3 Maccabees Chapter 14


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P. 206 – 212 Book 3 B.C. 164 [PDF: 256/262 of P.524]

CHAPTER 14[1]P. 206 Foot Note a. Compare this chapter with 2 Mace. vii.

(i) The attempts of Nicanor against the Jews.

1 After three years[2]P. 206 Foot Note b. Namely, from the commencement of Antiochus’ reign.  was Judas with his company informed that Demetrius the son of Seleucus, having entered by the haven of Tripolis [BC. 162.] 2 with a great power and navy, had gained possession of the country, and killed Antiochus, and Lysias his protector.

3 Now one Alcimus, who had been high priest, and had defiled himself wilfully in the times of their mingling[3]P. 207 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] but many MSS. read Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] as at verse 38 of this chapter. The two readings and passages deserve to be compared, … Continue reading with the Gentiles, perceiving that by no means he could save himself, nor have any 4 more access to the holy altar ; came to king Demetrius in the hundred and one and fiftieth year, presenting unto him a crown of gold, and a palm, and also of the golden boughs which were used solemnly in the temple : and so that day he held 5 his peace. Howbeit, having gotten opportunity to further his foolish enterprise, and being called into council by Demetrius, and asked how the Jews stood affected, and what they intended, he 6 answered thereunto; ” Those of the Jews who are called Assidaeans[4]P. 207 Foot Note d. Concerning these men, see 2 Mace. ii. 42. and vii. 13., (whose captain is Judas Maccabæus,) nourish war, and are seditious, and will 7 not let the realm be in quietness. Wherefore I, being deprived of mine ancestors’ honour, (I mean the high-priesthood,) am now come 8 hither : first verily for the unfeigned care I have of things pertaining to the king ; and secondly, even for that I intend the good of mine own countrymen : for all our nation is in no small misery, through the unadvised dealing of them 9 aforesaid. Wherefore, O king, seeing thou p. 208 knowest all these things, be careful for the country and our nation, which is pressed[5]P. 208 Foot Note e. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” surrounded and pressed on all sides.” The verb is used in this passive sense by Polybius. on every side, according to the affable clemency which thou readily shewest unto all. For as 10 long as Judas liveth, it is not possible that the state should be quiet.”

11 This was no sooner spoken by him, but the rest of his friends, being maliciously set against Judas, did more incense Demetrius. And forthwith calling 12 Nicanor, who had been master of the elephants, and making him governor over Judaea, he sent him forth; commanding him to slay Judas, and to 13 scatter them which were with him, and to make Alcimus high priest of the most high temple. Then the 14 heathen who had fled out of Judaea from Judas, came to Nicanor by flocks, thinking the harm and calamities of the Jews would be their welfare. Now when the Jews heard of Nicanor’s coming, 15 and the intended invasion of the heathen, they cast earth upon their heads, and made supplication to him who had established his people for ever, and who always helpeth his own portion with manifestation of his presence. So at the 16 commandment of the captain they removed straightways from thence, and came near unto them, at the town of Dessau[6]P. 208 Foot Note f. Its precise situation is not known..

17 Now Simon, Judas’ brother, had joined battle with Nicanor, but was somewhat discomfited through the sudden silence[7]P. 208 Foot Note g. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] This expression is used by Polybius still the sense is obscure. p. 209 Grotius would meet the difficulty by reading Gr. [ click on image to … Continue reading of his enemies. p. 209 18 Nevertheless, Nicanor hearing of the manliness of Judas and his men, and the conrageonsness which they had to fight for their country, declined to try 19 the matter by the sword. Wherefore he sent Posidonius, and Theodotus, and Mattathias, to make 20 peace. So when they had taken long advisement thereupon, and the captain had made the multitude acquainted therewith, and it appeared that they were all of one mind, they consented to the 21 covenant ; and appointed a day to meet in together by themselves : and when the day came, and 22 particular seats were set for each of them ; Judas placed armed men, ready in convenient places, lest some treachery should be suddenly practised by the enemies : so they held a peaceable conference.

23 Now Nicanor abode in Jerusalem, and did no hurt, but sent away the people which had been 24 gathered together in flocks. And he had Judas ever in his presence ; for he was affectionately 25 inclined towards him. He prayed him also to take a wife, and to beget children : so he married, was 26 quiet, and took part[8]P. 209 Foot Note h. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” he entered upon domestic life.” In the first book of Maccabees, iv. 6, the phrase Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] occurs, … Continue reading of this social life. But Alcimus perceiving the love which was betwixt them, and considering the covenants which were made, took himself away ; and came to Demetrius, and told him that Nicanor was not well affected p. 210 towards the state ; for that he had ordained Judas, a traitor to his realm, to be his successor. Then the king being in a rage, and provoked 27 with the accusations of the most wicked man, wrote to Nicanor, signifying that he was much displeased with the covenants, and commanding him that he should send Maccabaeus prisoner in all haste unto Antioch.

28 When this came to Nicanor’s hearing, [B.C. 161/2.] he was much confounded in himself, and took it grievously that he should make void the articles which were agreed upon, the man being in no fault. But because there was no way 29 of resisting the king, he watched his time to accomplish this thing by policy. But when 30 Maccabaeus saw that Nicanor began to be churlish unto him, and that he entreated him more roughly than he was wont, perceiving that such sour behaviour came not of good, he gathered together not a few of his men, and withdrew himself secretly from Nicanor. But the other, finding that 31 he was notably prevented by Judas’ policy, came into the great and holy temple ; and while the priests were offering the ordinary sacrifices, 32 commanded them to deliver him the man. And when they sware that they could not tell where the 33 man was whom he sought, he stretched out his right hand toward the temple, and made an oath in this manner ; If ye will not deliver me Judas as a prisoner, I will lay this temple of God even with the ground, and I will break down the altar, and erect here a notable temple unto Bacchus.

34 After these words he departed. Then the p. 211 priests lifted up their hands towards heaven, and besought Him who was ever a defender of their 35 nation, saying in this manner ; Thou, O Lord of all things, who hast need of nothing[9]P. 211 Foot Note i. See the same expression used at 1 Mace. ii. 9., wast pleased that the temple of thine habitation should be 36 among us ; therefore now, O holy Lord of all holiness, keep this house ever undefiled, which lately was cleansed[10]P. 211 Foot Note k. The common version adds here, ” and stop every unrighteous mouth.” But these words are wholly wanting in almost every Greek manuscript..

37 Now was there accused unto Nicanor one Rhazis, one of the elders of Jerusalem, a lover of his countrymen, and a man of very good report, who for his kindness was called a father of the Jews. 38 For in the former times, when they mingled not[11]P. 211 Foot Note l. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Compare this expression with verse 3 above. themselves with the Gentiles, he had been accused of Judaism, and did boldly jeopard his body and life with all vehemency for the religion of the 39 Jews. So Nicanor, willing to declare the hate which he bare unto the Jews, sent above five 40 hundred men of war to take him. For he thought 41 by taking him, to do the Jews much hurt. Now when the multitude would have taken the tower, and violently broken into the outer door, and commanded to bring fire and burn the doors, he being surrounded on every side, fell upon his sword ; 42 chusing rather to die manfully, than to come into the hands of the wicked, to be abused otherwise 43 than beseemed his noble birth : but missing his stroke through the hurry of the conflict, the multitude also rushing within the doors, he ran boldly p. 212 up to the wall, and cast himself down manfully amongst the thickest of them. But they quickly 44 giving back, and a space being made, he fell down upon the middle of his belly[12]P. 212 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] or, as before translated, ” into the midst of the void place;” for the word Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] is thought to bear … Continue reading. Nevertheless, 45 while there was yet breath within him, being inflamed with anger, he rose up ; and though his blood gushed out like spouts of water, and his wounds were grievous, yet he ran through the midst of the throng ; and standing upon a certain steep rock, when as his blood was now quite gone, 46 he held forth his bowels, and taking them in both his hands, he cast them upon the throng; and calling upon the Lord of life and spirit to restore him those again, he thus died.


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. 206 Foot Note a. Compare this chapter with 2 Mace. vii.
2 P. 206 Foot Note b. Namely, from the commencement of Antiochus’ reign.
3 P. 207 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] but many MSS. read Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] as at verse 38 of this chapter. The two readings and passages deserve to be compared, as doubtless  one and the same thing is intended in both.
4 P. 207 Foot Note d. Concerning these men, see 2 Mace. ii. 42. and vii. 13.
5 P. 208 Foot Note e. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” surrounded and pressed on all sides.” The verb is used in this passive sense by Polybius.
6 P. 208 Foot Note f. Its precise situation is not known.
7 P. 208 Foot Note g. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] This expression is used by Polybius still the sense is obscure. p. 209 Grotius would meet the difficulty by reading Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and Biel by Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.208-3.Macca_.14-FN-g-03-00-20mm-h.fw_-50x20.png 50w" sizes="(max-width: 52px) 100vw, 52px" /> click on image to enlarge] but the MSS. give no countenance to either emendation.
8 P. 209 Foot Note h. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” he entered upon domestic life.” In the first book of Maccabees, iv. 6, the phrase Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] occurs, denoting ” a married life.” Most of the old translators interpret the passage as meaning that Judas and Nicanor thenceforward lived together.
9 P. 211 Foot Note i. See the same expression used at 1 Mace. ii. 9.
10 P. 211 Foot Note k. The common version adds here, ” and stop every unrighteous mouth.” But these words are wholly wanting in almost every Greek manuscript.
11 P. 211 Foot Note l. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Compare this expression with verse 3 above.
12 P. 212 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] or, as before translated, ” into the midst of the void place;” for the word Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] is thought to bear both significations: but the wounded condition of the man, as described in the following verse, seems to determine  in favour of that rendering which I have adopted.

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