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+ Gr.captains of thousands.
Apocrypha. Before taking care for the good ordering of to kill John: and unto the + tribunes Before about 135. them; at which time he came down he sent letters to come unto him, that about 135. himself to Jericho with his sons, Mat- he might give them silver, and gold,
15 Where the son of Abubus re- temple.
16 So when Simon and his sons also.
17 In which doing he committed 23 As concerning the rest of the
deeds which he did, and the building
the time he was made high priest
Chap. XVI. ver. 17. In which doing he committed a . and their friendship courted by all the nations round great treachery, &c.] What finally became of this traitor them, even by the Romans and Lacedemonians. He we have no manner of account in history. Being un-observes further, that this Simon was no less zealous for able to support himself against John the son of Simon, the service of God, in exterminating apostasy, superstiwho speedily marched against him, he fled to Zeno, tion, idolatry, and every thing else that was contrary to tyrant of Philadelphia, and there waited in expectation His laws ; that he was a great protector of the true Isof the arrival of Antiochus. No farther mention is made raelites, and a friend to the poor ; that he restored the of him by Josephus. Though Antiochus might have service of the temple to its ancient splendour, and reliked the treason, he must have hated and abhorred paired the number of the sacred vessels. So that we the traitor. And how could he trust an ungrate- need not wonder, if the Jewish Sanhedrim thought no ful viper, who had stung his best friend and benefactor dignity and honour while he lived, and, when he was so to his death? Dr. Hales. As to the victim of his trea- basely and barbarously cut off, no grief and lamentation, chery, the commendation, which the author of this book too great for a man of his uncommon merit. Universal bestows upon him, chap. xiv. 4—15, is worth our obser- | History, Stackhouse. vation : for therein he tells us, that “he sought the 23. As concerning the rest of the acts of John,] He good of his nation in such wise, as that evermore his succeeded his father in the high priesthood and princiauthority pleased them well :” that during his adminis- pality of the nation, which continued in the Maccabean tration, whilst Syria and other neighbouring kingdoms family until the time of Herod the Great. See the notes were almost destroyed by wars, the Jews lived quietly, subjoined to the Book of Esther. “every man under his vine and his fig tree," enjoying 24.- in the chronicles of his priesthood,] Called in without fear the fruits of their labours, and beholding some of the Greek copies, the fourth book of Maccawith pleasure the flourishing state of their country ; beus ; which Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews, their trade increased by the reduction of Joppa and here begins to follow and abridge. A Greek version of other maritime places ; their territories enlarged ; their this chronicle was extant not very long ago at Lyons, armies well disciplined; their towns and fortresses well though it seems to have been there burnt and to be utterly garrisoned ; their religion and liberties secured; their lost. Whiston. land freed from heathen enemies and Jewish apostates;
THIS book contains a compilation of historical records extracted from different works ; but especially in
abridgment of an history of the persecutions of Epiphanes and Eupator against the Jews, which had been written in Greek in five books, by an Hellenistical Jew of Cyrene, named Jason, a descendant probable of those Jews who had been placed there by Ptolemy Soter ; and which is no longer extant. The name of the compiler is not known. He was doubtless a different person from the author of the preceding book. He data from an era six months later than that chosen by him, and he not only writes with less accuracy, and in a more florid style, but likewise relates some particulars in a manner inconsistent with the accounts of the first book; from which nevertheless he has in other instances borrowed both sentiments and facts. By whomsoever it 133 composed, it should seem to have been originally written in Greek ; and the compiler, as well as the author, whose work he abridged, follows the Syrian mode of computation, reckoning by the years of the Seleucida,
The two epistles which are contained in the first and second chapters, and which are there said to have been
written by the Jews at Jerusalem to their brethren at Alexandria, exhorting them to observe the feast of tabernacles, and that of the purification, are by Prideaux considered as spurious; the second, indeed, is said have been written by Judas, who was not living at the time of the date ; and it contains many extravagant and fabulous particulars. It begins at the tenth verse of the first chapter, and terminates with the eighteenth of the second ; from thence to the end of the chapter is a short preface of the compiler of the abridgment of Jason's history ; which commences with the third chapter, and concludes with the thirty-seventh verse of the fifteens
chapter, the two last verses forming a kind of conclusion to the work. The book contains an history of about fifteen years, from the enterprise of Heliodorus in the temple, in the rear
of the world 3828, to the victory of Judas Maccabeus against Nicanor, 3843. The chapters are not howera arranged exactly in chronological order. The book begins at a period somewhat earlier than that of the first book of the Maccabees. As the author appears at first to have intended only an epitome of the history of Judas Maccabeus and his brethren, with some contemporary events; the account of the punishment of Heliodorus, which occurred under Seleucus, the predecessor of Epiphanes, as well as the circumstances related in the two last chapters, which happened under Demetrius Soter, the successor of Eupator, have been sometimes represented as additions by some later writer. But since these events, as connected with the time of Judas, were not irrelative to the author's design, there is no reason, except from a pretended difference of style, tu dispute their authenticity as a part of Jason's history; or, at least, as a genuine addition affixed to the epitome by the compiler. The author has no title, any more than the writer of the preceding book, to be considered as an inspired historian ; he speaks, indeed, of his own performance in the diffident style of one conscious of the fallibility of his own judgment, and distrustful of his own powers. His work was never considered as strict canonical till received into the sacred list by the Council of Trent, though examples are produced from it by many ancient writers. It must be allowed to be a valuable and instructive history ; and affords an interesting description of a persecuted and afflicted people ; furnishing in the relation of the conduct of Eleazar, and of the woman and her children who suffered for their attachment to their religion, an example of constancy, that mig: have animated the martyrs of the Christian Church. The author industriously displays the confidence in a resurrection and future life which prevailed at the period of his history, and which was the encourageineni tha: enabled those who were so severely tried to sustain their tortures. He likewise, perhaps, more particularis enforced the doctrine of a resurrection with a design to counteract the propagation of the Sadducean principes which were then rising into notice.
The work, as the production of a fallible and unenlightened man, contains a mixture of errour, and certain
should be read with that discretion, which, while it seeks instruction, guards against the intrusion of false ar. pernicious opinions. If St. Paul in his eulogium on some illustrious examples of faith should be thought have established the truth, or approved the examples of this history, he by no means bears testimony to the inspiration of its author, or establishes its general authority in point of doctrine. The Apostles consigned for the direction of the Christian Church the productions of only those “ holy men who were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The Fathers in general cite the book as an useful history, but not as of authority in point of doctrine.
There are two other books, entitled the third and fourth books of the Maccabees, which were never receired by
any church. That, which is improperly styled the third, and which in point of time should be considered as
Apocrypha. the first, describes the persecution of Ptolemy Philopator against the Jews in Egypt, about the year of the world 3789; and the miraculous delivery of those who were exposed in the hippodrome of Alexandria to the fury of elephants. This is a work entitled to much respect; it is in the most ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint, and is cited by the Fathers; but never having been in the Vulgate, which version was universally used in the Western Church, and from which our translations of the Apocrypha were made, it never was admitted into our Bibles.
The book, which is usually called the fourth book of the Maccabees, contains an history of the pontificate of John
Hyrcanus. Dr. Gray.
THE brethrem and in thferen, the cierusalem and das, sent greeti" Stole-
| also sacrifices and fine flour, and
of Egypt, to thank God for the death of loaves.
the pit. 24 The prayer of Neemias. feast of a tabernacles in the month a Lev. 23. 34. about 144. THE brethren, the Jews that be | Casleu.
I at Jerusalem and in the land of 10 In the hundred fourscore and
2 God be gracious unto you, and health unto Aristobulus, king Ptole-
| Jews that were in Egypt:
against a king.
13 For when the leader was come
slain in the temple of Nanea by the
14 For Antiochus, as though he
8 And burned the porch, and shed the compass of the temple, they shut
the Lord, and were heard; we offered come in : Chap. I. ver. 1. The brethren, the Jews &c.] From The second epistle begins here, and ends with the hence to the end of the sixth verse is nothing more than eighteenth verse of the second chapter. It is not only a preliminary salutation. The epistle begins at the se- written in the name of Judas Maccabeus, who was slain venth verse and ends with the ninth. The purport of it six and thirty years before the date which it bears, but is to exhort the Jews of Alexandria and Egypt to observe its contents also are so fabulous and absurd, that it never the feast of the dedication of the new altar erected by could have been written by the great council of Jews Judas, when he purified the temple, 1 Mac. iv. 59. assembled at Jerusalem for the whole nation, as it preGrotius, Dean Prideaux.
tends to be. Dean Prideaux, Stackhouse. 9. — the feast of tabernacles This appellation is im- - king Ptolemeus' master,] Namely, in the studies proper. What is meant is the feast of the dedication : 1 of Philosophy. Grotius. during which solemnity although they might carry some 11.- against a king.) Antiochus Epiphanes. winter greens in their hands, to express their rejoicing, 13. — the temple of Nanea.] Who this Nanea was the yet they could not make such booths as in the feast of learned are not agreed : some take her for Venus, others tabernacles, because the month Casleu fell in the winter. for Cybele, others for Diana. The manner in which AnDean Prideaux.
tiochus was disappointed, is related very differently here 10. In the hundred fourscore and eighth year, &c.7' from the account in 1 Mac. vi. 1, &c. Stackhouse. Vol. II.
whole people Israel, and preserve 17 Blessed be our God in all thine own portion, and sanctify it. things, who hath delivered up the 27 Gather those together that are ungodly.
scattered from us, deliver them that 18 Therefore whereas we are now serve among the heathen, look upon purposed to keep the purification of them that are despised and abhorred,
the temple upon the five and twen- and let the heathen know that thou b Lev. 23. tieth day of the month Casleu, we art our God.
thought it necessary to certify you 28 Punish them that oppress us,
31 Now when the sacrifice was
34 Then the king, inclosing the
I 36 And Neemias called this thing
Jason wrote in five books : 25 and how those
were abridged by the author of this book. 24 And the prayer was after this TT is also found in the records, that manner; O Lord, Lord God, Crea- 1 Jeremy the prophet commanded tor of all things, who art fearful and them that were carried away to take strong, and righteous, and merciful, of the fire, as it hath been signified: and the only and gracious King, 2 And how that the prophet, have
25 The only giver of all things, I ing given them the law, charged
18. - Neemias] Or, Nehemiah.
all his people,
and the kingdom, and the priesthood,
sanctuary, as he promised
for we hope
that were lost by reason of the
celebrate the purification, we have
I gave them all an heritage, and the and rendered 6 And some of those that followed kingdom, and the priesthood, and the heritage, him came to mark the way, but they the sanctuary, could not find it.
18 As he promised in the law, and the
I 19 Now as concerning Judas Mac-
21 And the manifest signs that
but a few, they overcame the whole
being gracious unto them with all
declared by Jason of Cyrene in five
leis people under heavens inter oue opere us, and =
Chap. II. ver. 19. Now as concerning Judas Macca- of the third chapter, and is carried on to the end of the beus, and his brethren, &c.] What follows to the end of thirty-seventh verse of the last chapter. Dean Prideaux. the chapter is the author's preface to his abridgment of Concerning Jason see the Introduction, the history of Jason, which begins from the first verse!