie in ambush for the right time and await the right event, I have designated my son, Antiochus, as king, whom I frequently commended to many of you while traveling in the upper provinces. And I have written to him what I have added below.

2Mc9:25  Again, considering how that the princes that are borderers and neighbours unto my kingdom wait for opportunities, and expect what shall be the event. I have appointed my son Antiochus king, whom I often committed and commended unto many of you, when I went up into the high provinces; to whom I have written as followeth

26  And so, I beg you and petition you, that remembering the public and private benefits, each one will continue to be faithful to me and to my son.

2Mc9:26  Therefore I pray and request you to remember the benefits that I have done unto you generally, and in special, and that every man will be still faithful to me and my son.

27  For I trust that he will behave with moderation and humanity, and that, following my intentions, he will be impartial to you.”

2Mc9:27  For I am persuaded that he understanding my mind will favourably and graciously yield to your desires.

28  And so the murderer and blasphemer, having been struck very badly, just as he himself had treated others, passed from this life in a miserable death on a journey among the mountains.

2Mc9:28  Thus the murderer and blasphemer having suffered most grievously, as he entreated other men, so died he a miserable death in a strange country in the mountains.

29  But Philip, who was nurtured with him, carried away his body, and, fearing the son of Antiochus, went into Egypt to Ptolemy Philometor.

2Mc9:29  And Philip, that was brought up with him, carried away his body, who also fearing the son of Antiochus went into Egypt to Ptolemeus Philometor.