The death bed repentance of King Antiochus (1 Macc 6:8-6:13)

“When King Antiochus king heard this news, he was astounded and badly shaken. He took to his bed. He became sick from grief because things had not turned out for him as he had planned. He lay there for many days because deep disappointment continually gripped him. He concluded that he was dying. So he called all his friends. He said to them.

‘Sleep has departed from my eyes.

I am downhearted with worry.

I said to myself.

‘To what distress I have come!

Into what a great flood I now am plunged!

For I was kind and beloved in my power.’

But now I remember the wrong I did in Jerusalem.

I seized all her vessels of silver and gold.

I sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judah without good reason.

I know that it is because of this

That these misfortunes have come upon me.

Here I am perishing of bitter disappointment in a strange land.’”

King Antiochus IV was astonished and shaken by the news that he heard about Judah. In quite a melodramatic way, he took to his bed because things had not turned out the way that he had planned them. He was very despondent. Thinking that he was dying, he called his friends. He tried to clear his soul with a confession to his friends. He could no longer sleep because he was so worried. He was in great distress that he himself had caused. He had been a kind and beloved king, until he went to Jerusalem. There he took the silver and gold vessels and destroyed the people of Jerusalem for no reason. He believed that all his misfortunes stemmed from that incident. Now he was going to die disappointed in a strange land, Persia.

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