Obrazy na stronie

sioned the king to take a view of the frontiers, towards Egypt, and put them in a state of defence; and in this progress he came to Jerusalem, where he was received with great marks of respect, and proceeded from thence to Phænicia.

Jason * continued in his office but a short time. He employed Menelaus his brother to carry his tribute, to the Syrian court, who treacherously supplanted him, by offering to pay a larger sum annually ; and obtained the king's mandate appointing him high-priest, with which he returned to Jerusalem, and put Jason to flight. Menelaus did not keep his engagement with Antio. chus, and was summoned to appear, with the collector of the customs, before the king. When he departed from Jerusalem, he left his brother Lysimachus as his deputy. In the mean time there was an insurrection in Syria, which called for the king's attention, and he went with an army to quell it, leaving Andronicus to govern in Antioch, during his absence. Menelaus took this opportunity of stealing some vessels of gold out of the Temple of the Lord, some of which he carried to Antioch, instead of the tribute due from Jerusalem to Syria, and some he sold by way of merchandize to the Tyrians.

Oniast the good high-priest, whom Jason had circumvented, resided at this time at Antioch, and finding what Menelaus had done, reproved him for his wickedness, and then took refuge in a place of worship, where he thought he should be safe from the effects of his rage. But Menelaus prevailed on Andronicus to assist his cruel purposes, and by his means procured the death of Onias. Not only the Jews, but the surrounding nations, expressed grief and indignation for the murder of this worthy man: even the savage heart of Antiochus felt compassion, and his eyes dropt tears of pity and regret for the good Onias, who by his sober and modest deportment had engaged the esteem and veneration of the very

* 2 Macc. iv,

+ Ibid 34.

heathens. The anger of the king was kindled against Andronicus for abusing the power he had put into his hand, and as soon as he returned, he command. ed him to be stripped of the robes of royalty with which he had been arrayed as his vicegerent, and led through the city to the very place where he had caused the impious murder to be committed ; here he was put to death as his cruelty deserved.

In such a state of affairs, so pious a man as Onias could not have been happy in the high-priest's office: and we have reason to suppose, that the malice of his enemies proved the instrument of removing him from a state of grief and anxiety, to a world of everlasting happiness.

Antiochus having been, ever since the return of Apollonius from the Egyptian court, preparing for a war, he resolved to wait no longer, but instead of expecting it in his own territories, determined to carry it into those of the enemy. He therefore marched his forces towards the frontiers of Egypt, where being met by the forces of Ptolemy, a battle ensued, in which Antiochus obtained the victory; and improved his advantage to the utmost, by fortifying that border of his dominions, and retired with his army to Tyre for the winter.

Lysimachus * had been assistant to Menelaus in robbing the Temple; therefore, as he was present in Jerusalem, the rage of the people for these sacrilegious acts fell upon him; which occasioned an insurrection in

# 2 Macc. iv.-4..


that city, wherein multitudes on the part of Lysimachus were slain, and he himself perished.

Three delegates were sent from the Sanhedrim, or senate of the Jews, to complain of Menelaus, who obtained sentence against him ; but Menelaus bribed Ptolemy Macron, the son of Dorymenes, to persuade the king to revoke it. Ptolemy Macron had formerly been governor of Cyprus for Ptolemy Philometer, but having been disgusted with the ministry on some account, he went over to Antiochus, and delivered the island of Cyprus into his hand; on which he was received among the number of his friends. Antiochus prepared in the winter for a second expedition into Egypt; he was so successful, that he could have destroyed the whole army, but he stopped the slaughter his troops would have made; which so endeared him to the Egyptians, that all parts of the country submitted to him except Alexandria. Ptolemy Philometer was either taken or voluntarily surrendered himself to Antiochus, who cha tertained him seemingly in a friendly manner, but with interested views. After this they had but one table, and lived together with apparent friendship, though each harboured secret jealousies, and deceived the other.

The prophet also predicted, that Antiochus would pollute the SANCTUARY OF STRENGTH. This predic. tion was fulfilled in the following manner. A false *

rumour was spread in Judea, that Antiochus was dead: Ja on took advantage of this, and with the hope of reinstating himself in the high-priest's office, he collected together a thousand men, made an assault upon Jerusalem, and at length took the city: on which Menelaus fed into the castle. Jason slaughtered great

* 2 Macc. v. 5.



numbers of his fellow-citizens who resisted him, bet was at last driven away, and fled into the land of the Ammonites; but being detested by all men for his abominable practices, he was pursued from city to city, and at last perished in a strange country, “ where he was cast out voburied, had none to mourn for him, no solemn funeral, nor sepulchre with his fathers."

Antiochus, hearing'an imperfect account of this transaction, supposed that the Jews had revolted from his government; he therefore, as we are told in the Books of the Maccabees, “after he had smitten Egypt, returned again, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude; and* commanded his men of war not to spare such as they met, and to slay such as went up upon the houses, and these cruel orders were executed. Yet Antiochus was not content with this, but presumed to go into the Temple; and entered proudly into the Sanctuary, and took away the golden

and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof; and the table of the shew-bread, and the pouring vessel, and the vials, and the censers of gold, and the crowns, and the golden ornaments that were before the Temple, all which he pulled off. He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels : also he took the hidden treasures which he found. And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly. Therefore there was great mourning in Israel. So when Antiochus had carried out of the Temple a thousand and eight hundred talents, he departed in all haste unto Antioch, thinking in his pride to make the land navigable, and the sea passable by foot: such was the haughtiness of his mind.”

nitar, atau wa

[blocks in formation]

11.J Linnanail

vonna linea

He then left governors to afflict the nation : in Jerusalem, Philip, a Phrygian, a man more barbarous than himself; and at Gezerim, Andronicus. Menelaus was continued high-priest, who was even worse than these, having a malicious mind against his countrymen the Jews.

The people of Alexandria, seeing Philometer in the hands of Antiochus, regarded him as lost to them; and seated his younger brother, who had on this occasion the name of Ptolemy Evergetes the second, on the throne: he is chiefly known in history by that of Physcon.

Antiochus, who had advice of what was transacting, under pretence of restoring the dethroned monarch, returned a third time to Egypt, and endeavoured to make himself absolute master of the kingdom. He made great progress in his attempt, and the

ug, rcolemy Physcon, assemoseu nis councia to concert proper ineasures, when they resolved to seek for a reconciliation with Antiochus, through the mediation of the Grecian ambassadors. They then made overtures of peace to Antiochus, who promised to make preparations for a solemn treaty. In this extremity, Ptolemy Physcon, and Cleopatra his sister, sent ambassadors imploring the aid of the Romans,

who agreed to protect them, and sent an embassy into Egypt. Ambassadors had also been sent from Rhodes to accommodate the difference: but Antiochus dissembled with them, and pretended great affection for Ptolemy Philometer ; however this prince began to see through his artifice, and sent to his brother, that he wished to come to an accommodation; which was completed by the mediation of Cleopatra, on condition that the two brothers should reign jointly; so Egypt was restored to its former tranquillity. The instant that Antiochus heard the brothers were


« PoprzedniaDalej »