5 Maccabees Chapter 27 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 341 – 345 Book 5 B.C. 106/5 [PDF: 391/395 of p.524]

CHAPTER 27.1)Foot note p. 341 a. Compare Joseph. Ant. XIII. 19; Bell. I. 3.

(i) The history of Aristobuhis the son of Hyrcanus

1 Hyrcanus being dead, his son Aristobuhis succeeded him on the throne ; [B.C. 10 6/5] who displayed haughtiness, pride, and power; and placed on his head a large crown, in contempt of 2 the crown of the sacred priesthood. Now he was affectionately inclined towards his brother Antigonus, whom he preferred2)Foot note p. 341 b. And advanced him to a share of the regal power. to all his friends : but his brother Alexander he kept in prison, as also p. 342 his mother3)Foot note p. 342 c1. Josephus adds, that he suffered her to die of hunger while in prison !, by reason of her love for Alexander. And he sent4)Foot note p. 342 d. There is every appearance of an hiatus between the second and third verses of this chapter : against whom did Aristobulus send his brother Antigonus? not against Alexander, for he was in prison. But we read in Josephus, that at this particular time Antigonus made an expedition into Ituraea, part of which he conquered and added to Judaea; so that possibly a sentence (or more) may have been omitted, in which Was mentioned the leader of the Ituraans whom Antigonus encountered with such success. The text, as it stands at present, is scarcely intelligible. his brother Antigonus, who fought 3 against him, and conquered him, with all his abettors and troops, which he put to flight, and returned into the city of the Holy House. This happened while Aristobulus lay sick. 4 When therefore Antigonus was on his way to the city, the sickness of his brother was reported to him ; who, entering the city, went to the house of God, to give thanks for the mercy shewn in his deliverance from the enemy, and to beseech the great and good God to restore health to his brother. Therefore certain of those who were adversaries 5 and haters of Antigonus go to Aristobulus and say ; In sooth the news of your sickness was 6 carried to your brother, and behold he is coming with his partisans, armed ; and is now gone into the sanctuary to make to himself friends, that he may come suddenly upon you and slay you. And 7 king Aristobulus was afraid to take any hasty step against his brother respecting that which had been told him, till he should know the correctness of the intelligence. Wherefore he 8 commanded all his attendants to post themselves p. 343 armed in a certain place, from which whoever came 9 to his palace could not turn aside. He likewise ordered it to be publicly proclaimed, that no one wearing arms of any kind should come to the 10 king into the court, without being bidden. After this, he sent to Antigonus, ordering him to come to him : whereupon Antigonus took off his arms 11 in obedience to the king. In the mean time there comes to him a messenger from the wife of his brother5)Foot note p. 343 c2. Salome, called also Alexandra. Aristobulus, (who hated him,) saying to 12 him ; The king says to you, ” I have now heard of the beauty of your dress when you entered the city, and am desirous of beholding you thus habited ; wherefore come to me in that form, 13 that I may be gratified in seeing you.” And Antigonus doubted not that this message was from the king, as the messenger had reported ; 14 and that he did not wish to put him on the same footing with others as to the laying aside their arms : and he went to him in that manner and 15 dress. And when he had come to that place in which king Aristobulus had commanded his men to post themselves, with orders to kill any person 16 who should come thither armed ; and when the men saw him wearing his arms ;— they rushed on him, and instantly slew him; and his blood flowed 17 over the marble pavement on that spot. And the cry of men grew loud, and their weeping and lamentation was magnified, grieving over the death of Antigonus, for his beauty, and the elegance of his discourse, and his exploits. 18 So the king, hearing the noise of the men, p. 344 enquired concerning it ; and found that Antigonus had been slain ; which caused him the greatest 19 sorrow, both for the affection which he bare towards him, and because he did not deserve this fate : and he perceived that a snare had been laid for his brother : and he cried aloud, and wept 20 exceedingly ; and smote his breast unceasingly; so that some blood-vessels of his breast were burst, and the blood flowed out of his mouth. But his attendants and the chief of his friends 21 came to him, consoling him, and appeasing and soothing him, so as to restrain him from this action ; being apprehensive that he would die, as 22 he was weak, and was almost expiring under that which he had already done.

And they took a golden basin, to receive the 23 blood which gushed forth at his mouth ; and they 24 sent the basin, with the blood which was in it, by one of the attendants to a physician, that he might see it, and advise what was to be done for him. And the page went with the basin : and 25 when he came to the place where Antigonus had been slain, and his blood had flowed about, the page slipped, and fell ; and spilled the king’s blood which was in the basin over the blood of his murdered brother. And the page returned 26 with the basin, and told the courtiers what had happened ; who abused and reviled him ; while he justified himself, and sware that he had not designedly or voluntarily done this. But when the 27 king heard them quarrelling, he asked to be told what they were saying : and they held their tongues : but when he threatened them, they told him. Who then said, ” Praise be to the Just 28 p. 345 ” Judge, who hath shed the blood of the oppressor 29 ” over the blood of the oppressed.” Then he groaned, and forthwith expired. And the time of 30 his reign was one full year. And all his flock lamented him ; for he was noble-minded, victorious6)Foot note p. 343 e. He became memorable for subduing Ituraea, a part of Petraea, lying on the eastern side of Jordan, and compelling its inhabitants to adopt the customs of the Jews. See above, v. 3. Ituraea is mentioned at Luke iii. 1. and its renown in archery is celebrated by the Roman poets. See also Strabo, lib. XVI., and liberal: and his brother Alexander reigned in his stead.


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. 341 a. Compare Joseph. Ant. XIII. 19; Bell. I. 3.
2. Foot note p. 341 b. And advanced him to a share of the regal power.
3. Foot note p. 342 c1. Josephus adds, that he suffered her to die of hunger while in prison !
4. Foot note p. 342 d. There is every appearance of an hiatus between the second and third verses of this chapter : against whom did Aristobulus send his brother Antigonus? not against Alexander, for he was in prison. But we read in Josephus, that at this particular time Antigonus made an expedition into Ituraea, part of which he conquered and added to Judaea; so that possibly a sentence (or more) may have been omitted, in which Was mentioned the leader of the Ituraans whom Antigonus encountered with such success. The text, as it stands at present, is scarcely intelligible.
5. Foot note p. 343 c2. Salome, called also Alexandra.
6. Foot note p. 343 e. He became memorable for subduing Ituraea, a part of Petraea, lying on the eastern side of Jordan, and compelling its inhabitants to adopt the customs of the Jews. See above, v. 3. Ituraea is mentioned at Luke iii. 1. and its renown in archery is celebrated by the Roman poets. See also Strabo, lib. XVI.

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