2 Maccabees Chapter 02 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 50 – 57 Book 2 B.C. 167. [PDF: 100/107 of p.524]

CHAPTER II

(i) The Firmness of Mattathias.

1 In those days arose Mattathias the son of John, the son of Simeon[1]P. 50 Foot Note a. Josephus adds, ” the son of Asamonaeus:” whence this family bore afterwards the title of Asmonaean princes., a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin[2]P. 50 Foot Note b. Wells, in his Geography p.51 of the Old Testament, states, that ” the situation of this place (where was the sepulchre of the Maccabees) is not well agreed on : … Continue reading. And he 2 p. 51 had five sons, Joannan, who was called Caddis : 3 Simon, who was called Thassi : Judas, who was 4/5 called Maccabaeus : Eleazar, who was called  Avaran, 6 and Jonathan, who was called Apphus. And when he saw the blasphemies[3]P. 51 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which here denotes not merely wicked words, but also deeds, such as idolatry and the like. which were 7 committed in Judah and Jerusalem, he said, Wo is me ! wherefore was I born to see this overthrow of my people, and of the holy city, and to dwell there when it was delivered into the hand of the enemies, and the sanctuary into the hand of 8 strangers ? Her temple is become as a man without 9 glory. Her glorious vessels are carried away into captivity, her infants are slain in the streets, her young men with the sword of the enemy. 10 What nation hath not had a part in her kingdom, 11 and gotten of her spoils ? All her ornaments are taken away, of a free-woman she is become a 12 bond-slave. And behold, our sanctuary[4]P. 51 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] literally, holy things; the expression used for the sanctuary throughout this book., even our beauty and our glory, is laid waste, and the 13 Gentiles have profaned it. To what end therefore 14 shall we live any longer ? Then Mattathias and his sons rent their clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourned very sore.

15 In the mean while the king’s officers, such as compelled the people to revolt, came into the city p. 52 Modin, to make them sacrifice. And when many 16 of Israel came unto them, Mattathias also and his sons came together. Then answered the king’s 17 officers, and said to Mattathias on this wise ; Thou art a ruler, and an honourable and great man in this city, and strengthened with sons and brethren. Now therefore come thou first, and fulfil 18 the king’s commandment, like as all the heathen have done, yea, and the men of Judah also, and such as remain at Jerusalem : so shalt thou and thy house be in the number of the king’s friends, and thou and thy children shall be honoured with silver and gold, and many rewards[5]P. 52 Foot Note e. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which Grotius declares to mean properly LATIN: viaticum quo abeuntem prosequimur.[English Translation: spending what we take away]. Then 19 Mattathias answered and spake with a loud voice, Though all the nations which are under the king’s dominion[6]P. 52 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] obey him, to fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments : yet will I and my sons and 20 my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. God forbid, that we should forsake the law and 21 the ordinances. We will not hearken to the king’s 22 words, to go aside from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left.

23 Now when he had left speaking these words, there came one of the Jews in the sight of all, to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the king’s commandment. Which thing 24 when Mattathias saw, he was inflamed with zeal, and his reins trembled, neither could he[7]P. 52/53 Foot Note g. The rendering is unsatisfactory ; and there is here a remarkable variety of reading in the Greek text. The Vatican MMS. reads Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which our … Continue reading forbear p. 53 to shew his anger according to judgment : wherefore 25 he ran, and slew him upon the altar. Also the king’s commissioner[8]P. 53 Foot Note h. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge], who compelled men to sacrifice, he killed at that time, and the altar he 26 pulled down. Thus dealt he zealously for the law of God, like as Phinees[9]P. 53 Foot Note i. See Numbers XXV. 7. did unto Zambri the 27 son of Salom. And Mattathias cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, Whosoever is zealous of the law, and maintaineth the covenant, 28 let him follow me. So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all which ever they had 29 in the city. Then many who sought after righteousness[10]P. 53 Foot Note k. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] i. e. seeking liberty to observe the law of Moses. So our Saviour, when desiring baptism at the hand of John, alleged, “thus it becometh … Continue reading and judgment, went down into the 30 wilderness to dwell there : both they and their children, and their wives, and their cattle, because evils were multiplied upon them.

31 Now when it was told the king’s servants, and the host which was at Jerusalem, in the city of David, that certain men, who had broken the king’s commandment, were gone down into the 32 secret places in the wilderness : they pursued after them a great number, and having overtaken them, they camped against them and made war against 33 them on the sabbath-day. And they said unto them, Let that which ye have done hitherto p. 54 suffice ; come forth, and do according to the commandment of the king, and ye shall live. But 34 they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king’s commandment, to profane the sabbath day. So then they gave them the battle 35 with all speed. Howbeit, they answered them 36 not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid ; but said, Let us 37 die all in our innocency : heaven and earth shall testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. So they rose up against them in battle on the 38 sabbath, and they died with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand souls[11]P. 54 Foot Note l. Literally, “souls of men,” a phrase familiar in scripture: see (in the Hebrew) Numb, xxxi. 35, 1 Chron. v. 21 ; and in the Apocalypse, chap, xviii. 13, the … Continue reading. Now when Mattathias and his friends 39 understood hereof, they mourned for them right sore. And one of them said to another, If we all 40 do as our brethren have done, and fight not for our lives and laws against the heathen, they will now quickly root us out of the earth. At that 41 time therefore they decreed, saying, Whosoever shall come to make battle with us on the sabbath day, we will fight against him ; neither will we die all, as our brethren died in the secret places. Then came there unto him a company of 42 Assidaeans[12]P. 54 Foot Note m. These appear to have been men who went even beyond the Mosaic Law in the strictness of their observances: as the Rechabites mentioned by Jeremiah did, and as the Pharisees in … Continue reading, who were mighty men of Israel, even all such as were voluntarily devoted unto the law. Also all they who fled from persecution, joined 43 p.55 themselves unto them, and were a stay unto them. 44 So they joined their forces, and smote sinful men in their anger and wicked men in their wrath ; 45 but the rest fled to the heathen for succour. Then Mattathias and his friends went round about, and 46 pulled down the altars. And what children soever they found within the coast of Israel uncircumcised, 47 those they circumcised by force[13]P. 55 Foot Note n. Josephus adds, “and he drove away those who were appointed to hinder such their circumcision.” Antiq. XII. 6.. They pursued also after the sons of pride, and the work 48 prospered in their hand. So they recovered the law out of the hand of the Gentiles, and out of the hand of kings, and yielded not the horn[14]P. 55 Foot Note o. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] It is a Hebrew phrase, abundantly to be found in Scripture. of triumph to the sinner.

49 Now when the time drew near that Mattathias should die, he said unto his sons, “Now hath pride and rebuke gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of 50 indignation. Now therefore, my sons, be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the 51 covenant of our fathers. Call to remembrance what acts our fathers did in their generations, so shall ye receive great honour, and an 52 everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was imputed unto him 53 for righteousness[15]P. 55 Foot Note p. See Gen. xxii.? Joseph in the time of his distress, kept the commandment, and was made 54 lord of Egypt[16]P. 55 Foot Note q. See Gen. xli.. Phinees our father, in being zealous and fervent, obtained the covenant of an 55 everlasting priesthood[17]P. 55 Foot Note r. See Numb. xxv.. Jesus, for fulfilling the p. 56 word, was made a judge in Israel[18]P. 56 Foot Note s. See Josh. i. Caleb, for 56 bearing witness before the congregation, received an heritage of the land[19]P. 56 Foot Note t. See Numb. xiv.. David, for being 57 merciful[20]P. 56 Foot Note u. Or, for his piety : see Schleusner in v. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge], gained to himself the throne of an everlasting kingdom[21]P. 56 Foot Note x. See 2 Sam. ii.. Elias, for being zealous and 58 fervent for the law, was taken up into heaven[22]P. 56 Foot Note y. See 2 Kings ii.. Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, by 59 believing, were saved out of the flame[23]P. 56 Foot Note z. See Dan. iii.. Daniel, for 60 his innocency, was delivered from the mouth of lions[24]P. 56 Foot Note a. See Dan. vi.. And thus consider ye throughout all 61 generations, that none who put their trust in Him, shall fail. Fear not then the words of a 62 sinful man ; for his glory shall be dung and worms. To-day he shall be lifted up, and 63 tomorrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his dust[25]P. 56 Foot Note b. See Psalm cxlv. 4., and his thought is come to nothing. Wherefore, ye my sons, be valiant, and 64 shew yourselves men in the behalf of the law, for by it shall ye obtain glory. And behold, I 65 know that your brother Simon is a man of counsel, give ear unto him alway : he shall be a father unto you. As for Judas Maccabaeus, he 66 hath been mighty, and strong, even from his youth up : let him be your captain, and fight the battle of the people. Take also unto you 67 all those who observe the law, and avenge ye the wrong of your people. 68 Recompense fully the heathen, and take heed to the commandments of the law.” 69 So he blessed them, and p. 57 was gathered to his fathers. 70 And he died in the hundred forty and sixth year, and his sons buried him in the sepulchres of his fathers, at Modin, and all Israel made great lamentation for him. 


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. 50 Foot Note a. Josephus adds, ” the son of Asamonaeus:” whence this family bore afterwards the title of Asmonaean princes.
2 P. 50 Foot Note b. Wells, in his Geography p.51 of the Old Testament, states, that ” the situation of this place (where was the sepulchre of the Maccabees) is not well agreed on : some placing it not very far from Jerusalem, while others will have Modin to lie much farther westward, namely, on the coast, or not far from the coast, of the Mediterranean sea.” He inclines to the latter opinion, which indeed seems to be well supported.
3 P. 51 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which here denotes not merely wicked words, but also deeds, such as idolatry and the like.
4 P. 51 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] literally, holy things; the expression used for the sanctuary throughout this book.
5 P. 52 Foot Note e. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which Grotius declares to mean properly LATIN: viaticum quo abeuntem prosequimur.[English Translation: spending what we take away]
6 P. 52 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
7 P. 52/53 Foot Note g. The rendering is unsatisfactory ; and there is here a remarkable variety of reading in the Greek text. The Vatican MMS. reads Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which our translation p.53 appears to follow: but the Alexandrian MS. reads Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” he breathed forth wrath through his nostrils,” which seems more accordant with the rest of the imagery. This latter also is approved by Schleusner, (Lex. Vet. Test, III. 384,) who refers to Michaelis on the passage, and to Valckenaer on Theocritus, Idyll. 1. 17.
8 P. 53 Foot Note h. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
9 P. 53 Foot Note i. See Numbers XXV. 7.
10 P. 53 Foot Note k. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] i. e. seeking liberty to observe the law of Moses. So our Saviour, when desiring baptism at the hand of John, alleged, “thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.”[Schleusner.]
11 P. 54 Foot Note l. Literally, “souls of men,” a phrase familiar in scripture: see (in the Hebrew) Numb, xxxi. 35, 1 Chron. v. 21 ; and in the Apocalypse, chap, xviii. 13, the merchants are said to offer for sale ” slaves, and souls of men.”
12 P. 54 Foot Note m. These appear to have been men who went even beyond the Mosaic Law in the strictness of their observances: as the Rechabites mentioned by Jeremiah did, and as the Pharisees in our Saviour’s time boasted to do. See them mentioned again at chap. vii. 13. and 3 Maccab. xiv. 6.
13 P. 55 Foot Note n. Josephus adds, “and he drove away those who were appointed to hinder such their circumcision.” Antiq. XII. 6.
14 P. 55 Foot Note o. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] It is a Hebrew phrase, abundantly to be found in Scripture.
15 P. 55 Foot Note p. See Gen. xxii.
16 P. 55 Foot Note q. See Gen. xli.
17 P. 55 Foot Note r. See Numb. xxv.
18 P. 56 Foot Note s. See Josh. i.
19 P. 56 Foot Note t. See Numb. xiv.
20 P. 56 Foot Note u. Or, for his piety : see Schleusner in v. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
21 P. 56 Foot Note x. See 2 Sam. ii.
22 P. 56 Foot Note y. See 2 Kings ii.
23 P. 56 Foot Note z. See Dan. iii.
24 P. 56 Foot Note a. See Dan. vi.
25 P. 56 Foot Note b. See Psalm cxlv. 4.

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