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* '.' . 1 '., . . "'r'i rJ'. ' '.
and driven from their land, they were to defend themselves by every means in their power, that was consistent with- their duty to God ; and to rely with perfect confidence on the aid of the Lord, who would . certainly be unto tkem a rock ofdefence against their enemies and render human alliances unnecessary.. t Judas therefore took a very improper step in courting the protection of the Romans; and it was attended with fatal consequences. .'
Demetrius* having received an account of the defeat and death of Nicanor, sent Bacchides, and Alcimus 8 second time, who encamped before Jerusalem with an army of twenty thousand foot, and two thousand horse: Judas had no more than three thousand men with him to oppose them; and of these, all but eight hundred, terrified with the formidable appearance of the enemy, fled from the host. Personal courage tbis renowned general possessed to a great degree ; but what was his natural force, assisted only by a small number, without the shield and buckler of his salvation, and the sword of his excellency? He was now left to right his own battle, for the Lord withheld'aid from this new ally of the Romans: confidence 6'f victory no longer inspired the breast of Judas; he could not now say to his fearful troops, as on a former occasion, f It is no hard matterfor many to he shut up in the hands qf a Jew, and with the God of heaven it is all one to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company : for the victory of battle standeth not in the multidude of an host,but strength' cometh from heaven. Danger presented itself to his view in all its horrors, and " he was troubled in mind, and sore dismayed ;" but, still solicitous for' his country's honour and his own fame, he resolved not to' give 'his'
* } Mace. ix. 1. f 1 Mace. iii. 18—20.
foe* fees cause to triumph in his shameful flight, hut exerted the utmost efforts of human skill, and with astonishing bravery supported the combat for some time," so that the earth shook with the noise of the armies on both sides ;" at length, overpowered by numbers he fell at the feet of his adversaries; Thus died Judas Maccabeus, who, whilst he continued to rely entirely on the Lord, was in himself a host; and whose name struck terror into the minds of mighty warriors. He was, on the whole, a most amiable and worthy character; and though the Divine Being punished his inconsiderate application to the Romans, by deserting him in the hour of danger (as he chastised hisfaithful servant Moses for striking the rock, by not suffering him to enter the promised land) we cannot doubt but that, after death, God exalted him to that state of happiness allotted for the noble army of martyrs: as he had been, in so remarkable a manner, under Providence, the restorer and preserver of the Divine law, and the deliverer and protector of his country.
There was a general lamentation throughout Israel, for the loss of this valiant commander; and he was honourably buried by his brothers, Simon and Jonathan, in the sepulchre of his father, at Modin, having governed Israel six years.
• • SECTION IX.
THE HISTORY OF JONATHAN THE BROTHER AND SUCCESSOR OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.
After* the death of Judas, the people were greatly
* 1 Mace. in. 23.
disheartened. disheartened. Bacchides prevailedevery where: af%-.; mine also increased their distress; which we may judge from God's usual dealmgs with his people, was sent as a chastisement for their distrust in him, and desertion of their general. Many of the friends of Judas were put. to death, or cruelly used by Bacchides, so that there waa great affliction in Israel, " such as had not been since the times of the prophets they therefore resolved to appoint Jonathan, the brother of Judas, to be their prince and captain. Jonathan accordingly took the government, and collected forces together to resist the enemy; which Bacchides hearing, endeavoured to get him into his power; but Jonathan, and Simon his brother fled, with their company into the wilderness of Tekoa;and, in order to secure their goods and baggage, sent them, under the conduct of John, another of Judas's brothers, to their friends the Nebatheans; but John was intercepted in his march by the Jambrians, a tribe of Arabs, who slew him, took the rest prisoners and seized upon their effects. Not* long after this, Jonathan had an opportunity of revenging his brother's death, and obtained great spoil. He exerted himself, as his brother Judas had done, for the protection of God's people, and the blessing of the Lord constantly attended him.
Alcimusf, by the aid of Bacchides, had fully established himself in the high priest's office, and made several alterations for the corruption of the Jewish worship and bringing it to resemble the superstition of the heathen; at last he gave orders to pull down the wall which separated the Jews from the Gentile converts; but whilst it was doing, he was suddenly struck with
the palsy and died in great torment: after his decease the land of Israel enjoyed peace for two years. Soon after the death of Alcimus, Demetrius, who had seized Syria, and slain Antiochus Eupator, was acknowledged king by the Romans.
Jonathan made use of the interval of peace for restoring the government of the Jews, both in church and state, and repairing the walls and fortifications of Sion; this,excited the envy of the adverse party, who formed a plot which might have proved fatal to him, but that Divine Providence interposed in his preservation. He*, and his brother Simon, had afterwards great success against Bacchides; who, grown weary of war, and tired of those who had engaged him in it, put several of them to death, and concluded a peace with Jonathan f. .
Demetrius, after a few years, gave himself up entirely to luxury, and neglected public affairs; this disgusted his subjects, and they raised a conspiracy against him. Ptolemy Philometer having taken offence at Some proceedings of Demetrius towards him, by way of revenge set up an usurper, whose real name was Balas; but he pretended to be Alexander, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, arid great numbers of people flocked to him, Demetrius J collectedhis forces with all possible expedition, and Jonathan armed his troops. Both parties courted the friendship of Jonathan; but as Demetrius had been a bitter enemy to the Jews, Jonathan durst not confide in him: he therefore accepted Alexander's offers, and having the consent of all the Jews, assumed the high priest's office, and officiated at the feast of Tabernacles J. There hadjieen a vacancy in the priest
* 1 Macc.ix. 58. f Ibid. 71. + 1 Mace. x. 2.
hood hood for seven years, from the death of Alcimus; but from this time it continued for many years in the family of the Maccabees, called Asmoneans, from Asmoneus, the great grandfather of Mattathias. Whether the Maccabees were of the race of Josedek, is uncertain, but they were undoubtedly of the family of Aaron ; and as none appeared who had a better claim, Jonathan had a right to the office, especially as he was chosen with the consent of all the people.
The contending kings of Syria having taken the field, Demetrius was at length overpowered and . sjain*. Alexander, having by this victory secured the whole empire of Syria, sent to Ptolemy f, king of Egypt, desirmg to have his daughter Cleopatra to wife, which he consented to, and the marriage was accordingly solemnized. Jonathan J went by invitation to the weddingfeast, and was received by both kings-with great respect, especially by Alexander ; who caused him to be clothed in purple, enrolled him amongst the chief of hi&friends, and allowed him to take place amongst the first princes of his kingdom; he also constituted him general of his forces in Judea, and gave him an high office ia his palace. . .
Theso extraordinary honours excited the envy of several persons, and they brought accusations against Jonathan; but the king rejected them all, and caused proclamation to be made, that no one should .presume to speak evil of him, and Jonathan returned into Judea. i ......
Alexander $ having obtained quiet possession of the Syrian throne, abandoned himself to pleasure, ease, and luxury, and left the care of his affairs to a favourite,'.
* I Mace. x.S0. . t Ibid. 51. J Ibid. 59, 66.
. 4 § Josephus's Antiquities.