Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read about the defeat of Antiochus that we first read in 1 Maccabees. In 2 Maccabees we hear who actually defeated him — the Lord. We must remember that the Lord is always involved in fighting and machinations.
There is one of two perspectives we can take in our life — we can focus on ourselves and our own strength or we can be open to God being active in our life, always helping us. This second book of Maccabees shows us that life with the Lord is not predictable and there is no guarantee that we will win every battle or never suffer again. We do have the Guarantee that the Lord is always with us.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
2 Maccabees 9
1 At about the same time, Antiochus was beating a disorderly retreat from Persia.
2 He had entered the city called Persepolis, planning to rob the temple and occupy the city; but the population at once sprang to arms to defend themselves, with the result that Antiochus was routed by the inhabitants and forced to beat a humiliating retreat.
4 Flying into a passion, he resolved to make the Jews pay for the disgrace inflicted by those who had routed him, and with this in mindhe ordered his charioteer to drive without stopping and get the journey over. But the sentence of Heaven was already hanging over him. In his pride, he had said, ‘When I reach Jerusalem, I shall turn it into a mass grave for the Jews.’
5 But the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him with an incurable and unseen complaint. The words were hardly out of his mouth when he was seized with an incurable pain in his bowels and with excruciating internal torture;
7 Even so, he in no way diminished his arrogance; still bursting with pride, breathing fire in his wrath against the Jews, he was in the act of ordering an even keener pace when the chariot gave a sudden lurch and out he fell and, in this serious fall, was dragged along, every joint of his body wrenched out of place.
8 He who only a little while before had thought in his superhuman boastfulness he could command the waves of the sea, he who had imagined he could weigh mountain peaks in a balance, found himself flat on the ground and then being carried in a litter, a visible demonstration to all of the power of God,
9 in that the very eyes of this godless man teemed with worms and his flesh rotted away while he lingered on in agonising pain, and the stench of his decay sickened the whole army.
11 Then and there, as a consequence, in his shattered state, he began to shed his excessive pride and come to his senses under the divine lash, spasms of pain overtaking him.
12 His stench being unbearable even to himself, he exclaimed, ‘It is right to submit to God; no mortal should aspire to equality with the Godhead.’
14 that the holy city, towards which he had been speeding to rase it to the ground and turn it into a mass grave, should be declared free;
15 as for the Jews, whom he had considered as not even worth burying, so much carrion to be thrown out with their children for birds and beasts to prey on, he would give them all equal rights with the Athenians;
16 the holy Temple which he had once plundered he would now adorn with the finest offerings; he would restore all the sacred vessels many times over; he would defray from his personal revenue the expenses incurred for the sacrifices;
18 Finding no respite at all from his suffering, God’s just sentence having overtaken him, he abandoned all hope for himself and wrote the Jews the letter transcribed below, which takes the form of an appeal in these terms:
20 ‘If you and your children are well and your affairs as you would wish, we are profoundly thankful.
21 For my part, I cherish affectionate memories of you. ‘On my return from the country of Persia I fell seriously ill, and thought it necessary to make provision for the common security of all.
25 furthermore, being well aware that the sovereigns on our frontiers and the neighbours of our realm are watching for opportunities and waiting to see what will happen, I have designated as king my son Antiochus, whom I have more than once entrusted and commended to most of you when I was setting out for the upland satrapies; a transcript of my letter to him is appended hereto.
28 And so this murderer and blasphemer, having endured sufferings as terrible as those which he had made others endure, met his pitiable fate, and ended his life in the mountains far from his home.
1 I too am mortal like everyone else, a descendant of the first man formed from the earth. I was modelled in flesh inside a mother’s womb,
2 where, for ten months, in blood I acquired substance — the result of virile seed and pleasure, sleep’s companion.
11 In her company all good things came to me, and at her hands incalculable wealth.
12 All these delighted me, since Wisdom brings them, though I did not then realise that she was their mother.
14 For she is to human beings an inexhaustible treasure, and those who acquire this win God’s friendship, commended to him by the gifts of instruction.
16 for we are in his hand, yes, ourselves and our sayings, and all intellectual and all practical knowledge.
17 He it was who gave me sure knowledge of what exists, to understand the structure of the world and the action of the elements,
22 For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd,
24 For Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.
25 She is a breath of the power of God, pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; so nothing impure can find its way into her.
27 Although she is alone, she can do everything; herself unchanging, she renews the world, and, generation after generation, passing into holy souls, she makes them into God’s friends and prophets;
28 for God loves only those who dwell with Wisdom.
Strongly she reaches from one end of the world to the other and she governs the whole world for its good.
4 Indeed, she shares the secrets of God’s knowledge, and she chooses what he will do.
6 Or if it be the intellect that is at work, who, more than she, designs whatever exists?
7 Or if it be uprightness you love, why, virtues are the fruit of her labours, since it is she who teaches temperance and prudence, justiceand fortitude; nothing in life is more useful for human beings.
8 Or if you are eager for wide experience, she knows the past, she forecasts the future; she knows how to turn maxims, and solve riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders, and of the unfolding of the ages and the times.
11 I shall be reckoned shrewd as a judge, and the great will be amazed at me.
14 I shall govern peoples, and nations will be subject to me;
15 at the sound of my name fearsome despots will be afraid; I shall show myself kind to the people and valiant in battle.
16 ‘When I go home I shall take my ease with her, for nothing is bitter in her company, when life is shared with her there is no pain, nothing but pleasure and joy.’
17 Having meditated on all this, and having come to the conclusion that immortality resides in kinship with Wisdom,
21 but, realising that I could never possess Wisdom unless God gave her to me, -a sign of intelligence in itself, to know in whose gift she lay — I prayed to the Lord and entreated him, and with all my heart I said:
1 Here are some more of Solomon’s proverbs, transcribed at the court of Hezekiah king of Judah: