5 Maccabees Chapter 28 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 345 – 350 Book 5 B.C. 105 [PDF: 395/400 of p.524]

CHAPTER 28.1)Foot note p. 345 a. Compare Joseph. Antiq. XIII. 20, 21. Bell. I. 3.

(i) The account of Alexander the son of Hyrcanus.

1 After that Aristobulus was dead, his brother Alexander was released from his fetters ; [B.C. 105] and being brought out of prison, succeeded 2 to the throne. Now the governor of the city Acche2)Foot note p. 345 b. See the note on 2 Mace. v. 22. (which is Ptolemais) had rebelled ; and had sent messengers to Lythras the son of Cleopatra, requesting that he would aid him, and take 3 him under his protection ; but he for a long time refused, fearing a recurrence of the things which 4 he had before suffered3)Foot note p. 345 c. See above, ch. xxiii. 10. from Hyrcanus. But the messenger gave him courage by means of the succours promised by the lord of Tyre, of Sidon, and others. And Lythras marched with thirty 5 thousand men : and the report of it was brought to Alexander, who anticipated him at Ptolemais, and attacked it ; and the citizens of Ptolemais shut the gate in his face, and endeavoured to keep p. 346 him out. Wherefore Alexander straitened them, 6 and continued to besiege them ; until he was informed of the marching of Lythras : then he retired from before them, Lythras with his troops being at hand.

Now there was among the citizens of 7 Ptolemais an old man4)Foot note p. 346 d. Josephns informs us that the name of this sage connsellor was Demsenetus. of acknowledged authority, who persuaded the citizens not to permit Lythras to enter their city, nor to take on themselves obedience to him, since he was of a different religion. He also said to them, Far more advantageous to 8 you in every way will be submission to Alexander, who is of the same religion, than submission to Lythras : nor did he cease, until they agreed to his sentiments. And they prevented 9 Lythras from entering Ptolemais, refusing submission to him. And Lythras was perplexed in his affairs, nor did he take counsel what was best for him to do.

10 And this was told to the king of Sidon5)Foot note p. 346 e. This appears from Josephus to be Zoilns, who had also taken possession of the neighbouring posts, Strato’s Tower, (afterwards called Caesarea,) and Dora., and he sent messengers to him, that he should help him in the war against Alexander ; that either they might defeat him, or take some of his cities, and thus punish him ; and thus Lythras might 11 return into his own country, after performing deeds which might render him formidable ; which in truth would be more to his advantage than to return without having effected his purpose. And 12 this was told to Alexander ; who sent to Lythras an honourable embassy with a very valuable p. 347 present, and proposed to him not to aid the king of 13 Sidon. And Lythras accepted Alexander’s 14 present, agreeing to his request. But Alexander marched to Sidon, and fought against its sovereign; and God made him victorious over him, and he slew great numbers of his men ; and having put him to flight, gained possession of his country.

15 After this, Alexander sent messengers to Cleopatra, that she should come with an army [B C 104.] against Lythras her son ; and that he also would march with his army against him, and would 16 deliver him a prisoner to her. Which when Lythras found out, he departed into the mountain of Galilee6)Foot note p. 347 f. Where falling suddenly upon a town called Asochis, he mastered it, and departed, loaded with abundance of captives and other spoil. (Josephus.). and slew great numbers of the inhabitants, and carried away ten thousand captives : a great 17 number of his own men also were slain. From thence he marched even till he came to Jordan, and there encamped ; that his men and horses might rest themselves, and afterwards he might march to Jerusalem to fight with Alexander. 18 This was told to Alexander; who went against him with fifty thousand men, of whom six thousand had shields of brass : and it is said that each 19 of those could resist any number of men. And he attacked him at the Jordan, and engaged with him there ; but did not obtain the victory, because he trusted in his men, and had placed his confidence in their number.

20 But with Lythras there were men very skilful in battles7)Foot note p. 347 g. Josephus particularly names Philostephanus, as the p. 348 man whose skilful tactics eventually gained Ptolemy the battle. and in drawing up armies; who p. 348 advised him to divide his forces into two parts, so that one might be with Lythras and his company prepared for battle, and the other part might be with another captain of their company. And he 21 fought even until noon, and great numbers of his men were slain. And his friend advanced, with the 22 remainder of the army which was with him, whose strength was yet entire, against Alexander and his men, who were by this time overcome with fatigue : and he dealt with them as he 23 pleased, and slew great multitudes of them ; and Alexander and the men who had remained with him fled into the city of the Holy House.

Lythras also departed towards evening into a 24 certain town near at hand ; and by chance some Jewish women with their children met him ; and 25 he commanded some of the children to be killed, and their flesh to be dressed, pretending that there were some in his army who fed on human flesh ; designing by these acts to strike the inhabitants of the country with a dread of his troops.

After this came Cleopatra ; whom Alexander 26 met, and told her what Lythras had done to his army, and appointed to go with her in search of him. Which being told to Lythras, he fled to a 27 place where was a station of his ships ; going on board which, he returned to Cyprus ; and Cleopatra returned into Egypt. But at the end of the year Alexander marched 28 against Gaza ; because its chief8)Foot note p. 348 h. Josephus records his name, Apollodotus; and the brother, who treacherously slew him, (ver. 31.) was called Lysimaelms. had revolted from him, and had sent to a certain king of the p. 349 Arabians named Hartas9)Foot note p. 349 i. Such is the spelling given ; but the name is properly Aretas. This appears to have been an appellative name among the Arabian sovereigns ; as we read of an Aretas in 3 Mace. v. 7, at the year B. C. 170: of another, B. C. 66. (see below, ch. xxxv) : and a grandson of this last occurs in St. Paul’s second Epistle to the Corinthians ; who, having married the daughter of Herod Antipas, held the sovereignty of” Damascus, and endeavoured to intercept the apostle; whose friends secured him by letting him down in a basket from the city-wall, See 2 Cor. xi. 32 ; and Acts ix. 24. to assist him ; who 29 consented to do so, and marched towards Gaza : this was told to Alexander ; who leaving some of his men before Gaza, marched against Hartas, and 30 engaged him, and put him to flight. Then he returned to Gaza, and lying sore upon it, took it at 31 the end of a year. [B.C. 97.] But the cause of his taking it was the brother of that chief; who 32 coming suddenly on him, slew him. When the citizens sought to kill him, he collected his friends, and went to the gate of the city, and addressed Alexander, begging that on giving security for his life and the lives of his friends, he would enter 33 the city ; which Alexander promising, entered Gaza, and slew its inhabitants, and overthrew the temple which was in it, and burned the gilded idol which was in the temple. 34 After which he departed to the city of the Holy House, and there celebrated the feast of 35 tabernacles. And when the feast was past, he made himself ready against Hartas, whom he 36 encountered, and slew a great number of his men : and Hartas’ affairs were much straitened and crippled, and he feared his own utter extinction. Wherefore suing to Alexander for his life, he yielded 37 him obedience, and paid him tributes. And p. 350 Alexander departed from him, and marched against Hemath10)Foot note p. 350 k. Josephus calls it Amathus, ” the strongest of all the fortresses on the river Jordan.” Some chronologers place this event three years before the capture of Gaza. and Tyre, and took them ; and having received tribute from the inhabitants, he returned into the city of the Holy House.


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. 345 a. Compare Joseph. Antiq. XIII. 20, 21. Bell. I. 3.
2. Foot note p. 345 b. See the note on 2 Mace. v. 22.
3. Foot note p. 345 c. See above, ch. xxiii. 10.
4. Foot note p. 346 d. Josephns informs us that the name of this sage connsellor was Demsenetus.
5. Foot note p. 346 e. This appears from Josephus to be Zoilns, who had also taken possession of the neighbouring posts, Strato’s Tower, (afterwards called Caesarea,) and Dora.
6. Foot note p. 347 f. Where falling suddenly upon a town called Asochis, he mastered it, and departed, loaded with abundance of captives and other spoil. (Josephus.).
7. Foot note p. 347 g. Josephus particularly names Philostephanus, as the p. 348 man whose skilful tactics eventually gained Ptolemy the battle.
8. Foot note p. 348 h. Josephus records his name, Apollodotus; and the brother, who treacherously slew him, (ver. 31.) was called Lysimaelms.
9. Foot note p. 349 i. Such is the spelling given ; but the name is properly Aretas. This appears to have been an appellative name among the Arabian sovereigns ; as we read of an Aretas in 3 Mace. v. 7, at the year B. C. 170: of another, B. C. 66. (see below, ch. xxxv) : and a grandson of this last occurs in St. Paul’s second Epistle to the Corinthians ; who, having married the daughter of Herod Antipas, held the sovereignty of” Damascus, and endeavoured to intercept the apostle; whose friends secured him by letting him down in a basket from the city-wall, See 2 Cor. xi. 32 ; and Acts ix. 24.
10. Foot note p. 350 k. Josephus calls it Amathus, ” the strongest of all the fortresses on the river Jordan.” Some chronologers place this event three years before the capture of Gaza.

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