5 Maccabees Chapter 21 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 331 – 335 Book 5 B.C. 134 [PDF: 381/385 of p.524]

CHAPTER 21.1)Foot note p. 331 a. Compare Josephus, Antiq. XIII. 1G, 17.

(i) The history of the going up of Antiochus to the city of the Holy House, to fight with Hyrcanus.

1 Now when Antiochus had heard that Simeon was dead, he collected an army, and marched 2 until he came to the city of the Holy House : and he encamped around it, and besieged it, designing to take it by force : but he could not, by reason of the height and strength of the walls, and the 3 multitude of warriors who were in it. But by God’s will he was restrained from winning it : for he had betaken himself to the northern side of the city, and had built there an hundred and thirty 4 towers opposite to the wall ; and had caused men to mount them, to fight with those who should 5 endeavour to go up upon the walls of the city. He also appointed men to dig up the earth in a certain spot, till they came to the foundation of the wall : which finding to be of wood, they burned it with fire, and a very large portion of the wall fell down.

6 And Hyrcanus’ men opposed them, and prevented them from entering, keeping guard over 7 the ruined portion ; and Hyrcanus went out with the better part of his fighting men against the army of Antiochus, and defeated them with great 8 slaughter. And Antiochus and his men were routed ; whom Hyrcanus with his troops pursued, till they had driven them away from the city. 9 Then, returning to the towers which Antiochus had built, they destroyed them ; and abode in the p. 332 city, and around it. But Antiochus encamped in 10 a certain place, which was distant from the city of the house of God about two furlongs. And at the approach of the feast of tabernacles 11 Hyrcanus sent ambassadors to him, to treat for a truce until the solemnity should be passed ; which he granted him ; and sent victims, and gold and silver2)Foot note p. 332 b. Josephus forcibly contrasts this behaviour of the king with that of Antiochus Epiphanes, when he had become master of the city. See 2 Mace. i. 44—60. From this exhibition of liberality, the Jews gave to Antiochus the surname of Pivs., to the house of God. And Hyrcanus 12 commanded the priests to receive what Antiochus had sent ; and they did so. Now when Hyrcanus and 13 the priests saw the reverence of Antiochus towards the temple of God, he sent ambassadors to him, to treat for peace. To which Antiochus 14 agreed ; and he went to Jerusalem : and Hyrcanus meeting him, they entered the city together. And 15 Hyrcanus made a feast for Antiochus and his princes ; and they did eat and drink together; and he made him a present of three hundred talents of gold : and each of them3)Foot note p. 332 c. Namely, on certain conditions, which may be seen in Diodorus Siculus, and Josephus. agreed with his 16 companion about peace and rendering assistance, and Antiochus departed into his own country. But it is related, that Hyrcanus opened the 17 treasury4)Foot note p. 332 d. Josephus states, that he opened the sepulchre of David, and took thence three thousand talents ; with which he hired a body of mercenary troops ; being the first Jewish prince who did this. Compare also Joseph. Antiq.VII. 12., which had been made by some kings of the sons of David, [to whom be peace,] and he brought out thence a great sum of money, and left p. 333 as much in it, consigning it to its former state of 18 secrecy. Then he built up and repaired that part of the wall which had fallen down ; and he provided carefully for the convenience and advantage of his flock, and behaved himself uprightly towards them.

19 Now when Antiochus had come into his own country, he determined to go and fight [B.C 131] with the king of Persia5)Foot note p. 333 e. Rather, Phraates king of Parthia, who still detained Demetrius Nicator a prisoner. It is observable that the author of this book, in common with almost all the later Greek and Roman historians, uses the terms Persians and Parthians as synonymous. Indeed it has been contended that the difference is more nominal than real ; since the Parthians originally were comprised within the Persian empire ; and after that had been brought under the sway of the Macedonian princes, Arsaces revolted with a large district, and established himself as an independent monarch ; and the family of the Arsacidae, having acquired both wealth and power, held possession of their throne during a period of no less than 482 years. On the indifferent use of the words Persian and Parthian, see archbishop Ussher, in Notisad Ignatii Acta, p. 36. (4to. Lond. 1(547.) And for the origin and a short history of that people, consult Justin’s History, books 41 and 42., for he had 20 revolted from the time of the first Antiochus : and he sent ambassadors to Hyrcanus, that he should go to him ; and Hyrcanus went with him, and 21 departed into the country of Persia. And an army of the Persians met him, and fought with him ; whom Antiochus putting to flight defeated 22 and put to the sword. Then he stayed in the place where he was, and erected a wonderful building6)Foot note p. 333 f. He erected a trophy on the banks of the river Lycus, where he had conquered In dates the Parthian general., that it might be a memorial of him in 23 their country. And after some time he went forward to meet the king of the Persians ; and p. 334 Hyrcanus remained behind, by reason of the sabbath, which Pentecost immediately followed. And the 24 king of Persia and Antiochus met ; and very great battles took place between them, in which Antiochus and many of his army were slain7)Foot note p. 334 g. Authors are not agreed whether he fell in battle or afterwards : he was succeeded by his brother Demetrius Nicator, whom Phraates had set free at the time of Antiochus’ invasion. [Josephus.]

And when news of this was brought to 25 Hyrcanus, [B.C. 130]  he marched8)Foot note p. 334 h. From this period the Jews refused to acknowledge any Macedonian or Syrian king. into the country of  Syria, and on his journey besieged 26 Halepus9)Foot note p. 334 i. The town now called Aleppo.: and the citizens surrendered to him, paying him tribute ; and he departed from them, and returned into the Holy City, and remained there for some days. 

Then he departed into the country of Samaria, 27 [B.C. 129] and fought against Neapolis10)Foot note p. 334 k. The town which anciently was called Shecliem, or Sichem, being the principal city of Samaria. It still bears the name of Napolose, or Naplouse. See a description of its present state in ” Clarke’s Travels.” ; but the citizens hindered him from entering into it. And he destroyed whatever buildings they had on 28 mount Jezabel11)Foot note p. 334 l. That is, mount Ebal, or more properly Garizim., and the temple ; which was done two hundred years after that Sanballat12)Foot note p. 334 m. See the history of this transaction in Josephus, Antiq. XI. 8. the Samaritan had built it. He also slew the priests who were in Sebaste13)Foot note p. 334 n. The city of Samaria obtained this name under the reign of Herod the Great, who enlarged, adorned, and fortified it. See Joseph. Ant. XV. 11 • Bell. I. 16.. And he marched into the 29 country of Idumaea, that is, the mountains Sarah14)Foot note p. 334 o. Probably the same as ” Seir,” so often mentioned in Scripture. See above, ch.x. 1 ; xiv. 4 ; also xlix. 20., p. 335 and they surrendered to him : with whom he stipulated that they should be circumcised and adopt the religion of Torah (or the Mosaic law). 30 And they agreed with him, and were circumcised, and became Jews, and were confirmed in this practice even till the destruction of the second house15)Foot note p. 335 p. This expression clearly informs us that the author of this book, whoever he may have been, lived after A. D. 70..

31 And Hyrcanus went on to all the surrounding nations ; and they all submitted to him, and at the same time entered into an agreement of peace and obedience.

32 He also sent ambassadors to the Romans, writing to them concerning the renewal of the 33 league16)Foot note p. 335 q. See above, 2 Mace. viii. and xii. which was between them. [B.C. 128] When, therefore his ambassadors had come to the Romans, they honoured them ; and appointed them a seat of dignity ; and gave attention to the embassy on account of which they had come ; and despatched their business, and replied to his letter.


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. 331 a. Compare Josephus, Antiq. XIII. 1G, 17.
2. Foot note p. 332 b. Josephus forcibly contrasts this behaviour of the king with that of Antiochus Epiphanes, when he had become master of the city. See 2 Mace. i. 44—60. From this exhibition of liberality, the Jews gave to Antiochus the surname of Pivs.
3. Foot note p. 332 c. Namely, on certain conditions, which may be seen in Diodorus Siculus, and Josephus.
4. Foot note p. 332 d. Josephus states, that he opened the sepulchre of David, and took thence three thousand talents ; with which he hired a body of mercenary troops ; being the first Jewish prince who did this. Compare also Joseph. Antiq.VII. 12.
5. Foot note p. 333 e. Rather, Phraates king of Parthia, who still detained Demetrius Nicator a prisoner. It is observable that the author of this book, in common with almost all the later Greek and Roman historians, uses the terms Persians and Parthians as synonymous. Indeed it has been contended that the difference is more nominal than real ; since the Parthians originally were comprised within the Persian empire ; and after that had been brought under the sway of the Macedonian princes, Arsaces revolted with a large district, and established himself as an independent monarch ; and the family of the Arsacidae, having acquired both wealth and power, held possession of their throne during a period of no less than 482 years. On the indifferent use of the words Persian and Parthian, see archbishop Ussher, in Notisad Ignatii Acta, p. 36. (4to. Lond. 1(547.) And for the origin and a short history of that people, consult Justin’s History, books 41 and 42.
6. Foot note p. 333 f. He erected a trophy on the banks of the river Lycus, where he had conquered In dates the Parthian general.
7. Foot note p. 334 g. Authors are not agreed whether he fell in battle or afterwards : he was succeeded by his brother Demetrius Nicator, whom Phraates had set free at the time of Antiochus’ invasion. [Josephus.]
8. Foot note p. 334 h. From this period the Jews refused to acknowledge any Macedonian or Syrian king.
9. Foot note p. 334 i. The town now called Aleppo.
10. Foot note p. 334 k. The town which anciently was called Shecliem, or Sichem, being the principal city of Samaria. It still bears the name of Napolose, or Naplouse. See a description of its present state in ” Clarke’s Travels.”
11. Foot note p. 334 l. That is, mount Ebal, or more properly Garizim.
12. Foot note p. 334 m. See the history of this transaction in Josephus, Antiq. XI. 8.
13. Foot note p. 334 n. The city of Samaria obtained this name under the reign of Herod the Great, who enlarged, adorned, and fortified it. See Joseph. Ant. XV. 11 • Bell. I. 16.
14. Foot note p. 334 o. Probably the same as ” Seir,” so often mentioned in Scripture. See above, ch.x. 1 ; xiv. 4 ; also xlix. 20.
15. Foot note p. 335 p. This expression clearly informs us that the author of this book, whoever he may have been, lived after A. D. 70.
16. Foot note p. 335 q. See above, 2 Mace. viii. and xii.

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