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at length put 1* death. Antioehws Grypu*, being grown. to years of maturity, began to- take uptHt fcfrfpeeif the authority as= weH as name of kin*; <flfo Wft mother wmrfd not submit to, she diereftfre prepared a cup of poison, and offered. it to lmtt whtfn he came fh hot fron* hunting; but feeing apprised of fret desfgn., he obliged her to drink k herself and so. put an end to the Mfe of this wicked- woman. GhrvpUr, having settled his affairs in peace and security, reigned several years without any disturbance.

During these divisions, Hyrcanus shook off the Syrian yoke, greatly enlarged his dominions:, and made Mrnself whofly independent. He subdued Sechenr, the chief seat of the sect of the Samaritans, and destroyed their temple, which SanbaWat had built. He afto conquered tfie Idawieans', and obliged thenr'afl to embrace Ale Jewish religion ; and from that time they were frfc corporated into the. Jewish church, and at length lost the name of Idameans or Edomites, and were called

Hyrcanus sent ambassadors to Rome to renew the league which Simon his father had made with the senate, and at the sametimeto complain of the oppressive behaviour of the Syrian kings. Upon which the senate decreed, that all the places which had been taken from them should be restored, and reparation made, and that the Syrian kings should have no right to march their armies through the Jewish territories. Ambassadors were sent from Rome tu see this decree' put'in execution.

The behaviour of the Romans in this instance was' very honourable, and any:other nation might haveglori-^ fied in their protection and interposition; but, when we* consider die Jews as the peculiar people of G6n, they' sink in our esteem for thus humbling themselves to hea-. then*.

Hyrcanus,.

Hyrcanus, being much increased in power and riches, sent his two sons, Aristobulus and Antigonus, to besiege Samaria: which, after a victorious siege, they took, and entirely destroyed, and even caused trenches to be dug every way across it, so that it might hever be rebuilt. This was not done out of hatred to the sect of the Samaritans, for none of them dwelt here, Alexander the Great having expelled them as we formerly read. . In, acknowledgment of the friendship of the Romans, Hyrcanus sent the next year ambassadors with a golden cup and a shield of immense value; upon which they issued another decree to ratify and confirm the former.

After the conquest of Samaria, Hyrcanus became master of all Judea, Galilee, and several other places in the. country round about, and was one of the greatest princes of the age in which he lived: none of the neighbouring princes dared to molest him; but.the latter end of his reign was disturbed by internal commotions in his government, occasioned by disputes between the Pharisees and Sadducees, from which the Romans could not shield him.

Hyrcanus died the next year after these disturbances; and, having had the administration of public affairs both in church and state for twenty-nine years, left the high-priesthood and sovereignty to his eldest son, Judas Aristobulus. , •;

John Hyrcanus was an excellent governor and commander, and Israel was in a very flourishing state during his administration; but still they were in obscurity, when considered as the peculiar people of God. They were indeed victorious and successful over their enemies, for the Lord was still merciful to them, in remembrance of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his faithful servant David, and therefore would not suffer the heathen to dispossess them: but his mercy was exercised only in the ordinary dispensations of pro,., , vidence, vidence, and we cannot wonder that they were distressed in those instances, in which they could not have been relieved without a miraculous interposition in their favour. . i

In the reign of Hyrcanus, Jesus, the son of Sirach, a Jew of Jerusalem, going into Egypt and settling there, translated out of Hebrew into Greek, for the use of the Helenistical Jews, the book of Jesus his grandfather, which is the same we have in our Bibles under the title of Ecclesiasticus. The ancients call it the treasury of all virtue, supposing it to contain maxims leading to every virtue. It was originally written in Hebrew, about the time that Onias, the second of that name, was high priest at Jerusalem.

Hyrcanus left five sons : Aristobulus, Antigonus, and Alexander, were the three first; the name of the fourth is unknown, but the fifth we are told was called Absalom. 'rf

. - V .1 . ,.

SECTION XII.

JUDAS ARISTOBULUS MADE PRINCE AND HIGHPRIEST OF THE JEWS.

Aristobulus succeeded his father. He put a royal diadem on his head, and assumed the title of king; this he had no right to do, as he was not of the lineage of David: but he' paid no regard to the nature of the Jewish constitution, for he was a man of a most imperious, ambitious, and cruel temper. He cast his own mother into prison, and starved her to death; and caused his favourite brother to be executed on an unjust suspicion; but no sooner was the last fact committed, than he severely repented, and his conscience felt the bitterest pangs of remorse for all his cruel deeds. He had for some time been afflicted with a distemper, which R 6 was

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brotbss-'Ai•tiocJiu», Gy*ifi«nij^ v«ho harassed each ©the* T^ith continual wars* ofHbMih advantage being taken by Tyre,, §idon,,andi ether paittsof theenipire, they as^nn^ed their liberty, and- tyfiantsfttoofc possession of them. ., After, Ate*a»dPR;iuid settled hie affairs, at' home, be ajtechedisome of. these places, attd deair very, deceitfully with Ltathymus the, heir to the crown of Egypt, who came to their assistance;, on which a bloody battle epsuqd, wherein Alexander's army was totally defeated, qnd. he lost thirty thousand men: and must have been entirely undone, had not Cleopatra, queea of Egypt, come to his assistance.

When Alexander returned to Jerusalem, he went, at the feast of tabernacles, to officiate i» the temple as high,priest; where he had great indignity offered tt> him hy the people, who called him reproachful names, and pelted him with citrons. They were instigated t» this by the Pharisees, who bore him. an inveterate ha^ tred. Enraged by these insults, Alexander took instant revenge by killing six thousand of them: from this, time he chose his guards out of the heathen na*. tions, never daring to trust himself with Jews. At last there broke out a civil war between him and his people* which continued about six years, and, occasioned the death of fifty thousand persons: a decisive battle wast fought, and Alexander conquered them. He exercised, the most horrid barbarities, by which he so terrified the whole party, that they gave him no farther disturbance.

After these civil wars were ended, he had conten-, tions with neighbouring kings •• but at the end of three years returned to Jerusalem, and was well received by his, subjects: soon after this he died of a disease which was at first brought on by excessive drinking.

Alexander, by his will, appointed that the supreme ,, v , authority

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