2 Maccabees 14 CPDV [abbreviation] brought to you by [publisher] Learn more



1 But after a time of three years, Judas and those who were with him realized that Demetrius of Seleucus had gone up to strategic places with a very strong multitude and a navy at the port of Tripoli,
2 and had taken hold of the regions opposite Antiochus, and his commander, Lysias.
3 Now a certain Alcimus, who had been high priest, but who had willfully defiled himself in the time of the co-mingling, considering there to be no means for his safety, nor access to the altar,
4 went to king Demetrius in the one hundred and fiftieth year, offering to him a crown of gold, and a palm, and beyond these, some branches that seemed to belong to the temple. And, indeed, on that day, he was silent.
5 But, having met with an opportune time for his madness, he was called to a counsel by Demetrius and asked what things the Jews relied upon and what were their counsels.
6 He responded: "Those among the Jews who are called Hasideans, of whom Judas Maccabeus is foremost, nourish wars, and raise seditions, and will not permit the kingdom to be at peace.
7 For I also, being cheated out of the glory of my ancestors (but I speak of the high priesthood), have come here,
8 first, indeed, in faithful service to the king's interests, but also as an advisor of the citizens. For our entire nation is no less afflicted by their depravity.
9 But I beg you, O king, knowing each of these things, look after both the region and our people, according to your humanity, which is publicly known to all.
10 For, as long as Judas survives, it is impossible for the matter to be at peace."
11 Then, having spoken such things before them, the rest of the allies, who held themselves to be enemies against Judas, further inflamed Demetrius.
12 And immediately he sent Nicanor, the commander over the elephants, into the first position against Judea,
13 giving him orders to be certain to capture Judas himself, and, truly, to scatter all those who were with him, and to appoint Alcimus as the high priest of the great temple.
14 Then the Gentiles, who had fled from Judas away from Judea, mingled themselves in flocks with Nicanor, thinking that the miseries and calamities of the Jews would become the cause of their prosperity.
15 And so, when the Jews heard of Nicanor's arrival and that the nations were assembled, they, sprinkling dirt on their heads, petitioned him who established his people to preserve them in eternity, and who likewise protected his portion by clear signs.
16 Then, at the command of their leader, they moved promptly from there, and together assembled at the town of Dessau.
17 In truth, Simon, the brother of Judas, had joined battle with Nicanor, but he became frightened at the unexpected arrival of the adversaries.
18 Even so, Nicanor, hearing of the virtue of the companions of Judas, and the great courage with which they struggled on behalf of their country, was afraid to accomplish judgment by the sword.
19 For this reason, he sent ahead Posidonius, and Theodotus, and Matthias, so as to give and receive the pledge of right hands.
20 And when a council was held all day about this, and the commander had brought it before the multitude, they were all of one opinion to consent to an alliance.
21 And so, they appointed a day, on which they would act among themselves secretly, and seats were brought out and placed for each of them.
22 But Judas instructed armed men to be in strategic places, lest some kind of malice might unexpectedly spring up from the enemies. And they had an agreeable conference.
23 Then Nicanor stayed in Jerusalem, and he did no iniquity; he sent away the flocks of the crowds, which had been gathered together.
24 And Judas always held him dear to the heart, and was favorably inclined toward the man.
25 And he asked him to consider a wife, and to procreate sons. He got married; he lived quietly, and they all lived in common.
26 But Alcimus seeing the love that they had for one another, and the agreements, went to Demetrius, and he told him that Nicanor had assented to foreign interests, and that he had chosen Judas, a traitor to the kingdom, as his successor.
27 And so the king, being exasperated and provoked by this very wicked accusation, wrote to Nicanor, saying that he was certainly overburdened by the agreement of alliance, and he ordered him nevertheless to send Maccabeus quickly to Antioch in chains.
28 When this was known, Nicanor was in consternation, and he took it grievously that he would make void the things that were agreed, having received no injury from the man.
29 But, because he was not able to oppose the king, he watched for an opportunity to follow through with the orders.
30 But Maccabeus, seeing that Nicanor acted more formally with him, and that, when they met together as usual, he exhibited insolence, understood this austerity not to be from goodness. So, gathering together a few men, he hid himself from Nicanor.
31 But when he realized that he was effectively prevented by the man, he went to the greatest and holiest temple, and he ordered the priests, offering the usual sacrifices, to deliver the man to him.
32 When these spoke oaths to him that they did not know where he who was being sought was, he extended his hand toward the temple,
33 and he swore, saying: "Unless you deliver Judas to me in chains, I will reduce this shrine of God to the ground, and I will dig up the altar, and I will consecrate this temple to Liber the father."
34 And having said this, he departed. But the priests, extending their hands toward heaven, called upon him who had always fought for his people, saying this:
35 "O Lord of the universe, who needs nothing, you willed that the temple of your dwelling should be with us.
36 And now, O Lord, Holy of all holies, preserve unpolluted, until eternity, this house, which was recently made clean."
37 Then Razias, a certain one of the elders from Jerusalem, was brought before Nicanor; the man was of good reputation, and was one who loved the city. For his affection, he was called the father of the Jews.
38 This one, for a long time, held on to his purpose of continuing in Judaism, and he was content to hand over body and life, so that he might persevere in it.
39 Then Nicanor, being willing to manifest the hatred that he held for the Jews, sent five hundred soldiers to apprehend him.
40 For he thought, if he mistreated him, it would bring great disaster upon the Jews.
41 Now, as the group sought to rush into his house, and to break open the door, and wanting even to bring in fire, as he was about to be apprehended, he struck himself with the sword:
42 choosing to prefer to die nobly rather than to become subject to sinners, or to suffer unworthy injustices against his birth.
43 But, since he had, in haste, not obtained the certitude of a decisive wound, and the crowd was breaking in the doors, he, running boldly to the wall, manfully threw himself down upon the crowd.
44 But they quickly provided a place for his fall, so he landed at the middle of the neck.
45 And, since he was still breathing, and being inflamed in soul, he rose up, and as his blood flowed down in a great stream, being very gravely wounded, he ran through the crowd.
46 And standing upon a certain steep rock, and being now almost without blood, grasping his intestines with both hands, he threw himself over the crowd, calling upon the Ruler of life as well as spirit, to restore these to him again. And so he passed away from this life.