The distress of the priests in Jerusalem (2 Macc 3:14-3:17)

“There was no little distress throughout the whole city. The priests prostrated themselves before the altar in their priestly vestments. They called toward heaven upon him who had given the law about deposits, that he should keep them safe for those who had deposited them. To see the appearance of the high priest was to be wounded at heart. His face and the change in his color disclosed the anguish of his soul. For terror and bodily trembling had come over the man, which plainly showed to those who looked at him, the pain lodged in his heart.”

The priests were rightly afraid that the raid on the Temple treasury would have a sever effect on them. They prostrated in their priestly vestments before the altar. They wanted those deposits kept safe. The high priest was upset also. He was wounded to the heart that this had come on his watch. He was anguished as the pain appeared on his face and in his heart.

Heliodorus comes to Jerusalem (2 Macc 3:9-3:12)

“When Heliodorus arrived at Jerusalem, he had been kindly welcomed by the high priest of the city. He told about the disclosure that had been made. He stated why he had come. He inquired whether this really was the situation. The high priest explained that there were some deposits belonging to widows and orphans. However, there also was some money of Hyrcanus son of Tobias, a man of with a very prominent position. This money totaled in all to four hundred talents of silver and two hundred talents of gold. To such an extent the impious Simon had misrepresented the facts. He said that it was utterly impossible that wrong should be done to those people who had trusted in the holiness of the place and in the sanctity and inviolability of the temple, which is honored throughout the whole world.”

When King Seleucus IV’s envoy, Heliodorus, arrived in Jerusalem, the high priest Onias III welcomed him. Heliodorus then got to the point of why he was there. He had come to look at the situation about the misuse of money in the Jerusalem Temple. The high priest assured him that the money there was for the widows and orphans. However, he did disclose that one man Hyrcanus had a huge sum of money there also, 400 talents of silver and 200 talents of gold, worth more than $133 million US dollars. No wonder they were concerned about this. The high priest Onias III said that Simon had misrepresented the facts because this was an honorable Temple known throughout the world. Who was this Hyrcanus? He actually was the half brother of Simon, so that Simon knew what was going on. Hyrcanus was pro-Egyptian and this was his way of avoiding the Syrian taxes.