3 Maccabees Chapter 09


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P. 184 – 188 Book 3 B.C. 164 [PDF: 234/238 of P.524]

CHAPTER 9

(i) Antiochus’ sickness and death.

1 About that time came Antiochus in disorder out of the country of Persia. [BC. 164.] For he had 2 entered the city called Persepolis[1]P. 184 Foot Note a. The chief city of the Persian empire ; for descriptions of  which see Q. Curtius and Diodorus Siculus. But compare 2 Mace. vi. 1 ; where this occurrence is said to … Continue reading, and went about to rob the temple, and to hold the city; whereupon the multitude advancing betook themselves to a resistance by arms : and so it happened that Antiochus, being put to flight by the inhabitants, made a dishonourable retreat.

3 Now while he was at Ecbatana[2]P. 184 Foot Note b. A renowned city, the ancient capital of Media. Its origin and structure are detailed by Herodotus, I. 98., news was brought him of what had happened unto Nicanor and Timotheus. Then swelling with anger, he 4 thought to avenge upon the Jews the disgrace done unto him by those who made him flee. Therefore commanded he his charioteer to drive without ceasing, and to dispatch the journey, the judgment of God now following him. For he had spoken proudly in this sort : ” I will make ” Jerusalem a common burying place[3]P. 184 Foot Note c.  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] That this threat contained within it a degree of insult as well as injury, we perceive on observing from Greek classic authors that the … Continue reading of the Jews, p. 185 5 when I come thither.” But the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague ; for as soon as he had spoken these words, a pain of the bowels, which was remediless, came upon him, and sore torments of 6 the inner parts ; and that most justly : for he had tormented other men’s bowels with many and 7 strange torments. Howbeit he nothing at all ceased from his bragging, but still was filled with pride, breathing out fire in his rage against the Jews, and commanding to hasten the journey: but it came to pass that he fell down from his chariot, which was borne along violently ; so that having a sore fall, all the members of his body were 8 dislocated. And thus he, who a little afore thought he might command the waves of the sea, (so proud was he beyond the condition of man,) and weigh the high mountains in a balance, was now cast on the ground, and carried in a horse-litter, shewing 9 forth unto all the manifest power of God. So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man ; and whiles he lived in pains and torments, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his 10 smell was noisome to all his army. And the man, who thought a little afore he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry, for his intolerable stink.

p. 186 11 Here therefore, being plagued, he began to leave off his great pride; and to come to the knowledge of himself’by the scourge of God, his pain increasing every moment. And when he himself 12 could not abide his own smell, he said these words; “It is meet to be subject unto God, and that a man who is mortal should not proudly think of himself as if he were God. This wicked 13 person vowed also unto the Lord, (who now no more would have mercy upon him,) saying thus ; That the holy city (to the which he was going in 14 haste, to lay it even with the ground, and to make it a common burying place) he would set at liberty. And as touching the Jews, whom he 15 had judged not worthy to be so much as buried, but to be cast out with their children, to be devoured by the fowls and wild beasts ; he would make them all equals to the citizens of Athens[4]P. 186 Foot Note d. Probably here at ch. vi. 1.) is a misreading (as before, of Athens for Antioch : the words being abbreviated might have been mistaken by the copyist: the freedom of Antioch we … Continue reading. And the holy temple, which before he had spoiled, 16 he would garnish with goodly gifts ; and restore all the holy vessels, with many more ; and out of his own revenue defray the charges belonging to the sacrifices : yea, and that also he would become 17 a Jew himself, and go through every place which was inhabited, declaring the power of God. But 18 for all this his pains would not cease : for the just judgment of God was come upon him : therefore despairing of his health, he wrote unto the Jews the letters underwritten, bearing the form of a supplication, and containing as follows p. 187 19 ” Antiochus, king- and governor, to the good Jews his citizens, wisheth much joy, health, and 20 prosperity. If ye and your children fare well, and your affairs be to your contentment, I give very great thanks to God, having my hope in 21 heaven. As for me, I was sick, or else I would have remembered kindly your honour and goodwill. Returning out of Persia, and being taken with a grievous disease, I thought it necessary to 22 care for the common safety of all : not despairing of myself, but having great hope to escape this 23 sickness. But considering that even my father, at what time he led an army into the high 24 countries, appointed a successor; to the end that if any thing fell out contrary to expectation, or if any tidings were brought which were grievous, they of the land, knowing to whom the public 25 affairs were left, might not be troubled. And moreover, considering how that the princes who are borderers and neighbours unto my kingdom, wait for opportunities, and expect what shall be the event ; I have appointed my son Antiochus king, whom I often committed and commended unto many of you, when I went up into the high provinces ; to whom I have written as 26 followeth : therefore I pray and request you to remember the benefits which I have done unto you generally, and in special ; and that every man will be still faithful to me and my 27 son. For I am persuaded that he, following my intentions, will behave towards you equitably and graciously.”

28 Thus the murderer and blasphemer, having suffered most grievously, as he entreated other p. 188 men, so died he a miserable death in a strange country in the mountains. And Philip, who was 29 brought up with him, carried away his body ; who also fearing the son of Antiochus, betook himself into Egypt to Ptolemaeus Philometor.


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

References
1 P. 184 Foot Note a. The chief city of the Persian empire ; for descriptions of  which see Q. Curtius and Diodorus Siculus. But compare 2 Mace. vi. 1 ; where this occurrence is said to have taken place in Elymais.
2 P. 184 Foot Note b. A renowned city, the ancient capital of Media. Its origin and structure are detailed by Herodotus, I. 98.
3 P. 184 Foot Note c.  Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] That this threat contained within it a degree of insult as well as injury, we perceive on observing from Greek classic authors that the word Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] conveyed the idea of  any thing rather than an honourable place of sepulture. Ælian relates of the Lacedtæmonian women, that they examined the bodies of their sons who had fallen in battle; and if the majority of their wounds were in front, proving that they had fought well and died nobly, they were delighted, and with pride Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.184-3.Macca_.9-FN-c-03-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x17.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 362px) 100vw, 362px" /> click on image to enlarge] But if the wounds were in the back, from which a suspicion of their courage might arise, Gr. [
 https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.184-3.Macca_.9-FN-c-04-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x7.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.184-3.Macca_.9-FN-c-04-00-20mm-h.fw_-768x18.png 768w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.184-3.Macca_.9-FN-c-04-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x12.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 841px) 100vw, 841px" />
 click on image to enlarge] Read the note of Perizonius on the passage ; who appositely quotes Jeremiah xxvi. 23, where king Jehoiakim is related to have slain Uriah, and to have cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.
4 P. 186 Foot Note d. Probably here at ch. vi. 1.) is a misreading (as before, of Athens for Antioch : the words being abbreviated might have been mistaken by the copyist: the freedom of Antioch we have seen conferred upon the Jews ; viz,. at ch. iv. 9 and vi. 1 : where see the note.

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