3 Maccabees Chapter 13

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P. 203 – 206 Book 3 B.C. 164 [PDF: 253/256 of P.524]


(i) The attempts of’ Nicanor against the Jews.

1 In the hundred forty and ninth year [B.C. 164.] it was told Judas that Antiochus Eupator was coming with a great power into Judaea: 2 and with him Lysias his protector and ruler of his affairs, having each of them a Grecian power, of footmen an hundred and ten thousand, and horsemen five thousand and three hundred, and elephants two and twenty, and three hundred chariots armed with scythes.

3 Menelaus also joined himself with them, and with great dissimulation encouraged Antiochus ; not for the safeguard of his country, but because p. 204 he thought to have been made governor. But 4 the King of kings moved Antiochus’ mind against this wicked wretch ; and when Lysias informed the king that this man was the cause of all mischief, the king commanded to bring him unto Berœa, and to put him to death, as the manner is in that place. Now there is in that place a tower 5 of fifty cubits high, full of ashes ; and it had a round instrument[1]P. 204 Foot Note a. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The passage is rather obscure : but it seems that the tower contained a wheel in contact with the ashes, on which … Continue reading, which on every side hanged down into the ashes. And whosoever was 6 condemned of sacrilege, or had committed any other grievous crime, there did all men thrust him unto death. Such a death it happened that wicked 7 Menelaus to die, not having so much as burial in the earth ; and that most justly: for insomuch as 8 he had committed many sins about the altar, whose fire and ashes were holy, he received his death in ashes.

9 Now the king came with a barbarous and haughty mind, to do far worse to the Jews than had been done in his father’s time. Which things 10 when Judas perceived, he commanded the multitude to call upon the Lord night and day; that if ever at any other time, he would now also help p. 205 them, being at the point to be deprived of their law, of their country, and of the holy temple : 11 and that he would not suffer the people, which lately had been refreshed a little, to become again 12 subject to the blasphemous nations. So when they had all done this together, and besought the merciful Lord with weeping and fasting and lying flat upon the ground three days long; Judas, having exhorted them, commanded they should be in 13 readiness. And being apart with the elders, he determined, before the king’s host should enter into Judaea, and get possession of the city, to go forth, and try the matter in fight, by the help of the 14 Lord. So when he had committed all to the Creator of the world, and exhorted his soldiers to fight manfully, even unto death, for the laws, the temple, the city, the country, and the commonwealth, he 15 camped by Modin. And having given the watchword to them that were about him, ” Victory is of God ;” with the most valiant and choice young men, he attacked the king’s tent by night, and slew in the camp about four thousand men, and the chiefest of the elephants, with all who 16 were upon him[2]P. 205 Foot Note b. There is some obscurity in the Greek text, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] (There is a various reading, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] for Gr. [ click on image to … Continue reading. And at last they filled the camp with fear and tumult, and departed with good 17 success. This was done in the break of the day, because the protection of the Lord did help him.

18 Now when the king had taken a taste of the p. 206 manliness of the Jews, he went about to take the holds by policy; and marched towards Bethsura, 19 which was a strong garrison of the Jews : but he was put to flight, failed, and lost some of his men : and Judas conveyed unto them which were 20 in it such things as were necessary. But 21 Rhodocus, who was in the Jews’ host, disclosed the secrets to the enemies ; therefore he was sought out, and taken, and put in prison. The king 22 treated with them in Bethsura the second time, gave his hand, took theirs, departed, fought with Judas and his men, was overcome ; heard that 23 Philip, who was left over the affairs in Antioch, had shaken off his allegiance ; was confounded at it, entreated the Jews, submitted himself, and sware to all just conditions, agreed with them, and offered sacrifice, honoured the temple, and dealt kindly with the place ; and accepted well of 24 Maccabaeus, made him principal governor from Ptolemais unto the Gerrhenians[3]P. 206 Foot Note c. Who dwelt on the borders of Egypt.; came to 25 Ptolemais : the people there were grieved by reason of the covenants ; for they stormed, because they wished to make their covenants void. Lysias 26 went up to the judgment-seat, said as much as could be in defence of the cause, persuaded, pacified, made them well-affected, returned to Antioch. Thus it went touching the king’s coining and departing.


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


1 P. 204 Foot Note a. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The passage is rather obscure : but it seems that the tower contained a wheel in contact with the ashes, on which the culprit was tied, and then whirled round till he was suffocated. See the word Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.204-3.Macca_.13-FN-a-02-00-20mm-h.fw_-50x20.png 50w" sizes="(max-width: 54px) 100vw, 54px" /> click on image to enlarge] again used to signify a wheel, in 4 Mace. ix. 19, 20. A similar mode of destruction is mentioned by Valerius Maximus, (IX. 2. sect. (1) who states that Darius Ochus of Persia, wishing to get rid of some obnoxious chiefs, devised a novel mode of punishment, to save himself from violating the letter of a previous oath :
LATIN: ” Septum altis parietibus locum cinere complevit, suppositoque  tigno prominente, benigne cibo et potione exceptos in eo collocabat ; e quo somno sopiti in illam insidiosam congeriem decidebant.
 ENGLISH TRANSLATION: The ashes from the high walls of the place of the septum of the finished, some a pendulum with a prominent, having been kindly received by him with food and drink placed in him; the accumulation of treacherously, and that from the time he dropped to sleep, lulled to sleep in the.
2 P. 205 Foot Note b. There is some obscurity in the Greek text, Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.205-3.Macca_.13-FN-b-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-1-300x12.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 492px) 100vw, 492px" /> click on image to enlarge] (There is a various reading, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] for Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Grotius translates it, and he added, (to the slain,) him who was director of the Elephants, with all his retinue.” Bochart understands the elephant himself, not his governor, to he spoken of ; and corrects the reading to Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.205-3.Macca_.13-FN-b-04-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x11.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.205-3.Macca_.13-FN-b-04-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x19.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 522px) 100vw, 522px" /> click on image to enlarge].
3 P. 206 Foot Note c. Who dwelt on the borders of Egypt.

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