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MACCABEES III / ΜΑΚΚΑΒΑΙΩΝ Γ

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1 Now was it that the high priest Simon bowed his knees over against the holy place, and spread out his hands in reverent form, and uttered the following supplication: 2 O Lord, Lord, King of the heavens, and Ruler of the whole creation, Holy among the holy, sole Governor, Almighty, give ear to us who are oppressed by a wicked and profane one, who exulteth in his confidence and strength. 3 It is thou, the Creator of all, the Lord of the universe, who art a righteous Governor, and judgest all who act with pride and insolence. 4 It was thou who didst destroy the former workers of unrighteousness, among whom were the giants, who trusted in their strength and hardihood, by covering them with a measureless flood. 5 It was thou who didst make the Sodomites, those workers of exceeding iniquity, men notorious for their vices, an example to after generations, when thou didst cover them with fire and brimstone. 6 Thou didst make known thy power when thou causedst the bold Pharaoh, the enslaver of thy people, to pass through the ordeal of many and diverse inflictions. 7 And thou rolledst the depths of the sea over him, when he made pursuit with chariots, and with a multitude of followers, and gavest a safe passage to those who put their trust in thee, the Lord of the whole creation. 8 These saw and felt the works of thine hands, and praised thee the Almighty. 9 Thou, O King, when thou createdst the illimitable and measureless earth, didst choose out this city: thou didst make this place sacred to thy name, albeit thou needest nothing: thou didst glorify it with thine illustrious presence, after constructing it to the glory of thy great and honourable name. 10 And thou didst promise, out of love to the people of Israel, that should we fall away from thee, and become afflicted, and then come to this house and pray, thou wouldest hear our prayer. 11 Verily thou art faithful and true. 12 And when thou didst often aid our fathers when hard pressed, and in low estate, and deliveredst them out of gret dangers, 13 see now, holy King, how through our many and great sins we are borne down, and made subject to our enemies, and are become weak and powerless. 14 We being in this low condition, this bold and profane man seeks to dishonour this thine holy place, consecrated out of the earth to the name of thy Majesty. 15 Thy dwelling place, the heaven of heavens, is indeed unapproachable to men. 16 But since it seemed good to thee to exhibit thy glory among thy people Israel, thou didst sanctify this place. 17 Punish us not by means of the uncleanness of their men, nor chastise us by means of their profanity; lest the lawless ones should boast in their rage, and exult in exuberant pride of speech, and say, 18 We have trampled upon the holy house, as idolatrous houses are trampled upon. 19 Blot out our iniquities, and do away with our errors, and shew forth thy compassion in this hour. 20 Let thy mercies quickly go before us. Grant us peace, that the cast down and broken hearted may praise thee with their mouth. 21 At that time God, who seeth all things, who is beyond all Holy among the holy, heard that prayer, so suitable; and scourged the man greatly uplifted with scorn and insolence. 22 Shaking him to and fro as a reed is shaken with the wind, he cast him upon the pavement, powerless, with limbs paralyzed; by a righteous judgment deprived of the faculty of speech. 23 His friends and bodyguards, beholding the swift recompense which had suddenly overtaken him, struck with exceeding terror, and fearing that he would die, speedily removed him. 24 When in course of time he had come to himself, this severe check caused no repentance within him, but he departed with bitter threatenings. 25 He proceeded to Egypt, grew worse in wickedness through his beforementioned companions in wine, who were lost to all goodness; 26 and not satisfied with countless acts of impiety, his audacity so increased that he raised evil reports there, and many of his friends, watching his purpose attentively, joined in furthering his will. 27 His purpose was to indict a public stigma upon our race; wherefore he erected a pillar at the tower-porch, and caused the following inscription to be engraved upon it: 28 That entrance to their own temple was to be refused to all those who would not sacrifice; that all the Jews were to be registered among the common people; that those who resisted were to be forcibly seized and put to death; 29 that those who were thus registered, were to be marked on their persons by the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysus, and to be set apart with these limited rights. 30 To do away with the appearance of hating them all, he had it written underneath, that if any of them should elect to enter the community of those initiated in the rites, these should have equal rights with the Alexandrians. 31 Some of those who were over the city, therefore, abhorring any approach to the city of piety, unhesitatingly gave in to the king, and expected to derive some great honour from a future connection with him. 32 A nobler spirit, however, prompted the majority to cling to their religious observances, and by paying money that they might live unmolested, these sought to escape the registration: 33 cheerfully looking forward to future aid, they abhorred their own apostates, considering them to be national foes, and debarring them from the common usages of social intercourse.
Ο μὲν οὖν ἀρχιερεὺς Σίμων ἐξεναντίας τοῦ ναοῦ κάμψας τὰ γόνατα καὶ τὰς χεῖρας προτείνας εὐτάκτως, ἐποιήσατο τὴν δέησιν τοιαύτην. 2 Κύριε Κύριε, βασιλεῦ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ δέσποτα πάσης κτίσεως, ἅγιε ἐν ἁγίοις, μόναρχε, παντοκράτωρ, πρόσχες ἡμῖν καταπονουμένοις ὑπὸ ἀνοσίου καὶ βεβήλου θράσει καὶ σθένει πεφρυαγμένου. 3 σὺ γὰρ ὁ κτίσας τὰ πάντα καὶ τῶν ὅλων ἐπικρατῶν δυνάστης δίκαιος εἶ καὶ τοὺς ὕβρει καὶ ἀγερωχίᾳ πράσσοντάς τι κρίνεις. 4 σὺ τοὺς ἔμπροσθεν ἀδικίαν ποιήσαντας, ἐν οἷς καὶ γίγαντες ἦσαν ρώμῃ καὶ θράσει πεποιθότες, διέφθειρας ἐπαγαγὼν αὐτοῖς ἀμέτρητον ὕδωρ. 5 σὺ τοὺς ὑπερηφανίαν ἐργαζομένους Σοδομίτας, διαδήλους ταῖς κακίαις γενομένους, πυρὶ καὶ θείῳ κατέφλεξας, παράδειγμα τοῖς ἐπιγινομένοις καταστήσας. 6 σὺ τὸν θρασὺν Φαραὼ καταδουλωσάμενον τὸν λαόν σου τὸν ἅγιον ᾿Ισραήλ, ποικίλαις καὶ πολλαῖς δοκιμάσας τιμωρίαις, ἐγνώρισας τὴν σὴν δυναστείαν, ἐφ’ αἷς ἐγνώρισας τὸ μέγα σου κράτος· 7 καὶ ἐπιδιώξαντα αὐτὸν σὺν ἅρμασι καὶ ὄχλων πλήθει ἐπέκλυσας βάθει θαλάσσης, τοὺς δὲ ἐμπιστεύσαντας ἐπὶ σοὶ τῷ τῆς ἁπάσης κτίσεως δυναστεύοντι σώους διεκόμισας, 8 οἳ καὶ συνιδόντες ἔργα σῆς χειρὸς ᾔνεσάν σε τὸν παντοκράτορα. 9 σύ, βασιλεῦ, κτίσας τὴν ἀπέραντον καὶ ἀμέτρητον γῆν, ἐξελέξω τὴν πόλιν ταύτην καὶ ἁγιάσας τὸν τόπον τοῦτον εἰς ὄνομά σοι τῷ τῶν ἁπάντων ἀπροσδεεῖ καὶ παρεδόξασας ἐν ἐπιφανείᾳ μεγαλοπρεπεῖ, σύστασιν ποιησάμενος αὐτοῦ πρὸς δόξαν τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ ἐντίμου ὀνόματός σου. 10 καὶ ἀγαπῶν τὸν οἶκον τοῦ ᾿Ισραὴλ ἐπηγγείλω δὴ ὅτι ἐὰν γένηται ἡμῶν ἀποστροφὴ καὶ καταλάβῃ ἡμᾶς στενοχωρία καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τὸν τόπον τοῦτον δεηθῶμεν, εἰσακούσῃ τῆς δεήσεως ἡμῶν. 11 καὶ δὴ πιστὸς εἶ καὶ ἀληθινός. 12 ἐπεὶ δὲ πλεονάκις θλιβέντων τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν ἐβοήθησας αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ ταπεινώσει καὶ ἐρρύσω αὐτοὺς ἐκ μεγάλων κινδύνων, 13 ἰδοὺ δὲ νῦν, ἅγιε βασιλεῦ, διὰ τὰς πολλὰς καὶ μεγάλας ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίας καταπονούμεθα καὶ ὑπετάγημεν τοῖς ἐχθροῖς ἡμῶν καὶ παρείμεθα ἐν ἀδυναμίαις. 14 ἐν δὲ τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ καταπτώσει ὁ θρασὺς καὶ βέβηλος οὗτος ἐπιτηδεύει καθυβρίσαι τὸν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀναδεδειγμένον τῷ ὀνόματι τῆς δόξης σου ἅγιον τόπον. 15 τὸ μὲν γὰρ οἰκητήριόν σου οὐρανὸς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀνέφικτος ἀνθρώποις ἐστίν. 16 ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ εὐδοκήσας τὴν δόξαν σου ἐν τῷ λαῷ σου ᾿Ισραὴλ ἡγίασας τὸν τόπον τοῦτον, 17 μὴ ἐκδικήσῃς ἡμᾶς ἐν τῇ τούτων ἀκαθαρσίᾳ, μηδὲ εὐθύνῃς ἡμᾶς ἐν βεβηλώσει, ἵνα μὴ καυχήσωνται οἱ παράνομοι ἐν θυμῷ αὐτῶν, μηδὲ ἀγαλλιάσωνται ἐν ὑπερηφανίᾳ γλώσσης αὐτῶν λέγοντες· 18 ἡμεῖς κατεπατήσαμεν τὸν οἶκον τοῦ ἁγιασμοῦ, ὡς καταπατοῦνται οἱ οἶκοι τῶν προσοχθισμάτων. 19 ἀπάλειψον τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν καὶ διασκέδασον τὰς ἀμπλακίας ἡμῶν καὶ ἐπίφανον τὸ ἔλεός σου κατὰ τὴν ὥραν ταύτην. 20 ταχὺ προκαταλαβέτωσαν ἡμᾶς οἱ οἰκτιρμοί σου, καὶ δὸς αἰνέσεις ἐν στόματι τῶν καταπεπτωκότων καὶ συντετριμμένων τὰς ψυχὰς ποιήσας ἡμῖν εἰρήνην. 21 ᾿Ενταῦθα ὁ πάντων ἐπόπτης Θεὸς καὶ πρὸ πάντων ἅγιος ἐν ἁγίοις εἰσακούσας τῆς ἐνθέσμου λιτανείας, τὸν ὕβρει καὶ θράσει μεγάλως ἐπῃρμένον ἐμάστιξεν αὐτόν, 22 ἔνθεν καὶ ἔνθεν κραδάνας αὐτὸν ὡς κάλαμον ὑπὸ ἀνέμου, ὥστε κατ’ ἐδάφους ἄπρακτον, ἔτι καὶ τοῖς μέλεσι παραλελυμένον μηδὲ φωνῆσαι δύνασθαι δικαίᾳ περιπεπλεγμένον κρίσει. 23 ὅθεν οἵ τε φίλοι καὶ οἱ σωματοφύλακες αὐτοῦ ταχεῖαν καὶ ὀξεῖαν ἰδόντες τὴν καταλαβοῦσαν αὐτὸν εὔθυναν, φοβούμενοι μὴ καὶ τὸ ζῆν ἐκλείπῃ, ταχέως αὐτὸν ἐξείλκυσαν ὑπερβάλλοντι καταπεπληγμένοι φόβῳ. 24 ἐν χρόνῳ δὲ ὕστερον ἀναλεξάμενος ἑαυτὸν οὐδαμῶς εἰς μετάμελον ἦλθεν ἐπιτιμηθείς, μετ’ ἀπειλῆς δὲ πικρᾶς ἀνέλυσε. 25 Διακομισθεὶς δὲ εἰς τὴν Αἴγυπτον καὶ τὰ τῆς κακίας ἐπαύξων, διὰ δὲ τῶν προαποδεδειγμένων συμποτῶν καὶ ἑταίρων τοῦ παντὸς δικαίου κεχωρισμένων, 26 οὐ μόνον ταῖς ἀναριθμήτοις ἀσελγείαις διηρκέσθη, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον θράσους προῆλθεν, ὥστε δισφυμίας ἐν τοῖς τόποις συνίστασθαι καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν φίλων ἀτενίζοντας εἰς τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως πρόθεσιν καὶ αὐτοὺς ἕπεσθαι τῇ ἐκείνου θελήσει. 27 προέθετο δὲ δημοσίᾳ κατὰ τοῦ ἔθνους διαδοῦναι ψόγον· καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν αὐλὴν πύργου στήλην ἀναστήσας ἐξεκόλαψε γραφήν, 28 μηδένα τῶν μὴ θυόντων εἰς τὰ ἱερὰ αὐτῶν εἰσιέναι, πάντας δὲ τοὺς ᾿Ιουδαίους εἰς λαογραφίαν καὶ οἰκετικὴν διάθεσιν ἀχθῆναι, τοὺς δὲ ἀντιλέγοντας βίᾳ φερομένους τοῦ ζῆν μεταστῆσαι, 29 τούς τε ἀπογραφομένους χαράσσεσθαι καὶ διὰ πυρὸς εἰς τὸ σῶμα παρασήμῳ Διονύσου κισσοφύλλῳ, οὓς καὶ καταχωρίσαι εἰς τὴν προσυνεσταλμένην αὐθεντίαν. 30 ἵνα δὲ μὴ τοῖς πᾶσιν ἀπεχθόμενος φαίνηται, ὑπέγραψεν· ἐὰν δέ τινες ἐξ αὐτῶν προαιρῶνται ἐν τοῖς κατὰ τὰς τελετὰς μεμυημένοις ἀναστρέφεσθαι, τούτους ἰσοπολίτας ᾿Αλεξανδρεῦσιν εἶναι. 31 ῎Ενιοι μὲν οὖν ἐπὶ πόλεως τὰς τῆς πόλεως εὐσεβείας ἐπιβάθρας στυγοῦντες εὐχερῶς ἑαυτοὺς ἐδίδοσαν ὡς μεγάλης τινὸς κοινωνήσοντες εὐκλείας ἀπὸ τῆς ἐσομένης τῷ βασιλεῖ συναναστροφῆς. 32 οἱ δὲ πλεῖστοι γενναίᾳ ψυχῇ ἐνίσχυσαν καὶ οὐ διέστησαν τῆς εὐσεβείας, τά τε χρήματα περὶ τοῦ ζῆν ἀντικαταλλασσόμενοι ἀδεῶς ἐπειρῶντο ἑαυτοὺς ρύσασθαι ἐκ τῶν ἀπογραφῶν· 33 εὐέλπιδες δὲ καθειστήκεισαν ἀντιλήψεως τεύξεσθαι· καὶ τοὺς ἀποχωροῦντας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἐβδελύσσοντο καὶ ὡς πολεμίους τοῦ ἔθνους ἔκρινον καὶ τῆς κοινῆς συναναστροφῆς καὶ εὐχρηστίας ἐστέρουν.

Cf. A note on the meaning of the word authentia in 3 Macc. 2,29.
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