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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

LXXXVII. (1) Now, Ptolemy the Macedonian, who was made King of Egypt, was a wise and clever king, who delighted much in books. He, therefore, commanded his two officers to collect very many of them. The names of these princes were Aristios and Andrios. Having collected together many Median and Persian books, besides others in all kinds of languages, the king said to them, 'How many books have you obtained?' 'Nine hundred and fifty,' they replied. Ptolemy laughed at this, and said, 'Go and add another fifty to make a thousand.'

(2) But Aristios and Andrios replied, 'O my lord, it is in vain that we weary ourselves to obtain these books, since they are useless. Now, if it please the king, let him write to the priest at Jerusalem, and he will send thee some wise men of that place, conversant with the Greek language, who will explain to thee their law, which is the holy writing, but the books we have copied are of no use.'

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(3) Acting upon their advice, the king made such a request of the priest who was in those days, and the high priest sent him seventy priests with Eleazar as their chief, the same Eleazar who was afterwards tried during the reign of Antiochus, and who died a martyr's death for his God.

(4) When Eleazar and these seventy priestly interpreters came to Egypt, Ptolemy, having put them in seventy different houses, one distinct from the other, provided each one with a scribe, and the priests interpreted the whole twenty-four books of the law, which these seventy elders then translated from Hebrew into Greek. As soon as it was finished, Eleazar brought the various copies to the king, who, after reading each one of them, found that they were all of one mind, and that the interpretations of all were identical. (5) The king was much rejoiced at this, and, presenting Eleazar and the seventy elders with much money, sent them back to Jerusalem. He further gave 150,000 men of Judah their freedom, besides presenting them each with fifty drachmas of gold, and a table of pure gold weighing 1,000 talents for the temple. Upon it he engraved the land of Egypt, and the course of the river Nile in Egypt, by which the country is watered, and inlaid it with precious stones, so that the like of it had never been seen in all the land. This the King Ptolemy sent as a present to the temple of the great and awe-inspiring God of the whole world.

(6) A long time after this, Antiochus was made King of Macedonia, while Ptolemy, King of Egypt, was gathered to his people, and another Ptolemy succeeded him. But Antiochus rose up against him, and having slain him, captured the whole land of Egypt, over which he reigned. (7) In those days fierce battles began to be fought against the people of Judah, for after Antiochus had smitten Egypt he became very proud, and issued a proclamation to every people, commanding them to bow down to the image of the king. And all the nations obeyed. But the godless men of our people, Menelaos, Simeon, Alkimos, and others,

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incited Antiochus to do evil to the Israelites. At this time a great miracle was seen in Jerusalem. There were seen forty men riding between heaven and earth on what seemed like horses of fire. The riders carried in their hands partly golden implements of war, with which they fought one against the other for forty days. At this the wicked men of our people went to King Antiochus, and said, Behold, we have seen a miracle in Jerusalem, and the people say that Antiochus the king is dead, and are rejoicing at the downfall of our lord.' (8) The king was greatly angered at this, and immediately went to Jerusalem and smote them with the edge of the sword, so that there was a great slaughter in the city. A great multitude were sent into exile, and the assembly of the Ḥassidim scattered. They fled to the forest, and fed upon the grass as animals, and hid themselves in the forest like wild beasts, for Antiochus was not satisfied with slaying many, but he sent many more into captivity, and when he left the land of Judah, he left his officers to afflict the people, and he left Phillipos the Pelusian. They are Phrygians (###), and so are also the Trojans (###), of whom the Romans are descended. Phillipos belonged to that race. The king left him there to oppress the Israelites, commanding him thus, 'Whoever is willing to bow down to the image I set up, and to eat of the flesh of the swine, shall live, but all who refuse shall be slain without mercy. Prohibit also this people from observing the Sabbath, and from circumcising their children.'