1 Therefore, when the holy city was inhabited with all peace, and also the laws were still being kept very well because of the piety of Onias, the high priest, and the hatred that his soul held for evil,
2 it happened that even the kings and princes themselves considered the place worthy of the highest honor, and so they glorified the temple with very great gifts,
3 so much so that Seleucus, king of Asia, furnished from his revenues all of the expenses for the ministry pertaining to the sacrifices.
4 But Simon, from the tribe of Benjamin, having been appointed as overseer of the temple, obstructed the chief priest, in order to undertake some kind of iniquity in the city.
5 But when he was not able to overcome Onias, he went to Apollonius, the son of Tarsus, who at that time was governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia,
6 and he announced to him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of innumerable sums of money, and that the common storehouse, which did not pertain to the allotment for the sacrifices, was immense, and that it would be possible for all of this to fall under the power of the king.
7 And when he had presented the news that he brought back to king Apollonius about the money, he summoned Heliodorus, who was in charge of this matter, and he sent him with orders, in order to transport the aforesaid money.
8 And immediately Heliodorus set forth on the way, indeed, appearing as if sojourning to the cities of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, but in truth the reason was to complete the proposition of the king.
9 But, when he had arrived at Jerusalem and had been kindly accepted into the city by the high priest, he explained to him the information that had been provided concerning the money. And he freely disclosed the cause for which he was present. But he questioned whether these things were truly so.
10 Then the high priest revealed to him that these things had been deposited, along with provisions for the widows and the orphans.
11 In truth, a certain part of that which impious Simon had reported belonged to Hyrcanus, son of Tobias, a very eminent man. But the entire amount was four hundred talents of silver and two hundred of gold.
12 For in truth, to deceive those who had trusted in the place and the temple that is honored throughout the whole world for its veneration and sanctity would be altogether impossible.
13 But because of those things that he held as orders from the king, he said that by all means the money must be transferred to the king.
14 And so, on the appointed day, Heliodorus entered to set these things in order. Yet truly, there was no small amount of trepidation throughout the entire city.
15 And so the priests threw themselves before the altar in their priestly vestments, and they called upon him from heaven, who had established the law about deposits, such that those with whom they had deposited it would keep it safe.
16 Now truly, whoever saw the countenance of the high priest was wounded in mind. For his face and the changing of its color declared the inner sorrow of the soul.
17 For this one man was so immersed in grief and in physical dread that it was clear to those who beheld him that sorrow had affected his heart.
18 And now, others flowed together in flocks from the houses, pleading and making public supplication, on behalf of the place, which soon might be brought into contempt.
19 And the women, wrapped with haircloth around the chest, flowed together through the streets. And even the virgins, who were cloistered, rushed forth to Onias, and others rushed to the walls, and, truly, certain ones looked through the windows.
20 But every one of them, stretching forth their hands toward heaven, made supplication.
21 For the expectation of the mixed multitude, and of the great priest in agony, would have endowed anyone with pity.
22 And indeed, these called upon almighty God, so that the trust that had been entrusted to them would be preserved with all integrity.
23 But Heliodorus completed the same thing that had been decreed, being himself present in the place, with his attendants, near the treasury.
24 Then the Spirit of Almighty God made a great manifestation of his presence, so much so that all who had presumed to yield to him were turned aside by fainting and dread, falling by the power of God.
25 For there appeared to them a certain horse, having a terrible rider, adorned with the best covering, and he rushed forth and assailed Heliodorus with his front hooves. And he who sat upon him seemed to have armor of gold.
26 Moreover, there appeared two other youths with the appearance of power, the glory of nobility, and the apparel of splendor. These stood near him on each side, and they scourged him without ceasing, striking with many scourges.
27 Then Heliodorus suddenly fell to the ground, and they quickly took him up, draped by a great darkness, and, having placed him onto a stretcher, they rushed him away.
28 And so, he who had approached the aforesaid treasury, with so many officials and attendants, was carried away, with no one to bring help to him, the manifest power of God being made known.
29 And indeed, through divine power, he lay mute and also was deprived of all hope of recovery.
30 But they blessed the Lord, because he had magnified his place, and because the temple, which a little while before was filled with confusion and fear, became filled with joy and gladness, when the all-powerful Lord appeared.
31 Then, truly, certain friends of Heliodorus came forth to petition Onias, so that he would call upon the Most High to grant life to him who was appointed to breathe his last breath.
32 But the high priest, considering that the king might perhaps suspect that some malice against Heliodorus had been completed by the Jews, offered a beneficial sacrifice for the health of the man.
33 And when the high priest was praying, the same youths, dressed in the same clothing, were standing by Heliodorus, and they said: “Give thanks to Onias the priest, for it is on his behalf that the Lord has granted life to you.
34 But, having been scourged by God, you must announce to all the great things of God and his power.” And having said this, they disappeared.
35 Then Heliodorus offered sacrifice to God and made great vows to him who had permitted him to live. And he gave thanks to Onias. And, gathering his troops, he returned to the king.
36 But he testified to all about the works of the great God, which he had seen with his own eyes.
37 And so, when the king questioned Heliodorus as to who might be fit to be sent once more to Jerusalem, he said:
38 “If you have any enemy, or a traitor to your kingdom, send him there, and he will return to you scourged, if he even escapes. For truly, in that place, there is a certain power of God.
39 Yes, he who has his dwelling in the heavens is the visitor and protector of that place, and he strikes and destroys those arriving to do evil.”
40 Thus, the things about Heliodorus and the preservation of the treasury happened in this way.