1 The brethren, the Jews that be at Jerusalem and in the land of Judea, wish unto the brethren, the Jews that are throughout Egypt health and peace:
2 God be gracious unto you, and remember his covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his faithful servants; 3 And give you all an heart to serve him, and to do his will, with a good courage and a willing mind; 4 And open your hearts in his law and commandments, and send you peace, 5 And hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in time of trouble. 6 And now we be here praying for you.
7 What time as Demetrius reigned, in the hundred threescore and ninth year, we the Jews wrote unto you in the extremity of trouble that came upon us in those years, from the time that Jason and his company revolted from the holy land and kingdom, 8 And burned the porch, and shed innocent blood: then we prayed unto the Lord, and were heard; we offered also sacrifices and fine flour, and lighted the lamps, and set forth the loaves. 9 And now see that ye keep the feast of tabernacles in the month Casleu.
10 In the hundred fourscore and eighth year, the people that were at Jerusalem and in Judea, and the council, and Judas, sent greeting and health unto Aristobulus, king Ptolemeus’ master, who was of the stock of the anointed priests, and to the Jews that were in Egypt:
11 Insomuch as God hath delivered us from great perils, we thank him highly, as having been in battle against a king. 12 For he cast them out that fought within the holy city.
13 For when the leader was come into Persia, and the army with him that seemed invincible, they were slain in the temple of Nanea by the deceit of Nanea’s priests. 14 For Antiochus, as though he would marry her, came into the place, and his friends that were with him, to receive money in name of a dowry. 15 Which when the priests of Nanea had set forth, and he was entered with a small company into the compass of the temple, they shut the temple as soon as Antiochus was come in: 16 And opening a privy door of the roof, they threw stones like thunderbolts, and struck down the captain, hewed them in pieces, smote off their heads and cast them to those that were without.
17 Blessed be our God in all things, who hath delivered up the ungodly.
18 Therefore whereas we are now purposed to keep the purification of the temple upon the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, we thought it necessary to certify you thereof, that ye also might keep it, as the feast of the tabernacles, and of the fire, which was given us when Neemias offered sacrifice, after that he had builded the temple and the altar. 19 For when our fathers were led into Persia, the priests that were then devout took the fire of the altar privily, and hid it in an hollow place of a pit without water, where they kept it sure, so that the place was unknown to all men.
20 Now after many years, when it pleased God, Neemias, being sent from the king of Persia, did send of the posterity of those priests that had hid it to the fire: but when they told us they found no fire, but thick water; 21 Then commanded he them to draw it up, and to bring it; and when the sacrifices were laid on, Neemias commanded the priests to sprinkle the wood and the things laid thereupon with the water. 22 When this was done, and the time came that the sun shone, which afore was hid in the cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that every man marvelled.
23 And the priests made a prayer whilst the sacrifice was consuming, I say, both the priests, and all the rest, Jonathan beginning, and the rest answering thereunto, as Neemias did.
24 And the prayer was after this manner; O Lord, Lord God, Creator of all things, who art fearful and strong, and righteous, and merciful, and the only and gracious King, 25 The only giver of all things, the only just, almighty, and everlasting, thou that deliverest Israel from all trouble, and didst choose the fathers, and sanctify them: 26 Receive the sacrifice for thy whole people Israel, and preserve thine own portion, and sanctify it. 27 Gather those together that are scattered from us, deliver them that serve among the heathen, look upon them that are despised and abhorred, and let the heathen know that thou art our God.
28 Punish them that oppress us, and with pride do us wrong. 29 Plant thy people again in thy holy place, as Moses hath spoken. 30 And the priests sung psalms of thanksgiving.
31 Now when the sacrifice was consumed, Neemias commanded the water that was left to be poured on the great stones. 32 When this was done, there was kindled a flame: but it was consumed by the light that shined from the altar.
33 So when this matter was known, it was told the king of Persia, that in the place, where the priests that were led away had hid the fire, there appeared water, and that Neemias had purified the sacrifices therewith. 34 Then the king, inclosing the place, made it holy, after he had tried the matter.
35 And the king took many gifts, and bestowed thereof on those whom he would gratify. 36 And Neemias called this thing Naphthar, which is as much as to say, a cleansing: but many men call it Nephi.
ΤΟΙΣ ἀδελφοῖς τοῖς κατ᾿ Αἴγυπτον ᾿Ιουδαίοις χαίρειν. οἱ ἀδελφοὶ οἱ ἐν ῾Ιεροσολύμοις ᾿Ιουδαῖοι καὶ οἱ ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῆς ᾿Ιουδαίας εἰρήνην ἀγαθήν· 2 καὶ ἀγαθοποιήσαι ὑμῖν ὁ Θεὸς καὶ μνησθείη τῆς διαθήκης αὐτοῦ τῆς πρὸς ῾Αβραὰμ καὶ ᾿Ισαὰκ καὶ ᾿Ιακὼβ τῶν δούλων αὐτοῦ τῶν πιστῶν· 3 καὶ δῴη ὑμῖν καρδίαν πᾶσιν εἰς τὸ σέβεσθαι αὐτὸν καὶ ποιεῖν αὐτοῦ τὰ θελήματα καρδίᾳ μεγάλῃ καὶ ψυχῇ βουλομένῃ· 4 καὶ διανοίξαι τὴν καρδίαν ὑμῶν ἐν τῷ νόμῳ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τοῖς προστάγμασι καὶ εἰρήνην ποιήσαι 5 καὶ ἐπακούσαι ὑμῶν τῶν δεήσεων καὶ καταλλαγείη ὑμῖν καὶ μὴ ὑμᾶς ἐγκαταλίποι ἐν καιρῷ πονηρῷ. 6 καὶ νῦν ὧδέ ἐσμεν προσευχόμενοι περὶ ὑμῶν. 7 βασιλεύοντος Δημητρίου ἔτους ἑκατοστοῦ ἑξηκοστοῦ ἐνάτου, ἡμεῖς οἱ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι γεγράφαμεν ὑμῖν ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀκμῇ τῇ ἐπελθούσῃ ἡμῖν ἐν τοῖς ἔτεσι τούτοις, ἀφ᾿ οὗ ἀπέστη ᾿Ιάσων καὶ οἱ μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁγίας γῆς καὶ τῆς βασιλείας 8 καὶ ἐνεπύρισαν τὸν πυλῶνα καὶ ἐξέχεαν αἷμα ἀθῷον· καὶ ἐδεήθημεν τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ εἰσηκούσθημεν καὶ προσηνέγκαμεν θυσίαν καὶ σεμίδαλιν καὶ ἐξήψαμεν τοὺς λύχνους καὶ προεθήκαμεν τοὺς ἄρτους. 9 καὶ νῦν ἵνα ἄγητε τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς σκηνοπηγίας τοῦ Χασελεῦ μηνός. ἔτους ἑκατοστοῦ ὀγδοηκοστοῦ καὶ ὀγδόου».
10 «Οἱ ἐν ῾Ιεροσολύμοις καὶ οἱ ἐν τῇ ᾿Ιουδαίᾳ καὶ ἡ γερουσία καὶ ᾿Ιούδας ᾿Αριστοβούλῳ διδασκάλῳ Πτολεμαίου τοῦ βασιλέως, ὄντι δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ τῶν χριστῶν ἱερέων γένους, καὶ τοῖς ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ ᾿Ιουδαίοις χαίρειν καὶ ὑγιαίνειν. 11 ἐκ μεγάλων κινδύνων ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ σεσωσμένοι μεγάλως εὐχαριστοῦμεν αὐτῷ, ὡς ἂν πρὸς βασιλέα παρατασσόμενοι· 12 αὐτὸς γὰρ ἐξέβρασε τοὺς παραταξαμένους ἐν τῇ ἁγίᾳ πόλει. 13 εἰς γὰρ τὴν Περσίδα γενόμενος ὁ ἡγεμὼν καὶ ὁ περὶ αὐτὸν ἀνυπόστατος δοκοῦσα εἶναι δύναμις, κατεκόπησαν ἐν τῷ τῆς Ναναίᾳς ἱερῷ, παραλογισμῷ χρησαμένων τῶν περὶ τὴν Ναναίαν ἱερέων. 14 ὡς γὰρ συνοικήσων αὐτῇ παρεγένετο εἰς τὸν τόπον ὅ τε ᾿Αντίοχος καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ φίλοι χάριν τοῦ λαβεῖν τὰ χρήματα εἰς φερνῆς λόγον· 15 καὶ προθέντων αὐτὰ τῶν ἱερέων τῆς Ναναίας κἀκείνου προσελθόντος μετ᾿ ὀλίγων εἰς τὸν περίβολον τοῦ τεμένους, συγκλείσαντες, τὸ ἱερόν, ὡς εἰσῆλθεν ᾿Αντίοχος, 16 ἀνοίξαντες τὴν τοῦ φατνώματος κρυπτὴν θύραν, βάλοντες πέτρους συνεκεραύνωσαν τὸν ἡγεμόνα καὶ μέλη ποιήσαντες καὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς ἀφελόντες τοῖς ἔξω παρέρριψαν. 17 κατὰ πάντα εὐλογητὸς ἡμῶν ὁ Θεός, ὃς παρέδωκε τοὺς ἀσεβήσαντας. 18 μέλλοντες οὖν ἄγειν ἐν τῷ Χασελεῦ πέμπτη καὶ εἰκάδι τὸν καθαρισμὸν τοῦ ἱεροῦ, δέον ἡγησάμεθα διασαφῆσαι ὑμῖν, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἄγητε τῆς σκηνοπηγίας καὶ τοῦ πυρός, ὅτε Νεεμίας οἰκοδομήσας τό τε ἱερὸν καὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον ἀνήνεγκε θυσίαν. 19 καὶ γὰρ ὅτε εἰς τὴν Περσικὴν ἤγοντο οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν, οἱ τότε εὐσεβεῖς ἱερεῖς λαβόντες ἀπὸ τοῦ πυρὸς τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου λαθραίως, κατέκρυψαν ἐν κοιλώματι φρέατος τάξιν ἔχοντος ἀνύδρου, ἐν ᾧ κατησφαλίσαντο ὥστε πᾶσιν ἄγνωστον εἶναι τὸν τόπον. 20 διελθόντων δὲ ἐτῶν ἱκανῶν, ὅτε ἔδοξε τῷ Θεῷ, ἀποσταλεὶς Νεεμίας ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως τῆς Περσίδος τοὺς ἐκγόνους τῶν ἱερέων τῶν ἀποκρυψάντων ἔπεμψεν ἐπὶ τὸ πῦρ· ὡς δὲ διεσάφησαν ἡμῖν μὴ εὑρηκέναι πῦρ, ἀλλὰ ὕδωρ παχύ, 21 ἐκέλευσεν αὐτοὺς ἀποβάψαντας φέρειν. ὡς δὲ ἀνηνέχθη τὰ τῶν θυσιῶν, ἐκέλευσε τοὺς ἱερεῖς Νεεμίας ἐπιρρᾶναι τῷ ὕδατι τά τε ξύλα καὶ τὰ ἐπικείμενα. 22 ὡς δὲ ἐγένετο τοῦτο καὶ χρόνος διῆλθεν ὅ τε ἥλιος ἀνέλαμψε, πρότερον ἐπινεφὴς ὤν, ἀνήφθη πυρὰ μεγάλη ὥστε θαυμάσαι πάντας. 23 προσευχὴν δὲ ἐποιήσαντο οἱ ἱερεῖς δαπανωμένης τῆς θυσίας, οἵ τε ἱερεῖς καὶ πάντες, καταρχομένου ᾿Ιωνάθου, τῶν δὲ λοιπῶν ἐπιφωνούντων ὡς Νεεμίου. 24 ἦν δὲ ἡ προσευχὴ τὸν τρόπον ἔχουσα τοῦτον· Κύριε Κύριε ὁ Θεὸς ὁ πάντων κτίστης, ὁ φοβερὸς καὶ ἰσχυρὸς καὶ δίκαιος καὶ ἐλεήμων, ὁ μόνος βασιλεὺς καὶ χρηστός, 25 ὁ μόνος χορηγός, ὁ μόνος δίκαιος καὶ παντοκράτωρ καὶ αἰώνιος, ὁ διασώζων τὸν ᾿Ισραὴλ ἐκ παντὸς κακοῦ, ὁ ποιήσας τοὺς πατέρας ἐκλεκτοὺς καὶ ἁγιάσας αὐτούς, 26 πρόσδεξαι τὴν θυσίαν ὑπὲρ παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ σου ᾿Ισραὴλ καὶ διαφύλαξον τὴν μερίδα σου καὶ καθαγίασον. 27 ἐπισυνάγαγε τὴν διασπορὰν ἡμῶν, ἐλευθέρωσον τοὺς δουλεύοντας ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσι, τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους καὶ βδελυκτοὺς ἔπιδε, καὶ γνώτωσαν τὰ ἔθνη, ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν. 28 βασάνισον τοὺς καταδυναστεύοντας καὶ ἐξυβρίζοντας ἐν ὑπερηφανίᾳ. 29 καταφύτευσον τὸν λαόν σου εἰς τὸν τόπον τὸν ἅγιόν σου, καθὼς εἶπε Μωυσῆς. 30 οἱ δὲ ἱερεῖς ἐπέψαλλον τοὺς ὕμνους. 31 καθὼς δὲ ἀνηλώθη τὰ τῆς θυσίας καὶ τὸ περιλειπόμενον ὕδωρ, ὁ Νεεμίας ἐκέλευσε λίθους μείζονας κατασχεῖν. 32 ὡς δὲ τοῦτο ἐγενήθη, φλὸξ ἀνήφθη· τοῦ δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου ἀντιλάμψαντος φωτὸς ἐδαπανήθη. 33 ὡς δὲ φανερὸν ἐγενήθη τὸ πρᾶγμα, καὶ διηγγέλη τῷ βασιλεῖ τῶν Περσῶν ὅτι εἰς τὸν τόπον, οὗ τὸ πῦρ ἀπέκρυψαν οἱ μεταχθέντες ἱερεῖς τὸ ὕδωρ ἐφάνη, ἀφ᾿ οὗ καὶ οἱ περὶ τὸν Νεεμίαν ἥγνισαν τὰ τῆς θυσίας, 34 περιφράξας δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς ἱερὸν ἐποίησε, δοκιμάσας τὸ πρᾶγμα. 35 καὶ οἷς ἐχαρίζετο ὁ βασιλεὺς πολλὰ διάφορα ἐλάμβανε καὶ μετεδίδου. 36 προσηγόρευσαν δὲ οἱ περὶ τὸν Νεεμίαν τοῦτο νέφθαρ, ὃ διερμηνεύεται Καθαρισμός· καλεῖται δὲ παρὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς Νεφθαεί.