תמונות בעמוד

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 entertained 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 polo late the SANCTUARY OF STRENGTH. This prediction was fulfilled in the following manner. . ..

A false* rumour was spread in Judea, that Antiochus was dead : Jason 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 fled into the castle. Jason slaughtered great

*2 Macc.4.5.


numbers of his fellow citizens who resisted him, but was at last driven away, and fed 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 unburied, 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 niet, 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 altar, 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.” .

* 2 Macc. y. 10.


: He then left governors to affict 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. i.

· 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 endeayoured to make himself absolute master of the kinga dom. He made great progress in his attempt, and the young king, Ptolemy Physcon, assembled his council to concert proper measures, 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. Ama bassadors 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 artificè, and sent to his brother, that lie 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

reconciled, reconciled, he resolved to employ his whole force against them, and proceeded to hostilities; but when the Roman ambassadors arrived, he was stopt in his career, and was compelled to put an end to the war.

Antiochus, at his return from Egypt, exasperated to see himself forcibly dispossessed by the Romans of a crown, which he looked upon already as his own, made the Jews, though they had not offended him in any manner, feel the whole weight of his wrath.'

In order to effect this barbarous purpose, Antiochus dispatched * Apollonius, the collector of his tribute, to Jerusalem with a thousand men, who concealed his designs, and by plausible pretences gained the confidence of the people, who had no suspicion of their hostile intentions; but, as soon as the sabbath day arrived, Apollonius threw off the mask, and, falling upon the Jews whilst they were engaged in public worship, slew great multitudes; and when he had taken the spoils of the city he set it on fire, and pulled downrthe houses and walls on every side: but took the women and chil. dren captives, and carried away the cattle. The Sy. rians then built a castle or fortress on a high hill in the city of David, over against the Temple, to overlook and annoy them; and a garrison was placed in it, where they laid up the spoils of Jerusalem. “ Thus † they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it, insomuch that the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled because of them ; whereupon the city was made an habitation of strangers, and became strange to those that were born in her, and her own children left her: her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness, her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach, her honour into contempto As had been her glory, so

* 1 Macc. i. 29.,

Ibid. 37.


was her dishonour increased, and her excellency was turned into mourning.”

Antiochus * next issued out a decree that all his dominions should be of one religion, chiefly designing to distress the Jews. He forbad all burnt offerings and sacrifices in the Temple of the God of Israel ; commanded that the sabbaths should be profaned, the sanctuary polluted, unclean things eaten, and every means taken to make the people forget the law, and change the ordinances of the Lord; and whosoever would not conform to the king's command was to be put to death.

In order that this edict might be punctually obeyed, · Antiochus sent officers into all the provinces of his kingdom, to see it put in execution, and instruct the people in the ceremonies and customs to which they were to conformi. • No people † seemed more eager to comply with the .. orders of the king than the Samaritans. They presented a petition to hiin, in which they declared themselves not to be Jews; and desired that the temple, built on mount Gerizim, might be dedicated to the Grecian Jupiter, which was accordingly done. And not only the Samaritans, but many Jews, some through fear, and some through anbition, apostatised, and became perse. cutors of their brethren.

The officer, whom Antiochus sent into Judea and Samaria to see his decree put in execution, was called Athenæus, a man advanced in years, and well acquainted with the ceremonies of the Grecian idolatry. The holy Temple of the Lord Jehovah | was by this profane wretch dedicated to Jupiter Olympus, whose image was erected on the altar in the inner court of the Temple; and just before the image they built another altar, on which they sacrificed to him. Thus was the daily * 1 Macc. i. 41. + Josepbus. 2 Maco. vi. 2.


« הקודםהמשך »