1 For your judgments, O Lord, are great, and your words are indescribable. Therefore, undisciplined souls have wandered astray.
2 For, while they managed to convince the unjust, so as to obtain dominion over the holy nation, they themselves were fettered with chains of darkness and of endless night, enclosed in their houses, fugitives of everlasting providence, lying in ruins.
3 And, while they thought to escape notice in their secret sins, they were scattered under a dark veil of oblivion, being horribly afraid, and having been disturbed with great astonishment.
4 For neither did the cave which enclosed them preserve them from fear, because descending noises disturbed them, and the sorrowful persons appearing to them intensified their fear.
5 And, indeed, even fire had no strength to provide them light, nor could the clear flames of the stars illuminate that horrible night.
6 Yet there appeared to them a sudden fire, filled with fear; and, having been struck with the fear of that face which is unseen, they considered those things which they did see to be worse,
7 and, having been ridiculed, the illusions were removed from their arts along with their contemptuous rebuke of glorious wisdom.
8 Indeed, those who promised to drive away fears and disturbances from a languishing soul, though they were filled with derision, were themselves languishing in fear.
9 And, even if nothing unnatural disturbed them, yet being agitated by the passing of animals and the hissing of snakes, they died of fear, denying what they themselves saw even in the air, which no one thinks to be able to escape.
10 For, while there may be apprehension with wickedness, it gives testimony to condemnation, for a troubled conscience always forecasts harshness.
11 For fear is nothing else but unfaithfulness to thinking helpful things.
12 And, while expectation is driven from within, the cause of this is supposing that one is great in knowledge, and as a result, conflict excels.
13 Yet those who were truly powerless that night, being overcome by both the vilest and the deepest hell, were sleeping the same sleep,
14 sometimes stirred up by the fear of unnatural things, other times sinking down in disgrace of soul, for a sudden and unexpected fear overcame them.
15 Then, if any among them had fallen away, he was kept in a prison without bars which had been left open.
16 For if a farmer, or a shepherd, or a worker in a field of labor were suddenly overcome, he endured an inescapable necessity.
17 For they were all bound together with one chain of darkness. Or if there were a whistling wind, or the sweet sound of birds among the thick tree branches, or the force of water rushing excessively,
18 or the strong noise of rocks crashing down, or the scattering of playful animals having been seen, or the strong voice of bellowing beasts, or the resounding of the highest mountain echo, these things made them sink down because of fear.
19 For the whole world was enlightened with a clear light, and none were being hindered in their labors.
20 But then, the heavy night was placed over the sun for them, an image of that darkness which was about to overcome them. Yet they were more grievous to themselves than was the darkness.
1 But your saints were your greatest light, and they heard your voice, but did not see your form. And because they themselves did not also suffer the same things, they praised you greatly.
2 And those who were wounded before, gave thanks, because they were no longer being wounded, and because they had petitioned for this gift, that there would be this difference.
3 Because of this, they had a burning column of fire as a guide on the unknown way, and you displayed a harmless sun of a good hospitality.
4 The others, indeed, deserved to be deprived of the light and to endure a prison of darkness, who watched for an opportunity to imprison your sons, by whom the incorruptible light of the law was beginning to be given to future generations.
5 When they thought to kill the babes of the just, one son having been exposed and set free, to their disgrace, you took away a multitude of their sons and destroyed them all together in a mighty water.
6 For that night was known beforehand by our fathers, so that, knowing the truth of the oaths in which they had trusted, they might be more peaceful in their souls.
7 Yet your people received not only the salvation of the just, but also the destruction of the unjust.
8 For just as you wounded our adversaries, so also did you greatly esteem calling us forth.
9 For the just children of goodness were secretly offering sacrifice, and in agreement they administered the law of justice, so that both good and bad would be able to receive justice, and so that you might now approve of their chanting to the father.
10 On the other hand, a dissimilar voice was resounding from the enemies, and a lamentable wailing was heard for the children who were being cried over.
11 But the same punishment afflicted the servant with the master, and the common man endured the same as the king.
12 Therefore, all were the same, with one name for death, and the dead were innumerable. For neither were the living sufficient to bury the dead, because, with a single effort, their most illustrious nation was exterminated.
13 For they would not believe anything because of the drugs; then truly, at the beginning, when the extermination of the firstborn happened, they pledged the people to belong to God.
14 For, when a quiet silence surrounded all things, and when the course of the night was passing the middle of its journey,
15 your almighty word from heaven leapt down from your royal throne, as a fierce warrior in the midst of the land of extermination,
16 as a sharp sword carrying your unfeigned authority, and standing, filled all things with death, and, standing on the earth, reached all the way up to touch heaven.
17 Then, incessant visions of nightmares disturbed them, and unexpected fears overcame them.
18 And another was thrown down elsewhere half-alive; and so, by means of that which was dying, the cause of death was revealed.
19 For the visions that disturbed them had forewarned of these things, lest they should perish and not know why they suffered these evils.
20 Yet, at that time, the trial of death touched even the just, and there was a disturbance of the multitude in the wilderness, but your wrath did not continue for long.
21 For a blameless man, prospering, is to be entreated for your people, bringing forth the shield of your service, through prayer and incense, making prayerful supplication, he withstands anger,
22 Yet he outlasted the disturbance, not by virtue of the body, nor by force of arms, but, with a word, he subdued those who were troubling him, commemorating the oaths and covenant of the parents.
23 For when they were now fallen down dead by heaps one upon another, he stood between them and cut off their attack, and he divided those who controlled the path to the living.
24 For, within the garment of shame which he held, the world was all together, and the great deeds of the parents were engraved on four orders of stones, and your majesty was engraved on the crown of his head.
25 Yet he who was exterminating yielded even to those he frightened. For one trial of wrath was sufficient.
16 Lucius, consul of the Romans, to king Ptolemy: greetings.
17 The ambassadors of the Jews, our friends, came to us, to renew the former friendship and alliance, having been sent from Simon, the leader of the priests and the people of the Jews.
18 And they also brought a shield of gold of over a thousand pounds.
19 And so, it was pleasing to us to write to the kings and the regions, that they should do no harm to them, nor fight against them, and their cities, and their regions, and that they should bear no assistance to those fighting against them.
20 And it seemed good to us to receive the shield from them.
21 If, therefore, those who are pestilent have taken refuge with you from their region, hand them over to Simon, the leader of the priests, so that he may give a verdict to them according to their law.”
22 These same things were written to king Demetrius, and to Attalus, and to Ariarathes, and to Arsaces,
23 and to all the regions, and to Lampsacus and to the Spartans, and to Delos, and Myndos, and Sicyon, and Caria, and Samos, and Pamphylia, and Lycia, and Halicarnassus, and Cos, and Side, and Aradus, and Rhodes, and Phaselis, and Gortyna, and Gnidus, and Cyprus, and Cyrene.
24 Moreover, they wrote a copy of these things to Simon, the leader of the priests and the people of the Jews.
25 But king Antiochus positioned his camp near Dora a second time, moving his hand against it continually, and making machines of war. And he enclosed Trypho, lest he escape.
26 And Simon sent two thousand chosen men to him as auxiliaries, and silver, and gold, and an abundance of equipment.
27 And he was not willing to receive them, but he broke all of the pact that he made with him before, and he alienated himself from him.
28 And he sent to him Athenobius, one of his friends, to deal with him, saying: “You hold Joppa and Gazara, and the stronghold that is in Jerusalem, which are cities of my kingdom.
29 You have desolated their parts, and you have caused a great scourging in the land, and you have become ruler throughout many places in my kingdom.
30 Now, therefore, hand over the cities that you occupy, and the tributes of the places where you have become ruler beyond the borders of Judea.
31 But if not, give me for them five hundred talents of silver, and for the destruction that you have caused, and for the tributes of the cities, another five hundred talents. But if not, we will come and fight against you.”
32 So Athenobius, the friend of the king, came to Jerusalem and saw the glory of Simon, and his splendor in gold and silver, and his abundance of equipment, and he was astonished. And he repeated the words of the king to him.
33 And Simon responded to him, and he said to him: “We have not taken foreign land, nor do we hold anything foreign, but we hold the inheritance of our fathers, which was for some time unjustly possessed by our enemies.
34 In truth, since we have the opportunity, we claim the inheritance of our fathers.
35 And as to Joppa and Gazara, which you demand, they brought a great scourging on the people and our country. For these, we will give one hundred talents.” And Athenobius did not respond a word to him.
36 But, returning with anger to the king, he reported to him these words, and the glory of Simon, and all that he had seen. And the king became angry with a great anger.
37 But Trypho fled by ship to Orthosia.
38 And the king appointed Cendebeus as commander of the seacoast, and he gave him an army of foot soldiers and horsemen.
39 And he commanded him to move with his camp against the face of Judea. And he commanded him to build up Kedron, and to barricade the gates of the city, and to make war against the people. But the king pursued Trypho.
40 And Cendebeus passed through to Jamnia, and he began to provoke the populace, and to trample Judea, and to take the people captive, and to execute, and to build up Kedron.
41 And he stationed horsemen and an army there, so that they could go out and travel through the ways of Judea, as the king appointed him to do.
1 Praise the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Praise ye the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
3 Praise ye the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
4 Who alone doth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
5 Who made the heavens in understanding: for his mercy endureth for ever.
6 Who established the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
7 Who made the great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever.
1 Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, you also should be armed with the same intention. For he who suffers in the flesh desists from sin,
2 so that now he may live, for the remainder of his time in the flesh, not by the desires of men, but by the will of God.
3 For the time that has passed is sufficient to have fulfilled the will of the Gentiles, those who have walked in luxuries, lusts, intoxication, feasting, drinking, and the illicit worship of idols.
4 About this, they wonder why you do not rush with them into the same confusion of indulgences, blaspheming.
5 But they must render an account to him who is prepared to judge the living and the dead.
6 For because of this, the Gospel was also preached to the dead, so that they might be judged, certainly, just like men in the flesh, yet also, so that they might live according to God, in the Spirit.
7 But the end of everything draws near. And so, be prudent, and be vigilant in your prayers.
8 But, before all things, have a constant mutual charity among yourselves. For love covers a multitude of sins.
9 Show hospitality to one another without complaining.
10 Just as each of you has received grace, minister in the same way to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 When anyone speaks, it should be like words of God. When anyone ministers, it should be from the virtue that God provides, so that in all things God may be honored through Jesus Christ. To him is glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12 Most beloved, do not choose to sojourn in the passion which is a temptation to you, as if something new might happen to you.
13 But instead, commune in the Passion of Christ, and be glad that, when his glory will be revealed, you too may rejoice with exultation.
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you will be blessed, because that which is of the honor, glory, and power of God, and that which is of his Spirit, rests upon you.
15 But let none of you suffer for being a murderer, or a thief, or a slanderer, or one who covets what belongs to another.
16 But if one of you suffers for being a Christian, he should not be ashamed. Instead, he should glorify God in that name.
17 For it is time that judgment begin at the house of God. And if it is first from us, what shall be the end of those who do not believe the Gospel of God?
18 And if the just man will scarcely be saved, where will the impious and the sinner appear?
19 Therefore, too, let those who suffer according to the will of God commend their souls by good deeds to the faithful Creator.
1 Therefore, I beg the elders who are among you, as one who is also an elder and a witness of the Passion of Christ, who also shares in that glory which is to be revealed in the future:
2 pasture the flock of God that is among you, providing for it, not as a requirement, but willingly, in accord with God, and not for the sake of tainted profit, but freely,
3 not so as to dominate by means of the clerical state, but so as to be formed into a flock from the heart.
4 And when the Leader of pastors will have appeared, you shall secure an unfading crown of glory.
5 Similarly, young persons, be subject to the elders. And infuse all humility among one another, for God resists the arrogant, but to the humble he gives grace.
6 And so, be humbled under the powerful hand of God, so that he may exalt you in the time of visitation.
7 Cast all your cares upon him, for he takes care of you.
8 Be sober and vigilant. For your adversary, the devil, is like a roaring lion, traveling around and seeking those whom he might devour.
9 Resist him by being strong in faith, being aware that the same passions afflict those who are your brothers in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself perfect, confirm, and establish us, after a brief time of suffering.
11 To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12 I have written briefly, through Sylvanus, whom I consider to be a faithful brother to you, begging and testifying that this is the true grace of God, in which you have been established.
13 The Church which is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you, as does my son, Mark.
14 Greet one another with a holy kiss. Grace be to all of you who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.