Ver. 1. Egypt. They are invited to worship at Jerusalem. M.
--- It seems these were most considered; perhaps being more numerous. C.
--- They had also a schismatical temple. H.
THE SECOND BOOK OF MACHABEES.
This Second Book of Machabees is not a continuation of the history contained in the First; nor does it come down so low as the First does, but relates many of the same facts more at large, and adds other remarkable particulars, omitted in the First Book, relating to the state of the Jews as well before as under the persecution of Antiochus. The author, who is not the same with that of the First Book, has given (as we learn from C. ii. 20. &c.) a short abstract of what Jason, of Cyrene, had written in the five volumes, concerning Judas and his brethren. He wrote in Greek, and begins with two letters, sent by the Jews of Jerusalem to their brethren in Egypt. Ch.
--- Hence the whole book has been considered by some as an epistle. Cotel. Can. Ap. p. 338.
--- But it is easy to distinguish the letter from the history, (C.) to which a preface is prefixed. C. ii. 20. Yet the Alex. copy has at the end, "A letter concerning the acts of Judas Mach." H.
--- The appendix of two epistles was added to the First Book by him who wrote the second, (W.) abridging the work of Jason. H.
Ver. 7. Demetrius Nicator. The date refer to what goes before.
--- Nine. This author dates from autumn, whereas the preceding begins the era of Seleucides, in spring, which accounts for the apparent contradictions. C.
--- Trouble. As they had written when in distress, so they now testify their joy and gratitude to God, begging their brethren to keep the dedication of the new altar. W.
--- This first letter, sent during the heat of the persecution raised by Epiphanes, is lost.
--- Kingdom. Judea was then tributary to Egypt; yet Jason applied to the Syrian monarch, and instead of waiting for the death of Onias III. wished to purchase his dignity, and to change the manners of the people. Josephus gives contradictory accounts of these affairs, (C.) if he be really the author of 4 Mac. H.
Ver. 8. Flour, (mincha) including corn, &c. After Judas had purified the temple, the usual sacrifices were offered. C.
Ver. 9. Scenopegia; viz. the encenia, or feast of the dedication of the altar, called here scenopegia, or feast of the tabernacles, from being celebrated with the like solemnity. Ch. C. x. 6.
--- The real feast occurs in the month of Tisri. C.
Ver. 10. Eight. Thus the preceding letter is dated, according to many, (M.) as there was no Judas or Aristobolus known at this time. But Judas, the Essene prophet, (C. ii. 14. W.) must have flourished about that period; (Jos. Ant. xiii. 19. C.) and one Aristobolus wrote something in the Scripture for Philometor. Clem. Strom. v. Eus. Hist. ii. 17.
--- After Philadelphus, the kings of Egypt had commonly Jews among their preceptors. Rupert, Vict. x. 15.
--- This person is supposed to have instructed Physcon. C.
Ver. 11. King. Antiochus Sidetes, who began to make war upon the Jews, while Simon was yet alive; (1 Mac. xv. 39.) and afterwards besieged Jerusalem, under John Hircanus. So that the Judas here mentioned (v. 10.) is not Judas Machabeus, who was dead long before the year 188 of the kingdom of the Greeks, for he died in the year 146 of that epoch; (see above, 1 Mac. c. ii, v. 70, also the note on chap. i, v. 2.) but either Judas, the eldest son of John Hircanus, or Judas the Essene, renowned for the gift of prophecy, who flourished about that time. Ch.
--- Epiphanes may as well be meant. The ancestors of those who wrote resisted him.
Ver. 12. Persia. This country is not specified in the Rom. and Alex. Sept. Other copies have, "He God made them who attacked the holy city flee in swarms to Persia." Syr. Vat.
--- the name of Persia now comprised all the dominions of Antiochus; Rupert understands Sidetes. C.
Ver. 13. Nanea. A Persian goddess, which some have taken for Diana, others for Venus. Ch.
--- Her temple at Ecbatana was renowned. 1 B. vi. 1.
Ver. 14. Dowry. Thus the pagans played with religion. M.
--- Anthony having espoused the Minerva of Athens, required the city to give him 1000 talents for her portion. Dion. Seneca, suasov. 1.
--- Heliogabalus and Caligula pretended to marry the celestial Venus or the moon. C.
Ver. 16. Slew. Lit. "struck." Gr. "stoned." Yet Epiphanes escaped. (C. x. 9. and 1 B. vi.) having received some wounds. But a fall from his chariot, and vexation, hastened his death. H.
--- Some of his followers, who had advanced farther into the temple, perished. C.
Ver. 18. Scenopegia. The dedication was observed by the people bearing branches, in memory of their late forlorn condition on the mountains. H.
--- See v. 2.
--- Fire. This feast occurred in Tisri. 2 Esd. viii. 1. 14. C.
Ver. 19. Persia. Babylonia, called here Persia, from being afterwards a part of the Persian empire. Ch.
--- Thus S. Chrys. (H. 6. in Mat.) says, the Jews were delivered from "the Persian captivity." W.
--- All beyond the Euphrates was now called Persia.
--- Valley of Topheth, where (C.) it is still shewn. Doubdan.
--- The miraculous pit was enclosed by Artaxerxes. C. v. 33. H.
--- Four miracles occurred respecting this fire. v. 20. 22. 32. W.
Ver. 21. The priest. Gr. "Nehemias ordered the priests to sprinkle with the water both," &c. H.
--- Modern Jews say the sacred fire was not in the second temple. But Gorionides and 4 Mac. admit this fact. C.
--- Elias obtained fire upon his sacrifice nearly in the same manner. H.
Ver. 23. Jonathan, one of the chief priests; perhaps Joiada, Eliasib's son. C.
Ver. 29. Spoken, promising these favours. Deut. xxx. 3. H.
Ver. 32. Altar. This second flame came immediately from heaven, and overpowered that proceeding from the mud. C.
Ver. 34. A temple. That is, an enclosure or a wall round about the place where the fire was hid, to separate it from profane uses, to the end that it might be respected as a holy place. Ch.
--- Such open enclosures are often styled temples. C.
--- Gr. "But the king enclosing it, made it sacred, (ieron) having examined the fact." H.
Ver. 35. Hand. The copies vary much. La Haye.
Ver. 36. Nephthar, or rather Necphar. Grot.
--- Nephi. Greek has the former word. Rom. copy and Syr. Naphtai; may be derived from Chal. phetir, "pure, unmixed." C.
--- Nephthar may signify "deliverance," as sacred things are rescued from common use. W.