5 Maccabees Chapter 10 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 305 – 309 Book 5 B.C. 164 [PDF: 355/359 of p.524]

CHAPTER 10.1)Foot Note p. 305 a. Compare this with 2 Mace, v; 3 Mace, x; Joseph. Antiq. XII. 12.

(i) The history of Judas battles with Gorgias and Ptolemy.

1 Now after the days of dedication, Judas marched into the country of the Idumaeans, to the mountain Sarah2)Foot Note p. 305 b. Perhaps a continuation of that chain which in Scripture is called “mount Seir:” compare ch. xxi. 29. xxxv. 4: and read the note at ch. xlix. 20. By the parallel passages in book II. ch.v.65, and book III .ch. x. 14, 15, we know that Gorgias at this time was in the neighbourhood of Idumaea.: for Gorgias was staying there. [B.C. 164] 2 And Gorgias went out against him with a great army, and there were sore battles betwixt them ; and there fell of Gorgias’ men twenty thousand. 3 And Gorgias fled to Ptolemy3)Foot Note p. 305 c. The Third Book of Maccabees calls him Timotkeus throughout the chapter, and so does Josephus. into the land of the west4)Foot Note p. 305 d. Namely, Philistia, and the western coast of Judaea, (for Antiochus had made him governor of that country, and there he was staying,) 4 and told him what had befallen him. Whereupon Ptolemy went forth with an army, in which were a hundred and twenty thousand men of 5 Macedonia and the east. And he went on until he came to the country of Giares, (that is to say, Gilead,) and the parts adjacent ; and he slew great 6 numbers of the Jews. So they wrote to Judas, telling him what had happened to them, begging him to come and defeat Ptolemy and drive him 7 away from them. And their letter reached him at the same time that a letter came to him from p. 306 the inhabitants of the mountain5)Foot Note p. 306 e. Or rather, “the mountainous district.” of Galilee likewise, informing him how the Macedonians who were at Tyre and Sidon had now united against them, and had attacked them, killing several.

Now when Judas had read both the letters, he 8 called together his men, and shewed them the contents of the letters, and appointed a fast and supplication. After this, he ordered his brother 9 Simeon to take with him three thousand men of the Jews, and to march with all speed to the mountain of Galilee, and to quell the Macedonians who were there. And Simeon went. But Judas 10 hastened to encounter Ptolemy. And Simeon 11 attacked the Macedonians unexpectedly, and slew of them eight thousand men, and gave rest to the Galilaeans.

But Judas marched on until he came up with 12 Gorgias and Ptolemy ; pressing them and besieging them : and the two armies encountered, and very fierce battles took place betwixt them. For Ptolemy headed a numerous, stout, and brave 13 body of men. But Judas was accompanied by a very small band : yet, as the people who were 14 with him consisted of the bravest and strongest troops, he steadily resisted, and the battle between them lasted long, and grew very sore. Wherefore 15 Judas called out to the great and good God, and invoked his aid. And he related6)Foot Note p. 306 f. Lat. ” Meminit.” The third book states, not that Judas alone saw this vision, and related it to his troops but that the thing itself was seen by the whole of the enemy’s army. that he had 16 seen five youthful horsemen, three of whom fought against Ptolemy’s army, and two stood near himself. 17 Whom when he viewed attentively, they 18 seemed to him to be angels of God. Wherefore his heart was comforted, and the hearts of his companions ; and making frequent assaults upon the enemy, they put them to flight, and slew 19 great multitudes of them. And the number of those who were slain of Ptolemy’s army, from the beginning of this battle until the end, was twenty thousand and five hundred.

20 After these things, Ptolemy and his men fled to the sea-coast ; while Judas pursued them, and 21 slew as many of them as he caught. But Ptolemy fled to Gaza, and remained there ; and the men 22 of Chalisam7)Foot Note p. 307 g. Who these are, I am not able to specify with any certainty: perhaps the inhabitants of Kulzum, a small town on the sea-coast of Egypt.  came to him. And Judas marched against them ; and when he found them, he defeated them : and Ptolemy’s men were dispersed, but he himself fled to Gaza8)Foot Note p. 307 h. Probably Gazara, as stated  at 3 Macc. x.32. Yet both Gaza and Gazara were near to the sea-coast : and at 2 Mace. v. 05, we read that Judas proceeded from Hebron into the land of the Philistines, and passed through Samaria : in which case he might have visited both of these towns., and there fortified 23 himself. And Judas’ men pursued the flying body, and slew great numbers of them. And Judas and the men who were with him marched straight to Gaza, and he pitched his camp and besieged it. 24 And Judas’ men returned to him ; and they who were left of Ptolemy’s forces went up upon the fortification, and abused Judas with much reviling. 25 And the fighting between them and Judas’ troops lasted for five days. But when the fifth p. 308 day was come, the people continued to cast reproaches upon Judas, and to revile his religion: whereupon twenty of Judas’ men grew angry ; 26 who taking shields on their left hands, and swords in their right, and having with them a man bearing a ladder which they had made, marched until they came to the wall : and eighteen of them 27 stood and threw darts at those who were on the wall ; and two, hastening to the wall, raised up the ladder, and by it mounted. But certain of those 28 who were there, perceiving that they had ascended, and that their companions had followed, and also had gone down from the wall into the city, descended from the wall after them : whom Judas’ men defeated, slaying great numbers of their enemies. But the army of Judas pressed forward 29 to the gate of the city ; and the twenty began to run toward the gate that they might open it : but they were driven thence most fiercely ; wherefore they called out with loud cries. Judas therefore 30 and his men knew that they had come near to the gate : and the battle grew sore both without the gate and within. And Judas and his men 31 attacked the gate with fire, and it fell down ; and the people perished, and the men who had reviled Judas, were taken, and he commanded them to be brought out and burned9)Foot Note p. 308 i. These particulars of the siege and capture of this place are expressly assigned, not to Gaza but Gazara, in book III. x. 32—36.. Moreover he 32 commanded the city to be utterly smitten with the sword ; and the slaughter continued in it for two days, and then it was wasted with fire.

But Ptolemy fled ; nor were tidings of him 33 p. 309 heard at that time; because that he had changed his clothes, and concealed himself in one of the 34 pits10)Foot Note p. 309 k. Compare book III. x. 37., and no account of him was had. But his two brothers were taken, and brought to Judas; 35 and he ordered them to be beheaded. After this he went into the land of the sanctuary, with abundance of spoil ; and both he and his company offered prayers therein, giving thanks to God for the benefits which they had received.


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. 305 a. Compare this with 2 Mace, v; 3 Mace, x; Joseph. Antiq. XII. 12.
2. Foot Note p. 305 b. Perhaps a continuation of that chain which in Scripture is called “mount Seir:” compare ch. xxi. 29. xxxv. 4: and read the note at ch. xlix. 20. By the parallel passages in book II. ch.v.65, and book III .ch. x. 14, 15, we know that Gorgias at this time was in the neighbourhood of Idumaea.
3. Foot Note p. 305 c. The Third Book of Maccabees calls him Timotkeus throughout the chapter, and so does Josephus.
4. Foot Note p. 305 d. Namely, Philistia, and the western coast of Judaea
5. Foot Note p. 306 e. Or rather, “the mountainous district.”
6. Foot Note p. 306 f. Lat. ” Meminit.” The third book states, not that Judas alone saw this vision, and related it to his troops but that the thing itself was seen by the whole of the enemy’s army.
7. Foot Note p. 307 g. Who these are, I am not able to specify with any certainty: perhaps the inhabitants of Kulzum, a small town on the sea-coast of Egypt.
8. Foot Note p. 307 h. Probably Gazara, as stated  at 3 Macc. x.32. Yet both Gaza and Gazara were near to the sea-coast : and at 2 Mace. v. 05, we read that Judas proceeded from Hebron into the land of the Philistines, and passed through Samaria : in which case he might have visited both of these towns.
9. Foot Note p. 308 i. These particulars of the siege and capture of this place are expressly assigned, not to Gaza but Gazara, in book III. x. 32—36.
10. Foot Note p. 309 k. Compare book III. x. 37.

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