2 Maccabees Chapter 06 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 77 – 84 Book 2 B.C. 164. [PDF: 127/134 of p.524]

CHAPTER VI.

(i) The death of Antiochus Epiphanes. The wars of Judas. The heroic act of Eleazar.

1 About that time, king Antiochus travelling through the high countries[1]P. 77 Foot Note a. Namely, on the Euphrates. See the note at chap. iii. 37. , heard say, that Elymais[2]P. 77 Foot Note b. The Greek varies between [ click on image to enlarge] and [ click on image to enlarge] ; and it is disputed whether this be the name of a region or of a city, In the third … Continue reading in the country of Persia, was a city greatly 2 renowned for riches, silver and gold : and that the temple[3]P. 77 Foot Note c. Viz. of Diana, according to Josephus and Polybius: but Appian alleges that it was of Venus. In the third book, chap. i. 13, the Deity is called Nannaea, or Nanea. which was in it was very rich, wherein were coverings of gold, and breast-plates, and shields, which Alexander son of Philip the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the 3 Grecians, had left there. Wherefore he came and sought to take the city, and to spoil it; but he was not able, because the design was made known 4 to them of the city. And they rose up against him in battle : so he fled, and departed thence 5 with great heaviness, to return to Babylon. Moreover, there came one who brought him tidings p. 78 into Persia, that the armies which went against the land of Judah were put to flight : and that 6 Lysias, who went forth first with a great power, was driven away by the Jews ; and that they were made strong by the armour, and power, and store of spoils, which they had gotten from the armies, whom they had destroyed : also that they had 7 pulled down the abomination which he had set up upon the altar in Jerusalem, and that they had compassed about the sanctuary with high walls as before, and his city Bethsura. And it came 8 to pass when the king heard these words, he was astonished, and sore moved: whereupon he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he looked for. And there he continued many days : 9 for his grief was constantly renewed upon him, and he made account that he should die. Wherefore 10 he called for all his friends, and said unto them, The sleep is gone from mine eyes, and my heart faileth for very care. And I thought with 11 myself, Into what tribulation am I come, and how great a flood of misery is it wherein now I am ! for I was thought bountiful, and was beloved in my power: but now I remember the evils which 12 I did at Jerusalem, and that I took all the vessels of gold and silver which were therein, and sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judaea without a cause. I perceive therefore that for this cause these 13 troubles are come upon me, and behold I perish through great grief in a strange land. Then 14 called he for Philip, one of his friends, whom he made ruler over all his realm. And gave him the 15 crown, and his robe, and his signet-ring, to the p. 79 end he should bring up his son Antiochus, and 16 nourish him up for the kingdom. So king Antiochus died there[4]P. 79 Foot Note d. Viz. at Babylon, or near it. Polybius relates that he died at Tabac, a town of Persia near to Babylon ; and that he shewed symptoms of madness shortly before his … Continue reading in the hundred forty and ninth 17 year. Now when Lysias knew that the king was dead, he set up Antiochus his son (whom he had brought up, being young) to reign in his stead, and his name he called Eupator.

18 About this time they which were in the tower, were shutting up the Israelites round about the sanctuary, [B.C. 163.] and seeking always their, 19 hurt, and the strengthening of the heathen. Wherefore Judas purposed to destroy them, and called 20 all the people together, to besiege them. So they came together, and besieged them in the hundred and fiftieth year, and he made mounts for shot[5]P. 79 Foot Note e. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which is a word used by Polybius in describing the siege of Echinuni, and signifies ” spots chosen for planting … Continue reading 21 against them, and other engines. Howbeit, certain of them escaped from the siege, and to them some ungodly men of Israel joined themselves. 22 And they went unto the king, and said, How long will it be ere thou execute judgment, and avenge 23 our brethren ? We have been willing to serve thy father, and to walk after his decrees, and to obey 24 his commandments ; for which cause they of our nation besiege the tower, and are alienated from us ; moreover, as many of us as were found were put to death, and our inheritances were plundered. 25 Neither have they stretched out their hand against p. 80 us only, but also against all their borders. And 26 behold, this day are they besieging the tower at Jerusalem, to take it: the sanctuary also, and Bethsura have they fortified. Wherefore, if thou dost 27 not prevent them quickly, they will do greater things than these, neither shalt thou be able to rule them.

28 Now when the king heard this, he was angry, and gathered together all his friends, and the captains of his army, and those who had charge of the horse. There came also unto him from other 29 kingdoms, and from isles of the sea, bands of hired soldiers. So that the number of his army was an 30 hundred thousand foot-men, and twenty thousand horsemen, and two and thirty elephants exercised in battle. These went through Idumaea, and 31 pitched against Bethsura, which they assaulted many days, making engines of war ; but they of Bethsura came out and burnt them with fire, and fought valiantly. Upon this Judas removed from 32 the tower, and pitched in Bathzacharias[6]P. 80 Foot Note f. This seems to have been a place of small note, not elsewhere mentioned. Josephus describes it as being seventy stadia distant from Bethsura. , over against the king’s camp. Then the king rising 33 very early marched fiercely with his host toward Bathzacharias, where his armies made them ready to battle, and sounded the trumpets. And to the 34 end they might provoke the elephants to fight, they shewed[7]P. 80 Foot Note g. [ click on image to enlarge] Schleuaner contends, that this liquid was not merely exhibited, but also given to the elephants ; referring, for the fact, to 3 Mace. v. 10: and … Continue reading them the blood of grapes and p. 82. mulberries. 35 Moreover they divided the beasts among the companies ; and for every elephant they appointed a thousand men armed with coats of mail, and with helmets of brass on their heads ; and for every beast were ordained five hundred horsemen 36 of the best. These were ready at every occasion : wheresoever the beast was they were, and whithersoever the beast went, they went also, neither 37 departed they from him. And upon the beasts there were strong towers of wood, which covered every one of them, and were girt fast unto them with devices : there were also upon every one, two and thirty[8]P. 81 Foot Note h. Bochart (Hierozoicon, tom. I. p. 201, &c.) objects strongly to this number, so much larger than that which approved authors assign to one elephant, namely, two, three, … Continue reading strong men[14]P. 81 Foot Note i. Josephus says, ” archers.” who fought upon them, 38 besides the Indian who ruled him. As for the remnant of the horsemen, they set them on this side and that side, at the two parts of the host, stirring them up[15]P. 81 Foot Note k. The Greek text of the latter portion of this verse is obscure : [ click on image to enlarge] And there is a various reading, [ click on image to enlarge]. and covering their flanks with them. 39 Now when the sun shone upon the shields of gold and brass, the mountains glittered therewith, and 40 shined like lamps of fire. So part of the king’s army was spread upon the high mountains, and part on the valleys below, and they marched on p. 82. safely, and in order. Wherefore all who heard 41 the noise of their multitude, and the marching of the company, and the rattling of the armour, were moved : for the army was very great and mighty. 

42 Then Judas and his host drew near, and entered into battle, and there were slain of the king’s army six hundred men. Eleazar also, surmamed 43 Avaran[9]P. 82 Foot Note l. Namely, the son of Mattathias and brother of Judas, mentioned at chapter ii. 5., perceived that one of the beasts, armed with a royal breast-plate, was higher than all the rest ; and supposing that the king was upon him, he devoted himself, to the end he might 44 deliver his people, and get him a perpetual name : wherefore he ran upon him courageously into the 45 midst of the battle, slaying on the right hand and on the left, so that they were divided from him on both sides. Which done, he crept under the 46 elephant, and thrust him under, and slew him : whereupon the elephant fell down upon him, and there he died. Howbeit, the rest of the Jews 47 seeing the strength of the king, and the spirit of his forces, turned away from them.

48 Then the king’s army went up to Jerusalem to meet them, and the king pitched his tents against Judaea, and against mount Sion. But with them 49 which were in Bethsura he made peace : and they came out of the city, because they had no victuals there to endure the siege, it being a year of rest to the land. So the king took Bethsura, and set a 50 garrison there to keep it. And he encamped 51 against the sanctuary many days : and set there mounts for shot, and engines, and instruments to p. 83 cast fire and stones, and scorpions[10]P. 83 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] for which sec Vegetius de Re Militari, IV. 22; also Ammianus Marcellinus, who describes their construction at book XXIII. 5. to cast darts, 52 and slings. Whereupon they also made engines against their engines, and held them battle a long 53 season. But at the last there were no victuals in the vessels[11]P. 83 Foot Note n. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] But the Alexandrian manuscript reads [ click on image to enlarge] the Sanctuary, which indeed may be thought to derive some countenance … Continue reading , because it was the seventh year, and those who fled from the Gentiles into Judaea to save themselves, had eaten up the residue of the 54 store. And there were but a few left in the sanctuary, because the famine did so prevail against them, that they were scattered, every man to his own place.

55 At that time Lysias heard say, that Philip (whom Antiochus the king, whiles he lived, had appointed[12]P. 83 Foot Note o. See chapter vi. 15. to bring up his son Antiochus, that he 56 might be king) was returned out of Persia and Media, and the king’s host also which went with him, and that he sought to take unto him the 57 ruling of affairs. Wherefore he went in all haste, and said to the king, and the captains of the host, and the company, We decay daily, and our victuals are but small, and the place we lay siege unto is strong, and the affairs of the kingdom lie upon us. 58 Now therefore let us be friends with these men, and make peace with them and with all their nation ; 59 and covenant with them, that they shall live after their laws, as they did before : for on account of their laws which we abolished, they have been 60 angered, and have done all these things. And the p. 84. saying pleased the king and the princes : wherefore he sent unto them to make peace, and they accepted thereof. Also the king and the princes made an 61 oath unto them : whereupon they went out of the strong hold. Then the king entered into mount  Sion 62 : but when he saw the strength of the place, he brake his oath which he had made, and gave commandment to pull down the wall round about. Afterward departed he in all haste, and returned 63 unto Antiochia, where he found Philip to be master of the city : so he fought against him, and took the city by force[13]P. 84 Foot Note p. Joseph us adds, that he took Philip prisoner, and put him to death..


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. 77 Foot Note a. Namely, on the Euphrates. See the note at chap. iii. 37.
2 P. 77 Foot Note b. The Greek varies between [ click on image to enlarge] and [ click on image to enlarge] ; and it is disputed whether this be the name of a region or of a city, In the third book of Maccabees, Persepolis is said to be the city meant. See chap. ix. 1.
3 P. 77 Foot Note c. Viz. of Diana, according to Josephus and Polybius: but Appian alleges that it was of Venus. In the third book, chap. i. 13, the Deity is called Nannaea, or Nanea.
4 P. 79 Foot Note d. Viz. at Babylon, or near it. Polybius relates that he died at Tabac, a town of Persia near to Babylon ; and that he shewed symptoms of madness shortly before his death. Polyb. XXXI. 11.
5 P. 79 Foot Note e. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which is a word used by Polybius in describing the siege of Echinuni, and signifies ” spots chosen for planting the Balistae.” His words are,  [ click on image to enlarge] Lib. IX. 41. See Jeremiah xxxii. 24.
6 P. 80 Foot Note f. This seems to have been a place of small note, not elsewhere mentioned. Josephus describes it as being seventy stadia distant from Bethsura.
7 P. 80 Foot Note g. [ click on image to enlarge] Schleuaner contends, that this liquid was not merely exhibited, but also given to the elephants ; referring, for the fact, to 3 Mace. v. 10: and he believes that this sense of the verb [ click on image to enlarge] can be supported by instances drawn from the New Testament. I can scarcely agree with him on the point.
8 P. 81 Foot Note h. Bochart (Hierozoicon, tom. I. p. 201, &c.) objects strongly to this number, so much larger than that which approved authors assign to one elephant, namely, two, three, six, rarely ten or twelve, He adduces an ingenious conjectural emendation, viz. that instead of [ click on image to enlarge] we should read [ click on image to enlarge] I fear that the MSS. do not confirm this reading. Bochart himself thinks that the author omitted the number altogether, and that the words [ click on image to enlarge] are merely an interpolation from verse 30, where that number of elephants is mentioned. See however Pliny, VIII. 7, as cited by Grotius.
9 P. 82 Foot Note l. Namely, the son of Mattathias and brother of Judas, mentioned at chapter ii. 5.
10 P. 83 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] for which sec Vegetius de Re Militari, IV. 22; also Ammianus Marcellinus, who describes their construction at book XXIII. 5.
11 P. 83 Foot Note n. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] But the Alexandrian manuscript reads [ click on image to enlarge] the Sanctuary, which indeed may be thought to derive some countenance from the following verse.
12 P. 83 Foot Note o. See chapter vi. 15.
13 P. 84 Foot Note p. Joseph us adds, that he took Philip prisoner, and put him to death.
14 P. 81 Foot Note i. Josephus says, ” archers.”
15 P. 81 Foot Note k. The Greek text of the latter portion of this verse is obscure : [ click on image to enlarge] And there is a various reading, [ click on image to enlarge].

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