2 Maccabees Chapter 01 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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The Second Book of Maccabees: Containing the History of About Forty Years, viz. from 175 to 135 before Christ.

P. 43 – 50 Book 2 B.C. 175 [PDF: 93/100 of p.524]

CHAPTER I.

(i) The cruelties of Antiochus Epiphanes to the Jews.

1 AND it happened, after that Alexander, son of Philip the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chittim[1]P. 43 Foot Note a. ” Wherever the ‘ land of Chittim’ or ‘the isles of Chittim’ are mentioned in scripture, there are evidently meant some countries or islands in the … Continue reading, had smitten[2]P. 43 Foot Note b. Namely, at the decisive battle of Arbela in Persia, fought in the year 331 B. C. Darius king [B.C. 323.] of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his 2 stead, the first over Greece[3]P. 43 Foot Note c. Meaning Syria and Egypt, which were so called by the Jews. : and made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings 3 of the earth : and went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him ; whereupon p. 44 he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up. And 4 he gathered a mighty strong host, and ruled over countries, and nations, and kings[4]P. 44 Foot Note d. Or ” kingdoms ;” for the Alexandrian manuscript reads [ click on image to enlarge] not  [ click on image to enlarge]. , and they became tributaries unto him. And after these things he fell 5 sick, and perceived that he should die. Wherefore he 6 called his servants ; such as were honourable, and had been brought up with him from his youth, and parted his kingdom among them, while he was yet alive[5]P. 44 Foot Note e. The generality of historians give a different account. See Justin, ch. 13, and Quintus Curtius, book X. ch. 5 and 10. Quintus, however, admits the prevalence of a report … Continue reading. So Alexander reigned twelve 7 years, and then died. And his servants bear rule 8 every one in his place. And after his death, they 9 all put crowns upon themselves ; so did their sons after them many years : and they multiplied evils[6]P. 44 Foot Note f. Josephus explains this, by saying of these successors, [click on images to enlarge] Ant. XII. 1. which properly signifies a roof, and metaphorically an origin, is also used … Continue reading in the earth.

10 And there came out of them a wicked root[29]P. 44 Foot Note g. The Greek word [ click on image to enlarge] and such is the signification of the word in the present passage., p.45 Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes[7]P. 45 Foot Note h. Appian relates, that he obtained this name of Epiphanes, (signifying not only illustrious, but also one who appears unexpected,) because, when his brother Seleucus had been … Continue reading, son of Antiochus the king[8]P. 45 Foot Note i. Commonly called, Antiochus the Great. , [B.c. 176.] who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year[9]P. 45 Foot Note k. Viz. of the aera of the Seleucidae, which began from the capture of Babylon by Seleucus Nicator, B. C. 312. This is the reckoning of time used throughout the books … Continue reading of the 11 kingdom of the Greeks. In those days went there out of Israel wicked men[10]P. 45 Foot Note l. Namely, Menelaus the brother of Jesus (or Jason)., who persuaded many, saying, Let us go, and make a covenant [B.c. 174.] with the heathen who are round about us : for since we departed from them, many evils 12 have befallen us. And the word seemed good in 13 their eyes. Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, and he gave them license to do after the ordinances 14 of the heathen : whereupon they built a place of p. 46 exercise[11]P. 46 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] a Gymnasium. at Jerusalem, according to the customs of the heathen : and made themselves 15 uncircumcised[12]P. 46 Foot Note n. A thing expressly forbidden by St. Paul. See 1 Cor. vii. 18., and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do evil[13]P. 46 Foot Note o. The phrase is Hebrew, and occurs frequently in the Old Testament. The very words of this passage,  [ click on image to enlarge] are found at 2 Kings, xvii. 17- (Sept. … Continue reading.

16 Now when the kingdom was established before Antiochus, [B.c. 170.] he thought to reign over Egypt[14]P. 46 Foot Note p. See Daniel xi. 25, &c.17 that he might have the dominion of the two realms. Wherefore he entered into Egypt with 17 a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy[15]P. 46 Foot Note q. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which indeed may also signify a land-force., and made war 18 against Ptolemy[16]P. 46 Foot Note r. Surnamed Philometor, the sixth king of that race. king of Egypt : but Ptolemy was afraid of him, and fled ; and many fell down slain. Thus they won the strong cities in the 19 land of Egypt, and he took the spoils of the land of Egypt.

20 And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt[17]P. 46 Foot Note s. See Daniel xi. 28. Josephus relates, that although Antiochus met with success in the beginning of his campaign against Egypt, he was compelled to abandon all thoughts of … Continue reading, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude : and entered proudly into 21 the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, p. 47 and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels 22 thereof. And the table of the shew-bread, and the pouring-vessels, and the vials, and the censers of gold, and the vail, and the crowns[18]P. 47 Foot Note t. See Zechariah vi. 14. , and the golden ornaments which were on the front of the 23 temple, all which he pulled off. He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious[19]P. 47 Foot Note u. Gr.[ click on image to enlarge] ” vessels of desire :” the same expression occurs at Daniel xi. 8, and Hosea xiii. 15. vessels : also he took the hidden treasures which he found. 24 And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and 25 spoken very proudly. Therefore there was great mourning in Israel, in every place where they 26 were ; so that the princes and elders mourned, the virgins and young men were made feeble, and 27 the beauty of women was changed. Every bridegroom took up lamentation, and she who sat in 28 the marriage-chamber was in heaviness. The land also was moved for the inhabitants thereof, and all the house of Jacob was covered with confusion.

29 And after two years fully expired[20]P. 47 Foot Note x. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” two years of days;” a manifest Hebraism., the king sent his chief collector[21]P. 47 Foot Note y. Namely, Apollonius, who is mentioned again at 3 Mace. v. 24—27. of tribute [B.c. 168.] unto the cities of Judah ; and he came unto Jerusalem 30 with a great multitude, and spake peaceable words unto them in deceit: and they believed him, and he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel. 31 And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on fire, and pulled down the houses and p. 48 walls thereof on every side. But the women and 32 children took they captive, and possessed themselves of the cattle. Then builded they the city 33 of David with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and it became a strong hold[22]P. 48 Foot Note z. Called Acra, or ” the Tower,” or citadel. for them. And they put therein a sinful nation[23]P. 48 Foot Note a. ” He placed therein a Macedonian garrison.” Josephus. It may be well to remark here, once for all, that in these apocryphal books, no less than in those of the … Continue reading, 34 wicked men, and they fortified themselves therein. They stored it also with armour and victuals, and 35 when they had gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem, they laid them up there, and so they became a sore snare : for it became a place to lie in 36 wait against the sanctuary, and an evil adversary to Israel altogether. Thus they shed innocent 37 blood on every side of the sanctuary[24]P. 48 Foot Note b. See Psalm lxxix. 1—3., and defiled the sanctuary : insomuch that the inhabitants of 38 Jerusalem fled because of them : whereupon the city was made an habitation of strangers, and became strange to those who were born in her, and her own children left her. Her sanctuary was 39 laid waste like a wilderness, her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach, her honour into contempt. As had been her glory, so 40 was her dishonour increased, and her high estate was turned into mourning.

41 Moreover, king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and every one should leave his own laws : so all the heathen 42 p. 49 agreed, according to the commandment of the 43 king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned 44 the sabbath. For the king had sent letters by the hand of messengers unto Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, that they should follow laws 45 strange to the land: and forbid burnt-offerings, and sacrifice, and drink-offerings in the sanctuary; and that they should profane the sabbaths and 46 festival days : and pollute the sanctuary and holy 47 people : set up altars, and temples, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine’s flesh and unclean[25]P. 49 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” common,” as expressed in St. Peter’s vision at Acts x. 48 beasts : that they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation : 49 to the end they might forget the law, and change 50 all the ordinances. And whosoever would not do according to commandment of the king, he said, 51 he should die. According to all these words wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of 52 Judah to sacrifice, city by city. Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit, every one who forsook the law, and so they committed 53 evils in the land : and drove Israel into secret places, even wheresoever they could flee for succour.

54 Now on the fifteenth day of the month Casleu[26]P. 49 Foot Note d. The ninth Jewish month, answering to our November and December,, in the hundred forty and fifth year, [B.c. 167.] they set up the abomination[27]P. 49 Foot Note e. Namely, the statue of Jupiter Olympius. Compare 3 Mac. vi. 2. See also Daniel xi. 31. of desolation upon p. 50 the altar, and builded idol-altars throughout the cities of Judah on every side ; and burnt incense 55 at the doors of the houses, and in the streets. And when they had rent in pieces the books of 56 the law which they found, they burnt them with fire. And wheresoever was found with any the 57 book of the testament, or if any consented to the law, the king’s commandment was, that they should put him to death. Thus did they by their 58 might unto Israel every month, to as many as were found in the cities. Now on the five and 59 twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol-altar, which was upon the altar of burnt offerings. At which time, according to the 60 commandment, they put to death the women who had caused[28]P. 50 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” who had circumcised;” for we learn that this operation was sometimes performed by women. their children to be circumcised. And they 61 hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them which had circumcised them. Howbeit, many in Israel were fully 62 resolved and confirmed in themselves, not to eat unclean things. Wherefore they chose rather to 63 die, that they might not be defiled with the meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant : so then they died. And there was very 64 great wrath upon Israel.


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. 43 Foot Note a. ” Wherever the ‘ land of Chittim’ or ‘the isles of Chittim’ are mentioned in scripture, there are evidently meant some countries or islands in the Mediterranean.” Bishop Newton on the Prophecies, I. 5. Here Macedonia seems to be the country particularly pointed out. See Numbers xxiv. 24; Isaiah xxiii. 1.12; Jer. ii. 10; Ezek. xxvii. 6 ; Dan. xi. 29, 30.
2 P. 43 Foot Note b. Namely, at the decisive battle of Arbela in Persia, fought in the year 331 B. C.
3 P. 43 Foot Note c. Meaning Syria and Egypt, which were so called by the Jews.
4 P. 44 Foot Note d. Or ” kingdoms ;” for the Alexandrian manuscript reads [ click on image to enlarge] not  [ click on image to enlarge].
5 P. 44 Foot Note e. The generality of historians give a different account. See Justin, ch. 13, and Quintus Curtius, book X. ch. 5 and 10. Quintus, however, admits the prevalence of a report that Alexander during his lifetime had arranged the succession to his dominions, but he gives no credit to the story : ” Credidere quidam testamento Alexandri distributas esse provincias; sed famam ejus rei, quanquam ab auctoribus tradita est, vanam fuisse comperimus.“[English Translation: Alexander believe that will be distributed among the provinces; But the report of this phenomenon, although the authors, it is vain to find.] I may here observe, once for all, that this and other deviations of our author from commonly received accounts, are discussed and partly explained by Albericus Gentilis, in a Dissertation appended to the First Book of Maccabees, which is printed in the fifth volume of the ” Critici Sacri.”
6 P. 44 Foot Note f. Josephus explains this, by saying of these successors, [click on images to enlarge]



Ant. XII. 1. which properly signifies a roof, and metaphorically an origin, is also used to denote the branches, or offspring from that root. Thus Jesus Christ is called the root of Jesse, (Isai. i. 10,) the root of David : (Apoc. v. 5; xxii. 16):
7 P. 45 Foot Note h. Appian relates, that he obtained this name of Epiphanes, (signifying not only illustrious, but also one who appears unexpected,) because, when his brother Seleucus had been dethroned and put to death by Heliodorus, a conspirator, who seized his kingdom, Antiochus then on his way from Rome where he had been detained as a hostage, was generously assisted by Eumenes and Attalus kings of Pergamus, who deposed the usurper, and placed him on the throne of Syria, to the joy of his subjects. Appian. de rebus Syriacis, c. 45. But Polybius (cited by Athenaeus) calls him Epimanes (madman) instead of Epiphanes, from the wildness and inconsistency of his behaviour, several instances of which he gives. Polyb. Fragm. XXVI. 10. Compare Diodorus Siculus, de Virtutibus et Vitiis excerpt, lib. XXVI. and XXXI.
8 P. 45 Foot Note i. Commonly called, Antiochus the Great.
9 P. 45 Foot Note k. Viz. of the aera of the Seleucidae, which began from the capture of Babylon by Seleucus Nicator, B. C. 312. This is the reckoning of time used throughout the books of Maccabees. The Syromacedonian (or Greek) year really commenced in the autumn : but, as the author of the first book of Maccabees usually reckons according to the Jewish mode, of beginning the year in the spring, a difference of six months is sometimes observable between the accounts given of the same transaction in the first and in the second book.
10 P. 45 Foot Note l. Namely, Menelaus the brother of Jesus (or Jason).
11 P. 46 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] a Gymnasium.
12 P. 46 Foot Note n. A thing expressly forbidden by St. Paul. See 1 Cor. vii. 18.
13 P. 46 Foot Note o. The phrase is Hebrew, and occurs frequently in the Old Testament. The very words of this passage,  [ click on image to enlarge] are found at 2 Kings, xvii. 17- (Sept. version.).
14 P. 46 Foot Note p. See Daniel xi. 25, &c.
15 P. 46 Foot Note q. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which indeed may also signify a land-force.
16 P. 46 Foot Note r. Surnamed Philometor, the sixth king of that race.
17 P. 46 Foot Note s. See Daniel xi. 28. Josephus relates, that although Antiochus met with success in the beginning of his campaign against Egypt, he was compelled to abandon all thoughts of possessing him self of that kingdom, the Romans having sent to him a peremptory message to depart home.
18 P. 47 Foot Note t. See Zechariah vi. 14.
19 P. 47 Foot Note u. Gr.[ click on image to enlarge] ” vessels of desire :” the same expression occurs at Daniel xi. 8, and Hosea xiii. 15.
20 P. 47 Foot Note x. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” two years of days;” a manifest Hebraism.
21 P. 47 Foot Note y. Namely, Apollonius, who is mentioned again at 3 Mace. v. 24—27.
22 P. 48 Foot Note z. Called Acra, or ” the Tower,” or citadel.
23 P. 48 Foot Note a. ” He placed therein a Macedonian garrison.” Josephus. It may be well to remark here, once for all, that in these apocryphal books, no less than in those of the New Testament, the words  [ click on image to enlarge] are used to denote the Gentiles as contra-distinguished from the Jews. Particular instances may be referred to in Schleusner and other writers on the New Testament.
24 P. 48 Foot Note b. See Psalm lxxix. 1—3.
25 P. 49 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” common,” as expressed in St. Peter’s vision at Acts x.
26 P. 49 Foot Note d. The ninth Jewish month, answering to our November and December,
27 P. 49 Foot Note e. Namely, the statue of Jupiter Olympius. Compare 3 Mac. vi. 2. See also Daniel xi. 31.
28 P. 50 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” who had circumcised;” for we learn that this operation was sometimes performed by women.
29 P. 44 Foot Note g. The Greek word [ click on image to enlarge] and such is the signification of the word in the present passage.

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