2 Macc 9

1At the same time, Antiochus returned in dishonor from Persia. 2For he had entered into the city called Persepolis, and attempted to rob the temple, and to oppress the city, but the multitude, rushing to arms, turned them to flight, and so it happened that Antiochus, after fleeing, returned in disgrace. 3And when he had arrived near Ecbatana, he realized what had happened to Nicanor and Timothy. 4And so, rising up in anger, he thought to turn back upon the Jews the injury done by those who had put him to flight. And, therefore, he ordered his chariot to be driven without stopping along the way, for the judgment of heaven was urging him on, because he had spoken so arrogantly about how he would come to Jerusalem and make it into a mass grave for the Jews. 5But the Lord God of Israel, who oversees all things, struck him with an incurable and invisible plague. For, as soon as he had finished these words, a dire pain in his abdomen seized him, with bitter internal torments. 6And, indeed, it sprung forth justly, since he had tormented the internal organs of others with many strange and new tortures, yet he in no way ceased from his malice. 7But, beyond this, being filled with arrogance, breathing fire with his soul against the Jews, and instructing the task to be accelerated, it happened that, as he was rushing on forcefully, he fell from the chariot, and his limbs were afflicted with a serious bruising of the body. 8And he, being filled with arrogance beyond human means, seemed to himself to command even the waves of the sea and to weigh even the heights of the mountains in a balance. But now, humbled to the ground, he was carried on a stretcher, calling himself as a witness to the manifest virtue of God. 9So then, worms swarmed from his impious body, and, as he lived on in pain, his flesh fell away, and then his odorous stench oppressed the army. 10And him who, a little before, thought that he could touch the stars of heaven, no one could endure to carry, because of the intolerable stench. 11And so, from then on, being led away from his heavy arrogance by the admonishment of a divine plague, he began to come to an understanding of himself, with his pains increasing through every moment. 12And, when he could not even bear his own stench, he spoke in this way: “It is just to be subject to God, and a mortal should not consider himself equal to God.” 13Then this wicked one prayed to the Lord, from whom, subsequently, there might be no mercy. 14And the city, to which he was going in haste to pull it down to the ground and to make it a mass grave, he now wanted to make free. 15And the Jews, whom he had said he certainly did not consider worthy even to be buried, but would deliver them to be torn apart by birds and wild beasts, and would exterminate them with their little ones, he now promised to make equal with the Athenians. 16And even the holy temple, which before he had plundered, he would adorn with the best gifts, and increase the holy vessels, and pay out from his revenues the charges pertaining to the sacrifices. 17Beyond these things, he would even become a Jew himself, and would travel through every place on earth and declare the power of God. 18But, when his pains did not cease, (for the just judgment of God had overwhelmed him,) in despair he wrote to the Jews, in the manner of a supplication, a letter composed in this way: 19“To the very good citizens of the Jews, Antiochus, king and ruler, wishes much health, and welfare, and happiness. 20If you and your sons are faring well, and if everything is according to your will, we give very great thanks. 21And so, fixed in infirmity, yet kindly remembering you, I am returning from the places of Persia, and, having been seized by a serious infirmity, I considered it necessary to have a concern for the common good, 22not despairing in myself, but having a great hope to escape the infirmity. 23Moreover, considering that my father also, during the time that he led an army into the upper regions, revealed who would take up the leadership after him, 24so that, if anything contrary should occur, or any if difficulties should be reported, those who were in the regions, knowing to whom the whole matter had been bequeathed, would not be disturbed. 25In addition to these things, considering that whichever are the nearest powers and neighbors lie in ambush for the right time and await the right event, I have designated my son, Antiochus, as king, whom I frequently commended to many of you while traveling in the upper provinces. And I have written to him what I have added below. 26And so, I beg you and petition you, that remembering the public and private benefits, each one will continue to be faithful to me and to my son. 27For I trust that he will behave with moderation and humanity, and that, following my intentions, he will be impartial to you.” 28And so the murderer and blasphemer, having been struck very badly, just as he himself had treated others, passed from this life in a miserable death on a journey among the mountains. 29But Philip, who was nurtured with him, carried away his body, and, fearing the son of Antiochus, went into Egypt to Ptolemy Philometor.
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