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p and down with this Story, do utterly overthrow the Credit of it.
14 Q. Upon the whole View of Things, what is the best Account of this Tranflation?
A. In the Reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, there was fuch a Verfion made of the five Books of Mofes, by the Jews of Alexandria,into the Greek Language, probably for their own Ufe, and for the Ufe of their Countrymen; for the Jews in their Difperfions had used themselves to the Greek Tongue, the Conquefts of Alexander and his Grecian Army having spread their Language through the World; and when Ptolemy Philadelphus had erected fuch a noble Library, he was defirous to have this Book depofited there. Whether his Requeft or Command gave any Occafion to this Tranflation, is hard to determine.
15Q. Were not the other facred Writings tranflated into Greek alfo, as well as the five Books of Mofes ?
A. When the Reading of the Prophets as well as the Law came into Ufe in the Synagogues," many Years afterwards, in the Time of Antiochus Epiphanes, this occafioned a Greek Tranflation of the Prophets to be made; and fo the whole Old Teftament was complete, which we now call the Septuagint ?
16Q Did the Jews generally come to use this Greek Tranflation of the Bible?
A. In and after the Time of Ezra, the Scriptures were read to the Jews in Hebrew, and, in terpreted into the Chaldee Language, which they had learnt in Babylon, and was become moft familiar to them.. But at Alexandria, after the making of this Greek Verfion, it was afterwards interpreted to them in Greek, which was afterwards
wards done alfo in all other Grecian Cities, wHither the Jews were difperfed. And from hence thofe Jews were called Hellenifts, or Grecizing Jews, because they used the Greek Language in their Synagogues; and by that Name they were diftinguished from the Hebrew Jews, who ufed only the Hebrew and Chaldee Languages in their Synagogues. And this diftinction we find made between them, Acts vi. 1. For the Word which we there tranflate Grecians, is in the Original 'EXA that is, Hellenis. So Dr Prideaux. 17 Q But did not the Evangelifts and the Apofles, who were the Writers of the New Testāment, pay great Honour to this Greek Tranflation? A. Yes; they cited many Scriptures of the Old Teftament, according to this Tranflation, becaufe it was the best Greek Translation they had; and it was by this Time well known amongst the Jews in Judea, as well as thofe who were fcattered round the Nations.
18 Q. Did the Jews in Judea continue in Peace under the Government of the Kings of Egypt?
A. The Succeffors of the four Generals of Alexander the Great, who divided the World among ft them, and particularly the Kings of Egypt and Syria, being frequently engaged in Wars for enlarging their Kingdoms, the Jews were reduced to very great Difficulties, and fometimes were at at a Lofs what Side to choose; they were in Danger on both Sides, and were fometimes diftreffed and miferably grinded between the one and the other.
19 Q. Did they maintain the Purity of their Temple and Worship?
A. They were often expofed to grievous Difficulties on this Account. When Ptolemy Philopater,of Egypt, reigned over thofe Provinces, he would offer
offer up Sacrifices to the God of Ifrael for his Succefs against Antiochus the Great, the Succeffor of Seleucus, King of Syria; and he was not content to ftay in the outer Court, but he would have preffed into the Sanctuary, and even the Holy of Holies.
20 Q. How was he prevented from entering? A. The Priefts and the Levites, and all the People lifted up their Hands to God in Prayer, and when the King had paffed the inner Court; and was entering into the Temple, he was fmitten from God, with fuch Terror and Confufion of Mind, that he was carried out of the Place halfdead.
21 Q. But did not Ptolemy resent this afterwards?
A. He purposed to be revenged on all the Jewish Nation; when he came to Alexandria, he ordered them to facrifice to his Gods; and if they refused, he took away their Privileges, which they had enjoyed in Egypt from the Time of Alexander the Great: He ordered them to be enrolled among the common People of Egypt, and to have the Mark of an Ivy-leaf, the Badge of his God Bacchus, impreffed upon them by an hot Iron; and those who refufed it, fhould be made Slaves, or put to Death.
22 Q. What did the Jews of Alexandria do on this Occafion?
A. A few of them forfook their God to gain the Favour of their King: But many Thoufands ftood firm to their Religion; and though feveral of them were enrolled, and branded with the Ivyleaf against their Will, yet they fhewed a great Abhorrence of all their Countrymen that facrificed to the Gods of the King.
23 Q. How
23 Q. How did Ptolemy bear with this Conduct of theirs?
A. He refolved to deftroy the whole Nation of the Jews; and therefore, firft he ordered all that lived any where in Egypt, to be brought in Chains to Alexandria to be flain by his Elephants.
24 Q. And were they deftroyed according to the King's Appointment?
A The Elephants being made drunk with Wine and Frankincenfe, and let loose upon them, inftead of falling upon the Jews, they turned all their Rage upon the Spectators, and deftroyed great Numbers of them.
25 Q. What Influence had this upon the King? A. He durft no longer profecute his Rage againft them; but fearing the Vengeance of the God of Ifrael upon himself, he revoked his cruel Decrees, reftored their Privileges, and gave Leave to put to Death the Jews that had abandoned their Religion, and worshipped Idols.
Note, This Story is found in that which is called the third Book of Maccabees, written by fome ancient Jew under that Title, because it gives an Account of the Perfecution and Deliverance of the Jews, as the first and fecond Books of Maccabees do. Though this was transacted long before the Name of Maccabees arofe; and therefore it ought rather to have been called the first Book than the third. It is not found among our Apocryphal Books, because it was never inferted in the Vulgar Latin Verfion of the Bible, but it is found in many of the Manufcripts of the Greek Septuagint, and particularly that of the Alexandrian Manuscript in the King's Library.
SECT. IV. Of the Jewish Affairs under ANTIOCHUS the Great, SELEUCUS, and ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES, Kings of Syria.
ID the Jews afterwards at Jerufalem continue under the Government of the Ptolemies, who were Kings of Egypt?
A. When Ptolemy Philopater was dead, and Ptolemy Epiphanes came to the Crown, the Jews having been greatly perfecuted by the Ptolemies, fubmitted themselves to Antiochus the Great, King of Syria; and when he came to Jerufalem in a folemn Proceffion, they went to meet him, and received him gladly.
2 Q. How did Antiochus reward them?
A. He granted them many Privileges, as he had done to their Countrymen who were fettled in Babylonia and Mefopotamia, having always found the Men of that Nation faithful to him.
3Q. What Confidence did he put in them on this Account?
A. He transported several of them from Babylonia to the Leffer Afia, to keep his Forts and Gar rifons, and gave them good Settlements there; whence fprang a great Part of the Jews that were found in that Country in the Apostles Times.
4 Q. What remarkable Events fell out in the Days of Seleucus Philopater, Son and Succeffor to Antiochus the Great?
A. Simon, a Benjamite, being made Governor of the Temple, fome Differences arofe between him and Onias the third, the High Priest, an excellent Man, concerning fome Disorders in the City: And when Simon could not obtain his Will, he informed Apollonius, the Governor of the Province