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1 Maccabees - Chapter 1

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1 Maccabees Chapters

1 Alexander of Macedon son of Philip had come from the land of Kittim and defeated Darius king of the Persians and Medes, whom he succeeded as ruler, at first of Hellas.

2 He undertook many campaigns, gained possession of many fortresses, and put the local kings to death.

3 So he advanced to the ends of the earth, plundering nation after nation; the earth grew silent before him, and his ambitious heart swelled with pride.

4 He assembled very powerful forces and subdued provinces, nations and princes, and they became his tributaries.

5 But the time came when Alexander took to his bed, in the knowledge that he was dying.

6 He summoned his officers, noblemen who had been brought up with him from his youth, and divided his kingdom among them while he was still alive.

7 Alexander had reigned twelve years when he died.

8 Each of his officers established himself in his own region.

9 All assumed crowns after his death, they and their heirs after them for many years, bringing increasing evils on the world.

10 From these there grew a wicked offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes son of King Antiochus; once a hostage in Rome, he became king in the 107th year of the kingdom of the Greeks.

11 It was then that there emerged from Israel a set of renegades who led many people astray. 'Come,' they said, 'let us ally ourselves with the gentiles surrounding us, for since we separated ourselves from them many misfortunes have overtaken us.'

12 This proposal proved acceptable,

13 and a number of the people eagerly approached the king, who authorised them to practise the gentiles' observances.

14 So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, such as the gentiles have,

15 disguised their circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant, submitting to gentile rule as willing slaves of impiety.

16 Once Antiochus had seen his authority established, he determined to make himself king of Egypt and the ruler of both kingdoms.

17 He invaded Egypt in massive strength, with chariots and elephants (and cavalry) and a large fleet.

18 He engaged Ptolemy king of Egypt in battle, and Ptolemy turned back and fled before his advance, leaving many casualties.

19 The fortified cities of Egypt were captured, and Antiochus plundered the country.

20 After his conquest of Egypt, in the year 143, Antiochus turned about and advanced on Israel and Jerusalem in massive strength.

21 Insolently breaking into the sanctuary, he removed the golden altar and the lamp-stand for the light with all its fittings,

22 together with the table for the loaves of permanent offering, the libation vessels, the cups, the golden censers, the veil, the crowns, and the golden decoration on the front of the Temple, which he stripped of everything.

23 He made off with the silver and gold and precious vessels; he discovered the secret treasures and seized them

24 and, removing all these, he went back to his own country, having shed much blood and uttered words of extreme arrogance.

25 There was deep mourning for Israel throughout the country:

26 Rulers and elders groaned; girls and young men wasted away; the women's beauty suffered a change;

27 every bridegroom took up a dirge, the bride sat grief-stricken on her marriage-bed.

28 The earth quaked because of its inhabitants and the whole House of Jacob was clothed with shame.

29 Two years later the king sent the Mysarch through the cities of Judah. He came to Jerusalem with an impressive force,

30 and addressing them with wha