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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



JUDITH 4

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

Ver. 1.  Juda, whither those had retreated who had escaped the fury of the Assyrians, under Theglathphalassar, &c.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Temples.  Surrendering would not secure these things; so that their very life and religion were at stake.  Resistance, in other circumstances, would have been rashness.  C. --- Gr. adds, "because they were recently come up from captivity, and lately all the people had been collected out of Judea, and the vessels, and the altar, and the house, had been purified from profanation," (H.) to which they had been exposed under Manasses, (C. v. 23.  C.) who with several of his subjects had been made prisoner, and was now at Babylon; or, if returned, (H.) was wholly taken up with the concerns of his soul, and committed the care of affairs to Eliachim.  See Joseph.  x. 4.  2 Par. xxxiii. 12. 16.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Samaria, though an enemy's country, as the danger was common.  M. --- Ezechias and Josias seemed to claim a right over the country.  2 Par. xxx. 1. &c. xxxiv. 6. and 33.

 

Ver. 4.  War.  Gr. adds, "as the harvest was just ended."

 

Ver. 5.  Priest.  Gr. "the great priest in Jerusalem, in those days, wrote to the inhabitants of Betouloua, (H. Bethulia, in the tribe of Simeon) and of Betemestham, (Bethsames.  C.) which is over-against Esdrelon, and the plain near Dothaim, giving orders to seize the mountainous ascents, by which there was a passage into Judea; and it was easy to stop their progress, as the passage was narrow, and would not admit above two men at once."  This reminds us of the heroic resistance which Leonidas, with his 300 Spartans, made to the millions in the army of Xerxes, at Thermopyl√¶.  H. --- It seems that Jews attempted to defend these defiles.  They had received the orders before the enemy encamped near Scythopolis.

 

Ver. 6.  Them.  Gr. adds, "and the senate of all the people of Israel, which sat at Jerusalem."  Serarius thinks that Manasses was busy fortifying the city, and had committed the rest of the kingdom to Eliachim, (M.  W.) who received such high commendations.  Isai. xxii. 20.  C. --- But is more probable that he was at Babylon.  Houbigant.

 

Ver. 7.  Wives.  Gr. adds, "and their little ones, and beasts, and every sojourner, and hired servant and slave.  They put sackcloth on their loins, and every man, woman, and child, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fell prostrate before the temple, and sprinkled ashes on their heads."  The very beasts were covered with sackcloth, to denote the general sorrow.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Priests.  Gr. "and they spread their sackclothes before the Lord, and arrayed the altar with sackcloth." H. --- This spectacle must have made impression on the most obdurate.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Off.  Lit. "divided" from their husbands, (H.) or among the victors.  M. --- Gentiles.  Gr. adds, "and God heard their petition, and rescued them from their affliction; and all the people fasted many days in all Judea and Jerusalem, before the sanctuary of the Lord all mighty; and the high priest, Joachim, and all the priests who stood before the Lord, and ministered to the Lord, having their loins girded with sackcloth, offered the accustomed holocaust and the vows and presents of the people, and ashes were upon their caps, and they cried to the Lord with all their power, to look down graciously upon all the house of Jerusalem.  And," C. v.

 

Ver. 10.  Israel, before the approach of the enemy.  H.  v. 5.

 

Ver. 15.  Clothes, conformably to the advice of Joel, i. 13.  C.

 

 








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