1 Machabees xv.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Demetrius. Soter, and brother of Nicator, (Calmet) now a captive. (Worthington) — When the latter went beyond the Euphrates [River], he wandered for fear of Tryphon, till he found rest at Rhodes, where he heard of his brother’s misfortune, and was invited by his wife to marry her. He therefore took the title of king, when he wrote to Simon form the isle of Rhodes. Soon after he landed (Calmet) at Seleucia, and married Cleopatra, who was indignant that her husband had taken to wife the daughter of Mithridates. (Just. xxxvi.) — Tryphon’s adherents flocked to him: exolescente favore recentis imperii. (Trog. xxxix.; Eusebius) — Demetrius was styled Sidetes, either because he came from Side, in Pamphylia, or because he was fond of “hunting.” Yet his medals have, “Euergetes.” (Vaillant; Usher, the year [of the world] 3864.) (Calmet) — Prince. Greek, “Ethnarch.” (Haydock) — Josephus often uses this title for an independent prince, beneath the dignity of a king. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. And to. Greek properly adds, “and Ethnarch, and to,” &c.
Ver. 3. Pestilent; disturbers of the peace, (Haydock) like Alexander, Antiochus, and Tryphon.
Ver. 5. Oblations, such as were presented to the Lord, or remittances. He is very liberal of what he could not get back.
Ver. 6. Money. He supposed that Simon would have his own image on it. But we find no human figure on the coins which he sent out during the first four years, but only vessels, trees, inscriptions, &c. Afterwards he seems to had desisted, either (as some suppose) because it was not conformable to the law, or because he found it brought no profit to the state.
Ver. 11. Dora, to the south of Carmel Tryphon had first tried the fortune of a battle. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Numenius. He had been sent to Rome almost two years before, and now brought letters not only to the Jews, but to various kings and nations on their behalf. (Worthington)
Ver. 16. Lucius, Calvus, or Philus, (Drusius; Grotius) or Piso, (Usher; Sal.[Salien?]; Menochius) whose colleague Lenas, went against Numantia. (Calmet) — Ptolemee, surnamed Physcon, brother and successor of Philometor, (Challoner) in Egypt. (Haydock)
Ver. 22. Attalus, &c. Attalus was king of Pergamus, Ariarethes was king of Cappadocia, and Arsaces was king of the Parthians. (Challoner) — Demetrius was prisoner of the latter.
Ver. 23. Lampsacus, in Mysia, a free city. — Delus, an island of great trade after the fall of Carthage. — Myndus, a port in Caria. — Sicyon, another in Achaia. — Samus, and independent and powerful island near Asia Minor. — Pamphylia, in Cilicia, beyond Taurus. — Lycia had been freed from the Rhodians, by the Romans. — Alicarnassus, an ancient town of Caria, opposite to the isle of Coo. — Side, in Pamphylia, ver. 1. Grotius conjectures we should read, “Sidon.” — Aradus, near the coasts of Syria. — Rhodes, famous for its Colossus. — Phaselis, a maritime town near Lycia. — Gortyna, a city of Crete, which was then an independent island. — Gnidus, an island near Rhodes. — Cyrene, a province of Egypt. It must hen have been partly free, and in alliance with Rome.
Ver. 24. Simon, that he might know what they had done for him, and to whom he might apply for aid.
Ver. 25. Second. He had interrupted the siege, or made a fresh wall or attack.
Ver. 27. Not. Josephus seems to assert the contrary; observing that the king applied for aid, which was readily granted. Yet he soon forgot the favour, and sent Cendebeus against the Jews. He passed over the embassy of Athenobius, ver. 28.
Ver. 28. Gazara. The edition of Basle properly reads, “Gadara.”
Ver. 30. Taken, such as Joppe, the three governments, &c. (Calmet)
Ver. 35. Talents. Simon subdued these two towns, because they attacked his country; but as they did not otherwise belong to him, he paid (Worthington) or offered to pay something for them. (Haydock) — Those of Joppe drowned two hundred Jews, 2 Machabees xii. What Gazara had done we know not. (Worthington)
Ver. 37. Orthosias, in Phœnicia, opposite to Aradus. Hence he fled to Apamea, (Calmet) strewing silver in the way to stop his pursuers. (Front. ii. 13.) — The city was however besieged, and he slew himself, (Strabo xiv.) or was slain after a reign of five years. (Josephus) (Vaillant)
Ver. 38. Coast. This government was granted to Simon by young Antiochus, chap. xi. 59.
Ver. 39. Gedor, near Jamnia. Greek, “Cedron,” (Calmet) as also [in] ver. 40., formerly (Haydock) in the Vulgate. A city was here repaired on the river Cedron. (Worthington) — Syriac, “Hebron.” — Fortify. Literally, “to block up.” (Haydock) — But this is the import of the Greek. (Calmet) — Alexandrian manuscript, “to fortify cities.” (Haydock) — Gates, or defiles. (Grotius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Antiochus, son of Demetrius, honours Simon. The Romans write to divers nations in favour of the Jews. Antiochus quarrels with Simon, and sends troops to annoy him.
1 And *king Antiochus, the son of Demetrius, sent letters from the isles of the sea to Simon, the priest, and prince of the nation of the Jews, and to all the people:
2 And the contents were these: King Antiochus to Simon, the high priest, and to the nation of the Jews, greeting.
3 Forasmuch as certain pestilent men have usurped the kingdom of our fathers, and my purpose is to challenge the kingdom, and to restore it to its former estate; and I have chosen a great army, and have built ships of war.
4 And I design to go through the country, that I may take revenge of them that have destroyed our country, and that have made many cities desolate in my realm.
5 Now, therefore, I confirm unto thee all the oblations which all the kings before me remitted to thee, and what other gifts soever they remitted to thee:
6 And I give thee leave to coin thy own money in thy country:
7 And let Jerusalem be holy and free, and all the armour that hath been made, and the fortresses which thou hast built, and which thou keepest in thy hands, let them remain to thee.
8 And all that is due to the king, and what should be the king’s hereafter, from this present and for ever, is forgiven thee.
9 And when we shall have recovered our kingdom, we will glorify thee, and thy nation, and the temple, with great glory, so that your glory shall be made manifest in all the earth.
10 In the year one hundred and seventy-four, *Antiochus entered into the land of his fathers, and all the forces assembled to him, so that few were left with Tryphon.
11 And king Antiochus pursued after him, and he fled along by the sea coast and came to Dora.
12 For he perceived that evils were gathered together upon him, and his troops had forsaken him.
13 And Antiochus camped above Dora with a hundred and twenty thousand men of war, and eight thousand horsemen:
14 And he invested the city, and the ships drew near by sea: and they annoyed the city by land, and by sea, and suffered none to come in, or to go out.
15 And Numenius, and they that had been with him, came from the city of Rome, having letters written to the kings, and countries, the contents whereof were these:
16 Lucius, the consul of the Romans, to king Ptolemee, greeting.
17 The ambassadors of the Jews, our friends, came to us, to renew the former friendship and alliance, being sent from Simon, the high priest, and the people of the Jews.
18 And they brought also a shield of gold of a thousand pounds.
19 It hath seemed good therefore to us, to write to the kings and countries, that they should do them no harm, nor fight against them, their cities, or countries: and that they should give no aid to them that fight against them.
20 And it hath seemed good to us to receive the shield of them.
21 If, therefore, any pestilent men are fled out of their country to you, deliver them to Simon, the high priest, that he may punish them according to their law.
22 These same things were written to king Demetrius, and to Attalus, and to Ariarathes, and to Arsaces,
23 And to all the countries: and to Lampsacus, and to the Spartans, and to Delus, and Myndus, and Sicyon, and Caria, and Samus, and Pamphylia, and Lycia, and Alicarnassus, and Cos, and Side, and Aradus, and Rhodes, and Phaselis, and Gortyna, and Gnidus, and Cyprus, and Cyrene.
24 And they wrote a copy thereof to Simon, the high priest, and to the people of the Jews.
25 But king Antiochus moved his camp to Dora the second time, assaulting it continually, and making engines: and shut up Tryphon, that he could not go out.
26 And Simon sent to him two thousand chosen men to aid him, silver also, and gold, and abundance of furniture.
27 And he would not receive them, but broke all the covenant that he had made with him before, and alienated himself from him.
28 And he sent to him Athenobius, one of his friends, to treat with him, saying: You hold Joppe, and Gazara, and the castle that is in Jerusalem, which are cities of my kingdom:
29 Their borders you have wasted, and you have made great havock in the land, and have got the dominion of many places in my kingdom.
30 Now, therefore, deliver up the cities that you have taken, and the tributes of the places whereof you have gotten the dominion without the borders of Judea.
31 But if not, give me for them five hundred talents of silver, and for the havoc that you have made, and the tributes of the cities, other five hundred talents: or else we will come and fight against you.
32 So Athenobius, the king’s friend, came to Jerusalem, and saw the glory of Simon and his magnificence in gold, and silver, and his great equipage, and he was astonished, and told him the king’s words.
33 And Simon answered him, and said to him: We have neither taken other men’s land, neither do we hold that which is other men’s: but the inheritance of our fathers, which was for some time unjustly possessed by our enemies.
34 But we having opportunity claim the inheritance of our fathers.
35 And as to thy complaints concerning Joppe and Gazara, they did great harm to the people, and to our country: yet for these we will give a hundred talents. And Athenobius answered him not a word.
36 But returning in a rage to the king, made report to him of these words, and of the glory of Simon, and of all that he had seen, and the king was exceeding angry.
37 And Tryphon fled away by ship to Orthosias.
38 And the king appointed Cendebeus captain of the sea coast, and gave him an army of footmen and horsemen.
39 And he commanded him to march with his army towards Judea: and he commanded him to build up Gedor, and to fortify the gates of the city, and to war against the people. But the king himself pursued after Tryphon.
40 And Cendebeus came to Jamnia, and began to provoke the people, and to ravage Judea, and to take the people prisoners, and to kill, and to build Gedor.
41 And he placed there horsemen, and an army: that they might issue forth, and make incursions upon the ways of Judea, as the king had commanded him.
1: Year of the World 3864, Year before Christ 140.
10: Year of the World 3865, Year before Christ 139.