3 Maccabees Chapter 06


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P. 170 – 174 Book 3 B.C. 167 [PDF: 220/224 of P.524]

CHAPTER 6

(i) Antiochus persecutes the Jews. The courage and death of Eleazar.

1 Not long after this, the king sent an old man of Athens[1]P. 170 Foot Note a. Grotius (following the Latin version) judges that the true reading is not Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] but Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ; which indeed would he much … Continue reading, [BC. 167.] to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers, and not to live after the laws of God : and to pollute also 2 the temple in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Jupiter Olympius ; and that in Garizim, of Jupiter the defender of strangers[2]P. 170/171 Foot Note b. But Josephus says, ” Jupiter Hellenius,” Ant. XII. 5 It is notorious that Antiochus Epiphanes was a most zealous worshipper of all new gods : see … Continue reading, as indeed they p. 171 3 were[3]P. 171 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] who dwelt in the place. And sore and grievous, even to the common people, was the 4 presence[4]P. 171 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] signifying both the coming on, and continuance, of the evil. of this mischief. For the temple was filled with riot and revelling, by the Gentiles ; who dallied with harlots, and had to do with women within the sacred precincts ; and besides that, 5 brought in things which were not lawful. The altar also was filled with profane things, which 6 the law forbiddeth. Neither was it lawful for a man to keep sabbath-days, or the feasts of his forefathers, or to profess himself at all to be a 7 Jew. And in the day of the king’s birth every month they were brought by bitter constraint to eat of the sacrifices ; and when the feast of Bacchus was kept, the Jews were compelled to go in 8 procession to Bacchus, carrying ivy[5]P. 171 Foot Note e. Compare 1 Mace. ii. 19, and the note there.. Moreover, there went out a decree to the neighbour cities of the Grecians, by the suggestion of Ptolemy[6]P. 171 Foot Note f. See above, ch. iv. 45., against the Jews, that they should observe the same mode of living, and be partakers of their 9 sacrifices : and whoso would not conform themselves to the manners of the Greeks, should be put to death. Then might a man have seen the 10 present misery. For there were two women[7]P. 171 Foot Note g. Compare 2 Mace. i. 60-63 brought who had circumcised their children ; whom when they had openly led round about the city, the babes hanging at their breasts, they cast them 11 down headlong from the wall. And others who p. 172 had run together into caves near by, to keep the sabbath-day secretly, being discovered to Philip[8]P. 172 Foot Note h. For an account of Philip, sec ch. v. 22., were all burnt together; because they scrupled to defend themselves, for the honour of the most sacred day.

12 Now I beseech those who meet with this book, that they be not discouraged for these calamities; but that they judge those punishments not to be for the destruction, but for a chastening, of our nation. For it is a token of his great goodness, 13 when wicked doers are not suffered any long time, but forthwith fall into punishments. For not as 14 with other nations, whom the Lord patiently forbeareth to punish, till they be come to the fulness of their sins, so dealeth he with us. Lest that, 15 being come to the height of sin, afterwards he should take vengeance on us. And therefore he 16 never withdraweth his mercy from us. And though he chasten with adversity, yet doth he never forsake his people. But let this be said by 17 way of remembrance. But we must come to the declaring of the matter in few words.

18 Eleazar, one of the principal scribes, an aged man, and of a very well-favoured countenance, was constrained to open his mouth, and to eat swine’s flesh. But he choosing rather to die 19 gloriously, than to live stained with such an abomination, spit it forth, and came of his own accord to the torment. As it behoved them to come, 20 who are resolute to stand out against such things as are not lawful for love of life to be tasted. But they which had the charge of that wicked 21 feast, for the old acquaintance they had with the p. 173 man, taking him aside, besought him to bring flesh of Iris own provision, such as was lawful for him to use, and make as if he did eat of the flesh taken from the sacrifice commanded by the king ; 22 that in so doing he might be delivered from death, and for the old friendship with them, find favour. 23 But he, taking on him a discreet consideration, and as became his age, and the excellency of his ancient years, and the honour of his grey head whereunto he was come[9]P. 173 Foot Note i. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge], and his most honest education from a child, or rather the holy law made and given by God ; answered accordingly, and desired them straightways to send him to the 24 grave. For it becometh not our age (said he) to dissemble, whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, being fourscore years old and 25 ten, were now gone to a strange religion : and so they through mine hypocrisy, and desire to live a little time, and a moment longer, should be led astray by me, and I should get to myself a stain 26 and pollution upon my old age. For even though for the present time I should be delivered from the punishment of men : yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive nor dead. 27 Wherefore now manfully exchanging this life, I will shew myself such an one, as mine age 28 requireth ; and leave a noble example to such as be young, to die willingly and courageously a noble death, for the venerable and holy laws. And when he had said these words, immediately he 29 went to the torment : they which led him, changing the good-will they bare him a little before, into hatred, because the foresaid speeches, as they p. 174 thought, were madness. And when he was ready 30 to die with stripes, he groaned, and said ; It is manifest unto the Lord, who hath the holy knowledge, that whereas I might have been delivered from death, I now endure sore pains in body, by being beaten ; but in soul am well content to suffer these things, because I fear him. And thus 31 this man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble courage, and a memorial of virtue, not only unto young men, but unto the generality of his nation.


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. 170 Foot Note a. Grotius (following the Latin version) judges that the true reading is not Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] but Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ; which indeed would he much more apposite, seeing that many of the Jews at this time had been enrolled citizens of Antioch. I perceive that the authors of the ” Universal History” consider Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] a proper name, and have rendered it ” Atheneas, an old minister, well versed in all the heathenish rites as well as in cruelty.”
2 P. 170/171 Foot Note b. But Josephus says, ” Jupiter Hellenius,” Ant. XII. 5 It is notorious that Antiochus Epiphanes was a most zealous worshipper of all new gods : see Michaelis’ supplementa ad Lexica Heb. tom. II. p. 1857, who refers to Athenaeus; in which author we find the following account. (Lib.V. p. 194, 195, ed. Casailbon.)  Gr. [

 click on image to enlarge
All this took place at his grand festival at Daphne: and Athenaeus adds, that the expence was supplied partly from the sums of which he p.171 had defrauded Ptolemy Philometor while a boy, partly from tho contributions of his friends, and partly from the many temples which he had robbed. 
Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
3 P. 171 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]
4 P. 171 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] signifying both the coming on, and continuance, of the evil.
5 P. 171 Foot Note e. Compare 1 Mace. ii. 19, and the note there.
6 P. 171 Foot Note f. See above, ch. iv. 45.
7 P. 171 Foot Note g. Compare 2 Mace. i. 60-63
8 P. 172 Foot Note h. For an account of Philip, sec ch. v. 22.
9 P. 173 Foot Note i. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]

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