"We know from the records that Jeremiah the prophet instructed the people who were being taken into exile to hide some of the fire from the altar, as we have just mentioned.
We also know that he taught them God's Law and warned them not to be deceived by the ornamented gold and silver idols which they would see in the land of their exile.
And then he urged them never to abandon the Law.
"These same records also tell us that Jeremiah, acting under divine guidance, commanded the Tent of the Lord's Presence and the Covenant Box to follow him to the mountain where Moses had looked down on the land which God had promised our people.
When Jeremiah got to the mountain, he found a huge cave and there he hid the Tent of the Lord's Presence, the Covenant Box, and the altar of incense. Then he sealed up the entrance.
"Some of Jeremiah's friends tried to follow him and mark the way, but they could not find the cave.
When Jeremiah learned what they had done, he reprimanded them, saying, "No one must know about this place until God gathers his people together again and shows them mercy.
At that time he will reveal where these things are hidden, and the dazzling light of his presence will be seen in the cloud, as it was in the time of Moses and on the occasion when Solomon prayed that the Temple might be dedicated in holy splendor.' 1
"We are also told how the wise King Solomon offered a sacrifice of dedication at the completion of the Temple,
and that when he prayed, fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifices, just as it had done earlier when Moses prayed.
Moses had explained that the sin offering was consumed by fire because it was not eaten.
Solomon celebrated the festival for eight days.
"These same facts are found in the royal records and in the memoirs of Nehemiah, who established a library and collected the writings of David, letters of the kings concerning offerings, and books about the kings and prophets.
Judas also collected the books that had been scattered because of the war, and we still have them.
If you ever need any of these books, let us know, and we will send them.
"Since we are about to celebrate the Festival of Rededication, we are writing to you, advising you to celebrate it as well. 2
God has saved all his people and has restored to all of us our holy land, the kingship, the priesthood, and the Temple services,
just as he promised in his Law. He has rescued us from terrible evils and has purified the Temple, and we are confident that in his mercy he will soon gather us to his holy Temple from every nation under the sun."
Jason of Cyrene has recorded in five volumes the story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers, the purification of the great Temple, and the dedication of its altar.
He has described the battles with Antiochus Epiphanes and with his son Eupator,
and he has told of the heavenly visions that appeared to those who fought bravely and enthusiastically to defend Judaism. Our forces were few in number, but they plundered the entire country and routed the heathen forces.
They recaptured the Temple famous throughout the world, liberated Jerusalem, and restored the laws that were in danger of being abolished. They were able to do all these things because the Lord was merciful and kind to them.
I will now try to summarize in a single book the five volumes written by Jason.
The number of details and the bulk of material can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to read an account of the events.
But I have attempted to simplify it for all readers; those who read for sheer pleasure will find enjoyment and those who want to memorize the facts will not find it difficult.
Writing such a summary is a difficult task, demanding hard work and sleepless nights.
It is as difficult as preparing a banquet that people of different tastes will enjoy. But I am happy to undergo this hardship in order to please my readers.
I will leave the matter of details to the original author and attempt to give only a summary of the events.
I am not the builder of a new house who is concerned with every detail of the structure, but simply a painter whose only concern is to make the house look attractive.
The historian must master his subject, examine every detail, and then explain it carefully,
but whoever is merely writing a summary should be permitted to give a brief account without going into a detailed discussion.
So then, without any further comment, I will begin my story. It would be foolish to write such a long introduction that the story itself would have to be cut short.