About that time came Antiochus with dishonor out of the country of Persia;
for he had entered the city called Persepolis, and went about to rob the temple and to hold the city. Thereupon the multitude, running to defend themselves with their weapons, put them to flight; and so it happened that Antiochus, being put to flight by the inhabitants, returned with shame.
Now when he came to Ecbatana, news was brought him of what had happened unto Nicanor and Timothy.
Then, swelling with anger, he thought to wreak vengeance upon the Jews for the disgrace done unto him by those who made him flee. Therefore commanded he his chariotman to drive without ceasing and to dispatch the journey, the judgment of God now following him; for he had spoken proudly in this manner: that he would come to Jerusalem and make it a common burying place of the Jews.
But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague. For as soon as he had spoken these words, a pain of the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts,
and that most justly; for he had tormented other men's bowels with many and strange torments.
However he not at all ceased from his bragging, but still was filled with pride, breathing out fire in his rage against the Jews and commanding to hasten the journey. But it came to pass that he fell down from his chariot as it was carried violently, so that, having a sore fall, all the members of his body were much pained.
And thus he, that a little before thought he could command the waves of the sea (so proud was he beyond the condition of man), and weigh the high mountains in a balance, was now cast on the ground and carried in a horse litter, showing forth unto all the manifest power of God.
So the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and while he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to all his army.
And the man who thought a little before he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry for his intolerable stench.
Here therefore, being plagued, he began to leave off his great pride and to come to the knowledge of himself by the scourge of God, his pain increasing every moment.
And when he himself could not abide his own smell, he said these words: It is meet to be subject unto God, and that a man who is mortal should not proudly think of himself as if he were God.
This wicked person vowed also unto the Lord, who now no more would have mercy upon him, saying thus:
that the holy city, to which he was going in haste to lay it even with the ground and to make it a common burying place, he would set at liberty.
And concerning the Jews, whom he had judged not worthy so much as to be buried, but to be cast out with their children to be devoured by the fowls and wild beasts, he would make them all equals to the citizens of Athens;
and the holy temple, which before he had despoiled, he would garnish with goodly gifts, and restore all the holy vessels with many more, and out of his own revenue defray the charges belonging to the sacrifices;
yea, and that also he would become a Jew himself, and go through all the world that was inhabited, and declare the power of God.
But for all this, his pains would not cease; for the just judgment of God had come upon him. Therefore, despairing of his health, he wrote unto the Jews the letter following, containing the form of a supplication, in this manner:
Antiochus, king and governor, to the good Jews his citizens wisheth much joy, health, and prosperity.
If ye and your children fare well and your affairs be to your contentment, I give very great thanks to God, having my hope in heaven.
As for me, I was weak, or else I would have remembered kindly your honor and good will. Returning out of Persia and being taken with a grievous disease, I thought it necessary to care for the common safety of all.
Not distrusting mine health, and having great hope to escape this sickness,
but considering that even my father, at what time he led an army into the high countries, appointed a successor
to the end that, if any thing befell contrary to expectation or if any tidings were brought that were grievous, they of the land, knowing to whom the state was left, might not be troubled;
again, considering that the princes who are borderers and neighbors unto my kingdom wait for opportunities, and expect what shall be the event, I have appointed my son Antiochus king, whom I often committed and commended unto many of you when I went up into the high provinces. To him I have written as followeth.
Therefore I pray and request you to remember the benefits that I have done for you, generally and in private, and that every man will still be faithful to me and my son.
For I am persuaded that he, understanding my mind, will favorably and graciously yield to your desires.
Thus the murderer and blasphemer, having suffered most grievously, as he had treated other men so died he a miserable death in a strange country in the mountains.
And Philip, who was brought up with him, carried away his body and also, fearing the son of Antiochus, went into Egypt to Ptolemy Philometor.