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THEN John came up from Gazara, and told Simon his father what Cendebeus had done against their people.

Ver. 1.  John.  He was afterwards surnamed Hircanus, and succeeded his father in both his dignities of high priest and prince.  He conquered the Edomites, and obliged them to a conformity with the Jews in religion; and destroyed the schismatical temple of the Samaritans.  Ch.

 

--- He was the eldest son and successor of Simon.  W.

 

--- Gazara, the same with Gaza, (M.) or Gadara, where John resided.  He came to announce the ravages of the enemy.


2 And Simon called his two eldest sons, Judas and John, and said to them: I and my brethren, and my father's house, have fought against the enemies of Israel from our youth even to this day: and things have prospered so well in our hands that we have delivered Israel oftentimes. 3 And now I am old, but be you instead of me, and my brethren, and go out, and fight for our nation: and the help from heaven be with you.

Ver. 3.  Be you.  Gr. and Syr. "you, by mercy of God, are of a proper age.  Be you instead of me and my brother; (Jonathas, with whom Simon had governed.  C.) and going out, fight valiantly for," &c.  H.


4 Then he chose out of the country twenty thousand fighting men, and horsemen, and they went forth against Cendebeus: and they rested in Modin.

Ver. 4.  Horsemen.  This is the first time we find them in the army.  Judas had only infantry, as more conformable to the law; (Deut. xvii.  Tournem.) or he had not been able to procure any.  H.


5 And they arose in the morning, and went into the plain: and behold a very great army of footmen and horsemen came against them, and there was a running river between them. 6 And he and his people pitched their camp over against them, and he saw that the people were afraid to go over the river, so he went over first: then the men seeing him, passed over after him.

Ver. 6.  He, John.  Ch.

 

--- A leader must be ever ready to set his men a pattern, which they will be ashamed not to follow.  H.


7 And he divided the people, and set the horsemen in the midst of the footmen: but the horsemen of the enemies were very numerous. 8 And they sounded the holy trumpets: and Cendebeus and his army were put to flight: and there fell many of them wounded, and the rest fled into the strong hold.

Ver. 8.  Holy.  Rom. edit. expresses this word, (C.) which Grabe supplies.  H.

 

--- The priests sounded, (C.) and God fulfilled his promise of victory.  Num. x. 9.  M.

 

--- Hold: Gedor.  C.


9 At that time Judas John's brother was wounded: but John pursued after them, till he came to Cedron, which he had built:

Ver. 9.  Cedron, otherwise called Gedor, the city that Cendebeus was fortifying.  Ch.

 

--- The same mistake, (C.) if it be one, (H.) is made in Greek, C. xv. 39.



Cedron

Cedron. Heb. nachal Kidron, may signify, "the shady torrent," or "vale," as it is styled by Josephus. It does not take its name from cedars. It is dry in summer, and when filled with water, in only three steps across. Doubdan xxvii. --- Cedron, to the east and south of Jerusalem, where Topheth and the sepulchres of the poor, and all unclean things, were placed. Here the pagans burnt their children in honour of Moloch. See 3 K. xv. 13. 2 Par. xxix. 16. and xxx. 14.

10 And they fled even to the towers that were in the fields of Azotus, and he burnt them with fire. And there fell of them two thousand men, and he returned into Judea in peace.

Ver. 10.  Towers of wood, (C.) erected for sentinels.  Grot.



Azotus

Azotus, or as the Heb. writes, Asdod, on the Mediterranean, was noted for the temple of Dagon, (1 K. v. 1,) which Jonathas destroyed. Joseph. xxii. 8. C.

11 Now Ptolemee the son of Abobus was appointed captain in the plain of Jericho, and he had abundance of silver and gold,


12 For he was son in law of the high priest.
13 And his heart was lifted up, and he designed to make himself master of the country, and he purposed treachery against Simon, and his sons, to destroy them. 14 Now Simon, as he was going through the cities that were in the country of Judea, and taking care for the good ordering of them, went down to Jericho, he and Mathathias and Judas his sons, in the year one hundred and seventy-seven, the eleventh month: the same is the month Sabath.

Ver. 14.  Sabath, now called Sebeth, corresponding to January and February.  C.




15 And the son of Abobus received them deceitfully into a little fortress, that is called Doch which he had built: and he made them a great feast, and hid men there.

Ver. 15.  Doch or duk, (H.) in Syr. means "a watch tower."  Grot.

 

--- Josephus styles it Dagon.  It was not far from Jericho, over which Ptolemee governed.  He wished to rule over all the country, by calling in the Syrians.  C.


16 And when Simon and his sons had drunk plentifully, Ptolemee and his men rose up and took their weapons, and entered into the banqueting place, and slew him, and his two sons, and some of his servants.

Ver. 16.  Plentifully.  Lit. "were inebriated."  But this expression often denotes no more than taking a moderate sufficiency, (H.) or making good cheer, (Gen. xliii. 34.  John ii. 10.  Lyr.  T.  C.) without any excess.  Ps. lxiv. 10.  S. Aug. q. 144.  Gen.

 

--- The first and last years of Simon were disturbed; the rest were spent in peace.  He began A. 170.  C. xiii. 41.  W.

 

--- Nothing can be added to the praise bestowed upon this great man.  C. xiv. 4. &c.  Josephus (C.) and the author of 4 Mac. i. (or xx. Arab.  H.) give a fabulous account of the siege of Doch.  Ant. xiii. 14. and Bel. i. 2.  See Salien, A. 3919. and Usher, 3869.


17 And he committed a great treachery in Israel, and rendered evil for good.

Ver. 17.  Treachery.  Syr. "crime."  Gr. also, "revolt."  It seems that king Antiochus participated in this murder, and had promised the government of the country for a reward.


18 And Ptolemee wrote these things and sent to the king that he should send him an army to aid him, and he would deliver him the country, and their cities, and tributes. 19 And he sent others to Gazara to kill John: and to the tribunes he sent letters to come to him, and that he would give them silver, and gold, and gifts. 20 And he sent others to take Jerusalem, and the mountain of the temple.


21 Now one running before, told John in Gazara, that his father and his brethren were slain, and that he hath sent men to kill thee also. 22 But when he heard it he was exceedingly afraid: and he apprehended the men that came to kill him, and he put them to death: for he knew that they sought to make him away. 23 And as concerning the rest of the acts of John, and his wars, and the worthy deeds, which he bravely achieved, and the building of the walls, which he made, and the things that he did: 24 Behold these are written in the book of the days of his priesthood, from the time he was made high priest after his father.

Ver. 24.  Father.  Such annals were kept; and from these Josephus has collected his account of the latter times.  C.

 

--- Some think that the Fourth B. of Mac. contains an extract of the work here mentioned.  Six. Bib. i.  Read 2 B. i. 1.  W.

 

--- What is preserved in the seven middle chapters in the Arabic version is given by Calmet who omits the 19 first and 32 last chapters.  The whole has been published by Desprez.  It differs in many points from Josephus, in the history of Hircan.  A. 3869, Sidetes besieged the new governor in Jerusalem, and after granting him a truce, during the octave of tabernacles, makes peace on very hard terms.  Hircan takes money from the tomb of David, or rather from the secret treasures of the kings of Juda, and attends the king in his expedition into Persia, where Sidetes is slain, and the Macedonian yoke is entirely thrown off.  A. 3874.  The pontiff obliges the Idumeans to receive circumcision the following year.  In 3877, he renews the alliance with the Romans.  4 B. iii.  Soon after, the Jews write to their brethren in Alexandria.  2 B. i. 10.  In 3894, Hircan undertakes the siege of Samaria, which his two sons continue.  They defeat Antiochus of Cizicum, while Hircan puts Lathyrus to flight, and Samaria is razed to the ground.  After a reign of twenty-nine years, Hircan dies.  A. 3898.  Eus. Dem. viii. 2.  C.

 

--- Aristobulus, Alex. and Hircan, his children, succeed in order.  Alexander Janneus, the son of the last, reigns prosperously, and his widow is afterwards regent for nine years.  Her eldest son, Hircan, being opposed by Aristobulus, the interference of Pompey is desired.  He takes the latter prisoner to Rome, A. 3955, when Augustus came into the world.

 

--- Cæsar being made dictator, liberated Aristobulus, who was now pontiff; but Pompey caused him, and Alex. his son, to be slain.  Antipater, who had adhered to Hircan, procures Phasael and Herod, his sons, to be made governors of Judea and Galilee.  The latter married Mariamne, daughter of Hircan, and the last of the Asmonean family, whom he afterwards put to death.  He wrests the kingdom from Aristobolus; and having offended the people by some heathenish structures in compliment to Augustus, endeavours to please them by rebuilding the temple, A. 3982.  Not long after, Christ appeared; and thus we are brought to the more happy days of the gospel.  H.


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