After that Alexander the son of Philippe, king of Macedonia went forth of the land of Cethim, and slew Darius king of the Persians and Medes: It happened, that he took great wars in hand, won very many strong cities, and slew many kings of the earth: going through to the ends of the world and getting many spoils of the people: In so much, that the world stood in great awe of him, and therefore was *he proud in his heart. Now when he had gathered a mighty strong host, and subdued the lands and people with their princes, so that they became tributaries unto him: he fell sick. And when he perceived that he must needs die, he called for his noble estates ( which had been brought up with him of children ) and parted his kingdom among them, while he was yet alive. So Alexander reigned twelve years, and then died.
After his death fell the kingdom unto his princes, and they obtained it everyone in his room, and caused themselves to be crowned as kings: and so did their children after them many years, and much wickedness increased in the world. Out of these came the ungracious root, noble *Antiochus the son of Antiochus the king ( which had been a *pledge) at Rome ) and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the reign of the Greeks.
In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, which moved much people with their council, saying: Let us go and make a covenant with the Heathen, that are round about us: for since we departed from them, we have had much sorrow. So this device pleased them well, and certain of the people took upon them for to go unto the king, which gave them license to do after the ordinances of the Heathen. Then set they up an open school ( at Jerusalem ) of the laws of the Heathen, and were no more circumcised: but forsook the holy Testament, and joined themselves to the Heathen, and were clean sold to do mischief.
So when Antiochus began to be mighty in his kingdom, he went about to obtain the land of Egypt also, that he might have the dominion of two realms. Upon this he entered into Egypt with a strong host with chariots, elephants, horsemen and a great number of ships, and began to war against Ptolomy the king of Egypt. But Ptolomy was afraid of him, and fled: and many of his people were wounded to death. Thus Antiochus won many strong cities, and took away great good out of the land of Egypt.
And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty third year, and went toward Israel, and came up to Jerusalem with a mighty people: and entered proudly into the Sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, the *candlestick and all the ornaments thereof, the table of the showbread, the pouring vessel and the chargers, the golden spoons, the veil, the crowns and golden apparel of the temple, and break down all. He took also the silver and gold, the precious Jewels and the secret treasures that he found. And when he had taken away altogether, caused a great murder of men, and so fulfilled his malicious pride, he departed into his own land.
Thus there arose a great heaviness and misery in all the land of Israel. The princes and elders of the people mourned, the young men and maidens were defiled, and the fair beauty of women was changed: the bridegroom and the bride took them to mourning the land and those that dwelt therein, was moved: for all the house of Jacob was brought to confusion.
After two years the king sent his chief treasurer unto the cities of Juda, which came to Jerusalem with a great multitude of people, speaking peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit: for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it sore, and destroyed much people of Israel. And when he had spoiled the city, he set fire on it, casting down houses and walls on every side. The women and their children took they captive, and lead away their cattle. Then builded they the castle of David with a great thick wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a stronghold for them. Beside all this they set wicked people and ungodly men to keep it, stored it with weapons and vitals: gathered the goods of Jerusalem, and laid them up there: thus became it a *thievish castle.
And this was done to lay wait for the people that went into the Sanctuary, and for the cruel destruction of Israel. Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the Sanctuary, and defiled it: Insomuch that the citizens were faine to depart, and the city became an habitation of strangers, being desolate of her own seed, for her own natives were faine to leave her. Her Sanctuary was clean wasted, her holy days were turned to mourning, her Sabbaths were had in derision, and her honor was brought to nought. Look how great her glory was afore, so great was her confusion, and her joy turned into sorrow.
Antiochus also the king sent out a commission unto all his kingdom, that all the people should be one. Then they left every man his law, and all the Heathen agreed to the commandment of king Antiochus: Yee, many of the Israelites consented there unto, offering unto Idols, and defiling the Sabbath. So the king Antiochus sent his messengers with his commission unto Jerusalem, and to all the cities of Juda: that they should follow the laws of the Heathen, and forbade either burntofferings, meat offerings or peace offerings to be made in the temple of God, and that there should no Sabbath ner high feast day to be kept: but commanded, that the Sanctuary and the holy people of Israel should be defiled.
He commanded also that there should be set up other altars, temples and Idols: to offer up swines flesh and other unclean beasts: that men should leave their children uncircumcised, to defile their souls with all manner of uncleanness and abominations: that they might so forget the law, and change all the *holy ordinances of God: and whosoever would not do according to the commandment of king Antiochus, should suffer death. In like manner commanded he throughout all his realm, and set rulers over the people, for to compel them to do these things, commanding the cities of Juda to do sacrifice unto Idols.
Then went the people unto the Heathen by heaps, forsook the law of the Lord, and committed much evil in the land: yee and chased out the secret Israelites, which had hid themselves in corners and privy places. The fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty fifth year, set king Antiochus an abominable Idol of desolation upon the altar of God, and they builded altars throughout all the cities of Juda on every side, before the doors of the houses, and in the streets: where they burnt incense, and did sacrifice. And as for the books of the law of God, they burnt them in the fire, and rent them in pieces. Whatsoever he was that had a book of the Testament of the Lord found by him, yee whosoever endeavored himself to keep the law of the Lord, the kings commandment was, that they should put him to death. And through his authority they executed these things every month, upon the people of Israel that were found in the cities.
The five and twentieth day of the month, what time as they did sacrifice upon the altar ( which stood instead of the altar of the Lord ) according to the commandment of king Antiochus, they put certain women to death, which had caused their children to be circumcised: Not only that, but they hanged up the children by the necks throughout all their houses, and slew the circumcisers of them.
Yet were there many of the people of Israel, which determined in themselves, that they would not eat unclean things: but chose rather to suffer death, then to be defiled with unclean meats. So because they would not break the blessed law of God, they were cruelly slain. And this great tyranny increased very sore upon the people of Israel.