5 Maccabees Chapter 52 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 402 – 406 Book 5 B.C. 39 [PDF: 452/456 of p.524]

CHAPTER 52.1) Foot note p. 402 a. Compare Joseph. Antiq. XIV. 27. Bell. I. 13.

(i) An account of Antony’s return from the country of the Persians after killing the king’ of the Persians, and his meeting with Herod.

1 Then Antony, after leaving Herod2) Foot note p. 402 b. See above, ch. I. 7. The great defeat, however, was given to the Parthians, not by Antony, but by Ventidius his lieutenant., marched from Antioch into the country of the Persians, and fought with the king of the Persians, overcame, slew him, and won his land; and having 2 reduced the Persians to obedience to the Romans, he turned aside to the Euphrates3) Foot note p. 402 c. On the banks of which river he laid siege to, and subsequently took, the important city of Samosata.

And when his fame was told to Herod, he set 3 out to congratulate with him on his victory ; and to request him to come with him into the Holy Country. And he found a very large multitude 4 collected4) Foot note p. 402 d. In the neighbourhood of Antioch. (Josephus.)., wishing to approach Antony ; to which many bodies of Arabians had opposed themselves, preventing it from coming to Antony’s presence. And Herod marched against the Arabians, and 5 p. 402 slew them, opening a passage for all who wished 6 to approach Antony. And this was reported to Antony, before that Herod arrived : whereupon he sent him a golden diadem, and a great many horses.

7 But when Herod came, Antony received him courteously, praising him for his exploits against the Arabians : and he attached to him Sosius the general of his army, with a large force, ordering him to go with him to the city of the Holy House: 8 giving him also letters to all the country of Syria, which is from Damascus even to the Euphrates, and from the Euphrates to the country of 9 Armenia; saying to them, ” Augustus, king of kings, and Antony his colleague, and the Roman senate, have now appointed Herod king over the Jews ; and they desire you to lead forth all your men of war with Herod to assist him : if therefore you act contrary to this, you must go to war with us.” 

10 Then Antony marched to the sea-coast, and thence into Egypt : but Herod, and Sosius with his 11 army, commanded the forces of Syria. But when Herod drew nigh to Damascus, [B.C. 38.] he found that his brother Josephus had gone out from the Holy House with an army of Romans, to besiege 12 Jericho and to cut down its corn : against whom came forth Pappus the general of Antigonus’ forces, and slew of them thirty thousand5) Foot note p. 403 e. Probably there is an error in the number. Josephus relates that six cohorts, that is, about three thousand men, were slain., having 13 also slain Josephus Herod’s brother : and when his head was presented to Antigonus, Pheroras p. 404 his brother bought it for five hundred talents6) Foot note p. 404 f. Truly a large sum to be given for such an object. Josephus, with greater probability of being right, states fifty., and buried it in the sepulchre of his fathers : and 14 he heard also that Antigonus and Pappus were advancing against him with a large army. Which 15 Herod having fully ascertained, determined to make an onset on Antigonus, and to crush him unexpectedly: and he agreed with Sosius that he 16 should take twelve thousand Romans and twenty thousand Jews, and march against Antigonus, but that the other should slowly follow his footsteps with the remainder of the army.

And Herod marched with his troops in a body, 17 and met with Antigonus in the mountainous parts of Galilee : and they fought with him from midday even until night. Then the army was 18 dispersed ; and Herod with some of his men passed the night in a certain house, and the house fell upon them ; but they all escaped7) Foot note p. 404 g. Josephus, who frequently in his works manifests a strong partiality for Herod, adduces this occurrence for a proof how much he was beloved by God, whose providence preserved his life in so extraordinary a manner. from the ruin with their lives, without a bone of any one of them being broken.

Shortly afterwards Herod hastened to fight 19 with Antigonus, and there was a very great battle between them, and Antigonus fled into the Holy House ; Pappus meanwhile resisting bravely, and continuing the fight, for he was high-spirited and very brave. And the greater part of 20 Antigonus’ army was slain on that day ; Pappus also was killed, whose head Pheroras cut off, and they p. 405 carried it to Herod8) Foot note p. 405 h. Or rather, Herod cut off the head, and sent it to Pheroras., who ordered it to be buried.

21 When therefore none remained of Antigonus’ army, except prisoners or runaways, Herod gave orders to his men to take rest, and to eat and 22 drink. But he himself went to a certain bath which was in the next town, and went into the 23 bath unarmed. Now there lay hidden9) Foot note p. 405 i. It appears from Josephus that they had not gone thither for the purpose of attacking Herod ; but that they had chanced to resort to the bath as a place of concealment; and upon the unexpected appearance of Herod with his attendant, were too happy to escape with their lives. in the bath three strong and brave men, holding in their hands drawn swords : who, when they saw him come into the bath, and unarmed, made all haste to go out one after the other, being afraid of him ; and so he escaped.

24 After this came Sosius; and they marched together to the city of the Holy House, which they surrounded with a trench ; and fierce battles took 25 place between them and Antigonus : and great numbers of Sosius’ men were slain, Antigonus frequently overcoming them ; but he could not put them to flight, by reason of their firmness 26 and endurance in bearing his assaults. Then Herod prevailed against Antigonus ; and Antigonus fled, and entering the city shut the gates against Herod, and Herod besieged him a long time.

27 But on a certain night the guards of the gate fell asleep : [B.C. 37.] which some of Herod’s men discovering, twenty of them ran, and taking ladders placed them against the wall, and climbing p. 406 up killed the guards. And Herod with his men 28 hastened to the gate of the city which was opposite to them, and burst it in, and entered the city. Which the Romans taking, began to slaughter 29 the citizens ; at which Herod being troubled said to Sosius, ” If you shall destroy all my people, over whom will you appoint me king?” and 30 Sosius ordered proclamation to be made that the sword should be stayed ; nor was any person slain after the proclamation. But Sosius’ 31 captains, eager for prey., ran to plunder the house of God : but Herod standing at the gate, holding a drawn sword in his hand, prevented them ; and sent to Sosius to restrain his men, promising them money. And Sosius ordered proclamation 32 to be made to his men to abstain from plunder, and they abstained. And they sought Antigonus and found him, and Antigonus was taken prisoner.

After these things, Sosius betook himself into 33 Egypt to his colleague Antony, carrying with him Antigonus in chains. But Herod sent to 34 Antony a very great and fair present, requesting him to slay Antigonus; and Antony slew him10) Foot note p. 406 k. Thus terminated, the government of the Asmonaean princes, in the hundred and twenty-sixth year from its first establishment under Judas Maecabucus. See some remarks on Antony’s putting to death the king, given by Josephus out of Strabo. : and this was in the third year of the reign of Herod, which also was the third year of Antigonus.


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. 402 a. Compare Joseph. Antiq. XIV. 27. Bell. I. 13.
2. Foot note p. 402 b. See above, ch. I. 7. The great defeat, however, was given to the Parthians, not by Antony, but by Ventidius his lieutenant.
3. Foot note p. 402 c. On the banks of which river he laid siege to, and subsequently took, the important city of Samosata.
4. Foot note p. 402 d. In the neighbourhood of Antioch. (Josephus.).
5. Foot note p. 403 e. Probably there is an error in the number. Josephus relates that six cohorts, that is, about three thousand men, were slain.
6. Foot note p. 404 f. Truly a large sum to be given for such an object. Josephus, with greater probability of being right, states fifty.
7. Foot note p. 404 g. Josephus, who frequently in his works manifests a strong partiality for Herod, adduces this occurrence for a proof how much he was beloved by God, whose providence preserved his life in so extraordinary a manner.
8. Foot note p. 405 h. Or rather, Herod cut off the head, and sent it to Pheroras.
9. Foot note p. 405 i. It appears from Josephus that they had not gone thither for the purpose of attacking Herod ; but that they had chanced to resort to the bath as a place of concealment; and upon the unexpected appearance of Herod with his attendant, were too happy to escape with their lives.
10. Foot note p. 406 k. Thus terminated, the government of the Asmonaean princes, in the hundred and twenty-sixth year from its first establishment under Judas Maecabucus. See some remarks on Antony’s putting to death the king, given by Josephus out of Strabo.

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