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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



2 MACHABEES 2

 

CHAPTER II.

 

Ver. 1.  The descriptions.  That is, the records or memoirs of Jeremias, a work that is now lost.  Ch. --- It was extant, B.C. 142.  C. --- S. Ambrose (Of. iii. 14.) writes at large concerning this miracle.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Of them.  He alludes to his epistle, (C.) Bar. vi. 11.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  And the ark.  These were not taken by the Chaldeans.  Jer. lii.  M. --- Whether they were removed before or after the capture of the city, is disputed.  Salien, A. 3446. --- Besides the authority of this book, it is most probabe that Jeremias should have preserved them, as he was high in favour.  Jer. xxxix. 11.  W. --- Hence most believe that Nabuzardan granted him leave.  C. --- Eupolemus says Nabuchodonosor did this after he took the city.  Eus. præp. ix. 39. --- Others think the prophet removed them under Joakim, having informed only a few of the priests.  N. Alex. --- Mountain; Nebo.  Deut. xxxii. 49.

 

Ver. 7.  Mercy.  Whether the ark, &c. were in the second temple, as this seems to insinuate, has been much debated.  The negative seems best established and these promises refer to the Messias, prefigured by the ark.  God wished to withdraw the Jews by degrees from their attachment to these sensible things, and to raise their minds to those of a more spiritual nature.  S. Amb.  Rupert, &c.  C. Diss. --- Salien (A. 3609) proves at large, that the ark was discovered at the same time as the sacred fire.  M. --- Yet Josephus (Bel. vi. 6.) testifies, that nothing was found in the holy of holies when the Romans took it.  Hence others think that the ark will be produced to the Jews by Enoch and Elias.  Ribera in Agg. i.  Tournem. --- The first opinion gives most satisfaction.  When Christ collected his disciples, he received testimony from the Father and from the Holy Ghost in a bright cloud.  The figures of the law are at an end, and there will be no need of restoring them at the consummation of all things.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Treated.  Gr. "He was manifested, and like one possessing wisdom, he," &c.  H. --- On this occasion, Solomon chiefly displayed his wisdom, praying aloud.

 

Ver. 10.  As.  Both dedications lasted eight days, and fire descended.  Lev. ix. 23. and 2 Par. vii. 1.

 

Ver. 11.  Consumed.  He alludes to what Moses said after the death of Nadab.  Lev. x. 16.  C. --- Fire consumed  the sin-offering as well as the rest.

 

Ver. 13.  Set down.  Gr. "explained." --- Books.  The Scriptures were not lost.  M. --- Perhaps before this time no complete collection of them had been made.  Esdras would point out and help to discover what had been written.  C. --- The senate of the nation was also present.  Simon Crit. i. 1. --- David: the psalms.  All the other books may be designated under the name of prophets.  H. --- Kings; Cyrus, &c.  1 Esd. vi. 3. &c.  Josephus has inserted many such letters in his work.  They were like the title-deeds of the nation.  C. --- And.  Gr. "regarding the presents;" anaqematwn.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Judas.  This seems to be the Essene, who with others wrote this epistle; (C. i. 10.  W.) or rather (H.) the Machabee, who was as solicitous to preserve the sacred books as Antiochus was to destroy them.  1 B. i. 59. and ii. 48.  It is said that another assembly met to admit such books into the canon as had been written since the days of Nehemias.

 

Ver. 15.  Things, collected by Judas.  The Bible had been translated into Greek before.  But some records might still be wanted by the Jews in Egypt.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  The purification.  This is the feast of the purifying or cleansing of the temple, (Ch.) the 25th of Casleu.  C. i. 9. 18.

 

Ver. 18.  Place.  They had now liberty to return.  What, therefore, can they mean but the coming of the Messias, who was shortly expected?  C. --- Many Jews at this time were scattered in other countries, and did not chose to return, like those of Egypt.  The people of Judea wish all would live together, as they had done under Solomon.  H.

 

Ver. 19.  Place.  Read C. xv. 38.  After the author had written this appendix to the former book, he resolved to add an epitome of the history.  Hence in this preface he informs us of the subject, method, reason, and diligence of his short work.  v. 20, 24, 5, 6, 9.  W. --- This piece is very elegant, and contains several rules for writing history.  The author was a Jew as well as Jason.  v. 24.

 

Ver. 22.  Manifestations: heavenly apparitions.  C. iii. 25. and v. 2.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Multitude.  Gr. also, "confusion of numbers, and the difficulty attending those who wish to dive into eiskukleisqan, (H.) or to include much (C.) historical relations on account of the quantity of matter."  H.

 

Ver. 27.  No easy task, &c.  The spirit of God, that assists the sacred penman, does not exempt them from labour in seeking out the matter which they are to treat of, and the order and manner in which they are to deliver it.  So S. Luke wrote the gospel, having diligently attained to all things.  Lu. i. 3.  Ch. --- This evangelist had to inquire of others.  W. --- Inspiration preserves from all danger of mistake.  When something future is revealed, there is less difficulty, as God must then dictate the very words.  Hence Jeremias wrote with the utmost ease, as Baruch testified.  Jer. xxxvi. 18. 32.  H. --- The prophets had, therefore, only to write or speak from the mouth of God.  Others were excited by him to treat of history, &c. and were preserved from error, but not from labour.  Bellar. Verb. i. 15. --- In vain then do our adversaries attempt to prove that this book is not inspired.  M.

 

Ver. 28.  Others.  Gr. "have no easy task, so," &c.  H. --- He alludes to the custom of choosing a master of the feast, who had to strive to give general satisfaction.  Eccli. xxxii. 1.  Est. i. 8.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Authors.  Gr. "the writer."  H. --- Jason resembles an excellent painter, of whose work we desire to give a copy (C.) in miniature, (H.) relying entirely on his veracity.  Sa. --- Yet as the Church esteems this work to be canonical, what is extracted must be true, and inspired, though the writer seems not to have known that he had such a privilege.  God might still guide his pen.  M. --- The original might also be the work of a sacred writer, as many such appear to have been lost.  If it were not, what is here selected cannot be questioned.  S. Paul quotes some passages even from heathen poets, which in those cases were true, and thus became part of the word of God.  H.

 

Ver. 30.  Master.  Such is Jason.  I only paint some parts.  C. --- Paint.  Gr. "to burn in and represent to the life, must," &c.  H. --- The ancients painted the walls, preparing them by fire, &c.  Vitruv. vii. 5.  Jos. Ant. xvii. 12.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Nice.  Gr. exergastikon, "elaborate disquisitions."  Both must equally seek the truth: but long details are not expected in abridgments as they are in a full history.  H.

 

Ver. 33.  Itself.  The account of Alex. should be read next, 1 B. i.  W.

 

 








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