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•f Pentecost. After this Judas,obtained several other important victories, , ,. ,; •. , ;.
At length Antiochus marched to Jerusalem, in order to besiege the sanctuary. The Jews made a valiant resistance, but were on the point of submitting, when, they were most providentially relieved. For Lysiashaving received an account that Philip, whom Antiochus Epiphanes had appointed guardian of his son, was arrived, and had taken possession of Antioch, and there assumed the government of the Syrian empire*, found it necessary to make peace with the Jews, that he might be at liberty to return to Antioch; and accordingly peace being granted to them on very advantageous terms, and sworn to by Antiochus, he was admitted within the fortifications of the sanctuary; but-j-when he saw how strong they were, he caused them, contrary to his treaty, to be demolished, and returned towards Syria.
MenelausJ the high-priest, in expectation of recovering his office, and being made governor of Judea, attended this expedition, and was very officious against his own people; but Lysias, finding the war was • so unprosperous, accused this wretch to the king, as the original author of it; and he was condemned to be cast headlong into a tower of ashes, where he miserably perished. On || his death the office of high priest was granted to Alcimus, a man altogether as wicked as Menelaus.
On the king's return to Antioch, Philip was driven thence and suppressed. It has been before mentioned that ambassadors had been sent from Rome to regulate the affairs of Syria: these ambassadors finding that the king had more ships and elephants than the treaty al
* 1 Mace. vi. 57. f Ibid. 62. J 2 Mace. xiii. 3—8. ... D 2 Mace. xiv. 8. f' lowed, lowed, caused the supernumerary ships to be burnt, and the elephants to be slain. This measure occasioned great discontent amongst the people, and a man called Leptines, being particularly exasperated, murdered one' of the ambassadors whilst he was bathing. An embassy was immediately dispatched to Rome to excuse the king, but the senate dismissed them with silent indignation. '. '''
Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, availed nirhself of this opportunity, landed in Syria*, obtained the kingdom and caused Antiochus to be put to death:
Alcimus, who-had been appointed high-priest, was rejected by the Jews, because he had polluted f himself with conforming to'the mariners of the Greeks; he therefore assembled all the apostate Jews, and going at the head of them addressed the new king for relief against Judas and his brethren, accusing them of slaying many of the king's friends, and driving others out of the country; and by this accusation so prejudiced the king against them, that he sent Bacchides, governor of Mesopotamia, into Judeawith an army, and joined Alcimus in the commission with him, for making war upon the Jews. On their first arrival they proceeded with artifice, and pretended to come with peaceable intentions, but Judas and his brethren were aware of their treachery ; some of the Jews, however, were deceived by them, and were destroyed; amongst these were sixty of the Assideans, and several of the scribes or doctors of the law. After this Bacchides returned to the king, but Alcimus remained with a part of the forces, who drew many deserters to him, and much disturbed the state of Israel. This provoked Judas to take the field in order to punish those who had revolted.'' Alcimus
• 2 Mace. sir. 1,2. f 5 Mace. xir. 3.
«''-'''' went went again to the king,. and having presented him with a crown of gold, and other gifts, renewed his complaints against Judas; which being seconded by some in the court who were enemies to the Jews, Demetrius was induced to send another army to subdue them, under Nicanor their old enemy; commanding him to cut off Judas, disperse his followers and establish Alcimus in the high-priest's office. Nicanor was at first unwilling to make war on Judas, but being urged by the king, he at length pursued it with fury; and having spoken many blasphemous words against the Temple, and threatened to destroy it, and build a temple to Bacchus in the room of it, he was slain and his army routed by Judas. After * this, the Jews took out the spoils, cut eff Nicanor's head, and the impious hand which he had lifted against' the holy Temple, and hanged them upon one of the towers of Jerusalem, they then kept a day of great rejoicing, which was afterwards observed as an annwal festival.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE HISTORY OF JUDAS
We must now begin to take a, view of the Jleman empire, which was described to Daniel in the remarkable vision we formerly read, under the image ©fa fourth beast, dreadful, and strong exceedingly, which, with great iron teeth, devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feel of it. The history of the Romans
* 2 Mace. xiv.
shews shews that this was a very just representation of their rapid and irresistible acquisitition of power and dominion.
Judas* Maccabeus saw himself continually attacked by the whole force of the Syrians, and that they were so perfidious there was no relying on them in any treaty of peace. He had no aid to expect from the neighbouring nations, and the Romans were generally esteemed for justice and valour, and always ready to assist weak states against oppressive kings; he therefore resolved to seek an alliance with them. But could the Jewish nation, which had hitherto been so wonderfully supported by an Almighty Power, be reckoned amongst weak nations? It is true, their army was small in number when Compared with their enemies, and they were frequently assaulted, but God had hitherto enabled four of them to chase an hundred, and an hundred toput ten thousand toJlight; he had animated their breasts with the courage of lions, and shielded them from the most furious attacks of their enemies ; they had returned victorious from many battles, without the loss of a single man; and none had fallen but through their own rashness, folly, or disobedience to the Divine Law. What need then had Judas and the chosen people of the Lord to seek for protection from an heathen power? It was degrading their Heavenly King in the sight of idol worshippers to suppose that they stood in need of their assistance ; and the honour of the Lord required, that those who thus distrusted him should be taught, by chastisement, to repent for their want of confidence in his Almighty Power. For we must remember, that by the Israelites (as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) God had promised to shew forth his glory, and convey the blessings of Redemption to all nations;
* l Mace. viii. 1.
therefore it was not possible for them to be cut off, whilst they kept those laws which were given to distinguish and separate them from heathens, and continued to put their trust in the power of the Lord: neither could they be considered as the peculiar people of God, or expect miraculous assistance any longer than whilst they fulfilled the conditions of the covenant made with, their forefathers. And we may observe, throughout the whole course of the Jewish history, that when this people entered into leagues with heathen powers, they were always unsuccessful.
Eupolemus * and Jason, the two ambassadors whom Judas sent to the Roman senate, met with a very gracious reception; and the Jews and Romans entered into a mutual engagement to assist each other both by tea andland; so that Judas and his followers, instead of fighting only for their own lives and their laws, and the recovery of their inheritance,a& they had hitherto done, were now bound to assist, if called upon, the ambitious designs of that'people who meditated the subjection of the whole earth. Though sometimes one heathen nation, and sometimes another, were (after the apostasy. of the Israelites under their king) suffered to prevail, for the punishment of the wickedness of others; yet, it was not lawful for the remnant of God's people (who were preserved for other purposes) to join with them, without an express command from God : their only business was, to live quietly under the government which had dominion over them, as long as they were allowed the free exercise of their religion, and the possession of their inheritance; to wait with patience for. the Messiah; or in case they were persecuted on account of their faith, and compelled to worship idols,
* 1 Mace. Tiii. 2J.