Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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1 MACHABEES - Chapter 14

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1 Machabees xiv.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Two. It is not easy to conceive why Josephus and Grotius place this expedition before the death of young Antiochus, chap. xiii. 31, 41. Demetrius was become contemptible, and had a mine to regain his reputation by attacking the Parthians, who had taken many provinces under the prudent conduct of Mithridates. The Greeks were impatient of this yoke. Many []ked[flocked?] to Demetrius, and he gained several victories; but after two years, was perfidiously taken by a general of the Parthians while treating of peace. Mithridates took him for a warning through the places which seemed favourable to him; but afterwards he sent him into Hyrcania, gave him his daughter in marriage, with the badges of royalty, and promises of restoring him to his kingdom. --- Tryphon. After the misfortune of Demetrius, he abandoned himself to his pleasures; and his adherents put themselves under Cleopatra, the wife of his rival, who resided at Seleucia, upon the Orontes. (Usher, the year [of the world] 3863.) (Just. xxxvi., and xxxviii.) (Calmet)

Ver. 2. Arsaces. This was the common title of the Parthians kings, after the founder of that powerful monarchy. (Just. xli.)

Ver. 4. Days. Few princes have obtained such a character: for how shall they give content to all? (Calmet) --- Simon had governed two years in troubles, but henceforward enjoyed peace, till Sidetes disturbed it. (Worthington)

Ver. 5. Sea, or to all places to which they went by water. The port was however very indifferent.

Ver. 7. Captives, taken from the enemy; (Calmet) or he liberated many Jews. (Worthington) --- Gazara, or Gadara. (Calmet)

Ver. 9. Land. The judges (Haydock) strove to promote peace. --- Robes. Spoils which they had taken; (Calmet) or they were ever ready to defend the country, though peace now prevailed.

Ver. 10. Ammunition: provisions and engines of war. (Calmet) --- Earth: Judea and the environs. (Haydock)

Ver. 12. Fig-tree: a picture of perfect peace, 3 Kings iv. 25.

Ver. 20. Princes. Cleomenes, the last king, died in Egypt, the year [of the world] 3784, and the tyrant Nabis perished long before this time. (Grotius) --- Cities. Many depended on Sparta, the metropolis. (Worthington)

Ver. 23. Public. Literally, "in the distinct books of the people." Greek, "open for inspection;" apodedeigmenois. (Haydock) --- Patentibus seu publicis. (Vatable) --- The substance of the letter is here given.

Ver. 24. Of Rome is not in Greek or Syriac, and it is allowed that the sequel seems rather to express the gratitude of the Jews to Simon. (Calmet) --- When peace was established, and friendship with the Romans and Lacedemonians renewed, the whole nation in gratitude to Simon, who now remained alone of all the sons of Mathathias, confirm him in the office of high priest for ever, or during his life; and decree that his progeny shall enjoy the same, ver. 41, 49. (Worthington) --- They should not be deposed, like Onias III., &c.

Ver. 26. He. Greek, "He has established: (Syriac, "acted valiantly." Calmet) He, his brethren, and his father's house, and they have routed the," &c., as [in] chap. xvi. 2. (Haydock)

Ver. 27. Elul, the last of the civil year, the year [of the world] 3863. --- At. Literally, "in Asaramel," (Haydock) "the court of Mello," (Calmet) or "the prince of God," (Serarius) as if it were another Hebrew title of Simon. Protestants, "At Saramel." Marginal note, "or Jerusalem, peradventure,...or the common hall," &c. (Haydock)

Ver. 34. Gazara, or Gadara, chap. xiii. 51. --- Reparation. Literally, "correction." (Haydock) --- But correctionem would agree better with the Greek than correptionem.

Ver. 36. Purify, (castitati.) Syriac, "the sanctuary." Grotius, divine "worship."

Ver. 39. Things. Greek joins this with the preceding verse. Some copies have, "all things." He confirmed him in all his rights.

Ver. 41. Prophet. This limitation was proper, as the people had chosen this family. The Jews expected the faithful prophet shortly, chap. iv. 46., and Malachias iii. 1., and Aggeus ii. 7. God was pleased that none should appear for some time before that event. (Calmet) --- The high priesthood continued in this family till Herod began to sell it,---soon after which Christ appeared. (Worthington) --- The sceptre seemed to belong to Juda. Yet they consent to be governed by Levites, till God signify his will by some prophet. (Menochius) --- This consent of the nation, in which Juda was most powerful, shewed that the sceptre was not departed from his thigh. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Demetrius is taken by the king of Persia. Judea flourishes under the government of Simon.

1 In *the year one hundred and seventy-two, king Demetrius assembled his army, and went into Media to get him succours to fight against Tryphon.

2 And Arsaces, the king of Persia and Media, heard that Demetrius was entered within his borders, and he sent one of his princes to take him alive, and bring him to him.

3 And he went, and defeated the army of Demetrius: and took him, and brought him to Arsaces, and he put him into custody.

4 And all the land of Juda was at rest all the days of Simon, and he sought the good of his nation: and his power, and his glory pleased them well all his days.

5 And with all his glory he took Joppe for a haven, and made an entrance to the isles of the sea.

6 And he enlarged the bounds of his nation, and made himself master of the country.

7 And he gathered together a great number of captives, and had the dominion of Gazara, and of Bethsura, and of the castle: and took away all uncleanness out of it, and there was none that resisted him.

8 And every man tilled his land with peace: and the land of Juda yielded her increase, and the trees of the fields their fruit.

9 The ancient men sat all in the streets, and treated together of the good things of the land, and the young men put on them glory, and the robes of war.

10 And he provided victuals for the cities, and he appointed that they should be furnished with ammunition, so that the fame of his glory was renowned even to the end of the earth.

11 He made peace in the land, and Israel rejoiced with great joy.

12 And every man sat under his vine, and under his fig-tree: and there was none to make them afraid.

13 There was none left in the land to fight against them: kings were discomfited in those days.

14 And he strengthened all those of his people that were brought low, and he sought the law, and took away every unjust and wicked man.

15 He glorified the sanctuary, and multiplied the vessels of the holy places.

16 And it was heard at Rome, and as far as Sparta, that Jonathan was dead: and they were very sorry.

17 But when they heard that Simon, his brother, was made high priest in his place, and was possessed of all the country, and the cities therein:

18 They wrote to him in tables of brass, to renew the friendship and alliance which they had made with Judas and with Jonathan, his brethren.

19 And they were read before the assembly in Jerusalem. And this is the copy of the letters that the Spartans sent.

20 The Princes, and the cities of the Spartans, to Simon, the high priest, and to the ancients, and the priests, and the rest of the people of the Jews, their brethren, greeting.

21 The ambassadors that were sent to our people, have told us of your glory, and honour, and joy: and we rejoice at their coming. 22 And we registered what was said by them in the councils of the people in this manner: Numenius, the son of Antiochus, and Antipater, the son of Jason, ambassadors of the Jews, came to us to renew the former friendship with us.

23 And it pleased the people to receive the men honourably, and to put a copy of their words in the public records, to be a memorial to the people of the Spartans. And we have written a copy of them to Simon, the high priest.

24 And after this Simon sent Numenius to Rome, with a great shield of gold, the weight of a thousand pounds, to confirm the league with them. And when the people of Rome had heard

25 These words, they said: What thanks shall we give to Simon, and his sons:

26 For he hath restored his brethren, and hath driven away in fight the enemies of Israel from them: and they decreed him liberty, and registered it in tables of brass, and set it upon pillars in Mount Sion.

27 And this is a copy of the writing. *The eighteenth day of the month Elul, in the year one hundred and seventy-two, being the third year under Simon, the high priest, at Asaramel,

28 In a great assembly of the priests, and of the people, and the princes of the nation, and the ancients of the country, these things were notified: Forasmuch as there have often been wars in our country,

29 And Simon, the son of Mathathias, of the children of Jarib, and his brethren, have put themselves in danger, and resisted the enemies of their nation, for the maintenance of their holy places, and the law: and have raised their nation to great glory.

30 And Jonathan gathered together his nation, and was made their high priest, and he was laid to his people.

31 And their enemies desired to tread down and destroy their country, and to stretch forth their hands against their holy places.

32 Then Simon resisted and fought for his nation, and laid out much of his money, and armed the valiant men of his nation, and gave them wages.

33 And he fortified the cities of Judea, and Bethsura, that lieth in the borders of Judea, where the armour of the enemies was before: and he placed there a garrison of Jews.

34 And he fortified Joppe, which lieth by the sea: and Gazara, which bordereth upon Azotus, wherein the enemies dwelt before, and he placed Jews here: and furnished them with all things convenient for their reparation.

35 And the people seeing the acts of Simon, and to what glory he meant to bring his nation, made him their prince and high priest, because he had done all these things, and for the justice and faith which he kept to his nation, and for that he sought by all means to advance his people.

36 And in his days things prospered in his hands, so that the heathens were taken away out of their country, and they also that were in the city of David, in Jerusalem, in the castle, out of which they issued forth, and profaned all places round about the sanctuary, and did much evil to purity.

37 And he placed therein Jews for the defence of the country, and of the city, and he raised up the walls of Jerusalem.

38 And king Demetrius confirmed him in the high priesthood.

39 According to these things he made him his friend, and glorified him with great glory.

40 For he had heard that the Romans had called the Jews their friends, and confederates, and brethren, and that they had received Simon's ambassadors with honour:

41 And that the Jews, and their priests, had consented that he should be their prince and high priest for ever, till there should arise a faithful prophet:

42 And that he should be chief over them, and that he should have the charge of the sanctuary, and that he should appoint rulers over their works, and over the country, and over the armour, and over the strong holds;

43 And that he should have care of the holy places; and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all the writings in the country should be made in his name; and that he should be clothed with purple, and gold:

44 And that it should not be lawful for any of the people, or of the priests, to disannul any of these things, or to gainsay his words, or to call together an assembly in the country without him: or to be clothed with purple, or to wear a buckle of gold.

45 And whosoever shall do otherwise, or shall make void any of these things shall be punished.

46 And it pleased all the people to establish Simon, and to do according to these words.

47 And Simon accepted thereof, and was well pleased to execute the office of the high priesthood, and to be captain, and prince of the nation of the Jews, and of the priests, and to be chief over all.

48 And they commanded that this writing should be put in tables of brass, and that they should be set up within the compass of the sanctuary, in a conspicuous place:

49 And that a copy thereof should be put in the treasury, that Simon, and his sons, may have it.



1: Year of the World 3863, Year before Christ 141.

27: Year of the World 3863, Year before Christ 141.