4 Maccabees Chapter 03 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 1415 | 16 | 17 | 18 |


P. 227 – 229 Book 4 B.C. XXX [PDF: 277/279 of p.524]

CHAPTER 3

(i) The argument illustrated by example.

1 How then happens it, any one may say, that if Principle subdues the passions, it does not obtain the mastery over forgetfulness and ignorance ? 2 But this reasoning is perfectly ridiculous : for Principle does not appear to have dominion over those passions which are connected with itself, but 3 over those which belong to the body. For instance, any one of you may not be able wholly to eradicate Desire ; but nevertheless your Principle is able to effect so much as this, that you be not 4 enslaved by that desire. Any one of us may not be able to root quite out of his mind Anger : but still, he may be able, by means of Reason, to lend 5 aid1)P. 227 Foot Note a. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] This use of the verb Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] we have in Polybius ; Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] towards subduing his anger. Any one of you may not be able to eradicate a vicious propensity: but Principle is able to assist him, so that he 6 shall not be bowed down by this propensity. For Principle is not an eradicator of the Passions, but their antagonist and opponent.

7 And this we may illustrate more forcibly by 8 the thirst of king David2)P. 227 Foot Note b. See the history of this transaction at 2 Sam. xxiii. 15, &c.. For when David had been engaged with the Philistines during a whole day, and had slain many of them, in company p. 228 with the soldiers of his nation : when evening 9 was come, perspiring and greatly fatigued, he came to the royal tent, around which the whole body of his chief mighty men3)P. 228 Foot Note c.  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The Latin translator of Josephus renders it simply ” militum.” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
LATIN: quasi primæ; nobilitatis viri, maximeque conspicui invicta fortitudine, quam eis Sacer Textus ibi adscribit,”
 ENGLISH TRANSLATION: [Like the first; of the nobility, of the man, and most of the invincible courage of his miracles, which he ascribes to them the sacred text of there.]
—is Combefisius’ note upon the passage in Haverkamp’s edition of Josephus.
 had encamped. All the rest, then, employed themselves about 10 their supper : but the king, being exceedingly 11 thirsty, although he had at hand abundance of water from the fountain, could not assuage his thirst with this: but a certain unaccountable longing 12 for water which was in the enemy’s camp, increasing tortured4)P. 228 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The sense appears to be, that the feeling alternately increased and relaxed, and at each stage was accompanied by much torment to the king’s mind.
 him, and relaxing consumed him. Wherefore when his guards were concerned 13 at this longing of the king, two5)P. 228 Foot Note e. The Scripture informs us that there were ” three :” see 2 Sam, xxiii. 16. brave young soldiers, feeling respect for this his desire, armed themselves ; and taking an urn, passed over the enemies’ ramparts. And having escaped the 14 notice of those who watched the gates, they passed through the whole camp of the enemy in search of it. And having discovered the fountain by 15 their valour, they brought from it a draught for the king. But he, though parched up with thirst, 16 considered how great danger it would be to his soul to drink water, which must be reckoned equal to so much blood6)P. 228/229 Foot Note f. ‘”And David longed, and said, O that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, p.229 which is by the gate ! And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David : nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. And he said, Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this : is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives ? therefore he would not drink it.” 2 Samuel xxiii. 15—1-7.. Wherefore, placing his 17 p. 229 Principle in opposition to his desire, he poured 18 out the cup as an offering to God. For the sober mind is able to overcome the pressure of the 19 passions ; and to extinguish the flames of lusts ; and to vanquish bodily pains, however excessive ; and, by honourable uprightness of Principle, to reject with scorn all assumed dominion of the Passions.

20 But the occasion now invites us to the demonstrative proof from history of this theory of sober Principle. [B.C. 186.] 

21 For, when our fathers were enjoying complete peace7)P. 229 Foot Note g. This narrative commences about the year 187 before Christ, when Seleucus Philopator was king of Syria; Ptolemy Epiphanes king of Egypt ; and Onias, the son of Simon, high priest of the Jews. Compare 3 Mace. iii. through their strict observance of the Law, and were prospering; so that even the king of Asia, Seleucus Nicanor, both assigned them money for the service of the temple, and approved and permitted their constitution and form of 22 government : then certain persons, attempting innovations against the general unanimity of sentiment, fell into calamities8)P. 229 Foot Note h. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] But this text is probably faulty : the sense seems to be, that, through the ill-advised attempts of some few persons, the whole nation was brought into calamity. in various ways.


Original Source: Transcribed from PDF copy of Book "The Five Books of Maccabees in English. With Notes and Illustrations", by HENRY COTTON, D.C.L.(Sir) Archdeacon of Cashel, and Late Student of Christ Church, Oxford. Publication date 1832 | PDF


References   [ + ]

1. P. 227 Foot Note a. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] This use of the verb Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] we have in Polybius ; Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
2. P. 227 Foot Note b. See the history of this transaction at 2 Sam. xxiii. 15, &c.
3. P. 228 Foot Note c.  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The Latin translator of Josephus renders it simply ” militum.” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
LATIN: quasi primæ; nobilitatis viri, maximeque conspicui invicta fortitudine, quam eis Sacer Textus ibi adscribit,”
 ENGLISH TRANSLATION: [Like the first; of the nobility, of the man, and most of the invincible courage of his miracles, which he ascribes to them the sacred text of there.]
—is Combefisius’ note upon the passage in Haverkamp’s edition of Josephus.
4. P. 228 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The sense appears to be, that the feeling alternately increased and relaxed, and at each stage was accompanied by much torment to the king’s mind.
5. P. 228 Foot Note e. The Scripture informs us that there were ” three :” see 2 Sam, xxiii. 16.
6. P. 228/229 Foot Note f. ‘”And David longed, and said, O that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, p.229 which is by the gate ! And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David : nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. And he said, Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this : is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives ? therefore he would not drink it.” 2 Samuel xxiii. 15—1-7.
7. P. 229 Foot Note g. This narrative commences about the year 187 before Christ, when Seleucus Philopator was king of Syria; Ptolemy Epiphanes king of Egypt ; and Onias, the son of Simon, high priest of the Jews. Compare 3 Mace. iii.
8. P. 229 Foot Note h. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] But this text is probably faulty : the sense seems to be, that, through the ill-advised attempts of some few persons, the whole nation was brought into calamity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *