1.  The fame of the riches of Israel spread over the world, and the neighboring nations envied them.

2.  But the victorious arms of the Hebrews were directed by the Most High Himself, and the pagans dared not attack them.

3.  Unhappily, as man does not always obey even his own will, the fidelity of the Israelites to their God was not of long duration.

4.  They began by forgetting all the favors He had showered upon them, invoked His name on rare occasions only, and begged protection of magicians and wizards;

5.  The kings and rulers substituted their own laws for those that Mossa had prepared; the temple of God and the practice of religion were abandoned, the nation gave itself up to pleasures and lost its original purity.

6.  Many centuries had elapsed since their departure from Egypt, when God again resolved to punish them.

7.  Strangers began to invade the land of Israel, devastating the fields, destroying the villages, and taking the inhabitants into captivity.

8.  A throng of pagans came from over the sea, from the country of Romeles; they subjected the Hebrews, and the commanders of the army governed them by authority of Caesar.

9.  The temples were destroyed, the people were forced to abandon their worship of the invisible God and to sacrifice victims to pagan idols.

10.  Warriors were made of the nobles; the women were ravished from their husbands; the lower classes, reduced to slavery, were sent by thousands beyond the seas.

11.  As to the children, all were put to the sword; soon, through all the land of Israel, nothing was heard but weeping and wailing.

12.  In this dire distress the people remembered their powerful God; they implored His mercy and besought Him to forgive them; our Father, in His inexhaustible goodness, heeded their prayers.


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