1For a certain man named Simon, who was in opposition to Onias, who once held the high priesthood for life, and was an honorable and good man, after that by slandering him in every way, he could not injure him with the people, went away as an exile, with the intention of betraying his country.
2Whence coming to Apollonius, the military governor of Syria, and Phoenicia, and Cilicia, he said,
3Having good will to the king’s affairs, I am come to inform thee that infinite private wealth is laid up in the treasuries of Jerusalem which do not belong to the temple, but pertain to King Seleucus.
4Apollonius, acquainting himself with the particulars of this, praised Simon for his care of the king’s interests, and going up to Seleucus informed him of the treasure;
5and getting authority about it, and quickly advancing into our country with the accursed Simon and a very heavy force,
6he said that he came with the commands of the king that he should take the private money of the treasury.
7And the nation, indignant at this proclamation, and replying to the effect that it was extremely unfair that those who had committed deposits to the sacred treasury should be deprived of them, resisted as well as they could.
8But Apollonius went away with threats into the temple.
9And the priests, with the women and children, having supplicated God to throw his shield over the holy, despised place,
10and Apollonius going up with his armed force to the seizure of the treasure—there appeared from heaven angels riding on horseback, all radiant in armor, filling them with much fear and trembling.
11And Apollonius fell down half dead upon the court which is open to all nations, and extended his hands to heaven, and implored the Hebrews, with tears, to pray for him, and propitiate the heavenly host.
12For he said that he had sinned, so as to be consequently worthy of death; and that if he were saved, he would celebrate to all men the blessedness of the holy place.
13Onias the high priest, induced by these words, although for other reasons anxious that King Seleucus should not suppose that Apollonius was slain by human device and not by Divine punishment, prayed for him;
14and he being thus unexpectedly saved, departed to manifest to the king what had happened to him.
15But on the death of Seleucus the king, his son Antiochus Epiphanes succeeds to the kingdom: a man of haughty pride and terrible.
16Who having deposed Onias from the high priesthood, appointed his brother Jason to be high priest:
17who had made a covenant, if he would give him this authority, to pay yearly three thousand six hundred and sixty talents.
18And he committed to him the high priesthood and rulership over the nation.
19And he both changed the manner of living of the people, and perverted their civil customs into all lawlessness.
20So that he not only erected a gymnasium on the very citadel of our country, but neglected the guardianship of the temple.
21At which Divine vengeance being grieved, instigated Antiochus himself against them.
22For being at war with Ptolemy in Egypt, he heard that on a report of his death being spread abroad, the inhabitants of Jerusalem had exceedingly rejoiced, and he quickly marched against them.
23And having subdued them, he established a decree that if any of them lived according to the laws of his country, he should die.
24And when he could by no means destroy by his decrees the obedience to the law of the nation, but saw all his threats and punishments without effect,
25for even women, because they continued to circumcise their children, were flung down a precipice along with them, knowing beforehand of the punishment.
26When, therefore, his decrees were disregarded by the people, he himself compelled by means of tortures everyone of this race, by tasting forbidden meats, to abjure the Jewish religion.