3 Maccabees Chapter 01


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THE THIRD BOOK OF MACCABEES:

Containing the Occurrences of about Fifteen Years, Namely, from the Accession of Antiochus Epiphanes to the Death of Nicanor.

At the beginning are inserted two letters written at a later period ; and likewise the history of Heliodorus’ attempt to plunder the Temple.

P. 147 – 151 Book 3 B.C. 144 [PDF: 197/201 of P.524]

CHAPTER 1

(i) A letter from the Jews at Jerusalem to their brethren.

1 THE brethren the Jews which are at Jerusalem, and those in the country of Judaea, [B.C. 144.] wish unto the brethren the Jews which are 2 throughout Egypt, health and peace : God be gracious unto you, and remember his covenant which he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 3 his faithful servants : and give you all an heart to serve him, and to do his will with a good 4 courage, and a willing mind ; and open your heart in his law and commandments, and send you 5 peace, and hear your prayers ; and be at one with you, and forsake you not in time of trouble. 6 And now we are here praying for you. 7 In the reign of Demetrius[1]P. 147 Foot Note a.Namely, Demetrius Nicator, the sou of Demetrius Soter. in the hundred three p. 148 score and ninth year[2]P. 148 Foot Note b. Namely, of the ” Æra of ” Contracts,” commencing at a period six months later than that which is followed by the author of the preceding book., we the Jews have written unto you in the extremity of trouble[3]P. 148 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] literally, ” in our trouble ” and crisis;” but fairly enough translated as above. : which came upon us in these years, from the time that Jason and his company revolted from the holy land and kingdom, and burnt the porch, and shed innocent blood : then we prayed unto the 8 Lord, and were heard ; we offered also sacrifice and fine flour, and lighted the lamps, and set forth the loaves. And now, see that ye keep 9 the feast of tabernacles[4]P. 148 Foot Note d. See below, ch. x. —8. in the month Casleu.

10 In the hundred fourscore and eighth year, the people who were at Jerusalem, and in Judaea, and the council, and Judas[5]P. 148 Foot Note e. It does not appear to be ascertained who this Judas was: various opinions concerning him may be seen at one view in Basnage’s History of the Jews, book V. ch. 1., sent greeting and health unto Aristobulus, king Ptolemæus'[6]P. 148 Foot Note f. Surnamed Physcon,the seventh sovereign of that name. master[7]P. 148 Foot Note g. Or teacher in philosophy, Aristobulus was a peripatetic philosopher, and is mentioned by Clemens Alexandrinus and Eusebius. (Ussher.)., who was of the stock of the anointed priests, and to the Jews who were in Egypt. Having been delivered by God from 11 great perils, we thank him highly, as though we had been in battle against the king[8]P. 148 Foot Note h. Namely, Antiochus Epiphanes.. For he 12 cast out[9]P. 148 Foot Note i. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] literally, ” caused to boil over;” that is, ” expelled through the ” heat and agitation of … Continue reading them which fought within the holy city. For when the leader was come into Persia, and 13 the army with him which seemed invincible, p. 149 they were slain in the temple of Nansea[10]P. 149 Foot Note k. This appears to be a Persian name for Diana, or perhaps Dea Mater. But see the account given at 2 Mace. vi. 1, &c, and Grotius’ note on the place. by the 14 treachery of Nausea’s priests. For Antiochus, as though he would marry her, came into the place, and his friends who were with him, to 15 receive money in name of a dowry. Which, when the priests of Nanaea had set forth, and he was entered with a small company into the compass of the temple, they shut the temple as soon as 16 Antiochus was come in: and opening a privy door of the roof, they threw stones like thunderbolts, and struck down the captain and his company, hewed them in pieces, smote off their heads, and cast them to those who were 17 without. Blessed be our God in all things, who hath delivered up the ungodly.

18 Therefore, whereas we are now purposed to keep the purification of the temple upon the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, we thought it necessary to certify you thereof; that ye also might keep it, as the feast of the tabernacles, and of the fire, which was given us when Neemias[11]P. 149 Foot Note l. See Nehemiah ch. viii where, however, there is not one syllable concerning the fire here mentioned. offered sacrifice, after that he had 19 builded the temple and the altar. For when our fathers were led into Persia, the devout priests of that time took the fire of the altar privily, and hid it in a hollow place of a pit[12]P. 149 Foot Note m. The Greek text here is somewhat obscure : Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] without water, where they kept it sure, so that 20 the place was unknown to all men. Now after p. 150 many years, when it pleased God, Neemias being sent from the king of Persia, sent some of the posterity of those priests who had hid it, for the fire : but when they told us they found no fire, but thick water ; then commanded he them to 21 draw it up, and to bring it : and when the sacrifices were laid on, Neemias commanded the priests to sprinkle the wood and the things laid thereupon with the water. When this was 22 done, and the time came that the sun shone, which afore was hid in the cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that every man marvelled. And the priests made a prayer whilst the 23 sacrifice was consuming, (I say,) both the priests and all the rest, Jonathan beginning, and the rest answering thereunto, as Neemias did.

24 And the prayer was after this manner ; ‘ O Lord, Lord God, Creator of all things, who art terrible and strong, and righteous, and merciful, and the only and gracious King. The only 25 giver of all things, the only just, almighty, and everlasting, thou that deliverest Israel from all evil, and didst choose the fathers, and sanctify them : receive the sacrifice for thy whole people 26 Israel, and preserve thine own portion, and sanctify it. Gather together those who are 27 scattered from us ; deliver them which serve among the heathen ; look upon them which are despised and abhorred ; and let the heathen know that thou art our God. Punish them which 28 oppress us, and with pride do us wrong. Plant thy 29 people again in thy holy place, as Moses hath 30 spoken[13]P. 150 Foot Note n. Perhaps the allusion i.s to Deuteron. xxx. 3—8..” And the priests sung psalms of 31 thanksgiving. Now when the sacrifice was consumed, Neemias commanded the water which was left to be poured[14]P. 151 Foot Note o. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The Greek is obscure. Perhaps for Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] we ought to read Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] on the great stones. 32 When this was done, there was kindled a flame : but it was consumed by the light which shined 33 from the altar. So when this matter was known, it was told the king of Persia, that in the place where the priests who were led away had hid the fire, there appeared water, and that Neemias and his company had purified the sacrifices 34 therewith. Then the king enclosing the place, made it holy, after he had tried the matter. 35 And the king took many gifts, and bestowed 36 thereof on those whom he would gratify. And Neemias and his party called this thing Nephthar, which is as much as to say, a cleansing but by the generality it is called Nepthai.”


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. 147 Foot Note a.Namely, Demetrius Nicator, the sou of Demetrius Soter.
2 P. 148 Foot Note b. Namely, of the ” Æra of ” Contracts,” commencing at a period six months later than that which is followed by the author of the preceding book.
3 P. 148 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] literally, ” in our trouble ” and crisis;” but fairly enough translated as above.
4 P. 148 Foot Note d. See below, ch. x. —8.
5 P. 148 Foot Note e. It does not appear to be ascertained who this Judas was: various opinions concerning him may be seen at one view in Basnage’s History of the Jews, book V. ch. 1.
6 P. 148 Foot Note f. Surnamed Physcon,the seventh sovereign of that name.
7 P. 148 Foot Note g. Or teacher in philosophy, Aristobulus was a peripatetic philosopher, and is mentioned by Clemens Alexandrinus and Eusebius. (Ussher.).
8 P. 148 Foot Note h. Namely, Antiochus Epiphanes.
9 P. 148 Foot Note i. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] literally, ” caused to boil over;” that is, ” expelled through the ” heat and agitation of water,” as Suidas explains the word.
10 P. 149 Foot Note k. This appears to be a Persian name for Diana, or perhaps Dea Mater. But see the account given at 2 Mace. vi. 1, &c, and Grotius’ note on the place.
11 P. 149 Foot Note l. See Nehemiah ch. viii where, however, there is not one syllable concerning the fire here mentioned.
12 P. 149 Foot Note m. The Greek text here is somewhat obscure : Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
13 P. 150 Foot Note n. Perhaps the allusion i.s to Deuteron. xxx. 3—8.
14 P. 151 Foot Note o. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The Greek is obscure. Perhaps for Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] we ought to read Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]

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