The First Book of the Maccabees
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And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the
Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius
king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first
2And made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the
kings of the earth,
3And went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of
many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him; whereupon
he was exalted and his heart was lifted up.
4And he gathered a mighty strong host and ruled over countries,
and nations, and kings, who became tributaries unto him.
5And after these things he fell sick, and perceived that he
6Wherefore he called his servants, such as were honourable, and
had been brought up with him from his youth, and parted his kingdom
among them, while he was yet alive.
7So Alexander reigned twelves years, and then died.
8And his servants bare rule every one in his place.
9And after his death they all put crowns upon themselves; so
did their sons after them many years: and evils were multiplied in the
10And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed
Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome,
and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the
kingdom of the Greeks.
11In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who
persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen
that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had
12So this device pleased them well.
13Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they
went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of
14Whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem
according to the customs of the heathen:
15And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy
covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do
16Now when the kingdom was established before Antiochus, he
thought to reign over Egypt that he might have the dominion of two
17Wherefore he entered into Egypt with a great multitude, with
chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy,
18And made war against Ptolemee king of Egypt: but Ptolemee was
afraid of him, and fled; and many were wounded to death.
19Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt and he
took the spoils thereof.
20And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again
in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and
Jerusalem with a great multitude,
21And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the
golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof,
22And the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and
the vials. and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and
the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled
23He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious
vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found.
24And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land,
having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.
25Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every
place where they were;
26So that the princes and elders mourned, the virgins and young
men were made feeble, and the beauty of women was changed.
27Every bridegroom took up lamentation, and she that sat in the
marriage chamber was in heaviness,
28The land also was moved for the inhabitants thereof, and all
the house of Jacob was covered with confusion.
29And after two years fully expired the king sent his chief
collector of tribute unto the cities of Juda, who came unto Jerusalem
with a great multitude,
30And spake peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit: for
when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and
smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel.
31And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on
fire, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side.
32But the women and children took they captive, and possessed
33Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong
wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them.
34And they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and
fortified themselves therein.
35They stored it also with armour and victuals, and when they
had gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem, they laid them up there,
and so they became a sore snare:
36For it was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and
an evil adversary to Israel.
37Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary,
and defiled it:
38Insomuch that the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled because of
them: whereupon the city was made an habitation of strangers, and
became strange to those that were born in her; and her own children
39Her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness, her feasts
were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach her honour into
40As had been her glory, so was her dishonour increased, and
her excellency was turned into mourning.
41Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all
should be one people,
42And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen
agreed according to the commandment of the king.
43Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion,
and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath.
44For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem
and the cities of Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the
45And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink
offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and
46And pollute the sanctuary and holy people:
47Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and
sacrifice swine’s flesh, and unclean beasts:
48That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and
make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and
49To the end they might forget the law, and change all the
50And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of
the king, he said, he should die.
51In the selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and
appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Juda
to sacrifice, city by city.
52Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit every
one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land;
53And drove the Israelites into secret places, even wheresoever
they could flee for succour.
54Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred
forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon
the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on
55And burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and in the
56And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which
they found, they burnt them with fire.
57And whosoever was found with any the book of the testament,
or if any committed to the law, the king’s commandment was, that they
should put him to death.
58Thus did they by their authority unto the Israelites every
month, to as many as were found in the cities.
59Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did
sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of God.
60At which time according to the commandment they put to death
certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised.
61And they hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled
their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them.
62Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in
themselves not to eat any unclean thing.
63Wherefore the rather to die, that they might not be defiled
with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant: so then
64And there was very great wrath upon Israel.
Read on to the end (v. 64)