Ver. 1. Now. Lit. "And." H.
--- Thus many Heb. books commence, as Ex. Jos. Bar. &c. C.
--- Greece, over the whole. He was chosen generalissimo. H.
--- He conquered many of the Greeks, and overthrew Darius Condomanus, A. 3674. C.
--- His dominion in Syria may be meant. Grot.
--- Alexander was the first who reigned in that great monarchy, which he founded. W.
THE FIRST BOOK OF MACHABEES.
These Books are so called, because they contain the history of the people of God under the command of Judas Machabeus and his brethren; and he, as some will have it, was surnamed Machabeus from carrying on his ensigns, or standards, those words of Exodus xv. 11. "Who is like to thee among the strong, O Lord;" in which the initial letters, in the Hebrew, are M. C. B. E. I. It is not known who was the author of these books. But as to their authority, though they are not received by the Jews, saith S. Augustine, (l. xviii. de civ. Dei. c. xxxvi.) they are received by the Church; who, in settling her canon of the Scriptures, chose rather to be directed by the tradition she had received from the apostles of Christ, than by that of the Scribes and Pharisees. And as the Church has declared these two books canonical, even in two general councils, viz. Florence and Trent, there can be no doubt of their authenticity. Ch.
--- The most ancient Father, Clem. (Strom. i.) S. Cyprian, (1 ep. iii. ad. Cornel.) S. Ambrose, (Off. i. 41. &c.) quote them as divine; and the third Council of Carthage, Trent, &c. have inserted them in the canon. Though (W.) S. Jerom did not translate (C.) or urge them against the Jews, he had a great regard for them. In Dan. i. and xi. &c. The texts to which Protestants object, will be explained. They are not more difficult than many which occur in the Books of Kings and Paralipomenon. Other books have been formerly contested, which they now admit. The author of the second books seems to have designed at first only to insert two supplements. He then resolved to abridge the work of Jason, and hence added a preface, (C. ii. 20.) which may be first perused. He then gives an account of some who had suffered death for the truth; and in the eighth and following chapters, the victories of the Machabees, which had been partly recorded in the first book, are specified, with some fresh circumstances. Judas was styled the Machabee for his strength and valour, (W.) being "the scourge" of God, (H.) or because he was an exterminator. M.
--- Yet the etymology is not well ascertained. That given above, (Zac. xii. 5. H.) or M. C. B. I. (Buxt. Prideaux, &c.) seems to be overthrown, by the Syriac having always k instead of c, which is the case in two Chaldee MSS. These may not contain a truer history, but they rectify several mistakes in the printed copies. Kennicott.
--- S. Jerom found the first of these books in Heb. the second in Greek. Ep. 106. We have a third also in Greek, in the Comp. Bible; as well as a fourth, mentioned by Sixtus, (Bib. i. W.) "on the administration of Hircan," (C.) to which reference seems to be made 1 Mac. xv. 24. (W.) though what is extant be a work of no authority. "The empire of reason," falsely attributed to Josephus, and printed among his works, is more probably the fourth book, known to the ancients. Neither of these latter were ever deemed canonical by any authentic decree. W.
--- Many have indeed ranked the with the other contested works: but now it is generally agreed that they belong not to the sacred Scriptures, as the two former do. On these (C.) indeed, as almost on all the sacred books, (H.) authors have varied: but he most respectable and the most numerous declare in their favour. To arrange the four books in chronological order, we must make the first and third exchange places. This last can obtain its title only inasmuch as the Jews of Alexandria, who were persecuted by Philopator, and miraculously delivered, were animated with the same sentiments of piety and heroism as the rest of the Machabees. C. See Ecclesiasticus l. 1. 21. 23. H.
--- The authors of the first and second books relate many of the same events; yet seem not to have seen each other's works. The latter follows the Greek chronology, dating from Tisri, Sept. and October, (C.) A. 3828 to 3843, (H.) while the former dates from Nisan, (C.) our March or April, A. 3829 to 3869. The third book gives an account of Philopator's persecution in Egypt, A. 3787. The fourth, A. 3869 to 3698, (H.) is little known among the Latins. Calmet gives two copies, the one regarding Hircan and the other "the government of reason," or the martyrdom of the Machabees, A. 3837; (H.) the author of which last seems to have been a Stoic. C.
--- We shall pass them over, with Protestants, as they are not received by the Catholic Church. H.
CethimCethim; Cyrus, or rather Macedonia. --- Cethim; Macedon. It here denotes the western nations, as Cedar does those of the east.
Ver. 2. Holds. He was never defeated. Just. xii.
Ver. 3. Earth, even to India, beyond which the ancients knew of nothing.
--- Quiet, or silent; depopulated, (Is. xiv. 7.) and obedient. Hab. ii. 20.
Ver. 4. Up. He was spoiled by prosperity, (C.) and would pass for a god, and be styled "king of the world." Just. xii.
Ver. 6. Bed. Some suppose through poison, (Diod. xvii. S. Jer. ad Lætam.) or excess of wine. Athen. x. 11.
--- This was enough. H.
--- So perished the man who would claim divine honours! C.
Ver. 7. Servants. On the ninth day of sickness which preceded his death, he admitted all his soldiers to kiss his hand. Then he asked his friends, if they thought they should find such another king? As they were silent, he predicted what bloodshed would ensue, and told them to bury him in the temple of Ammon. When they asked to whom he left the throne, he said, "to the most worthy." He gave his ring to Perdiccas; whence all inferred, that he should be regent till the proper heirs came of age. Perdiccas desired to know when he would have divine honours: to which Alexander replied with these his last words, "when you are happy:" (Just. xii. Diod. xvii.) as much as to say, never. H.
--- This seems contrary to the sacred historian. But his authority is far superior. C.
--- Kingdom. This is otherwise by Q. Curtius; though he acknowledges that divers were of that opinion, and that it had been delivered by some authors. l. x. But here we find from the sacred text that he was in error. Ch.
--- By delivering his ring to Perdiccas, Alexander gave him authority to make this division. W.
--- Many assert, that he gave him directions in his last will. This was observed for some time. v. 10.
Ver. 8. Twelve. Jos. &c. Some add, a few months. He was about thirty-three years old.
Ver. 10. Death, twelve years being expired, when all the posterity of Alexander were dead. His generals gradually destroyed each other, and four took the diadem at the same time: Ptolemy, in Egypt; Seleucus, in Syria; Cassander, in Macedonia; and Lysimachus, in Thrace. Just. xiii. and xv. C.
--- Those who choose to read in order, may, after the preface 2 B. ii. 20. read the above, then 2 B. iii. 1. W.
Ver. 11. Antiochus the illustrious; Epiphanes, the younger son of Antiochus the great, who usurped the kingdom, to the prejudice of his nephew Demetrius, son of his elder brother, Seleucus Philopater. Ch.
--- Epiphanes means "renowed." W.
--- He took this title, particularly after the Samaritans had offered it to him. Jos. xii. Vaillant. A. 145.
--- His medals have always God prefixed, "the god appearing;" as he came opportunity, like a god, to defend the kingdom against the Egyptians, after he had been fourteen years a hostage at Rome. C.
--- Nothing could be more abject than his character. S. Jer. in Dan. viii. and ix. Athen. v. 4. and x. 12.
--- Greeks, counting not from the beginning of the reign of Alexander, but from the first year of Seleucus Nicator. Ch.
--- The era of the Seleucides began in spring or autumn, A. 3692, B.C. 312, though the Chaldees and Ptolemy date from the following spring. C.
--- The Grecian monarchy had then stood twenty years. Eus. W.
Ver. 12. Men. Jason attempted to supplant Onias III. and introduced pagan customs, when he was dead. Menelaus treated him in like manner. Being cited to pay what he had promised, he left Lysimachus in his place, who was slain in the temple, which he was robbing. 2 Mac. iv.
--- Us. Thus the Jews complained in the days of Jeremias, (xliv. 18.) and the Christian religion was blamed for all the miseries which fell upon the Roman empire. C.
--- S. Aug. proves in his City of God, that this accusation was false. H.
Ver. 15. Exercise, to wrestle (C.) and teach. Lyran.
Ver. 16. Made. S. Jerom thinks the attempt useless. But the Jews discovered the art. S. Epip. Pond. xvi. Bartol. 1 Cor. vii. 18.
--- Sold to the devil, becoming his instruments. 3 K. xxi. 25. Rom. vii. 14. C.
--- Go to 2 Mac. iv. 7.
Ver. 17. Egypt. He coveted this kingdom, having Syria already. W.
--- He was not very fit for war: but Egypt was not under Philometor a child, and Ephphanes made an easy conquest. This was his second visit to that country. While he besieged Alexandria, a report of his death was spread; and as he was informed that the Jews rejoiced at it, he fell upon them. v. 21. C.
--- After v. 20, read 2 B. iv. 21. W.
Ver. 23. Sanctuary. Josephus (xii. 6.) writes that Antiochus slew such as opposed his entrance into the city, and afterwards those who opened the gates, but would have prevented his plundering the temple. W.
--- Menelaus conducted the king. 2 Mac. v. 15. Profane authors condemn this conduct of the king towards a city subject to him. Jos. c. App. 2.
--- Diodorus relates several fables on this occasion. C.
Ver. 30. The chief collector, &c. Apollonius. Ch. 2 Mac. v. 24. W.
--- He basely fell upon the unsuspecting citizens on a sabbath day. H.
Ver. 33. Fire, thus destroying a great part. Jos. Ant. xii. 7.
Ver. 35. The city of David. That is, the castle of Sion. Ch.
--- In it was placed a garrison of Macedonians. W.
--- This castle had been occupied by Syrians before. It was now enlarged. 2 Mac. iv. 27. and v. 5.
Ver. 38. Sanctuary, to pillage all who came to the temple. C.
--- An evil devil. Literally, an adversary, watching constantly to do harm, as the evil spirit is always watching and seeking whom he could devour. Ch.
Ver. 40. Fled with Judas, &c. 2 Mac. v. Josephus (xii. 7.) assures us that the Samaritans flattered Epiphanes, and begged their temple might be consecrated to Jupiter, &c. The pretended that they were of Sidonian extraction.
Ver. 43. Be one. This reason herself teaches. But the king wished to establish a false religion, or rather he desired to root out all religion, and to shew his authority. H.
--- Demere superstitionem & mores Græcorum dare adnixus. Tacit. v.
--- He was not content with plunder, unless he ruined souls. W.
Ver. 45. Service, or worship, (C.) introduced by Epiphanes. H.
Ver. 49. People. He forced them to eat forbidden meat.
Ver. 57. Fifteenth. In all other places the 25th, whence this may be incorrect, (C.) or the altar was now set up, (H.) though sacrifices were not yet offered. C.
--- Idol. The statue of Jupiter Olympius, (Ch.) as Daniel (ix.) had foretold, as a figure of what antichrist would do, (Mat. xxiv. W.) as well as the Romans, when they took Jerusalem.
Ver. 58. Doors, to Trivia. Isai. lvii. 8. C.
Ver. 59. Law, and all the sacred writings. Jos. Sulpit. ii.
--- The pious Jews secreted what they could, and Judas took care to collect them. 2 B. i. 14. and iii. 48. C.
Ver. 61. After month. The officers took an account of the slain, (Grot.) or the dedication of the statue was renewed, or rather the king's nativity was kept. 2 B. vi. 7. C.
--- But this would only occur once a-year. People were compelled to sacrifice on the same day of each month on which the statue had been dedicated. v. 62.
Ver. 62. Over-against, or (H.) "upon," epi. The Greek altars were of a smaller size.
Ver. 65. Many. Eleazar, and the seven Machabees, &c. C.
Ver. 67. Wrath. God seemed displeased, as he was with too many. The pious were exposed to various trials, and to the fury of persecutors. H.
--- Read 2 B. v. 11. W.