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Judas and his followers, encouraged by their late success, and much increased in strength by the numbers who now joined them, resolved to oppose all who combined against them, and soon obtained a memorable victory over Timotheus and Bacchides, two of Antiochus's generals, who brought a great army against them, of which were slain twenty thousand men; and the Jews gained great riches, besides arms, and many necessaries for carrying on the war *.
Lysias, hearing of the bad success of the king's army in Judea, and of the losses they had sustained, was much embarrassed; but, knowing that Antiochus was resolutely bent to destroy the Jews, he made great preparations for another expedition against them, and march. ed into Judea with an army of sixty thousand foot, and five thousand horse, resolving to extirpate all the inhabitants of the country. "When ↑ Judas saw this mighty army encamped at Bethsura, he prayed, and said, Blessed art thou, O SAVIOUR of Israel, who didst quell the violence of the mighty man by the hand of thy servant David, and gavest the host of strangers into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul, and his armourbearer, shut up this army in the hand of thy people Israel, and let them be confounded in their power and horsemen. Make them to be of no courage, and cause the boldness of their strength to fall away, and let them quake at their destruction. Cast them down with the sword of them that love thee, and let all those that know thy name praise thee with thanksgiving." After this pious prayer they engaged with the enemy, though the whole army amounted to no more than ten thousand men; but by the aid of the LORD they gained the victory, slew five thousand of the adversary, and put the rest to flight. Lysias retired to Antioch, purposing Macc. iv. 50-34.
#2 Macc. viii. 30,
Judas and his com-
to return with a still greater force. pany went to mount Sion. "And when they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burnt up, and shrubs growing in the courts, as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and the priests chambers pulled down, they then rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast ashesupon their heads, and fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an alarm with the trumpets, and cried towards heaven." Judas then appointed persons to cleanse the sanctuary; they set all parts of divine worship in order, and offered sacrifices according to the law. Thus was the Temple-worship restored exactly that day three years, on which it had been profaned by the heathens.
But though the Jews had recovered the Temple, they were greatly annoyed as they went thither to worship, by a garrison which Apollonius had built on mount Acra; Judas therefore fortified a part of mount Sion, to secure the priests and people from the frequent attacks of their enemies +.
Whilst these things were transacting, Antiochus was in Persia, levying the tribute; but he fled out of that country with dishonour; for, attempting to plunder a heathen temple, in which there were great riches, the people of the country assembled and drove him away: he was therefore ill-disposed to receive the news of the defeat of his generals in Judea. The author of the Book of Maccabees ‡ informs us, that this account made him in a manner frantic with rage and disappointment; but he resolved to hasten to Jerusalem, and threatened to make that city a grave for the Jews, where he would bury the whole nation. Whilst he was preparing to
1 Maec. iv. 38-41.
+ Ibid. 60, 61.
+ 2 Macc. ix.
execute this horrid purpose, he was struck with an incurable disease in the midst of his journey; but he was determined that nothing should stop him, and ordered the driver of his chariot to redouble his speed, by which the carriage was overturned, and Antiochus so miserably bruised, that he was obliged to be confined to his bed in a little town on the road. Here he was tormented with the most excruciating pains, and all the horrors of conscious wickedness, and in a short time died. Thus, according to the prediction of the prophet, as he was going forth with great fury, to destroy, and utterly to make away many, he came to his end with none to help him.
How different was the latter end of the life of this tyrant, to that of the good Mattathias! We may here perceive the justice of Gon taking exemplary vengeance on so notorious a sinner.
THE HISTORY OF JUDAS MACCABEUS, UNDER THE REIGN OF ANTIOCHUS EUPATOR.
ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES was succeeded by his son Antiochus; this prince was very young, and his father before his death recommended the care of him to one of his favourites, named Philip t, whom he also appointed regent of the kingdom during his son's minority but when Philip came to Antioch, he found his office filled by Lysias, who, as soon as he heard of the king's death, took the young prince then under his tuition, and placed him on the throne, giving him the name of Antiochus Eupator. Philip finding himself too weak to contend with Lysias, fled to Egypt; but was
* Dau. xi. 4.
+ Macc. vi. 14.
disappointed in his hopes of getting help from thence, as that kingdom was in the utmost confusion, occasioned by the disputes between Ptolemy Philometer, and his brother Physcon; who were of such opposite dispositions, that it was impossible harmony should long subsist between them. Philip, not meeting with success, returned into Syria, and seized upon Antioch. At this time Ptolemy Macron *, from being an enemy to the Jews, became their friend, on which he was called traitor by the Syrians; and indeed deservedly, because he had treacherously delivered the island of Cyprus, of which he had been appointed governor by Ptolemy Philometer, to Antiochus Epiphanes. Ptolemy Macron was deprived of his government, and Lysias appointed in his room: when the former found he had not the means of living as he had been accustomed to do, he came to the desperate resolution of poisoning himself.
In the mean time Judas Maccabeus marched out with his forces, to chastise the neighbouring nations, who were confederated to cut off the Jews; and gained several memorable victories, particularly over the Edomites †, who with Gorgias, the Syrian general, in conjunction, opposed him with an army consisting of twenty thousand men, who were all put to the sword. Judas had likewise great success against the Ammonites, who had exercised many cruelties towards the
2 Macc. x. 13:
The Idumea, or Edom, mentioned above, was a part of the land of Israel, formerly belonging to the inheritance of the tribes of Judah and Simeon, which the Edomites, who were driven out of their own country, had taken possession of during the Babylonian captivity. After their coming into this country, Hebron, which.. had formerly been the metropolis of Judah, became the metropo-lis of the Idumeans.
Jews; and also obtained a memorable victory over Timotheus*, who was governor in the land of the Ammonites, the same whom Judas so wonderfully defeated two years before. In this battle fell, of Timotheus's army, twenty thousand five hundred foot, and six hundred horsemen : Timotheus fled to Gazera, where he was slain; and Chereas, his brother, who was governor of the place, and Apollophanes, another leader of the army, shared the same fate.
The + heathen nations that lived about the land of Gilead, hearing of their defeat, resolved to attempt the destruction of all the Jews in those parts. The inhabitants of Tyre, Sidon, Ptolemais, and other places, determined at the same time to cut off the Jews of Galilee; but the Jews all wrote to Judas for aid, and through the mercy of GOD they were delivered from the danger which threatened them. Judas §, by the advice of the Sanhedrim, or great council, had divided his army into three parts, each consisting of eight thousand men; with the first he and his brother Jonathan relieved the Gileadites; and with the second Simon, another of his brothers, assisted the Galileans; and the third were left at Jerusalem under the command of Joseph and Azarias, two principal leaders, for the defence of that city and adjacent country. The two parties who went forth on expeditions returned with honour and triumph; for they happily delivered many of their brethren who were shut up in prison in different cities, in order to be all massacred in one day; put the enemy to flight whereever they went, and slew an astonishing number of them. Simon then collected together all those he had rescued from their foes, and carried them with him into
* 2 Macc. x. 24.
+ 1 Macc. v. 9.
+ Ibid. 15. Ibid. 21.