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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



2 MACHABEES 12

 

CHAPTER XII.

 

Ver. 2.  Timotheus and Apolloinus.  Others of the same name were slain before.  C. x. 37. and 1 B. iii. 11.  W.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Designed.  The heart is the source of sin, and God thus punished the intentions of the Jamnites.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Off, or ten leagues.  Jerusalem was on elevated ground.  C. --- A furlong is about the eighth of a mile, (others say the fifth, or a thousand feet) so that the fire was seen at the distance of thirty or forty-eight miles.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Rest.  Gr. "the Nomades," (H.) who dwelt in tents, and lived on plunder, (Strabo xvi.) like Ismael.  Gen. xvi. 12.

 

Ver. 13.  Casphin; Chasbon, or Hesebon.  1 B. v. 26.  Num. xxi. 25.  It was famous for its waters.

 

Ver. 14.  Spoken.  The enemy generally reviled the Jews.

 

Ver. 15.  World.  Thus setting a pattern to virtuous generals.

 

Ver. 17.  Characa, or Carcar.  Judg. viii. 10. and xi. 3.  C. --- Tubianites, "religiously good;" probably the Assideans, (1 B. ii. 42.  W.) or inhabitants of Tob.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Things.  The Jews had retired to Characa or Dathema, so that he ravaged the country and left garrisons, which were cut in pieces.  Judas soon after with 6000 routed Timotheus, though he had 122,500 men.  1 B. v. 8. 37, 43.

 

Ver. 21.  Carnion, or Asteroth Carnaim.

 

Ver. 24.  Deceived.  Gr. "if they slew him, would not be regarded," (H.) but slain without mercy.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Carnion.  Gr. adds, "and the temple of Astergata," (H.) the idol Astarte, or Derceto of the Philistines.

 

Ver. 29.  Scythopolis.  Formerly called Bethsan, (Ch.) near the lake of Tiberias.

 

Ver. 31.  Weeks of Pentecost, celebrated seven weeks after the Passover.  Lev. xxiii. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Gorgias, who had been twice defeated.  C. x. 14. and 1 B. iv. 1.  W. --- Idumea.  Grotius would read Jamnia.  But he might govern the southern parts of Juda, (C.) then occupied by the Idumeans.  H.

 

Ver. 35.  Maresa.  Syr. "Samaria," as the Vulg. has.  1 B. v. 66.

 

Ver. 38.  Place.  Probably without the walls.  Num. xix. 2. 17. and xxxi. 19.

 

Ver. 39.  Following, on Saturday evening, or on Sunday. --- Fathers, with those of the same nation.

 

Ver. 40.  Of the donaries, &c.  That is, of the votive offerings, which had been hung up in the temples of the idols, which they had taken away when they burnt the port of Jamnia, (v. 9.) contrary to the prohibition of the law.  Deut. vii. 25.  Ch. --- All such things should have been destroyed, (Jos. vii. and 1 K. xv.  W.) or melted down.  Perhaps the soldiers intended to bring them to Judas.  He excused them charitably, and  hoped that their temporal chastisement might have served to expiate their fault.

 

Ver. 42.  Forgotten.  Syr. "imperfect."  Gr. "effaced."  C. --- Some copies, "that they might not, on account of the sin committed, be entirely blotted out."  Ald.  Usher. --- They were convinced that some sins might be forgiven in the other world, particularly when the living interceded.  C. --- The Jews began to pray for the dead after the captivity, (Grot.) when the prophets had more clearly explained what took place after death.  C. --- Yet the doctrine and practice might still be as ancient as the world.  H. --- If it had not prevailed before, Judas would never have entertained such sentiments.  W. --- The Jews admit a sort of purgatory for "the prevaricators of Israel," which differs from hell only in duration.  They assert that the damned of their nation are exempt from suffering on the sabbath.  Bartolocci.  Leo v. 10.  T.  E. --- Some Christians have supposed that the sin here specified was mortal, and the deceased in hell, yet prayer might be of service to them.  Origen (Prin. iii. 6.) thought that even the devils would one day be liberated.  S. Augustine (Ench. cx. 29.) says prayers "are of service, either that the remission may be entire, or surely that damnation itself may be more tolerable."  Most understand this of purgatory: but several explain it of the damned.  Rrot. Bened. --- A mass was formerly composed for this purpose, tolerabilia fiant ipsa tormenta: and some monks prayed for certain robbers slain, "that their pains might be diminished by the severe judge."  Aldrev. xxi.   Excommunication might be taken off from the deceased.  S. Greg. Dial. ii. 29. --- Purgatory is for venial sins.  Ib. iv. 39.  This doctrine is proved beyond reply by various controvertists.  C.

 

Ver. 43.  Twelve.  Gr. "two."  Syr. "three."  S. Prosper. reads "12,000 talents."  Sacrifices for the dead were not enjoined, but the practice was then established, and this author take every opportunity of proving the resurrection against the Sadducees, who then began to appear.  The Church of Christ has adopted the same practice.  See Bellarm.  Serar. &c.  Our adversaries confess that such was the opinion of the Jews, and of the ancient doctors of the Church.  But they declare it superstitious, and deny the authority of these books, which has been sufficiently established.  Could such holy personages authorize superstition?  Would Christ and his apostles have tolerated it?  S. Paul prayed for Onesiphorus after his decease.  2 Tim. i. 16.  See Mat. xii. 33.  Lu. xvi. 9. and 1 Cor. iii. 13. and xv. 29.  Eus. Vita Const. iv.  S. Epip. hær. lxxv.  S. Cyp. i. ep. 9.  Tert. &c.  C.

 

Ver. 45.  With godliness.  Judas hoped that these men who died fighting for the cause of God and religion, might find mercy; either because they might be excused from mortal sin by ignorance, or might have repented of their sin at least at their death.  Ch. --- Charity requires us to judge thus, when there are no positive proofs to the contrary.  C. --- Pope John VIII. answered the bishops of France, that those who died fighting against infidels were saved.  Mabil. T. iii. An. Ben. --- Judas might entertain the like hopes, though they are not always well grounded.  H.

 

Ver. 46.  Holy.  This text is so clear, that our adversaries judge it best to deny the book to be canonical.  As that has been authentically proved, (Pref.) we shall only add that the Greek version, though differing in many points, is here as express as the Vulg. (W.) 45. "considering that the best grace is laid up for those who sleep in piety.  Holy and pious is the thought.  (H.)  Wherefore he made reconciliation (or expiation) for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin," or punishment due to it.  W. --- Sin is often taken for the punishment; and this effect of mortal sin may be remitted in purgatory, when the person has sincerely repented in this life.  H. --- To pass over other proofs, we will only mention S. Aug. (hær. liii.) and S. Bernard, (Cant. lxvi.) who plainly account those "heretics," who deny purgatory.  It is also worthy of notice that Judas, who acted thus charitably, was the high priest and defender of the true faith; and that the Jews still pray for the dead, as the book Mahzor, published by Genebrard, 1569, evinces.  There they say, "Let him rest in peace," and "ye angels of peace come forth to meet him."  But this is acknowledged by Munster and Fagius, (in Deut. xiv.) and by Whitaker. --- Sins.  Go to 1 B. vi. 18.  W.

 

 








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