Installation of Gentile Cults
41Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,42and that all should give up their particular customs.43All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.44And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land,45to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane sabbaths and festivals,46to defile the sanctuary and the priests,47to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals,48and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane,49so that they would forget the law and change all the ordinances.50He added, “And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die.”51In such words he wrote to his whole kingdom. He appointed inspectors over all the people and commanded the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice, town by town.52Many of the people, everyone who forsook the law, joined them, and they did evil in the land;53they drove Israel into hiding in every place of refuge they had.54Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year, they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah,55and offered incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.56The books of the law that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire.57Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death by decree of the king.58They kept using violence against Israel, against those who were found month after month in the towns.59On the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offering.60According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised,61and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers' necks.