3 Maccabees 2 (The king demands registration of the Jews)

3 Maccabees Chapter 2

The king demands registration of the Jews
Listen to "3 Maccabees 2 - The king demands registration of the Jews" on Spreaker.

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 an 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 consume them with fire and brimstone.

6 Thou didst make known thy power when thou causest 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 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 thy illustrious presence, after constructing it to the glory of the great and honourable name.

10 And thou didst promise, out of love to the house 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 whereas thou didst often aid our fathers when hard pressed, and in low estate, and deliveredst them out of great 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 thy 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 the 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 scouraged the man greatly uplifted with scorn and insolence. 22 Shaking him to and for as a reed is shaken with the wind, he cast him upon the pavement, powerless, with limbs paralyzed; by a righteous judgement deprived of the faculty of speech. 23 His friends and body-guards, 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 inflict a public stigma upon our race; wherefore he erected a pillar at the tower-porch, and caused the following inscription to be engraven 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.

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