2 Maccabees

Bishops(i) 1 The brethren of the Iewes which be at Hierusalem, & in the lande of Iurie, wishe vnto these brethre of the Iewes that are thorowout Egypt health and peace. 2 God be gracious vnto you, and thinke vpon his couenaunt that he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob, his faythfull seruauntes: 3 And geue you all such an heart that ye may loue and serue hym, yea and perfourme his will with an whole heart and a willing mynde: 4 He open your heartes vnto his law, and in his commaundementes, & sende you peace, 5 Heare your prayers, be at one with you, and neuer forsake you in time of trouble, 6 Forsomuch as now we here be praying for you. 7 What time as Demetrius raigned, in the hundred threescore & nyne yere, we Iewes wrote vnto you in the trouble & violence that came vnto vs: In those yeres, after that Iason departed out of the holy lande and kingdome, 8 They brent vp the portes, and shed innocent blood: then made we our prayer vnto the Lorde, and were hearde, we offered vp sacrifices and fine floure, setting foorth cakes and bread: 9 And nowe come ye vnto the feast of tabernacles in the moneth Casleu. 10 In the hundred fourescore and eyghtteene yere, the people that was at Hierusalem and in Iurie, the counsel, and Iudas him selfe, sent this wholsome salutation vnto Aristobulus king Ptolomies maister, whiche came of the generation of the annoynted priestes, and to the Iewes that were in Egypt: 11 Insomuch as God hath deliuered vs from great peryls, we thanke hym hyly, no lesse at all then if we had vanquished the king in battell. 12 For when he with those that had fought against the holy citie, dyd set vpon Persia: 13 For as he was in Persis [namely] the captayne with the great hoast, he perished in the temple of Naneas, beyng disceaued thorowe the deuice of Naneas priestes. 14 For when Antiochus, as he that should marry with her, came, and his friendes with him, into the place to receaue by name of dowrie the money whiche the priestes of Naneas had set foorth: 15 He entred with a small companie into the compasse of the temple, and so they shut the temple. 16 Nowe when Antiochus entred by opening the priuy entraunce of the temple, the priestes stoned the captayne to death, hewed them in peeces that were with him, smote of their heades, and threwe them out. 17 In all thinges God be praysed, which hath deliuered the wicked into our handes [to be punished] 18 Where as we are now purposed to kepe the purification of the temple vpon the twentie & fiue day of the moneth Casleu, we thought necessarie to certifie you therof: that ye also might kepe the tabernacles feast day, and the day of the fire, whiche was geuen vs when Nehemias offered, after that he had set vp the temple and the aulter. 19 For what time as our fathers were led away vnto Persis, the priestes whiche then sought the honour of God, toke the fire priuily from the aulter, and hyd it in a valley, where as was a deepe drye pit: and therin they kept it, so that the place was vnknowen to euery man. 20 Nowe after many yeres, when it pleased God that Nehemias shoulde be sent from the king of Persia, he sent the childers children of those priestes which had hyd the fyre, to seke it: and as they told vs, they found no fire, but thicke water. 21 Then commaunded he them to drawe it vp, and to bring it him, and the offeringes withall. Nowe when the sacrifices were layed on and ordred, Nehemias commaunded the priestes to sprinckle them and the wood with water. 22 When this was done, & the time come that the sunne shone whiche afore was hyd in the cloude, there was a great fire kindled, in so much that euery man marueyled. 23 Now all the priestes prayed whyle the sacrifice was a making: Ionathas prayed first, and the other gaue aunswere. 24 And Nehemias prayer was after this maner: O Lorde God, maker of all thinges, thou fearfull and strong, thou righteous and mercifull, thou that art onely a gratious king, 25 Only liberall, only iust, almightie and euerlasting, thou that deliuered Israel from all trouble, thou that hast chosen the fathers & halowed them fauorably: 26 Receaue the offering for thy whole people of Israel, preserue thyne owne portion, and halowe it, 27 Gather those together that are scattred abrode from vs, deliuer them that are vnder the heathens bondage, loke vpon them whiche are despised and abhorred: that the heathen may know and see howe that thou only art God, which art our God. 28 Punishe them that oppresse & proudly put vs to dishonour. 29 Set thy people againe in thy holy place, like as Moyses hath spoken. 30 And the priestes song Psalmes of thankesgeuing, so long as the sacrifice endured. 31 Nowe when the sacrifice was brent, Nehemias commaunded the great stones to be sprinkled with the residue of the water. 32 Which when it was done, there was kindled a flambe of them also: but it was consumed thorowe the light that shyned from the aulter. 33 So when this matter was knowen, it was tolde the king of Persia, that in the place where the priestes which were led away had hyd fyre, there appeared water, and that Nehemias and his companie had purified the sacrifices withall. 34 Then the king considering and pondering the matter diligently, inclosed the place, and consecrated a temple, to proue the thing that was done: 35 And when he founde it so in deede, he gaue the priestes many giftes & diuers rewardes, yea he toke them with his owne hand, and gaue them. 36 And Nehemias called the same place Nephthar, whiche is as much to say as a clensing: but many men call it Nephi.