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katapi HOME 1 Maccabees 4:36-61 - Purification of the temple.  1Mace.4.36-61 Chislev 25, 165bce (JERUSALEM)- 2Mace.10.1-8 | RSV Contents | notes

4 36 Then said Judas and his brothers, "Behold, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it." 4 37 So all the army assembled and they went up to Mount Zion. 4 38 And they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. 4 39 Then they rent their clothes, and mourned with great lamentation, and sprinkled themselves with ashes. 4 40 They fell face down on the ground, and sounded the signal on the trumpets, and cried out to Heaven. 4 41 Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary.

4 42 He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, 4 43 and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. 4 44 They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been profaned. 4 45 And they thought it best to tear it down, lest it bring reproach upon them, for the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, 4 46 and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until there should come a prophet to tell what to do with them. 4 47 Then they took unhewn stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. 4 48 They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. 4 49 They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. 4 50 Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. 4 51 They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.

4 52 Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, 4 53 they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering which they had built. 4 54 At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. 4 55 All the people fell on their faces and worshipped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. 4 56 So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness; they offered a sacrifice of deliverance and praise. 4 57 They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and furnished them with doors. 4 58 There was very great gladness among the people, and the reproach of the Gentiles was removed.

4 59 Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.

4 60 At that time they fortified Mount Zion with high walls and strong towers round about, to keep the Gentiles from coming and trampling them down as they had done before. 4 61 And he stationed a garrison there to hold it. He also fortified Beth-zur, so that the people might have a stronghold that faced Idumea.

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