5 Maccabees Chapter 07 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 297 – 301 Book 5 B.C. 166 [PDF: 347/351 of p.524]

CHAPTER 71)Foot note p. 297 a. Compare this chapter Antiq. XII. 8—11. Bell, with 2 Mace. ii. 49, &c. iii. I. i. iv. 3 Mace. viii. Joseph.

(i) The account of the death of Mattathias, and the acts of Judas his son after him.

1 Now Mattathias became infirm. And when he was near to death, he called his sons, [B.C. 166] 2 who were five, and said unto them: “I know of a certainty that very many and great wars will be kindled in the land of Judah, for the sake [or, by reason] of those matters for which the great and good God has stirred 3 us up to wage war against our enemies. But I charge you that you fear God, and trust in him, and be zealous of the law, and the 4 sanctuary, and the people also; and prepare yourselves to wage war against its enemies: and fear not death, because, without doubt, this 5 is decreed unto all men. So that, if God shall make you victorious, you have at once obtained that which you were longing for : but if you fall, that is no loss to you in his sight.” 6 And Mattathias died and was buried ; and his sons did according to that which he had commanded p. 298 them. And they agreed to make their brother Judas their leader. Now Judas their 7 brother was the best in counsel, and bravest in strength of them all. And an army was sent 8 against them by Faelix2)Foot note p. 298 b. The second book of Maccabees, ch. iii. 10. calls him Apollonius., under a man who was called Seron3)Foot note p. 298 c. He is called “a prince of the army of Syria,” at 2 Mace. iii. 13., whom Judas with his company put to flight, and he slew great numbers. And the 9 fame of Judas was spread abroad, and increased greatly in the ears of men: and all the nations which were round about him feared him exceedingly. 

10 And it was told to king Antiochus what Mattathias and his son Judas had done. News of this 11 came also to the king of the Persians ; so that he played false with Antiochus, departing from his friendship, following the example of Judas. Which 12 giving Antiochus a great deal of uneasiness, he called to him one of his household officers named Lysias4)Foot note p. 298 d. “A nobleman, and one of the blood royal,” book II. ch. iii. 32., a stout and brave man, and said to him; “I have now determined to go into the land of 13 Persia to make war ; and I wish to leave behind me my son in my stead ; and to take with me the half of my army, and to leave the remainder with my son : and behold I have given to you 14 the governance of my son, and the governance of the men whom I leave with him. And 15 verily you know what Mattathias and Judas have done to my friends and my subjects. Wherefore, send one to lead a powerful army 16 p. 299 into the land of Judah ; and command him to attack the land of Judah with the sword, and to root them out, and to demolish their dwellings, and to destroy all traces of them.”

17 Then Antiochus departed into the country of 18 Persia. But Lysias made ready three hardy and brave generals, skilled in war ; of whom one was named Ptolemy5)Foot note p. 299 e. At book II. ch. iii. 38, these three generals are styled, “mighty men of the king’s friends.”, a second Nicanor, and the third 19 Gorgias. And with them he sent forty thousand chosen troops and seven thousand horsemen. He also charged them to bring with them an army of Syrians, and Philistines; and ordered them to 20 root out the Jews entirely. And they marched forth, carrying with them a multitude of merchants, that they might sell to them the captives which they were about to obtain from among the Jews. 21 But tidings of this came to Judas the son of
Mattathias ; and he went to the house of the 22 great and good God ; and assembled his men, and enjoined them a fast, and supplications, and prayers to the great and good God ; and charged that they should beseech Him for victory against their enemies ; which thing they did.

23 After this, Judas collecting his men, appointed over each thousand a chief6)Foot note p. 299 f. Compare 2 Mace. iii. 55, 56, and likewise over each hundred, and over each fifty, and over each ten. 24 Then he commanded proclamation to be made by trumpet throughout his army, that whosoever was fearful, and whomsoever God commanded to be dismissed from the army, he should p. 300 return home. And great numbers returned ; and 25 there remained with them seven thousand stout and brave men, skilled in wars and accustomed thereto ; nor had any one of them ever fled : and they marched against their enemies. But when 26 they had drawn nigh to them, Judas prayed to his Lord, intreating Him that He would turn away from him the malice of his enemy ; and that He would assist him, and render him victorious. Then he commanded the priests to sound the 27 trumpets, which they did : and all his men called upon God, and rushed upon the army of Nicanor. And God gave them victory over them, and they turned 28 him and his men to flight, killing of them nine thousand men, and the rest were dispersed. And Judas and his company returned to Nicanor’s 29 camp, and made spoil of it ; and plundered very much property of the merchants, and sent it to be divided among the sick. This battle took place on the sixth day of the 30 week ; wherefore Judas and his men remained on the same spot until the sabbath-day had passed. Then they marched against Ptolemy and Gorgias, 31 whom they found and defeated, and gained a victory over them, slaying twenty thousand of their troops. And Ptolemy and Gorgias fled ; 32 whom Judas and his company pursued ; yet he could not overtake them, because they betook themselves into a city of two idols7)Foot note p. 300 g. The corresponding part of book III. states, that the place to which Nicanor fled was Antioch., and fortified themselves therein with the remnant of their army. And Judas attacked Faelix ; and he was 33 put to flight before him. And Judas pursued him. p. 301 Who, coming to a certain house which was nigh at hand, entered into it and closed the doors, for 34 it was a fortified house. And Judas commanded, and he set fire to it ; and the house was burned, and Faelix was burned8)Foot note p. 301 h. At 3 Mace. viii. 33, the person burned is called Callisthenes ! in it. So Judas took vengeance on him for Eleazar and the others 35 whom Faelix had put to death. Afterwards the people returned to the slain, and took their spoils and their armour ; but the best of the prey they 36 sent into the Holy Land. But Nicanor departed in disguise unknown, and returned to Lysias, and told him all which had happened to him and his company.


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. 297 a. Compare this chapter Antiq. XII. 8—11. Bell, with 2 Mace. ii. 49, &c. iii. I. i. iv. 3 Mace. viii. Joseph.
2. Foot note p. 298 b. The second book of Maccabees, ch. iii. 10. calls him Apollonius.
3. Foot note p. 298 c. He is called “a prince of the army of Syria,” at 2 Mace. iii. 13.
4. Foot note p. 298 d. “A nobleman, and one of the blood royal,” book II. ch. iii. 32.
5. Foot note p. 299 e. At book II. ch. iii. 38, these three generals are styled, “mighty men of the king’s friends.”
6. Foot note p. 299 f. Compare 2 Mace. iii. 55, 56
7. Foot note p. 300 g. The corresponding part of book III. states, that the place to which Nicanor fled was Antioch.
8. Foot note p. 301 h. At 3 Mace. viii. 33, the person burned is called Callisthenes !

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