“Childlessness is better
In the memory of virtue
Because it is known
It is known
When it is present,
People imitate it.
They long for it
When it has gone.
Throughout all time
Crowned in triumph.
It is the victor in the contest for prizes
That are undefiled.”
Once again, we return to the concept of childless people who are virtuous. The memory of their virtues (ἀρετῆς) will live on in immortality (ἀθανασία) before God (παρὰ Θεῷ) and among humans (παρὰ ἀνθρώποις). People will imitate virtue because they long for it. In fact, when it is gone, it still marches with a crown, just like in the Greek Olympic Games. They would wear this crown of virtue, since they were undefiled.
“Then there was shouting and tumult. They blessed the Sovereign Lord in the language of their ancestors. Then the man, who was in body and soul the defender of his people, the man who maintained his youthful goodwill toward his compatriots, ordered them to cut off Nicanor’s head and his arm. They were to carry them to Jerusalem. When he arrived there, he called his compatriots together. He stationed the priests before the altar. He sent for those who were in the citadel. He showed them the vile Nicanor’s head and that profane man’s arm. This was the arm that had been boastfully stretched out against the holy house of the all powerful one. He cut out the tongue of the ungodly Nicanor. He said that he would give it piecemeal to the birds. He would hang up these rewards of his folly opposite the sanctuary. They all, looking to heaven, blessed the Lord who had manifested himself, saying.
‘Blessed is he who has kept his own place undefiled.’
Judas Maccabeus hung Nicanor’s head from the citadel, a clear and conspicuous sign to every one of the help of the Lord.”
Once again, this is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. In both 1 and 2 Maccabees, they cut off the head and the arm of Nicanor. Here they also cut out his tongue in the presence of the men from the citadel. As in 1 Maccabees, they hung the head of Nicanor, but here it is more specific from the hated citadel. Here there is more praise for Judas Maccabeus as the defender with good will towards his people. Here they pray in the language of their ancestors that may have been Hebrew, instead of the common language of Aramaic. As usual they were happy that the Temple had remained undefiled.
“Having said this, he went away. Then the priests stretched out their hands toward heaven. They called upon the constant defender of our nation, in these words.
‘O Lord of all,
Although you have need of nothing,
You were pleased
That there should be a temple for thy habitation among us.
O holy One,
Lord of all holiness,
Keep undefiled forever this house that has been so recently purified.’”
When Nicanor left the Temple, the priests stretched out their hands to heaven and began to pray. They prayed to the defender of their nation. They realized that God, the Lord of all, did not need anything. However, he had been pleased by this Temple so that he could live among them. Now they were asking him, the holy one, the Lord of all holiness, to keep this Temple or house of the Lord undefiled since it had been so recently purified.