2 Maccabees, 2
1. It is found in the archives that the prophet Jeremiah ordered the exiles to take the fire, as we have already said.
2. After giving them the Law, he exhorted them not to forget the precepts of God and not to let themselves be dazzled by the idols of silver and gold with all their adornment.
3. He spoke to them of many similar things, admonishing them never to lose their love for the Law.
4. It is also said in these writings of the past that the prophet Jeremiah, fulfilling orders from Heaven, commanded that the ark of the Covenant with its tent be brought with him. And he went to the mountain which Moses had climbed before and from where he had seen the promised land.
5. There Jeremiah found a cave; and he brought in the ark, the tent that covered it and the altar of incense. Then he closed up the entrance with stones.
6. Some of those who followed him returned to mark out the way, but they could not find it anymore.
7. When Jeremiah learned this, he reproached them and said, "This place is to remain hidden until God has compassion on his scattered people and gathers them together.
8. Then the Lord will reveal these things again and his Glory shall appear in the cloud as it appeared in the time of Moses and when Solomon asked God to come and consecrate his house."
9. It was also reported in these archives how Solomon, inspired by his wisdom, offered the sacrifice of the dedication and completion of the Temple.
10. And as fire had come down from heaven through the prayer of Moses to consume the offerings and the sacrificial victim, so through the prayer of Solomon, fire also came down from heaven and burned up the holocausts.
11. And what Moses had said was fulfilled: Inasmuch as the sin-offering was not eaten, the fire consumed it.
12. Solomon celebrated the feast, too, for eight days.
13. This also can be read in the archives and in the Memories of Nehemiah's time. It is recounted there that Nehemiah founded a library and collected the books dealing with the kings and the prophets, the writings of David and the letters of the kings about offerings.
14. In the same way, Judas has just gathered all the books dispersed on account of the war we suffered, and they are now in our possession.
15. So, if you need any of them, send someone to get them for you.
16. We said we are now about to celebrate the feast of the purification of the Temple; you will do well to celebrate these feast days also,
17. for God has saved all his people and returned to everyone his own land. He let us recover the kingdom, the Temple, and the worship rendered to him in that Temple,
18. as is commanded in his Law. God himself, as we do hope, will soon have mercy on us and gather us together from everywhere to the Holy Place, since he has rescued us from great evils and has purified this Place.
19. The story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers has been written by Jason of Cyrene. He narrated the purification of the Temple of the Most High, the dedication of the altar,
20. the wars against Antiochus Epiphanes and his son Eupator,
21. and the heavenly manifestations in favor of those who fought bravely and gloriously for Judaism. Although they were few in number, they liberated the whole land and put to flight hordes of foreigners.
22. They regained the Temple renowned throughout the world, liberated the city and reestablished the laws which were nearly abolished, for the Lord was gracious to them in his great kindness.
23. All this, which has been set forth in five volumes by Jason of Cyrene, we shall now attempt to sum up in a single book.
24. We recognize that these books contain many figures, and that it is difficult for those who wish to understand this history because of so many facts.
25. So we have concerned ourselves to offer something engaging for those who simply want to read, something easily committed to memory, and profitable for anyone who reads it.
26. For us who have undertaken the arduous task of summarizing, it has not been easy but has cost as much effort
27. as it would to prepare a banquet which would please everyone. But like those who prepare a banquet, we have endured this toil willingly in order to please others.
28. So we leave to the historian the task of relating accurately all the details, and we have condensed this enormous work into a simple summary.
29. For just as the architect of a new house has to be concerned about the whole construction, while the painters and decorators are concerned only about what relates to their task, so it is with us.
30. The analysis of details and discussion on disputable points belongs to the historian.
31. But for one who tries to condense a report, his task is to summarize and not present a complete narration of facts and events.
32. So let us begin our narrative without going on at length about what has been said before, for it would be senseless to expand the preface while cutting short the narration of the history itself.