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ther in a temple, which increased in time to three hundred thousand, amounting in the whole to seven hundred thousand volumes. The greatest part of this famous library was accidentally burnt by one of the Roman
emperors; and the rest, which had received a considerable addition, was at length, many years after. wards, destroyed by the Saracens.
Ptolemy Soterwas succeeded in the throne by his son Ptolemy Philadelpus: this prince pursued his father's plan in respect to the museum; and hearing that the Jews had a famous book (what we now call the Old Testament) which well deserved a place in the collection, he sent to Eleazar, the high priest, to desire an authentic copy of it; and, because it was written in a language he did not understand, he requested that Eleazar would send a competent number of learned men, well versed both in Greek and Hebrew, to translate it for him. Eleazar complied; and it is said that seventy or seventy-two translators were employed to turn the Old Testament into Greek; but whether so great a number were actually engaged in this work or not, is a question of dispute with the learned; however, their version of the law of Moses, with the translation of the prophets, which was afterwards made and added, is called from this circumstance the translation of the seventy. You have been told in what manner the law was explained in Chaldee by Ezra after the return of the Jews from Babylon; when, by their residence at Alexandria, the Greek was become most familiar to them, the scriptures were explained in that language; and from thence those Jews were called Hellenists, or Greekizing Jews, because they used the Greek language in their synagogues. After the death of Ptolemy Philadelphus, Evergetus
came to the crown of Egypt, and Onias succeeded his uncle Eleazar as high priest.
Onias was the son of Simon the Just, but in many respects the very reverse of his father: at the best he was a very weak and inconsiderate man.
When Ptolemy Evergetes died, his son Philopater succeeded to the throne. Antiochus the Great, king of Syria (who descended from Seleucus), dispossessed the Egyptian king of sevcral of his provinces, amongst which was Jadea; but Philopater afterwards defeated the army of Antiochus, and recovered Cælo-Syria and Palestine.
Ptolemy visited the cities which he had regained by this victory, amongst which was Jerusalem. Here he took a view of the temple, and presented costly gifts, and offered sacrifices to the God of Israel; but not being content with an outward view, he was desirous of entering into the SANCTUARY, nay, even into the most HÓLY PLACE, which none but the priest (and that only on the great day of expiation) was allowed to enter. This occasioned great confusion; the priests and Levites assembled to prevent the king's entrance, but all to no purpose. Philopater resolved to gratify his curiosity, and accordingly pressed on to go into the innerCourt; but as he was passing farther to go into the Temple, he was seized with a sudden terror and consternation of mind, and carried out half dead. short time, he departed from the place, highly incensed with the whole nation of the Jews, and uttering many bitter threatenings against them.
Simon (the second of that name) the son of Onius, was high priest at this time; his father dying towards the end of the former year, he succeeded him in the office. Onias had been extremely negligent during his
administration, which the Samaritans taking advantage of, had been very vexatious to the Jews, by plundering and ravaging their country, carrying many of the inhabitants into captivity, and selling them for slaves.
No sooner was Ptolemy arrived at Alexandria, than he published a decree, excluding every one who did not sacrifice to his idol from having any access to him; degrading the Jews from the rights and privileges they had in the city, and ordering them all to be marked with the impression of an ivy-leaf with a red-hot iron, and as many as refused, to be put to death.
Nor did his rage end here, for he sent out orders, requiring his officers to bring all the Jews, who lived any where in Egypt, in chains to Alexandria; and having shut them up in a large place without the city, called the Hippodrome, where the people used to assemble to see horse-races and other shews, he proposed the next day to make a spectacle of them, by having them destroyed by elephants; and to make these beasts more furious, they were intoxicated with wine mingled with frankincense; but the king the night before, having sat up late at a feast, overslept himself, which obliged the show to be put off. He did so the next day; all this while the poor Jews continued shut up in the Hippodrome, where they ceased not with the most earnest supplications to implore the mercy of God, who gra. ciously heard their prayer,and afforded them a wonder. ful deliverance. For on the third day, when the king was present, and the elephants let loose, instead of fall. ing upon the Jews,they turned all their rage upon those who came to see the show, and ķilled numbers of them. This wonderful event so terrified the king, that he or, dered all the Jews to be set at liberty, restored them to their former privileges, and, among other favours, indulged them with the power of putting those to death who had apostatized from their religion; but of the
many thousands of the Jewish race who then dwelt at? Alexandria, only three hundred of them had forsaken their God to gain the favour of the king:
Upon the death of Ptolemy Philopater, his son Ptolémy Epiphanes (a child of five years old) succeeded to the throne; but Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, taking advantage of the young king's inability to oppose him, marched into Cælo-Syria and Palestine, and in a very short time made himself master of them, and was cheerfully received by the Jews; in return for which he granted them liberty to live according to their own laws and religion.
Shortly after this Antiochus made peace with Ptolemy, and gave him his daughter Cleopatra to wife; and with her as dower, Colo-Syria and Palestine, upon condition of dividing the revenues of those provinces with him.
SECTION III. THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS UNDER ANTIOCIIUS THE
GREAT, AND SELEUCUS-KING OF SYRIA.. ANTIOCHƯs was a prince of great humanity, clemency, and beneficence, and very just in the administration of his goverment; and till the fiftieth year
of his life managed all his affairs with valour, prudence, and application, which deservedly gained him the title of the great; but afterwards he declined in wisdom and conduct, till at length he was vanquished by the Romans, driven out of the best part of his dominions, forced to submit to very disgraceful terms of peace, and at last died in an inglorious'manner: for, having robbed an itlol temple, he was slain by the people of the country as he was carrying off the spoil. There is amongst the prophecies of Daniel* a very remarkable prediction rès
* Dan. xi. 12 to '14 inclusive, · See the application'ta Röllin's Ancient llistery, and Prideaux's-Conacétion. "T
specting specting Antioclius the Great, but this cannot be ex. plained without entering into an historical detail of this reign, too copious for our examination at present...
After the death of Antiochus the Great, - his son Seleucus Philopater succeeded him in the kingdom of Syria, to which he annexed Colo-Syria, Palestine, and other adjacent provinces : it is not certain at what time or by what means, he gained possession of them. At first he favoured the Jews, and supplied them with all things necessary for the service of the Temple at his own expence : but being informed by one Simon a Benjamite, who was governor of the Temple, and had disagreed with the high-priest, that there were great riches in the Temple, he sent his treasurer, Heliodorus, to seize and bring them to Antioch. Heliodorus set out upon his journey; and when he arrived at Jerusalem met with a most gracious reception from the high-priest, but as soon as he informed him that he came in the king's name to demand the money which they had in the treasury, the high priest remonstrated with him on the cruelty and injustice of seizing what was deposited in trust for the relief of widows and orphans. But this wicked man was deaf to every plea of humanity and justice, and insisted on obeying the king's command. “ Wherefore*, ( as the Book of Maccabees informs us) there was no small distress in the city'; and the highpriest. and people most earnestly intreated the aid of the LORD.”
Heliodorus resolved to seize the money by violence; on which, we are informed, he had a very extraordiwary vision; this terrified him to such, a degree “ that f he was cast down and lay speechless, without any
* 2 Macc. iii. 14--23.