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Alexander the Great in the Presence of the High Priest


Great respect ought to be shown to the ministers of the Most High God. In the course of a victorious military expedition in the East, Alexander the Great penetrated as far as Jerusalem. The whole town was in an uproar on hearing of the mighty conqueror’s approach and everyone offered prayers and sacrifices to obtain the divine protection. Finally, the Jewish high priest resolved to go, together with all the members of the priesthood, arrayed in their sacerdotal vestments, in solemn procession to meet the king and beg for mercy. The high priest wore the gold frontlet on which the name of Yahweh was inscribed, and the breastplate with the twelve precious stones. When Alexander beheld him, he fell, awestruck, on his face before him. All the spectators were astounded. The commander-in-chief of Alexander’s forces asked him why he had thus prostrated himself upon the ground. The king replied: “I did so, not to worship the priest, but God, whose minister he is. He then added that before he left Macedonia, that very man appeared to him in a dream, wearing similar vestments and had encouraged him to undertake the expedition, promising him victory. That was the reason he was so deeply affected by the sight of the priest and filled with reverential awe for the God he served. Alexander was then conducted into the Temple and shown the sacred Scriptures and the passage in the book of Daniel where the overthrow of the Persian kingdom is predicted. From that time forth Alexander was always favorably disposed toward the Jews. Consequently they were well treated under the Macedonian rule.

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