1 Maccabees Chapter 06 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 30 – 37 Book 1 B.C. 210. [PDF: 82/87 of p.524]

CHAPTER VI

(i) Eleazar’s prayer. The Jews are wonderfully delivered.

1 Now one Eleazar, a man eminent among the priests of the country, a man already stricken in age, and adorned through life with every kind of virtue, bidding the elders who were about him to call upon the holy God, offered up the following prayer:

2 O King[1]P. 30 Foot Note a. Undoubtedly the language of this prayer is poetry, as will appear to any one who inspects the original, which is printed at the end of the introduction; although it … Continue reading, most powerful, most high, almighty God, who governest the whole creation in mercies : Look, O Father, upon the seed of 3 Abraham, upon the children of Jacob sanctified to thee, the people of thy sanctified portion, strangers in a strange land, and perishing unjustly. Thou didst destroy with all his host, by  drowning, 4 Pharaoh the former ruler of this Egypt, when he abounded with chariots and was elated with lawless confidence, and with a tongue speaking great things ; having caused the light of thy mercy to shine upon Israel’s race. Thou, 5  Lord, didst break in pieces Sennacherim, the cruel king of Assyria, who was puffed up with his innumerable armies ; who had already subdued the whole earth with his spear[2]P. 30 Foot Note b. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The expression is common among the classic authors ; in whom p. 31 we meet with [ click on image to enlarge]. and being p. 31 lifted up with pride against thy holy city, spake harsh things in insolence and boasting ; making 6 thy power conspicuous to many nations. Thou didst deliver, unhurt even to a hair of their head, the three companions in the land of Babylon, who voluntarily exposed their lives to the fire that they might not worship vain gods, by shedding a dew[3]P. 31 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Can any idea, or any expression, be more beautiful? In the prayer of Azarias (in the apocryphal additions to the third chapter of … Continue reading throughout the fiery furnace, whilst thou sentest the flame[4]P. 31 Foot Note d. “Because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and … Continue reading upon all their adversaries.

7 Thou didst restore to the light of day, unhurt, Daniel, who through spiteful calumnies had been cast for a prey to the fierce lions under ground. 8 Thou, Father, didst shew again to all his household unharmed[5]P. 31 Foot Note e. In the apocryphal epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, which is preserved in the Armenian church, and was translated into English from that language by lord Byron, is the … Continue reading, Jonas, who was pining away[6]P. 31 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] : namely in mind, not in body. The reader will readily call to mind the expressions of the prophet, as recorded in his second chapter … Continue reading p. 32 unpitied[7]P. 32 Foot Note g. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] There is a various reading,  [ click on image to enlarge]. in the belly of the whale bred in the depths of the sea.

9 ” And now, O thou who hatest insolence, plenteous in mercy, Protector of the Universe, shew thyself quickly to them of the race of Israel, who now are injuriously treated by abominable, lawless heathens. And if our life has been guilty 10 of impieties during our captivity, deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and do thou, O Lord, destroy us[8]P. 32 Foot Note h. Compare David’s prayer, at 2 Samuel xxiv. 14. and see above, ch. ii. 17. by whatever death[9]P. 32 Foot Note i. [ click on image to enlarge] which more particularly denotes, in Scripture, death by pestilence. thou dost chuse. Let not these followers of vanity bless 11 their vain idols over the destruction of thy beloved, saying, ‘ Even their God has not delivered them[10]P. 32 Foot Note k. See the words of Rabshakeh, the general of Sennacherib, to this effect, in 2 Kings xviii. and Isaiah xxxvi. Also Psalm lxxix. 10. But do thou, O eternal One, who hast 12 all might and all dominion, now look upon us ; pity us, who through the causeless insolence of wicked men are to be deprived of life like traitors. O God, whom we honour, who hast all 13 power, let the heathens dread thy invincible might this day, on the deliverance of the race of ” Jacob. The whole multitude of infants and 14 their parents supplicate to thee with tears. Let 15 it be shewn to all nations that thou, O Lord, art with us, and hast not turned away thy face from us : but even, as thou hast said[11]P. 32 Foot Note l. Compare Levit. xxvi. 42. Denteron. xxx. 3, 9, 10. that not even when they were in the land of their enemies thou wouldest overlook them, so bring it to pass, O Lord.”

16 Now as soon as Eleazar had ceased praying, the king with the beasts and the whole marching array[12]P. 33 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]. of his army arrived at the Hippodrome. 17 And the Jews beholding it cried aloud to heaven ; insomuch that even the adjoining valleys, echoing back the sound, created an uncontrollable wailing throughout the whole army.

18 Then the most glorious, almighty, and true God, manifesting his holy countenance, opened the doors of heaven ; from whence two glorious and terrific angels descended, visible to all except 19 the Jews : and stood against them, and filled the enemies’ army with confusion and fear, and bound 20 them in bonds which could not be loosed. The king’s own person also became horror struck[13]P. 33 Foot Note n.  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]., and oblivion seized on his violent and angry boldness. 21 And they turned back the elephants[14]P. 33 Foot Note o. Josephus relates a similar act of violence attempted against the Jews, with similar success and several corresponding circumstances, in his second book against Apion. But … Continue reading upon the p. 34 armed troops which were following, and they trampled upon them and destroyed them.

And the king’s anger was turned into pity and 22 tears, on account of what he formerly had devised. For when he heard the cry, and saw them 23 all prostrate ready for destruction, shedding tears, he angrily threatened his friends, saying : ” You 24 abuse[15]P. 34 Foot Note p. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] a very expressive word : ” you assume a power to which you have no claim.” Grotius well observes, that the Greeks often use … Continue reading the royal authority, and have outdone tyrants in barbarity ; and even me your benefactor you are now endeavouring to remove both from my authority and my life, by secretly devising measures disadvantageous to my kingdom. Who has brought away, each from his 25 home, and absurdly collected together here, these men who were faithfully guarding the fortresses[16]P. 34 Foot Note q. Josephus, c. Apion. lib. II. says, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The same is asserted by him, in similar terms, in the twelfth book of his Antiquities, ch. 1, and … Continue reading of our country ? Who has 26 encompassed with such lawless indignities these men who from the beginning have in all things p. 35 surpassed all nations in good-will towards us, and frequently have undertaken the greatest dangers 27 of all men for our sake ? Loose, loose utterly, the unjust bonds : send them away in peace to their own homes, having asked their forgiveness 28 of what has been already done. Set free the sons of the almighty, heavenly, living God, who from the days of our ancestors until this present time has vouchsafed to our affairs an uninterrupted prosperous stability.”

29 Thus he spake ; and the Jews being released in a moment blessed the holy God their deliverer, 30 having that instant escaped from death. Then the king returning to the city called for him who was over his revenues, and commanded him to supply the Jews with wines and other things requisite for a feast during seven days : resolving that in the place wherein they had expected to meet destruction, in that they should keep a festival of deliverance with all joyfulness.

31 Then those who before were reviled and were near to death, or rather were entering into it; instead of a bitter and most lamentable fate, formed together a festive party[17]P. 35 Foot Note r. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which strictly may denote ” the cup of salvation,” equivalent to the expression Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] in Psalm cxvi. … Continue reading to celebrate their preservation ; and parted the place[18]P. 35 Foot Note s. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] they fixed up tents in various places, in imitation of the feast of tabernacles. The old translation of 1550 renders the … Continue reading, which had been prepared for their fall and funeral, into several tents, (or companies,) being filled with gladness. And 32 leaving off their doleful strain of lamentation, they again took up the hymn[19]P. 36 Foot Note t. Probably, as Grotius remarks, the 136th Psalm ; which, we learn from 1 Chronicles xvi. 41, 2 Chron. v. 13, vii. 3, Ezra iii. 11, &c, was their usual hymn of thanksgiving. of their fathers, praising the Saviour and wonder-working God : and having put away from them all groaning and wailing, they formed themselves into dances as a sign of peaceful joy. In like manner also the king made 33 a great feast on this occasion, and without ceasing made acknowledgements to Heaven in a magnificent way, on account of the unexpected deliverance which had befallen them.

And they, who before gave them up as lost and 34 about to be devoured by birds[20]P. 36 Foot Note u. Compare 3 Mace. ix. 15. See also Genesis xl. 19; Ezech. xxxix. 4, and other passages of Scripture., and had joyfully registered them ; now groaned for that they had clothed themselves in shame, and their fire-breathing[21]P. 36 Foot Note x. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] are expressions occurring in the classic authors. boldness was ingloriously quenched.

But the Jews, as we have said already, having 35 formed the aforementioned dance, passed the time in feasting, with joyful thanksgivings and psalms. And made a common decree on this occasion 36 through all the dwellings of their pilgrimage[22]P. 36 Foot Note y.  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Compare chap. vii. 19 ; or the words may mean, “for all the time of their sojourning.”. for after generations ; and appointed to celebrate the above-named days as days of gladness : not for the sake of drinking and gluttony[23]P. 36 Foot Note z. The old translation of p. 37 1550 renders it, “not to bib and bowl in, for gluttony ;” thus incidentally illustrating the English habits and games of the age of … Continue reading, but by reason of p. 37 that deliverance which they had received through 37 God. And they addressed themselves to the king, desiring their dismissal to their own homes.

38 Now they had registered them from the five and twentieth day of Pachon[24]P. 37 Foot Note a. This Egyptian month answers nearly to our April and May. to the fourth day of Epiphi, during forty days : and they determined their destruction from the fifth day of 39 Epiphi[25]P. 37 Foot Note b. Answering nearly to our June and July, and to the Macedonian Panemus. Archbishop Ussher reckons these forty days of registering to have included from the 20th of May to the … Continue reading until the seventh, for three days. In which the Lord of the universe did most gloriously manifest his mercy, and delivered them all together without hurt.

40 And they feasted, being supplied with all things by the king, until the fourteenth day, wherein 41 they made address for their dismissal. And when the king had acceded to[26]P. 37 Foot Note c. Or, ” had commanded them:” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Compare ch. vii. 12. their request, he wrote for them to his commanders in every city the subjoined epistle, to the following generous purport[27]P. 37 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Josephus, on a similar occasion, uses the phrase,  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]  Antiq.  xii. c. 2..


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

References
1 P. 30 Foot Note a. Undoubtedly the language of this prayer is poetry, as will appear to any one who inspects the original, which is printed at the end of the introduction; although it is neither divided nor stopped in the proper manner, and the commentators are silent on the point : both the sentiments and language are very fine.
2 P. 30 Foot Note b. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The expression is common among the classic authors ; in whom p. 31 we meet with [ click on image to enlarge].
3 P. 31 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Can any idea, or any expression, be more beautiful? In the prayer of Azarias (in the apocryphal additions to the third chapter of Daniel, ver. 25, 26 we read, [ click on image to enlarge].
4 P. 31 Foot Note d. “Because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” Daniel iii. 22.
5 P. 31 Foot Note e. In the apocryphal epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, which is preserved in the Armenian church, and was translated into English from that language by lord Byron, is the following apposite and expressive phrase upon this subject of Jonah’s complete preservation : ” Neither was any part of his body corrupted; neither was his eyebrow bent down“. ”
6 P. 31 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] : namely in mind, not in body. The reader will readily call to mind the expressions of the prophet, as recorded in his second chapter : ” Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God, out of the fish’s belly, and said ; “I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord:—the waters compassed me about, even to the soul : the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.—When my soul fainted within me, thou heardest me.” &c.
7 P. 32 Foot Note g. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] There is a various reading,  [ click on image to enlarge].
8 P. 32 Foot Note h. Compare David’s prayer, at 2 Samuel xxiv. 14. and see above, ch. ii. 17.
9 P. 32 Foot Note i. [ click on image to enlarge] which more particularly denotes, in Scripture, death by pestilence.
10 P. 32 Foot Note k. See the words of Rabshakeh, the general of Sennacherib, to this effect, in 2 Kings xviii. and Isaiah xxxvi. Also Psalm lxxix. 10.
11 P. 32 Foot Note l. Compare Levit. xxvi. 42. Denteron. xxx. 3, 9, 10.
12 P. 33 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].
13 P. 33 Foot Note n.  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].
14 P. 33 Foot Note o. Josephus relates a similar act of violence attempted against the Jews, with similar success and several corresponding circumstances, in his second book against Apion. But this is said to have occurred under the reign of Ptolemy Physcon, sixty or seventy years later than the event described in our text. Yet from the general similarity appearing in the two accounts, it has been judged, not unreasonably, that in reality the thing occurred only once, but has been differently related by historians. The Greek of Josephus, in this passage, is lost : the Latin version runs thus :

LATINPhyscon Ptolemaeus cum adversum exercitum quidem Oniae pugnare praesumeret, omnes vero Judaeos in civitate positos cum filiis et uxoribus capiens nudos atque vinctos elephantis subjecisset, ut ab eis conculcati deficerent ; et ad hoc etiam bestias ipsas inebriasset, in contrarimu qua praeparaverat evenere. Elephanti enim relinquentes sibi appositos Judaeos, impetu facto super amicos ejus, multos ex ipsis interemere. Et post haee Ptolemaeus quidem aspectum terribilem contemplatus est, prohibentem se ut illis noceret hominibus.” Joseph. c Apion. II. 5.

 English Translation:To fight against the army of Onias, ambitiously sought, indeed, not venture in, Ptolemee and Physcon, fisher of men, their wives, all of them they were naked; and the Jews, and with the children of the prisoners in the city of the elephant are on a person had no strength left to him by those swallowed you up on; and the fact that these beasts inebriasset in contrarimu which we had prepared for the event. For the Levites left their elephants were set before the Jews to himself, under the influence of his friends on the fact, that many of them were killed us. And after these events, Ptolemy is terrible surveyed, forbidding them from doing harm to other people.
15 P. 34 Foot Note p. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] a very expressive word : ” you assume a power to which you have no claim.” Grotius well observes, that the Greeks often use the preposition Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] in this sense in compound words, such as Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] &c; also that an equivalent expression occurs in Terence, LATINquandoquidem solus regnas. (English translation: Since reign alone)”.
16 P. 34 Foot Note q. Josephus, c. Apion. lib. II. says, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The same is asserted by him, in similar terms, in the twelfth book of his Antiquities, ch. 1, and 3. where he states that Ptolemy Lagus, finding that the inhabitants of Jerusalem were especially to be depended on for honourable keeping of their oaths and engagements, intrusted many of his fortresses to their hands, and bestowed on several of them the freedom of Alexandria, so that they were placed on a par with his Macedonians; exacting from them an oath that they would continue faithful to his descendants for his sake. And well indeed they appear to have fulfilled the trust reposed in them. Compare ch. iii. 21, supra.
17 P. 35 Foot Note r. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which strictly may denote ” the cup of salvation,” equivalent to the expression Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] in Psalm cxvi. 13; and to Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] be low, ch. vii. 18. The verb Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] to drink or feast.” occurs in Polybius, and is also used by the seventy interpreters.
18 P. 35 Foot Note s. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] they fixed up tents in various places, in imitation of the feast of tabernacles. The old translation of 1550 renders the passage, “they pointed out with their stoles the place where they were appointed to be slain.” But see Luke ix. 11; where the expression Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] is rendered in our version, “make p.36 them sit down by fifties in a company.”
19 P. 36 Foot Note t. Probably, as Grotius remarks, the 136th Psalm ; which, we learn from 1 Chronicles xvi. 41, 2 Chron. v. 13, vii. 3, Ezra iii. 11, &c, was their usual hymn of thanksgiving.
20 P. 36 Foot Note u. Compare 3 Mace. ix. 15. See also Genesis xl. 19; Ezech. xxxix. 4, and other passages of Scripture.
21 P. 36 Foot Note x. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] are expressions occurring in the classic authors.
22 P. 36 Foot Note y.  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Compare chap. vii. 19 ; or the words may mean, “for all the time of their sojourning.”.
23 P. 36 Foot Note z. The old translation of p. 37 1550 renders it, “not to bib and bowl in, for gluttony ;” thus incidentally illustrating the English habits and games of the age of king Edward VI.
24 P. 37 Foot Note a. This Egyptian month answers nearly to our April and May.
25 P. 37 Foot Note b. Answering nearly to our June and July, and to the Macedonian Panemus. Archbishop Ussher reckons these forty days of registering to have included from the 20th of May to the 29th of June.
26 P. 37 Foot Note c. Or, ” had commanded them:” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Compare ch. vii. 12.
27 P. 37 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Josephus, on a similar occasion, uses the phrase,  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]  Antiq.  xii. c. 2.

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