2 Maccabees Chapter 14 (from Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 132 – 137  Book 2 B.C. 141 [PDF: 182/187 of p.524]

CHAPTER XIV

(i) The good deeds of Simon. His fame. Renewal of the league by the Romans and Lacedaemonians.

1 Now in the hundred threescore and twelfth year, [B.C. 141.] king Demetrius gathered his forces together, and went into Media[1]P. 132 Foot Note a. By which is meant the countries subject to the Parthians, under Arsaces, (or more properly Mithridates.)., to get him help to fight against Tryphon. 2 But when Arsaces, the king of Persia and Media, heard that Demetrius was entered within his borders, he sent one of his princes, to take him alive : who went 3 and smote the host of Demetrius, and took him, and brought him to Arsaces, and he put him in ward.

4 As for the land of Judah, that was quiet all the days of Simon ; for he sought the good of his nation in such wise, as that evermore his authority and honour pleased them well. And in addition 5 to all his glory, he took Joppe for an haven, and made it an entrance to the isles of the sea, and 6 enlarged the bounds of his nation, and recovered the country. And gathered together a great 7 number of captives, and had the dominion of Gazara, and Bethsura, and the tower, out of the which he p. 133 took all impurities ; neither was there any who 8 resisted him. Then did they till their ground in peace, and the earth gave her increase, and the 9 trees of the field their fruit. The ancient men sat also in the streets, communing together of good things, and the young men put on glorious and 10 warlike apparel. He provided victuals for the cities, and set in them all manner of munition[2]P. 133 Foot Note b. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.133-2.Macca_.14-FN-b-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-150x20.png 150w" sizes="(max-width: 159px) 100vw, 159px" /> click on image to enlarge], so that his honourable name was renowned unto 11 the end of the world. He made peace in the 12 lands, and Israel rejoiced with great joy: for every man sat under his vine and his fig-tree, and there 13 was none to fray them : neither was there any left in the land to fight against them : yea, the kings themselves were overthrown in those days. 14 Moreover, he strengthened all those of his people who were brought low : the law he searched out, and every contemner of the law and wicked person 15 he took away. He beautified the sanctuary, and multiplied the vessels of the sanctuary.

16 Now it was heard at Rome, and as far as Sparta, that Jonathan was dead ; and they were 17 very sorry. But as soon as they heard that his brother Simon was made high priest in his stead, 18 and ruled the country, and the cities therein : they wrote unto him in tables of brass, to renew the friendship and league which they had made with 19 Judas and Jonathan his brethren : which writings were read before the congregation at Jerusalem. 20 And this is the copy of the letters which the Lacedaemonians sent: “The rulers of the Lacedaemonians, and the city, unto Simon the high priest, and the elders and priests, and residue of the people p. 134 of the Jews, our brethren, send greeting : The 21 ambassadors who were sent unto our people, certified us of your glory and honour: wherefore we were glad of their coming : and did register 22 the things which they spake in the council of the people, in this manner : Numenius[3]P. 134 Foot Note c. See ch. xii. 16. son of Antiochus, and Antipater son of Jason, the Jews’ ambassadors, came unto us to renew the friendship which they had with us. And it pleased 23 the people to entertain the men honourably, and to put the copy of their ambassage in the appointed records of the people : to the end the people of the Lacedaemonians might have a memorial thereof: furthermore, we have written a copy thereof unto Simon the high priest.”

24 After this, Simon sent Numenius to Rome, with a great shield of gold of a thousand minae[4]P. 134 Foot Note d. Or pounds. If the Attic mina be the weight hero meant, it is considered equal to twenty-five Jewish shekels. A shekel of gold is one quarter of an ounce; of silver, half an … Continue reading, to confirm the league with them. Whereof when the 25 people heard, they said, What thanks shall we give to Simon and his sons ? For he and his 26 brethren, and the house of his father, have established Israel, and chased away in fight their enemies from them, and confirmed their liberty. So 27 then they wrote it in the tables of brass, which they set upon pillars in mount Sion : and this is the copy of the writing : ” The eighteenth day of the month Elul[5]P. 134 Foot Note e. Nearly answering to our August., in the hundred threescore and twelfth year, being the third year of Simon the high priest: at Saramel[6]P. 134/135 Foot Note f. Or, Asaramel. It is not clear what place is intended p.135 by this expression. Grotius thinks, ” the hall of Millo,” mentioned at 1 Kings ix. 24, in which D. … Continue reading in the great 28 congregation p. 135 of the priests and people, and rulers of the nation, and elders of the country, were these 29 things notified unto us. Forasmuch as oftentimes there have been wars in the country; and Simon the son of Mattathias, the son of the sons of Jarib, and his brethren, have put themselves in jeopardy ; and have resisted the enemies of their nation, that their sanctuary and law might be maintained ; and have honoured their nation 30 with great honour :—(For after that Jonathan, having gathered his nation together, and been 31 their high priest, was added to his people ; their enemies purposed to invade their country, that they might destroy it, and lay hands on the 32 sanctuary : at which time Simon rose up, and fought for his nation, and spent much of his own substance, and armed the mighty men of 33 his nation, and gave them wages, and fortified the cities of Judaea, together with Bethsura which lieth upon the borders of Judaea, where the armour of the enemies had been before ; and 34 set a garrison of Jews there. Moreover, he fortified Joppe which lieth upon the sea, and Gazara which bordereth upon Azotus, where the enemies had dwelt before : and placed Jews there, and furnished them with all things convenient 35 for the reparation thereof.) The people therefore, seeing the acts of Simon, and unto what glory he thought to bring his nation, p. 136 made him their governor, and chief priest ; because he had done all these things, and for the justice and faith which he kept to his nation, and for that he sought by all means to exalt his people. For in his days things prospered in his 36 hands, so that the heathen were taken out of their country, and they also which were in the city of David in Jerusalem, who had made themselves a tower, out of which they issued, and polluted all about the sanctuary, and did much hurt in the holy places[7]P. 136 Foot Note g. The Greek reads Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which is obscure : possibly it may mean, ” did much harm to the purity of worship.”: but he placed 37 Jews therein, and fortified it for the safety of the country, and the city, and raised up the walls of Jerusalem. King Demetrius also 38 confirmed to him the high-priesthood, according to those things. And made him one of his friends, 39 and honoured him with great honour. For he 40 had heard say, that the Jews were called by the Romans their friends, and confederates, and brethren ; and that they had entertained the ambassadors of Simon honourably: also, that 41 the Jews and priests were well pleased that Simon should be their governor and high priest for ever, until there should arise a faithful prophet[8]P. 136 Foot Note h. The same expectation is admitted at chap. iv. 40; and deserves to be borne in mind. It seems akin to the idea expressed at Ezra ii. 03, where mention is made of the possible … Continue reading. Moreover, that he should be their 42 captain, and should take charge of the sanctuary, to set them over their works, and over the country, and over the armour, and over the for tresses ; that (I say) he should take charge of p. 137  43 the sanctuary; besides this, that he should be obeyed by every man, and that all the writings in the country should be made in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple, and wear 44 gold ; also, that it should be lawful for none of the people or priests to break any of these things, or to gainsay his words, or to gather an assembly in the country without him, or to be clothed in purple, or to wear a buckle of gold ; 45 and whosoever should do otherwise, or break any of these things, he should be punished[9]P. 137 Foot Note i. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” he shall beholden guilty of a crime.” Compare Matt. v. 21, 22.. 46 Thus it pleased all the people to deal with Simon, and to do as hath been said.”

47 Then Simon accepted hereof, and was well pleased to be high priest, and captain, and governor of the Jews and priests, and to defend them 48 all. So they commanded to put this writing in tables of brass, and to set them up within the compass of the sanctuary in a conspicuous place; 49 also to lay up the copies thereof in the treasury, to the end that Simon and his sons might have them.


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. 132 Foot Note a. By which is meant the countries subject to the Parthians, under Arsaces, (or more properly Mithridates.).
2 P. 133 Foot Note b. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.133-2.Macca_.14-FN-b-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-150x20.png 150w" sizes="(max-width: 159px) 100vw, 159px" /> click on image to enlarge]
3 P. 134 Foot Note c. See ch. xii. 16.
4 P. 134 Foot Note d. Or pounds. If the Attic mina be the weight hero meant, it is considered equal to twenty-five Jewish shekels. A shekel of gold is one quarter of an ounce; of silver, half an ounce.
5 P. 134 Foot Note e. Nearly answering to our August.
6 P. 134/135 Foot Note f. Or, Asaramel. It is not clear what place is intended p.135 by this expression. Grotius thinks, ” the hall of Millo,” mentioned at 1 Kings ix. 24, in which D. Kimchi, a rabbinical commentator, asserts that the public assemblies were formerly holden. It has been conjectured also, that possibly the word is a corrupt reading of ” Jerusalem,” by a careless transposition of letters. More light is yet wanted on the subject.
7 P. 136 Foot Note g. The Greek reads Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which is obscure : possibly it may mean, ” did much harm to the purity of worship.”
8 P. 136 Foot Note h. The same expectation is admitted at chap. iv. 40; and deserves to be borne in mind. It seems akin to the idea expressed at Ezra ii. 03, where mention is made of the possible return of a priest with the power of Urim and Thummin.
9 P. 137 Foot Note i. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” he shall beholden guilty of a crime.” Compare Matt. v. 21, 22.

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