Second Book of Macabees
Next: Macabees 2 15
14:1 After three years was Judas informed, that Demetrius the son of Seleucus, having entered by the haven of Tripolis with a great power and navy,
14:2 Had taken the country, and killed Antiochus, and Lysias his protector.
14:3 Now one Alcimus, who had been high priest, and had defiled himself wilfully in the times of their mingling with the Gentiles, seeing that by no means he could save himself, nor have any more access to the holy altar,
14:4 Came to king Demetrius in the hundred and one and fiftieth year, presenting unto him a crown of gold, and a palm, and also of the boughs which were used solemnly in the temple: and so that day he held his peace.
14:5 Howbeit having gotten opportunity to further his foolish enterprize, and being called into counsel by Demetrius, and asked how the Jews stood affected, and what they intended, he answered thereunto:
14:6 Those of the Jews that he called Assideans, whose captain is Judas Maccabeus, nourish war and are seditious, and will not let the rest be in peace.
14:7 Therefore I, being deprived of mine ancestors' honour, I mean the high priesthood, am now come hither:
14:8 First, verily for the unfeigned care I have of things pertaining to the king; and secondly, even for that I intend the good of mine own countrymen: for all our nation is in no small misery through the unadvised dealing of them aforersaid.
14:9 Wherefore, O king, seeing knowest all these things, be careful for the country, and our nation, which is pressed on every side, according to the clemency that thou readily shewest unto all.
14:10 For as long as Judas liveth, it is not possible that the state should be quiet.
14:11 This was no sooner spoken of him, but others of the king's friends, being maliciously set against Judas, did more incense Demetrius.
14:12 And forthwith calling Nicanor, who had been master of the elephants, and making him governor over Judea, he sent him forth,
14:13 Commanding him to slay Judas, and to scatter them that were with him, and to make Alcimus high priest of the great temple.
14:14 Then the heathen, that had fled out of Judea from Judas, came to Nicanor by flocks, thinking the harm and calamities ot the Jews to be their welfare.
14:15 Now when the Jews heard of Nicanor's coming, and that the heathen were up against them, they cast earth upon their heads, and made supplication to him that had established his people for ever, and who always helpeth his portion with manifestation of his presence.
14:16 So at the commandment of the captain they removed straightways from thence, and came near unto them at the town of Dessau.
14:17 Now Simon, Judas' brother, had joined battle with Nicanor, but was somewhat discomfited through the sudden silence of his enemies.
14:18 Nevertheless Nicanor, hearing of the manliness of them that were with Judas, and the courageousness that they had to fight for their country, durst not try the matter by the sword.
14:19 Wherefore he sent Posidonius, and Theodotus, and Mattathias, to make peace.
14:20 So when they had taken long advisement thereupon, and the captain had made the multitude acquainted therewith, and it appeared that they were all of one mind, they consented to the covenants,
14:21 And appointed a day to meet in together by themselves: and when the day came, and stools were set for either of them,
14:22 Ludas placed armed men ready in convenient places, lest some treachery should be suddenly practised by the enemies: so they made a peaceable conference.
14:23 Now Nicanor abode in Jerusalem, and did no hurt, but sent away the people that came flocking unto him.
14:24 And he would not willingly have Judas out of his sight: for he love the man from his heart
14:25 He prayed him also to take a wife, and to beget children: so he married, was quiet, and took part of this life.
14:26 But Alcimus, perceiving the love that was betwixt them, and considering the covenants that were made, came to Demetrius, and told him that Nicanor was not well affected toward the state; for that he had ordained Judas, a traitor to his realm, to be the king's successor.
14:27 Then the king being in a rage, and provoked with the accusations of the most wicked man, wrote to Nicanor, signifying that he was much displeased with the covenants, and commanding him that he should send Maccabeus prisoner in all haste unto Antioch.
14:28 When this came to Nicanor's hearing, he was much confounded in himself, and took it grievously that he should make void the articles which were agreed upon, the man being in no fault.
14:29 But because there was no dealing against the king, he watched his time to accomplish this thing by policy.
14:30 Notwithstanding, when Maccabeus saw that Nicanor began to be churlish unto him, and that he entreated him more roughly than he was wont, perceiving that such sour behaviour came not of good, he gathered together not a few of his men, and withdrew himself from Nicanor.
14:31 But the other, knowing that he was notably prevented by Judas' policy, came into the great and holy temple, and commanded the priests, that were offering their usual sacrifices, to deliver him the man.
14:32 And when they sware that they could not tell where the man was whom he sought,
14:33 He stretched out his right hand toward the temple, and made an oath in this manner: If ye will not deliver me Judas as a prisoner, I will lay this temple of God even with the ground, and I will break down the altar, and erect a notable temple unto Bacchus.
14:34 After these words he departed. Then the priests lifted up their hands toward heaven, and besought him that was ever a defender of their nation, saying in this manner;
14:35 Thou, O Lord of all things, who hast need of nothing, wast pleased that the temple of thine habitation should be among us:
14:36 Therefore now, O holy Lord of all holiness, keep this house ever undefiled, which lately was cleansed, and stop every unrighteous mouth.
14:37 Now was there accused unto Nicanor one Razis, one of the elders of Jerusalem, a lover of his countrymen, and a man of very good report, who for his kindness was called a father of the Jews.
14:38 For in the former times, when they mingled not themselves with the Gentiles, he had been accused of Judaism, and did boldly jeopard his body and life with all vehemency for the religion of the Jews.
14:39 So Nicanor, willing to declare the hate that he bare unto the Jews, sent above five hundred men of war to take him:
14:40 For he thought by taking him to do the Jews much hurt.
14:41 Now when the multitude would have taken the tower, and violently broken into the outer door, and bade that fire should be brought to burn it, he being ready to be taken on every side fell upon his sword;
14:42 Choosing rather to die manfully, than to come into the hands of the wicked, to be abused otherwise than beseemed his noble birth:
14:43 But missing his stroke through haste, the multitude also rushing within the doors, he ran boldly up to the wall, and cast himself down manfully among the thickest of them.
14:44 But they quickly giving back, and a space being made, he fell down into the midst of the void place.
14:45 Nevertheless, while there was yet breath within him, being inflamed with anger, he rose up; and though his blood gushed out like spouts of water, and his wounds were grievous, yet he ran through the midst of the throng; and standing upon a steep rock,
14:46 When as his blood was now quite gone, he plucked out his bowels, and taking them in both his hands, he cast them upon the throng, and calling upon the Lord of life and spirit to restore him those again, he thus died.