Page images

A. He was fmitten by the Hand of God with a Palfy, his Speech was taken away, so that he could give no further wicked Commands, nor fo much as fet in Order his own House, and hedied in great Torment, 1 Macc. ix. 54, 55.

41Q Did the furviving Brethren of Judas Maccabeus make no Efforts against these their Enemies?

A. Yes, his Brother Jonathan, being chofen by the People, took on him the Government; and though their Brother John was flain by the Jambrites, yet Simon remained; and these two made fuch a continual Refiftance, that in fome Years Time, Alcimus being dead, Bacchides grew weary of the War, and was inclined at laft to make a firm Peace; and then he reftored the Jews which had been his Prifoners, and departed from Judea, without ever returning.

42Q. What Ufe did Jonathan make of this Peace? A. He governed Ifrael according to the Law; he restored the Jewish Religion, reformed every Thing as far as he could, both in Church andState, and rebuilt the Walls and Fortifications of Sion.

43Q. Who performed the Office of High Priest all this Time ?

A. There was a Vacance of the Office for feven. Years, after the Death of Alcimus; till Alexander, an Impoftor, pretended to be the Son of Antiochus Epiphanes, feized the Kingdom of Syria, and made high Propofals to engage Jonathan on his Side againft Demetrius, who had been their Enemy. Among thefe Proposals one was this, That he should be conflituted and maintained the Governor and the High Prieft of the Jews, and be called the King's Friend, 1 Macc. x. 18-20.

Note, I think Jofephus fuppofes Judas to have been made High Priest before his Death; but Dr Pri

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

deaux does not feem to follow him in this Matter; nor doth the Book of Maccabees give any Account of it. Though upon Judas's reftoring the Jewish Worship in the Temple, there muft be fome Perfon to officiate as High Prieft upon fome Occafions. And Onias being fled into Egypt, whether Judas himself did it occafionally, or deputed one of the other Priefts to do it, is not certain Perhaps Judas might do the Duty, as being of the chief Family of the Priesthood, though he did not affume the Title.

44 Q. Did Jonathan accept of these Proposals? 4. There being no other High Prieft in View, he accepted it, by the Confent of all the People; and at the Feast of Tabernacles he put on the holy Robe. Being thus dignified, he joined with Alexander, who still grew ftronger, and slew his Rival Demetrius in Battle.

Note here, That from this Time forward the High Priesthood continued in the Family of the Afmoneans, or Maccabees, till the Time of Herod, who changed it from an Office of Inheritance, to an arbitrary Appointment.-It may be proper to obferve here, that the Family whence the Maccabees came, are called Afmoneans; for Mattathias, their Father, was the Son of John, the Son of Simon, the Son of Afmoneus.

45 Q. But was Jonathan of the eldest Family of Aaron, to whom the Priesthood belonged?

4. Whether the Maccabees or Afmoneans were of the Race of Jofedek, the High Prieft, is uncertain, Ezra iii. 2. but it is certain they were of the Courfe of Joarib, which was of the firft Clafs of the Sons of Aaron, 1 Macc. ii. 1. 1 Chron. xxiv. 7. And therefore on the Failure of the former Family of Priests, and none appearing there with a better Title, he had the beft Right to fucceed; befides that, he was chofen to it in a Vacancy by all the People.

46Q. Where was Onias, all this, while ? A Having fled into Egypt, he gained, fuch an Intereft in PtolemyPhilometor the King, as to build a Jewish Temple in Egypt, exactly like that at Jerufalem, adorned with the fame Furniture of Veffels and Altars for Incenfe and Sacrifices; and to have himself and his Family established the High Priests of it, where they performed the fame religious Service as was done at Jerufalem,

47 In what Part of Egypt did he build this Temple?

A. In the Place where Heliopolis, or the City of the Sun food; and there he built a City also, and called it Onion, after his own Name.

48 Q. But bow did he perfuade the Jews to perform fuch. Worship at this Temple ?

A By citing the Words of Ifaiah, chap. xix. ver. 18, 19. In that Day shall five Cities in the Land. of Egypt Speak the Language of Cangan :-In that Day there shall be an Altan to the Lord in the Midf of the Land of Bgypt, &c. Which. is, truly to be interpreted concerning the future State of the Gofpel in that Country in the Days of the Meffiah; but Onias applied it to his own Temple and Altar.. 49 Q. How long did this Temple continue? All after the Deftruction of the Temple at Jerufalem, which was above two hundred Years; and then, the City Onion, and the Temple, were both deftroyed by the Command of Vefpafian, the Emperor of Rome,

50 Q. Did Jonathan go on to fecure the Jews of Judea in their Poffeffions and their Religion?

4. By making Leagues with the Princes and States that favoured him, and by affitting fometimes one and fometimes another, as the Interefts and Powers of Princes were often changing, he defended and governed his own Nation.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

51 Q. What became of him, at last ?

A. By the Treachery of one Tryphon, who fought, the Kingdom of Syria, he was seized, and fhut up clofe Prifoner in Ptolemais, 1 Macc. xi. and xii. And afterwards was flain witb his two Sons, chap. xiiis.

52.Q. Who fucceeded Jonathan in the High Priesthood and Government?

A. Simon bis. Brother, by the Request of all the People.

53 Q What were some of the first Enterprizes of Simon.!

A., After an honourable. Burial of his Brother at Modin, the City of his Fathers, and the noble and lofty Monument, and feven Pyramids which he fet, up for his Parents, his four Brethren, and himself, he fortified the Cities of Judea, made a League with young Demetrius, the Son of Demetrius, took the City of Gaza, cleanfed the Houses from. Idols, and built himself an House there.

54 Q. Did the Garrison in the Tower of Acra, near the Temple, continue to annoy the Jews in their Worship?

4. Notwithstanding all the Attempts of Judas and Jonathan, thefe Enemies remained still till the Days of Simon, who shut them up so closely, that, after great Numbers perished with Famine, the reft yielded up the Tower to Simon: Immediately he cleanfed it from its Pollutions, and entered into it with Harps and Songs, and great Triumph,

55Q. What Precautions did Simon take against the like Annoyance for Time to come.

4. By Confent and Affiftance of the People, he. pulled down the Tower, and reduced the Mountain itself fo low, that there might be no Poffibi-, lity of any future Annoyance to the Worship of the Temple from that Place.

56 Q. What further Succefs had Simon in his Government?


A. He eftablished Jerufalem and Judea in great Peace and Plenty; he fought out the Law, and made it to be obeyed; he beautified the Sanctuary, multiplied the Veffels of the Temple, and maintained their Religion in the divine Institutions of it.

57 Q. What peculiar Honour was done him by the Jews?

A. In a general Affembly of the Priests and Elders, and the People of the Jews, met together at Jerufalem, he was conftituted their Prince, as well as their High Priest; and these Dignities and Offices were fettled upon his Pofterity for ever. This was engraven on Tables of Brafs, together with the good Deeds of himself and his Family, which had merited fuch an Honour; and thefe Tables were hung up in the Sanctuary.

58 Q. What Regard was paid to him among

the Heathen Nations?

A. Several Princes and People, the Lacedemonians, the Romans, and Antiochus, furnamed Sidetes, the Son of Demetrius, King of Syria, all fought his Friendship, made Leagues and Covenants with him, and conferred on him fpecial Honours, 1 Macc. xiv, and xv.

59.Q. Did Antiochus keep his Covenant with Simon?

A. By no means; for when he had vanquished Tryphon, his Rival, he broke his League with Simon, and invaded fome Part of Judea; but his General Cendebeus, was routed by Simon and his two eldest Sons Judas and John, whofe Surname was Hyrcanus.

60 Q. What was the Fate of Simon at laft? A. When

« PreviousContinue »