5 Maccabees Chapter 02 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 |16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 |

21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 |34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 |

41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 |52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 |


P. 281 – 284 Book 5 B.C. 284 [PDF: 331/334 of p.524]

CHAPTER 21)Foot note p. 281 a See a more full and minute account of these transactions in Josephus, Ant. XII. 2. See also the history of the same by Aristeas, or Justin Martyr, or Epiphanius ; or consult Ussher, Hodius, or the observations in Calmet. It is obvious to every reader, that the events of this chapter precede in order of time those related in ch. i. But I give the book exactly as I find it.

(i) The history of the translation of the twenty-four books out of the Hebrew tongue into the Greek tongue, for Ptolemy king of Egypt.

1 There was a man of Macedon named Ptolemy, endued with knowledge and understanding; whom, as he dwelt in Egypt, [B.C. 284] the, p. 282 Egyptians made king over the country of Egypt. Wherefore he, being possessed with a desire of 2 seeking out various knowledge, collected all the books of wise men from every quarter. And 3 being anxious to obtain “the Twenty-four2)Foot note p. 282 b. It is well known that the Hebrews usually called their scriptures by the name of “the twenty-two books,” answering to the number of their letters, but not twenty four, as stated by the author of this fifth book. Books”, he wrote to the high priest in Jerusalem, to send [B.C. 277] him seventy elders from among those who were most skilled in those books ; and he sent to the priest a letter, with a present. So 4 when the king’s letter came to the priest, he chose out seventy learned men, and sent them, together with a man named Eleazar3)Foot note p. 282 c. Josephus takes no notice of any such person being sent : but the name of the high priest at this period was Eleazar ; so that possibly some confusion of names may have arisen from this circumstance. But see below, ch. iv. ver. 1 . where Eleazar, who is tortured for his religion, is said to have formerly gone with the doctors unto Ptolemy. The chronology however will not permit us to as sent to this. Eleazar is indeed there stated to be a man of ninety years of age ; but still, the translation of the Scriptures at Alexandria occurred ninety years before that persecution under Antiochus, in which Eleazar was put to death., one excelling in religion, science, and learning : who departed into Egypt. And when their approach was made 5 known to the king, he commanded seventy lodgings to be prepared, and the men to be there entertained. He also ordered a secretary to be 6 appointed for each one, who should take down the interpretation of these books in the Greek character and language. He likewise forbade that any 7 one of these should hold communication with any p. 283 of his fellows; lest they should agree together 8 to make any change in those books. So the secretaries took down from every one of them the 9 translation of ” the Twenty-four Books.” And when the translations were finished, Eleazar brought them to the king; and compared them together in his presence: on which comparison, 10 they were found to agree. Upon which the king was exceeding glad, and ordered a large sum of money to be divided amongst the party. But Eleazar himself he rewarded with a munificent recompense. 11 He also on that day set free every captive which was found in Egypt, of the tribe of Judah and of Benjamin, that they might return to their 12 own country Syria. The number of them was 13 about one hundred and thirty thousand. Moreover, he ordered money to be distributed among them, so that several denarii came to the share of each person ; who, receiving these, departed into 14 their own land. Then he commanded a great table to be made of the purest gold, which should be large enough to contain a representation of the whole land of Egypt, and a picture of the Nile, from the commencement of its stream to the end of it in Egypt, with its various divisions through 15 the country, and how it laves the whole land. He also ordered the table to be set with many precious 16 stones. And this table was made; and its carving was finished, and it was set with precious stones: and it was carried into the city of Jerusalem, a 17 present to the magnificent house. And, arriving in safety, it was placed in the house, according to 18 the king’s command. And truly men never be p. 284 held its like, for the beauty of the pictures, and the excellence of the workmanship.


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. Foot note p. 281 a See a more full and minute account of these transactions in Josephus, Ant. XII. 2. See also the history of the same by Aristeas, or Justin Martyr, or Epiphanius ; or consult Ussher, Hodius, or the observations in Calmet. It is obvious to every reader, that the events of this chapter precede in order of time those related in ch. i. But I give the book exactly as I find it.
2. Foot note p. 282 b. It is well known that the Hebrews usually called their scriptures by the name of “the twenty-two books,” answering to the number of their letters, but not twenty four, as stated by the author of this fifth book.
3. Foot note p. 282 c. Josephus takes no notice of any such person being sent : but the name of the high priest at this period was Eleazar ; so that possibly some confusion of names may have arisen from this circumstance. But see below, ch. iv. ver. 1 . where Eleazar, who is tortured for his religion, is said to have formerly gone with the doctors unto Ptolemy. The chronology however will not permit us to as sent to this. Eleazar is indeed there stated to be a man of ninety years of age ; but still, the translation of the Scriptures at Alexandria occurred ninety years before that persecution under Antiochus, in which Eleazar was put to death.

Leave a Reply

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