21It is also found in the records, that Jeremy the prophet commanded them that were carried away to take of the fire, as it hath been signified:
2And how that the prophet, having given them the law, charged them not to forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds, when they see images of silver and gold, with their ornaments.
3And with other such speeches exhorted he them, that the law should not depart from their hearts.
4It was also contained in the same writing, that the prophet, being warned of God, commanded the tabernacle and the ark to go with him, as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God.
5And when Jeremy came thither, he found an hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door.
6And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it.
7Which when Jeremy perceived, he blamed them, saying, As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather his people again together, and receive them unto mercy.
8Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified.
9It was also declared, that he being wise offered the sacrifice of dedication, and of the finishing of the temple.
10And as when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the sacrifices: even so prayed Solomon also, and the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offerings.
11And Moses said, Because the sin offering was not to be eaten, it was consumed.
12So Solomon kept those eight days.
13The same things also were reported in the writings and commentaries of Neemias; and how he founding a library gathered together the acts of the kings, and the prophets, and of David, and the epistles of the kings concerning the holy gifts.
14In like manner also Judas gathered together all those things that were lost by reason of the war we had, and they remain with us,
15Wherefore if ye have need thereof, send some to fetch them unto you.
16Whereas we then are about to celebrate the purification, we have written unto you, and ye shall do well, if ye keep the same days.
17We hope also, that the God, that delivered all his people, and gave them all an heritage, and the kingdom, and the priesthood, and the sanctuary,
18As he promised in the law, will shortly have mercy upon us, and gather us together out of every land under heaven into the holy place: for he hath delivered us out of great troubles, and hath purified the place.
19Now as concerning Judas Maccabeus, and his brethren, and the purification of the great temple, and the dedication of the altar,
20And the wars against Antiochus Epiphanes, and Eupator his son,
21And the manifest signs that came from heaven unto those that behaved themselves manfully to their honour for Judaism: so that, being but a few, they overcame the whole country, and chased barbarous multitudes,
22And recovered again the temple renowned all the world over, and freed the city, and upheld the laws which were going down, the Lord being gracious unto them with all favour:
23All these things, I say, being declared by Jason of Cyrene in five books, we will assay to abridge in one volume.
24For considering the infinite number, and the difficulty which they find that desire to look into the narrations of the story, for the variety of the matter,
25We have been careful, that they that will read may have delight, and that they that are desirous to commit to memory might have ease, and that all into whose hands it comes might have profit.
26Therefore to us, that have taken upon us this painful labour of abridging, it was not easy, but a matter of sweat and watching;
27Even as it is no ease unto him that prepareth a banquet, and seeketh the benefit of others: yet for the pleasuring of many we will undertake gladly this great pains;
28Leaving to the author the exact handling of every particular, and labouring to follow the rules of an abridgement.
29For as the master builder of a new house must care for the whole building; but he that undertaketh to set it out, and paint it, must seek out fit things for the adorning thereof: even so I think it is with us.
30To stand upon every point, and go over things at large, and to be curious in particulars, belongeth to the first author of the story:
31But to use brevity, and avoid much labouring of the work, is to be granted to him that will make an abridgment.
32Here then will we begin the story: only adding thus much to that which hath been said, that it is a foolish thing to make a long prologue, and to be short in the story itself.
31Now when the holy city was inhabited with all peace, and the laws were kept very well, because of the godliness of Onias the high priest, and his hatred of wickedness,
2It came to pass that even the kings themselves did honour the place, and magnify the temple with their best gifts;
3Insomuch that Seleucus of Asia of his own revenues bare all the costs belonging to the service of the sacrifices.
4But one Simon of the tribe of Benjamin, who was made governor of the temple, fell out with the high priest about disorder in the city.
5And when he could not overcome Onias, he gat him to Apollonius the son of Thraseas, who then was governor of Celosyria and Phenice,
6And told him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of infinite sums of money, so that the multitude of their riches, which did not pertain to the account of the sacrifices, was innumerable, and that it was possible to bring all into the king’s hand.
7Now when Apollonius came to the king, and had shewed him of the money whereof he was told, the king chose out Heliodorus his treasurer, and sent him with a commandment to bring him the foresaid money.
8So forthwith Heliodorus took his journey; under a colour of visiting the cities of Celosyria and Phenice, but indeed to fulfil the king’s purpose.
9And when he was come to Jerusalem, and had been courteously received of the high priest of the city, he told him what intelligence was given of the money, and declared wherefore he came, and asked if these things were so indeed.
10Then the high priest told him that there was such money laid up for the relief of widows and fatherless children:
11And that some of it belonged to Hircanus son of Tobias, a man of great dignity, and not as that wicked Simon had misinformed: the sum whereof in all was four hundred talents of silver, and two hundred of gold:
12And that it was altogether impossible that such wrongs should be done unto them, that had committed it to the holiness of the place, and to the majesty and inviolable sanctity of the temple, honoured over all the world.
13But Heliodorus, because of the king’s commandment given him, said, That in any wise it must be brought into the king’s treasury.
14So at the day which he appointed he entered in to order this matter: wherefore there was no small agony throughout the whole city.
15But the priests, prostrating themselves before the altar in their priests’ vestments, called unto heaven upon him that made a law concerning things given to be kept, that they should safely be preserved for such as had committed them to be kept.
16Then whoso had looked the high priest in the face, it would have wounded his heart: for his countenance and the changing of his colour declared the inward agony of his mind.
17For the man was so compassed with fear and horror of the body, that it was manifest to them that looked upon him, what sorrow he had now in his heart.
18Others ran flocking out of their houses to the general supplication, because the place was like to come into contempt.
19And the women, girt with sackcloth under their breasts, abounded in the streets, and the virgins that were kept in ran, some to the gates, and some to the walls, and others looked out of the windows.
20And all, holding their hands toward heaven, made supplication.
21Then it would have pitied a man to see the falling down of the multitude of all sorts, and the fear of the high priest being in such an agony.
22They then called upon the Almighty Lord to keep the things committed of trust safe and sure for those that had committed them.
23Nevertheless Heliodorus executed that which was decreed.
24Now as he was there present himself with his guard about the treasury, the Lord of spirits, and the Prince of all power, caused a great apparition, so that all that presumed to come in with him were astonished at the power of God, and fainted, and were sore afraid.
25For there appeared unto them an horse with a terrible rider upon him, and adorned with a very fair covering, and he ran fiercely, and smote at Heliodorus with his forefeet, and it seemed that he that sat upon the horse had complete harness of gold.
26Moreover two other young men appeared before him, notable in strength, excellent in beauty, and comely in apparel, who stood by him on either side; and scourged him continually, and gave him many sore stripes.
27And Heliodorus fell suddenly unto the ground, and was compassed with great darkness: but they that were with him took him up, and put him into a litter.
28Thus him, that lately came with a great train and with all his guard into the said treasury, they carried out, being unable to help himself with his weapons: and manifestly they acknowledged the power of God.
29For he by the hand of God was cast down, and lay speechless without all hope of life.
30But they praised the Lord, that had miraculously honoured his own place: for the temple; which a little afore was full of fear and trouble, when the Almighty Lord appeared, was filled with joy and gladness.
31Then straightways certain of Heliodorus’ friends prayed Onias, that he would call upon the most High to grant him his life, who lay ready to give up the ghost.
32So the high priest, suspecting lest the king should misconceive that some treachery had been done to Heliodorus by the Jews, offered a sacrifice for the health of the man.
33Now as the high priest was making an atonement, the same young men in the same clothing appeared and stood beside Heliodorus, saying, Give Onias the high priest great thanks, insomuch as for his sake the Lord hath granted thee life:
34And seeing that thou hast been scourged from heaven, declare unto all men the mighty power of God. And when they had spoken these words, they appeared no more.
35So Heliodorus, after he had offered sacrifice unto the Lord, and made great vows unto him that had saved his life, and saluted Onias, returned with his host to the king.
36Then testified he to all men the works of the great God, which he had seen with his eyes.
37And when the king asked Heliodorus, who might be a fit man to be sent yet once again to Jerusalem, he said,
38If thou hast any enemy or traitor, send him thither, and thou shalt receive him well scourged, if he escape with his life: for in that place, no doubt, there is an especial power of God.
39For he that dwelleth in heaven hath his eye on that place, and defendeth it; and he beateth and destroyeth them that come to hurt it.
40And the things concerning Heliodorus, and the keeping of the treasury, fell out on this sort.
41This Simon now, of whom we spake afore, having been a betrayer of the money, and of his country, slandered Onias, as if he had terrified Heliodorus, and been the worker of these evils.
2Thus was he bold to call him a traitor, that had deserved well of the city, and tendered his own nation, and was so zealous of the laws.
3But when their hatred went so far, that by one of Simon’s faction murders were committed,
4Onias seeing the danger of this contention, and that Apollonius, as being the governor of Celosyria and Phenice, did rage, and increase Simon’s malice,
5He went to the king, not to be an accuser of his countrymen, but seeking the good of all, both publick and private:
6For he saw that it was impossible that the state should continue quiet, and Simon leave his folly, unless the king did look thereunto.
7But after the death of Seleucus, when Antiochus, called Epiphanes, took the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias laboured underhand to be high priest,
8Promising unto the king by intercession three hundred and threescore talents of silver, and of another revenue eighty talents:
9Beside this, he promised to assign an hundred and fifty more, if he might have licence to set him up a place for exercise, and for the training up of youth in the fashions of the heathen, and to write them of Jerusalem by the name of Antiochians.
10Which when the king had granted, and he had gotten into his hand the rule he forthwith brought his own nation to Greekish fashion.
11And the royal privileges granted of special favour to the Jews by the means of John the father of Eupolemus, who went ambassador to Rome for amity and aid, he took away; and putting down the governments which were according to the law, he brought up new customs against the law:
12For he built gladly a place of exercise under the tower itself, and brought the chief young men under his subjection, and made them wear a hat.
13Now such was the height of Greek fashions, and increase of heathenish manners, through the exceeding profaneness of Jason, that ungodly wretch, and no high priest;
14That the priests had no courage to serve any more at the altar, but despising the temple, and neglecting the sacrifices, hastened to be partakers of the unlawful allowance in the place of exercise, after the game of Discus called them forth;
15Not setting by the honours of their fathers, but liking the glory of the Grecians best of all.
16By reason whereof sore calamity came upon them: for they had them to be their enemies and avengers, whose custom they followed so earnestly, and unto whom they desired to be like in all things.
17For it is not a light thing to do wickedly against the laws of God: but the time following shall declare these things.
18Now when the game that was used every fifth year was kept at Tyrus, the king being present,
19This ungracious Jason sent special messengers from Jerusalem, who were Antiochians, to carry three hundred drachms of silver to the sacrifice of Hercules, which even the bearers thereof thought fit not to bestow upon the sacrifice, because it was not convenient, but to be reserved for other charges.
20This money then, in regard of the sender, was appointed to Hercules’ sacrifice; but because of the bearers thereof, it was employed to the making of gallies.
21Now when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for the coronation of king Ptolemeus Philometor, Antiochus, understanding him not to be well affected to his affairs, provided for his own safety: whereupon he came to Joppa, and from thence to Jerusalem:
22Where he was honourably received of Jason, and of the city, and was brought in with torch alight, and with great shoutings: and so afterward went with his host unto Phenice.
23Three years afterward Jason sent Menelaus, the aforesaid Simon’s brother, to bear the money unto the king, and to put him in mind of certain necessary matters.
24But he being brought to the presence of the king, when he had magnified him for the glorious appearance of his power, got the priesthood to himself, offering more than Jason by three hundred talents of silver.
25So he came with the king’s mandate, bringing nothing worthy the high priesthood, but having the fury of a cruel tyrant, and the rage of a savage beast.
26Then Jason, who had undermined his own brother, being undermined by another, was compelled to flee into the country of the Ammonites.
27So Menelaus got the principality: but as for the money that he had promised unto the king, he took no good order for it, albeit Sostratis the ruler of the castle required it:
28For unto him appertained the gathering of the customs. Wherefore they were both called before the king.
29Now Menelaus left his brother Lysimachus in his stead in the priesthood; and Sostratus left Crates, who was governor of the Cyprians.
30While those things were in doing, they of Tarsus and Mallos made insurrection, because they were given to the king’s concubine, called Antiochus.
31Then came the king in all haste to appease matters, leaving Andronicus, a man in authority, for his deputy.
32Now Menelaus, supposing that he had gotten a convenient time, stole certain vessels of gold out of the temple, and gave some of them to Andronicus, and some he sold into Tyrus and the cities round about.
33Which when Onias knew of a surety, he reproved him, and withdrew himself into a sanctuary at Daphne, that lieth by Antiochia.
34Wherefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus apart, prayed, him to get Onias into his hands; who being persuaded thereunto, and coming to Onias in deceit, gave him his right hand with oaths; and though he were suspected by him, yet persuaded he him to come forth of the sanctuary: whom forthwith he shut up without regard of justice.
35For the which cause not only the Jews, but many also of other nations, took great indignation, and were much grieved for the unjust murder of the man.
36And when the king was come again from the places about Cilicia, the Jews that were in the city, and certain of the Greeks that abhorred the fact also, complained because Onias was slain without cause.
37Therefore Antiochus was heartily sorry, and moved to pity, and wept, because of the sober and modest behaviour of him that was dead.
38And being kindled with anger, forthwith he took away Andronicus his purple, and rent off his clothes, and leading him through the whole city unto that very place, where he had committed impiety against Onias, there slew he the cursed murderer. Thus the Lord rewarded him his punishment, as he had deserved.
39Now when many sacrileges had been committed in the city by Lysimachus with the consent of Menelaus, and the fruit thereof was spread abroad, the multitude gathered themselves together against Lysimachus, many vessels of gold being already carried away.
40Whereupon the common people rising, and being filled with rage, Lysimachus armed about three thousand men, and began first to offer violence; one Auranus being the leader, a man far gone in years, and no less in folly.
41They then seeing the attempt of Lysimachus, some of them caught stones, some clubs, others taking handfuls of dust, that was next at hand, cast them all together upon Lysimachus, and those that set upon them.
42Thus many of them they wounded, and some they struck to the ground, and all of them they forced to flee: but as for the churchrobber himself, him they killed beside the treasury.
43Of these matters therefore there was an accusation laid against Menelaus.
44Now when the king came to Tyrus, three men that were sent from the senate pleaded the cause before him:
45But Menelaus, being now convicted, promised Ptolemee the son of Dorymenes to give him much money, if he would pacify the king toward him.
46Whereupon Ptolemee taking the king aside into a certain gallery, as it were to take the air, brought him to be of another mind:
47Insomuch that he discharged Menelaus from the accusations, who notwithstanding was cause of all the mischief: and those poor men, who, if they had told their cause, yea, before the Scythians, should have been judged innocent, them he condemned to death.
48Thus they that followed the matter for the city, and for the people, and for the holy vessels, did soon suffer unjust punishment.
49Wherefore even they of Tyrus, moved with hatred of that wicked deed, caused them to be honourably buried.
50And so through the covetousness of them that were of power Menelaus remained still in authority, increasing in malice, and being a great traitor to the citizens.