1Now about that time it befell that Antiochus had returned in disorder from the region of Persia.
2For he had entered into the city called Persepolis, and he assayed to rob a temple and to hold down the city. Whereupon there was an onset of the multitudes, and Antiochus and his men turned to make defence with arms; and it came to pass that Antiochus was put to flight by the people of the country and broke up his camp with disgrace.
3And while he was at Ecbatana, news was brought him what had happened unto Nicanor and the forces of Timotheus.
4And being lifted up by his passion he thought to make the Jews suffer even for the evil-doing of those that had put him to rout. Wherefore, the judgement from heaven even now accompanying him, he gave order to his charioteer to drive without ceasing and despatch the journey; for thus he arrogantly spake: I will make Jerusalem a common graveyard of Jews, when I come there.
5But the All-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, smote him with a fatal and invisible stroke; and as soon as he had ceased speaking this word, an incurable pain of the bowels seized him, and bitter torments of the inner parts;
6and that most justly, for he had tormented other men’s bowels with many and strange sufferings.
7But he in no wise ceased from his rude insolence; nay, still more was he filled with arrogancy, breathing fire in his passion against the Jews, and commanding to haste the journey. But it came to pass moreover that he fell from his chariot as it rushed along, and having a grievous fall was racked in all the members of his body.
8And he that but now supposed himself to have the waves of the sea at his bidding, so vainglorious was he beyond the condition of a man, and that thought to weigh the heights of the mountains in a balance, was now brought to the ground and carried in a litter, shewing unto all that the power was manifestly God’s;
9so that out of the body of the impious man worms swarmed, and while he was still living in anguish and pains, his flesh fell off, and by reason of the stench all the army turned with loathing from his corruption.
10And the man that a little afore supposed himself to touch the stars of heaven, no one could endure to carry for his intolerable stench.
11Hereupon therefore he began in great part to cease from his arrogancy, being broken in spirit, and to come to knowledge under the scourge of God, his pains increasing every moment.
12And when he himself could not abide his own smell, he said these words: It is right to be subject unto God, and that one who is mortal should not be minded arrogantly.
13And the vile man vowed unto the sovereign Lord, who now no more would have pity upon him, saying on this wise:
14that the holy city, to the which he was going in haste, to lay it even with the ground and to make it a common graveyard, he would declare free;
15and as touching the Jews, whom he had decided not even to count worthy of burial, but to cast them out to the beasts with their infants, for the birds to devour, he would make them all equal to citizens of Athens;
16and the holy sanctuary, which before he had spoiled, he would adorn with goodliest offerings, and would restore all the sacred vessels many times multiplied, and out of his own revenues would defray the charges that were required for the sacrifices;
17and, beside all this, that he would become a Jew, and would visit every inhabited place, publishing abroad the might of God.
18But when his sufferings did in no wise cease, for the judgement of God had come upon him in righteousness, having given up all hope of himself, he wrote unto the Jews the letter written below, having the nature of a supplication, to this effect:
19To the worthy Jews, his fellow-citizens, Antiochus, king and general, wisheth much joy and health and prosperity.
20May ye and your children fare well; and your affairs shall be to your mind. Having my hope in heaven,
21I remembered with affection your honour and good will toward me. Returning out of the region of Persia, and being taken with a noisome sickness, I deemed it necessary to take thought for the common safety of all,
22not despairing of myself, but having great hope to escape from the sickness.
23But considering that my father also, at what time he led an army into the upper country, appointed his successor,
24to the end that, if anything fell out contrary to expectation, or if any unwelcome tidings were brought, they that remained in the country, knowing to whom the state had been left, might not be troubled;
25and, beside all this, observing how that the princes that are borderers and neighbours unto my kingdom watch opportunities, and look for the future event, I have appointed my son Antiochus to be king, whom I often committed and commended to most of you, when I was hastening unto the upper provinces; and I have written to him what is written below.
26I exhort you therefore and beseech you, having in your remembrance the benefits done to you in common and severally, to preserve each of you your present good will toward me and my son.
27For I am persuaded that he in gentleness and kindness will follow my purpose and treat you with indulgence.
28So the murderer and blasphemer, having endured the sorest sufferings, even as he had dealt with other men, ended his life among the mountains by a most piteous fate in a strange land.
29And Philip his foster-brother conveyed the body home; and then, fearing the son of Antiochus, he betook himself to Ptolemy Philometor in Egypt.