1 Maccabees Chapter 07 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 37 – 41 Book 1 B.C. 210. [PDF: 87/91 of p.524]

CHAPTER VII

(i) Ptolemy’s letter in favour of the Jews. Their happy return home.

1 “King Ptolemy Philopator to the commanders in Egypt, and all who are set over our affairs, 2 joy and health. We ourselves are well, as also p. 38 are our children, the great God having directed our affairs according as we wish.

Certain of our friends, out of ill-nature, did 3 frequently press hard upon us, and persuade us to collect in a body the Jews who were in our kingdom, and to punish them with the strange punishments[1]P. 38 Foot Note a. Compare chapter iv. 4, and the note there : also 3 Mace. ix. 6. of traitors. Alleging that our 4 affairs would never be firmly settled, by reason of that disaffection[2]P. 38 Foot Note b. See, above, the note on chapter Hi. 7. which these men have towards all other nations, until this were done. Who also, 5 having brought them in bonds with vexation, as slaves, or rather as traitors, attempted to put them to death without any examination or inquiry, having cloked themselves[3]P. 38 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The expression is remarkable, signifying literally ” fastening around them as a cloak.” in a more than Scythian barbarity. But we upon this most 6 severely threatened them, out of that equity which we bear towards all men, and with difficulty granted them their lives ; and acknowledging that God of heaven, who has protected the Jews in safety; and constantly has fought for them as a father for his children : and 7 calling to mind that firm, friendly affection, which they have had for us and our ancestors ; we have in justice released them from all blame, on any account whatsoever. And have enjoined 8 them every one to return to their own homes, no person in any place doing them harm, or reproaching them with the things which have been done to them without all reason. For 9 know ye, that if we shall maliciously devise evil p. 39 against these men, or at all grieve them, we shall ever inevitably have not man, but the Most High God, the Lord of all power, opposed to us, for the avenging of such deeds. Fare ye well.”

10 But the Jews having received this epistle, did not immediately hasten to begin their journey : but petitioned the king that those of the Jewish race who had voluntarily transgressed against the holy God and the law of God, might meet through them such punishment as they had deserved[4]P. 39 Foot Note d. See Deuteron. xiii. 6-10. In subsequent times the Jews were compelled to ask permission from their foreign rulers to execute this law : as at Esther vi. 8-11, and here. So … Continue reading11 Alleging that they who had transgressed the Divine commands for their belly’s sake, would never be well affected[5]P. 39 Foot Note e. Grotius, in a note on this passage, cites the act of Constantius Chlorus, father of the emperor Constantine ; who, wishing to put to a proof the fidelity and principle of … Continue reading even to the king’s affairs.

12 He then, admitting what they said to be true, and approving it, gave them full liberty to destroy those who had transgressed the law of God, in every place within his kingdom : and this with all freedom, without any further authority or 13 inspection[6]P. 39 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] from the king. Hereupon, having paid him p. 40. their acknowledgements as was fit, their priests and all the multitude, singing aloud the halleluia, departed with joy. And whenever they met with 14 any one of their countrymen who had been polluted, they punished him upon the spot, and slew him with marks of public ignominy. And on that 15 very day they slew above three hundred men; and passed it as a festival with joy, having mastered and punished the profane. But they 16 themselves, who had adhered to God unto death, having had full enjoyment of their deliverance, departed from the city crowned with garlands of all sorts of most fragrant flowers, with joy and shouting ; giving thanks in praises and most melodious hymns to the eternal God of their fathers, the Saviour of Israel.

And having reached Ptolemais[7]P. 40 Foot Note g. A city of Egypt, which Calmet, not without reason, supposes to be Rosetta; which is situate on the coast, between Alexandria and Damietta. Some commentators differ- but the … Continue reading, which, on 17 account of the peculiar product of the place, is called “the rose-bearing,” where the fleet waited for them according to their common decree, seven days ; there they made a feast of deliverance[8]P. 40 Foot Note h. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which compare with the note above, at ch. vi. 31., the 18 king having generously supplied them with all things which each might want for his journey even to his own home.

And having arrived in peace with becoming 19 thanksgivings, they resolved to celebrate there also these days as days of joy for the time[9]P. 40 Foot Note i. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] “in remembrance of the time.” Compare ch. vi. 36. of p. 41 20 their sojourning. Which also having consecrated to that use by setting up a pillar and an oratory[10]P. 41 Foot Note k. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] (the same as Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ) a word well known both from the New Testament and Josephus. in the place of their festive solemnity, they departed unhurt, free, overflowing with joy, secured by the king’s command from all harm by land, 21 sea, or river, each to his own home. And having now greater authority than before among their enemies, with glory and fear ; not being despoiled of their goods by any one throughout the journey. 22 And all of them recovered all their goods according to the registry[11]P. 41 Foot Note l. Or, ” inventory,” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which, in the old translation of 1550, is rendered by, ” bill of attainder.”; so that those who held any thing belonging to them, restored it to them with the utmost fear[12]P. 41 Foot Note m. Compare the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, in Exodus, chap. xii. ; also Psalm cv. 38., the Most High God having worked wonders throughout for their deliverance. 23 Blessed be the Deliverer of Israel, for endless ages. Amen.


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. 38 Foot Note a. Compare chapter iv. 4, and the note there : also 3 Mace. ix. 6.
2 P. 38 Foot Note b. See, above, the note on chapter Hi. 7.
3 P. 38 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The expression is remarkable, signifying literally ” fastening around them as a cloak.”
4 P. 39 Foot Note d. See Deuteron. xiii. 6-10. In subsequent times the Jews were compelled to ask permission from their foreign rulers to execute this law : as at Esther vi. 8-11, and here. So likewise the Jews hypocritically reply to Pontius Pilate, ” It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” John xviii. 31.
5 P. 39 Foot Note e. Grotius, in a note on this passage, cites the act of Constantius Chlorus, father of the emperor Constantine ; who, wishing to put to a proof the fidelity and principle of his officers, threatened all of them with the loss of their dignities unless they renounced Christianity. And when some surrendered their religions belief, and others still held it under every prospect of disadvantage Constantius retained the latter in his service, and dismissed all the former; remarking, that those men were never likely to be faithful to the king, who so readily had consented to renounce their God. By precisely similar reasoning, Antiochus the Great assured himself of the Jews’ fidelity towards him :  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
6 P. 39 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
7 P. 40 Foot Note g. A city of Egypt, which Calmet, not without reason, supposes to be Rosetta; which is situate on the coast, between Alexandria and Damietta. Some commentators differ- but the situation on the sea, and the modern name expressing the produce of the soil, plead very forcibly in favour of the opinion which Calmet has advanced.
8 P. 40 Foot Note h. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which compare with the note above, at ch. vi. 31.
9 P. 40 Foot Note i. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] “in remembrance of the time.” Compare ch. vi. 36.
10 P. 41 Foot Note k. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] (the same as Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ) a word well known both from the New Testament and Josephus.
11 P. 41 Foot Note l. Or, ” inventory,” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which, in the old translation of 1550, is rendered by, ” bill of attainder.”
12 P. 41 Foot Note m. Compare the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, in Exodus, chap. xii. ; also Psalm cv. 38.

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