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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



1 MACHABEES 9

 

CHAPTER IX.

 

Ver. 1.  Time.  About a year after Nicanor's death, (C. vii. 50. and 2 B. xv. 38.  W.) or in the same year, A. 3843; (C.) so that the Romans had not time to send Judas assistance.  H. --- Josephus (xii. 17.) erroneously supposes that Alcimus was dead, and Judas his successor, while Simon was the civil ruler and general.  He afterwards (B. xx. 8.) asserts that Jonathas was next high priest to Alcimus, who certainly officiated after the death of Judas.  v. 54. --- Bacchides had been already in Judea.  C. vii. 8.  Now the right wing, composed of the best troops, and usually commanded by the prince when he was present, is entrusted to him.

 

Ver. 2.  Galgal...in Arbella, or the Galilee, in the flat country, Araboth.  C. v. 23. --- Masaloth, or Masal, was in the tribe of Asher.  Jos. xvi. 30. --- S. Jerom speaks of Arbela, nine miles from Legion.  See Osee x. 14.

 

Ver. 4.  Berea, or Beroth, in Benjamin, not far from Laisa, or Lesen, (Jos. xviii. 25.) where Judas was encamped, (C.) with 3000 (Gorion) ; Josephus says 1000; Rufin translates 2000.

 

Ver. 7.  Down.  The strongest are not free from the first emotions of trouble; but trusting in God, they are assured either of a temporal or eternal victory.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Stain.  Lit. "bring a crime."  H. --- He seems to have thought God required him now to fight, and he was convinced that he could save by means of a few, which excuses him from rashness.  The Church adopts his words, (Dom. iii. Oct. Mat.) and S. Ambrose (Of. i. 41.) highly extols his bravery, in "preferring death before slavery and shame."

 

Ver. 12.  Legion.  So the Vulg. commonly renders Greek "phalanx," (C.) a compact body of 8000 men, used by the Macedonians.  The Roman legion consisted of 6726, (Veget.) or 6666.  The two phalanxes were in each wing supported by cavalry, which endeavoured to surround Judas.

 

Ver. 15.  Azotus.  Not belonging to the Philistines, but some place unknown, which Josephus styles Asa.

 

Ver. 18.  Slain.  Gorionides relates that the sight of Judas made Bacchides flee towards Azotus.  He lost 15,000, when the rest of the army came upon Judas now fatigued; and as Bacchides returned to the charge, the hero fell upon heaps of the slain.  Thus died this great man who saved Israel.  v. 21.  C. --- Gloriosiorem triumphis mortem invenit.  The most mighty in the sight of men may fall; but the fortitude of Judas, proved by former heroic actions and by success, was now rendered perfect by this most glorious death.  S. Amb. Of. i. 41.  W. --- Never was there a more accomplished and virtuous champion.  He had all the qualities of a holy priest and a valiant soldier, as well as of a religious prince, always bent on promoting the glory of his people.  C. iii. 3.  He was an admirable copy of Jesus Christ, the great original of all the saints.  In the most dismal times he was chosen to save religion and the people.  Almost alone, and wandering from place to place, he gains the most signal victories, forms a league with Gentiles, purifies the temple, acts both as high priest and as prince of the nation, and at last gives his life for his brethren.  Thus Christ by his life and death unites all in one Church, and procures the remission of sin.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Modin.  Their remains were seen there long after.  Eus. --- It is wonderful that they should be shewn at Antioch.  S. Jer. loc. --- But these were the relics of the seven brothers.  2 B. vii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Many.  Thus only some of our Saviour's actions are recorded, for the same reason.  John ult.  H.

 

Ver. 24.  All.  Josephus says, "Many."  We find some (C.) joining Jonathan, v. 28.  H. --- When the people are without a ruler, they fall.  Prov. xi. 14.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Abused them, and "afterwards slew them all."  Jos. Ant. xiii. 1.

 

Ver. 27.  No prophet since the days of Malachi, (C.) or the return from captivity.  Jos.

 

Ver. 28.  Jonathan, or (H.) Jonathas, was the third general captain of this family, and succeeded Judas in the pontificate, though Alcimus still usurped the dignity (C. ix. 9.) as in the lifetime of Judas.  W.

 

Ver. 33.  Thecua, seven miles south of Bethlehem.  S. Jer. pref. in Amos. --- Asphar, or "asphaltite lake" (Gorion) of Sodom; so called on account of the bitumen, or asphalte.  C.

 

Ver. 34.  Sabbath, out of contempt, like Nicanor; (2 B. xv.) or thinking that the Jews would not then fight.  M.

 

Ver. 35.  Lend.  Some copies read, "to entrust unto them."  They wished not to be embarrasses with useless baggage.  It all fell into the hands of Jambri, (C.) who slew John.  W.

 

Ver. 37.  Madaba.  Gr. "Nadabath."  Jos. "Gabatha."  It seems, as the sons of Jamri lived at Madaba, the spouse would not be conducted out of that place, (C.) unless they might reside sometimes in the country.  H. --- Chanaan, or "Arabia."  Jos. --- Chanaan denotes any infidel.  C.

 

Ver. 42.  Revenge.  To punish faults with moderation and justice, is a virtue.  Children and subjects are sometimes exposed to temporal chastisements, for the faults of their parents or leaders; yet this is for their own advancement in piety, or in punishment for the share they have had in the crime, or to prevent them from imitating it.  S. Tho. ii. 2. q. 108.  W.

 

Ver. 44.  Before, when we were in the desert of Thecua, and could decline fighting; (M.) or, notwithstanding the sabbath, we must engage.  C. ii. 41.

 

Ver. 48.  To them.  Jonathas swam to another place on the same side, otherwise there would have been no battle.  W. --- But this had taken place, when a thousand were slain; though Bacchides fled from Jonathan, v. 47. 49.  H. --- The Greek and Josephus seem more full: (C.) "Swam over, and they (the enemies) did not cross the Jordan after them."  H. --- Bacchides did not pursue the Jews.  M. --- Prot. marg. quotes Josephus, (xiii. 1.) who says two thousand were slain.  H.

 

Ver. 50.  Thopo, or Taphua.  The two last were in Ephraim.

 

Ver. 53.  Castle, on the highest part of Sion.  v. 52.  C. i. 35. --- Custody, without doing them any farther injury.  C.

 

Ver. 54.  Alcimus.  Josephus (xii. 17.) confesses that Judas was high priest.  But he mistakes when he says he succeeded Alcimus, who it hence appears survived him a year, (v. 3, 18.) and was only an usurper.  He should therefore be corrected by this book, rather than it should be rejected because it differs from him, or any such authors.  W. v. 1, 28.  H. --- Walls, before the most holy place, (Jos. Lyr.) or between the priests and people, (Salien.  M.) or which separated the Jews from the Gentiles, as if to remove all distinction.  Grot. --- It is probable that he removed the wall which went round the inner temple and the altar of holocausts, (C.) which Alexander restored.  Jos. Ant. xiii. 21. --- Prophets.  Aggeus and Zac. had been as it were the architects and directors of the temple.  C.

 

Ver. 55.  House.  He could not make his will.

 

Ver. 61.  He.  Jonathas slew those who had given information.

 

Ver. 62.  Bethbessen, in the desert of Jericho, (M.) the same with Bethagla.  Jos. "Bethalaga."

 

Ver. 66.  Odares, people of the country who adhered to Bacchides. --- Increase, or shew himself in the field with a large army, (C.) or to penetrate the army of the enemy.  Syr.  Jos.  Grot.

 

Ver. 69.  Slew.  Evil counsel is prejudicial to the giver.  W.

 

Ver. 73.  Machmas.  The capital of Sion was still in the hands of the enemy.  Jonathas made good use of the alliance with the Romans, and began to lay the foundations of the national independence, and to act like the ancient judges.  C.

 

 








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