1:18. Therefore, whereas we purpose to keep the purification of the temple on the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu, we thought it necessary to signify it to you: that you also may keep the day of Scenopegia, and the day of the fire, that was given when Nehemias offered sacrifice, after the temple and the altar was built.
1:19. For when our fathers were led into Persia, the priests that then were worshippers of God, took privately the fire from the altar, and hid it in a valley where there was a deep pit without water, and there they kept it safe, so that the place was unknown to all men.
Persia... Babylonia, called here Persia, from being afterwards a part of the Persian empire.
1:20. But when many years had passed, and it pleased God that Nehemias should be sent by the king of Persia, he sent some of the posterity of those priests that had hid it, to seek for the fire: and as they told us, they found no fire, but thick water.
1:21. Then he bade them draw it up, and bring it to him: and the priest, Nehemias, commanded the sacrifices that were laid on, to be sprinkled with the same water, both the wood, and the things that were laid upon it.
1:22. And when this was done, and the time came that the sun shone out, which before was in a cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that all wondered.
1:23. And all the priests made prayer, while the sacrifice was consuming, Jonathan beginning, and the rest answering.
1:24. And the prayer of Nehemias was after this manner: O Lord God, Creator of all things, dreadful and strong, just and merciful, who alone art the good king,
1:25. Who alone art gracious, who alone art just, and almighty, and eternal, who deliverest Israel from all evil, who didst choose the fathers, and didst sanctify them:
1:26. Receive the sacrifice for all thy people Israel, and preserve thy own portion, and sanctify it.
1:27. Gather together our scattered people, deliver them that are slaves to the Gentiles, and look upon them that are despised and abhorred: that the Gentiles may know that thou art our God.
1:28. Punish them that oppress us, and that treat us injuriously with pride.
1:29. Establish thy people in thy holy place, as Moses hath spoken.
1:30. And the priests sung hymns till the sacrifice was consumed.
1:31 .And when the sacrifice was consumed, Nehemias commanded the water that was left to be poured out upon the great stones.
1:32. Which being done, there was kindled a flame from them: but it was consumed by the light that shined from the altar.
1:33. And when this matter became public, it was told to the king of Persia, that in the place where the priests that were led away, had hid the fire, there appeared water, with which Nehemias and they that were with him had purified the sacrifices.
1:34. And the king considering, and diligently examining the matter, made a temple for it, that he might prove what had happened.
A temple... That is, an enclosure, or a wall round about the place where the fire was hid, to separate it from profane uses, to the end that it might be respected as a holy place.
1:35. And when he had proved it, he gave the priests many goods, and divers presents, and he took and distributed them to them with his own hand.
1:36. And Nehemias called this place Nephthar, which is interpreted purification. But many call it Nephi.
2 Machabees Chapter 2
A continuation of the second letter. Of Jeremias' hiding the ark at the time of the captivity. The author's preface.
2:1. Now it is found in the descriptions of Jeremias, the prophet, that he commanded them that went into captivity, to take the fire, as it hath been signified, and how he gave charge to them that were carried away into captivity.
The descriptions... That is, the records or memoirs of Jeremias, a work that is now lost.
2:2. And how he gave them the law, that they should not forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds, seeing the idols of gold, and silver, and the ornaments of them.
2:3. And with other such like speeches, he exhorted them that they would not remove the law from their heart.
2:4. It was also contained in the same writing, how the prophet, being warned by God, commanded that the tabernacle and the ark should accompany him, till he came forth to the mountain where Moses went up, and saw the inheritance of God.
2:5. And when Jeremias came thither he found a hollow cave: and he carried in thither the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door.
2:6 .Then some of them that followed him, came up to mark the place: but they could not find it.
2:7. And when Jeremias perceived it, he blamed them, saying: The place shall be unknown, till God gather together the congregation of the people, and receive them to mercy.
2:8. And then the Lord will shew these things, and the majesty of the Lord shall appear, and there shall be a cloud as it was also shewed to Moses, and he shewed it when Solomon prayed that the place might be sanctified to the great God.
2:9. For he treated wisdom in a magnificent manner: and like a wise man, he offered the sacrifice of the dedication, and of the finishing of the temple.
2:10. And as Moses prayed to the Lord, and fire came down from heaven, and consumed the holocaust: so Solomon also prayed, and fire came down from heaven and consumed the holocaust.
2:11. And Moses said: Because the sin offering was not eaten, it was consumed.
2:12. So Solomon also celebrated the dedication eight days.
2:13. And these same things were set down in the memoirs, and commentaries of Nehemias: and how he made a library, and gathered together out of the countries, the books both of the prophets, and of David, and the epistles of the kings, and concerning the holy gifts.
2:14. And in like manner Judas also gathered together all such things as were lost by the war we had, and they are in our possession.
2:15. Wherefore, if you want these things, send some that may fetch them to you.
2:16. As we are then about to celebrate the purification, we have written unto you: and you shall do well, if you keep the same days.
The purification... That is, the feast of the purifying or cleansing of the temple.
2:17. And we hope that God, who hath delivered his people, and hath rendered to all the inheritance, and the kingdom, and the priesthood, and the sanctuary,
2:18. As he promised in the law, will shortly have mercy upon us, and will gather us together from every land under heaven into the holy place.
2:19. For he hath delivered us out of great perils, and hath cleansed the place.
2:20. Now as concerning Judas Machabeus, and his brethren, and the purification of the great temple, and the dedication of the altar:
2:21. As also the wars against Antiochus, the Illustrious, and his son, Eupator:
2:22. And the manifestations that came from heaven to them, that behaved themselves manfully on the behalf of the Jews, so that, being but a few they made themselves masters of the whole country, and put to flight the barbarous multitude:
2:23. And recovered again the most renowned temple in all the world, and delivered the city, and restored the laws that were abolished, the Lord with all clemency shewing mercy to them.
2:24. And all such things as have been comprised in five books by Jason, of Cyrene, we have attempted to abridge in one book.
2:25. For considering the multitude of books, and the difficulty that they find that desire to undertake the narrations of histories, because of the multitude of the matter,