Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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2 MACHABEES - Chapter 9

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2 Machabees ix.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. At. Read 1 Machabees iv. 28. (Worthington) --- Time. The year [of the world] 3840. The motives and ill success of this journey are given [in] 1 Machabees iii. 31., and vi. 1. (Calmet)

Ver. 2. Persepolis; otherwise called Elymais, (Challoner) a chief (Worthington) "city of Persia." Hence Elymais may be called Persepolis. (Haydock) --- The famous city of this name, where Cyrus had built a palace to the astonishment of the world, had been (Calmet) burnt by Alexander when intoxicated, and urged on by a harlot. (Curtius v. 15.) --- Noble ruins still remain on the Araxes.

Ver. 3. Ecbatana, capital of Media. (Calmet) --- See chap. i. 16. (Haydock)

Ver. 4. Forward. He felt a violent fit of the cholic.

Ver. 8. Man. He seems to have claimed divine honours, ver. 12., and chap. v. 21., and ix. 8., and Daniel xi. 36. (Arabic) (Calmet)

Ver. 13. Not like. Because his repentance was not for the offence committed against God, but barely on account of his present sufferings. (Challoner) --- For these he really grieved, 1 Machabees vi. 11. Yet was not sorry for the offence against God and men. So the damned acknowledge that their punishments are inflicted on account of their sins, yet have not true repentance. (Worthington) --- In like manner Esau repented for the loss of his birthright, Hebrews xii. 17. (Menochius) --- Epiphanes had abandoned God, who now laughs at him, (Proverbs i. 26.) as some of the Machabees had threatened, chap. vii. 14, 7, 9, 31, 2, 5, 6.[14, 17, 19, 31, 32, 35, 36.?] He is the model of false penitents, who are actuated by servile fear.

Ver. 14. Free and independent, (Calmet) like Antioch. (Pliny, [Natural History?] v. 21.)

Ver. 15. Athenians. This seems to have been put for Antiochians, chap. iv. 9., in Greek; which name would suit better here, as Epiphanes had no power over Athens. (Grotius; Calmet) --- Yet it was highly privileged (Haydock) above all the cities of Greece. (Menochius) --- Jason had obtained for the citizens of Jerusalem to be called Antiochians, chap. vi. 1. But this grant had been revoked, or not carried into effect since the late troubles. (Calmet) --- Here the privilege is to be extended to all the Jews. (Haydock) --- Ptolemais and Calliroe enjoyed the same. (Harduin.)

Ver. 16. Sacrifices, as Darius, Philometor, and afterwards (1 Machabees x. 39.) Nicator did, 1 Esdras vi. 9. (Calmet)

Ver. 19. Subjects. Literally, "citizens." (Haydock) --- Similar addresses (ver. 20.) were sent by the emperors to the Romans; and by Csar and Anthony to their allies. (Josephus, Antiquities xiv. 17., and 22.; Tull. Epist.)

Ver. 23. Father: Antiochus the great. The Persian monarchs generally took this precaution. --- Countries. So profane authors style the provinces beyond the Euphrates [River]. Diodorus, St. Jerome (in Daniel xi.) and others, inform us that Antiochus attempted to plunder the temple of Belus, at Elymais, and took off a vast sum of money under pretext of paying the tribute to the Romans. But the neighbouring nations fell upon him, and cut him with his army to pieces. Philopator succeeded to the throne.

Ver. 25. Antiochus Eupator, nine years old. --- Below. This is lost.

Ver. 26. Favours. He must have been deranged. (Calmet)

Ver. 28. Mountains, at Tabes, (Polybius) in Patacene. (Curtius v.) --- Historians relate that he lost his senses, (daimonesas) being terrified by a demon, on account of his criminal attempt against the temple of Diana. (Polybius, excerp. Vales.) (St. Jerome) --- This was a real crime in him, as he took the idol for a deity. But his conduct towards the temple and nation of the Jews would probably weigh heavier upon his conscience. (Calmet) --- St. Cyprian (exhort.) styles him "an inveterate enemy to all good; nay, in Antiochus antichrist is expressed." (Worthington)

Ver. 29. That was. Syriac, "son of his nurse," appointed regent. --- Philometor Lysias asserted his title to the regency, and had the young king, so that Philip applied to the Egyptians to help in the execution of the last will of the deceased. (Calmet) --- Read 1 Machabees vi. 17. (Worthington)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The wretched end, and fruitless repentance of king Antiochus.

1 At that time Antiochus returned with dishonour out of Persia.

2 For he had entered into the city called Persepolis, and attempted to rob the temple, and to oppress the city; but the multitude running together to arms, put them to flight: and so it fell out that Antiochus being put to flight, returned with disgrace.

3 Now when he was come about Ecbatana, he received the news of what had happened to Nicanor and Timotheus.

4 And swelling with anger, he thought to revenge upon the Jews the injury done by them that had put him to flight. And therefore he commanded his chariot to be driven, without stopping in his journey, the judgment of heaven urging him forward, because he had spoken so proudly, that he would come to Jerusalem, and make it a common burying-place of the Jews.

5 *But the Lord, the God of Israel, that seeth all things, struck him with an incurable and an invisible plague. For as soon as he had ended these words, a dreadful pain in his bowels came upon him, and bitter torments of the inner parts.

6 And indeed very justly, seeing he had tormented the bowels of others with many and new torments, albeit he by no means ceased from his malice.

7 Moreover, being filled with pride, breathing out fire in his rage against the Jews, and commanding the matter to be hastened, it happened as he was going with violence, that he fell from the chariot, so that his limbs were much pained by a grievous bruising of the body.

8 Thus he that seemed to himself to command even the waves of the sea, being proud above the condition of man, and to weigh the heights of the mountains in a balance, now being cast down to the ground, was carried in a litter, bearing witness to the manifest power of God in himself:

9 So that worms swarmed out of the body of this man, and whilst he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell off, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to the army.

10 And the man that thought a little before he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry, for the intolerable stench.

11 And by this means, being brought from his great pride, he began to come to the knowledge of himself, being admonished by the scourge of God, his pains increasing every moment.

12 And when he himself could not now abide his own stench, he spoke thus: It is just to be subject to God, and that a mortal man should not equal himself to God.

13 Then this wicked man prayed to the Lord, of whom he was not like to obtain mercy.

14 And the city, to which he was going in haste to lay it even with the ground, and to make it a common burying-place, he now desireth to make free.

15 And the Jews, whom he said he would not account worthy to be so much as buried, but would give them up to be devoured by the birds and wild beasts, and would utterly destroy them with their children, he now promiseth to make equal with the Athenians.

16 The holy temple also, which before he had spoiled, he promiseth to adorn with goodly gifts, and to multiply the holy vessels, and to allow out of his revenues the charges pertaining to the sacrifices.

17 Yea also, that he would become a Jew himself, and would go through every place of the earth, and declare the power of God.

18 But his pains not ceasing, (for the just judgment of God was come upon him) despairing of life, he wrote to the Jews, in the manner of a supplication, a letter in these words:

19 To his very good subjects, the Jews, Antiochus, king and ruler, wisheth much health, and welfare, and happiness.

20 If you and your children are well, and if all matters go with you to your mind, we give very great thanks.

21 As for me, being infirm, but yet kindly remembering you, returning out of the places of Persia, and being taken with a grievous disease, I thought it necessary to take care for the common good:

22 Not distrusting my life, but having great hope to escape the sickness.

23 But considering that my father also, at what time *he led an army into the higher countries, appointed who should reign after him:

24 To the end that if any thing contrary to expectation should fall out, or any bad tidings should be brought, they that were in the countries, knowing to whom the whole government was left, might not be troubled.

25 Moreover, considering that neighbouring princes, and borderers, wait for opportunities, and expect what shall be the event, I have appointed my son, Antiochus, king, whom I often recommended to many of you, when I went into the higher provinces: and I have written to him what I have joined here below.

26 I pray you, therefore, and request of you, that, remembering favours both public and private, you will every man of you continue to be faithful to me and to my son.

27 For I trust that he will behave with moderation and humanity, and following my intentions, will be gracious unto you.

28 Thus the murderer and blasphemer being grievously struck, as himself had treated others, *died a miserable death in a strange country, among the mountains.

29 But Philip, that was brought up with him, carried away his body: and out of fear of the son of Antiochus, went into Egypt to Ptolemee Philometor.



5: 2 Paralipomenon xvi. 9.

23: Year of the World 3817, Year before Christ 187.

28: Year of the World 3839.