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Topical Scripture [H7a]

Scripture / Parables Section | Topical Scripture: Alphabetical | Categorized

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Topical Scripture

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"If, despite all this, you still persist in disobeying and defying me, I, also, will meet you with fiery defiance and will chastise you with sevenfold fiercer punishment for your sins... I will lay waste your cities and devastate your sanctuaries, refusing to accept your sweet-smelling offerings. So devastated will I leave the land that your very enemies who come to live there will stand aghast at the sight of it. You yourselves I will scatter among the nations at the point of my drawn sword, leaving your countryside desolate and your cities deserted... Those of you who survive in the lands of their enemies I will make so fainthearted that, if leaves rustle behind them, they will flee headlong, as if from the sword, though no one pursues them; stumbling over one another as if to escape a weapon, while no one is after them - so helpless will you be to take a stand against your foes! You will be lost among the Gentiles, swallowed up in your enemies' country. Those of you who survive in the lands of their enemies will waste away for their own and their fathers' guilt. Thus they will have to confess that they and their fathers were guilty of having rebelled against me and of having defied me, so that I, too, had to defy them and bring them into their enemies' land. Then, when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they make amends for their guilt, I will remember my covenant with Jacob, my covenant with Isaac, and my covenant with Abraham; and of the land, too, I will be mindful. But the land must first be rid of them, that in its desolation it may make up its lost sabbaths, and that they, too, may make good the debt of their guilt for having spurned my precepts and abhorred my statutes. Yet even so, even while they are in their enemies' land, I will not reject or spurn them, lest, by wiping them out, I make void my covenant with them; for I, the LORD, am their God. I will remember them because of the covenant I made with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt under the very eyes of the Gentiles, that I, the LORD, might be their God." [LEV 26:27-28,31-33,36-45]

"You know in what surroundings we lived in the land of Egypt and what we passed by in the nations we traversed, and you saw the loathsome idols of wood and stone, of gold and silver, that they possess. Let there be, then, no man or woman, no clan or tribe among you, who would now turn away their hearts from the LORD, our God, to go and serve these pagan gods! Let there be no root that would bear such poison and wormwood among you. If any such person, upon hearing the words of this curse, should beguile himself into thinking that he can safely persist in his stubbornness of heart, as though to sweep away both the watered soil and the parched ground, the LORD will never consent to pardon him. Instead, the LORD'S wrath and jealousy will flare up against that man, and every curse mentioned in this book will alight on him. The LORD will blot out his name from under the heavens and will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for doom, in keeping with all the curses of the covenant inscribed in this book of the law." [DEUT 29:15-20]

Asa did what was good and pleasing to the LORD, his God, removing the heathen altars and the high places, breaking to pieces the sacred pillars, and cutting down the sacred poles. He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to observe the law and its commands. He removed the high places and incense stands from all the cities of Judah, and under him the kingdom had peace. He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had peace and no war was waged against him during these years, because the LORD had given him peace. He said to Judah: "Let us build these cities and surround them with walls, towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, for we have sought the LORD, our God; we sought him, and he has given us rest on every side." So they built and prospered. [2CHRON 14:1-6]

I was extremely angry when I heard the reasons they had for complaint. After some deliberation, I called the nobles and magistrates to account, saying to them, "You are exacting interest from your own kinsmen!" I then rebuked them severely, saying to them: "As far as we were able, we bought back our fellow Jews who had been sold to Gentiles; you, however, are selling your own brothers, to have them bought back by us." They remained silent, for they could find no answer. I continued: "What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God, and put an end to the derision of our Gentile enemies? I myself, my kinsmen, and my attendants have lent the people money and grain without charge. Let us put an end to this usury! I ask that you return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, together with the interest on the money, the grain, the wine, and the oil that you have lent them." They answered: "We will return everything and exact nothing further from them. We will do just what you ask." Then I called for the priests and had them administer an oath to these men that they would do as they had promised. [NEH 5:6-12]

Now, after I had been deported to Nineveh, all my brothers and relatives ate the food of heathens, but I refrained from eating that kind of food. Because of this wholehearted service of God, the Most High granted me favor and status with Shalmaneser, so that I became purchasing agent for all his needs. [TOBIT 1:10-13]

At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans. For no pagan nation possesses good counsel, but the Lord himself gives all good things. If the Lord chooses, he raises a man up; but if he should decide otherwise, he casts him down to the deepest recesses of the nether world. So now, my son, keep in mind my commandments, and never let them be erased from your heart. [TOBIT 4:19]

Praise him, you Israelites, before the Gentiles, for though he has scattered you among them, he has shown you his greatness even there. Exalt him before every living being, because he is the Lord our God, our Father and God forever. He scourged you for your iniquities, but will again have mercy on you all. He will gather you from all the Gentiles among whom you have been scattered. When you turn back to him with all your heart, to do what is right before him, Then he will turn back to you, and no longer hide his face from you. So now consider what he has done for you, and praise him with full voice. Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of the ages. In the land of my exile I praise him, and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation. "Turn back, you sinners! do the right before him: perhaps he may look with favor upon you and show you mercy." [TOBIT 13:3-6]

Then [Queen Esther] prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, saying: "My Lord, our King, you alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand. As a child I was wont to hear from the people of the land of my forefathers that you, O Lord, chose Israel from among all peoples, and our fathers from among all their ancestors, as a lasting heritage, and that you fulfilled all your promises to them. But now we have sinned in your sight, and you have delivered us into the hands of our enemies, because we worshiped their gods. You are just, O Lord. But now they are not satisfied with our bitter servitude, but have undertaken to do away with the decree you have pronounced, and to destroy your heritage; to close the mouths of those who praise you, and to extinguish the glory of your temple and your altar; to open the mouths of the heathen to acclaim their false gods, and to extol an earthly king forever. O Lord, do not relinquish your scepter to those that are nought. Let them not gloat over our ruin, but turn their own counsel against them and make an example of our chief enemy. Be mindful of us, O Lord. Manifest yourself in the time of our distress and give me courage, King of gods and Ruler of every power. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord. You know all things. You know that I hate the glory of the pagans, and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised or of any foreigner. You know that I am under constraint, that I abhor the sign of grandeur which rests on my head when I appear in public; abhor it like a polluted rag, and do not wear it in private. I, your handmaid, have never eaten at the table of Haman, nor have I graced the banquet of the king or drunk the wine of libations. From the day I was brought here till now, your handmaid has had no joy except in you, O Lord, God of Abraham. O God, more powerful than all, hear the voice of those in despair. Save us from the power of the wicked, and deliver me from my fear." [Taken from ESTH C:14-30]

There sprang from these a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome. He became king in the year one hundred and thirty-seven of the kingdom of the Greeks. In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people, saying: "Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us." The proposal was agreeable; some from among the people promptly went to the king, and he authorized them to introduce the way of living of the Gentiles. Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to the Gentile custom. They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant; they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves to wrongdoing. [1MACC 1:10-15]

In those days Mattathias, son of John, son of Simeon, a priest of the family of Joarib, left Jerusalem and settled in Modein. When he saw the sacrileges that were being committed in Judah and in Jerusalem, he said: "Woe is me! Why was I born to see the ruin of my people and the ruin of the holy city, and to sit idle while it is given into the hands of enemies, and the sanctuary into the hands of strangers? Her temple has become like a man disgraced, her glorious ornaments have been carried off as spoils, Her infants have been murdered in her streets, her young men by the sword of the enemy. What nation has not taken its share of her realm, and laid its hand on her possessions? All her adornment has been taken away. From being free, she has become a slave. We see our sanctuary and our beauty and our glory laid waste, And the Gentiles have defiled them! Why are we still alive?" Then Mattathias and his sons tore their garments, put on sackcloth, and mourned bitterly. [1MACC 2:1,6-14]

Then the officers of the king addressed Mattathias: "You are a leader, an honorable and great man in this city, supported by sons and kinsmen. Come now, be the first to obey the king's command, as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah and those who are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons shall be numbered among the King's Friends, and shall be enriched with silver and gold and many gifts." But Mattathias answered in a loud voice: "Although all the Gentiles in the king's realm obey him, so that each forsakes the religion of his fathers and consents to the king's orders, yet I and my sons and my kinsmen will keep to the covenant of our fathers. God forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments. We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree." [1MACC 2:17-22]

"If we all do as our kinsmen have done," they said to one another, "and do not fight against the Gentiles for our lives and our traditions, they will soon destroy us from the earth." On that day they came to this decision: "Let us fight against anyone who attacks us on the sabbath, so that we may not all die as our kinsmen died in the hiding places." Then they were joined by a group of Hasideans, valiant Israelites, all of them devout followers of the law. And all those who were fleeing from the disaster joined them and supported them. They gathered an army and struck down sinners in their anger and lawbreakers in their wrath, and the survivors fled to the Gentiles for safety. Mattathias and his friends went about and tore down the pagan altars; they also enforced circumcision for any uncircumcised boys whom they found in the territory of Israel. They put to flight the arrogant, and the work prospered in their hands. They saved the law from the hands of the Gentiles and of the kings and did not let the sinner triumph. [Taken from 1MACC 2:40-48]

When the time came for Mattathias to die, he said to his sons: "Arrogance and scorn have now grown strong; it is a time of disaster and violent anger. Therefore, my sons, be zealous for the law and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers... Children! be courageous and strong in keeping the law, for by it you shall be glorified. Here is your brother Simeon who I know is a wise man; listen to him always, and he will be a father to you. And Judas Maccabeus, a warrior from his youth, shall be the leader of your army and direct the war against the nations. You shall also gather about you all who observe the law, and you shall avenge the wrongs of your people. Pay back the Gentiles what they deserve, and observe the precepts of the law." Then he blessed them, and he was united with his fathers. He died in the year one hundred and forty-six, and was buried in the tombs of his fathers in Modein, and all Israel mourned him greatly. [1MACC 2:49-50,64-70]

Then Apollonius gathered the Gentiles, together with a large army from Samaria, to fight against Israel. When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him and defeated and killed him. Many fell wounded, and the rest fled. [1MACC 3:10-11]

When he reached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a few men. But when they saw the army coming against them, they said to Judas: "How can we, few as we are, fight such a mighty host as this? Besides, we are weak today from fasting." But Judas said: "It is easy for many to be overcome by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few; for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven. With great presumption and lawlessness they come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us; but we are fighting for our lives and our laws. He himself will crush them before us; so do not be afraid of them." When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly upon Seron and his army, who were crushed before him. He pursued Seron down the descent of Beth-horon into the plain. About eight hundred of their men fell, and the rest fled to the country of the Philistines. Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and dread fell upon the Gentiles about them. His fame reached the king, and all the Gentiles talked about the battles of Judas. [1MACC 3:16-26]

When the merchants of the country heard of their fame, they came to the camp, bringing fetters and a large sum of silver and gold, to buy the Israelites as slaves. A force from Idumea and from Philistia joined with them. Judas and his brothers saw that the situation had become critical now that armies were encamped within their territory; they knew of the orders which the king had given to destroy and utterly wipe out the people. So they said to one another, "Let us restore our people from their ruined estate, and fight for our people and our sanctuary!" The assembly gathered together to prepare for battle and to pray and implore mercy and compassion. Jerusalem was uninhabited, like a desert; not one of her children entered or came out. The sanctuary was trampled on, and foreigners were in the citadel; it was a habitation of Gentiles. Joy had disappeared from Jacob, and the flute and the harp were silent. Thus they assembled and went to Mizpah near Jerusalem, because there was formerly at Mizpah a place of prayer for Israel. That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes. They unrolled the scroll of the law, to learn about the things for which the Gentiles consulted the images of their idols. They brought with them the priestly vestments, the first fruits, and the tithes; and they brought forward the nazirites who had completed the time of their vows. And they cried aloud to Heaven: "What shall we do with these men, and where shall we take them? For your sanctuary has been trampled on and profaned, and your priests are in mourning and humiliation. Now the Gentiles are gathered together against us to destroy us. You know what they plot against us. How shall we be able to resist them unless you help us?" Then they blew the trumpets and cried out loudly. After this Judas appointed officers among the people, over thousands, over hundreds, over fifties, and over tens. He proclaimed that those who were building houses, or were just married, or were planting vineyards, and those who were afraid, could each return to his home, according to the law. Then the army moved off, and they camped to the south of Emmaus. Judas said: "Arm yourselves and be brave; in the morning be ready to fight these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. It is better for us to die in battle than to witness the ruin of our nation and our sanctuary. Whatever Heaven wills, he will do." [1MACC 3:41-59]

But at daybreak Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men, who lacked such armor and swords as they would have wished. They saw the army of the Gentiles, strong and breastplated, flanked with cavalry, and made up of expert soldiers. Judas said to the men with him: "Do not be afraid of their numbers or dread their attack. Remember how our fathers were saved in the Red Sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with an army. So now let us cry to Heaven in the hope that he will favor us, remember his covenant with our fathers, and destroy this army before us today. All the Gentiles shall know that there is One who redeems and delivers Israel." When the foreigners looked up and saw them marching toward them, they came out of their camp for battle, and the men with Judas blew the trumpet. The battle was joined and the Gentiles were defeated and fled toward the plain. [1MACC 4:6-14]

The happy thought came to them to tear it down, lest it be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it; so they tore down the altar. They stored the stones in a suitable place on the temple hill, until a prophet should come and decide what to do with them. Then they took uncut stones, according to the law, and built a new altar like the former one. They also repaired the sanctuary and the interior of the temple and purified the courts. [1MACC 4:45-48]

On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it, on that very day it was reconsecrated with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals. All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success. [1MACC 4:54-55]

There was great joy among the people now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed. Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev. At that time they built high walls and strong towers around Mount Zion, to prevent the Gentiles from coming and trampling over it as they had done before. Judas also placed a garrison there to protect it, and likewise fortified Beth-zur, that the people might have a stronghold facing Idumea. [1MACC 4:58-61]

When the Gentiles round about heard that the altar had been rebuilt and the sanctuary consecrated as before, they were very angry. So they decided to destroy the descendants of Jacob who were among them, and they began to massacre and persecute the people. Then Judas attacked the sons of Esau at Akrabattene in Idumea, because they were blockading Israel; he defeated them heavily, overcame and despoiled them. [1MACC 5:1-3]

The Gentiles in Gilead assembled to attack and destroy the Israelites who were in their territory; these then fled to the stronghold of Dathema. They sent a letter to Judas and his brothers saying: "The Gentiles around us have combined against us to destroy us, and they are preparing to come and seize this stronghold to which we have fled. Timothy is the leader of their army. Come at once and rescue us from them, for many of us have fallen. All our kinsmen who were among the Tobiads have been killed; the Gentiles have carried away their wives and children and their goods, and they have slain there about a thousand men." While they were reading this letter, suddenly other messengers, in torn clothes, arrived from Galilee to deliver a similar message: that the inhabitants of Ptolemais, Tyre, and Sidon, and the whole of Gentile Galilee had joined forces to destroy them. When Judas and the people heard this, a great assembly convened to consider what they should do for their unfortunate kinsmen who were being attacked by enemies. Judas said to his brother Simon: "Choose men for yourself, and go, rescue your kinsmen in Galilee; I and my brother Jonathan will go to Gilead." In Judea he left Joseph, son of Zechariah, and Azariah, leader of the people, with the rest of the army to guard it. "Take charge of these people," he commanded them, "but do not fight against the Gentiles until we return." Three thousand men were allotted to Simon, to go into Galilee, and eight thousand men to Judas, for Gilead. Simon went into Galilee and fought many battles with the Gentiles. They were crushed before him, and he pursued them to the very gate of Ptolemais. About three thousand men of the Gentiles fell, and he gathered their spoils. He took with him the Jews who were in Galilee and in Arbatta, with their wives and children and all that they had, and brought them to Judea with great rejoicing. [1MACC 5:9-23]

Judas sent men to spy on the camp, and they reported to him: "All the Gentiles around us have rallied to him, making a very large force; they have also hired Arabs to help them, and have camped beyond the stream, ready to attack you." So Judas went forward to attack them. As Judas and his army were approaching the running stream, Timothy said to the officers of his army: "If he crosses over to us first, we shall not be able to resist him; he will certainly defeat us. But if he is afraid and camps on the other side of the river, we will cross over to him and defeat him." But when Judas reached the running stream, he stationed the officers of the people beside the stream and gave them this order: "Do not allow any man to pitch a tent; all must go into battle." He was the first to cross to the attack, with all the people behind him, and the Gentiles were crushed before them; they threw away their arms and fled to the temple enclosure at Carnaim. [1MACC 5:38-43]

During the time that Judas and Jonathan were in the land of Gilead, and Simon his brother was in Galilee opposite Ptolemais, Joseph, son of Zechariah, and Azariah, the leaders of the army, heard about the brave deeds and the fighting that they were doing. They said, "Let us also make a name for ourselves by going out and fighting against the Gentiles around us." They gave orders to the men of their army who were with them, and marched toward Jamnia. But Gorgias and his men came out of the city to meet them in battle. Joseph and Azariah were beaten, and were pursued to the frontiers of Judea, and about two thousand Israelites fell that day. It was a bad defeat for the people, because they had not obeyed Judas and his brothers, thinking that they would do brave deeds. But they did not belong to the family of those men to whom it was granted to achieve Israel's salvation. The valiant Judas and his brothers were greatly renowned in all Israel and among all the Gentiles, wherever their name was heard; and men gathered about them and praised them. [1MACC 5:55-64]

When Lysias learned that the king was dead, he set up the king's son Antiochus, whom he had reared as a child, to be king in his place; and he gave him the title Eupator. The men in the citadel were hemming in Israel around the sanctuary, continually trying to harm them and to strengthen the Gentiles. But Judas planned to destroy them, and called all the people together to besiege them. [1MACC 6:17-19]

The king took Beth-zur and stationed a garrison there to hold it. For many days he besieged the sanctuary, setting up artillery and machines, fire-throwers, catapults and mechanical bows for shooting arrows and slingstones. The Jews countered by setting up machines of their own, and kept up the fight a long time. But there were no provisions in the storerooms, because it was the seventh year, and the tide-over provisions had been eaten up by those who had been rescued from the Gentiles and brought to Judea. Few men remained in the sanctuary; the rest scattered, each to his own home, for the famine was too much for them. [1MACC 6:50-54]

Alcimus spared no pains to maintain his high priesthood, and all those who were disturbing their people gathered about him. They took possession of the land of Judah and caused great distress in Israel. When Judas saw all the evils that Alcimus and his men were bringing upon the Israelites, more than even the Gentiles had done, he went about all the borders of Judea and took revenge on the men who had deserted, preventing them from going out into the country. But when Alcimus saw that Judas and his followers were gaining strength and realized that he could not oppose them, he returned to the king and accused them of grave crimes. [1MACC 7:21-25]

In reply, King Demetrius sent him the following letter: "King Demetrius sends greetings to Simon the high priest, the friend of kings, and to the elders and the Jewish people. We have received the gold crown and the palm branch that you sent. We are willing to be on most peaceful terms with you and to write to our official to grant you release from tribute. Whatever we have guaranteed to you remains in force, and the strongholds that you have built shall remain yours. We remit any oversights and defaults incurred up to now, as well as the crown tax that you owe. Any other tax that may have been collected in Jerusalem shall no longer be collected there. If any of you are qualified for enrollment in our service, let them be enrolled. Let there be peace between us." Thus in the year one hundred and seventy, the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel, and the people began to write in their records and contracts, "In the first year of Simon, high priest, governor, and leader of the Jews." [1MACC 13:35-42]

When the Jewish people saw Simon's loyalty and the glory he planned to bring to his nation, they made him their leader and high priest because of all he had accomplished and the loyalty and justice he had shown his nation. In every way he sought to exalt his people. In his time and under his guidance they succeeded in driving the Gentiles out of their country, especially those in the City of David in Jerusalem, who had built for themselves a citadel from which they used to sally forth to defile the environs of the temple and inflict grave injury on its purity. [1MACC 14:35-36]

Gather together our scattered people, free those who are the slaves of the Gentiles, look kindly on those who are despised and detested, and let the Gentiles know that you are our God. [Taken from 2MACC 1:27]

Not long after this the king sent an Athenian senator to force the Jews to abandon the customs of their ancestors and live no longer by the laws of God; also to profane the temple in Jerusalem and dedicate it to Olympian Zeus, and that on Mount Gerizim to Zeus the Hospitable, as the inhabitants of the place requested. This intensified the evil in an intolerable and utterly disgusting way. The Gentiles filled the temple with debauchery and revelry; they amused themselves with prostitutes and had intercourse with women even in the sacred court. They also brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so that the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the laws. [2MACC 6:1-5]

Once Maccabeus got his men organized, the Gentiles could not withstand him, for the Lord's wrath had now changed to mercy. [2MACC 8:5]

When Judas learned of Nicanor's advance and informed his companions about the approach of the army, the cowardly and those who lacked faith in God's justice deserted and got away. But the others sold everything they had left, and at the same time besought the Lord to deliver those whom the ungodly Nicanor had sold before even meeting them. They begged the Lord to do this, if not for their sake, at least for the sake of the covenants made with their forefathers, and because they themselves bore his holy, glorious name. Maccabeus assembled his men, six thousand strong, and exhorted them not to be panic-stricken before the enemy, nor to fear the large number of the Gentiles attacking them unjustly, but to fight courageously, keeping before their eyes the lawless outrage perpetrated by the Gentiles against the holy Place and the affliction of the humiliated city, as well as the subversion of their ancestral way of life. "They trust in weapons and acts of daring," he said, "but we trust in almighty God, who can by a mere nod destroy not only those who attack us, but the whole world." [2MACC 8:12-18]

When Maccabeus and his companions, under the Lord's leadership, had recovered the temple and the city, they destroyed the altars erected by the Gentiles in the marketplace and the sacred enclosures. [2MACC 10:1-2]

When they had done this, they prostrated themselves and begged the Lord that they might never again fall into such misfortunes, and that if they should sin at any time, he might chastise them with moderation and not hand them over to blasphemous and barbarous Gentiles. On the anniversary of the day on which the temple had been profaned by the Gentiles, that is, the twenty-fifth of the same month Chislev, the purification of the temple took place. The Jews celebrated joyfully for eight days as on the feast of Booths, remembering how, a little while before, they had spent the feast of Booths living like wild animals in caves on the mountains. Carrying rods entwined with leaves, green branches and palms, they sang hymns of grateful praise to him who had brought about the purification of his own Place. By public edict and decree they prescribed that the whole Jewish nation should celebrate these days every year. [2MACC 10:4-8]

Realizing that they could indeed be useful in many respects, Judas agreed to make peace with them. After the pledge of friendship had been exchanged, the Arabs withdrew to their tents. He also attacked a certain city called Caspin, fortified with earthworks and ramparts and inhabited by a mixed population of Gentiles. Relying on the strength of their walls and their supply of provisions, the besieged treated Judas and his men with contempt, insulting them and even uttering blasphemies and profanity. But Judas and his men invoked the aid of the great Sovereign of the world, who, in the day of Joshua, overthrew Jericho without battering-ram or siege machine; then they furiously stormed the ramparts. Capturing the city by the will of God, they inflicted such indescribable slaughter on it that the adjacent pool, which was about a quarter of a mile wide, seemed to be filled with the blood that flowed into it. [2MACC 12:12-16]

The king was advancing, his mind full of savage plans for inflicting on the Jews worse things than those they suffered in his father's time. When Judas learned of this, he urged the people to call upon the LORD night and day, to help them now, if ever, when they were about to be deprived of their law, their country, and their holy temple; and not to allow this nation, which had just begun to revive, to be subjected again to blasphemous Gentiles. When they had all joined in doing this, and had implored the merciful LORD continuously with weeping and fasting and prostrations for three days, Judas encouraged them and told them to stand ready. After a private meeting with the elders, he decided that, before the king's army could invade Judea and take possession of the city, the Jews should march out and settle the matter with God's help. Leaving the outcome to the Creator of the world, and exhorting his followers to fight nobly to death for the laws, the temple, the city, the country, and the government, he pitched his camp near Modein. [Taken from 2MACC 13:9-14]

The Gentiles from Judea, who would have banished Judas, came flocking to Nicanor, thinking that the misfortunes and calamities of the Jews would mean prosperity for themselves. When the Jews heard of Nicanor's coming, and that the Gentiles were rallying to him, they sprinkled themselves with earth and prayed to him who established his people forever, and who always comes to the aid of his heritage. At their leader's command, they set out at once and came upon the enemy at the village of Adasa. Judas' brother Simon had engaged Nicanor, but because of the sudden appearance of the enemy suffered a slight repulse. However, when Nicanor heard of the valor of Judas and his men, and the great courage with which they fought for their country, he shrank from deciding the issue by bloodshed. So he sent Posidonius, Theodotus and Mattathias to arrange an agreement. After a long discussion of the terms, each leader communicated them to his troops; and when general agreement was expressed, they assented to the treaty. [2MACC 14:14-20]

In his utter boastfulness and arrogance Nicanor had determined to erect a public monument of victory over Judas and his men. But Maccabeus remained confident, fully convinced that he would receive help from the LORD. He urged his men not to fear the enemy, but mindful of the help they had received from Heaven in the past, to expect that now, too, victory would be given them by the Almighty. By encouraging them with words from the law and the prophets, and by reminding them of the battles they had already won, he filled them with fresh enthusiasm. Having stirred up their courage, he gave his orders and pointed out at the same time the perfidy of the Gentiles and their violation of oaths. When he had armed each of them, not so much with the safety of shield and spear as with the encouragement of noble words, he cheered them all by relating a dream, a kind of vision, worthy of belief. What he saw was this: Onias, the former high priest, a good and virtuous man, modest in appearance, gentle in manners, distinguished in speech, and trained from childhood in every virtuous practice, was praying with outstretched arms for the whole Jewish community. Then in the same way another man appeared, distinguished by his white hair and dignity, and with an air about him of extraordinary, majestic authority. Onias then said of him, "This is God's prophet Jeremiah, who loves his brethren and fervently prays for his people and their holy city." Stretching out his right hand, Jeremiah presented a gold sword to Judas. As he gave it to him he said, "Accept this holy sword as a gift from God; with it you shall crush your adversaries." [2MACC 15:6-16]

Come to our aid, O God of the universe, and put all the nations in dread of you! Raise your hand against the heathen, that they may realize your power. As you have used us to show them your holiness, so now use them to show us your glory. Thus they will know, as we know, that there is no God but you. [SIRACH 36:1-4]

First he degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the end he has glorified the seaward road, the land West of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles. Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness; for there is no gloom where but now there was distress. [ISA 8:23]

On that day, The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, The Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious. On that day, The Lord shall again take it in hand to reclaim the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria and Egypt, Pathros, Ethiopia, and Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the isles of the sea. He shall raise a signal to the nations and gather the outcasts of Israel; The dispersed of Judah he shall assemble from the four corners of the earth. [ISA 11:10-12]

On that day man shall look to his maker, his eyes turned toward the Holy One of Israel. He shall not look to the altars, his handiwork, nor shall he regard what his fingers have made: the sacred poles or the incense stands. On that day his strong cities shall be like those abandoned by the Hivites and Amorites When faced with the children of Israel: they shall be laid waste. For you have forgotten God, your savior, and remembered not the Rock, your strength. Therefore, though you plant your pagan plants and set out your foreign vine slips, Though you make them grow the day you plant them and make your sprouts blossom on the next morning, The harvest shall disappear on the day of the grievous blow, the incurable blight. [Taken from ISA 17:7-11]

Come and assemble, gather together, you fugitives from among the gentiles! They are without knowledge who bear wooden idols and pray to gods that cannot save. Come here and declare in counsel together: Who announced this from the beginning and foretold it from of old? Was it not I, the LORD, besides whom there is no other God? There is no just and saving God but me. Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other! [ISA 45:20-22]

The LORD marked for destruction the wall of daughter Zion: He stretched out the measuring line; his hand brought ruin, yet he did not relent - He brought grief on wall and rampart till both succumbed. Sunk into the ground are her gates; he has removed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the pagans; priestly instruction is wanting, And her prophets have not received any vision from the LORD. [Taken from LAM 2:8-9]

When you reach Babylon you will be there many years, a period seven generations long; after which I will bring you back from there in peace. And now in Babylon you will see borne upon men's shoulders gods of silver and gold and wood, which cast fear upon the pagans. Take care that you yourselves do not imitate their alien example and stand in fear of them, when you see the crowd before them and behind worshiping them. Rather, say in your hearts, "You, O LORD, are to be worshiped!" [Taken from BARUCH 6:2-5]

When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen." From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." [MT 4:12-17]

[Jesus said,] "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." [Taken from MT 5:43-48]

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." [MT 6:5-8] [Note: Jesus' comments do not prohibit repeating prayers. Jesus himself repeated his prayer (see MT 26:39-44), as do the heavenly creatures (RV 4:8) . Furthermore, we are instructed to "Pray without ceasing" (1THES 5:17) and to be "serious and sober for prayers" (1PT 4:7).]

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." [MT 6:25-34]

Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words - go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." [MT 10:5-15]

"Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved." [MT 10:16-22]

But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him to put him to death. When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many (people) followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope." [MT 12:14-21]

"If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." [MT 18:15-18] 

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve (disciples) aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day." [MT 20:17-19]

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left (, this) is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." [MT 20:20-28]

They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him. "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death, but after three days he will rise." [MK 10:32-34]

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." He replied, "What do you wish (me) to do for you?" They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to him, "We can." Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." [MK 10:35-45]

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