2 Maccabees Chapter 07 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 84 – 89 Book 2 B.C. 162. [PDF: 134/139 of p.524]

CHAPTER VII.

(i) The wars of Judas with Bacchides, Alcimus, and Nicanor. Nicanor’s death.

1 In the hundred and one and fiftieth year, [B.C. 162.]  Demetrius[1] P.84 Foot note a. He was son of Seleucus, the elder brother of Antiochus Epiphanes, and therefore rightful owner of the kingdom. the son of Seleucus departed[2] P.84 Foot note b. Where he had been detained a hostage, through the policy of the Roman senate. Finding after two applications that his departure never would be permitted, he concerted … Continue reading from Rome, and came up with a few men unto a city[3] P.84 Foot note c. Namely, Tripolis, as mentioned in 3 Mace. xiv. 1 ; and Josephus agrees. of the sea-coast, and reigned there. And as 2 he entered into the palace[4] P.84 Foot note d. Namely, at Antioch [ click on image to enlarge] the regal seat of the kings of Syria: for an account of which city see Strabo, lib. XVI. of his ancestors, so it p. 85 was that his forces had taken Antiochus and 3 Lysias to bring them unto him. And the thing was made known to him, and he said, ” Shew me not 4  their faces.” So his host slew them : and Demetrius was set upon the throne of his kingdom. 5 And there came unto him all the wicked and ungodly men of Israel, having Alcimus (who was 6 desirous to be high priest) for their captain. And they accused the people to the king, saying, Judas and his brethren have slain all thy friends and 7 have driven us out of our own land. Now therefore send some man whom thou trustest, and let him go and see the entire destruction which he hath made amongst us, and in the king’s land, and let him punish them and all them who aid them.

8 Then the king chose Bacchides a friend of the king, who ruled[5] P.85 Foot note e. Josephus styles him ” Governor of Mesopotamia.” in the country beyond the river, and was a great man in the kingdom, and faithful 9 to the king. And him he sent with that wicked Alcimus, whom he made high priest, and commanded him that he should take vengeance on 10 the children of Israel. So they departed, and came with a great power into the land of Judah ; and he sent messengers to Judas and his brethren 11 with peaceable words deceitfully. But they gave no heed to their words ; for they saw that they 12 were come with a great power. Then did there assemble unto Alcimus and Bacchides, a company 13 of scribes to require justice. Now the Assidaeans were the first among the children of Israel who 14 sought peace of them. For said they, One who p. 86 is a priest of the seed of Aaron is come with this army, and he will do us no wrong. So he spake 15 unto them peaceably, and sware unto them, saying, We will procure the harm neither of you nor your friends. Whereupon they believed him : 16 howbeit, he took of them threescore men, and slew them in one day, according to the words which he wrote[6] P.86 Foot note f. Namely, the author of Psalm Ixxix., “The flesh of thy saints have 17 they cast out, and their blood have they shed round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them.” Wherefore the fear and dread of 18 them fell upon all the people, who said, There is neither truth nor justice in them ; for they have broken the covenant and oath which they made. After this removed Bacchides from Jerusalem, 19 and pitched his tents in Bezeth[7] P.86 Foot note g. Or Bothzetho, a village., where he sent and took many of the men who had forsaken him, and certain of the people also ; and when he had slain them, he cast them into the great pit.

20 Then committed he the country to Alcimus, and left with him a power to aid him: so Bacchides went to the king. And Alcimus contended 21 for the high-priesthood. And unto him resorted 22 all such as troubled the people, who, after they had gotten the land of Judah into their power, did much hurt in Israel. Now when Judas saw 23 all the mischief which Alcimus and his company had done among the Israelites, even above the heathen ; he went out into all the coasts of Judaea 24 round about, and took vengeance on those who had deserted from him, so that they were restrained from going forth into the country.  But 25 p. 87 when Alcimus saw that Judas and his company had grown strong, and knew that he was not able to withstand them, he went again to the king, and said all the evil of them that he could.

26 Then the king sent Nicanor[8] P.87 Foot note h. Called by Josephus, ” his most intimate and faithful friend, who had fled from Rome with him.”, one of his honourable princes, a man who bare deadly hate unto Israel, with commandment to destroy the people. 27 So Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a great force ; and sent unto Judas and his brethren deceitfully 28 with peaceable words, saying, Let there be no battle between me and you : I will come with a 29 few men that I may see your faces in peace. He came therefore to Judas, and they saluted one another peaceably. Howbeit, the enemies were 30 prepared to take away Judas by violence. Which thing, after it was known to Judas, to wit, that he came unto him with deceit, he was sore afraid 31 of him, and would see his face no more. Nicanor also, when he saw that his counsel was discovered, went out to meet Judas in battle beside 32 Capharsalama[9] P.87 Foot note i. A village in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. : where there were slain of Nicanor’s side about five thousand men, and the rest fled into the city of David. 

33 After this went Nicanor up to mount Sion, and there came out of the sanctuary certain of the priests, and certain of the elders of the people, to salute him peaceably, and to shew him the burnt 34 sacrifice which was offered for the king[10] P.87 Foot note k. Concerning the sacrifice and prayers customarily offered up for the king by the Jews, see Ezra vi. 10. . But he mocked them, and laughed at them, and abused[11] P.87 Foot note l. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] he defiled ; either by spitting upon them, p. 88 or by using contumelious and blasphemous expressions. p. 88 them shamefully, and spake proudly : and swore 35 in his wrath, saying, Unless Judas and his host be now delivered into my hands, if ever I come again in peace, I will burn up this house : and with that he went out in a great rage.

36 Then the priests entered in, and stood before the altar and the temple, weeping, and saying, Thou, O Lord, didst choose[12] P.88 Foot note m. See Deuteron. xii. 5. 11. 14. Isaiah lvi. 7. &c. &c. this house to be 37 called by thy name, and to be a house of prayer and petition for thy people : be avenged on this 38 man and his host, and let them fall by the sword : remember their blasphemies, and suffer them not to continue any longer. So Nicanor 39 went out of Jerusalem, and pitched his tents in Beth-horon, where an host out of Syria met him. But Judas pitched in Adasa[13] P.88 Foot note n. A village, which Josephus says is distant thirty stadia from Beth-horon., with three thousand 40 men, and there he prayed, saying, O Lord, when 41 they which were sent from the king of the Assyrians[14] P.88 Foot note o. See 2 Kings xix, Isaiah xxxvii. blasphemed, thine angel went out and smote an hundred fourscore and five thousand of them : even so destroy thou this host before us this day, 42 that the rest may know that he hath spoken wickedly against thy sanctuary, and judge thou him according to his wickedness.

43 So the thirteenth day of the month Adar[15] P.88 Foot note p. Answering to our February and March, the host joined battle : and Nicanor’s host was discomfited, and he himself was first slain in the battle. Now when Nicanor’s host saw that he 44 was slain, they cast away their weapons, and fled. 45 Then they pursued after them a day’s journey, from Adasa until thou come to Gazera, sounding 46 an alarm after them with their trumpets. Whereupon, they came forth out of the towns of Judaea, round about, and outflanked them ; so that they, turning back upon those who pursued them, were all slain with the sword, and not one of them was 47 left. Afterwards they took the spoils, and the prey, and smote off Nicanor’s head, and his right hand, which he stretched out so proudly; and brought them away, and hanged them up towards 48 Jerusalem. For this cause the people rejoiced greatly, and they kept that day a day of great 49 gladness. Moreover, they ordained to keep yearly 50 this day, being the thirteenth of Adar. Thus the land of Judah was in rest a little while.


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.84 Foot note a. He was son of Seleucus, the elder brother of Antiochus Epiphanes, and therefore rightful owner of the kingdom.
2 P.84 Foot note b. Where he had been detained a hostage, through the policy of the Roman senate. Finding after two applications that his departure never would be permitted, he concerted with some friends the means of escape, and by their assistance was enabled to quit Rome by night, accompanied by Apollonius and a few others. Polybius, the historian, who was his friend and counsellor in this affair, has given us an interesting detail of the particulars, in hook XXXI. 19-23
3 P.84 Foot note c. Namely, Tripolis, as mentioned in 3 Mace. xiv. 1 ; and Josephus agrees.
4 P.84 Foot note d. Namely, at Antioch [ click on image to enlarge] the regal seat of the kings of Syria: for an account of which city see Strabo, lib. XVI.
5 P.85 Foot note e. Josephus styles him ” Governor of Mesopotamia.”
6 P.86 Foot note f. Namely, the author of Psalm Ixxix.
7 P.86 Foot note g. Or Bothzetho, a village.
8 P.87 Foot note h. Called by Josephus, ” his most intimate and faithful friend, who had fled from Rome with him.”
9 P.87 Foot note i. A village in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem.
10 P.87 Foot note k. Concerning the sacrifice and prayers customarily offered up for the king by the Jews, see Ezra vi. 10.
11 P.87 Foot note l. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] he defiled ; either by spitting upon them, p. 88 or by using contumelious and blasphemous expressions.
12 P.88 Foot note m. See Deuteron. xii. 5. 11. 14. Isaiah lvi. 7. &c. &c.
13 P.88 Foot note n. A village, which Josephus says is distant thirty stadia from Beth-horon.
14 P.88 Foot note o. See 2 Kings xix, Isaiah xxxvii.
15 P.88 Foot note p. Answering to our February and March,

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