5 Maccabees Chapter 36 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 364 – 371 Book 5 B.C. 64 [PDF: 414/421 of p.524]

CHAPTER 36.1)Foot note p. 364 a. Compare Joseph. Antiq. XIV. 4—8. Bell. I. 5.

(i) The history of Gneus, general of the army of the Romans.

1 Now it happened, that Gneus2)Foot note p. 364 b. That is, Cneius Pompeius., general of the army of the Romans, went forth to fight with Tyrcanes3)Foot note p. 364 c. That is, Tigranes, who had been elected king of Syria, after the joint reign of Denietrius III. and Philip, in preference to any prince of the Syrian line. the Armenian : [B.C. 64.] for the 2 citizens of Damascus, and Hames4)Foot note p. 364 d. Prohably Hamath, or Emesa, a city on the river Orontes., and Halepum5)Foot note p. 364 e. Aleppo, as above mentioned at ch. xxi. 25., and the rest of them of Syria who are belonging to the Armenians, had lately rebelled against the Romans : and on that account Gneus had sent 3 Scaurus to Damascus and to its territories, to take possession of them ; which thing was told to Aristobulus and Hyrcanus. Therefore Aristobulus 4 sent ambassadors to Scaurus, and much money, requesting him to come to him with an army, and assist him against Hyrcanus. Hyrcanus also sent 5 ambassadors to him, requesting his aid against Aristobulus ; but he did not send him a present. But Scaurus refused to go to either of them : 6 but he wrote to Hartam, ordering him to retire with his army from the city of the Holy House, and forbade him to give help to Hyrcanus against his brother ; and threatened that he would come 7 into his country with an army of Romans and Syrians, unless he obeyed. Now when this letter 8 had reached Hartam, he immediately retired from the city : Hyrcanus also retreated ; whom 9 p. 365 Aristobulus pursued with a certain number of his troops, and overtook them, and engaged them6)Foot note p. 365 f. At a place called Papyro. (Josephus). : and a great number of the Arabians were slain in that battle, and very many of the Jews : and Aristobulus returned into the Holy City. 10 In the mean time, Gneus reached Damascus; to whom Aristobulus sent, by the hand of a man named Nicomedes7)Foot note p. 365 g. Josephus calls him Nicodemus., a garden and vineyard8)Foot note p. 365 h. Josephus states, that he himself had seen this ornament and read the inscription on it, in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus at Rome, From this splendid ornament, or rather, perhaps, from the magnificent vine of gold and jewels with which Herod decorated the outer gate of his newly erected temple, may have sprung the idea which is mentioned by Tacitus, in the fifth book of his History, that the Jews were worshippers of Bacchus. of gold, altogether weighing five hundred talents, with a most rich present; and besought him to 11 assist him against Hyrcanus. Hyrcanus also sent 12 Antipater to Pompey, with the like request. And Pompey (who is Gneus) was inclined to help 13 Aristobulus. Which when Antipater saw, he watched an opportunity that he might speak with Pompey 14 alone, and said to him : “In truth, that present which you have received from Aristobulus needs not be restored to him, even though you should 15 not assist him ; yet Hyrcanus offers you twice so much : and Aristobulus will not be able to bring the Jews into subjection to you, but this 16 Hyrcanus will do.” And Pompey supposed the matter to be so as Antipater had said ; and rejoiced to think that he could bring the Jews under 17 his dominion. Wherefore he said to Antipater, “I will assist your friend against Aristobulus p. 366 though I may pretend to help him against you, that he may entrust himself to me. For I am 18 sure, that as soon as he shall find out that I am giving aid to his brother against him, he will play false with all his men, and will take care of himself, and his business will be much longer delayed. But I will send for him, and will go 19 with him into the Holy City, and then will so act that your friend shall obtain his right ; but with this condition, that he shall pay us an annual tribute.”

THE MESSENGER OF ARISTOBULUS.

After this, having sent for Nicomedes, he said 20 to him ; “Go to your master, and tell him, that I have consented to his request ; and carry him my letter, and say to him, that he must come to me in haste without delay, for I am waiting for him.” And he wrote a letter to Aristobulus, of 21 which this is a copy: From Gneus, general of the army of the 22 Romans, to king Aristobulus, heir to the throne and high-priesthood, health be to you. Your 23 garden and vine of gold have arrived ; and I have received them, and have sent them to the elder and governors ; which they have accepted and have placed in the temple9)Foot note p. 366 i. Namely, of Jupiter Capitolinus ; agreeably to that which is related in the note on verse 10, above. at Rome, returning you thanks. They have written, moreover, 24 that I should assist you, and appoint you king over the Jews. If therefore you think fit to 25 come to me with all speed, that I may go up with you to the Holy City, and fulfil your wishes, I will do so.

26 And Nicomedes departed to Aristobulus with the letter of Gneus. [B.C. 63.] And Antipater, returning to Hyrcanus, told him of the promise of 27 Gneus, advising him to go to Damascus. So Hyrcanus went to Damascus : Aristobulus went also : and they met at Damascus in the audience-room of Pompey, (that is, Gneus;) and Antipater and the 28 elders of the Jews said to Gneus ; “Know, most illustrious general, that this Aristobulus has been dealing falsely towards us, and has usurped by the sword the kingdom of his brother Hyrcanus, who is more worthy of it than he, seeing that he is the elder brother, and of a better and 29 more correct way of life. And it was not enough for him to oppress his brother, but he has oppressed all the nations which are round about us ; shedding their blood and pillaging their goods unjustly, and keeping up enmities between us and them, a thing which we abhor.” 30 Then stood up a thousand aged men, attesting the truth of his words.

31 And Aristobulus said, ” Truly this my brother is a better man than I ; but I did not seek for the throne, until I saw that all those who had been subject to our father Alexander were dealing falsely with us after his death, knowing the 32 inability of my brother. Which when I looked into, I perceived that it was my duty to undertake the sovereignty, in that I was better than he in matters of war, and by that was better 33 suited for preserving the monarchy : and I went to war with all those who dealt falsely p. 367 with us, and reduced them to obedience : and this was the command of our father before his death.” And he brought forward witnesses 34 who attested the truth of his words. After these things Pompey departed from the 35 city Damascus, journeying to the Holy House. But Antipater sent privately to the inhabitants 36 of the cities which Aristobulus had won, exciting them to complain to Gneus, setting forth the tyranny which he had exercised over them; which thing they did. And Gneus ordered him 37 to write them a testimonial of their freedom, and to say that he would in no wise trouble them more ; which truly he did, and the nations were released from their obedience to the Jews. But when Aristobulus saw what Gneus had 38 done to him, he and his men departed by night from Gneus’ army without acquainting him with it, and went on to the city of the Holy House : and Gneus followed him till he came to the city 39 of the Holy House, around which he encamped. But when he beheld the height of the walls, and 40 the strength of its buildings, and the multitude of men who were in it, and the mountains which encircled it, he perceived that flattery and cunning would be more serviceable against Aristobulus than acts of provocation : wherefore he sent 41 ambassadors to him, that he should come out to him, promising him safe conduct : and Aristobulus went out to him ; whom Gneus received kindly, not saying a word about his former doings. After this Aristobulus said to Gneus, “I wish 42 that you would aid me against my brother, giving my enemies no power over me ; and for p. 369 this you shall have whatsoever you wish.” 43 Gneus replied, “If you wish this, bring to me whatever money and precious stones are in the temple, and I will put you in possession of what you wish.” And Aristobulus said to him, 44 “Undoubtedly this I will do.” And Gneus sent a captain named Gabinius10)Foot note p. 369 j. Aulus Gabinius attained the dignity of consul : being a friend of Pompey, he was employed in Judaea : for the act of replacing Ptolemy on the throne of Egypt, as related below at ch. xl. 15 – 20, he was accused at Rome, and at Pompey’s request was publicly defended by Cicero, That oration is not now extant ; but we are made acquainted with the circumstance by what is said in the oration for Rabirius Posthumus, which in fact is a sort of second part of the same cause or trial with a great number of men, to receive whatever of gold and jewels 45 there was in the temple. But the citizens and the priests refused to permit this : wherefore they resisted Gabinius, killing many of his men and of 46 his friends, and drove him out of the city. Upon which, Gneus, being wrath with Aristobulus, threw him into prison. 47 Then he marched with his army, to force his way into the city and enter it. But a great body of the citizens going forth, hindered him from doing this, by slaying great numbers of his men. 48 And in truth, the numbers, the spirit, and the bravery of the nation, which he had seen, frightened him ; so that, being alarmed at these, he had resolved to retire from them, had not mischievous quarrels arisen in the city between the friends of Aristobulus and the friends of 49 Hyrcanus. For some of them wished to open the gates to Pompey, but others were averse to this. Wherefore they came to blows on this account p. 370 and as this state of things increased rather than diminished, the war continued. Which Pompey 50 noticing, beset with his army the gate of the city : and as some of the people opened a wicket to him, he entered11)Foot note p. 370 k. The historian Appian states, that Pompey not only captured, but also destroyed Jerusalem : he uses the strong expression  he rased it to its foundations : but the incorrectness of this is evident. Compare the following note. l, and took possession of the king’s palace ; but could not gain the temple, because the priests had closed the doors, and had secured the approaches by armed men. Against 51 these he sent men to attack them from every side, and they put them to flight. And his friends coming to the temple, mounted the wall and descended into it, and opened its gates, after slaying a multitude of priests. Then Gneus came, and 52 entered into it12)Foot note p. 370 l. Josephus speaks feelingly on this profanation : but he gives Pompey due credit for the forbearance which he shewed, amidst so great temptation to plunder :  We shall see in the next note, that the motives of the Roman general were not rated quite so high by one of his own countrymen. However, we may hence correct the statements of the later historians, as Dio Cassius, who asserts that on the capture of the temple a general plunder took place, , and greatly admired its beauty and magnificence which he beheld, and was astonished when he saw its riches and the precious stones which were in it : and he forebore to take 53 any thing out of it13)Foot note p. 370 m. It is remarked, that Cicero has praised Pompey for thus respecting the temple and its contents : “At Cneius Pompeins, captis Hierosolymis victor ex illo fano nihil attigit. In primis hoe, ut multa alia, sapienter, cpiod in tarn suspiciosa ac maledica civitate locum sermoni obtrectato rum non reliquerit. Non enim, credo, religionem, et Judaeorum et hostium, impedimento pncstantissimo Imperatori, sed pudorem,fuisse.” Orat. pro L. ; and he commanded the p. 371 priests to cleanse the house from the slain, and to offer sacrifices according to the ceremonies of their country.


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. 364 a. Compare Joseph. Antiq. XIV. 4—8. Bell. I. 5.
2. Foot note p. 364 b. That is, Cneius Pompeius.
3. Foot note p. 364 c. That is, Tigranes, who had been elected king of Syria, after the joint reign of Denietrius III. and Philip, in preference to any prince of the Syrian line.
4. Foot note p. 364 d. Prohably Hamath, or Emesa, a city on the river Orontes.
5. Foot note p. 364 e. Aleppo, as above mentioned at ch. xxi. 25.
6. Foot note p. 365 f. At a place called Papyro. (Josephus).
7. Foot note p. 365 g. Josephus calls him Nicodemus.
8. Foot note p. 365 h. Josephus states, that he himself had seen this ornament and read the inscription on it, in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus at Rome, From this splendid ornament, or rather, perhaps, from the magnificent vine of gold and jewels with which Herod decorated the outer gate of his newly erected temple, may have sprung the idea which is mentioned by Tacitus, in the fifth book of his History, that the Jews were worshippers of Bacchus.
9. Foot note p. 366 i. Namely, of Jupiter Capitolinus ; agreeably to that which is related in the note on verse 10, above.
10. Foot note p. 369 j. Aulus Gabinius attained the dignity of consul : being a friend of Pompey, he was employed in Judaea : for the act of replacing Ptolemy on the throne of Egypt, as related below at ch. xl. 15 – 20, he was accused at Rome, and at Pompey’s request was publicly defended by Cicero, That oration is not now extant ; but we are made acquainted with the circumstance by what is said in the oration for Rabirius Posthumus, which in fact is a sort of second part of the same cause or trial
11. Foot note p. 370 k. The historian Appian states, that Pompey not only captured, but also destroyed Jerusalem : he uses the strong expression  he rased it to its foundations : but the incorrectness of this is evident. Compare the following note. l
12. Foot note p. 370 l. Josephus speaks feelingly on this profanation : but he gives Pompey due credit for the forbearance which he shewed, amidst so great temptation to plunder :  We shall see in the next note, that the motives of the Roman general were not rated quite so high by one of his own countrymen. However, we may hence correct the statements of the later historians, as Dio Cassius, who asserts that on the capture of the temple a general plunder took place, 
13. Foot note p. 370 m. It is remarked, that Cicero has praised Pompey for thus respecting the temple and its contents : “At Cneius Pompeins, captis Hierosolymis victor ex illo fano nihil attigit. In primis hoe, ut multa alia, sapienter, cpiod in tarn suspiciosa ac maledica civitate locum sermoni obtrectato rum non reliquerit. Non enim, credo, religionem, et Judaeorum et hostium, impedimento pncstantissimo Imperatori, sed pudorem,fuisse.” Orat. pro L.

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