The brethren of the Jews which be at Jerusalem and in the land of Jewry, wish unto those brethren of the Jews that are throughout Egypt: good fortune, health and peace. God *the Lord be gracious unto you, and think upon his covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his faithful servants: and give you all such an heart, that you *may love and serve him, yee and to perform his will with an *whole heart and a willing mind: He open your hearts and in his law and in his commandments, send you peace: hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in time of trouble. This is here our prayer for you.
What time as Demetrius reigned, in the hundred and sixty ninth year, we Jews wrote unto you in the trouble and violence that came upon us. In those years after that Jason departed out of the holy land and kingdom, they burnt up the ports, and shed innocent blood. Then made we our prayer unto the Lord, and were heard: we offered, and lighted candles, setting forth cakes and bread. And now come ye unto the feast of tabernacles in the month Casleu.
In the hundred and eighty eighth year, the people that was at Jerusalem and in Jewry, the council and Judas himself, sent this wholesome salvation unto Aristobolus king Ptolomys master, which came of the generation of the anointed priests: and to the Jews that were in Egypt: Insomuch as God hath delivered us from great perils, we thank him highly. In that we resisted so mighty a king. And why ? he brought men out of Persis by heaps, to fight against us and the holy city. For as he was in Persis ( namely, the Captain with the great host ) he perished in the temple of Naneas, being deceived through the device of Naneass priests. For as he was purposed to have dwelt there, Antiochus and his friends came thither, to receive much money for a dowry. So when Naneas priests had layed forth the money, he entered with a small company into the compass of the temple, and so they shut the temple.
Now when Antiochus entered by opening the private entrance of the temple, the priests stoned the captain to death, hewed them in pieces that were with them, smote off their heads, and threw them out in all things. God be praised, who hath delivered the wicked in to our hands.
Whereas we now are purposed to keep the purification of the temple upon the twenty fifth day of the month Casleu, we thought it necessary to certify you thereof: that ye also might keep tabernacles feast day, and the day of the fire, which was given us when Nehemiah offered, after that he had set up the temple and the altar. For what time as our fathers were led away into *Persis, the priests ( *which then sought the honor of God ) and took the fire *privily from the altar, and hid it in a valley, where as was a deep dry pit: and there they kept it, because the place was unknown to every man. Now after many years when it pleased God, that Nehemiah should be sent from the king of Persia: he sent the childrens children of those priests (which had hid the fire ) to seek it. And as they told us, they found no fire, but thick water. Then commanded he them to draw it up, and to bring it him, and the offerings withal. Now when the sacrifices were laid on and ordered, the priest Nehemiah commanded to sprinkle them and the wood with the water. When this was done, and the time come that the *Sun shone, which was afore hid in the cloud: there was a great fire kindled. In so much that every man marvelled. Now all the priests prayed, while the sacrifice was a making. Jonathas prayed first, and the other gave answer.
And Nehemias prayer was after this manner: O' Lord God, maker of all things, thou fearful and strong, thou righteous and merciful, thou that art only and gracious king, only liberal, only just, Almighty and everlasting, thou that deliverest Israel from all trouble, thou that hast chosen the fathers and hallowed them: receiving the offering for the whole people of Israel, preserve thine own portion, and hallow it. Gather those together, that are scattered abroad from us: deliver them that are under the Heathens bondage, look upon them that are despised and abhorred, that the Heathen may know and see, how that thou art our God: Punish them that oppress, and proudly put us to dishonor. Set thy people again in thy holy place, like as Moses hath spoken.
And the priests sung Psalmes of thanksgiving, so long as the sacrifice endured. Now when the sacrifice was burnt, Nehemia commanded the great stones to be sprinkled with the residue of the water Which when it was done, there was kindled a flame of them also: but it was consumed by the light, that shined from the altar. So when this matter was known, it was told the king of Persia, that in the place where the priests, which were led away, had hid the fire, there appeared water instead of fire, and that Nehemias had purified the sacrifices withal. Then the king considering and pondering the matter diligently, made him a temple to prove the thing that was done. And when he found it so in deed, he gave the priests many gifts and diverse rewards: yee he took them with his own hand, and gave them. And Nehemias called the same place Nephthar, which is as much to say as a cleansing: but many men call it Nephi.