2 Maccabees

Chapter 4

  1. 1. This Simon now (of whō wee spake afore) hauing bin a bewrayer of the money, and of his countrey, slandered Onias, as if he had terrified Heliodorus, and bene the worker of these euils.
  2. 2. Thus was hee bold to call him a traitour, that had deserued well of the citie, and tendred his owne nation, and was so zealous of the lawes.
  3. 3. But when their hatred went so farre, that by one of Simons faction murthers were committed,
  4. 4. Onias seeing the danger of this contention, and that Appollonius, as being the gouernour of Coelosyria and Phenice, did rage, and increase Simons malice,
  5. 5. He went to the king, not to be an accuser of his countrey men, but seeking the good of all, both publike, & priuate.
  6. 6. For he saw that it was impossible, that the state should continue quiet, and Simon leaue his folly, vnlesse the king did looke thereunto.
  7. 7. But after the death of Seleucus, when Antiochus called Epiphanes, tooke the kingdom, Iason the brother of Onias, laboured vnder hand to bee hie Priest,
  8. 8. Promising vnto the king by intercession, three hundred and threescore talents of siluer, and of another reuenew, eightie talents:
  9. 9. Besides this, he promised to assigne an hundred and fiftie more, if he might haue licence to set him vp a place for exercise, and for the training vp of youth in the fashions of the heathen, and to write them of Ierusalem [by the name of] Antiochians.
  10. 10. Which when the king had granted, and hee had gotten into his hand the rule, he foorthwith brought his owne nation to the Greekish fashion.
  11. 11. And the royal priuiledges granted of speciall fauour to the Iewes, by the meanes of Iohn the father of Eupolemus, who went Embassador to Rome, for amitie and aid, he tooke away, and putting down the gouernments which were according to the law, he brought vp new customes against the law.
  12. 12. For he built gladly a place of exercise vnder the towre it selfe, and brought the chiefe yong men vnder his subiection, and made them weare a hat.
  13. 13. Now such was the height of Greek fashions, and increase of heathenish maners, through the exceeding profanenes of Iason that vngodly wretch, and no high priest:
  14. 14. That the priests had no courage to serue any more at the altar, but despising the Temple, and neglecting the sacrifices, hastened to be partakers of the vnlawfull allowance in the place of exercise, after the game of Discus called them forth.
  15. 15. Not setting by the honours of their fathers, but liking the glory of the Grecians best of all.
  16. 16. By reason whereof sore calamity came vpon them: for they had them to be their enemies and auengers, whose custome they followed so earnestly, and vnto whom they desired to be like in all things.
  17. 17. For it is not a light thing to doe wickedly against the lawes of God, but the time following shall declare these things.
  18. 18. Now when the game that was vsed euery fift yere was kept at Tyrus, the king being present,
  19. 19. This vngracious Iason sent speciall messengers from Ierusalem, who were Antiochians, to carie three hundred drachmes of siluer to the sacrifice of Hercules, which euen the bearers therof thought fit not to bestow vpon the sacrifice, because it was not conuenient, but to be reserued for other charges.
  20. 20. This money then in regard of the sender, was appointed to Hercules sacrifice, but because of the bearers thereof, it was imployed to the making of gallies.
  21. 21. Now when Apollonius the sonne of Manastheus was sent vnto Egypt, for the coronation of king Ptolomeus Philometor, Antiochus vnderstanding him not to bee well affected to his affaires, prouided for his owne safetie: whereupon he came to Ioppe, & from thence to Ierusalem.
  22. 22. Where he was honourably receiued of Iason, and of the citie, and was brought in with torchlight, and with great shoutings: and so afterward went with his hoste vnto Phenice.
  23. 23. Three yeere afterward, Iason sent Menelaus the foresaid Simons brother, to beare the money vnto the king, and to put him in minde of certaine necessary matters.
  24. 24. But 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 himselfe, offering more then Iason by three hundred talents of siluer.
  25. 25. So he came with the kings Mandate, bringing nothing worthy the high priesthood, but hauing the fury of a cruell Tyrant, and the rage of a sauage beast.
  26. 26. Then Iason, who had vndermined his owne brother, being vndermined by another, was cōpelled to flee into the countrey of the Ammonites.
  27. 27. So Menelaus got the principalitie: but as for the money that he had promised vnto the king, hee tooke no good order for it, albeit Sostratus the ruler of the castle required it.
  28. 28. For vnto him appertained the gathering of the customes. Wherefore they were both called before the king.
  29. 29. Now Menelaus left his brother Lysimachus in his stead in the priesthood, and Sostratus left Crates, who was gouernour of the Cyprians.
  30. 30. While those things were in doing, they of Tharsus and Mallos made insurrection, because they were giuen to the kings concubine called Antiochis.
  31. 31. Then came the king in all haste to appease matters, leauing Andronicus a man in authority, for his deputy.
  32. 32. Now Menelaus supposing that he had gotten a conuenient time, stole certaine vessels of gold, out of the temple, and gaue some of them to Andronicus, and some he sold into Tyrus, and the cities round about.
  33. 33. Which when Onias knew of a surety, he reprooued him, and withdrew himselfe into a Sanctuarie at Daphne, that lieth by Antiochia.
  34. 34. Wherefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus apart, prayed him to get Onias into his hands, who being perswaded thereunto, and comming to Onias in deceit, gaue him his right hand with othes, and though hee were suspected (by him) yet perswaded he him to come forth of the Sanctuarie: whom forthwith he shut vp without regard of Iustice.
  35. 35. For the which cause not onely the Iewes, but many also of other nations tooke great indignation, and were much grieued for the vniust murder of the man.
  36. 36. And when the king was come againe from the places about Cilicia, the Iewes that were in the citie, and certaine of the Greekes, that abhorred the fact also, complained because Onias was slaine without cause.
  37. 37. Therefore Antiochus was heartily sorry, and mooued to pity, and wept, because of the sober and modest behauiour of him that was dead.
  38. 38. And being kindled with anger, forthwith he tooke away Andronicus his purple, and rent off his clothes, and leading him through the whole city vnto that very place, where he had committed impietie against Onias, there slew he the cursed murtherer. Thus the Lord rewarded him his punishment, as he had deserued.
  39. 39. Now when many sacriledges had beene committed in the citie by Lysimachus, with the consent of Menelaus, and the bruit therof was spread abroad, the multitude gathered themselues together against Lysimachus, many vessels of gold being already caried away.
  40. 40. Whereupon the common people rising, and being filled with rage, Lysimachus armed about three thousand men, and beganne first to offer violence on Auranus, being the leader, a man farre gone in yeeres, & no lesse in folly.
  41. 41. They 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 vpon Lysimachus, and those that set vpon them.
  42. 42. Thus many of them they wounded, & some they stroke to the ground, and all [of them] they forced to flee: but as for the Churchrobber himselfe, him they killed besides the treasury.
  43. 43. Of these matters therefore there was an accusation laide against Menelaus.
  44. 44. Now when the king came to Tyrus, three men that were sent from the Senate, pleaded the cause before him:
  45. 45. But Menelaus being now conuicted, promised Ptolomee the sonne of Dorymenes, to giue him much money, if hee would pacifie the King towards him.
  46. 46. Whereupon Ptolomee taking the king aside into a certaine gallerie, as it were to take the aire, brought him to be of another minde;
  47. 47. Insomuch that hee discharged Menelaus from the accusations, who notwithstanding was cause of all the mischiefe: and those poore men, who if they had told their cause, yea, before the Scythians, should haue bene iudged innocent, them he condemned to death.
  48. 48. Thus they that followed the matter for the citie, and for the people, and for the holy vessels, did soone suffer vniust punishment.
  49. 49. Wherefore euen they of Tyrus mooued with hatred of that wicked deed, caused them to bee honourably buried.
  50. 50. And so through the couetousnesse of them that were in power, Menelaus remained still in authority, increasing in malice, and being a great traitour to the citizens.

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