Heliodorus Comes to Seize the Treasures of the Temple
1Now when the holy city was inhabited with all peace, and the laws were kept very well, because of the godliness of Oni´as the high priest, and his hatred of wickedness, 2it came to pass that even the kings themselves did honor the place, and magnify the temple with their best gifts; 3insomuch that Seleu´cus king of Asia of his own revenues bare all the costs belonging to the service of the sacrifices. 4But one Simon of the tribe of Benjamin, who was made governor of the temple, fell out with the high priest about disorder in the city. 5And when he could not overcome Oni´as, he got him to Apol-lo´nius the son of Thra-se´as, who then was governor of Coelesyr´ia and Phoeni´cia, 6and told him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of infinite sums of money, so that the multitude of their riches, which did not pertain to the account of the sacrifices, was innumerable, and that it was possible to bring all into the king's hand. 7#Dan 11.20. Now when Apol-lo´nius came to the king, and had showed him of the money whereof he was told, the king chose out Heliodor´us his treasurer, and sent him with a commandment to bring him the foresaid money. 8So forthwith Heliodor´us took his journey, under a color of visiting the cities of Coelesyr´ia and Phoeni´cia, but indeed to fulfil the king's purpose.
9And when he was come to Jerusalem, and had been courteously received of the high priest of the city, he told him what intelligence was given of the money, and declared wherefore he came, and asked if these things were so indeed. 10Then the high priest told him that there was such money laid up for the relief of widows and fatherless children: 11and that some of it belonged to Hyrca´nus son of Tobias, a man of great dignity, and not as that wicked Simon had misinformed: the sum whereof in all was four hundred talents of silver, and two hundred of gold: 12and that it was altogether impossible that such wrongs should be done unto them, that had committed it to the holiness of the place, and to the majesty and inviolable sanctity of the temple, honored over all the world. 13But Heliodor´us, because of the king's commandment given him, said, That in any wise it must be brought into the king's treasury. 14So at the day which he appointed he entered in to order this matter.
Sorrow throughout Jerusalem
Wherefore there was no small agony throughout the whole city. 15#1 Macc 3.50; 9.46; Exod 22.7. But the priests, prostrating themselves before the altar in their priests' vestments, called unto heaven upon him that made a law concerning things given to he kept, that they should safely be preserved for such as had committed them to be kept. 16Then whoso had looked the high priest in the face, it would have wounded his heart: for his countenance and the changing of his color declared the inward agony of his mind. 17For the man was so compassed with fear and horror of the body, that it was manifest to them that looked upon him, what sorrow he had now in his heart. 18Others ran flocking out of their houses to the general supplication, because the place was like to come into contempt. 19#2 Sam 3.31; Jonah 3.5,6; Jdth 9.1; 1 Macc 2.14. And the women, girt with sackcloth under their breasts, abounded in the streets, and the virgins that were kept in ran, some to the gates, and some to the walls, and others looked out of the windows. 20And all, holding their hands toward heaven, made supplication. 21Then it would have pitied a man to see the falling down of the multitude of all sorts, and the fear of the high priest, being in such an agony. 22They then called upon the Almighty Lord to keep the things committed of trust safe and sure for those that had committed them.
An Angelic Horseman Terrifies Heliodorus
23Nevertheless Heliodor´us executed that which was decreed. 24Now as he was there present himself with his guard about the treasury, the Lord of spirits, and the Prince of all power, caused a great apparition, so that all that presumed to come in with him were astonished at the power of God, and fainted, and were sore afraid. 25#2 Macc 5.2,3. For there appeared unto them an horse with a terrible rider upon him, and adorned with a very fair covering, and he ran fiercely, and smote at Heliodor´us with his forefeet, and it seemed that he that sat upon the horse had complete harness of gold. 26Moreover two other young men appeared before him, notable in strength, excellent in beauty, and comely in apparel, who stood by him on either side; and scourged him continually, and gave him many sore stripes. 27And Heliodor´us fell suddenly unto the ground, and was compassed with great darkness: but they that were with him took him up, and put him into a litter. 28Thus him, that lately came with a great train and with all his guard into the said treasury, they carried out, being unable to help himself with his weapons: and manifestly they acknowledged the power of God: 29for he by the hand of God was cast down, and lay speechless without all hope of life. 30But they praised the Lord, that had miraculously honored his own place: for the temple, which a little afore was full of fear and trouble, when the Almighty Lord appeared, was filled with joy and gladness.
Onias Prays for the Healing of Heliodorus
31Then straightway certain of Heliodor´us' friends prayed Oni´as, that he would call upon the most High to grant him his life, who lay ready to give up the ghost. 32So the high priest, suspecting lest the king should misconceive that some treachery had been done to Heliodor´us by the Jews, offered a sacrifice for the health of the man. 33Now as the high priest was making an atonement, the same young men in the same clothing appeared and stood beside Heliodor´us, saying, Give Oni´as the high priest great thanks, insomuch as for his sake the Lord hath granted thee life: 34and seeing that thou hast been scourged from heaven, declare unto all men the mighty power of God. And when they had spoken these words, they appeared no more.
Heliodorus Sacrifices to the Lord and Reports to Seleucus IV
35So Heliodor´us, after he had offered sacrifice unto the Lord, and made great vows unto him that had saved his life, and saluted Oni´as, returned with his host to the king. 36Then testified he to all men the works of the great God, which he had seen with his eyes. 37And when the king asked Heliodor´us, who might be a fit man to be sent yet once again to Jerusalem, he said, 38If thou hast any enemy or traitor, send him thither, and thou shalt receive him well scourged, if he escape with his life: for in that place, no doubt, there is an especial power of God. 39For he that dwelleth in heaven hath his eye on that place, and defendeth it; and he beateth and destroyeth them that come to hurt it. 40And the things concerning Heliodor´us, and the keeping of the treasury, fell out on this sort.