5 Maccabees Chapter 44 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 384 – 386 Book 5 B.C. 45 [PDF: 434/436 of p.524]

CHAPTER 44.1)Foot note p. 384 a. Compare Joseph. Antiq. XIV. 16, 17- Josephus, here enumerating the various ordinances, decrees, &c. of the Romans in favour of the Jews, begins by reciting a decree of the senate, differing in almost every particular from this letter of Caesar. As he states that this transaction took place in the ninth year of Hyrcanus’ sovereignty, we ought to assign to it the year 54: but it is clear that the embassy mentioned in the text was subsequent to Caesar’s arrangements in favour of Hyrcanus, related in the preceding chapter. In fact, the letter inserted, as in this passage, by Josephus, belongs to the transactions related in ch. xxii. of this our book.

(i) The account of the embassy of ‘ Hyrcanus to Caesar; asking for a renewal of the treaty between them; and of the copy of the treaty which Hyrcanus sent to him.

1 Therefore Hyrcanus sent ambassadors to  Caesar, [B.c. 47-45.] with a letter concerning a renewal of the treaty which was between him and the Romans. And when Hyrcanus’ ambassadors 2 came to Caesar, he ordered them to be seated in his presence ; an honour which he had not conferred on any one of the ambassadors of the kings who used to come to him.

Moreover he acted kindly to them, by 3 expediting their business, and ordered an answer to be given to Hyrcanus’ letter ; to whom also he wrote the treaty, of which the following is a copy.

From Caesar, king of kings, to the princes of 4 the Romans who are at Tyre and Sidon, peace be with you. I give you to know, that a letter 5 of Hyrcanus the son of Alexander, both kings of the Jews, has been brought to me ; at the 6 arrival of which I rejoiced, by reason of the continued good-will which both he and his p. 385 people declare that they have towards me and the 7 Roman nation. And verily the truth of his words I have proved by this ; that he formerly sent2)Foot note p. 385 b. See these transactions related above, at ch. xlii. 15-23. Antipater a captain of the Jews, and their cavalry, with Mithridates my friend, whom the 8 troops of Egypt attacked ; and he saved Mithridates from death, having won for us the country of Egypt, and reduced the Egyptians to obedience to the Romans : he also marched with me into the country of the Persians, serving as 9 a volunteer. And therefore I order that all the inhabitants of the sea-coast, from Gaza as far as Sidon, shall pay all the tributes which they owe us, every year, to the house of the great God 10 which is in Jerusalem ; except the citizens of Sidon ; and let these pay to it, according to the appointment of their tribute, twenty thousand five hundred and fifty vibae3)Foot note p. 385 c. The word which the Latin translator has rendered viba, is stated by Meninski to signify a measure containing twenty-two or twenty-four Roman modii. The modius, though familiarly translated a bushel, is generally understood to have been equal to one peck and a half of English measure. But Josephus, reciting the same decree, states the appointed quantity to be twenty-six thousand and seventy-five modii. [There appears to be a various reading, twenty thousand six hundred and seventy-five.] See edit. Haverk. Ant. XIV. c. 10. §. G. of wheat every 11 year. I also order, that Laodicea and its possessions, and all things which were in the hand of the kings of Judah, even to the bank of the 12 Euphrates ; with all those ‘places which the As monaeans4)Foot note p. 385 d. Namely, Judas Maccabaeus and his successors. For the origin of the name, see the note on book II. ch. ii. 1. won from the passing over Jordan, be restored to Hyrcanus the son of Alexander p. 386 king of Judah. For all these things his fathers 13 had won by their sword, but Pompey had unjustly taken them away5)Foot note p. 386 e. See above, eh. xxxvii. 2. in the time of Aristobulus : and from this time and for the future 14 let them belong to Hyrcanus, and to the succeeding kings of Judah. And this treaty is for 15 me, and for every one of the kings of Rome my successors : whoever therefore shall break it or any part of it, may God destroy him by the sword, and may his house and his government be made desolate and be cut down ! And when 16 you shall read this my epistle, write it in letters6)Foot note p. 386 f. Josephus recites this order, but in another place namely, as given by Antony (for Augustus and himself) after Julius Caesar’s death. engraved on tables of brass, in the language of the Romans and in their characters, and in the language of the Greeks and in their characters : and place the tables in conspicuous 17 parts of the temples which are at Tyre and Sidon ; that every person may be able to see them, and may understand what I have appointed for Hyrcanus and the Jews.


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. 384 a. Compare Joseph. Antiq. XIV. 16, 17- Josephus, here enumerating the various ordinances, decrees, &c. of the Romans in favour of the Jews, begins by reciting a decree of the senate, differing in almost every particular from this letter of Caesar. As he states that this transaction took place in the ninth year of Hyrcanus’ sovereignty, we ought to assign to it the year 54: but it is clear that the embassy mentioned in the text was subsequent to Caesar’s arrangements in favour of Hyrcanus, related in the preceding chapter. In fact, the letter inserted, as in this passage, by Josephus, belongs to the transactions related in ch. xxii. of this our book.
2. Foot note p. 385 b. See these transactions related above, at ch. xlii. 15-23.
3. Foot note p. 385 c. The word which the Latin translator has rendered viba, is stated by Meninski to signify a measure containing twenty-two or twenty-four Roman modii. The modius, though familiarly translated a bushel, is generally understood to have been equal to one peck and a half of English measure. But Josephus, reciting the same decree, states the appointed quantity to be twenty-six thousand and seventy-five modii. [There appears to be a various reading, twenty thousand six hundred and seventy-five.] See edit. Haverk. Ant. XIV. c. 10. §. G.
4. Foot note p. 385 d. Namely, Judas Maccabaeus and his successors. For the origin of the name, see the note on book II. ch. ii. 1.
5. Foot note p. 386 e. See above, eh. xxxvii. 2.
6. Foot note p. 386 f. Josephus recites this order, but in another place namely, as given by Antony (for Augustus and himself) after Julius Caesar’s death.

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