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MACCABEES II / ΜΑΚΚΑΒΑΙΩΝ Β

9

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1 About that time came Antiochus with dishonour out of the country of Persia 2 For he had entered the city called Persepolis, and went about to rob the temple, and to hold the city; whereupon the multitude running to defend themselves with their weapons put them to flight; and so it happened, that Antiochus being put to flight of the inhabitants returned with shame. 3 Now when he came to Ecbatane, news was brought him what had happened unto Nicanor and Timotheus. 4 Then swelling with anger. he thought to avenge upon the Jews the disgrace done unto him by those that made him flee. Therefore commanded he his chariotman to drive without ceasing, and to dispatch the journey, the judgment of God now following him. For he had spoken proudly in this sort, That he would come to Jerusalem and make it a common burying place of the Jews. 5 But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague: or as soon as he had spoken these words, a pain of the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts; 6 And that most justly: for he had tormented other men’s bowels with many and strange torments. 7 Howbeit he nothing at all ceased from his bragging, but still was filled with pride, breathing out fire in his rage against the Jews, and commanding to haste the journey: but it came to pass that he fell down from his chariot, carried violently; so that having a sore fall, all the members of his body were much pained. 8 And thus he that a little afore thought he might command the waves of the sea, (so proud was he beyond the condition of man) and weigh the high mountains in a balance, was now cast on the ground, and carried in an horselitter, shewing forth unto all the manifest power of God. 9 So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and whiles he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to all his army. 10 And the man, that thought a little afore he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry for his intolerable stink. 11 Here therefore, being plagued, he began to leave off his great pride, and to come to the knowledge of himself by the scourge of God, his pain increasing every moment. 12 And when he himself could not abide his own smell, he said these words, It is meet to be subject unto God, and that a man that is mortal should not proudly think of himself if he were God. 13 This wicked person vowed also unto the Lord, who now no more would have mercy upon him, saying thus, 14 That the holy city (to the which he was going in haste to lay it even with the ground, and to make it a common buryingplace,) he would set at liberty: 15 And as touching the Jews, whom he had judged not worthy so much as to be buried, but to be cast out with their children to be devoured of the fowls and wild beasts, he would make them all equals to the citizens of Athens: 16 And the holy temple, which before he had spoiled, he would garnish with goodly gifts, and restore all the holy vessels with many more, and out of his own revenue defray the charges belonging to the sacrifices: 17 Yea, and that also he would become a Jew himself, and go through all the world that was inhabited, and declare the power of God. 18 But for all this his pains would not cease: for the just judgment of God was come upon him: therefore despairing of his health, he wrote unto the Jews the letter underwritten, containing the form of a supplication, after this manner: 19 Antiochus, king and governor, to the good Jews his citizens wisheth much joy, health, and prosperity: 20 If ye and your children fare well, and your affairs be to your contentment, I give very great thanks to God, having my hope in heaven. 21 As for me, I was weak, or else I would have remembered kindly your honour and good will returning out of Persia, and being taken with a grievous disease, I thought it necessary to care for the common safety of all: 22 Not distrusting mine health, but having great hope to escape this sickness. 23 But considering that even my father, at what time he led an army into the high countries. appointed a successor, 24 To the end that, if any thing fell out contrary to expectation, or if any tidings were brought that were grievous, they of the land, knowing to whom the state was left, might not be troubled: 25 Again, considering how that the princes that are borderers and neighbours unto my kingdom wait for opportunities, and expect what shall be the event. I have appointed my son Antiochus king, whom I often committed and commended unto many of you, when I went up into the high provinces; to whom I have written as followeth: 26 Therefore I pray and request you to remember the benefits that I have done unto you generally, and in special, and that every man will be still faithful to me and my son. 27 For I am persuaded that he understanding my mind will favourably and graciously yield to your desires. 28 Thus the murderer and blasphemer having suffered most grievously, as he entreated other men, so died he a miserable death in a strange country in the mountains. 29 And Philip, that was brought up with him, carried away his body, who also fearing the son of Antiochus went into Egypt to Ptolemeus Philometor. ΠΕΡΙ δὲ τὸν καιρὸν ἐκεῖνον ἐτύγχανεν ᾿Αντίοχος ἀναλελυκὼς ἀκόσμως ἐκ τῶν κατὰ τὴν Περσίδα τόπων. 2 εἰσεληλύθει γὰρ εἰς τὴν λεγομένην Περσέπολιν καὶ ἐπεχείρησεν ἱεροσυλεῖν καὶ τὴν πόλιν συνέχειν. διὸ δὴ τῶν πληθῶν ὁρμησάντων ἐπὶ τὴν τῶν ὅπλων βοήθειαν ἐτράπησαν, καὶ συνέβη τροπωθέντα τὸν ᾿Αντίοχον ὑπὸ τῶν ἐγχωρίων ἀσχήμονα τὴν ἀναζυγὴν ποιήσασθαι. 3 ὄντι δὲ αὐτῷ κατ᾿ ᾿Εκβάτανα προσέπεσε τὰ κατὰ Νικάνορα καὶ τοὺς περὶ Τιμόθεον γεγονότα. 4 ἐπαρθεὶς δὲ τῷ θυμῷ ᾤετο καὶ τὴν τῶν πεφυγαδευκότων αὐτὸν κακίαν εἰς τοὺς ᾿Ιουδαίους ἐναπερείσασθαι, διὸ συνέταξε τὸν ἁρματηλάτην ἀδιαλείπτως ἐλαύνοντα κατανύειν τὴν πορείαν, τῆς ἐξ οὐρανοῦ δὴ κρίσεως συνούσης αὐτῷ· οὕτω γὰρ ὑπερηφάνως εἶπε· πολυάνδριον ᾿Ιουδαίων ῾Ιεροσόλυμα ποιήσω παραγενόμενος ἐκεῖ. 5 ὁ δὲ πανεπόπτης Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ ᾿Ισραὴλ ἐπάταξεν αὐτὸν ἀνιάτῳ καὶ ἀοράτῳ πληγῇ· ἄρτι δὲ αὐτοῦ καταλήξαντος τὸν λόγον, ἔλαβεν αὐτὸν ἀνήκεστος τῶν σπλάγχνων ἀλγηδὼν καὶ πικραὶ τῶν ἔνδον βάσανοι, 6 πάνυ δικαίως τὸν πολλαῖς καὶ ξενιζούσαις συμφοραῖς ἑτέρων σπλάγχνα βασανίσαντα. 7 ὁ δ᾿ οὐδαμῶς τῆς ἀγερωχίας ἔληγεν· ἔτι δὲ καὶ τῆς ὑπερηφανίας ἐπεπλήρωτο, πῦρ πνέων τοῖς θυμοῖς ἐπὶ τοὺς ᾿Ιουδαίους καὶ κελεύων ἐποξύνειν τὴν πορείαν. συνέβη δὲ καὶ πεσεῖν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἅρματος φερομένου ῥοίζῳ καὶ δυσχερεῖ πτώματι περιπεσόντα πάντα τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος ἀποστρεβλοῦσθαι. 8 ὁ δ᾿ ἄρτι δοκῶν τοῖς τῆς θαλάσσης κύμασιν ἐπιτάσσειν διὰ τὴν ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον ἀλαζονείαν καὶ πλάστιγγι τὰ τῶν ὀρέων οἰόμενος ὕψη στήσειν, κατὰ γῆν γενόμενος ἐν φορείῳ παρεκομίζετο, φανερὰν τοῦ Θεοῦ πᾶσι τὴν δύναμιν ἐνδεικνύμενος, 9 ὥστε καὶ ἐκ τοῦ σώματος τοῦ δυσσεβοῦς σκώληκας ἀναζεῖν, καὶ ζῶντος ἐν ὀδύναις καὶ ἀλγηδόσι τὰς σάρκας αὐτοῦ διαπίπτειν, ὑπὸ δὲ τῆς ὀσμῆς αὐτοῦ πᾶν τὸ στρατόπεδον βαρύνεσθαι τῇ σαπρίᾳ. 10 καὶ τὸν μικρῷ πρότερον τῶν οὐρανίων ἄστρων ἅπτεσθαι δοκοῦντα παρακομίζειν οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο διὰ τὸ τῆς ὀσμῆς ἀφόρητον βάρος. 11 ἐνταῦθα οὖν ἤρξατο τὸ πολὺ τῆς ὑπερηφανίας λήγειν ὑποτεθραυσμένος καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἔρχεσθαι θείᾳ μάστιγι κατὰ στιγμὴν ἐπιτεινόμενος ταῖς ἀλγηδόσι. 12 καὶ μηδὲ τῆς ὀσμῆς αὐτοῦ δυνάμενος ἀνέχεσθαι ταῦτ᾿ ἔφη· δίκαιον ὑποτάσσεσθαι τῷ Θεῷ καὶ μὴ θνητὸν ὄντα ἰσόθεα φρονεῖν ὑπερηφάνως. 13 ηὔχετο δὲ ὁ μιαρὸς πρὸς τὸν οὐκέτι αὐτὸν ἐλεήσοντα Δεσπότην, οὕτω λέγων 14 τὴν μὲν ἁγίαν πόλιν, ἣν σπεύδων παρεγίνετο ἰσόπεδον ποιῆσαι καὶ πολυάνδριον οἰκοδομῆσαι, ἐλευθέραν ἀναδεῖξαι· 15 τοὺς δὲ ᾿Ιουδαίους, οὓς διεγνώκει μηδὲ ταφῆς ἀξιῶσαι οἰωνοβρώτους δὲ σὺν τοῖς νηπίοις ἐκρίψειν θηρίοις, πάντας αὐτοὺς ἴσους ᾿Αθηναίους ποιήσειν· 16 ὃν δὲν πρότερον ἐσκύλευσεν ἅγιον νεὼν καλλίστοις ἀναθήμασι κοσμήσειν καὶ τὰ ἱερὰ σκεύη πολυπλάσια πάντα ἀποδώσειν, τὰς δὲ ἐπιβαλλούσας πρὸς τὰς θυσίας συντάξεις ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων προσόδων χορηγήσειν· 17 πρὸς δὲ τούτοις καὶ ᾿Ιουδαῖον ἔσεσθαι καὶ πάντα τόπον οἰκητὸν ἐπελεύσεσθαι καταγγέλλοντα τὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ κράτος. 18 οὐδαμῶς δὲ ληγόντων τῶν πόνων, ἐπεληλύθει γὰρ ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν δικαία ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ κρίσις, τὰ κατ᾿ αὐτὸν ἀπελπίσας, ἔγραψε πρὸς τοὺς ᾿Ιουδαίους τὴν ὑπογεγραμμένην ἐπιστολήν, ἱκετηρίας τάξιν ἔχουσαν, περιέχουσαν δὲ οὕτως· 19 «Τοῖς χρηστοῖς ᾿Ιουδαίοις τοῖς πολίταις πολλὰ χαίρειν καὶ ὑγιαίνειν καὶ εὖ πράττειν βασιλεὺς καὶ στρατηγὸς ᾿Αντίοχος. 20 εἰ ἔρρωσθε καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ τὰ ἴδια κατὰ γνώμην ἐστὶν ὑμῖν, εὔχομαι μὲν τῷ Θεῷ τὴν μεγίστην χάριν, εἰς οὐρανὸν τὴν ἐλπίδα ἔχων, 21 κἀγὼ δὲ ἀσθενῶς διεκείμην, ὑμῶν τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὴν εὔνοιαν ἂν ἐμνημόνευον φιλοστόργως. ἐπανάγων ἐκ τῶν περὶ τὴν Περσίδα τόπων καὶ περιπεσὼν ἀσθενείᾳ δυσχέρειαν ἐχούσῃ, ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην φροντίσαι τῆς κοινῆς πάντων ἀσφαλείας. 22 οὐκ ἀπογινώσκων τὰ κατ᾿ ἐμαυτόν, ἀλλὰ ἔχων πολλὴν ἐλπίδα ἐκφεύξεσθαι τὴν ἀσθένειαν, 23 θεωρῶν δὲ ὅτι καὶ ὁ πατήρ, καθ᾿ οὓς καιροὺς εἰς τοὺς ἄνω τόπους ἐστρατοπέδευσεν, ἀνέδειξε τὸν διαδεξόμενον, 24 ὅπως ἐάν τι παράδοξον ἀποβαίνῃ ἢ καὶ προσαγγελθῇ τι δυσχερές, εἰδότες οἱ κατὰ τὴν χώραν ᾧ καταλέλειπται τὰ πράγματα, μὴ ἐπιταράσσωνται. 25 πρὸς δὲ τούτοις κατανοῶν τοὺς παρακειμένους δυνάστας καὶ γειτνιῶντας τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῖς καιροῖς ἐπέχοντας καὶ προσδεχομένους τὸ ἀποβησόμενον, ἀναδέδειχα τὸν υἱόν μου ᾿Αντίοχον βασιλέα, ὃν πολλάκις ἀνατρέχων εἰς τὰς ἐπάνω σατραπείας τοῖς πλείστοις ὑμῶν παρακατετιθέμην καὶ συνίστων· γέγραφα δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν τὰ ὑπογεγραμμένα. 26 παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς καὶ ἀξιῶ, μεμνημένους τῶν εὐεργεσιῶν κοινῇ καὶ κατ᾿ ἰδίαν, ἕκαστον συντηρεῖν τὴν οὖσαν εὔνοιαν εἰς ἐμὲ καὶ τὸν υἱόν μου· 27 πέπεισμαι γὰρ αὐτὸν ἐπιεικῶς καὶ φιλανθρώπως παρακολουθοῦντα τῇ ἐμῇ προαιρέσει συμπεριενεχθήσεσθαι ὑμῖν». 28 ῾Ο μὲν οὖν ἀνδροφόνος καὶ βλάσφημος τὰ χείριστα παθών, ὡς ἑτέρους διέθηκεν, ἐπὶ ξένης ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν οἰκτίστῳ μόρῳ κατέστρεψε τὸν βίον. 29 παρεκομίζετο δὲ τὸ σῶμα Φίλιππος ὁ σύντροφος αὐτοῦ, ὃς καὶ διευλαβηθεὶς τὸν υἱὸν ᾿Αντιόχου, πρὸς Πτολεμαῖον τὸν Φιλομήτορα εἰς Αἴγυπτον διεκομίσθη.

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