1 Maccabees Chapter 03 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 12 – 17 Book 1 B.C. 210. [PDF: 62/67 of p.524]

CHAPTER III.

(i) Ptolemy’s persecuting edict against the Jews.

1 Now as soon as this wicked man was informed [BC. 210.] of these things, he was so enraged as not only to be very angry with those Jews who dwelt at Alexandria, but also he became a more grievous adversary to those who dwelt in the country[1]P. 12 Foot note a. Namely, in the country parts of Egypt.: and commanded to make haste and gather them all together[2]P. 12 Foot note b. Viz. to Alexandria., and put them to death in the most cruel manner.

2 While these things were in agitation, a malignant report went forth against our nation, from those men who were consenting to this wicked project ; a handle being given for this their design, upon the complaint of those apostates that we forbade them to communicate with us in our ordinances. But the Jews continued to preserve 3 unchangeable their good will and fidelity to their kings. But, as they worshipped God, and ordered 4 their conversation according to his law, they made a separation in some points, and rejections[3]P. 12 Foot note c. The Greek text has [  click image to enlarge] but Grotius pronounces that by all means we must [  click image to enlarge] rejections. Several of these national … Continue reading of some p. 13 others : on which account to some persons they 5 appeared odious. Yet by adorning their conversation[4]P. 13 Foot note d. Doing that which St. Paul recommends to the Christian converts, at Coloss. iv. 5, and 1 Thess. iv. 12, “Walk honestly” [in wisdom] “towards them that are … Continue reading with the works of the righteous, they had 6 become well approved by all men. But those foreigners[5]P. 13 Foot note e. Namely, the Macedonians; settled at Alexandria. paid no regard to that character for good deeds of the nation everywhere so much 7 spoken of : but made a great noise about the separation which they made from others, in their ways of worship and sorts of food : and said, that these men were not sociable either with the king or with his armies; but that they were disaffected[6]P. 13 Foot note f. It is remembered that the same charge was made by Haman the Agagite,when he persuaded king Ahasuerus to issue an edict tor a general massacre of the Jews throughout … Continue reading and greatly opposed to the success of their affairs : so that they covered them with no small 8 blame. Now those Greeks, who were in the city, and were in no wise injured by them, observing the unexpected disturbance which was raised, and unforeseen concourses of people about these men, were indeed unable to help them, for the 9 constitution[7]P. 13 Foot note g. [  click on image to enlarge] which Schleusner contends to mean here no more than a simple edict. of the government was tyrannical: yet p. 14 they used exhortations in their favour and were very sorry for them, and thought these things would have a change; for that so vast a body of men who had done no harm through ignorance[8]P. 14 Foot note h.  [   click on image to enlarge] Compare 3 Mace. xi. 31. would not be thus overlooked by their God. 10 And besides, certain of their neighbours and friends and partisans called some of them together privately, and plighted their faith to protect them, and to use every endeavour for their assistance. 11 Ptolemy then, as exulting in his present prosperity ; and having no regard to the power of the Most High God ; but supposing that he should continue always in the same design, wrote this epistle against them : “King Ptolemy Philopator 12 to his commanders and soldiers in Egypt and elsewhere, joy and health. I myself am in health, 13 and our affairs also are prosperous. Since our 14 last expedition into Asia, as you yourselves know, has, through the unforeseen[9]P. 14 Foot note i. The Greek text reads [  click on image to enlarge] : but the interpreters unanimously translate the word as if it had been [  click on image to enlarge] See … Continue reading assistance of the gods to us, and by our own fortitude, justly been brought to a happy conclusion; we 15 determined to treat the nations which inhabit Coelosyria and Phoenice, not with force of arms, but to nurse them with kindness and great tenderness, and willingly to do them good. And 16 having bestowed great revenues on the temples of the several cities, we proceeded as far as Jerusalem : and went up with an intention to honour the temple of these wretches, who will never leave off their madness. Now those men 17 p. 15 in word took our coining thither kindly, but in their behaviour insincerely[10]P. 15 Foot note k. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge]: for, when we intended to go into their holy place, and to honour it[11]P. 15 Foot note l. As several kings had done before, according to the account given by Josephus, Ant. XII. 3. with excellent and most noble gifts 18 they, carried away with their ancient pride, prohibited our entrance, not having experienced[12]P. 15 Foot note m. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] ” our power by reason of that kindness which we 19 shew to all mankind. And making manifest their ill-will towards us, and being the only nation in the world which is insolent towards kings and towards its own benefactors, they are not willing to bear anything kindly[13]P. 15 Foot note n. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] or, the sense may be, will not behave themselves kindly:” or, “will not hear any thing which is fair … Continue reading.

20 Now we, being moved by the madness of these men, though we had returned home with victory, and had come back into Egypt with the testimony of having met all nations with kindness, have done that which was fit for us to do. 21 And in the midst of these things we have declared to all men our forgiveness of their nation ; and on account of their assistance in war and the innumerable affairs with which from the beginning we innocently intrusted them[14]P. 15 Foot note o. Josephus relates that Ptolemy Lagus intrusted several of his garrisons to the keeping of the Jews. See also ch. vi. 25, of this book., we earnestly endeavoured to change them, and were willing to bestow on them the privileges of citizens of Alexandria, and to make them p. 16 companions of our priests[15]P. 16 Foot note p. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] Grotius proposes a preferable reading, [  click on image to enlarge] “the ancient” (or perpetual) “rites of … Continue reading for the time being. But they, taking this offer in a contrary light, 22 and by that wicked habit which is natural to them[16]P. 16 Foot note q. It is too notorious that the Jews universally bore a bad name among surrounding nations : and the strange notions which even the learned and polished Romans could allow … Continue reading rejecting the good and inclining perpetually to that which is evil ; did not only 23 turn away from that inestimable privilege, but abhorred both publicly and privately[17]P. 16 Foot note r. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] those few amongst themselves who were favourably disposed towards us : ever expecting that by their infamous course of procedure we should speedily change our just measures.

Wherefore, we both being well assured by 24 certain signs that these men do in every way bear us ill-will ; and providing lest, upon any sudden trouble which may come upon us hereafter, we should have these wicked wretches behind our backs as traitors and barbarous enemies : have given order, that as soon as this 25 epistle is brought to you, the same hour you seize on these people who are dwelling among you, together with their wives and children[18]P. 16 Foot note s. There is a remarkable similarity between this epistle of Ptolemy and that of Artaxerxes, written at the suggestion of Haman, which is mentioned at Esther, iii. 13 ; and is … Continue reading, with insult and vexation ; and send them to us every way secured in iron bonds, that they may suffer an inevitable and ignominious death, such p. 17 26 as is suitable to the disaffected. For when once all these have been brought to punishment together, we suppose that during the rest of our time our affairs will be perfectly established, in 27 security and the best condition. And whosoever shall conceal any individual of the Jews, from an old man to an infant and the very sucklings, he and all his family shall be racked to 28 death with the severest tortures. But whosoever is willing to discover any of them, he shall thereby obtain the substance[19]P. 17 Foot note t. This custom, which has more or less obtained among both ancient and modern nations, appears to be recognised in the Old Testament, 2 Sam. xvi. 3, 4 : where David confiscates … Continue reading of him who fell under punishment, and two thousand drachmae of silver[20]P. 17 Foot note u. Assuming the Hebrew drachma to be equal to the Roman, namely, one eighth of : an ounce, this weight of silver will amount to about fifty-seven pounds sterling. besides out of the royal treasury. He shall also be made free, and shall be crowned. 29 And every place where a concealed Jew shall be by any means caught, let it be made impassable[21]P. 17 Foot note x. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] So in the Letter of Artaxerxes recorded in the apocryphal part of the book of Esther, it is commanded that every place which disobeys the … Continue reading and be burned with fire : and it shall be rendered wholly useless to every mortal being for all time to come.” 30 The form, then, of that epistle was to this effect.


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 P. 12 Foot note a. Namely, in the country parts of Egypt.
2 P. 12 Foot note b. Viz. to Alexandria.
3 P. 12 Foot note c. The Greek text has [  click image to enlarge] but Grotius pronounces that by all means we must [  click image to enlarge] rejections. Several of these national peculiarities are brought read forward, in disparagement of the Jews, by the historian Diodorus Siculus: Eclog. lib. XXXIV. and XL.: others are mentioned (as erroneously) by Dio Cassius: and Tacitus has left on record some curious particulars, exhibiting the imperfect knowledge and Loose notions which even the polished Romans then had, respecting a people lately subdued by their own generals. Hist. V.2, &c.
4 P. 13 Foot note d. Doing that which St. Paul recommends to the Christian converts, at Coloss. iv. 5, and 1 Thess. iv. 12, “Walk honestly” [in wisdom] “towards them that are without.”
5 P. 13 Foot note e. Namely, the Macedonians; settled at Alexandria.
6 P. 13 Foot note f. It is remembered that the same charge was made by Haman the Agagite,when he persuaded king Ahasuerus to issue an edict tor a general massacre of the Jews throughout his dominions: “There is a certain people, scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom : and their laws are diverse from all people, neither keep they the kind’s laws : therefore it is not for the kind’s profit to sutler them.” Esther, iii. 8. See also the Apocryphal additions, xiii. 5. See likewise Josephus’s justification of his nation in these particulars, in his Antiquities, X V I. 10.
7 P. 13 Foot note g. [  click on image to enlarge] which Schleusner contends to mean here no more than a simple edict.
8 P. 14 Foot note h.  [   click on image to enlarge] Compare 3 Mace. xi. 31.
9 P. 14 Foot note i. The Greek text reads [  click on image to enlarge] : but the interpreters unanimously translate the word as if it had been [  click on image to enlarge] See Schleusner’s Lexicon Vet. Test
10 P. 15 Foot note k. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge]
11 P. 15 Foot note l. As several kings had done before, according to the account given by Josephus, Ant. XII. 3.
12 P. 15 Foot note m. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge]
13 P. 15 Foot note n. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] or, the sense may be, will not behave themselves kindly:” or, “will not hear any thing which is fair and equitable.” [  click on image to enlarge] appears to be opposed to [  click on image to enlarge] (insincerely) above in ver. 17. See the same word occurring again at ver. 23.
14 P. 15 Foot note o. Josephus relates that Ptolemy Lagus intrusted several of his garrisons to the keeping of the Jews. See also ch. vi. 25, of this book.
15 P. 16 Foot note p. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] Grotius proposes a preferable reading, [  click on image to enlarge] “the ancient” (or perpetual) “rites of our religion.”
16 P. 16 Foot note q. It is too notorious that the Jews universally bore a bad name among surrounding nations : and the strange notions which even the learned and polished Romans could allow themselves to entertain respecting their origin and customs, may be seen in Tacitus, Histor. V. 2, 4, and 5.
17 P. 16 Foot note r. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge]
18 P. 16 Foot note s. There is a remarkable similarity between this epistle of Ptolemy and that of Artaxerxes, written at the suggestion of Haman, which is mentioned at Esther, iii. 13 ; and is given at length in the apocryphal part of that book, xiii. 4—7.
19 P. 17 Foot note t. This custom, which has more or less obtained among both ancient and modern nations, appears to be recognised in the Old Testament, 2 Sam. xvi. 3, 4 : where David confiscates the property of Mephibosheth, and gives it to his accuser Ziba.
20 P. 17 Foot note u. Assuming the Hebrew drachma to be equal to the Roman, namely, one eighth of : an ounce, this weight of silver will amount to about fifty-seven pounds sterling.
21 P. 17 Foot note x. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] So in the Letter of Artaxerxes recorded in the apocryphal part of the book of Esther, it is commanded that every place which disobeys the king’s command be made [  click on image to enlarge]  The expression [  click on image to enlarge]  (in the sense of unentered, unprofaned) is applied to the temple of Jerusalem by Josephus, Antiq. XIV. Compare the note on ch. v. 43, of this book.

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