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Stories from Jewish history

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Title:
Stories from Jewish history From the Babylonish captivity to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus
Creator:
A. L. O. E., 1821-1893
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publisher:
T. Nelson and sons
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Language:
English
Physical Description:
192 p., [2] leaves of plates : (some col.) ill. ; 16 cm.

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Subjects / Keywords:
Bible stories, English -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Jews -- History -- Juvenile literature -- 586 B.C.-70 A.D ( lcsh )
Jews -- History -- Juvenile literature -- Babylonian captivity, 598-515 B.C ( lcsh )
Maccabees -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Jewish diaspora -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Jerusalem ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1872
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non-fiction ( marcgt )
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England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

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Added title page and frontispiece illustrated in colors.
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Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
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by A.L.O.E.

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University of Florida
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Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
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00881425 ( OCLC )

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STORIES FROM JEWISH HISTORY.





ESTHER PLEADING BEFORE KING AHASUERUS.

Page 41











STORIES

FROM

JEWISH HISTORY. |

FROM THE BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY,
TO THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM BY TITUS.

BY

AUTHOR OF “‘ THE SILVER CASKET,” “THE YOUNG PILGRIM,”
ETC. ETC.

Re ee

LONDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.



1872.





Preface.





ae works which I have chiefly consulted

in compiling the following sketch, have
been (in addition to the Holy Scrip-
tures) the books of the Apocrypha, Josephus’
Wars of the Jews, the elaborate writings of
Prideaux, and a small volume on the history of
the Hebrews, published some years ago in India,



There is no history more fraught with interest,
or conveying more important lessons, than that
of God’s chosen nation. There are no annals
which display instances of more heroic courage,
faith, and self-devotion,—alas! of darker apostasy
and crime,—than those of the descendants of
Abraham.

May the reader rise from the perusal of this
brief sketch with a deeper sense of the mercy and



vi PREFACE.

justice of God, as revealed in His dealings to-
wards His people; and a fervent prayer for the
hastening of that day when the Lord’s gracious
promise shall be fulfilled :-—

“T will pour upon the house of David, and
upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of
grace and of supplications ; and they shall look
upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall
mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only
son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one
that is in bitterness for his first-born. I am
returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst
of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called, A
city of truth ; and the mountain of the Lord of
hosts, The holy mountain.”

A. L. 0. E





Ventroduction.

OR the sins of His people the Lord had
stricken Jerusalem, and given up Judea
into the hands of the heathen. The

judgments of God had first fallen on the kingdom
of the ten tribes; as they had been foremost in
the sin of idolatry, so they had first met its
awful punishment. Shalmaneser, king of Assyria,
had attacked Samaria (724 B.c.), and after a siege
of nearly three years had taken the city, and
carried Israel into captivity, with Hoshea its
king.

The punishment of the kingdom of Judah had
been for some time deferred. While such monarchs
as the pious Hezekiah and the faithful Josiah had
sat on the throne of their ancestor David, God’s
mercy had guarded Jerusalem from her foes; but





vili INTRODUCTION.

since the time of these virtuous rulers, tyrants
- had arisen, who set not God before their eyes;
princes and people had combined to break the
laws of the Almighty, and despise the counsel of
the Most High. The vine which the Lord had
brought from Egypt, and had planted and watered
with such tender care, had brought forth the
wild grapes of rebellion and idolatry. The man-
date had not gone forth, “Cut it down, why
cumbereth it the ground?” but the Lord had said
in His anger, “I will take away the hedge thereof,
and it shall be eaten up; and break down the
wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down. And
I will lay it waste” (Isa. v. 5, 6). In 606 Bc,
Nebuchadnezzar carried captive to Babylon some
of the most illustrious of the’ children of Judah,
and subjected Jehoiakim their king to his power.
In 599 B.C, the Assyrian monarch besieged and
took Jerusalem, then under the sway of Jehoiachin,
and led into bondage that prince and the chief of
his people. In 588 B.c., the work of retribution
was completed. Zedekiah, the last king of Judah,
was taken, a miserable, blinded prisoner, to
Assyria; the temple and palaces of Jerusalem
were given to the flames, her walls were razed to
‘the ground, and the mourning exiles from Judea,



INTRODUCTION. ant

py the waters of Babylon, hung their DOr on
the willows, and wept.

But though the Lord chastened his people,
they were not given over to destruction. At the
period at which the following sketch of Jewish
history commences, that prophecy which had,
seventy years before, been uttered by the inspired
Jeremiah was on the point of fulfilment: “ Thus
saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accom-
plished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform
My good word toward you, in causing you to
return to this place. For I know the thoughts
that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts
of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected
end” (Jer. xxix. 10, 11). As a mighty despot
had been the instrument, in God’s hand, to
chastise a rebellious race, so another powerful
monarch was now appointed by Providence to
raise the fallen, to restore the exiles; as a
“shepherd,” to gather together the dispersed
flock of the Lord.

ERE ESO







Il.
Ti.
Iv.

VIL
VII.
VIII.
Ix.
x.
xi.
xi.
XOUT.
XIv.
Xv.
xvi.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.

GJ ontents.

THE RETURN FROM BAPYLON, oe “a8

THE HISTORY OF ESTHER, wee

CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER,

THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH, ae

ALEXANDER THE GREAT, wee she

JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT, ...

JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA, ... wee
VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS, ... eee

THE DEATH OF JUDAS MACCABEUS, ... See
REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON, AND JOHN HYRCANUS,
STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES,

REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT, oa

THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH, eae aes aa
DEATH OF HEROD,

THE DEATH OF THE MESSIAH, ie a ae
HEROD AGRIPPA, sits wes ant uae
COMMENCEMENT OF WAR, ee tae aes oes
SIEGE OF JOTAPATA.—FALL OF JERUSALEM,
CONCLUSION, ... aes see. ee oss

18
26

104
115
128
139
148
157
161
168
177
196









STORIES FROM JEWISH HISTORY.

See

CHAPTER I.

THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

The Decree of Cyrus—First Caravan Starts—Foundation of the Temple
Laid—Samaritans Oppose—Ezra Heads the Second Caravan—Ezra
Reforms Abuses.

N the first year of the reign of Cyrus, the

Lord stirred up the spirit of that king,

probably through the influence of the

aged Daniel, to issue throughout his vast domin-




ions the following proclamation :—

“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord
God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of
the earth ; and He hath charged me to build Him
an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judab. Who
is there among you of all His people? his God be
with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which



14 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

is in Judah, and build the house of the-Lord_God
of Israel (He is the God), which is in J erusalem,
And whosoever remaineth in any place where he
sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with
silver, and with gold, and with beasts, beside the
freewill offering for the house of God that is in
Jerusalem.” ;

Great was the joy of the faithful Jews, who
throughout their long-captivity had been waiting
and watching for the fulfilment of the prophecies
made to their fathers, when at length the pros-
pect opened to them of return to their beloved
country. Doubtless they recalled the prophecies
of Jeremiah and Isaiah, and especially that one,
uttered by the latter above one hundred and
seventy years previously, in which the Lord
called their deliverer by his name, saying of
“Cyrus, he is my shepherd, and shall perform all
my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou
shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation
shall be laid.”

The proclamation of the king sounded through |
the land like a trumpet-call, to gather together
the exiles of Judea, and large numbers hastened
to Babylon to make preparations for their journey.
It was a second Exodus, a second release from



THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 15

foreign bondage, to seek the land of promise.
But it was not by the whole of the children of
the captivity that the opportunity of returning to
Judea was embraced with patriotic zeal. Ruined
dwellings and wasted plains, a city without temple
and without walls, offered few attractions to such
as regarded the country of strangers as a home.
Many shrank from the hardships of the journey,
and the dangers which they must expect to en-
counter; many who had formed ties in Baby-
lonia, felt bound by them to that land. The
Jewish exiles were an emblem of those who, in
all ages of the world, hear the call of conscience
and religion. While some turn their faces to-
wards a heavenly Zion, willing to leave all, and
suffer all here, so that they may but find an
inheritance above, the greatest number pre-
fer present comforts to future blessings; their
hearts cling to the pleasures of the world;
they are too fearful, too busy, too rich, or too
gay, to cast in their lot with the people of
God.

The first return caravan was organized and
directed by Zerubbabel, the grandson of King
Jehoiachin, and by Jeshua, a grandson of the
last high priest, Jozadak. The number of



16 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

those who joined them was about 50,000, in-
cluding above 7000 servants of both sexes. Be-

LAVER.

the sanctuary.



CANDLESTICK.

the Holy Land!



fore they departed, Cyrus
caused to be restored ©
to them the most valu-
able of the sacred uten-
sils which had been car-
ried away from Jeru-
salem by Nebuchadnez-
zar; thousands of ves-
sels of silver and gold
were now again to be

devoted to the service of
Zerubbabel was also intrusted

with large contributions
towards the expense of
rebuilding the temple,
from the Jews who re-
mained in Babylonia.
Many and sad must
have been the partings
when that vast caravan
set out on its journey to

The voice of blessing and of

prayer was heard, as those who stayed behind
exchanged their last words of friendship with

(296)



THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 17

those who were ready to depart. Anxious and
loving eyes watched the long line of pilgrims,
with their laden asses and camels, slowly disap-
pearing in the distance; and the hopes and
prayers of their brethren followed the brave band
who first returned to the home of their fathers.
On reaching Palestine the caravan repaired at
once to Jerusalem, which was found in a state of
ruin and desolation. Before the travellers sepa-
rated to seek habitations for themselves, they
raised a large sum by voluntary contributions to-
wards the rebuilding of the temple. They then
employed themselves in securing dwellings for



ALTAR OF BURNT-OFFERING.

their families; and at the ensuing feast of taber-

nacles again repaired to Jerusalem, where sacri-

fices were offered on an altar erected on the ruins

of the temple. After this the people applied
(296) 2



18 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

themselves zealously to the necessary preparations
for the restoration of that edifice. In a year
from the departure from Babylon these prepara-
tions were sufficiently advanced to allow of the
great work being commenced, and the foundations
of the second temple were laid amidst the noise
of trumpets, cymbals, and shouting! But many



CYMBALS AND TRUMPETS.

of the priests and aged men, whose hair had
grown white during the captivity—those who
had seen the temple of Solomon when it stood in
its glory and beauty—wept with a loud voice at
the mournful recollection of the past, 535 B.c.
While the work proceeded, the Samaritans
manifested a desire to aid in it, and to claim a
community of worship in the new temple to be
erected to the Lord. Their offers were declined»
by the Jews; and the people of the land, irritated
by the refusal, did all in their power to weaken



THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 19

their hands, and hinder them from proceeding
with the building. An unscrupulous use of
money and influence amongst the officers of
government, enabled these adversaries of the
Jews to raise such obstructions that the work
was at length altogether suspended. For about
fifteen long years the faith and the patience of
the people ‘of Judah were thus tried. They
gradually lost heart for the work, and were dis-
posed to believe that the set time for it had not
yet arrived. The zeal of many waxed cold; and,
absorbed in the care of providing for their own
security and comfort, the Jews were in danger of
forgetting the sacred duty which they had at first
so earnestly sought to perform.

From this apathy they were roused in the
second year of the reign of Darius Hystaspes, by
the stirring words of the prophet Haggai. “Is it.
time,” he exclaimed to the people, “for you to
dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie
waste? Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider
your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring
wood, and build the house; and I will take plea-
sure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.”

The call was not uttered in vain. Filled with
fresh zeal, Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the people



20 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

hastened to resume the work of building, 520 B.c.
Amidst the difficulties and discouragements which
beset them, they were still cheered by animating
messages delivered to them by Haggai. The
temple gradually rose, far inferior, indeed, in
splendour to that erected in the days of Israel’s













































































THE SECOND TEMPLE.

great king, when gold was abundant, and silver
so plentiful that it was counted as the stones of
the earth ; but a gracious promise was given that
the glory of the latter house should excel that of
the first, for the DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS should



THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 21

come to it, the presence of the Messiah should
honour it, “and in this place will I give peace,” *
said the Lord of hosts to his people.

The renewal of the work roused afresh the
opposition of the adversaries of the Jews. Tatnai,
the Syrian governor, sternly demanded of the
builders by whose command they were re-erecting
the ruined walls of their temple. The Jews
pleaded the authority of the decree of Cyrus,
and Tatnai referred the question to King Darius
for decision. The result was happy, for after
some search the decree in favour of the Jews was
discovered. It not only authorized the erection
of the temple, but directed the local government
to afford assistance and supplies. These supplies
the Jews had not hitherto ventured to claim, but
Darius commanded that they should be given.
Under the impulse thus imparted, the work pro-
ceeded with spirit, and four years afterwards it
was completed, 516 Bc. The dedication was
celebrated with great solemnity and joy ; and the
people flocked to the courts of the Lord, to per-
form again with thanksgiving and rejoicing the
rites of their holy faith.

The Jews were now restored to their own land,

* Haggai ii. 9.



22 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

but they were under tribute to the Persians, and
subject to the general control of the princes of
that people. They were allowed the free exercise
of their religion and laws, and were ruled by a
governor of their own nation, or by the high
priest when no such governor was appointed.
With regard to religion, the fearful lesson taught
by the desolation of the land, the destruction of
the temple, and the captivity of the people, had
greatly cured the Jews of that tendency to
idolatry which had brought on them such misery
and ruin. But the inherent corruption of the
human heart, restrained in one point, broke out
in others; there are few more humbling lessons of
man’s infirmity and the sinfulness of his nature,
than may be gathered from the history of the Jews.

It does not appear that the people suffered
further molestation during the long reign of
Darius; and his son and successor, Xerxes, seems
to have regarded them with favour. This mon-
arch was succeeded, in 464 B.c., by Artaxerxes
Longimanus, in whose reign the Jews proceeded
to rebuild Jerusalem on a regular plan, and to
surround it with a wall, as will appear in a fol-
lowing chapter.

Zerubbabel and Jeshua, the first leaders in the



THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 23

restoration, had by this time been gathered to
their fathers, and confusion and disorder were
spreading widely amongst the Jews at Jerusalem.
Light was the danger which they had encoun-
tered from the enmity of the people of the land,
compared with that which they now experienced
from too close alliances with them. Many broke
the laws of their God by marrying heathen wives;
some even of the princes and of the priests were
guilty of this act of disobedience. A reformer
was urgently needed, who should have wisdom to
judge and firmness to act; and such a reformer
was found in Ezra the priest, who headed the
second large body of exiles, who returned from
Babylonia to Judea, 457 B.C,

Armed with the authority of the Persian king,
and intrusted with large offerings to the temple,
including valuable contributions from the monarch
himself, Ezra prepared for his journey. The bank
of the river Ahava was the gathering-place for the
people. There Ezra pitched his tent, and there
he proclaimed a solemn. fast, that the travellers
might unite in supplication to the Almighty for
protection on their dangerous way. As the band
of pilgrims bound for Jerusalem included tender
women and helpless children, and was ill provided



24 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

for defence against an enemy in the probable
event of an attack, some thoughts were enter-
tained of requesting a military escort from the
king. But Ezra had declared before Artaxerxes
his firm faith in the power and goodness of God,
and the noble-minded Jew shrank from making a
petition which might seem to imply distrust of
the Almighty’s providential care. Ezra would
not lean on an arm of flesh, but with prayer and
fasting he committed himself and his people to the
protection of the Most High.

In safety the second body of exiles returned to
the holy city. Having deposited in the temple
the treasures with which he had been intrusted,
Ezra applied himself with earnest zeal to the
arduous work of reformation. The discoveries
made by him of the guilt and corruption prevail-
ing amongst God’s chosen people, filled Ezra with
grief and shame. He felt that the greatest of
evils is sin; the greatest of dangers, that of forfeit-
ing the protection of the Almighty by trespassing
against him. In deep sorrow of heart Ezra rent
his garments, and, falling on his knees, with tears
confessed before the Lord the sins of those whom
divine mercy had restored to theirland. “O my
God, I am ashamed, I blush to lift up my eyes to



THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 25

thee!” exclaimed the leader of the backsliding
Jews; ‘‘for our iniquities are increased over our
head, and our transgression is grown up unto the
heavens !”

The blessing of the Lord whom he supplicated
rested upon the efforts of Ezra to bring back the
erring to the paths of righteousness. With re-
pentance and weeping the Jews returned to their
God; order was again restored; and the heathen
wives were put away.

Let us now retrace a little the course of history,
to consider some events of great interest and im-
portance which occurred at the court of Persia,
between the periods of the return of the first and
second bands of exiles to the land of Judea.

PRINCIPAL CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.



586—457 B.C. BC.
Hippias banished from Athens............sceeeeveee ee ee 510
Tarquins banished from Rome «+. 509
Merxes invaded Greece... cece eee ee secs ee eee ee ee ee ee ee 481









CHAPTER II.

THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

The Jewish Maiden—The Conspiracy Discovered—Haman’s Plot—A
Mourning Nation—The Golden Sceptre—The Queen’s Banquet.

aRTAXERXES,* or, as he is termed in the
Scriptures, Ahasuerus, sat on the throne
of Persia. Lord of the widest kingdom
which then existed upon earth—a kingdom which
extended from India to Ethiopia, and comprised a
hundred and twenty-seven provinces—the will of
the monarch was the law to which many nations
were constrained to bow. Ahasuerus possessed
neither the wisdom nor the self-command requisite
in one to whom power so vast is intrusted. He
chose for his chief favourite and minister Haman,




* Archbishop Usher supposed Ahasuerus to be Darius; Scaliger con-
tends that Xerxes is described under that name; but both Prideaux and
Josephus regard Ahasuerus as identical with Artaxerxes, who began to
reign 464 B.o.



THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. “27

an Amalekite, a man of unbounded cruelty and
pride, and dismissed his own queen for venturing
to disobey a capricious command given to her by
her husband, when he was probably under the
influence of wine.

In choosing another partner of his state to fill
the place of the dethroned Queen Vashti, the des-
pot sought for no higher qualification than that of
personal attractions. But the Almighty Disposer
of events guided the choice of the monarch.









SITE OF SHUSHA® OR SUSA.

In the palace of Shushan was a certain Jew,
named Mordecai, of the tribe of Benjamin. With
a father’s care he had reared Esther, a young
orphan maiden, a relative of his own. The Jew-
ess was possessed of exquisite beauty ; amongst



28 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

the fair she was the fairest; Ahasuerus saw her,
loved her, and raised the beauteous captive to the
rank of the queen of Persia.

Her elevation appears to have had no effect in
changing the character of this daughter of Abra-
ham. In the palace of Ahasuerus, surrounded by
luxury and pomp, Esther preserved her faith to
the God of her fathers, though by the charge of
Mordecai she kept her nation and kindred secret
from the king. While placed in a position far
above that of her early benefactor, the young
queen still rendered to Mordecai the dutiful
obedience of a daughter. Through her the Jew
made known to Ahasuerus a secret plot to assas-
sinate him, which had been made by two of his
chamberlains. The conspirators suffered the
punishment of death, but he to whose timely
warning the king owed the preservation of his
life, sat day after day in the gate of the royal
palace, unrewarded and neglected.

Through this gate passed Haman, the proud
favourite of the Persian monarch. As he moved
on with a stately step amongst the courtiers and
servants of the king, every head, save one, was
bowed down before him—all did him obeisance
save one! That one was Mordecai, the bold, un-



THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.



QUEEN ESTHER.

compromising Jew, who scorned to pay any mark
of respect to him who was the enemy of his faith



30 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

—to him who belonged to the guilty tribe doomed
by a just God to destruction.

Haman was not a man to forgive that which
he looked upon as an insult. Boiling with rage,
he determined that not only should Mordecai ex- .
piate his offence with his life, but that the whole
of his race should be swept away by one act of
indiscriminate vengeance. The arbitrary temper of
Ahasuerus, and his blind confidence in his wicked
minister, too well seconded the bloody designs of
Haman. This unprincipled favourite succeeded
in obtaining from the despot a decree for the
extermination of the Jewish people throughout
all of his extensive dominions. Neither age nor
sex were to be spared; the babe was to be
slaughtered in the arms of its mother, and the
spoil of the murdered victims was to be the prey
of the merciless Haman! A time was actually
fixed upon by lot for the perpetration of the
horrible ‘massacre, but, by the providence of
God, the lot fell upon a distant day. Their con-
sciences untroubled by a sense of their enor-
mous guilt, Ahasuerus and Haman sat down
to feast and to drink, while all Shushan was
startled by the fearful decree that was to destroy
a peaceful nation from the face of the earth!



THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. 31

When Mordecai heard of the king’s command-
ment, he rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth
with ashes, and went out into the midst of the
city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry. And
in every province into which the king’s decree
came, there was great mourning amongst the Jews,
and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many
lay in sackcloth and ashes. Esther heard of the
deep distress of Mordecai, though, secluded as she
was in the royal apartments, she seems not to
have been fully aware of its cause. She sent
Hatach, the king’s chamberlain, to Mordecai, and
received through him a copy of the dreadful
decree, and a charge to go herself to the despot,
and make supplication for her persecuted people.

This message threw the young queen into great
perplexity and distress, For. thirty days the

. capricious monarch had expressed no wish to see
her, and to enter unbidden into his presence
exposed any intruder to the penalty of death, un-
less the monarch should extend his golden sceptre
in token of pardon and grace. Through the
medium of Hatach, Esther communicated her
difficulties and fears to Mordecai. But to the
resolute spirit of the Jew but one path appeared
open to his adopted daughter, and that was the



32 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. -

path of duty. Whatever might be the difficulty,
she must brave it; whatever might be the danger,
she must dare it! He reminded Esther that it
was probably for this very purpose that she had
been raised to share the throne of Ahasuerus.

The reply of the queen showed her piety and
her obedience, and her resolution at all hazards
to intercede for her nation. She besought Mor-
decai to gather together all the Jews that were
then in Shushan, that they might plead for her
with that Almighty Ruler in whose hand are the
hearts of kings. She promised that at the end
of three days, which she would herself devote to
solemn prayer, she would appear before Ahasuerus,
concluding her message with the touching words,
“ And if I perish, I perish!”

The third day arrived, and the trembling Esther
prepared to redeem her promise. She put on her
royal apparel, the rich garments and glittering
jewels whose splendour seemed a mockery of the
fear and sorrow of her whom they adorned. And
so Esther ventured into the presence of the despot,
not armed with great natural courage, but leaning
on that invisible Protector who can give strength
to the weak and heroism to the fearful. Aha-
suerus beheld his beauteous queen, and all his



33

THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.















ESTHER APPEARING BEFORE KING AHASUERUS.

he held out his

evived :

affection towards her r

golden sceptre, and perceiving that no light

motive could have induced her to brave the peril

3

(296)



34 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

of death, ‘“ What wilt thou, Queen Esther?” he
cried; “and what is thy request? It shall be
given to thee to the half of the kingdom.”

Notwithstanding the relief which the young
Jewess experienced at the first peril being happily
past, she was not yet prepared to disclose the
secret of her race, hitherto carefully concealed.
She confined herself to a request that the king
and Haman should that day attend a banquet
which she had prepared.

The request was instantly granted; the monarch
and his favourite appeared at the feast ; and again
Ahasuerus gave a gracious promise to his quaeen—
“What is thy request? even to the half of the
kingdom it shall be performed.” Again Esther
sought a brief delay. She entreated her lord to
come with Haman to another banquet on the
morrow, and promised that she then would declare
the subject of her anxious desires.

Haman left the presence of the queen glad,
and with a joyful heart. Honoured as no other
subject had been honoured, the spirit of the
Amalekite was lifted up with pride. He ap-
proached the gate at which Mordecai still sat.
Surely now the firmness of the Jew will give way;
he will yield reverence at last to one who has so



THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. 35

fearfully shown his disposition to revenge, and his
power to gratify it. No! Mordecai stoops not,
and the tyrant passes on, full of rage against one
whom he may kill, but whom he cannot conquer.

On what a slight thread hangs human happiness,
when.such a breath can destroy it! Haman had
all that the world could give, but one evil passion,
like a viper in the breast, poisoned in a moment

every spring of enjoyment. He went to his home ~~

a miserable man—so miserable, that he was con-
strained to publish to others what was humiliating

_to himself. Haman called for his friends, and
Zeresh his wife, and told them of the glory of his
riches, the multitude of his children, the favour
of his sovereign, and the repeated invitations with
which Esther the queen had honoured him; clos-
ing all with this striking confession of the vanity
of earthly greatness—“ Yet all this availeth me
nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting
at the gate of the king!”

Zeresh appeared a meet counsellor for so un-
principled a man as her husband. She and her
friends assured Haman that the object of his hate
could be easily destroyed, without waiting for the
day appointed for the massacre. “Let a gallows
be made fifty cubits high,” said they, “and to-



36 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai
~ may be hanged thereon; then go thou merrily
unto the banquet.”

The wicked counsel pleased Haman, and he
caused the gallows at once to be made,









CHAPTER IIT.

CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER,

Persian Records—Malice Defeated—Pleading of Esther—Punishment
of Haman—Triumph of the Jews.




Fo auHAT night King Ahasuerus could not
sleep. Those peaceful slumbers which
the meanest of his subjects could enjoy,
fled from the eyelids of the monarch. It does
not appear, however, that the rest of the despot
was destroyed by any thought of the thousands
of innocent families doomed by his caprice to de-
struction. Unable to obtain sleep, the king
ordered that the book of records should be brought
and read before him; and as he listened to the
account of the events of his reign, the conspiracy
of his servants, and the means by which the dan-
gerous plot had been discovered, were brought
to the remembrance of the monarch.





38 CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

“What honour and dignity hath been done to
Mordecai?” said the king.

“There is nothing done for him,” was the
reply.

“Who is in the court?” asked Ahasuerus.

“Behold, Haman standeth in the court,” an-
swered his servants.

“Let him come in,” said the king.

Now Haman had come into the outer court to
procure from his master an order to hang Mor-
decai on the lofty gallows which had been erected.
Full of his evil design, he presented himself before
the king.

“What shall be done to the man whom the
king delighteth to honour?” said Ahasuerus, ad-
dressing his favourite.

Now Haman thought in his heart, “To whom
would the king delight to do honour more than
to myself?” and eager to obtain the most distin-
guished mark of royal favour, to which his ambi-
tious, presumptuous heart could aspire, Haman
replied to his lord, “Let the royal apparel be
brought which the king useth to wear, and the
horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown
royal which is set upon his head: and let this
apparel and horse be delivered to one of the king’s































\\
WSS A

























































THE BOOK OF RECORDS.



40 CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

most noble princes, that they may array the man
withal that the king delighteth to honour, and
bring him on horseback through the street of the
city, and proclaim before. him, ‘Thus shall it be
done to the man whom the king delighteth to
honour.’”

Then Ahasuerus said to Haman, “‘ Make haste,
take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said,
and do even so to Mordecai the Jew. Let no-
thing fail of all that thou hast spoken.”

What must have been the feelings of Haman
on receiving this most unexpected command,
which he dared not for an instant dispute! What
must have been the torment of his soul when he
led through the city his intended victim, crowned
and royally apparelled, and proclaimed aloud to
wondering crowds, that the despised and _per-
secuted Jew was one whom the king delighted to
honour! Doubtless Mordecai received this singu-
lar reward as a token of good from the King of
kings, as a sign that his prayers had been heard
by Him who can give beauty for ashes, the oil of
joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the
spirit of heaviness.

His hateful commission executed, Haman hur-
ried back to his home, mourning and with his face



CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. 41

covered. He found little consolation there from
those who on the preceding day had encouraged
him in the path of crime. “If Mordecai be of
the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast
begun to fall,” said Zeresh and her friends unto
Haman, “thou shalt not prevail against him, but
‘shall surely fall before him.”

And while they were yet talking to Haman,
the king’s chamberlains arrived, and hastened to
bring him to the banquet, to which he had been
invited by the queen.

Then at the feast Esther at length made known
to Ahasuerus the grief that weighed upon her
heart, and pleaded with earnest eloquence for her
own life and the lives of her nation; ‘‘For we
are sold,” she exclaimed, “I and my people, to
be destroyed, to be slain, to perish !”

“Who is he,” cried the astonished king, “that
durst presume in his heart to do so?”

Then Esther replied, ‘The adversary and
enemy is this wicked Haman.”

The king’s indignation knew no_ bounds.
Thoughtlessly he had signed the decree, little
dreaming that it could possibly compromise the
safety even of his-beloved Esther! Haman saw
the rising anger of his master, and, in an agony of



42 CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

terror, made supplication for his life to the queen.
But he who had shown no mercy found none in
his hour of need. Those who had not dared to
oppose him in his power, were now eager to
hasten his downfal. One of the chamberlains
who was present told the incensed monarch of
the gallows fifty cubits high, erected by Haman
for Mordecai.

“Hang him thereon!” cried the king. The
just command was instantly obeyed, and the
wretched Haman was cut off in his wicked career
by the very death which he had designed for
another !

It was less easy to revoke the murderous order
which had already been proclaimed, by reason of
that law of the Medes and Persians, which made
royal decrees irrevocable. But Ahasuerus did all
that he could do to counteract the evil effects of
his own sinful compliance. A decree was published
throughout the land, permitting the Jews to de-
fend themselves against any enemy that might
dare to attack them. The result was the com-
plete triumph of the persecuted race over all
whom hatred induced to attempt to execute the
king’s first decree. Mordecai was raised to high
power, and his fame spread throughout all the



CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. 43

provinces ; the Jews had rest, and peace, and
favour ; and an annual feast was appointed in
commemoration of the great deliverance which
the Lord had wrought for his people, through the
instrumentality of a feeble woman!







CHAPTER IV.

THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.

Nehemiah’s Petition—Building the Wall—Reading of the Scriptures—
Nehemiah Reforms Abuses.

PMANY years had passed since the events
p| yecorded in the last chapter had taken
place. Ahasuerus was dead, and Ar-
taxerxes his son reigned on the throne of Persia.
Ezra had for about ten years been pursuing his
labours at Jerusalem, when the Lord raised up
another leader for his people in the court of
Shushan.

Nehemiah, one of the Jewish exiles, held the
responsible office of cup-bearer to King Arta-
xerxes. He was a devout servant of God, and
an earnest and devoted patriot. Amidst the
splendours of a royal palace, his thoughts recurred
often to his suffering brethren at Jerusalem, and





THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 45



PERSTAN CUP-BEARER,

ardently did he desire the prosperity of the city
of David.

These feelings were kindled into a warmer
glow by the report which Nehemiah received
from some of his countrymen who had returned
from Judea. From them he heard that the rem-
nant of the people that were left in Zion were in
great affliction and reproach; that the wall of
Jerusalem lay in ruins; that its gates had been
burned with fire; and that aid from their breth-



46 THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.

ren beyond the Euphrates was urgently needed
by the Jews in the city.

This aid Nehemiah was anxious to give, but
felt apprehensive of difficulties in the way; not
the difficulty of quitting the pleasures and luxu-
ries of the magnificent palace in which he held
so honourable a place, but that of obtaining the
consent of his royal master to his departure for
the land of Judea. It is said that the nearest
way to reach any heart is through Heaven ; such
had been the experience of Esther, such now was
the experience of Nehemiah. Fervently and
humbly he entreated the Lord to give him favour
in the sight of the king.

The anxiety which oppressed the noble Jew,
expressed itself in his countenance, when, in
accordance with his office, he placed the wine-cup
in the hand of Artaxerxes. The king noticed his
servant’s look of depression, and inquired its cause.

“Let the king live for ever,” replied Nehemiah;
“why should not my countenance be sad, when
the city, the place of my father’s sepulchres, lieth
waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with
fire ?”

Then said the king to him, “For what dost
thou make request ?”



THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 47

Nehemiah silently lifted up his heart in prayer
ere he made his reply to the monarch :—“ If it
please the king, and if thy servant have found
' favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me
unto Judah, unto the city of my father’s sepul-
chres, that I may build it.”

Artaxerxes received the petition with favour.
He not only permitted the departure of Nehemiah,
but provided for him an escort, and gave him letters
to the officers of government on the other side of
the Euphrates, 457 B.c. It is from the year in
which the Persian monarch issued his decree, per-
mitting the rebuilding of Jerusalem, that is dated
the commencement of the weeks of prophetic
years, at the close of which the Lord Jesus was
crucified (Dan. ix. 25).

Nehemiah soon found, on his arrival at Jerusa-
lem, that his position there would be one of great
difficulty, requiring both judgment and courage.
The enemies of the Jews, especially Sanballat the
Horonite, and Tobiah the Ammonite, were pos-
sessed of power, cunning, and the most deter-
mined resolution to prevent the rebuilding of the
ruined wall.

It was in the stillness of night that a single
horseman, accompanied by a few attendants on



48 THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.

foot, passed out through the gate of the valley.
Thoughtfully he rode on where in ancient and
happier times the bulwarks of Jerusalem had
stood. He gazed sorrowfully on the blackened
ruins over which the Assyrian conquerors had
passed. But it was not to mourn in unavailing
woe over the desolation of his country that Nehe-
miah made that midnight survey. That which
was ruined he resolved to repair, and, with the
blessing of God, to encircle the city once more
with a protecting wall.

By his words, and yet more by his example,
Nehemiah animated his countrymen to exertion.
The circuit of Jerusalem was portioned out to the
most zealous of the people, and each in his own
division set heartily to work. In vain Sanballat
and Tobiah tried to discourage the builders by
representing their patriotic efforts as rebellion
against Persia. In vain, time after time, they
endeavoured to entice Nehemiah into a village,
that they might deprive the Jews of him who was
the life and soul of their undertaking. “I am
doing a great work, so that I cannot come down,”
was Nehemiah’s answer to their insidious pro-
posals, A yet deeper snare was laid. Nehemiah
was warned of a plot to assassinate him, and was



THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 49

urged to fly to the temple. But again the brave
leader’s self-devotion defeated the schemes of his
enemies. ‘Should such a man as I flee?” he
exclaimed ; “and who is he that being as I am,
would go into the temple to save his life ?”

The adversaries tried the effect of mockery
and scorn. As they viewed the unceasing labours
of the builders, “ Will they,” cried Sanballat,
“revive the stones out of the rubbish that is
burned?” “If a fox come up,” rejoined the
insolent Tobiah, ‘‘he shall even break down their
stone wall.” But notwithstanding this hatred
and scorn, the wall rose higher and higher. Then
the bitter adversaries of the Jews resolved to use
weapons more formidable than words, and con-
spired to attack the builders. The peril was
great, but Nehemiah and his followers were equal
to the occasion. A watch was kept both by
night and by day; they that builded the wall,
and they that bare burdens, each with one hand
wrought in the work, and with the other grasped
a weapon for defence. Nehemiah, ever on the
watch against the foe, changed not his garments,
but lay down night after night in his daily attire,
prepared to start up at the first sound of danger.

He kept a trumpeter at his side, and said to the
(296) 4



50 THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.















ANCIENT BUILDING TOOLS.

nobles and the people, “The work is great and
large, and we are separated one far from another;
in what place therefore that ye hear the sound of
the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God
shall fight for us !”

By the indefatigable exertions of these devoted
men, in the short space of fifty-two days the wall
was completed. The enemies were cast down
and discouraged, for they perceived that this work
was of God.

And so, in the midst of a world that despises
and hates them, God’s people, through all genera-
tions, pursue the work that is given them to do;



THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 51

with one hand, as it were, armed to fight against
besetting sins and inward corruptions, the other
busily engaged in works of piety and love. He
that will not fight, is unworthy to labour; he
that will not Jabour is unprepared to fight. It is
they who, through faith, conquer sin and self,
that are found most zealous in every good work.
The liberality of Nehemiah was equal to his
activity and courage. With free hospitality he
daily entertained at his own table a hundred and
fifty of the Jews. This, and other expenses,
Nehemiah defrayed from his own purse, refusing
to draw from the people even the allowances due
to his office. This generous conduct strengthened
his influence, and enabled him with more bold-
ness to denounce and crush a hateful system of
usury which prevailed at this time amongst the
richer Jews, who took advantage of the wants of
their brethren, to take from them their lands, and
even their freedom. Nehemiah induced hiscountry-
men to enter into a solemn covenant with the Lord
—a covenant to obey all the law, to refrain from
marriages with the heathen, to bring due offer-
ings to the temple, and to keep the Sabbath holy.
A reverence was shown for the Scriptures, which
was one of the most encouraging signs of reviy-



52 THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.

ing religion. A pulpit of wood was erected in
one of the streets of Jerusalem, and from this, from
morning till noonday, Ezra the priest read aloud
from the book of the law of Moses. The multi-
tude of listeners was immense; all the people
gathered themselves together as one man to
hearken to the word of the Lord. When Ezra
opened the book in the sight of this vast crowd, ©
all reverently stood up to listen. When he blessed
‘the Lord the great God, a loud, fervent Amen
‘burst from the dense mass of the people, thou-
sands of hands were lifted up towards heaven, and
then the multitudes of Judah bowed their heads
and worshipped with their faces to the ground.
After some time spent in labours for his country,
Nehemiah returned to the court of Persia, having
received only leave of temporary absence. But
the disorders which again crept in amongst the
backsliding Jews necessitated a second journey to
Jerusalem, 434 3.c. Notwithstanding the strict
law which forbade the entrance of Ammonites and
other heathens into the temple, the high priest
Eliashib, being allied to Tobiah, had actually pre-
pared for him a chamber in the courts of the
house of the Lord! The Sabbath was by many
disregarded ; the wine-press was trodden, burdens



THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 53

carried, and merchandise sold on the day that was
holy to God. The Levites were neglected, their
dues were unpaid, and again some of the Jews
had fallen into the grievous sin of intermarrying
with idolaters. :

Nehemiah suppressed these disorders with a
firm and judicious hand, strengthening himself
by prayer, and supported in all his difficulties
and labours by the consciousness of the presence
of that Almighty Being whom he was humbly
endeavouring to gerve.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

Decemvirs banished from Rome ...............ceseeeeeeeeeeee 449
Battering-ram invented......c.cscsescesceeecsereeeeseeeeeeeeeee 441









CHAPTER V,

ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

Murder of Joshua—A Temple raised on Mount Gerizim—Battle of Issus—
Siege of Tyre—The White Robe Procession—Murder of Darius.

> now lose the sure guidance of the sacred
writings, and must pursue our way by



the dimmer light of uninspired history.
“The two books of the Maccabees,” writes Dr.
Gray, ‘were certainly composed after the succes-
sion of prophets had ceased among the Jews.” Of
the first book he observes, ‘It was probably writ-
ten by a contemporary author, who had witnessed
in part the scenes which he so minutely and graphi-
cally describes ;” and of the second book, which
contains the account of Heliodoros and the martyr-
dom of the seven brethren, this writer remarks,
“The fathers in general cite the book as a useful
history, but not asof authority in pointsof doctrine.”



ALEXANDER THE GREAT. 59d

After the time of Nehemiah, Judea ceased to
form a distinct government, and was joined to the
satrapy of Syria. Its internal government was,
however, in the hands of its own high priests, and
the civil power thus annexed to this office made
it an object of great ambition, and unhappily gave
rise to disgraceful contests.

On the death of Eliashib, 413 B.c., his son
Joiada or Judas succeeded to the dignity of high
priest. After he also had been removed by death,
a wicked dispute arose between two of his sons,
Johanan and Joshua, as to which should fill the
sacred office. Johanan, like another Cain, slew
Joshua in the inner court of the temple, and the
holy place was polluted with blood shed by a
brother’s hand.

Bagoses, the satrap of Syria, hearing of this
horrible crime, came to Jerusalem to take account
of it. On his going into the temple to examine
the spot where Joshua had been killed, the priests
would have hindered his entrance, as no Gentile
was permitted to cross the sacred threshold.

“What! am I not more pure than the dead
carcass of him whom ye have slain in the temple?”
exclaimed the indignant satrap; and after rebuk-
ing the Jews for suffering the house of their God



56 ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

to be thus defiled, he imposed upon them, as a
punishment, a heavy tax upon the lambs that
were offered in sacrifice.

The nation at this time had fallen into a grievous
state of coldness and formality in religion. The
priesthood were worldly and corrupted, and looked
upon the services of the temple as a weariness,
unwilling to perform even the smallest without
some earthly reward. But there were yet faith-
ful ones left in the land—those who feared the
Lord, and spake often to each other, and feared
the name of the Holy One of Israel. ‘‘ They shall
be Mine,” said the Lord by the prophet Micah, “in
that day when I make up My jewels, and I will
spare them as a man spareth his own son that
serveth him.”

Of such appears to have been the next high
priest, Jaddua, who succeeded his father, Johanan,
_ 341 B.0. This faithful servant of God endeavoured
to follow in the steps of Nehemiah, expelling his
own brother Manasses for marrying the daughter
of Sanballat, the Cuthite governor of Samaria.
Manasses then repaired to his wife’s father, and
the Samaritans availed themselves of the presence
of a member of the pontifical family to erect a
temple of their own upon the Mount Gerizim, of



ALEXANDER THE GREAT. 57

which Manasses was made high priest. This
measure greatly widened the breach between the
Jews and the Samaritans; the rivalry of the two
nations increased the bitter.antipathy which had
long existed between them.

The period at length arrived when the Jews
were to exchange the yoke of Persia for that of
another foreign nation. The winged leopard of
Grecia, beheld in vision by Daniel, was now to
follow the Assyrian lion and the bear of Persia;
the kingdom of brass, as the prophet had foretold
to Nebuchadnezzar, was to succeed to the king-
dom of silver. Alexander the Great, king of
Macedon, at the head of his Greeks, in a great
victory at Issus crushed the power of the Persian
Darius, which he afterwards completely destroyed.

The conqueror marched into Syria after his
victory, summoned its various nations to yield
submission, and laid siege to the city of Tyre, a
place of great strength and importance, 332 B.c.

Tyre was a stronghold of superstition and idola-
try. Celebrated for her commerce, her merchants
were princes, her traffickers the honourable of the
earth. But the destruction of this idolatrous
city had been foretold centuries previously, both
by the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel. ‘‘I will cast



58 ALEXANDER THE GREAT,

thee to the ground, I will bring thee to ashes
upon the earth, in the
sight of all them that be-
hold thee,” had been the
message of the Lord while
yet Tyre stood in her
strength and beauty, with
noone to make her afraid.



And now the prophecy

TyRE was literally though un-
consciously fulfilled by Alexander. With ex-
treme difficulty, but with
a perseverance which
overcame every obstacle,
the great Macedonian
seized upon the mighty
city. He mercilessly
burned it to the ground,
and destroyed or en-



slaved its people. Invain

ALEXANDER THE OREAT. had the Tyrians called
upon their idols, prayed to the deaf ears that
could not hear, sought help of the hands that
could not save! Eight thousand of the un-
fortunate citizens fell in the sack of the town,
and were buried beneath its ashes; and two























































BATTLE OF ISSUS.



60 ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

thousand were barbarously crucified by order of
the stern Alexander.

And now the conqueror, flushed with success,
turned his march towards Jerusalem. Terror and
alarm spread through that city. The Jews, faith-
ful in their allegiance to Persia, had refused to
supply the enemy of King Darius with the pro-
visions which he had demanded for the sustenance
ofhisarmy. This had greatly irritated Alexander,
whose spirit was little able to brook such opposi-
tion to his despotic will. As soon as the ruin of
Tyre was complete, the fierce conqueror therefore
advanced upon Jerusalem, with intention to punish
its people for daring to disobey his commands.

In the extremity of their danger, Jaddua and
his countrymen threw themselves on the protec-
tion of their God. They implored his succour in
their distress, and their prayers were heard and
answered.

In a vision of the night Jaddua was directed
to go out and meet Alexander dressed in the gor-
geous robes of his office, and attended by a com-
pany of the priests, and all the people in white
garments. They were not to draw the sword or
lift the spear, but go forth to the destroyer of
Tyre with no protection but that of the invisible



ALEXANDER THE GREAT. 61

arm of Jehovah stretched out to defend them.
Jaddua obeyed the command, and on the next day
left Jerusalem in the manner directed.

The white-robed procession slowly mounted a
hill which commanded a prospect of the country
around them. Doubtless many a heart trembled,
and many a cheek grew pale with fear, when a
cloud of dust in the distance showed the ap-
proach of the terrible foe! Alexander’s army
drew nearer and nearer, the sunlight flashing
from their weapons. Would not these weapons
soon be dimmed in the blood of their unarmed,
unresisting victims ?

Once more the Lord showed his irresistible power
over the hearts of men. No sooner did Alexander
see the high priest, followed by the people, ad-
vancing towards him, than, as if struck by sudden
awe, he hastened forward to meet the procession,
and, to the astonishment of his own troops, did
obeisance to the venerable Jaddua. While all
stood amazed at this most unexpected conduct on
the part of the offended conqueror, Parmenio, who
was one of his friends, ventured to ask him the
reason of it, and to inquire why he, whom every
one adored, should pay such adoration to a
Jew.



62 : ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

Alexander-answered that it was not to him, but

to the God whom Jaddua served, that he paid
adoration ; for‘that when he had been in Mace-:
donia, meditating the war against Persia, which
had been since so successfully begun, he had _be-
held in a dream this very high priest arrayed in
such a dress as that which he now wore, who bade
him pass boldly into Persia, promising that God
‘should be his guide, and bestow upon him victory
and success. Then turning to the high priest
Jaddua, Alexander cordially embraced him, and
entered Jerusalem in his company, where the
proud conqueror of Persia offered sacrifices to the
God of Jacob.

Jaddua having shown to Alexander the pro-
phecies in which his triumphs were predicted, the
king of Macedon left Jerusalem assured of that
success which followed his arms. He called the
Jews together before his departure, and graciously
bade them ask of him whatever they might desire.
They petitioned that they might be permitted the
free exercise of their religion and laws, and be
exempted from taxes every seventh year, during
which they neither sowed nor reaped, but left the
land to enjoy her Sabbaths, according to the com-
mandment of God.



ALEXANDER THE GREAT. 63

To all this Alexander graciously acceded ; but
when similar petitions were offered by the Samari-
tans, who had merited well of the Macedonian
monarch, by sending the supplies which the Jews
had refused, Alexander returned a courteous
but evasive reply, deferring compliance till,
at some future period, he should have leisure
fully to inform himself on the subject of their
demands.

Alexander then pursued his victorious career.
Darius, after a defeat at Arbela, fled towards
Bactria, but was traitorously murdered by Bes-
sus, one of his own nobles. Alexander reached
the summit of power and pride. But he who
was the lord of many nations was the slave of
his own sinful passions : Alexander conquered his
outward foes, but not the more dangerous ones
within. Intoxicated with vainglory, he fancied
himself to be more than man. Addicted to in-
temperance, in a drunken revel he killed his own
friend Clitus, and by his wild excesses shortened
his own existence. This extraordinary man died
in the prime of his days and the zenith of his
power, 323 B.c., leaving the vast empire which
~ his prowess had subdued to be split into various
kingdoms, and to be made the object of fearful



64 ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

wars and bloodshed amongst his contending gene-
rals.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

441323 B.C.
B.C.
Peloponnesian War began .........scecseeseneeeeeereesesneeee 431
Retreat of the 10,000 Greeks............cceseceecesereeseeneeee 401
Death of Socrates 400



: Battle of Leuctra........cececeeseeeceeeees wine ap ooReseretys cokes 371







CHAPTER VI.

JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

Jerusalem Taken—The Soothsayer and the Archer—Profanity of Ptolemy
Philopater—Persecution of the Jews—Judea Wrested from Egypt.
Ma\N the first division of Alexander’s empire,
Syria devolved to Laomedon, and Egypt
to Ptolemy Soter. Between them a




war arose, and its result
was that all the provinces
of Laomedon submitted to
Ptolemy. The Jews alone,
faithful to the oath which
they had taken to the de-
feated ruler, refused to
bend to the conqueror.
Ptolemy marched against





Jerusalem, which, being

now strongly fortified, PIOLEMY SOTER.
(296) 5



66 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

might have held out against him, but that the
Jews, from a scrupulous regard to the sanctity of
the Sabbath, would not at this period defend
themselves.on that holy day, 320 Bc. Ptolemy
did not treat the Jews with great severity ; for,
though he sent a large number of them into
Egypt, it was rather as colonists than bondsmen.

The son and successor of this king was a great
patron of learning, and spared no expense in pro-
curing curious books for his famous library in
Alexandria. He caused the Hebrew Scriptures
to be rendered into Greek; and this important
translation still exists under the name of the
Septuagint, from the tradition that seventy per-
sons were employed in completing it.

Not only did Ptolemy avail himself of the
services of the Jews as regarded literature—some
of them were also enlisted in the army of the
Egyptian ruler. An anecdote is related of one
who had the courage openly to reprove the super-
stition of the idolatrous soldiery amongst whom
he was serving.

This man, whose name was Mosullum, was
noted for his valour, and famous for his singular
skill in archery. As, on one occasion, he was tra-
velling towards the Red Sea with his companions,



JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT. 67

a certain soothsayer, who accompanied the band,
commanded an instant halt. Mosullum demanded
his reason for the delay.

“Look ye,” answered the foreteller of events ;
‘behold that bird before us. If that bird stands,
ye are to stand; if he rises and flies on, go for-
ward ; if the bird takes his flight the contrary
way, you must all return back again.”

The Jew, without speaking another word, fitted
an arrow to the string, and let fly at the bird,
which, the next moment, fell fluttering in death
to the ground. Furious indignation was instantly
excited amongst the superstitious beholders against
the author of so daring an act. But Mosullum
opposed calm reason to the folly of those who put
faith in omens. ‘‘ How could that poor creature,”
said he, “ pretend to foreshow us our fortune,
that knew nothing of its own? If this bird
could have foretold good or evil to come, it would
have kept out of this place for fear of being slain
by the arrow of Mosullum the Jew.”

Onias, the first high priest at Jerusalem, having
died, 300 B.c., was succeeded by Simon his son,
who, from the holiness of his life and the right-
eousness of his actions, was surnamed Simon the
Just This good man completed the canon of



68 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

the Scriptures; and the Old Testament, as it has
been handed down to us, was in its perfect form
received by the Jews. Simon died 291 3B.c., and
Onias succeeded to the high priesthood.

Egypt, to which, as has been seen, Judea was
at this period subject, was ruled by a succession
of sovereigns, who all bore the title of Ptolemy.

A remarkable instance of the reverence with
which the monarchs to whom the Jews were
tributary often regarded the religion which those
Jews professed, was shown
by Ptolemy Euergetes, in the
year 245 Bc. On returning
from a successful expedition,
this king of a most idolatrous
nation chose to take his way
through Jerusalem, and there
render thanks to the God of
Israel for the victories he had
obtained over Syria. We thus see that the light
of truth, confided to the Jews, shed a partial
radiance over the nations by which they were
surrounded.

A young Jew, named Joseph, nephew of the
high priest Onias, rose high in the favour of
Ptolemy Euergetes. He was admitted to the



PTOLEMY EUERGETES.



JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT. 69

office of receiver-general in the provinces of Coele-
Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, and Samaria; and, like
his great countryman of the same name, acquitted
himself with such wisdom and prudence, that he
won and kept for many years the confidence of
the king of Egypt.

In 216 B.c., Simon, second high priest of that
name, succeeded his father Onias, who had been
a weak and covetous old man, intent upon no-
thing so much as amassing treasure for himself.
It was well that one of a nobler character had
now entered upon so important an office, for a
time of great difficulty was near, when the Jews
would especially require
courage and strong faith
in their leader.

Ptolemy Philopater
mounted the throne of
his father. This young
man was stained with
the darkest crimes: he
was the murderer of his
mother and his brother,
and subsequently proved
himself a barbarous per- eee eee en

secutor. He, however, appeared disposed, in the





70 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

earlier part of his reign, to render, as his father
had done, honour to the great God of Israel. He
visited Jerusalem, offered sacrifices to the Lord,
and presented valuable gifts to the temple. Per-
haps the conscience of this wicked prince was not -
altogether silent, and he thought by his oblations
to appease that great Being who is of purer eyes
than to behold iniquity.

But Ptolemy was not contented with viewing
the outside of the beautiful temple raised to
Jehovah ; he was resolved to visit the sanctuary,
to tread that Holy of holies into which none but
the high priest was permitted to enter, and that
only on the day of atonement. This raised an
outery all through the city. Simon opposed the
entrance of the profane king into the holy temple;
he declared to him the law which forbade it; but
Ptolemy was disposed to regard no law but that
of his own capricious will. Disregarding the ex-
postulations of the high priest, and the distress
and horror expressed in the countenances of the
Levites, he pressed into the inner court, and was
about to enter the sanctuary, when the wicked
king was suddenly struck with such a terror
and confusion of mind, that he was utterly un-
able to proceed, and he was carried half dead



JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT. 71

out of the place which an invisible Power pro-
tected.

Rage and hatred swelled in the heart of the
disappointed monarch. He had been conquered
by fear, and he now sought to cover his mortifi-
cation by revenge upon the worshippers of the
omnipotent Jehovah. On his return to his capi-
tal—Alexandria—Ptolemy at once degraded all
the Jews, who were living there in great numbers,
and commanded that each should be branded with
the mark of an ivy-leaf—the badge of Bacchus,
the god of wine, whom this miserable idolater
worshipped. All who refused to receive this dis-
graceful mark were ordered to be put to death;
but such as sacrificed to the false gods were to
enjoy equal privileges with the Macedonians, the
original founders of the city. Of the many thou-
sands of Jews who were in Alexandria, only three
hundred persons were found base enough to for-
sake their God to win the favour of the king.

Enraged at the firmness of the majority, Ptolemy
resolved to punish not only the Jews in Alex-
andria, but those who dwelt in any part of his
dominions. He sent orders that all who were in
Egypt should be sent to the capital in chains.
There, it is said, that a great multitude of victims



72 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

being thus gathered together, the tyrant shut
them up in the hippodrome, a large place without
the city used for horse-races and games, and ap-
pointed a certain day in which they were all to
be destroyed by elephants.

Crowds assembled on this day to witness the
horrible spectacle ; but the king had sat up so
late on the previous night at a drunken revel,
that he slept on that morning beyond the hour
which had been fixed upon for the show. No-
thing could be done in his absence: the massacre
was deferred till the morrow ; and again on the
morrow a similar cause occasioned a similar de-
lay. During all this time the Jews, shut up in
the hippodrome, ceased not by earnest, humble
prayer, to implore that mercy from God which
they could not hope for from the tyrant.

On the third day the king took his seat to
behold the fearful execution. Multitudes hastened
with barbarous eagerness to the spot, to see their
unhappy fellow-creatures torn limb from limb,
for no other crime than that of holding fast their
holy faith. The huge elephants were brought
forth, maddened with frankincense and wine, that
they might with more rage execute the king’s
vengeance upon his innocent subjects.



































































































































































































































































































































re

Pig

































































































































































ALEXANDRIA.





74 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

But no sooner were the fierce animals let loose,
than, neglecting their intended victims, they broke
bounds, and furiously rushed upon the crowds
assembled to view the execution! The air was
filled with loud shrieks and cries, the multitudes
fled in dismay ; but many were trampled under
foot, many were destroyed by the savage ele-
phants. Ptolemy, a witness of the terrible scene,
dared no longer oppose his puny strength to the
irresistible power of Israel’s God; he dared no
longer persecute the Jews, who were so manifestly
protected by Heaven. He revoked all his de-
crees against them, and loaded them with favours
and gifts, 216 B.c.

The tyrant Philopater
died, 205 Bc, while yet
in the prime of his man-
hood; and as his title
| devolved on a little child,
Antiochus the Great, king
of Syria, soon succeeded in
wresting Judea and other
provinces from the Egyptian

ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT. crown. The Jews by no
means regretted this change of masters. They
willingly rendered up their strongholds to Anti-





JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT. 75

ochus; and on his advancing to Jerusalem, the
priests and elders went forth in procession to
meet him, and received him with gladness. They
had little reason, indeed, to apnold the cause
of their Egyptian tyrants.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.
323—205 B.C.

BO.
Beginning of the first Punic War..............0..seecee eee 264
Second Punic War. ...........cesc ees ceesee cee eeeeseeeeenenenees 218

Battle of Canna ..... 20. cece cece ecec ene eceeeeeeeceeseeeeeees 216







CHAPTER VIL.

JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

The Bright Horseman—The Temple Profaned—The Image of Jupiter—
The Mother and her Seven Sons.

"a NTIOCHUS the Great died, 187 B.c., and
Seleucus Philopater succeeded. It is
during the reign of this monarch that



some remarkable events are said to have occurred,
as related in the book of the Maccabees,

Simon, a Benjamite, having been appointed
governor of the temple, some disputes arose be-
tween him and Onias, who was high priest at the
time. Finding that he was unable to prevail
against him whom the Jews regarded as their
lawful chief, Simon fled to Apollonius, the gover-
nor of Ccele-Syria and Palestine, under King
Seleucus, and informed him that great treasures
were laid up in the temple at Jerusalem. This



JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 77

account, as was probably intended, excited the
cupidity of the king, and Heliodoros his treasurer
was despatched to seize upon the coveted wealth.

Heliodoros arrived at Jerusalem, and was cour-
teously received by Onias. The treasurer declared
to him the purpose of his journey, and asked him
whether the report were true that much gold was
to be found in the temple.

Onias replied that there was indeed money
laid up there for the relief of widows and orphans,
but earnestly expostulated against any attempt
to carry away from the temple the treasure com-
mitted to his trust.

Heliodoros had, however, received the positive
commands of the king, and was resolved to carry
them into execution.

The high priest was in the deepest distress ;
and his horror and indignation at the intended
robbery and sacrilege were shared by the priests
and the people. Women, girded with sackcloth,
mourned in the streets; the priests prostrated
themselves before the altar—all, lifting up their
hands, implored the Lord to keep safe and sure
that intrusted treasure which they were them-
selves unable to defend.

Then, as is related, there appeared before



78 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

Heliodoros* a horse, on which sat a terrible rider,
arrayed in bright armour of glittering gold; and
beside him glorious beings, who, with scourges,
sorely chastised the mortal who had dared to

te!

ESN era ei RU emit
i STFA



HELIODOROS DRIVEN FROM THE TEMPLE.

profane the sanctity of the temple. Overpowered
by the vision, Heliodoros fell to the ground, thick
darkness seemed to surround him, and he was

* In giving this and other such stories to the reader, the authoress thinks
it right to remind him, that in such parts of Jewish history as are not drawn
from the sacred records (as in all other very «cient writings), such a mist
often lies on the boundary which divides fact from fiction, that it is almost
impossible to define it. is



JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 79

carried, fainting and almost dying, from the trea-
sury which he had impiously entered.

Seleucus was succeeded, in 175 Bc, by his
brother Antiochus Epi-
phanes, one of the most
base and cruel tyrants that
ever disgraced a throne.
As soon as he was settled
in the kingdom, Jason, the
unworthy brother of Onias,
by underhand means con-



ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES.

trived not only to induce
the monarch to let him supplant his brother, but
to banish Onias to Antioch, where this good man
was subsequently murdered.

Jason was now high priest, and the use which
he made of his power was such as might have
been expected from his treacherous mode of ob-
taining it. Honour, patriotism, religion were all
sacrificed to his desire to retain the favour of the
king. He erected a gymnasium for games, after
the fashion of the Greeks, whom he sought in all
things to imitate. Jason did all in his power to
induce his countrymen to abandon the customs
of their fathers, to break their covenant with
God, and to conform to the manners of the



80 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

heathen. The services of the temple were aban-
doned, and corruption spread amongst the people.

Retribution soon overtook the wicked Jason,
and as he had meted to another it was measured
to him again. His brother Menelaus supplanted
him in the same manner that he had supplanted
Onias, and succeeded to his title and his power,
more than emulating him in his impiety and
guilt.

Jason was not disposed easily to yield up his
ill-acquired dignity. Taking recourse to arms,
in 171 Bc, he marched with a thousand men
against his own city, took possession of Jerusalem,
drove Menelaus to seek shelter in its castle, and
committed great cruelties on such of the citizens
as he deemed the partizans of his brother.

The just chastisements of the Almighty were
now descending upon his backsliding people.
Antiochus hearing of what had occurred, and ~
deeming that the whole Jewish nation had re-
volted, hastened to Jerusalem with his forces,
and slew in the devoted city no fewer than four
thousand persons. As many were sold as slaves,
Conducted by the impious Menelaus, Antiochus
forced his way into the temple, plundered it of
vast treasures, and polluted the altar of God by



JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 81

offering on it a sow, which was held in abomina-
tion by the Jews. Well might the miserable
descendants of Abraham think that the Almighty
whom they had forsaken, had utterly forsaken
them now; that His mercy had left them for
ever; and that, after so many deliverances, they
were finally given up for their sins to destruc-
tion.

But there were yet amongst the Jews those
who clung to the faith of their fathers, and rested
with earnest hope on the promises given through
the prophets. Jerusalem still was the guardian
of the light of Truth in a world that lay in dark-
ness, and neither the powers of earth nor hell
could prevail to quench it.

Dark and fearful, indeed, was the cloud of
tribulation which rested upon Jerusalem. An-
tiochus, not contented with his late fearful
cruelties, sent Apollonius, his general, to wreak
yet further vengeance on the city of David.
After having slain great multitudes of the people,
and sent away ten thousand captives, Apollonius
plundered the town, set it on fire, and demolished
the wall. The daily sacrifices ceased in the
temple; Jerusalem was deserted. Officers were
appointed to compel the miserable Jews to sacri

(296) 6



82 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

fice to idols. The Samaritans consented to receive
an image of the false god Jupiter into their

s, temple on Mount Geri-
_ zim; and another, to



h the horror of all true
children of Abraham,
was placed in the
temple of Jerusalem !

In this period of
awful trial, glorious
saints and noble mar-
tyrs were found ready

IMAGE OF JUPITER: rather to suffer unto
death than to deny the God whom they adored.
Such a spirit of devotion as that which had sup-
ported Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, when
the fiery furnace glowed before them, animated
still the faithful servants of the Lord.

An example of noble constancy was given by
Eleazar, an aged scribe, who was urged by his
persecutors to break the law of Moses. The
noble old man was scourged to death, bravely
enduring to the end.

A mother and her seven sons were brought
before Antiochus, and threatened with the most
fearful tortures should they disobey his unlawful



JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 83

commands. One and all this devoted family
preferred death to apostasy. The mother, with
refined cruelty, was made to witness the dying
agonies of her sons. Far from weakening their
courage by tears and lamentations, the Jewish
matron exhorted her children to keep faithful to
their God, cheering them in that awful hour by
hopes of a joyful resurrection. Faith and strength
from above supported these glorious martyrs.
One of the young men exclaimed, as he stretched
forth his hands for the torture, ‘These I had
from Heaven, and for His laws I despise them,
and from Him I hope to receive them again!”
One after another, six of the sons closed their
eyes in death, committing their souls to their
Creator. One only, the youngest, remained, and
even the tyrant appears to have been touched
with some compassion for his tender years, for
he promised the youth with oaths to make him
a rich and happy man, if he would turn from the
laws of his fathers. When the young Jew refused
to hearken to his offers, the king bade the mother,
already bereaved of so many children, use her
endeavours to save the last by counselling sub-
mission and obedience.

But she, strong in faith, addressed her son in



84 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

the Hebrew language, conjuring him, even by his
love to her who had borne him, to endure any
amount of suffering rather than sin. “Fear not
this tormentor,” she cried; ‘but being worthy
of thy brethren, take thy death, that I may
receive thee again in mercy with thy brethren.”
While his mother was yet speaking these
words, the noble youth turned to the executioners.
“Whom wait ye for?” he exclaimed; “I will
not obey the king’s commandment, but I will
obey the commandments of the law that was
given unto our fathers by Moses. And thou,”
he continued, looking at the tyrant, “shalt not
escape the hands of God. For we suffer because
of our sins; and though the living God be angry
with us a little while for our chastening and
correction, yet shall He be at one with His ser-
vants, But thou, O godless man! be not lifted
up without a cause, or puffed up with uncertain
hopes, lifting up thy hand against the servants of
God, for thou hast not yet escaped the judgment
of Almighty God, who seeth all things. For our
brethren who now have suffered a short pain, are
dead under God’s covenant of everlasting life ;
but thou, through the judgment of God, shall
receive just punishment for thy pride. But I,



JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 85

as my brethren, offer up my body and life for
the laws of my fathers, beseeching God that He
would speedily be merciful unto my nation.”

The tyrant, enraged at the fearless words of
the youth, put’ him to death by tortures more
dreadful even than those that his brothers had
endured; and then the devoted mother, faithful
unto death, and under a trial more terrible than
death, followed her glorious sons by the same
brief and bloody path, to the haven of eternal
rest prepared for those who, like them, count
God’s service'as dearer than life.

The dying prayer of the young martyr had
been heard. The Lord was preparing a deliver-
ance for his persecuted people.

The Jews, quiet and peaceful as they had
shown themselves to be under the sway of their
rulers—Assyrian, Persian, and Egyptian—had at
length been goaded beyond their power of endur-
ance; or rather, the Almighty having compassion
on their sufferings, was pleased again, as in the
. days of old, to raise up for them mighty de-
liverers.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

205—170 B.C. B.C.
Battle of Zama . f tba siald.le do -vgtete ew eng BOD:

Sparta subdued i die seine Ste clerdais esos eaiventecayl OF





CHAPTER VIII.

VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

Rising of the Jews—Martyrs to the Law—Apollonius Defeated—Seron
Defeated—Lycias Defeated—The Temple Cleansed—Death of Epi-
phanes—Siege of Bethsura—Exploit of Eleazar—The Temple Besieged.

HE noble family of the Asmoneans, so

4} called from Asmoneus, one of its ances-

tors, was amongst the most distinguished

in Judea, and dwelt at this period in the town of

Modin. At the head of this family was Mattathias,

the father of five noble sons, Joanan, Simon, Eleazar,



Jonathan, and the illustrious Judas, surnamed
Maccabeus.

Deeply did Mattathias mourn over the oppression
of his people, and the desecration of the altar of his
God; and he heard with emotions of indignation
that the king’s officers had come to his own town,
to compel all to sacrifice to the gods of the heathen.



VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 87

Mattathias being a person of great influence,
the emissaries of Antiochus spared no pains to
induce him, by many promises, to give an ex-
ample of submission. “But the brave old Jew
answered with a loud voice, “Though all the
nations that are under the king’s dominion obey
him, and fall away every one from the religion
of his fathers, yet will I and my sons walk in the
covenant. God forbid that we should forsake
the law and the ordinances! We will not hearken
to the king’s words, to go either to the right
hand or the left.”

When Mattathias had concluded his declara-
tion, there came a renegade Jew, in the sight of
all, to sacrifice at the altar at Modin. Filled
with indignation and inflamed with zeal, Matta-
thias, like another Phinehas, rushed forward and
slew him on the altar; then turning on the com-
missioner, him he also slew, and pulled down the
altar. to the ground !

This was indeed drawing the sword and throw-
ing away the scabbard! Mattathias exclaimed,
“Who is zealous for the law and maintaineth
the covenant, let him follow me!” and leaving
all that he possessed, he fled into the mountains
with his sons, where they were joined by num-



88 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

bers of the faithful and brave, who were ready,
like themselves, to yield up their lives rather than
their faith.

A touching example of obedience to the law
of God was given by a large band of Jews who,
with their wives and little ones, had fled into the
wilderness to escape the persecutions of the king.
The fugitives were pursued, and the forces of
Antiochus came up to them at a place where
they had taken refuge in a cave. Philip, the
leader of the soldiers, endeavoured to induce the
Jews to come forth and make submission, but
this they firmly refused to do. He then attacked
them, and the day being the Sabbath, the Jews,
scrupulously observant of the law which com-
mands that day to be kept holy, neither stopped
up the mouth of their cave nor raised a weapon
against their foes, ‘ Let us die all in our inno-
cence,” they exclaimed; and thus all—vmen,
women, and children—were slain unresisting by
the Syrians.

Mattathias and his followers were greatly
grieved on receiving tidings of this cruel mas-_
sacre. In full debate, after due deliberation,
they came to the decision that self-defence is
lawful on the Sabbath ; and that, if attacked by



VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 89

the foe on that day, they would fight for their
lives and their laws.

Mattathias, and the brave Jews whom he had
gathered around him, now leaving their fastnesses
in the mountains, went to various cities of Judea,
throwing down the idol altars, and driving the
enemy before them. But the aged hero was soon
worn out by the fatigues of warfare. He felt
that the time of his departure was drawing nigh,
and gathering his five sons around him, Matta-
thias gave them his dying exhortation.

He reminded them of the saints of old, whose
faith had been crowned with success; he bade
them give their lives for the covenant of God,
and remember that they who trusted in Him
never should be overcome. He appointed Judas,
his third son, to be the leader, and Simon the
counsellor of the patriots; and so, bestowing on
his children his parting blessing, Mattathias
yielded up his soul to his God. Truly the hoary
head is a crown of glory, when it is found in the
way of righteousness.

Then Judas, called Maccabeus from the motto
on his standard, ‘“‘ Who is like unto Thee amongst
the gods, O Jehovah!” (the initials of which in
Hebrew form the word Maccabi), succeeded to



90 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

the authority of his father. There appear to
have been no petty jealousies between the noble
sons of a glorious sire; they were united by a
better tie than even that of blood—fellowship in
a holy cause.

Judas proved himself a bold and able com-
mander, a hero treading in the steps of Joshua,
Gideon, and David. With a force not exceeding
six thousand men, he took the field against the
large, well-disciplined armies of Antiochus, com-
manded by warriors of renown.

His first great triumph was gained over Apol-
lonius, whose sword the victor wore to the end
of his life. Judas then made head against Seron,
a prince of Syria, who came to attack him with
a mighty host. Maccabeus was then command-
ing a mere handful of men, and some of his com-
panions, disheartened at the fearful disparity of
numbers, came to their chief and said, “ How
shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so
great a multitude and so strong, seeing we are
ready to faint with fasting?”

“With the God of heaven,” replied the hero,
“it is all one to deliver with a great multitude
or a small company ; for the victory standeth not
in the multitude of a host, but strength cometh



VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 91

from Heaven. We fight for our laws and our
lives, wherefore, the Lord himself will overthrow
these men before our face !”

The result of the battle was the complete
‘ triumph of the Jews, who overcame and pursued
their enemies,

This victory made the name of Judas renowned
through all the neighbouring states, and it was
speedily followed by others. Army after army
was sent against him, and fled in broken masses
before the conquering sword of him who trusted
in the strength of the Omnipotent.

One of these engagements was with Lycias, a
nobleman who acted as regent of Syria during
the absence of its king. Lycias, with a force of
sixty-five thousand choice infantry and five thou-
sand horsemen, was met by Judas Maccabeus at
the head of ten thousand men. When the Jewish
leader beheld the immense host before him, before
he closed in battle, he had recourse to the power-
ful weapon of prayer.

“ Blessed art Thou, O Saviour of Israel!” he
cried, “ who didst quell the violence of the mighty
man by the hand of Thy servant David, and gavest
the host of strangers into the hands of Jonathan,
the son of Saul, and his armour-bearer! Shut up



92 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

this army in the hand of Thy people Israel, and
let them be confounded in their power. Cast
them down with the sword of them that love
Thee, and let all that know Thy name praise
Thee with thanksgiving.”

The supplications of Judas were heard. The
Lord God of Israel fought for His people, and the
vast Syrian host fled in confusion before them.

Then said Judas and his brethren, ‘“ Behold,
our enemies are discomfited; let us go up to
cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary.”

With what joy and thanksgiving must the
valiant deliverers have been welcomed in Jeru-
salem, which they had freed from the oppressor !
Judas and his band of heroes proceeded at once
to the temple ; but when they saw the sanctuary
desolate, the altar profaned, the gates burned
down, and herbage growing in the courts once
trod by the feet of so many worshippers, they
rent their clothes, and cast ashes on their heads,
and fell with their faces to the ground.

But Judas, like Nehemiah, did not content
himself with lamentations over the desolation
which he saw—he zealously set himself to repair
and to reform. He chose priests of blameless
lives to cleanse the polluted sanctuary, pull down



VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 93

the altar which the heathen had profaned, and
build up another in its place. He also appointed
warriors to fight against the Syrian garrison,
which still held a fortress which had been erected
by Apollonius to overlook the temple. New holy
vessels were made for the sanctuary, the lamps
again were lighted and sacrifices offered, and,
with joy and exultation, songs of praise, and the
music of harps and cymbals, the conquerors re-
turned thanks for victory in the temple of the
Lord of hosts.

By the command of Judas Maccabeus, high
walls, strengthened with towers, were raised
around the sacred building, to protect it from
future attack, and a garrison was appointed to
guard it, 164 B.C.

When Antiochus, who was on his way from
Ecbatana to Babylonia, heard how the Jews had
defeated Lycias, recovered the.temple of Jeru-
salem, pulled down his idols, thrown their altars
to the ground, and restored the pure worship
of Jehovah, he was enraged to the utmost pitch
of fury. He commanded his charioteer to
double his speed, that he might the sooner
arrive in Judea to execute a fearful revenge.
He threatened to make Jerusalem one vast



94 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

grave for the nation that had dared to defy his
power.

But the tyrant’s hour was come. He was now,
according to the prophetic words of the young
martyr whom he had slain, to receive the just
punishment of his pride. Antiochus Epiphanes
was smitten with a most horrible and loathsome
disease. Yet, hatred struggling against physical
pain, he endeavoured to pursue his course, till
his chariot being overturned, the king was so
sorely injured by the fall, that it was necessary
to carry him in a litter to Tabo, a town on the
confines of Persia and Babylonia.

Here the miserable tyrant endured tortures
more intolerable than any that he himself had
inflicted, and was forced openly to acknowledge
them to be God’s retribution for his impiety and
cruelty. His reason at length gave way beneath
them, spectres appeared to haunt him, and this
enemy of God and of his people expired at length
in the greatest agonies both of body and mind.

Meanwhile Judas gained victory after victory.
He defeated the people of Edom, Bean, and Am-
mon; took Gazer, with the towns belonging to
it; won a great triumph over a vast host, under
a leader named Timotheus; and subdued the



VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 95

cities of the country of Galaad. He smote
Hebron, and passed through Samaria; turned to
Azotus, in the land of the Philistines; and when
he had levelled their altars, and burned their
carved images with fire, he returned back in
triumph to Judea.

Antiochus had been succeeded by his son of
the same name, to which was added that of
Eupator, The king being too young to assume
the reins of power, Lycias took the government
into his own hands, The regent raised an enor-
mous army to crush the forces of Judas. A
hundred thousand foot soldiers, twenty thousand
horse, thirty war elephants, and three hundred
chariots were gathered together, and headed by
the young monarch in person, who laid siege to
the town of Bethsura.

Judas collected his forces, far inferior in number
to those of the enemy, and falling upon the Syrians
by night, put the camp into confusion, and re-
‘treated on break of day, without suffering loss by
his bold exploit, while many of the enemy were
slain.

When the rising sun shed its full light on the
glittering ranks of the host of Antiochus, the
opposing armies closed in fierce battle. In the



96 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

fight, Eleazar, a brother of Judas, sacrificed his
life in a desperate attempt to kill the young king
of Syria. Seeing an immense elephant, adorned
with gorgeous harness, and supposing that the
monarch himself must be upon it, Eleazar furi-
ously fought his way up to the spot, slaying all
who opposed him, and thrusting his weapon into
the elephant, was crushed to death by its fall.

The Jews, perhaps discouraged by the loss of
Eleazar, fell back before the overwhelming hosts
of Syria, and made good their retreat to Jerusalem,
Bethsura then surrendered to Lycias, but upon
honourable conditions.

From thence Antiochus Eupator marched to
Jerusalem, where he laid siege to.the sanctuary,
which Judas, as before related, had fortified in
case of attack. The Jews were now in extreme
peril, those who defended the temple being in
the utmost distress for want of provisions, In-
struments for casting stones, darts, and slings, and
other formidable weapons of war, were brought
against the handful of men who made their des-
perate stand within the wall which had been
raised to guard the temple. Famine stared them
in the face, and their only alternative seemed to
be to perish by hunger or the sword.



VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 97







































BALISTA, FOR THROWING STONES.

But man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.
Lycias received tidings that Philip, a favourite of
the late king, and appointed by him guardian of
his successor, had seized upon Antioch, and set
up his own power in opposition to that of the
regent. Lycias found it necessary at once to
make peace with the Jews, that he might be at
liberty to march himself against this dangerous
rival. He therefore proposed honourable and ad-
vantageous terms, which were accepted by Judas.
The hero was recognized both by the king and
the regent as the ruler of Judea; and from this

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STORIES FROM JEWISH HISTORY.


ESTHER PLEADING BEFORE KING AHASUERUS.

Page 41





STORIES

FROM

JEWISH HISTORY. |

FROM THE BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY,
TO THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM BY TITUS.

BY

AUTHOR OF “‘ THE SILVER CASKET,” “THE YOUNG PILGRIM,”
ETC. ETC.

Re ee

LONDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.



1872.


Preface.





ae works which I have chiefly consulted

in compiling the following sketch, have
been (in addition to the Holy Scrip-
tures) the books of the Apocrypha, Josephus’
Wars of the Jews, the elaborate writings of
Prideaux, and a small volume on the history of
the Hebrews, published some years ago in India,



There is no history more fraught with interest,
or conveying more important lessons, than that
of God’s chosen nation. There are no annals
which display instances of more heroic courage,
faith, and self-devotion,—alas! of darker apostasy
and crime,—than those of the descendants of
Abraham.

May the reader rise from the perusal of this
brief sketch with a deeper sense of the mercy and
vi PREFACE.

justice of God, as revealed in His dealings to-
wards His people; and a fervent prayer for the
hastening of that day when the Lord’s gracious
promise shall be fulfilled :-—

“T will pour upon the house of David, and
upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of
grace and of supplications ; and they shall look
upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall
mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only
son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one
that is in bitterness for his first-born. I am
returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst
of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called, A
city of truth ; and the mountain of the Lord of
hosts, The holy mountain.”

A. L. 0. E


Ventroduction.

OR the sins of His people the Lord had
stricken Jerusalem, and given up Judea
into the hands of the heathen. The

judgments of God had first fallen on the kingdom
of the ten tribes; as they had been foremost in
the sin of idolatry, so they had first met its
awful punishment. Shalmaneser, king of Assyria,
had attacked Samaria (724 B.c.), and after a siege
of nearly three years had taken the city, and
carried Israel into captivity, with Hoshea its
king.

The punishment of the kingdom of Judah had
been for some time deferred. While such monarchs
as the pious Hezekiah and the faithful Josiah had
sat on the throne of their ancestor David, God’s
mercy had guarded Jerusalem from her foes; but


vili INTRODUCTION.

since the time of these virtuous rulers, tyrants
- had arisen, who set not God before their eyes;
princes and people had combined to break the
laws of the Almighty, and despise the counsel of
the Most High. The vine which the Lord had
brought from Egypt, and had planted and watered
with such tender care, had brought forth the
wild grapes of rebellion and idolatry. The man-
date had not gone forth, “Cut it down, why
cumbereth it the ground?” but the Lord had said
in His anger, “I will take away the hedge thereof,
and it shall be eaten up; and break down the
wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down. And
I will lay it waste” (Isa. v. 5, 6). In 606 Bc,
Nebuchadnezzar carried captive to Babylon some
of the most illustrious of the’ children of Judah,
and subjected Jehoiakim their king to his power.
In 599 B.C, the Assyrian monarch besieged and
took Jerusalem, then under the sway of Jehoiachin,
and led into bondage that prince and the chief of
his people. In 588 B.c., the work of retribution
was completed. Zedekiah, the last king of Judah,
was taken, a miserable, blinded prisoner, to
Assyria; the temple and palaces of Jerusalem
were given to the flames, her walls were razed to
‘the ground, and the mourning exiles from Judea,
INTRODUCTION. ant

py the waters of Babylon, hung their DOr on
the willows, and wept.

But though the Lord chastened his people,
they were not given over to destruction. At the
period at which the following sketch of Jewish
history commences, that prophecy which had,
seventy years before, been uttered by the inspired
Jeremiah was on the point of fulfilment: “ Thus
saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accom-
plished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform
My good word toward you, in causing you to
return to this place. For I know the thoughts
that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts
of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected
end” (Jer. xxix. 10, 11). As a mighty despot
had been the instrument, in God’s hand, to
chastise a rebellious race, so another powerful
monarch was now appointed by Providence to
raise the fallen, to restore the exiles; as a
“shepherd,” to gather together the dispersed
flock of the Lord.

ERE ESO

Il.
Ti.
Iv.

VIL
VII.
VIII.
Ix.
x.
xi.
xi.
XOUT.
XIv.
Xv.
xvi.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.

GJ ontents.

THE RETURN FROM BAPYLON, oe “a8

THE HISTORY OF ESTHER, wee

CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER,

THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH, ae

ALEXANDER THE GREAT, wee she

JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT, ...

JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA, ... wee
VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS, ... eee

THE DEATH OF JUDAS MACCABEUS, ... See
REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON, AND JOHN HYRCANUS,
STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES,

REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT, oa

THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH, eae aes aa
DEATH OF HEROD,

THE DEATH OF THE MESSIAH, ie a ae
HEROD AGRIPPA, sits wes ant uae
COMMENCEMENT OF WAR, ee tae aes oes
SIEGE OF JOTAPATA.—FALL OF JERUSALEM,
CONCLUSION, ... aes see. ee oss

18
26

104
115
128
139
148
157
161
168
177
196



STORIES FROM JEWISH HISTORY.

See

CHAPTER I.

THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

The Decree of Cyrus—First Caravan Starts—Foundation of the Temple
Laid—Samaritans Oppose—Ezra Heads the Second Caravan—Ezra
Reforms Abuses.

N the first year of the reign of Cyrus, the

Lord stirred up the spirit of that king,

probably through the influence of the

aged Daniel, to issue throughout his vast domin-




ions the following proclamation :—

“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord
God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of
the earth ; and He hath charged me to build Him
an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judab. Who
is there among you of all His people? his God be
with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which
14 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

is in Judah, and build the house of the-Lord_God
of Israel (He is the God), which is in J erusalem,
And whosoever remaineth in any place where he
sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with
silver, and with gold, and with beasts, beside the
freewill offering for the house of God that is in
Jerusalem.” ;

Great was the joy of the faithful Jews, who
throughout their long-captivity had been waiting
and watching for the fulfilment of the prophecies
made to their fathers, when at length the pros-
pect opened to them of return to their beloved
country. Doubtless they recalled the prophecies
of Jeremiah and Isaiah, and especially that one,
uttered by the latter above one hundred and
seventy years previously, in which the Lord
called their deliverer by his name, saying of
“Cyrus, he is my shepherd, and shall perform all
my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou
shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation
shall be laid.”

The proclamation of the king sounded through |
the land like a trumpet-call, to gather together
the exiles of Judea, and large numbers hastened
to Babylon to make preparations for their journey.
It was a second Exodus, a second release from
THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 15

foreign bondage, to seek the land of promise.
But it was not by the whole of the children of
the captivity that the opportunity of returning to
Judea was embraced with patriotic zeal. Ruined
dwellings and wasted plains, a city without temple
and without walls, offered few attractions to such
as regarded the country of strangers as a home.
Many shrank from the hardships of the journey,
and the dangers which they must expect to en-
counter; many who had formed ties in Baby-
lonia, felt bound by them to that land. The
Jewish exiles were an emblem of those who, in
all ages of the world, hear the call of conscience
and religion. While some turn their faces to-
wards a heavenly Zion, willing to leave all, and
suffer all here, so that they may but find an
inheritance above, the greatest number pre-
fer present comforts to future blessings; their
hearts cling to the pleasures of the world;
they are too fearful, too busy, too rich, or too
gay, to cast in their lot with the people of
God.

The first return caravan was organized and
directed by Zerubbabel, the grandson of King
Jehoiachin, and by Jeshua, a grandson of the
last high priest, Jozadak. The number of
16 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

those who joined them was about 50,000, in-
cluding above 7000 servants of both sexes. Be-

LAVER.

the sanctuary.



CANDLESTICK.

the Holy Land!



fore they departed, Cyrus
caused to be restored ©
to them the most valu-
able of the sacred uten-
sils which had been car-
ried away from Jeru-
salem by Nebuchadnez-
zar; thousands of ves-
sels of silver and gold
were now again to be

devoted to the service of
Zerubbabel was also intrusted

with large contributions
towards the expense of
rebuilding the temple,
from the Jews who re-
mained in Babylonia.
Many and sad must
have been the partings
when that vast caravan
set out on its journey to

The voice of blessing and of

prayer was heard, as those who stayed behind
exchanged their last words of friendship with

(296)
THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 17

those who were ready to depart. Anxious and
loving eyes watched the long line of pilgrims,
with their laden asses and camels, slowly disap-
pearing in the distance; and the hopes and
prayers of their brethren followed the brave band
who first returned to the home of their fathers.
On reaching Palestine the caravan repaired at
once to Jerusalem, which was found in a state of
ruin and desolation. Before the travellers sepa-
rated to seek habitations for themselves, they
raised a large sum by voluntary contributions to-
wards the rebuilding of the temple. They then
employed themselves in securing dwellings for



ALTAR OF BURNT-OFFERING.

their families; and at the ensuing feast of taber-

nacles again repaired to Jerusalem, where sacri-

fices were offered on an altar erected on the ruins

of the temple. After this the people applied
(296) 2
18 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

themselves zealously to the necessary preparations
for the restoration of that edifice. In a year
from the departure from Babylon these prepara-
tions were sufficiently advanced to allow of the
great work being commenced, and the foundations
of the second temple were laid amidst the noise
of trumpets, cymbals, and shouting! But many



CYMBALS AND TRUMPETS.

of the priests and aged men, whose hair had
grown white during the captivity—those who
had seen the temple of Solomon when it stood in
its glory and beauty—wept with a loud voice at
the mournful recollection of the past, 535 B.c.
While the work proceeded, the Samaritans
manifested a desire to aid in it, and to claim a
community of worship in the new temple to be
erected to the Lord. Their offers were declined»
by the Jews; and the people of the land, irritated
by the refusal, did all in their power to weaken
THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 19

their hands, and hinder them from proceeding
with the building. An unscrupulous use of
money and influence amongst the officers of
government, enabled these adversaries of the
Jews to raise such obstructions that the work
was at length altogether suspended. For about
fifteen long years the faith and the patience of
the people ‘of Judah were thus tried. They
gradually lost heart for the work, and were dis-
posed to believe that the set time for it had not
yet arrived. The zeal of many waxed cold; and,
absorbed in the care of providing for their own
security and comfort, the Jews were in danger of
forgetting the sacred duty which they had at first
so earnestly sought to perform.

From this apathy they were roused in the
second year of the reign of Darius Hystaspes, by
the stirring words of the prophet Haggai. “Is it.
time,” he exclaimed to the people, “for you to
dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie
waste? Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider
your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring
wood, and build the house; and I will take plea-
sure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.”

The call was not uttered in vain. Filled with
fresh zeal, Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the people
20 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

hastened to resume the work of building, 520 B.c.
Amidst the difficulties and discouragements which
beset them, they were still cheered by animating
messages delivered to them by Haggai. The
temple gradually rose, far inferior, indeed, in
splendour to that erected in the days of Israel’s













































































THE SECOND TEMPLE.

great king, when gold was abundant, and silver
so plentiful that it was counted as the stones of
the earth ; but a gracious promise was given that
the glory of the latter house should excel that of
the first, for the DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS should
THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 21

come to it, the presence of the Messiah should
honour it, “and in this place will I give peace,” *
said the Lord of hosts to his people.

The renewal of the work roused afresh the
opposition of the adversaries of the Jews. Tatnai,
the Syrian governor, sternly demanded of the
builders by whose command they were re-erecting
the ruined walls of their temple. The Jews
pleaded the authority of the decree of Cyrus,
and Tatnai referred the question to King Darius
for decision. The result was happy, for after
some search the decree in favour of the Jews was
discovered. It not only authorized the erection
of the temple, but directed the local government
to afford assistance and supplies. These supplies
the Jews had not hitherto ventured to claim, but
Darius commanded that they should be given.
Under the impulse thus imparted, the work pro-
ceeded with spirit, and four years afterwards it
was completed, 516 Bc. The dedication was
celebrated with great solemnity and joy ; and the
people flocked to the courts of the Lord, to per-
form again with thanksgiving and rejoicing the
rites of their holy faith.

The Jews were now restored to their own land,

* Haggai ii. 9.
22 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

but they were under tribute to the Persians, and
subject to the general control of the princes of
that people. They were allowed the free exercise
of their religion and laws, and were ruled by a
governor of their own nation, or by the high
priest when no such governor was appointed.
With regard to religion, the fearful lesson taught
by the desolation of the land, the destruction of
the temple, and the captivity of the people, had
greatly cured the Jews of that tendency to
idolatry which had brought on them such misery
and ruin. But the inherent corruption of the
human heart, restrained in one point, broke out
in others; there are few more humbling lessons of
man’s infirmity and the sinfulness of his nature,
than may be gathered from the history of the Jews.

It does not appear that the people suffered
further molestation during the long reign of
Darius; and his son and successor, Xerxes, seems
to have regarded them with favour. This mon-
arch was succeeded, in 464 B.c., by Artaxerxes
Longimanus, in whose reign the Jews proceeded
to rebuild Jerusalem on a regular plan, and to
surround it with a wall, as will appear in a fol-
lowing chapter.

Zerubbabel and Jeshua, the first leaders in the
THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 23

restoration, had by this time been gathered to
their fathers, and confusion and disorder were
spreading widely amongst the Jews at Jerusalem.
Light was the danger which they had encoun-
tered from the enmity of the people of the land,
compared with that which they now experienced
from too close alliances with them. Many broke
the laws of their God by marrying heathen wives;
some even of the princes and of the priests were
guilty of this act of disobedience. A reformer
was urgently needed, who should have wisdom to
judge and firmness to act; and such a reformer
was found in Ezra the priest, who headed the
second large body of exiles, who returned from
Babylonia to Judea, 457 B.C,

Armed with the authority of the Persian king,
and intrusted with large offerings to the temple,
including valuable contributions from the monarch
himself, Ezra prepared for his journey. The bank
of the river Ahava was the gathering-place for the
people. There Ezra pitched his tent, and there
he proclaimed a solemn. fast, that the travellers
might unite in supplication to the Almighty for
protection on their dangerous way. As the band
of pilgrims bound for Jerusalem included tender
women and helpless children, and was ill provided
24 THE RETURN FROM BABYLON.

for defence against an enemy in the probable
event of an attack, some thoughts were enter-
tained of requesting a military escort from the
king. But Ezra had declared before Artaxerxes
his firm faith in the power and goodness of God,
and the noble-minded Jew shrank from making a
petition which might seem to imply distrust of
the Almighty’s providential care. Ezra would
not lean on an arm of flesh, but with prayer and
fasting he committed himself and his people to the
protection of the Most High.

In safety the second body of exiles returned to
the holy city. Having deposited in the temple
the treasures with which he had been intrusted,
Ezra applied himself with earnest zeal to the
arduous work of reformation. The discoveries
made by him of the guilt and corruption prevail-
ing amongst God’s chosen people, filled Ezra with
grief and shame. He felt that the greatest of
evils is sin; the greatest of dangers, that of forfeit-
ing the protection of the Almighty by trespassing
against him. In deep sorrow of heart Ezra rent
his garments, and, falling on his knees, with tears
confessed before the Lord the sins of those whom
divine mercy had restored to theirland. “O my
God, I am ashamed, I blush to lift up my eyes to
THE RETURN FROM BABYLON. 25

thee!” exclaimed the leader of the backsliding
Jews; ‘‘for our iniquities are increased over our
head, and our transgression is grown up unto the
heavens !”

The blessing of the Lord whom he supplicated
rested upon the efforts of Ezra to bring back the
erring to the paths of righteousness. With re-
pentance and weeping the Jews returned to their
God; order was again restored; and the heathen
wives were put away.

Let us now retrace a little the course of history,
to consider some events of great interest and im-
portance which occurred at the court of Persia,
between the periods of the return of the first and
second bands of exiles to the land of Judea.

PRINCIPAL CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.



586—457 B.C. BC.
Hippias banished from Athens............sceeeeveee ee ee 510
Tarquins banished from Rome «+. 509
Merxes invaded Greece... cece eee ee secs ee eee ee ee ee ee ee 481






CHAPTER II.

THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

The Jewish Maiden—The Conspiracy Discovered—Haman’s Plot—A
Mourning Nation—The Golden Sceptre—The Queen’s Banquet.

aRTAXERXES,* or, as he is termed in the
Scriptures, Ahasuerus, sat on the throne
of Persia. Lord of the widest kingdom
which then existed upon earth—a kingdom which
extended from India to Ethiopia, and comprised a
hundred and twenty-seven provinces—the will of
the monarch was the law to which many nations
were constrained to bow. Ahasuerus possessed
neither the wisdom nor the self-command requisite
in one to whom power so vast is intrusted. He
chose for his chief favourite and minister Haman,




* Archbishop Usher supposed Ahasuerus to be Darius; Scaliger con-
tends that Xerxes is described under that name; but both Prideaux and
Josephus regard Ahasuerus as identical with Artaxerxes, who began to
reign 464 B.o.
THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. “27

an Amalekite, a man of unbounded cruelty and
pride, and dismissed his own queen for venturing
to disobey a capricious command given to her by
her husband, when he was probably under the
influence of wine.

In choosing another partner of his state to fill
the place of the dethroned Queen Vashti, the des-
pot sought for no higher qualification than that of
personal attractions. But the Almighty Disposer
of events guided the choice of the monarch.









SITE OF SHUSHA® OR SUSA.

In the palace of Shushan was a certain Jew,
named Mordecai, of the tribe of Benjamin. With
a father’s care he had reared Esther, a young
orphan maiden, a relative of his own. The Jew-
ess was possessed of exquisite beauty ; amongst
28 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

the fair she was the fairest; Ahasuerus saw her,
loved her, and raised the beauteous captive to the
rank of the queen of Persia.

Her elevation appears to have had no effect in
changing the character of this daughter of Abra-
ham. In the palace of Ahasuerus, surrounded by
luxury and pomp, Esther preserved her faith to
the God of her fathers, though by the charge of
Mordecai she kept her nation and kindred secret
from the king. While placed in a position far
above that of her early benefactor, the young
queen still rendered to Mordecai the dutiful
obedience of a daughter. Through her the Jew
made known to Ahasuerus a secret plot to assas-
sinate him, which had been made by two of his
chamberlains. The conspirators suffered the
punishment of death, but he to whose timely
warning the king owed the preservation of his
life, sat day after day in the gate of the royal
palace, unrewarded and neglected.

Through this gate passed Haman, the proud
favourite of the Persian monarch. As he moved
on with a stately step amongst the courtiers and
servants of the king, every head, save one, was
bowed down before him—all did him obeisance
save one! That one was Mordecai, the bold, un-
THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.



QUEEN ESTHER.

compromising Jew, who scorned to pay any mark
of respect to him who was the enemy of his faith
30 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

—to him who belonged to the guilty tribe doomed
by a just God to destruction.

Haman was not a man to forgive that which
he looked upon as an insult. Boiling with rage,
he determined that not only should Mordecai ex- .
piate his offence with his life, but that the whole
of his race should be swept away by one act of
indiscriminate vengeance. The arbitrary temper of
Ahasuerus, and his blind confidence in his wicked
minister, too well seconded the bloody designs of
Haman. This unprincipled favourite succeeded
in obtaining from the despot a decree for the
extermination of the Jewish people throughout
all of his extensive dominions. Neither age nor
sex were to be spared; the babe was to be
slaughtered in the arms of its mother, and the
spoil of the murdered victims was to be the prey
of the merciless Haman! A time was actually
fixed upon by lot for the perpetration of the
horrible ‘massacre, but, by the providence of
God, the lot fell upon a distant day. Their con-
sciences untroubled by a sense of their enor-
mous guilt, Ahasuerus and Haman sat down
to feast and to drink, while all Shushan was
startled by the fearful decree that was to destroy
a peaceful nation from the face of the earth!
THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. 31

When Mordecai heard of the king’s command-
ment, he rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth
with ashes, and went out into the midst of the
city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry. And
in every province into which the king’s decree
came, there was great mourning amongst the Jews,
and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many
lay in sackcloth and ashes. Esther heard of the
deep distress of Mordecai, though, secluded as she
was in the royal apartments, she seems not to
have been fully aware of its cause. She sent
Hatach, the king’s chamberlain, to Mordecai, and
received through him a copy of the dreadful
decree, and a charge to go herself to the despot,
and make supplication for her persecuted people.

This message threw the young queen into great
perplexity and distress, For. thirty days the

. capricious monarch had expressed no wish to see
her, and to enter unbidden into his presence
exposed any intruder to the penalty of death, un-
less the monarch should extend his golden sceptre
in token of pardon and grace. Through the
medium of Hatach, Esther communicated her
difficulties and fears to Mordecai. But to the
resolute spirit of the Jew but one path appeared
open to his adopted daughter, and that was the
32 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. -

path of duty. Whatever might be the difficulty,
she must brave it; whatever might be the danger,
she must dare it! He reminded Esther that it
was probably for this very purpose that she had
been raised to share the throne of Ahasuerus.

The reply of the queen showed her piety and
her obedience, and her resolution at all hazards
to intercede for her nation. She besought Mor-
decai to gather together all the Jews that were
then in Shushan, that they might plead for her
with that Almighty Ruler in whose hand are the
hearts of kings. She promised that at the end
of three days, which she would herself devote to
solemn prayer, she would appear before Ahasuerus,
concluding her message with the touching words,
“ And if I perish, I perish!”

The third day arrived, and the trembling Esther
prepared to redeem her promise. She put on her
royal apparel, the rich garments and glittering
jewels whose splendour seemed a mockery of the
fear and sorrow of her whom they adorned. And
so Esther ventured into the presence of the despot,
not armed with great natural courage, but leaning
on that invisible Protector who can give strength
to the weak and heroism to the fearful. Aha-
suerus beheld his beauteous queen, and all his
33

THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.















ESTHER APPEARING BEFORE KING AHASUERUS.

he held out his

evived :

affection towards her r

golden sceptre, and perceiving that no light

motive could have induced her to brave the peril

3

(296)
34 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

of death, ‘“ What wilt thou, Queen Esther?” he
cried; “and what is thy request? It shall be
given to thee to the half of the kingdom.”

Notwithstanding the relief which the young
Jewess experienced at the first peril being happily
past, she was not yet prepared to disclose the
secret of her race, hitherto carefully concealed.
She confined herself to a request that the king
and Haman should that day attend a banquet
which she had prepared.

The request was instantly granted; the monarch
and his favourite appeared at the feast ; and again
Ahasuerus gave a gracious promise to his quaeen—
“What is thy request? even to the half of the
kingdom it shall be performed.” Again Esther
sought a brief delay. She entreated her lord to
come with Haman to another banquet on the
morrow, and promised that she then would declare
the subject of her anxious desires.

Haman left the presence of the queen glad,
and with a joyful heart. Honoured as no other
subject had been honoured, the spirit of the
Amalekite was lifted up with pride. He ap-
proached the gate at which Mordecai still sat.
Surely now the firmness of the Jew will give way;
he will yield reverence at last to one who has so
THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. 35

fearfully shown his disposition to revenge, and his
power to gratify it. No! Mordecai stoops not,
and the tyrant passes on, full of rage against one
whom he may kill, but whom he cannot conquer.

On what a slight thread hangs human happiness,
when.such a breath can destroy it! Haman had
all that the world could give, but one evil passion,
like a viper in the breast, poisoned in a moment

every spring of enjoyment. He went to his home ~~

a miserable man—so miserable, that he was con-
strained to publish to others what was humiliating

_to himself. Haman called for his friends, and
Zeresh his wife, and told them of the glory of his
riches, the multitude of his children, the favour
of his sovereign, and the repeated invitations with
which Esther the queen had honoured him; clos-
ing all with this striking confession of the vanity
of earthly greatness—“ Yet all this availeth me
nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting
at the gate of the king!”

Zeresh appeared a meet counsellor for so un-
principled a man as her husband. She and her
friends assured Haman that the object of his hate
could be easily destroyed, without waiting for the
day appointed for the massacre. “Let a gallows
be made fifty cubits high,” said they, “and to-
36 THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai
~ may be hanged thereon; then go thou merrily
unto the banquet.”

The wicked counsel pleased Haman, and he
caused the gallows at once to be made,






CHAPTER IIT.

CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER,

Persian Records—Malice Defeated—Pleading of Esther—Punishment
of Haman—Triumph of the Jews.




Fo auHAT night King Ahasuerus could not
sleep. Those peaceful slumbers which
the meanest of his subjects could enjoy,
fled from the eyelids of the monarch. It does
not appear, however, that the rest of the despot
was destroyed by any thought of the thousands
of innocent families doomed by his caprice to de-
struction. Unable to obtain sleep, the king
ordered that the book of records should be brought
and read before him; and as he listened to the
account of the events of his reign, the conspiracy
of his servants, and the means by which the dan-
gerous plot had been discovered, were brought
to the remembrance of the monarch.


38 CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

“What honour and dignity hath been done to
Mordecai?” said the king.

“There is nothing done for him,” was the
reply.

“Who is in the court?” asked Ahasuerus.

“Behold, Haman standeth in the court,” an-
swered his servants.

“Let him come in,” said the king.

Now Haman had come into the outer court to
procure from his master an order to hang Mor-
decai on the lofty gallows which had been erected.
Full of his evil design, he presented himself before
the king.

“What shall be done to the man whom the
king delighteth to honour?” said Ahasuerus, ad-
dressing his favourite.

Now Haman thought in his heart, “To whom
would the king delight to do honour more than
to myself?” and eager to obtain the most distin-
guished mark of royal favour, to which his ambi-
tious, presumptuous heart could aspire, Haman
replied to his lord, “Let the royal apparel be
brought which the king useth to wear, and the
horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown
royal which is set upon his head: and let this
apparel and horse be delivered to one of the king’s




























\\
WSS A

























































THE BOOK OF RECORDS.
40 CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

most noble princes, that they may array the man
withal that the king delighteth to honour, and
bring him on horseback through the street of the
city, and proclaim before. him, ‘Thus shall it be
done to the man whom the king delighteth to
honour.’”

Then Ahasuerus said to Haman, “‘ Make haste,
take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said,
and do even so to Mordecai the Jew. Let no-
thing fail of all that thou hast spoken.”

What must have been the feelings of Haman
on receiving this most unexpected command,
which he dared not for an instant dispute! What
must have been the torment of his soul when he
led through the city his intended victim, crowned
and royally apparelled, and proclaimed aloud to
wondering crowds, that the despised and _per-
secuted Jew was one whom the king delighted to
honour! Doubtless Mordecai received this singu-
lar reward as a token of good from the King of
kings, as a sign that his prayers had been heard
by Him who can give beauty for ashes, the oil of
joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the
spirit of heaviness.

His hateful commission executed, Haman hur-
ried back to his home, mourning and with his face
CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. 41

covered. He found little consolation there from
those who on the preceding day had encouraged
him in the path of crime. “If Mordecai be of
the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast
begun to fall,” said Zeresh and her friends unto
Haman, “thou shalt not prevail against him, but
‘shall surely fall before him.”

And while they were yet talking to Haman,
the king’s chamberlains arrived, and hastened to
bring him to the banquet, to which he had been
invited by the queen.

Then at the feast Esther at length made known
to Ahasuerus the grief that weighed upon her
heart, and pleaded with earnest eloquence for her
own life and the lives of her nation; ‘‘For we
are sold,” she exclaimed, “I and my people, to
be destroyed, to be slain, to perish !”

“Who is he,” cried the astonished king, “that
durst presume in his heart to do so?”

Then Esther replied, ‘The adversary and
enemy is this wicked Haman.”

The king’s indignation knew no_ bounds.
Thoughtlessly he had signed the decree, little
dreaming that it could possibly compromise the
safety even of his-beloved Esther! Haman saw
the rising anger of his master, and, in an agony of
42 CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER.

terror, made supplication for his life to the queen.
But he who had shown no mercy found none in
his hour of need. Those who had not dared to
oppose him in his power, were now eager to
hasten his downfal. One of the chamberlains
who was present told the incensed monarch of
the gallows fifty cubits high, erected by Haman
for Mordecai.

“Hang him thereon!” cried the king. The
just command was instantly obeyed, and the
wretched Haman was cut off in his wicked career
by the very death which he had designed for
another !

It was less easy to revoke the murderous order
which had already been proclaimed, by reason of
that law of the Medes and Persians, which made
royal decrees irrevocable. But Ahasuerus did all
that he could do to counteract the evil effects of
his own sinful compliance. A decree was published
throughout the land, permitting the Jews to de-
fend themselves against any enemy that might
dare to attack them. The result was the com-
plete triumph of the persecuted race over all
whom hatred induced to attempt to execute the
king’s first decree. Mordecai was raised to high
power, and his fame spread throughout all the
CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF ESTHER. 43

provinces ; the Jews had rest, and peace, and
favour ; and an annual feast was appointed in
commemoration of the great deliverance which
the Lord had wrought for his people, through the
instrumentality of a feeble woman!




CHAPTER IV.

THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.

Nehemiah’s Petition—Building the Wall—Reading of the Scriptures—
Nehemiah Reforms Abuses.

PMANY years had passed since the events
p| yecorded in the last chapter had taken
place. Ahasuerus was dead, and Ar-
taxerxes his son reigned on the throne of Persia.
Ezra had for about ten years been pursuing his
labours at Jerusalem, when the Lord raised up
another leader for his people in the court of
Shushan.

Nehemiah, one of the Jewish exiles, held the
responsible office of cup-bearer to King Arta-
xerxes. He was a devout servant of God, and
an earnest and devoted patriot. Amidst the
splendours of a royal palace, his thoughts recurred
often to his suffering brethren at Jerusalem, and


THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 45



PERSTAN CUP-BEARER,

ardently did he desire the prosperity of the city
of David.

These feelings were kindled into a warmer
glow by the report which Nehemiah received
from some of his countrymen who had returned
from Judea. From them he heard that the rem-
nant of the people that were left in Zion were in
great affliction and reproach; that the wall of
Jerusalem lay in ruins; that its gates had been
burned with fire; and that aid from their breth-
46 THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.

ren beyond the Euphrates was urgently needed
by the Jews in the city.

This aid Nehemiah was anxious to give, but
felt apprehensive of difficulties in the way; not
the difficulty of quitting the pleasures and luxu-
ries of the magnificent palace in which he held
so honourable a place, but that of obtaining the
consent of his royal master to his departure for
the land of Judea. It is said that the nearest
way to reach any heart is through Heaven ; such
had been the experience of Esther, such now was
the experience of Nehemiah. Fervently and
humbly he entreated the Lord to give him favour
in the sight of the king.

The anxiety which oppressed the noble Jew,
expressed itself in his countenance, when, in
accordance with his office, he placed the wine-cup
in the hand of Artaxerxes. The king noticed his
servant’s look of depression, and inquired its cause.

“Let the king live for ever,” replied Nehemiah;
“why should not my countenance be sad, when
the city, the place of my father’s sepulchres, lieth
waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with
fire ?”

Then said the king to him, “For what dost
thou make request ?”
THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 47

Nehemiah silently lifted up his heart in prayer
ere he made his reply to the monarch :—“ If it
please the king, and if thy servant have found
' favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me
unto Judah, unto the city of my father’s sepul-
chres, that I may build it.”

Artaxerxes received the petition with favour.
He not only permitted the departure of Nehemiah,
but provided for him an escort, and gave him letters
to the officers of government on the other side of
the Euphrates, 457 B.c. It is from the year in
which the Persian monarch issued his decree, per-
mitting the rebuilding of Jerusalem, that is dated
the commencement of the weeks of prophetic
years, at the close of which the Lord Jesus was
crucified (Dan. ix. 25).

Nehemiah soon found, on his arrival at Jerusa-
lem, that his position there would be one of great
difficulty, requiring both judgment and courage.
The enemies of the Jews, especially Sanballat the
Horonite, and Tobiah the Ammonite, were pos-
sessed of power, cunning, and the most deter-
mined resolution to prevent the rebuilding of the
ruined wall.

It was in the stillness of night that a single
horseman, accompanied by a few attendants on
48 THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.

foot, passed out through the gate of the valley.
Thoughtfully he rode on where in ancient and
happier times the bulwarks of Jerusalem had
stood. He gazed sorrowfully on the blackened
ruins over which the Assyrian conquerors had
passed. But it was not to mourn in unavailing
woe over the desolation of his country that Nehe-
miah made that midnight survey. That which
was ruined he resolved to repair, and, with the
blessing of God, to encircle the city once more
with a protecting wall.

By his words, and yet more by his example,
Nehemiah animated his countrymen to exertion.
The circuit of Jerusalem was portioned out to the
most zealous of the people, and each in his own
division set heartily to work. In vain Sanballat
and Tobiah tried to discourage the builders by
representing their patriotic efforts as rebellion
against Persia. In vain, time after time, they
endeavoured to entice Nehemiah into a village,
that they might deprive the Jews of him who was
the life and soul of their undertaking. “I am
doing a great work, so that I cannot come down,”
was Nehemiah’s answer to their insidious pro-
posals, A yet deeper snare was laid. Nehemiah
was warned of a plot to assassinate him, and was
THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 49

urged to fly to the temple. But again the brave
leader’s self-devotion defeated the schemes of his
enemies. ‘Should such a man as I flee?” he
exclaimed ; “and who is he that being as I am,
would go into the temple to save his life ?”

The adversaries tried the effect of mockery
and scorn. As they viewed the unceasing labours
of the builders, “ Will they,” cried Sanballat,
“revive the stones out of the rubbish that is
burned?” “If a fox come up,” rejoined the
insolent Tobiah, ‘‘he shall even break down their
stone wall.” But notwithstanding this hatred
and scorn, the wall rose higher and higher. Then
the bitter adversaries of the Jews resolved to use
weapons more formidable than words, and con-
spired to attack the builders. The peril was
great, but Nehemiah and his followers were equal
to the occasion. A watch was kept both by
night and by day; they that builded the wall,
and they that bare burdens, each with one hand
wrought in the work, and with the other grasped
a weapon for defence. Nehemiah, ever on the
watch against the foe, changed not his garments,
but lay down night after night in his daily attire,
prepared to start up at the first sound of danger.

He kept a trumpeter at his side, and said to the
(296) 4
50 THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.















ANCIENT BUILDING TOOLS.

nobles and the people, “The work is great and
large, and we are separated one far from another;
in what place therefore that ye hear the sound of
the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God
shall fight for us !”

By the indefatigable exertions of these devoted
men, in the short space of fifty-two days the wall
was completed. The enemies were cast down
and discouraged, for they perceived that this work
was of God.

And so, in the midst of a world that despises
and hates them, God’s people, through all genera-
tions, pursue the work that is given them to do;
THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 51

with one hand, as it were, armed to fight against
besetting sins and inward corruptions, the other
busily engaged in works of piety and love. He
that will not fight, is unworthy to labour; he
that will not Jabour is unprepared to fight. It is
they who, through faith, conquer sin and self,
that are found most zealous in every good work.
The liberality of Nehemiah was equal to his
activity and courage. With free hospitality he
daily entertained at his own table a hundred and
fifty of the Jews. This, and other expenses,
Nehemiah defrayed from his own purse, refusing
to draw from the people even the allowances due
to his office. This generous conduct strengthened
his influence, and enabled him with more bold-
ness to denounce and crush a hateful system of
usury which prevailed at this time amongst the
richer Jews, who took advantage of the wants of
their brethren, to take from them their lands, and
even their freedom. Nehemiah induced hiscountry-
men to enter into a solemn covenant with the Lord
—a covenant to obey all the law, to refrain from
marriages with the heathen, to bring due offer-
ings to the temple, and to keep the Sabbath holy.
A reverence was shown for the Scriptures, which
was one of the most encouraging signs of reviy-
52 THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH.

ing religion. A pulpit of wood was erected in
one of the streets of Jerusalem, and from this, from
morning till noonday, Ezra the priest read aloud
from the book of the law of Moses. The multi-
tude of listeners was immense; all the people
gathered themselves together as one man to
hearken to the word of the Lord. When Ezra
opened the book in the sight of this vast crowd, ©
all reverently stood up to listen. When he blessed
‘the Lord the great God, a loud, fervent Amen
‘burst from the dense mass of the people, thou-
sands of hands were lifted up towards heaven, and
then the multitudes of Judah bowed their heads
and worshipped with their faces to the ground.
After some time spent in labours for his country,
Nehemiah returned to the court of Persia, having
received only leave of temporary absence. But
the disorders which again crept in amongst the
backsliding Jews necessitated a second journey to
Jerusalem, 434 3.c. Notwithstanding the strict
law which forbade the entrance of Ammonites and
other heathens into the temple, the high priest
Eliashib, being allied to Tobiah, had actually pre-
pared for him a chamber in the courts of the
house of the Lord! The Sabbath was by many
disregarded ; the wine-press was trodden, burdens
THE JEWS UNDER NEHEMIAH. 53

carried, and merchandise sold on the day that was
holy to God. The Levites were neglected, their
dues were unpaid, and again some of the Jews
had fallen into the grievous sin of intermarrying
with idolaters. :

Nehemiah suppressed these disorders with a
firm and judicious hand, strengthening himself
by prayer, and supported in all his difficulties
and labours by the consciousness of the presence
of that Almighty Being whom he was humbly
endeavouring to gerve.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

Decemvirs banished from Rome ...............ceseeeeeeeeeeee 449
Battering-ram invented......c.cscsescesceeecsereeeeseeeeeeeeeee 441






CHAPTER V,

ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

Murder of Joshua—A Temple raised on Mount Gerizim—Battle of Issus—
Siege of Tyre—The White Robe Procession—Murder of Darius.

> now lose the sure guidance of the sacred
writings, and must pursue our way by



the dimmer light of uninspired history.
“The two books of the Maccabees,” writes Dr.
Gray, ‘were certainly composed after the succes-
sion of prophets had ceased among the Jews.” Of
the first book he observes, ‘It was probably writ-
ten by a contemporary author, who had witnessed
in part the scenes which he so minutely and graphi-
cally describes ;” and of the second book, which
contains the account of Heliodoros and the martyr-
dom of the seven brethren, this writer remarks,
“The fathers in general cite the book as a useful
history, but not asof authority in pointsof doctrine.”
ALEXANDER THE GREAT. 59d

After the time of Nehemiah, Judea ceased to
form a distinct government, and was joined to the
satrapy of Syria. Its internal government was,
however, in the hands of its own high priests, and
the civil power thus annexed to this office made
it an object of great ambition, and unhappily gave
rise to disgraceful contests.

On the death of Eliashib, 413 B.c., his son
Joiada or Judas succeeded to the dignity of high
priest. After he also had been removed by death,
a wicked dispute arose between two of his sons,
Johanan and Joshua, as to which should fill the
sacred office. Johanan, like another Cain, slew
Joshua in the inner court of the temple, and the
holy place was polluted with blood shed by a
brother’s hand.

Bagoses, the satrap of Syria, hearing of this
horrible crime, came to Jerusalem to take account
of it. On his going into the temple to examine
the spot where Joshua had been killed, the priests
would have hindered his entrance, as no Gentile
was permitted to cross the sacred threshold.

“What! am I not more pure than the dead
carcass of him whom ye have slain in the temple?”
exclaimed the indignant satrap; and after rebuk-
ing the Jews for suffering the house of their God
56 ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

to be thus defiled, he imposed upon them, as a
punishment, a heavy tax upon the lambs that
were offered in sacrifice.

The nation at this time had fallen into a grievous
state of coldness and formality in religion. The
priesthood were worldly and corrupted, and looked
upon the services of the temple as a weariness,
unwilling to perform even the smallest without
some earthly reward. But there were yet faith-
ful ones left in the land—those who feared the
Lord, and spake often to each other, and feared
the name of the Holy One of Israel. ‘‘ They shall
be Mine,” said the Lord by the prophet Micah, “in
that day when I make up My jewels, and I will
spare them as a man spareth his own son that
serveth him.”

Of such appears to have been the next high
priest, Jaddua, who succeeded his father, Johanan,
_ 341 B.0. This faithful servant of God endeavoured
to follow in the steps of Nehemiah, expelling his
own brother Manasses for marrying the daughter
of Sanballat, the Cuthite governor of Samaria.
Manasses then repaired to his wife’s father, and
the Samaritans availed themselves of the presence
of a member of the pontifical family to erect a
temple of their own upon the Mount Gerizim, of
ALEXANDER THE GREAT. 57

which Manasses was made high priest. This
measure greatly widened the breach between the
Jews and the Samaritans; the rivalry of the two
nations increased the bitter.antipathy which had
long existed between them.

The period at length arrived when the Jews
were to exchange the yoke of Persia for that of
another foreign nation. The winged leopard of
Grecia, beheld in vision by Daniel, was now to
follow the Assyrian lion and the bear of Persia;
the kingdom of brass, as the prophet had foretold
to Nebuchadnezzar, was to succeed to the king-
dom of silver. Alexander the Great, king of
Macedon, at the head of his Greeks, in a great
victory at Issus crushed the power of the Persian
Darius, which he afterwards completely destroyed.

The conqueror marched into Syria after his
victory, summoned its various nations to yield
submission, and laid siege to the city of Tyre, a
place of great strength and importance, 332 B.c.

Tyre was a stronghold of superstition and idola-
try. Celebrated for her commerce, her merchants
were princes, her traffickers the honourable of the
earth. But the destruction of this idolatrous
city had been foretold centuries previously, both
by the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel. ‘‘I will cast
58 ALEXANDER THE GREAT,

thee to the ground, I will bring thee to ashes
upon the earth, in the
sight of all them that be-
hold thee,” had been the
message of the Lord while
yet Tyre stood in her
strength and beauty, with
noone to make her afraid.



And now the prophecy

TyRE was literally though un-
consciously fulfilled by Alexander. With ex-
treme difficulty, but with
a perseverance which
overcame every obstacle,
the great Macedonian
seized upon the mighty
city. He mercilessly
burned it to the ground,
and destroyed or en-



slaved its people. Invain

ALEXANDER THE OREAT. had the Tyrians called
upon their idols, prayed to the deaf ears that
could not hear, sought help of the hands that
could not save! Eight thousand of the un-
fortunate citizens fell in the sack of the town,
and were buried beneath its ashes; and two




















































BATTLE OF ISSUS.
60 ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

thousand were barbarously crucified by order of
the stern Alexander.

And now the conqueror, flushed with success,
turned his march towards Jerusalem. Terror and
alarm spread through that city. The Jews, faith-
ful in their allegiance to Persia, had refused to
supply the enemy of King Darius with the pro-
visions which he had demanded for the sustenance
ofhisarmy. This had greatly irritated Alexander,
whose spirit was little able to brook such opposi-
tion to his despotic will. As soon as the ruin of
Tyre was complete, the fierce conqueror therefore
advanced upon Jerusalem, with intention to punish
its people for daring to disobey his commands.

In the extremity of their danger, Jaddua and
his countrymen threw themselves on the protec-
tion of their God. They implored his succour in
their distress, and their prayers were heard and
answered.

In a vision of the night Jaddua was directed
to go out and meet Alexander dressed in the gor-
geous robes of his office, and attended by a com-
pany of the priests, and all the people in white
garments. They were not to draw the sword or
lift the spear, but go forth to the destroyer of
Tyre with no protection but that of the invisible
ALEXANDER THE GREAT. 61

arm of Jehovah stretched out to defend them.
Jaddua obeyed the command, and on the next day
left Jerusalem in the manner directed.

The white-robed procession slowly mounted a
hill which commanded a prospect of the country
around them. Doubtless many a heart trembled,
and many a cheek grew pale with fear, when a
cloud of dust in the distance showed the ap-
proach of the terrible foe! Alexander’s army
drew nearer and nearer, the sunlight flashing
from their weapons. Would not these weapons
soon be dimmed in the blood of their unarmed,
unresisting victims ?

Once more the Lord showed his irresistible power
over the hearts of men. No sooner did Alexander
see the high priest, followed by the people, ad-
vancing towards him, than, as if struck by sudden
awe, he hastened forward to meet the procession,
and, to the astonishment of his own troops, did
obeisance to the venerable Jaddua. While all
stood amazed at this most unexpected conduct on
the part of the offended conqueror, Parmenio, who
was one of his friends, ventured to ask him the
reason of it, and to inquire why he, whom every
one adored, should pay such adoration to a
Jew.
62 : ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

Alexander-answered that it was not to him, but

to the God whom Jaddua served, that he paid
adoration ; for‘that when he had been in Mace-:
donia, meditating the war against Persia, which
had been since so successfully begun, he had _be-
held in a dream this very high priest arrayed in
such a dress as that which he now wore, who bade
him pass boldly into Persia, promising that God
‘should be his guide, and bestow upon him victory
and success. Then turning to the high priest
Jaddua, Alexander cordially embraced him, and
entered Jerusalem in his company, where the
proud conqueror of Persia offered sacrifices to the
God of Jacob.

Jaddua having shown to Alexander the pro-
phecies in which his triumphs were predicted, the
king of Macedon left Jerusalem assured of that
success which followed his arms. He called the
Jews together before his departure, and graciously
bade them ask of him whatever they might desire.
They petitioned that they might be permitted the
free exercise of their religion and laws, and be
exempted from taxes every seventh year, during
which they neither sowed nor reaped, but left the
land to enjoy her Sabbaths, according to the com-
mandment of God.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT. 63

To all this Alexander graciously acceded ; but
when similar petitions were offered by the Samari-
tans, who had merited well of the Macedonian
monarch, by sending the supplies which the Jews
had refused, Alexander returned a courteous
but evasive reply, deferring compliance till,
at some future period, he should have leisure
fully to inform himself on the subject of their
demands.

Alexander then pursued his victorious career.
Darius, after a defeat at Arbela, fled towards
Bactria, but was traitorously murdered by Bes-
sus, one of his own nobles. Alexander reached
the summit of power and pride. But he who
was the lord of many nations was the slave of
his own sinful passions : Alexander conquered his
outward foes, but not the more dangerous ones
within. Intoxicated with vainglory, he fancied
himself to be more than man. Addicted to in-
temperance, in a drunken revel he killed his own
friend Clitus, and by his wild excesses shortened
his own existence. This extraordinary man died
in the prime of his days and the zenith of his
power, 323 B.c., leaving the vast empire which
~ his prowess had subdued to be split into various
kingdoms, and to be made the object of fearful
64 ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

wars and bloodshed amongst his contending gene-
rals.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

441323 B.C.
B.C.
Peloponnesian War began .........scecseeseneeeeeereesesneeee 431
Retreat of the 10,000 Greeks............cceseceecesereeseeneeee 401
Death of Socrates 400



: Battle of Leuctra........cececeeseeeceeeees wine ap ooReseretys cokes 371




CHAPTER VI.

JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

Jerusalem Taken—The Soothsayer and the Archer—Profanity of Ptolemy
Philopater—Persecution of the Jews—Judea Wrested from Egypt.
Ma\N the first division of Alexander’s empire,
Syria devolved to Laomedon, and Egypt
to Ptolemy Soter. Between them a




war arose, and its result
was that all the provinces
of Laomedon submitted to
Ptolemy. The Jews alone,
faithful to the oath which
they had taken to the de-
feated ruler, refused to
bend to the conqueror.
Ptolemy marched against





Jerusalem, which, being

now strongly fortified, PIOLEMY SOTER.
(296) 5
66 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

might have held out against him, but that the
Jews, from a scrupulous regard to the sanctity of
the Sabbath, would not at this period defend
themselves.on that holy day, 320 Bc. Ptolemy
did not treat the Jews with great severity ; for,
though he sent a large number of them into
Egypt, it was rather as colonists than bondsmen.

The son and successor of this king was a great
patron of learning, and spared no expense in pro-
curing curious books for his famous library in
Alexandria. He caused the Hebrew Scriptures
to be rendered into Greek; and this important
translation still exists under the name of the
Septuagint, from the tradition that seventy per-
sons were employed in completing it.

Not only did Ptolemy avail himself of the
services of the Jews as regarded literature—some
of them were also enlisted in the army of the
Egyptian ruler. An anecdote is related of one
who had the courage openly to reprove the super-
stition of the idolatrous soldiery amongst whom
he was serving.

This man, whose name was Mosullum, was
noted for his valour, and famous for his singular
skill in archery. As, on one occasion, he was tra-
velling towards the Red Sea with his companions,
JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT. 67

a certain soothsayer, who accompanied the band,
commanded an instant halt. Mosullum demanded
his reason for the delay.

“Look ye,” answered the foreteller of events ;
‘behold that bird before us. If that bird stands,
ye are to stand; if he rises and flies on, go for-
ward ; if the bird takes his flight the contrary
way, you must all return back again.”

The Jew, without speaking another word, fitted
an arrow to the string, and let fly at the bird,
which, the next moment, fell fluttering in death
to the ground. Furious indignation was instantly
excited amongst the superstitious beholders against
the author of so daring an act. But Mosullum
opposed calm reason to the folly of those who put
faith in omens. ‘‘ How could that poor creature,”
said he, “ pretend to foreshow us our fortune,
that knew nothing of its own? If this bird
could have foretold good or evil to come, it would
have kept out of this place for fear of being slain
by the arrow of Mosullum the Jew.”

Onias, the first high priest at Jerusalem, having
died, 300 B.c., was succeeded by Simon his son,
who, from the holiness of his life and the right-
eousness of his actions, was surnamed Simon the
Just This good man completed the canon of
68 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

the Scriptures; and the Old Testament, as it has
been handed down to us, was in its perfect form
received by the Jews. Simon died 291 3B.c., and
Onias succeeded to the high priesthood.

Egypt, to which, as has been seen, Judea was
at this period subject, was ruled by a succession
of sovereigns, who all bore the title of Ptolemy.

A remarkable instance of the reverence with
which the monarchs to whom the Jews were
tributary often regarded the religion which those
Jews professed, was shown
by Ptolemy Euergetes, in the
year 245 Bc. On returning
from a successful expedition,
this king of a most idolatrous
nation chose to take his way
through Jerusalem, and there
render thanks to the God of
Israel for the victories he had
obtained over Syria. We thus see that the light
of truth, confided to the Jews, shed a partial
radiance over the nations by which they were
surrounded.

A young Jew, named Joseph, nephew of the
high priest Onias, rose high in the favour of
Ptolemy Euergetes. He was admitted to the



PTOLEMY EUERGETES.
JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT. 69

office of receiver-general in the provinces of Coele-
Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, and Samaria; and, like
his great countryman of the same name, acquitted
himself with such wisdom and prudence, that he
won and kept for many years the confidence of
the king of Egypt.

In 216 B.c., Simon, second high priest of that
name, succeeded his father Onias, who had been
a weak and covetous old man, intent upon no-
thing so much as amassing treasure for himself.
It was well that one of a nobler character had
now entered upon so important an office, for a
time of great difficulty was near, when the Jews
would especially require
courage and strong faith
in their leader.

Ptolemy Philopater
mounted the throne of
his father. This young
man was stained with
the darkest crimes: he
was the murderer of his
mother and his brother,
and subsequently proved
himself a barbarous per- eee eee en

secutor. He, however, appeared disposed, in the


70 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

earlier part of his reign, to render, as his father
had done, honour to the great God of Israel. He
visited Jerusalem, offered sacrifices to the Lord,
and presented valuable gifts to the temple. Per-
haps the conscience of this wicked prince was not -
altogether silent, and he thought by his oblations
to appease that great Being who is of purer eyes
than to behold iniquity.

But Ptolemy was not contented with viewing
the outside of the beautiful temple raised to
Jehovah ; he was resolved to visit the sanctuary,
to tread that Holy of holies into which none but
the high priest was permitted to enter, and that
only on the day of atonement. This raised an
outery all through the city. Simon opposed the
entrance of the profane king into the holy temple;
he declared to him the law which forbade it; but
Ptolemy was disposed to regard no law but that
of his own capricious will. Disregarding the ex-
postulations of the high priest, and the distress
and horror expressed in the countenances of the
Levites, he pressed into the inner court, and was
about to enter the sanctuary, when the wicked
king was suddenly struck with such a terror
and confusion of mind, that he was utterly un-
able to proceed, and he was carried half dead
JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT. 71

out of the place which an invisible Power pro-
tected.

Rage and hatred swelled in the heart of the
disappointed monarch. He had been conquered
by fear, and he now sought to cover his mortifi-
cation by revenge upon the worshippers of the
omnipotent Jehovah. On his return to his capi-
tal—Alexandria—Ptolemy at once degraded all
the Jews, who were living there in great numbers,
and commanded that each should be branded with
the mark of an ivy-leaf—the badge of Bacchus,
the god of wine, whom this miserable idolater
worshipped. All who refused to receive this dis-
graceful mark were ordered to be put to death;
but such as sacrificed to the false gods were to
enjoy equal privileges with the Macedonians, the
original founders of the city. Of the many thou-
sands of Jews who were in Alexandria, only three
hundred persons were found base enough to for-
sake their God to win the favour of the king.

Enraged at the firmness of the majority, Ptolemy
resolved to punish not only the Jews in Alex-
andria, but those who dwelt in any part of his
dominions. He sent orders that all who were in
Egypt should be sent to the capital in chains.
There, it is said, that a great multitude of victims
72 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

being thus gathered together, the tyrant shut
them up in the hippodrome, a large place without
the city used for horse-races and games, and ap-
pointed a certain day in which they were all to
be destroyed by elephants.

Crowds assembled on this day to witness the
horrible spectacle ; but the king had sat up so
late on the previous night at a drunken revel,
that he slept on that morning beyond the hour
which had been fixed upon for the show. No-
thing could be done in his absence: the massacre
was deferred till the morrow ; and again on the
morrow a similar cause occasioned a similar de-
lay. During all this time the Jews, shut up in
the hippodrome, ceased not by earnest, humble
prayer, to implore that mercy from God which
they could not hope for from the tyrant.

On the third day the king took his seat to
behold the fearful execution. Multitudes hastened
with barbarous eagerness to the spot, to see their
unhappy fellow-creatures torn limb from limb,
for no other crime than that of holding fast their
holy faith. The huge elephants were brought
forth, maddened with frankincense and wine, that
they might with more rage execute the king’s
vengeance upon his innocent subjects.
































































































































































































































































































































re

Pig

































































































































































ALEXANDRIA.


74 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT.

But no sooner were the fierce animals let loose,
than, neglecting their intended victims, they broke
bounds, and furiously rushed upon the crowds
assembled to view the execution! The air was
filled with loud shrieks and cries, the multitudes
fled in dismay ; but many were trampled under
foot, many were destroyed by the savage ele-
phants. Ptolemy, a witness of the terrible scene,
dared no longer oppose his puny strength to the
irresistible power of Israel’s God; he dared no
longer persecute the Jews, who were so manifestly
protected by Heaven. He revoked all his de-
crees against them, and loaded them with favours
and gifts, 216 B.c.

The tyrant Philopater
died, 205 Bc, while yet
in the prime of his man-
hood; and as his title
| devolved on a little child,
Antiochus the Great, king
of Syria, soon succeeded in
wresting Judea and other
provinces from the Egyptian

ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT. crown. The Jews by no
means regretted this change of masters. They
willingly rendered up their strongholds to Anti-


JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF EGYPT. 75

ochus; and on his advancing to Jerusalem, the
priests and elders went forth in procession to
meet him, and received him with gladness. They
had little reason, indeed, to apnold the cause
of their Egyptian tyrants.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.
323—205 B.C.

BO.
Beginning of the first Punic War..............0..seecee eee 264
Second Punic War. ...........cesc ees ceesee cee eeeeseeeeenenenees 218

Battle of Canna ..... 20. cece cece ecec ene eceeeeeeeceeseeeeeees 216




CHAPTER VIL.

JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

The Bright Horseman—The Temple Profaned—The Image of Jupiter—
The Mother and her Seven Sons.

"a NTIOCHUS the Great died, 187 B.c., and
Seleucus Philopater succeeded. It is
during the reign of this monarch that



some remarkable events are said to have occurred,
as related in the book of the Maccabees,

Simon, a Benjamite, having been appointed
governor of the temple, some disputes arose be-
tween him and Onias, who was high priest at the
time. Finding that he was unable to prevail
against him whom the Jews regarded as their
lawful chief, Simon fled to Apollonius, the gover-
nor of Ccele-Syria and Palestine, under King
Seleucus, and informed him that great treasures
were laid up in the temple at Jerusalem. This
JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 77

account, as was probably intended, excited the
cupidity of the king, and Heliodoros his treasurer
was despatched to seize upon the coveted wealth.

Heliodoros arrived at Jerusalem, and was cour-
teously received by Onias. The treasurer declared
to him the purpose of his journey, and asked him
whether the report were true that much gold was
to be found in the temple.

Onias replied that there was indeed money
laid up there for the relief of widows and orphans,
but earnestly expostulated against any attempt
to carry away from the temple the treasure com-
mitted to his trust.

Heliodoros had, however, received the positive
commands of the king, and was resolved to carry
them into execution.

The high priest was in the deepest distress ;
and his horror and indignation at the intended
robbery and sacrilege were shared by the priests
and the people. Women, girded with sackcloth,
mourned in the streets; the priests prostrated
themselves before the altar—all, lifting up their
hands, implored the Lord to keep safe and sure
that intrusted treasure which they were them-
selves unable to defend.

Then, as is related, there appeared before
78 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

Heliodoros* a horse, on which sat a terrible rider,
arrayed in bright armour of glittering gold; and
beside him glorious beings, who, with scourges,
sorely chastised the mortal who had dared to

te!

ESN era ei RU emit
i STFA



HELIODOROS DRIVEN FROM THE TEMPLE.

profane the sanctity of the temple. Overpowered
by the vision, Heliodoros fell to the ground, thick
darkness seemed to surround him, and he was

* In giving this and other such stories to the reader, the authoress thinks
it right to remind him, that in such parts of Jewish history as are not drawn
from the sacred records (as in all other very «cient writings), such a mist
often lies on the boundary which divides fact from fiction, that it is almost
impossible to define it. is
JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 79

carried, fainting and almost dying, from the trea-
sury which he had impiously entered.

Seleucus was succeeded, in 175 Bc, by his
brother Antiochus Epi-
phanes, one of the most
base and cruel tyrants that
ever disgraced a throne.
As soon as he was settled
in the kingdom, Jason, the
unworthy brother of Onias,
by underhand means con-



ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES.

trived not only to induce
the monarch to let him supplant his brother, but
to banish Onias to Antioch, where this good man
was subsequently murdered.

Jason was now high priest, and the use which
he made of his power was such as might have
been expected from his treacherous mode of ob-
taining it. Honour, patriotism, religion were all
sacrificed to his desire to retain the favour of the
king. He erected a gymnasium for games, after
the fashion of the Greeks, whom he sought in all
things to imitate. Jason did all in his power to
induce his countrymen to abandon the customs
of their fathers, to break their covenant with
God, and to conform to the manners of the
80 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

heathen. The services of the temple were aban-
doned, and corruption spread amongst the people.

Retribution soon overtook the wicked Jason,
and as he had meted to another it was measured
to him again. His brother Menelaus supplanted
him in the same manner that he had supplanted
Onias, and succeeded to his title and his power,
more than emulating him in his impiety and
guilt.

Jason was not disposed easily to yield up his
ill-acquired dignity. Taking recourse to arms,
in 171 Bc, he marched with a thousand men
against his own city, took possession of Jerusalem,
drove Menelaus to seek shelter in its castle, and
committed great cruelties on such of the citizens
as he deemed the partizans of his brother.

The just chastisements of the Almighty were
now descending upon his backsliding people.
Antiochus hearing of what had occurred, and ~
deeming that the whole Jewish nation had re-
volted, hastened to Jerusalem with his forces,
and slew in the devoted city no fewer than four
thousand persons. As many were sold as slaves,
Conducted by the impious Menelaus, Antiochus
forced his way into the temple, plundered it of
vast treasures, and polluted the altar of God by
JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 81

offering on it a sow, which was held in abomina-
tion by the Jews. Well might the miserable
descendants of Abraham think that the Almighty
whom they had forsaken, had utterly forsaken
them now; that His mercy had left them for
ever; and that, after so many deliverances, they
were finally given up for their sins to destruc-
tion.

But there were yet amongst the Jews those
who clung to the faith of their fathers, and rested
with earnest hope on the promises given through
the prophets. Jerusalem still was the guardian
of the light of Truth in a world that lay in dark-
ness, and neither the powers of earth nor hell
could prevail to quench it.

Dark and fearful, indeed, was the cloud of
tribulation which rested upon Jerusalem. An-
tiochus, not contented with his late fearful
cruelties, sent Apollonius, his general, to wreak
yet further vengeance on the city of David.
After having slain great multitudes of the people,
and sent away ten thousand captives, Apollonius
plundered the town, set it on fire, and demolished
the wall. The daily sacrifices ceased in the
temple; Jerusalem was deserted. Officers were
appointed to compel the miserable Jews to sacri

(296) 6
82 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

fice to idols. The Samaritans consented to receive
an image of the false god Jupiter into their

s, temple on Mount Geri-
_ zim; and another, to



h the horror of all true
children of Abraham,
was placed in the
temple of Jerusalem !

In this period of
awful trial, glorious
saints and noble mar-
tyrs were found ready

IMAGE OF JUPITER: rather to suffer unto
death than to deny the God whom they adored.
Such a spirit of devotion as that which had sup-
ported Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, when
the fiery furnace glowed before them, animated
still the faithful servants of the Lord.

An example of noble constancy was given by
Eleazar, an aged scribe, who was urged by his
persecutors to break the law of Moses. The
noble old man was scourged to death, bravely
enduring to the end.

A mother and her seven sons were brought
before Antiochus, and threatened with the most
fearful tortures should they disobey his unlawful
JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 83

commands. One and all this devoted family
preferred death to apostasy. The mother, with
refined cruelty, was made to witness the dying
agonies of her sons. Far from weakening their
courage by tears and lamentations, the Jewish
matron exhorted her children to keep faithful to
their God, cheering them in that awful hour by
hopes of a joyful resurrection. Faith and strength
from above supported these glorious martyrs.
One of the young men exclaimed, as he stretched
forth his hands for the torture, ‘These I had
from Heaven, and for His laws I despise them,
and from Him I hope to receive them again!”
One after another, six of the sons closed their
eyes in death, committing their souls to their
Creator. One only, the youngest, remained, and
even the tyrant appears to have been touched
with some compassion for his tender years, for
he promised the youth with oaths to make him
a rich and happy man, if he would turn from the
laws of his fathers. When the young Jew refused
to hearken to his offers, the king bade the mother,
already bereaved of so many children, use her
endeavours to save the last by counselling sub-
mission and obedience.

But she, strong in faith, addressed her son in
84 JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA.

the Hebrew language, conjuring him, even by his
love to her who had borne him, to endure any
amount of suffering rather than sin. “Fear not
this tormentor,” she cried; ‘but being worthy
of thy brethren, take thy death, that I may
receive thee again in mercy with thy brethren.”
While his mother was yet speaking these
words, the noble youth turned to the executioners.
“Whom wait ye for?” he exclaimed; “I will
not obey the king’s commandment, but I will
obey the commandments of the law that was
given unto our fathers by Moses. And thou,”
he continued, looking at the tyrant, “shalt not
escape the hands of God. For we suffer because
of our sins; and though the living God be angry
with us a little while for our chastening and
correction, yet shall He be at one with His ser-
vants, But thou, O godless man! be not lifted
up without a cause, or puffed up with uncertain
hopes, lifting up thy hand against the servants of
God, for thou hast not yet escaped the judgment
of Almighty God, who seeth all things. For our
brethren who now have suffered a short pain, are
dead under God’s covenant of everlasting life ;
but thou, through the judgment of God, shall
receive just punishment for thy pride. But I,
JUDEA UNDER THE YOKE OF SYRIA. 85

as my brethren, offer up my body and life for
the laws of my fathers, beseeching God that He
would speedily be merciful unto my nation.”

The tyrant, enraged at the fearless words of
the youth, put’ him to death by tortures more
dreadful even than those that his brothers had
endured; and then the devoted mother, faithful
unto death, and under a trial more terrible than
death, followed her glorious sons by the same
brief and bloody path, to the haven of eternal
rest prepared for those who, like them, count
God’s service'as dearer than life.

The dying prayer of the young martyr had
been heard. The Lord was preparing a deliver-
ance for his persecuted people.

The Jews, quiet and peaceful as they had
shown themselves to be under the sway of their
rulers—Assyrian, Persian, and Egyptian—had at
length been goaded beyond their power of endur-
ance; or rather, the Almighty having compassion
on their sufferings, was pleased again, as in the
. days of old, to raise up for them mighty de-
liverers.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

205—170 B.C. B.C.
Battle of Zama . f tba siald.le do -vgtete ew eng BOD:

Sparta subdued i die seine Ste clerdais esos eaiventecayl OF


CHAPTER VIII.

VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

Rising of the Jews—Martyrs to the Law—Apollonius Defeated—Seron
Defeated—Lycias Defeated—The Temple Cleansed—Death of Epi-
phanes—Siege of Bethsura—Exploit of Eleazar—The Temple Besieged.

HE noble family of the Asmoneans, so

4} called from Asmoneus, one of its ances-

tors, was amongst the most distinguished

in Judea, and dwelt at this period in the town of

Modin. At the head of this family was Mattathias,

the father of five noble sons, Joanan, Simon, Eleazar,



Jonathan, and the illustrious Judas, surnamed
Maccabeus.

Deeply did Mattathias mourn over the oppression
of his people, and the desecration of the altar of his
God; and he heard with emotions of indignation
that the king’s officers had come to his own town,
to compel all to sacrifice to the gods of the heathen.
VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 87

Mattathias being a person of great influence,
the emissaries of Antiochus spared no pains to
induce him, by many promises, to give an ex-
ample of submission. “But the brave old Jew
answered with a loud voice, “Though all the
nations that are under the king’s dominion obey
him, and fall away every one from the religion
of his fathers, yet will I and my sons walk in the
covenant. God forbid that we should forsake
the law and the ordinances! We will not hearken
to the king’s words, to go either to the right
hand or the left.”

When Mattathias had concluded his declara-
tion, there came a renegade Jew, in the sight of
all, to sacrifice at the altar at Modin. Filled
with indignation and inflamed with zeal, Matta-
thias, like another Phinehas, rushed forward and
slew him on the altar; then turning on the com-
missioner, him he also slew, and pulled down the
altar. to the ground !

This was indeed drawing the sword and throw-
ing away the scabbard! Mattathias exclaimed,
“Who is zealous for the law and maintaineth
the covenant, let him follow me!” and leaving
all that he possessed, he fled into the mountains
with his sons, where they were joined by num-
88 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

bers of the faithful and brave, who were ready,
like themselves, to yield up their lives rather than
their faith.

A touching example of obedience to the law
of God was given by a large band of Jews who,
with their wives and little ones, had fled into the
wilderness to escape the persecutions of the king.
The fugitives were pursued, and the forces of
Antiochus came up to them at a place where
they had taken refuge in a cave. Philip, the
leader of the soldiers, endeavoured to induce the
Jews to come forth and make submission, but
this they firmly refused to do. He then attacked
them, and the day being the Sabbath, the Jews,
scrupulously observant of the law which com-
mands that day to be kept holy, neither stopped
up the mouth of their cave nor raised a weapon
against their foes, ‘ Let us die all in our inno-
cence,” they exclaimed; and thus all—vmen,
women, and children—were slain unresisting by
the Syrians.

Mattathias and his followers were greatly
grieved on receiving tidings of this cruel mas-_
sacre. In full debate, after due deliberation,
they came to the decision that self-defence is
lawful on the Sabbath ; and that, if attacked by
VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 89

the foe on that day, they would fight for their
lives and their laws.

Mattathias, and the brave Jews whom he had
gathered around him, now leaving their fastnesses
in the mountains, went to various cities of Judea,
throwing down the idol altars, and driving the
enemy before them. But the aged hero was soon
worn out by the fatigues of warfare. He felt
that the time of his departure was drawing nigh,
and gathering his five sons around him, Matta-
thias gave them his dying exhortation.

He reminded them of the saints of old, whose
faith had been crowned with success; he bade
them give their lives for the covenant of God,
and remember that they who trusted in Him
never should be overcome. He appointed Judas,
his third son, to be the leader, and Simon the
counsellor of the patriots; and so, bestowing on
his children his parting blessing, Mattathias
yielded up his soul to his God. Truly the hoary
head is a crown of glory, when it is found in the
way of righteousness.

Then Judas, called Maccabeus from the motto
on his standard, ‘“‘ Who is like unto Thee amongst
the gods, O Jehovah!” (the initials of which in
Hebrew form the word Maccabi), succeeded to
90 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

the authority of his father. There appear to
have been no petty jealousies between the noble
sons of a glorious sire; they were united by a
better tie than even that of blood—fellowship in
a holy cause.

Judas proved himself a bold and able com-
mander, a hero treading in the steps of Joshua,
Gideon, and David. With a force not exceeding
six thousand men, he took the field against the
large, well-disciplined armies of Antiochus, com-
manded by warriors of renown.

His first great triumph was gained over Apol-
lonius, whose sword the victor wore to the end
of his life. Judas then made head against Seron,
a prince of Syria, who came to attack him with
a mighty host. Maccabeus was then command-
ing a mere handful of men, and some of his com-
panions, disheartened at the fearful disparity of
numbers, came to their chief and said, “ How
shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so
great a multitude and so strong, seeing we are
ready to faint with fasting?”

“With the God of heaven,” replied the hero,
“it is all one to deliver with a great multitude
or a small company ; for the victory standeth not
in the multitude of a host, but strength cometh
VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 91

from Heaven. We fight for our laws and our
lives, wherefore, the Lord himself will overthrow
these men before our face !”

The result of the battle was the complete
‘ triumph of the Jews, who overcame and pursued
their enemies,

This victory made the name of Judas renowned
through all the neighbouring states, and it was
speedily followed by others. Army after army
was sent against him, and fled in broken masses
before the conquering sword of him who trusted
in the strength of the Omnipotent.

One of these engagements was with Lycias, a
nobleman who acted as regent of Syria during
the absence of its king. Lycias, with a force of
sixty-five thousand choice infantry and five thou-
sand horsemen, was met by Judas Maccabeus at
the head of ten thousand men. When the Jewish
leader beheld the immense host before him, before
he closed in battle, he had recourse to the power-
ful weapon of prayer.

“ Blessed art Thou, O Saviour of Israel!” he
cried, “ who didst quell the violence of the mighty
man by the hand of Thy servant David, and gavest
the host of strangers into the hands of Jonathan,
the son of Saul, and his armour-bearer! Shut up
92 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

this army in the hand of Thy people Israel, and
let them be confounded in their power. Cast
them down with the sword of them that love
Thee, and let all that know Thy name praise
Thee with thanksgiving.”

The supplications of Judas were heard. The
Lord God of Israel fought for His people, and the
vast Syrian host fled in confusion before them.

Then said Judas and his brethren, ‘“ Behold,
our enemies are discomfited; let us go up to
cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary.”

With what joy and thanksgiving must the
valiant deliverers have been welcomed in Jeru-
salem, which they had freed from the oppressor !
Judas and his band of heroes proceeded at once
to the temple ; but when they saw the sanctuary
desolate, the altar profaned, the gates burned
down, and herbage growing in the courts once
trod by the feet of so many worshippers, they
rent their clothes, and cast ashes on their heads,
and fell with their faces to the ground.

But Judas, like Nehemiah, did not content
himself with lamentations over the desolation
which he saw—he zealously set himself to repair
and to reform. He chose priests of blameless
lives to cleanse the polluted sanctuary, pull down
VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 93

the altar which the heathen had profaned, and
build up another in its place. He also appointed
warriors to fight against the Syrian garrison,
which still held a fortress which had been erected
by Apollonius to overlook the temple. New holy
vessels were made for the sanctuary, the lamps
again were lighted and sacrifices offered, and,
with joy and exultation, songs of praise, and the
music of harps and cymbals, the conquerors re-
turned thanks for victory in the temple of the
Lord of hosts.

By the command of Judas Maccabeus, high
walls, strengthened with towers, were raised
around the sacred building, to protect it from
future attack, and a garrison was appointed to
guard it, 164 B.C.

When Antiochus, who was on his way from
Ecbatana to Babylonia, heard how the Jews had
defeated Lycias, recovered the.temple of Jeru-
salem, pulled down his idols, thrown their altars
to the ground, and restored the pure worship
of Jehovah, he was enraged to the utmost pitch
of fury. He commanded his charioteer to
double his speed, that he might the sooner
arrive in Judea to execute a fearful revenge.
He threatened to make Jerusalem one vast
94 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

grave for the nation that had dared to defy his
power.

But the tyrant’s hour was come. He was now,
according to the prophetic words of the young
martyr whom he had slain, to receive the just
punishment of his pride. Antiochus Epiphanes
was smitten with a most horrible and loathsome
disease. Yet, hatred struggling against physical
pain, he endeavoured to pursue his course, till
his chariot being overturned, the king was so
sorely injured by the fall, that it was necessary
to carry him in a litter to Tabo, a town on the
confines of Persia and Babylonia.

Here the miserable tyrant endured tortures
more intolerable than any that he himself had
inflicted, and was forced openly to acknowledge
them to be God’s retribution for his impiety and
cruelty. His reason at length gave way beneath
them, spectres appeared to haunt him, and this
enemy of God and of his people expired at length
in the greatest agonies both of body and mind.

Meanwhile Judas gained victory after victory.
He defeated the people of Edom, Bean, and Am-
mon; took Gazer, with the towns belonging to
it; won a great triumph over a vast host, under
a leader named Timotheus; and subdued the
VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 95

cities of the country of Galaad. He smote
Hebron, and passed through Samaria; turned to
Azotus, in the land of the Philistines; and when
he had levelled their altars, and burned their
carved images with fire, he returned back in
triumph to Judea.

Antiochus had been succeeded by his son of
the same name, to which was added that of
Eupator, The king being too young to assume
the reins of power, Lycias took the government
into his own hands, The regent raised an enor-
mous army to crush the forces of Judas. A
hundred thousand foot soldiers, twenty thousand
horse, thirty war elephants, and three hundred
chariots were gathered together, and headed by
the young monarch in person, who laid siege to
the town of Bethsura.

Judas collected his forces, far inferior in number
to those of the enemy, and falling upon the Syrians
by night, put the camp into confusion, and re-
‘treated on break of day, without suffering loss by
his bold exploit, while many of the enemy were
slain.

When the rising sun shed its full light on the
glittering ranks of the host of Antiochus, the
opposing armies closed in fierce battle. In the
96 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

fight, Eleazar, a brother of Judas, sacrificed his
life in a desperate attempt to kill the young king
of Syria. Seeing an immense elephant, adorned
with gorgeous harness, and supposing that the
monarch himself must be upon it, Eleazar furi-
ously fought his way up to the spot, slaying all
who opposed him, and thrusting his weapon into
the elephant, was crushed to death by its fall.

The Jews, perhaps discouraged by the loss of
Eleazar, fell back before the overwhelming hosts
of Syria, and made good their retreat to Jerusalem,
Bethsura then surrendered to Lycias, but upon
honourable conditions.

From thence Antiochus Eupator marched to
Jerusalem, where he laid siege to.the sanctuary,
which Judas, as before related, had fortified in
case of attack. The Jews were now in extreme
peril, those who defended the temple being in
the utmost distress for want of provisions, In-
struments for casting stones, darts, and slings, and
other formidable weapons of war, were brought
against the handful of men who made their des-
perate stand within the wall which had been
raised to guard the temple. Famine stared them
in the face, and their only alternative seemed to
be to perish by hunger or the sword.
VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 97







































BALISTA, FOR THROWING STONES.

But man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.
Lycias received tidings that Philip, a favourite of
the late king, and appointed by him guardian of
his successor, had seized upon Antioch, and set
up his own power in opposition to that of the
regent. Lycias found it necessary at once to
make peace with the Jews, that he might be at
liberty to march himself against this dangerous
rival. He therefore proposed honourable and ad-
vantageous terms, which were accepted by Judas.
The hero was recognized both by the king and
the regent as the ruler of Judea; and from this

ey

(296) ‘
98 VICTORIES OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

period is dated the commencement of the As-
monean dynasty, which for a hundred and twenty-
six years held sway over the Jewish people,
163 Bc.

The treaty between Antiochus and Judas Mac-
cabeus having been ratified by oath, the king
and Lycias were admitted into the stronghold
which had been so bravely defended. But seeing
the strength of the fortification, they, contrary to
stipulation, pulled down and destroyed the wall
before departing for Syria.

Menelaus, the treacherous high priest, had ac-
companied Lycias in his expedition against Jeru-
salem, probably in hope of being restored to his
office by the enemies of his people. But divine
vengeance at length overtook this traitor to his
country and his God. Menelaus lost favour with
those whom he had served at the price of con-
science, and they became the instruments of his
just punishment. He was, by the royal command,
cast headlong from a high tower into ashes, where
the renegade miserably perished.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

170—163 B.C. a
Macedon made a province of Rome........seeeeeereeee ss 168
The first library erected at Rome....sssseeeecererecerees 168




CHAPTER IX.

THE DEATH OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

Expedition of Bacchides—Victories over Nicanor—League with Rome—
Death of Judas Maccabeus.
JHE reign of the noble Judas was neither
peaceful nor long. The year after that
in which Antiochus and Lycias had be-
sieged the temple, they were both defeated and
slain by Demetrius Soter, a prince who aspired to
the Syrian crown, 162 Bc. The conqueror was
no sooner established on the throne than a band
of Jewish apostates came around him, with bitter
complaints against Judas. At their head was
Alcimus, an unworthy high priest of the Jews,
who had been expelled by them with just indig-
nation for his attachment to Grecian idolatries.
Unappalled by the fate of the guilty Menelaus,
this renegade sought the aid of a heathen monarch



100 THE DEATH OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

to reinstate him in the office of which he had
been so justly deprived.

The new king, Demetrius, lending a willing
ear to the complaints of the Jewish traitors, sent
a large force under his genera], Bacchides, to sup-
port the claims of Alcimus. This commander
entered Judea without meeting with any apparent
opposition, and placing Alcimus in power, with
what he considered a sufficient force to protect
him, Bacchides returned to the king.

But the traitor Aleimus was unable to maintain
himself in his dangerous position ; he was forced
again to seek aid from Demetrius, who again ac-
ceded to his prayer. The king sent Nicanor, a
prince of high dignity, a man who bore deadly
hatred towards Israel, with a powerful force, and
the royal command to execute stern vengeance on
the Jews. But again the Almighty gave victory
to his people. ‘Twice was Nicanor defeated by
Judas, and in the second battle the heathen
general was slain.

Then, though but for a brief period, the harassed
land of Judea had rest.

Judas Maccabeus now looked around for some —
powerful ally who might aid him in the arduous
struggle which the Jews had so long maintained
THE DEATH OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 101

single-handed against all their foes. He turned
his eyes towards Rome, that mighty republic
which was then advancing, step by step, to al-
most universal dominion. Judas sent an embassy
to ask for the friendship and protection of Rome.
His messengers were courteously received; the
Romans entered into a league of peace and amity
with a people whose heroic patriotism equalled
their own, and agreed to aid the Jews by sea or
by land, should Demetrius again dare to attack
them.

Little did Maccabeus foresee that the powerful
heathen nation, whose alliance he sought, would
at a future period prove a more dangerous foe
to his country than Babylon, Egypt, or Syria!
Little did he foresee that Jerusalem would be
trodden down by the Romans, her warriors slain,
her people scattered through the earth—that
through Rome she should behold her brave sons.
in fetters, her beautiful temple in flames! As
little could he imagine that the crime for which
the city of David should be given up to this
fearful fate would be that of rejecting and mur-
dering the Messiah, whose coming he, with all the
faithful of Israel, awaited with hope and desire!

Before his ambassadors returned from Rome,
102 THE DEATH OF JUDAS MACCABEUS.

Judas Maccabeus, by a soldier’s death, had closed
his glorious career.

Demetrius the king, hearing of the defeat and
death of Nicanor, sent Bacchides a second time,
accompanied by the traitor Alcimus, to avenge
his general, and destroy Judas and his band of
heroes.

On the approach of the hostile force, a panic
seemed to have seized upon the Jews, hitherto so
full of faith and of courage. They remembered not
the lesson which had been taught them by so
many glorious triumphs, that victory is not
always to the mighty, nor the battle to the strong,
Silently they dispersed on every side, till their
leader, deserted in his need, found that but eight
hundred men remained beside him to encounter
the Syrian hosts !

Sore troubled and distressed in mind at the
defection of those in whose fidelity he had con-
fided—those whom he had so often led to victory,
the lion spirit of the Jewish hero still roused
itself to meet the danger. “ Let us arise and go
up against our enemies,” he cried, ‘if peradven-
ture we may be able to fight with them !”

But of that success of which he doubted, his
followers despaired, and urgently counselled flight.
THE DEATH OF JUDAS MACCABEUS. 103

Judas, so long accustomed to conquer, indig-
nantly refused to turn his back upon the foe.

“God forbid that I should flee from them !”
he exclaimed; “if our time be come, let us die
manfully for our brethren, and let us not stain
our honour !”

From morning till night raged the battle.
Judas charging the right wing of the enemy with
irresistible impetuosity, carried all before him,
and was hot in pursuit when the left wing came
up to its aid. This changed the face of the con-
flict. Surrounded, hemmed in by masses of the
foe, but bravely fighting on to the last, Judas
Maccabeus, the heroic leader, fell, and the few
faithful followers who survived the bloody struggle
were compelled to retreat.

The body of the hero was carried by Jonathan
and Simon, his brothers, to the family sepulchre
at Modin. Great were the lamentations and
sorrow through Judea, as from town to town and
village to village spread the tidings of the death
of its prince. Many and bitter were the tears
shed for the fall of Judas Maccabeus, and long
was he mourned in the land for which his brave
blood had been shed.


CHAPTER X.
REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON, AND JOHN HYRCANUS.

Treachery of Tryphon—Judea Free—Asmonean Monument—Murder of
Simon.

PERIOD of extreme distress succeeded
the death of Judas. The sky had not
appeared darker over Judea even during

the bloody persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes.

Whereupon all the wisest amongst the Jews

flocked to the standard of Jonathan, the youngest

of the five sons of Mattathias, and made him their
captain and leader, in the place of his noble
brother.

In the next year Alcimus, the traitorous high



priest, who had been restored to power by
Bacchides, was cut off in the midst of his. crimes,
In his anxiety to preserve the favour of his
heathen protectors, he had given orders that, in
REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON, ETC. 105

the temple, the wall of partition should be broken
down which divided the court of the Gentiles
from that which Jews only might enter. But he
was not suffered to complete his impious work :
the Almighty suddenly smote him with palsy,
and summoned him to his awful account.

The death of this wicked high priest removed
one great difficulty from the path of Jonathan.
In his time Syria was convulsed with civil wars,
from the competitors who struggled together for
its crown. In the wild storm which raged around
him, Jonathan guided the affairs of Judea as a
wise and experienced pilot steers his vessel through
rocks and shoals. While contending monarchs
rose and fell, even from their disputes the skilful
ruler won advantages for his country. Jonathan,
by the grant of a prince named Alexander, who
was at that time opposing Demetrius, assumed
the office of high priest with the full consent of
- the Jewish people, 152 Bc, From this period,
till the time of Herod, the dignity became heredi-
tary in the Asmonean family. Jonathan was
now enabled to proceed with his various improve-
ments and repairs, restoring justice throughout
the ‘land, and reforming, to the best of his power,
that which was amiss both in church and in state,
106 REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON,



HIGH PRIEST.

For many years Jonathan had ruled over
Judea, when an act of shameful treachery removed
AND JOHN HYRCANUS. 107

him from his post of usefulness and honour.
Tryphon, who had been governor of Antioch,
aspired to the crown of Syria, and his unscrupu-
lous ambition was eager to trample down every
obstacle that stood in his way. Such an obstacle
he foresaw in the firm integrity of the high priest
of Judea, whom the ambitious noble found at the
head of a formidable force.

Tryphon, seeing Jonathan so powerfully
attended, durst not openly attempt anything
against him, but deceived him by flattering
words, and a false appearance of friendship. He
assured the high priest that he only came to con-
sult him on matters which regarded their common
interest, and that he was about to place the town
of Ptolemais in Jonathan’s hands.

By these treacherous pretences Tryphon induced
his unsuspecting victim to trust himself with a
small force within the walls of Ptolemais. No
sooner had they entered than the gates were
closed by order of the traitor, and a massacre
cominenced. Of those who had accompanied
Jonathan not a man was spared; and though he
himself lingered for a space in captivity, and
earnest were the efforts of his brother to save his
life. the merciless Tryphon completed his crime,
108 REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON, ETC.

and the noble prisoner was slain by his command,
144 B.c.

With indignation and horror the Jews heard
of the treachery of Tryphon. Deprived by this
sudden stroke of their leader, and seeing enemies
gathering around them, their hearts failed them
for fear. At this hour of peril Simon, the elder
brother of Jonathan and Judas, showed himself
worthy of his race. He went up to Jerusalem,
assembled the terrified people, and offered himself
as their leader. With joy the Jews hailed as
their captain the last surviving son of Mattathias.

One of the first acts of the new high priest
‘ was to strengthen the friendship with Rome which
had been commenced by Judas Maccabeus. He
also sent a crown of gold to Demetrius, the rival
of the guilty Tryphon, and received from him a
grant of the principality of Judea, free from all
taxes, tolls, and tributes, on the condition of the
Jews aiding him to crush Tryphon, the murderer
of Jonathan. Thus Simon became not only high
priest, but sovereign prince of Judea, which for a
space was entirely freed from the yoke of any
foreign nation.

Simon showed himself to be an able leader as
well as a prudent statesman. He took Gazara,








































































































































JOPPA,
110 REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON,

Joppa, and Jamnia, drove the heathen from the
fortress which overlooked the temple at Jerusalem,
and razed the fortress itself to the ground.

Nor, amidst his labours for the good of his
people, did Simon omit to pay due reverence to
the memory of the dead. The body of the
murdered Jonathan was taken from the place
where he died, and buried in the sepulchre at
Modin, beside those of his brave father and
brothers. Simon raised there a splendid monu-
ment of white marble, with seven stately pyra-
mids—one for his father, one for his mother, four
for his brethren, and the seventh for himself.
This monument being on an eminence, was seen
far off at sea; and often as the Jewish mariner
turned his eyes towards it, would he think with
grateful reverence of the heroes sleeping beneath
it, the memory of whose noble deeds has. proved
more enduring than marble.

After ruling Judea for about nine years, Simon
was cut off by treachery even yet more base than
that to which Jonathan had fallen a victim.

Ptolemy, his own son-in-law, who held an
office under the high priest, secretly aspired to
fill his place. This most wicked and perfidious
man invited Simon to an entertainment which he
AND JOHN HYRCANUS. 111

had prepared in a neighbouring castle. The
venerable high priest suspected no evil from one
to whom he was so nearly connected, accepted
the invitation, and went to the fortress with two
of his sons.

In the midst of the feast, when the wine-cup
went round, and the unsuspecting guests never
dreamed of danger, suddenly assassins burst in
amongst them, and Simon and his two sons were
ruthlessly murdered !—135 3B.c. Not contented
with committing this fearful crime, determined to
leave no son to succeed to the slaughtered prince,
or to avenge his death, Ptolemy sent a party to
Gazara to assassinate John Hyrcanus, the son of
Simon. But tidings of the foul murder of his
father and brothers reached Hyrcanus in timeto put
him on his guard. Hastening to Jerusalem, he
secured the city and the temple against those —
whom the traitor had sent to take possession of
both. His activity, wisdom, and courage defeated
the designs of Ptolemy, and wrested from him the
fruit of his crime.

John Hyrcanus was declared prince and high
priest of the Jews, whom he governed for many
years with great wisdom and success. Emulating
the military prowess of his predecessors, Hyrcanus
112 REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON,

made himself master of all Galilee and Samaria,
and other places in the country around him, till
none of the neighbouring tribes dared attempt to
cope with the Jews, and he passed the remainder
of his days in full repose from all foreign wars.
In the latter part of his life, however, Hyrcanus
met with much trouble from the Pharisees, a large
and mutinous sect of the Jews. These, with pre-
tensions to singular sanctity of life, and the
strictest obedience to the law of Moses, covered
a spirit of insolent ambition and intolerable pride.
Hyreanus, who knew the great influence
acquired by the Pharisees over the people,
attempted at first to attach them to himself by
all manner of favours. He invited the heads of
the sect to an entertainment, and having there
liberally regaled them, he addressed his guests to
the following effect :—He told them that the fixed
purpose of his mind had always been to be just
in his actions towards men, and to do all things
towards God that should be well-pleasing to Him,
according to the doctrines which the Pharisees
taught. He desired those whom he now saw at
his table, should they behold anything in him
wherein he failed of his duty in either of these
its two branches, to give him the benefit of their
AND JOHN HYRCANUS. 113

instructions, that he might thenceforth reform
and amend.

In reply to this humble address, the Pharisees
loaded their high priest with praises for his
wisdom and goodness, with the exception of one
Eleazar, a man of turbulent and mutinous spirit,
who, when the rest were silent, stood up, and
with astounding audacity exclaimed, ‘Since you
are desirous to be told the truth, if you would
approve yourself a just man, quit the high priest-
hood, and content yourself with being the gover-
nor of the people !”

Eleazar tried to support this very startling
demand by the false assertion that the mother of
Hyrcanus not having been a Jewess, he was
debarred by the law from exercising the holy
office of high priest.

Hyrcanus was deeply wounded. Insulted in
his own house, in the presence of his guests, and
on a point where, both as a pontiff and a Jew,
he was most keenly sensitive, he appealed to the
Pharisees around to declare what punishment
was merited by one who dared to defame the
high priest and prince of his people. Their reply
was so little satisfactory to Hyrcanus, that he

suspected that the insult which he had received
(296) 8
114 REIGNS OF JONATHAN, SIMON, ETC.

had been a thing previously concerted amongst
them. He became from thenceforth the bitter
enemy of the Pharisees, and transferred all the
favour which he had previously shown them to
the rival sect of the Sadducees.

It cannot be supposed, however, that so
righteous a man as John Hyrcanus adopted all
the errors of a sect that afterwards denied the
existence of angel or devil, and rejected the
blessed doctrine of a resurrection. It is probable
that at this time the Sadducees themselves had
not gone further than renouncing the unwritten
traditions, to which the Pharisees gave great and
dangerous weight, regarding them with the same
reverence which they paid to the inspired Word
of God.

Hyrcanus died 107 B.c., and was succeeded in
both his offices by his eldest son Aristobulus.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

152—107 B.c. BO.
Carthage destroyed. .... 6... eee ee cece ee ce en ne en ene ees 146
Numantia destroyed... .... cscs ce eeee cece ee eeee ence ee ee 183


CHAPTER XI.

STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES.

The Diadem—Matricide and Fratricide—Horrors at Bethone—Reign of a
Woman—Contest between Brothers—Jerusalem twice taken by the
Romans.

AITHERTO the history of the house of the
Asmoneans has been a record of the brave
deeds of noble men; but from this point
it becomes little but a dark catalogue of crimes.
We feel, in entering upon it, like a traveller who,
after threading a majestic mountain-pass, which
looks only the more sublime from the contrast of
strong lights and shadows thrown over it by
passing clouds, comes on a waste and howling
desert, and quickens his pace instinctively, that
he may the sooner reach a fairer, brighter scene
beyond.

The noble sons of Mattathias seem to have



116 STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES.

shown no rivalry or emulation; each was ready
to do his duty where the Lord had assigned his
post; and though three brothers ruled in succes-
sion, the first-born of them was content to be the
last to rise to power. Far otherwise was it with
Aristobulus, the son of John Hyrcanus. Ambi-
tion was the idol that he worshipped. Not con-
tent with the authority, he must also assume the
title of King. He was the first of the race of
Asmoneus who put a diadem upon his head. He
caused the assassination of one of his brothers,
whom he suspected of aspiring to the throne, and
cast three others into prison! Plunging into a
yet more fearful depth of crime, on finding that
his own mother, by virtue of the will of Hyrcanus,
claimed a right to the sovereignty of Judea,
Aristobulus overpowered her, threw her into
confinement, and suffered her there to perish of
hunger !

The reign of this monster was but brief. Griev-
ous remorse imbittered and probably shortened
his life. He died in a state of extreme anguish
of mind, having reigned over Judea for but one
year, 105 B.c.

As soon as Aristobulus was dead, his queen
restored his three imprisoned brothers to freedom;
STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES. 11?

the eldest of whom, Alexander Janneus, ascended
the vacant throne. But the warning given by
the miserable death of Aristobulus did not deter
Alexander from following in his steps, and dyeing
his hand in the blood of a brother. Nor did his
barbarous cruelty end here. :

King Alexander, entering into the temple, to
officiate as high priest in the feast of tabernacles,
was rudely insulted by the people, to whom he
was personally odious. Disregarding the sanctity
of the place, or the solemnity of the occasion, the
mob pelted the royal pontiff with citrons; called
him slave, and other opprobrious names; and
wound up his fury to such a pitch, that he fell
on the crowds with his soldiery, and six thousand
lives were sacrificed to the revenge of the insulted
king. This was the commencement of a civil
_ war, in which fifty thousand persons are said to
have perished.

The concluding and most horrible event of the
war was Alexander's triumph over the town of
Bethone. Eight hundred of its unfortunate de-
fenders were carried by the king to Jerusalem,
and there crucified by his command. Their
wives and children were killed before their eyes
as they hung in their dying torments, while the
118 STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES.

tyrant and his wives sat feasting and enjoying
the horrors of the scene.

This most unworthy king of Judea died in
camp of a quartan ague, 79 B.C.

Alexandra, the queen, a woman of prudence,
assumed the reigns of government on the death
of her husband, and Judea was for about nine
years wisely ruled by a woman. Alexandra
made her eldest son, Hyrcanus, high priest at
Jerusalem, he being at that time thirty-three
years of age. Hyrcanus was a man of quiet
temper and indolent habits, unfitted to make a
struggle for his rights; and on the death of the
queen, Aristobulus, his younger brother, wrested
from him both the high priesthood and the king-
dom, 70 B.c.

But Aristobulus wore not the crown in peace,
Great disturbances arose in Judea, having their
origin in the ambition of Antipater, an Idumean
by birth, but professing the Jewish religion.
Having been brought up in the court of Alex-
ander Janneus, and that of Alexandra his succes-
sor, Antipater hoped through his favour with
Hyrcanus, whom he naturally regarded as their
heir, to rise into importance in the state. These
hopes were disappointed by the dethronement of
STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES. 119

Hyrcanus. Henceforth the anxious efforts of the
Idumean were directed to rousing the dethroned
prince to make a vigorous struggle to regain his
lost throne.

Hyrcanus was neither active nor ambitious—
he valued his own ease above the title of King
of Judea; but at length being persuaded by
Antipater that his life was in danger from his
brother—that he had no choice but to reign or
to perish—Hyrcanus engaged in the contest for
power. The generality of the people declared
for Hyreanus, while many of the priesthood clung
to the usurper, and a battle took place in which
the forces of Aristobulus were defeated.

An event occurred at this time which shows
how far the Jewish people had fallen from the
piety of their ancestors, how the crimes of their
wicked rulers were emulated by those below
them.

There was at Jerusalem a man named Onias,
so noted for his sanctity of life, that it was be-
lieved by his countrymen that to his fervent
prayers rain had been granted in a season of
drought. Concluding that the saint’s maledic-
tions must equally prevail with his prayers, the
superstitious followers of Hyrcanus brought Onias
120 STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES.

forth, and urged him to curse Aristobulus and his
friends, who were then besieged in the temple.
Long the saint refused to listen to such evil
entreaties; but at length, to quiet the importu-
nity of the people, he stood up in the midst of
them, and lifting up his hands towards heaven,
the good man uttered this prayer:—“O Lord
God, Ruler of the universe! since those that are
with us are Thy people, and they that are besieged
in the temple are Thy priests, I pray that Thou '
wouldst hear the prayers of neither of them
against the other!”

Instead of being touched by the patriot’s
prayer, the furious people were so much enraged,
that, snatching up stones, they hurled them
against the saint. Onias was actually stoned to
death because he would not defile with curses the
lips so often employed in prayer, nor invoke the
Almighty’s vengeance upon the misguided people
whom he yet regarded as his brethren.

The contest which raged in Judea produced
that which is the frequent result of such intestine
struggles—a third party being called in as um-
pire, and that umpire taking advantage of the
dissensions of the rivals to establish his own
power over both. Such an umpire was found
STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES. 121

by the Asmonean brothers in the ambitious
republic of Rome. The dispute between Hyr-
canus and Aristobulus was referred to the decision
of Pompey, a celebrated Roman general. Both

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the princes stooped to appear in person to plead
their respective causes before a stranger and a
heathen.

Various intrigues and negotiations followed.
Aristobulus, perceiving at last that the decision
of Pompey was not likely to be in his favour,
122 STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES.

abruptly withdrew to make preparations for war.
His conduct towards the Roman general was
marked by mingled deference and _ distrust.
Fearful of offending one who would be so power-
ful either as an ally or a foe, he endeavoured by
every means to induce Pompey to recognize his
title to the crown.

The blessing of Heaven did not rest upon the
efforts of this ambitious prince. Pompey thought
himself mocked and deceived, and before the
year was concluded he had put Aristobulus in
fetters, and had laid siege to Jerusalem.

Tll fares the city that is divided in itself!
Hyreanus and many of the Jews, allowing the
spirit of patriotism to be lost in the spirit of
party, supplied the foreign foe with every neces-
sary for carrying on the siege. For three months
the city held out, when, a breach being made
large enough for an assault, the fierce soldiery
rushed within even the wall which protected the
temple. A savage massacre of the defenders
followed, and none acted more cruelly herein than
the Jews of the opposite faction. In this terrible
scene of destruction, the priests, who were in the
temple at the time when it was carried by storm,
went on with the daily service, without being
STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES. 123

deterred by the horror of seeing their friends fall
around them, or the fear of sharing their fate.
Many of these heroic priests were slain by the
enemy's sword, and their blood mingled with
that of the sacrifices which they were offering on
the altar of God, 63 B.C.

Pompey entered the temple as a conqueror;
and not contenting himself with viewing the
splendour of the outer courts, he violated the
feelings of all pious Jews by intruding into the
Holy of holies. The sound of the heathen victor's
tread echoed in that sacred place into which the
high priest alone had been privileged to enter ;
but had it not been as much profaned when an
Aristobulus or an Alexander presumed there to
worship a holy God, while they were stained
with the guilt of a brother’s murder ?

Hyrcanus was restored to the office of high
priest, he was also made prince of Judea; but
the dignity of the title was lost with the inde-
pendence of his unhappy country. Judea was
no longer free—she was under tribute to the
Roman conquerors-—she now bowed to the yoke
of that nation which was at length to crush her
even to the dust.

Aristobulus was carried to Rome, where, with
124 STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES.

his two sons, he was compelled to grace the
triumph of Pompey. Bitter must have been the
humiliation of the ambitious Asmonean prince
when following the triumphal chariot’ of his
heathen conqueror through streets thronged with







































































































































































































































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ROMAN TRIUMPH.

eager multitudes! In vain might he long that
the earth would open before him to hide his dis-
grace from the curious gaze of unpitying eyes!
They who exalt themselves shall be abased.
STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES. 125

Aristobulus long remained a prisoner in Rome ;
and when at length political changes in that city
seemed to open to him a path to freedom and to
power, his ambitious career was suddenly closed
by poison, administered to him as he was return-
ing to his country, 49 B.c.

Hyrcanus bore the name of ruler in Jerusalem,
but the real power lay in the hands of the ambi-
tious Antipater, the Idumean, who enjoyed great
favour with the Romans. Phasael, his eldest
son, was made governor of Jerusalem; Herod,
his second son, governor of Galilee. The latter,
who afterwards sat on the throne of Judea under
the title of Herod the Great, was a man of singu-
lar energy and courage, as well as of political
talent. He strengthened his influence with the
Jews by marrying Mariamne, the beautiful grand-
daughter of Hyrcanus, and thus allying himself
to the royal family of the Asmoneans.

In the year 40 Bc, Antigonus, son of Aristo-
bulus, assisted by the Parthians, made a desperate
effort to win the regal power, in aspiring to which
his father had lost first his freedom and then his
life. Antipater the Idumean was dead—he alsc
had perished by poison; and his son Herod was
absent from Judea, when the Parthians marched

SS
126 STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES.

upon Jerusalem, plundered the country round,
seized upon the city, and made Antigonus king.
Hyrcanus and Phasael were delivered up in chains
to the mercy of the conqueror. Phasael, knowing
his death to be determined upon, in desperation
dashed out his own brains against the walls of
his dungeon. Antigonus spared the life of Hyr-
canus, his dethroned uncle; but cut off his ears,
that he might be for ever disqualified from being
high priest, as no one with a member imperfect
was capable of holding the office.

Herod, hearing of the dethronement of Hyr-
canus and the death of his own brother Phasael,
hastened to Rome, to seek there for help from
his powerful allies. Aided by them, he brought
a large force into the field, and besieged the new
king in Jerusalem, 38 Bc. It was not till the
next year that the city was taken, as it was
desperately defended by the Jews. At length
the Romans entered on every side, and filled all
the streets with blood and slaughter, till Herod
himself interceded for the people, exclaiming that
the Romans would make him king only of a
desert.

Antigonus, seeing that all was lost, surrendered
himself to the enemy. Herod did not consider
STRIFE BETWEEN THE ASMONEAN PRINCES. 127

himself secure in the kingdom which was bestowed
upon him by his Roman allies, as long as one
prince of the blood-royal remained alive on the
earth. With great difficulty he obtained from
the Roman general a decree condemning Anti-
gonus to death. The sentence was executed on
the unhappy prince; and beneath the axe of the
lictor perished the last king of the male line of
the Asmonean race. We have now followed the
thread of the history of that race from its first
glorious commencement to the period when,
stained as it was with blood, and darkened
with crime, we trace by it only the miseries and
wrongs of unfortunate princes in the realm once
ruled by their fathers. We behold in that
history the end of ambition. The descendants
of the noble Mattathias were great until they
aspired to be greater, and glorious until they
ceased to seek God’s glory rather than their own.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

107—38 B.C.
B.C.
Cataline’s conspiracy at Rome... .. sss ee eeeeeeee sees 66
Ceesar’s invasion of Britain........ce cece ee ee teen ee ee OF
Battle of Pharsalia.....cccccsccsccccssssevecseserees 48
Death of Ceesar......cc cece cece ecccecvcccevceceeecsee 44


CHAPTER XII.

REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT,

The Fatal Pond—Joseph’s Secret—Death of Hyrcanus—Fate of Mariamne,
her Mother, and her Sons.

a,ND now, for the first time, there reigned




in Judea a king who was not of the
race of Jacob—a king who had been
placed on the throne by a foreign power, and who
was chiefly maintained there by foreign Influence.

As the cruel and unscrupulous character of
their ruler developed itself, the Jews had reason
to feel their degradation more deeply, and to long
more earnestly for the time, now at hand, when
the Deliverer should appear in Zion.

We have seen that Herod had united himself
in marriage with Mariamne, the grand-daughter of
Hyrcanus, a princess who, in the graces of her
person, is said to have excelled all the women of
REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT. 129

her time, and whose spirit was equal to her
beauty. She possessed great influence with
Herod, who loved her as ardently as one of Lis
hard and selfish nature could love. Mariamne,
and her mother Alexandra, the daughter of Hyr-
canus, naturally desired to see Aristobulus, the
brother of the one and son of the other, elevated
to the high priesthood. The youth, who was
only seventeen, was entitled by his birth to the
office ; and the princesses so earnestly advocated
his claims, that Herod deposed the high priest
whom he himself had set up, and made Aristobulus
high priest in his place.

But no sooner had the tyrant raised the As-
monean prince, than he began to find in him an
object of jealousy and fear. Nature had endowed
the youthful pontiff, like his sister, with dignity
and grace, and the power of winning to himself
the warm affections of the people. Herod knew
that, in the opinion of many of the Jews, he who
bore the priestly office was also entitled to the
kingly, and the tyrant resolved to destroy one
who might become a dangerous rival to himself.
The art with which he accomplished this villanous
design makes its atrocity yet darker.

Aristobulus, unsuspicious of treachery, accom-
(296) 9
130 REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT.

panied his brother-in-law, Herod, to a banquet
prepared at Jericho. After the feast was con-
cluded, the young high priest was persuaded to
join a party in bathing. He entered the pond,
which the tyrant had resolved that he never
should quit alive. Under pretence of sportive
play, attendants, suborned by Herod, held the
struggling, gasping youth beneath the water till
life was extinct, and then pretended that his death
had been occasioned by an unfortunate accident.
Bitter were the lamentations over the fair
young prince, and none appeared to mourn his
untimely fate more deeply than Herod. Splendid
was the funeral which he prepared for his victim;
but his hypocrisy blinded no one, and Alexandra,
the bereaved mother, silently, in the depths of
her bleeding heart, nourished thoughts of revenge.
If Mariamne had ever regarded her husband
with feelings of affection, the murder of her
innocent brother must have changed them to feel-
ings of horror. For such Herod gave his young
wife yet greater cause. On his departure from
Judéa, 34 B.c., the king left the administration of
government and the care of his family to his
uncle Joseph. Selfish even in his love, unable to
endure the idea that his beautiful queen should
REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT. 131

ever survive him to be loved by another, Herod
charged Joseph, should he himself be cut off on
his journey, to put Mariamne to death.

During Herod’s absence Joseph frequently
visited the queen, and at these visits would dilate
upon the love borne to her by her royal husband.
At one time, with marvellous indiscretion, he let
out the fatal secret of the command which he had
received from the king, telling her that so dear
was she to Herod, that as he could not live without
her, so he was resolved that death should not
part them. The queen could not readily forget
or forgive such a proof of a husband’s atffec-
tion.

Herod having advanced so far on his path of
guilt, waded yet deeper and deeper in crime.
The aged Hyrcanus was now living quietly and
honourably at Seleucia. The Jews beyond the
Euphrates respected him as their king and high
priest, notwithstanding the cruel measure which
his nephew had taken to incapacitate him from
holding the latter office. Hyrcanus had been the
friend of Herod’s father, Antipater; he had been
the benefactor of Herod himself, and had bestowed
his own grand-daughter upon him. But Hyrcanus
was a descendant of Asmoneus; he had once sat
132 REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT.

upon the throne of Judea; and, notwithstanding
his age and unambitious temper, might possibly
ascend it again. This was sufficient to seal his
doom. Neither gratitude, the social tie, nor
respect for his gray hairs, could win mercy for
the venerable prince. Herod enticed Hyrcanus
to Jerusalem ; falsely accused him of conspiring
against him; and under this pretence took the
life of his benefactor, after he had passed the
eightieth year of his age.

Mariamne now regarded with ill-concealed
aversion him who had caused the death of her
nearest relations, and who had meditated her own.
The contempt in which the high-born Jewess held
the family of the Idumean drew upon her the
bitter hatred of his mother Cyprus, and his sister
Salome ; and they did all in their power to induce
Herod to destroy his beautiful wife. The As-
monean princess hung but by a thread over the
gulf into which so many of her race had been
plunged ; that thread was the passionate love of
a capricious tyrant ; and it was at length snapped
asunder by her own unguarded expression of the
just indignation which boiled in her breast. Bit-
terly Mariamne reproached the murderer, who was
unworthy the name of her husband, and taunted
REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT. 133

him with the command which he had secretly
given for her death in the event of his own. ;

Herod was stung to rage and fury, his love
was changed for the time into hate, and the
wicked Salome took advantage of his anger to
ruin the woman whom she detested. Mariamne
was falsely accused of a design to poison her
husband, the father of her children. The fair
young queen was brought to trial for her life;
and her judges, suborned by her foes, sentenced
her to be put to death.

Fearful was the struggle in the mind of Herod
between his passionate love for Mariamne, and
the fierce anger which possessed his soul. But
Cyprus and Salome, like tempting fiends, urged
him forward on his path of blood. They suggested
that, if the Asmonean princess were spared, the
people might rise in her behalf; and the miserable
Herod was at length induced to order the execu-
tion of the fatal sentence.

The spirit of the descendant of the heroic
Mattathias sustained her to the last. The queen
of Judea with calm courage saw the end approach-
ing of a life which had been crowded with so
many trials; though she must have sighed at the
thought of her two young sons, left under the
134 REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT.

guidance of a father who was the destroyer of
their mother. As, with a firm step and an un-
blanched cheek, the queen proceeded to the place
of execution, her bitter cup was yet further im-
bittered by the unnatural conduct of Alexandra,
her own mother. This unprincipled woman,
dreading that she herself might become the next
victim of the murderer of her son and her
daughter, thought to avert Herod’s wrath by load-
ing the queen with cruel reproaches. Mariamne
bore this last trial in dignified silence, and passed
on to her death great, firm, and fearless to the
end, 28 B.C, ;

Herod’s rage being quenched in the blood of
his innocent wife, all his affection towards her
revived. Half maddened by remorse and de-
spair, he had no rest by day or by night. The
remembrance of Mariamne haunted him where-
ever he went, and in transports of grief he called
aloud upon the name of her whom his blind fury
had destroyed. A grievous pestilence raged at
this time in the land, which. carried off great
numbers of the people, and which was regarded .
as the just retribution of Heaven for the guiltless
blood of the queen.

The health of Herod gave way under the
REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT. 138

pressure of his misery. While he lay sick, pros-
trated both in body and mind, Alexandra, seizing
the favourable moment, made a plot which, if
successful, would have placed in her hands both
power and the means of vengeance. Her design
was discovered and frustrated, and the execution
of the mother soon followed that of her unfortu-
nate daughter.

Herod had now become the object of the just
detestation of the people. He endeavoured to
soften their resentment for his crimes, and perhaps
to quiet his own tortured conscience, by expend-

*ing immense sums upon the temple at Jerusalem.

For many years he employed eighteen thousand
workmen upon the building. The outside was
adorned profusely with gold, and the pinnacles,
glittering in the sun, dazzled the eyes of admiring
beholders.

But that the miserable Herod had not brought
to God the offering of a broken and contrite heart,
more precious than all the world’s vain treasures
——that his remorse was not repentance, was
proved by his subsequent conduct.

The blood of Asmoneus still flowed in the veins
of two young princes—Aristobulus and Alexander,
the sons of Mariamne; and though these princes
136 REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT.

were his own children, Herod regarded them with
jealous fears. They might one day assert the
rights of their birth—one day avenge their
murdered mother.

The young men were brought up at Rome,
where they had too unguardedly expressed their
natural feelings in regard to the fate of the queen.
Again Salome acted her fiendish part of stirring
up her brother to crime. Herod’s mind was
filled with jealousy and suspicion. To make dis-
covery of intended treason, the confidants of the
unhappy princes were stretched upon the rack,
and the intolerable torment forcing from some of :
them false confessions, Alexander was loaded
with chains, and thrown into prison by his
father.

The position of the princes excited sympathy.
The good offices of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia,
produced a temporary reconciliation between
Herod and his sons. But the breach was not in
reality healed. In 6 Bo, the unnatural Herod
wrote to Augustus, then emperor of Rome, to
obtain the monarch’s consent to his putting his
own offspring to death. Augustus had already
repeatedly interposed between the tyrant and his
victims, but he now left the unfortunate sons of
REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT. — 137

Mariamne to the mercy of their father. The
young men were brought to trial, as their beauti-
ful mother had been before them; and the result
was in both cases the same. Sentence of death
was pronounced against the princes, and they
were both strangled by their father’s command.
It is fearful to contemplate the state of Judea
under the rule of this bloody tyrant. At the
commencement of his reign Herod had given an
earnest of his cruelty, by slaying all but two of
the members of the great Jewish council of the
Sanhedrim. Whoever opposed, or seemed to
oppose, his power, was ruthlessly put to death.
While Herod sought to spread his fame by the
magnificence of the buildings which he raised, the
people groaned under oppressive taxes. Bands of
robbers ravaged the land, and were with difficulty
put down by the strong hand of power. While
crime stalked wolf-like through the palace, in
serpent form it coiled even within the sacred
precincts of the temple. Religion itself was
made a mask for covetousness and pride. _Differ-
ent sects disputed together. The Pharisees, while
scrupulously observing every outward ceremonial
of the law, corrupted the pure fount of Truth. by
mixing with it the vain traditions of men, The
138 REIGN OF HEROD THE GREAT.

Sadducees, with bold infidelity, rejected Heaven-
taught doctrines, and plunged into evil excesses, un-
restrained by the dread of a judgment tocome. It
might seem that the chosen, much-favoured nation,
so often rebelling—repenting—being chastened
and forgiven—had at length filled up the cup of
her transgressions, and that the Divine vengeance,
like a looming cloud, was about to burst in full
fury upon guilty Jerusalem.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.
38—1 B.C.
B.C.

Battle: ofA chim’ 005.002 0.08 bs obavedevssen cite iithe Maw ee eh
Rome became an empire........cesceccscececeueeceecece QV




CHAPTER XIII.

THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH.

Reflections on the Time and Manner of the Appearance upon Earth of the
Lord Jesus Christ.
qt was at this period, when the gloom was
the heaviest, the night darkest, that the
Sun of Righteousness arose with heal-
ing on His wings—that the long-expected, much-
desired Messiah at length was born upon earth.
Not that this was the first time that the Lord
had condescended to appear to His people. As
God the Father, robed in inaccessible glory, has
never at any time been seen by man,—as we, who
are dust and ashes, could not look upon His face
and live,—it is evident that, on the various occa-
sions on which the Lord became manifest to mortals,
it was the Eternal Son who deigned to shroud
His glory by assuming a visible form. Thus it



140 THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH.

was the Divine Son who pronounced the sentence
upon Adam in the garden of Eden, and who held
out to the trembling Eve the merciful promise of
a future offspring who should both suffer and
triumph. It was the Divine Son who listened
graciously to the pleadings of Abraham for the
guilty cities of the plain, doomed to a terrible de-
struction. It was the Divine Son who, in the
likeness of a man of war, appeared unto Gideon,
and by a single look bestowed upon him irresis-
tible might.

But this was to be no brief appearance—no
passing glimpse of a present Deity. The Holy
One was to become incarnate,—to wear the throb-
bing flesh, to assume the mortal nature of the
creatures whom He himself had created. Well
might the heavens wonder, and the earth rejoice,
at so transcendent an act of condescension.

But may we not marvel that, when the Lord
stooped to become man, He chose not a time
when the faith of His people was strong—when
their obedience was earnest? How would the
devoted Nehemiah have welcomed his Master’s
coming !—with what joy would Judas Maccabeus
have laid his conquering sword at the feet of his
King! And may we not marvel that when He








BIRTH OF OLR SAVIOUR.
142 THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH.

whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, con-
descended to wear a mortal body, He did not
choose to appear as a mighty monarch, cradled in
a magnificent palace, and adored by all the nations
of the earth !

We must remember that the Redeemer of the
world had a threefold office to perform: He had
to save man, satisfy God, and subdue the power
of Satan.

All men were under sentence of death. ternal
Truth had declared, ‘‘ THE SOUL THAT SINNETH, IT
SHALL DIE;” and Eternal Justice was engaged to
execute that awful sentence. Al/ had sinned and
come short of the glory of God. Even the babe
that died when but a few hours old, born of the
corrupted, inherited a corrupt nature. Who can
bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?—pure
water from a fountain that is tainted ?

Before, guilty man could be saved, Eternal
Justice must be satisfied. A victim must be
found of worth so priceless as to outweigh in the
sight of the Almighty all the countless transgres-
sions of mankind. It was not possible that the
blood of bulls and goats could wash away a single
sin. They were offered by the saints of old to
show their faith in, and to make them partakers
THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH. 143

of the benefits of the one great Sacrifice, which
was to atone for the guilt of a world.

And the Son of God came not only to save and
to suffer, but also to subdue. He would meet the
enemy, Satan, on his own ground, Where man
had fallen under the power of temptation, the
God-man would rise triumphant over every temp-
tation which the Evil One could offer. One born
of woman would, by his spotless obedience, fulfil
the whole law which Adam and Adam’s race had
broken, and in His own strength conquering the
conqueror, trample Satan under His feet.

We thus behold the Redeemer in His threefold
office. To save man, He must assume man’s
nature ; to satisfy God’s justice, He must suffer
and die. His whole life must be an example of
obedience under each form of sorrow and trial.
He must bear the weight of poverty, endure the
sting of contempt. It was by enduring that He
triumphed—it was by suffering that He saved!
The lamb bleeding beneath the sacrificial knife ;
the rock smitten, that its gushing waters might
give life to the perishing people; Isaac bound by
his own father on the altar ;—such were the types
of Him who, sinless, bore the punishment of sin,
and who passed to His everlasting kingdom from
144 THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH.

the torments of the cross and the darkness of the
grave,

As this work is merely a sketch of the history
of the Jews, I shall not attempt to introduce into
its pages any account of the life of our Redeemer,
or the miracles of mercy which He wrought. My
office is to describe the political state of the land
in which He deigned to appear; to record the
crimes of its rulers; to place the dark background
of history behind that glorious form which in-
spired pens have delineated in the Gospels.

The tyrant Herod had reigned about thirty-three
years, when his court was startled by the tidings
of the arrival of sages from the East, who had re-
ceived from a heavenly sign notice of the birth of
a mighty Ruler. ‘‘ Where is He that is born King
of the Jews?” was the anxious question of the
pious travellers; ‘‘for we have seen His star in the
east, and have come to worship Him.”

The monarch of Judea well knew that the ex-
pectation of his people was eagerly fixed upon the
coming of the Messiah ; he must also have known
that prophecy pointed towards this time for the
Holy One’s appearance. The conduct of the tyrant
showed that in the mysterious babe, born at Bethle-
hem, he dreaded a rival. He sought information
THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH. 145













THE WISE MEN BEFORE HEROD.

of the sages regarding the child, that he might
quench in blood this dawning light of Israel.
Being frustrated by the secret return of the sages

to their own land, Herod determined to make sure
296) 10
146 THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH.



BETHLEHEM. “
of his horrible object by a more sweeping act of
cruelty. He sent forth and slew all the children
in Bethlehem and in the neighbouring coasts, from
two years old and under, ruthlessly tearing the
innocent little ones from the arms of their agonized
‘mothers, and filling the land with the lamentations
of parents weeping over their slaughtered offspring.
But it is in vain for man to fight against the
decrees of God. An angel had appeared in a
dream to Joseph, the babe’s reputed father, and
THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH. 147





THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.

warned him to flee into Egypt with the Virgin
Mary, and her infant son. Thus every babe in
Bethlehem was slain by the cruelty of Herod, save
the one whose life he aimed at
whom he cared to destroy.



the only one


CHAPTER XIV.

DEATH OF HEROD.
Sickness of Herod-—-Bold Exploit—Attempt at Suicide—Barbarous Com-

mand — Death of Herod —Judea Reduced to a Province — Devoted
Courage of the Jews.

HE measure of the tyrant’s iniquities was
now nearly full; the earth was not




much longer to endure the presence of
this monster of cruelty. Herod, as Antiochus
Epiphanes had been before him, was struck by
the hand of an avenging God with a most strange
and horrible disease. The proud king became a
loathsome object to all who approached him; he
was consumed with inward pain, worn by incur-
able melancholy, tortured by unappeasable hunger,
and scarcely able to breathe.

While his sickness was slowly but surely bring-
ing Herod the Great to the tomb, an event occurred
DEATH OF HEROD. 149

which proved that the old heroic spirit of the
Jews was not quenched, and that there were those
amongst them who could not patiently endure the
hated yoke of the Romans.

Two of the most learned and esteemed of the
Jews, Matthias and Judas by name, burned with
an ardent desire to emulate their pious ancestors,
and purify the city and temple of their God from
heathen profanation, Gradually they gathered
around them many young and ardent spirits,
whom they incited to vindicate, by some gallant
deed, the honour of their religion.

Herod, with great disregard for the feelings of
the nation whom he governed, had put up the
figure of a golden eagle, the emblem of Roman
power, over the great gate of the temple. Many
a fierce and angry glance had been raised by the
Jewish worshippers towards this abhorred image,
and the boldest amongst them at length resolved
to tear down the insulting emblem. Judas and
Matthias stirred up their followers to the daring
attempt, reminding them how glorious a thing it
was to face danger, and even to die for the laws
of their beloved country.

A party of resolute young men, in the face of
day, and in the presence of a number of the
150 DEATH OF HEROD.

people, let themselves down by thick cords from
the top of the temple, and with axes cut away
the golden eagle. But the power of the dying
Herod was not with impunity to be defied. A
party of soldiers hastened to the temple, and
about forty of the young Jews were seized, and
‘brought into the presence of the king.

Herod demanded of them whether they had
indeed been so daring as to cut down the eagle
from the temple; and they frankly confessed that
they had done so.

“At whose command?” asked the tyrant.

“At the command of the laws of our country,”
was the young Jews’ intrepid reply.

They were in the hands of one to whom mercy
was a stranger. Not only the immediate actors
in the daring deed, but the teachers who had in-
cited them to it, were burned alive by the order
of Herod.

The king’s sufferings now became so intolerable,
that he made a desperate attempt to end them by
his own hand. One day, in the extremity of his
agony, he tried to stab himself with a knife, but
was prevented by a relative, who saw his design,
and rushed forward in time to defeat it.

Five days before Herod expired, his son Anti-
DEATH OF HEROD. 151

pater, who had conspired against him, was slain
by the command of his merciless father. As the
gloomy tyrant’s end drew near, his savage nature
showed ‘itself in yet more revolting colours. He
seized upon the most illustrious men of the Jewish
nation, and then confined them in a place called
the Hippodrome. Herod then sent for his sister
Salome and her husband, and crowned all his
other acts of wickedness, by giving them the
following atrocious order :—

“T know well,” said the dying tyrant, ‘that
the Jews will keep a festival upon my death.
However, it is in my power to be mourned for on
other accounts. Do you have a care to send sol-
diers to encompass those men that are now in
ward, and slay them immediately upon my death,
and then all Judea and every family of them will
weep at it, whether they will or no!”

This horrible command was not obeyed. Herod
died, and Jerusalem rejoiced.

By his will, subject to the approval of the em-
peror of Rome, Herod divided his dominions
amongst three surviving sons—Archelaus, Herod
Antipas, and Philip. To Archelaus fell the gov-
ernment of Judea and Samaria, which he held for
nine years, under the title of Ethnarch ; while
152 DEATH OF HEROD.

Herod Antipas reigned in Galilee; and Philip
ruled over Auronitis and other provinces.

The tidings of the death of the tyrant Herod
were brought by an angel to Joseph, who forth-
with returned from Egypt with Mary his wife,
and her child. Hearing, however, that Archelaus
had succeeded to his father, Joseph turned aside
to Nazareth in Galilee, the Virgin’s former place
of residence. There, for many years, the family
remained in quiet seclusion, until the time arrived
for the Messiah to show Himself openly to the
people.

The reign of Archelaus was stormy. Desperate
struggles were made by the Jews to regain their
liberty, and shake off the yoke of their oppressors.
They hoped that the time had at length come
when their Messiah should appear amongst them,
place Himself at their head, and, with more than
the prowess and success of Judas Maccabeus, drive
all their enemies before them. Various impostors
started up, who were for a while eagerly received
by the people, and who drew their misguided
followers with them into destruction. The Roman
general, Varus, came with an army to crush the
insurgents, and by his orders two thousand of
them suffered the horrible death of crucifixion.
DEATH OF HEROD. 153

















NAZARETH.

Archelaus, a cruel, unprincipled man, was de-
tested by the Jews almost as much as his father
had been. Unable by their own efforts to get
rid of the tyrant, they appealed to the Roman
Emperor Augustus, by whom Archelaus was
brought to trial, deposed, and banished.
154 DEATH OF HEROD.

The land over which Archelaus had ruled was
now reduced to a Roman province, and governed



ROMAN GOVERNOR WITH CONSULAR ORNAMENTS.

by Roman procurators, who possessed the power
of life and death. This office was held succes-
sively by Coponius, Marcus Ambivius, and Valer-
ius Gratus, till, in the year 26 a.D.,* the corrupt

* 26 a.p., according to popular reckoning ; but our Lord was born four
years before what we term our era.
DEATH OF HEROD. 155

and unprincipled Pontius Pilate became procurator
of Judea.

The new governor was not long in discovering
how difficult was the charge he had undertaken.
It was by no means easy to reconcile his anxiety
to please and obey his Roman master, with his
wish to conciliate the excited and turbulent
people over whom he ruled.

A very great tumult
was excited amongst the
Jews by Pilate’s bringing
secretly into the city
images of Cesar Augus-
tus. This was contrary
to the Jewish law, and
roused the strongest in-
dignation. Numbers of
the Jews hastened — to
Pilate, who was then at
Cesarea, and besought him
earnestly to remove the
hateful ensigns from Jeru-
salem. On the procura-
tor’s refusal to accede to
their entreaties, the Jews CHSAR AUGUSTUS.



flung themselves down in the dust, and for five
156 DEATH OF HEROD.

days and nights remained upon the earth in a
posture of despair.

Pilate was struck by the firm attachment of these
Jews to their customs and laws, and resolved to
put it to a yet greater trial. He summoned the
people to the market-place, and then suddenly
caused them to be surrounded by a band of armed
warriors. The Jews were in the utmost conster-
nation at the unexpected sight, and yet more so
when Pilate bade the soldiers draw their swords,
and sternly gave the people the alternative of re-
ceiving the images with submission, or of being
instantly cut to pieces.

But the devotion of the Jews rose superior to
their fear. They fell down in numbers together,
and stretching out their necks for the fatal blow,
declared that they were ready to die rather than
that their law should be transgressed.

Pilate’s opposition was overcome by the firm
resolution of these brave men; and giving way
to the popular feeling, he commanded that the
obnoxious images should be removed from the
city of Jerusalem.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENT.

Temple of Janus shut in Rome as a token of universal peace, in the year
5 B.c., when the Lord Jesus Christ was born.




CHAPTER XV.

THE DEATH OF THE MESSIAH.

Imprisonment and Death of John the Baptist—Trial and Crucifixion of the
Lord Jesus Christ.
AHILE the Roman Procurator Pilate gov-
erned in Jerusalem, Herod Antipas,
the son of Herod the Great, reigned in
Galilee under the title of Tetrarch. It was this
prince who, on being reproved by the prophet
John the Baptist for an unlawful marriage with
his brother’s wife, first threw his faithful monitor
into prison, and afterwards, through the arts of



the wicked Herodias, was persuaded to put him
to death,

About two years after the perpetration of this
crime, occurred at Jerusalem that awful EVENT
on which hung the eternal destinies of a world.
Before the tribunal of Pontius Pilate appeared the
158 THE DEATH OF THE MESSIAH.

future Judge of all mankind! Accused by His
own people of perverting the nation, and forbid-
ding to give tribute to Ceesar, the incarnate Son
of God stood a prisoner in the presence of the
Roman procurator.

Upon the details of the awful scenes that
followed, it is not the province of this history to
dwell. There was a struggle in the mind of
Pilate, who was convinced of the innocence of the
Accused. Unwilling to condemn the guiltless
Prisoner, he was yet reluctant to oppose himself
to the fanatical fury of the Jews, who clamoured
for the blood of their Victim. An argument was
at length brought forward by the wily Jews,
which added to Pilate’s fear of offending the
people the yet stronger dread of drawing down
upon himself the wrath of the emperor of Rome.
“Tf thou let this Man go,” they cried, “thou art
not Cyesar’s friend. Whosoever maketh himself
a king, speaketh against Ceesar.”

Overcome by that fear of man which bringeth
a snare, the procurator at length gave the fatal
command which consigned the spotless Jesus to
the terrible death of crucifixion.

And then was consummated that awful sacrifice
which had been determined on in the counsels of












































































































CHRIST BEFORE PILATE.
160 THE DEATH OF THE MESSIAH.

the Almighty, before the foundation of the world.
Rejected by His own people, betrayed by an
apostle, delivered up by the cowardice of His
judge to the malice of His merciless foes, the Lord
Jesus, ‘for us men, and for our salvation,” poured
out His life’s blood on the altar of the cross.




CHAPTER XVI.

HEROD AGRIPPA.

Death of Herod Antipas—Suicide of Pilate—Punishment of Pride—Great
Riot—Tyranny—Assassinations—False Prophets.
IT was not long after the death and resur-
rection of our Lord, while His infant
Church was struggling against its first
-difficulties, that Philip,
brother of Herod Antipas,
died. As he left no son,
his territory was annexed
to the Roman province
of Syria; but his nephew, —
Herod Agrippa, was high
in favour with the Em-
peror Caligula, and from
him received the tetrarchy CALIGULA.

of Philip, together with the title of King.
(296) 11





162 HEROD AGRIPPA.

Herod Agrippa was the son of Aristobulus, one
of the unfortunate sons of Mariamne, who, like their
unhappy mother, had perished by the cruelty of
Herod the Great. He had, therefore, Jewish blood
in his veins; and when, by the favour of a suc-
ceeding emperor, Judea and Samaria were added
to his dominions, he made efforts to win to himself
the affections of the people whom he governed. He
began to encompass Jerusalem with a magnificent
wall, which he deemed would render it impreg-
nable—thus emulating the noble work of Nehe-
miah, although influenced by a very different spirit.

The greatness and prosperity of this king in-
flamed the ambition of his uncle. ‘“ Why should
Herod Agrippa enjoy the regal title, while Herod
Antipas remains but a tetrarch?” such were the
envious reflections of the tyrant. His partner,
the detestable Herodias, more than shared his
ambition. She urged Herod Antipas to go in
person to the emperor at Rome, assuring him
that it was only because he had not appeared
before Czesar (such was the title then common to
the Roman despots) that he was destitute of
royal dignity.

It was meet that Herodias, who had been
Herod’s tempter to crime, should be also his
UWEROD AGRIPPA. 163

tempter to ruin, and then share the misery which
she had wrought.

Herod Antipas sailed for Rome. Herod Agrippa
followed his uncle, not to befriend, but to accuse.
The emperor lent a willing ear to his favourite.
The tetrarch of Galilee was not suffered to return
to the land which he had stained with innocent
blood. He was banished to Spain, and his do-
minions were bestowed on Herod Agrippa.

Herodias followed the tetrarch to the place of
his banishment. There he who had slain the
Baptist, and mocked the Baptist’s Lord, died an
exile from his country.

The fate of Pilate was yet more striking, After
ruling over Judea for ten years, he was deprived
of his office for his malpractices, involved in
various calamities, and banished to Vienne in
Gaul. There despair overwhelmed this miserable
man, deprived of that favour to retain which he
had sacrificed his conscience and his soul. Pilate
put an end to nis own life by that hand from
which he had once vainly attempted to wash the
stain of the blood of the Messiah.

In the year 44 a.D., Herod Agrippa the king,
in order to win the favour of the Jews, openly
joined the persecutors of the Church. James, one
164 HEROD AGRIPPA.

of the apostles, was put to death by the tyrant;
and Peter would have shared the same fate, had
he not been delivered from prison at night by the
intervention of an angel.

The career of the monarch was to be but a brief
one. Herod Agrippa appeared to have all that
the world could give. Riches, honours, power
had been freely lavished upon him. In the
splendour of his public works he appears to have
emulated his grandfather, Herod the Great. Never
had the grandeur of his position been more strik-
ing than when, on a public occasion, he made an
oration to the people. Arrayed in a robe of
silver tissue, which glittered in the rays of the
rising sun, the display of his magnificence com-
bined with his eloquence to dazzle the admiring
throng. With a shout, the people exclaimed, “It
is the voice of a god, and not of a man!”

Herod rebuked not such impious flattery—
the pride of his heart was gratified; and imme-
diately the angel of the Lord smote him, because
he gave not God the glory. He was suddenly
seized with agonizing pain, so that he could not
refrain from calling out, “TI, that ye called a god,
am now going to die!” Stricken with a mys-
terious disease, which seems to have resembled
* HEROD AGRIPPA. ; 165

that which destroyed the two great persecutors,
Antiochus Epiphanes and Herod the Great, Herod
Agrippa was borne to his palace. There, eaten
of worms, and enduring exquisite torture, this
proud enemy of God and of His Church died in
the fifty-fourth year of his age.

His son Agrippa, being but seventeen years
old, was deemed too young to succeed to the
power and dignity of his father. Three years
afterwards, however, the Roman emperor made
him king of Chalcis. Judea again sank to the
condition of a province, ruled by governors ap- °
pointed by Rome.

Under Cuspius Fadus, and Tiberius Alexander,
Jerusalem appears to have had a short breathing-
space of comparative rest. But they were very
soon succeeded by Cumanus, and in his time war,
tumult, and sedition spread misery over the land.
The Jews were discontented with their Roman
masters, and their efforts to break from their
bondage only drew the cords still tighter.

In one alarming riot in the temple, at the feast
of unleavened bread, ten thousand Jews were
trodden down and killed, and the feast became a
cause of mourning throughout the nation. There
were fierce and bloody dissensions between the
166 HEROD AGRIPPA.

Samaritans and Jews. Villages were set on fire,
and their inhabitants massacred without distinc-
tion of age. Bold bands of robbers ravaged the
land, and insurrection was rife in all quarters.
In the year 52 a.p., Cumanus was removed by
the emperor, and Felix was appointed procurator.

The miserable Jews soon discovered the evil
qualities of their new master. Felix was mean,
avaricicus, and cruel. He established his resi-
dence in Cesaréa; and there, under pretence of
administering justice, he practised the grossest
extortion. The number of robbers, or those whom
he chose to punish under that name, who were
crucified by this barbarous governor, was fearfully
great.

About this time a horrible system of assassina-
tion prevailed in Jerusalem. A band of men who
were called Sicarii, bearing daggers concealed
about their persons, mingled with crowds in the
city, especially at the Jewish festivals. Suddenly
they stabbed those whom they regarded as their
enemies, but so secretly and treacherously that
the murderers usually escaped detection. The
first man slain by them was Jonathan the high
priest (the office had become annual); and after
him so many were thus treacherously assassinated,
HEROD AGRIPPA. 167

that men looked upon their neighbours with
suspicion, and even in the day-time felt their lives
insecure.

An Egyptian faise prophet arose, who deluded
a great number of the people. He led, according
to the historian Josephus, thirty thousand of them
through the wilderness to the Mount of Olives,
whence he proposed to attack Jerusalem itself,
and drive the Romans from the city. At the
approach of Felix with his troops, the deceiver’s
courage failed him, and he fled, leaving his miser-
able followers to the vengeance of the stern pro-
curator.

In the year 62 a.D., Felix was succeeded by
Porcius Festus. It was during a visit paid to
this procurator by Agrippa, king of Chalcis, the
son of Herod Agrippa, that the Apostle Paul, long
detained in prison by Felix, pleaded his own
cause before an august assembly in Cesarea, and
appealed to the judgment-seat of the emperor of
Rome. —

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

33—62 A.D.
A.D.
London founded by the Romans.............cccceeeeeeeeeseaes 50
Caractacus carried t0 Rome ............. cece eeeseeeeeeeeeeeeee 51

Boadicea Gefeated .......2....ccccesccosoocstsevcvecssccecsescoess 61


CHAPTER XVII.

COMMENCEMENT OF WAR.

The Voice of Warning—Horrible Oppression—Stones thrown at Agrippa—
Massacre at Masada—Advance and Retreat of Cestius—Escape of the
Christians.

ESTUS did not long hold the reins, of
government. He yielded them up to
Albinus, a man of character so extor-

tionate, that he was said to be the real head of

all the robbers in the country.
It was during the brief period of his rule, that

a wailing cry was heard by those who assembled

to keep the feast of tabernacles:—‘“ A voice

from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from
the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the
holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and
the brides, and a voice against this whole people!”
The cry of woe was from a poor husbandman,




























DENOUNCING WOE UPON JERUSALEM.
170 COMMENCEMENT OF WAR.

upon whose soul the shadow of coming national
affliction lay like a heavy burden. Irritated by
his mournful forebodings, the populace laid hold
on the man, and beat him severely; but they
could not silence the voice which cried Woe to
the doomed city.

The rulers brought the peasant before Albinus,
at whose command he was barbarously scourged,
even till his bones were laid bare. Yet he uttered
no prayer for mercy, nor could pain wring from
him a tear; but at every torturing stroke he re-
peated, ‘‘ Woe, woe to Jerusalem !”

For seven years and five months the husband-
man continued to cry aloud by day and by yight
in all the lanes of the city, while the cloud over
the land grew darker and darker, and the hour of
destruction drew nigh. At length, in the fatal
siege which crushed the last hopes of the miser-
able Jews, as the peasant was crying on the wall,
“Woe, woe to the city, and‘to the people, and to
the holy house,” he added, ‘‘ Woe, woe to myself
also!” and while the words were in his mouth, a
stone from the besiegers silenced the prophetic
tongue in death.

Evil as was Albinus, the Jews had cause to
regret his departure, when, in the year 64 A.D.,
COMMENCEMENT OF WAR. 171

he was succeeded by the tyrant Gassius Florus.
This, the last, appears to have been also the worst
of all the governors appointed by Rome. He
spoiled whole cities, ruined entire communities,
and by his tyranny and oppression large tracts of
country were brought to desolation.

Multitudes of the people, groaning under his
intolerable yoke, made their complaint against
him to Cestius Gallus, the president of Syria.
They besought him to pity the miseries of the
nation, and to relieve them from their merciless
tyrant. Florus, who was present, laughed at
their accusations, but made fair promises for the
future, which he never intended to keep. It
seems to have been his project by his barbarous
oppression to force the Jews into a rebellion, that
in the confusion and misery attendant on war,
his own hateful crimes might pass unnoticed.

On the occasion of a riot at Cesarea, Florus
sent to rob the temple of Jerusalem of a large
sum of the sacred treasure, under pretext that it
was required for the service of Cesar. At this
the people were thrown into great excitement,
and some of the boldest uttered loud reproaches
on the avaricious tyrant. Florus marched hastily
with troops against Jerusalem, and, notwithstand-
172 COMMENCEMENT OF WAR.

ing the submission of the chief priests and rulers,
issued-an order to his soldiers to plunder the
market-place, and slay all whom they met with.

Only too eager to avail themselves of such
license, the troops, like bloodhounds let loose,
rushed through the town, plundered the houses,
murdered thousands of men, women, and children.
Nor did the horrors of the scene end here. Many
of the citizens, and some of them men of rank,
were led before the brutal Florus, who commanded
that they first should be scourged, and then suffer
the death of crucifixion. Fearful, though just
retribution ! The people who had chosen Barab-
bas, were given up to a ruler with the spirit of a
Barabbas; and the very sufferings to which they
had subjected their rejected Messiah, were merci-
lessly inflicted on themselves !

Bernice, the sister of Agrippa, interceded in
vain for the people. They were not only tor-
mented before her very eyes, but she was con-
strained herself to flee for her life from the fury
of the cruel soldiery.

A fierce fight ensued between the Romans and
the Jews. The people from the roofs of their
houses threw down stones and darts on the
troops, who at length, weary of this inglorious
COMMENCEMENT OF WAR. 173

street warfare, returned to their camp near the
palace.

A regular war was now becoming inevitable.
The contest between the mighty empire of Rome
and a people like the Jews, weakened by internal
divisions, was indeed a fearfully unequal one;
but with wild infatuation the nation rushed into
the almost hopeless struggle, goaded on by their
own fierce passions, as well as by the cruel
oppression of Florus.

It was to no purpose that Agrippa, king of
Chalcis, endeavoured to dissuade the Jews from
- engaging in this fatal war



warning them even
with tears, while Bernice wept beside him.
Holier tears had flowed before for lost Jerusalem,
but the things belonging to her peace were hidden
from her eyes. Some of the fierce seditious
people became irritated by the very efforts made
to calm them. Agrippa was loaded with re-
proaches, excluded from the city—-nay, some of
the furious Jews even threw stones at the king;
and Agrippa, indignant at their treatment, retired
for a while to his dominions.

The fortress of Masada, garrisoned by Romans,
was taken by the Jews through treachery, and its
defenders slain without mercy, 65 a.D. Great
174 COMMENCEMENT OF WAR.











































































































































































































































THE FORTRESS OF MASADA.

was the excitement in Jerusalem. The flame of

insurrection spread fast. Fierce Zealots ranged
the city; the palaces of Agrippa, Bernice, and
Ananias the high priest were given to the flames;
the castle of Antonia was besieged, taken, set on
fire, and its Roman garrison put to the sword.

Imperial Rome was little likely to submit
quietly either to revolt of subjects or insult from
foes. Cestius Gallus, at the head of an army,
advanced, and planted his eagles at the distance
of but fifty furlongs from Jerusalem.

Agrippa accompanied the Roman forces, and
resolved to make one more effort to persuade the
maddened Jews to sue for forgiveness. He sent
COMMENCEMENT OF WAR. 175

two of his followers, named Borseus and Phebus,
those of his party who were best known to the
people, and promised them that Cestius should
offer them his right hand in token of the free for-
giveness of Rome, if even at this, the last hour,
they would throw down their arms and submit.

But messengers of peace from an earthly
monarch were treated as the ambassadors of
mercy from a heavenly King had been by the
deluded and guilty people. Phebus was mur-
dered before he could utter his message; and
Borseus, wounded and bleeding, only escaped
death by flight.

Cestius now attacked the Jews, put them to
flight, and pursued them even to Jerusalem. The
fiercest of its defenders retreated from the suburbs
into the interior of the city. or five days the
Romans assaulted the wall, and attempted to
break into the temple, which was obstinately de-
fended by the Jews.

It was believed by the Jewish historian Jose-
phus, that had Cestius at this time continued his
attack, Jerusalem must have fallen, and the war
at once have been ended. But suddenly, without
apparent reason, the Roman general recalled his
soldiers, and made his retreat from the city. ‘To
176 COMMENCEMENT OF WAR.

the Jews, this strange conduct of Cestius appears
almost unaccountable; but the Christian sees in
it a most remarkable instance of the merciful
providence of God. The Church at Jerusalem
recalled to mind the prophecy of the Redeemer :
——‘‘ When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with
armies, then know that the desolation thereof is
nigh. Then let them which are in Jerusalem
flee to the mountains; and let them which are in
the midst of it depart out; and let not them
that are in the countries enter thereinto. For
these be the days of vengeance, that all things
that are written may be fulfilled.”

The warning had not been uttered in vain.
As soon as the retreat of Cestius left the way
open for flight, the Christians retired from Jeru-
salem, like Lot from the city of the plain. In
the mountains of Perea they found their Zoar of
refuge, while the fiery deluge of destruction de-
scended on the doomed city which they had left.



CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS.

62—65 A.D.

Rome set. on fire : Nero’s persecution of the Christians ..................... 64




CHAPTER XVIII.

SIEGE OF JOTAPATA.—FALL OF JERUSALEM.

War —Sieges-- Heroism—Fall of Jotapata-—-The Lot— Horrors in Jerusalem
—The City taken by Assault—-The Temple Burned



INTO all the details of this most horrible
war we will not enter, nor describe how,
in Cesarea, Joppa, Damascus, Jews were

slaughtered by thousands and tens of thousands.

In 67 aD. Vespasian, a
distinguished Roman gene-
ral, marched into Galilee,
where he took the city of
Gadara, and other strong-
holds of the land. He
was accompanied by his
son Titus, who, on_ his
father’s subsequent eleva-
tion to the imperial throne



VESPASIAN.

of Rome, headed the conquering army.

296) 12
178 SIEGE OF JOTAPATA,

Never, even in the time of the Maccabees, had
more desperate courage been shown than the
Jewish nation now displayed.
Of this the defence of the city
of Jotapata, under the Jewish
historian Josephus, was a most
memorable instance.

Jotapata was built on a high
precipice, and was accessible
only on the north side, which
Josephus had strongly fortified
with a wall. Against this wall Vespasian raised
a high bank, and brought one hundred and sixty
engines of war to throw stones, darts, and arrows



JOSEPHUS.



CATAPULTA FOR SHOOTING ARROWS.

into the city. But even as the bank rose, so
rose the wall; the defenders labouring day and
night, and protecting themselves from the innu-
SIEGE OF JOTAPATA. 179

merable darts and heavy stones cast by the en-
gines, by screens formed of the raw hides of .
oxen, which broke the force of the missiles.

After many fierce assaults and desperate sallies,
Vespasian resolved to invest the city, and starve
its defenders into a surrender. There was plenty
of corn within Jotapata; but the want of water
was great, andJosephus was obliged to distribute
it to his followers by measure. Finding, how-
ever, that the Romans had obtained some intelli-
gence of their distress, Josephus commanded that
many clothes should be plunged into water, and
then hung out upon the battlements, that the
abundance of water trickling from them down
the wall might deceive the foe into the belief that
this first necessary of life was plentiful in the
city. This artifice was successful ; Vespasian
despaired of taking the place by famine, and
again betook himself to the force of arms.

A daring stratagem was made use of to supply
the wants of the garrison. Some of the boldest
ventured by night out of the city to procure pro-
visions, creeping on all fours past the outposts of
the Romans, and covering themselves with skins,
that if descried by the watchful foe, they might
be taken for prowling dogs.
180 SIEGE OF JOTAPATA.

The formidable battering-ram was now brought
against the walls of Jotapata. This was a huge































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BATTERING-RAM.

beam of wood, whose fore-part was armed with a
thick piece of iron, suspended from an engine by
ropes. When the beam had been pulled back-
SIEGE OF JOTAPATA. 181

wards by a number of the soldiers, it swung for-
wards with an impetus so tremendous, that at its
very first blow the wall was shaken, and a cry of
terror arose from the besieged, as if the destruc-
tion of their battlements were certain. Josephus,
however, ordered bags of chaff to be hung over
the walls, to deaden the force of the blows; but
the Romans, with sharp hooks at the end of long
poles, cut the ropes by which the bags were sus-
pended.

Hleazar, a Jew, performed a feat of heroism
which is well worthy to be recorded. Standing
upon the wall, he hurled a huge stone upon the
ram with such precision and force, that he broke
off its iron head. He then leaped down, seized
on the piec., and, though a mark for the enemy,
and pierced with five of their darts, he actually
succeeded in carrying it off and regaining the
top of the wall, where he stood for a moment
exulting, and then fell down dead from the
summit, with the ram’s head still grasped in his
hands.

Again and again the Jews sallied forth, at-
tacked the besiegers, and burned their engines
with fire. When the Romans pressed on to the
assault, scalding oil was poured on them from the
182 SIEGE OF JOTAPATA.

wall, and the assailants were driven back by the
desperate valour of the defenders.

Jotapata fell at last, however, by an attack made
by the Romans at night, when, worn out with
watching and fighting, the exhausted guard lay
asleep. The brave garrison found no mercy ; many
were driven over the precipice, many perished by
their own swords rather than fall into the hands
of the foe. About twelve hundred women and chil-
dren were reserved for bondage by the conquerors.

Josephus and forty of his companions, when
they found that resistance was hopeless, concealed
themselves by descending into a pit, which com-
municated with a cave. Here, on the third day,
the hiding-place of Josephus was discovered by
the Romans ; and Vespasian, willing to preserve
the life of the general, offered him quarter if he
would yield himself up.

Nothing shows in a more forcible light the
obstinate spirit of the Jews, than the fury of the
comrades of Josephus at the bare idea of his sur-
render. ‘O Josephus!” they exclaimed, “art
thou still fond of life, and canst thou bear to see
the light in a state of slavery! If thou hast for-
gotten thyself, we ought to take care that the
glory of our forefathers be not tarnished. We
SIEGE OF JOTAPATA. 183

will lend thee our right hand and a sword: if
thou wilt die willingly, thou shalt die as a general
of the Jews; but if unwillingly, thou shalt die as
a traitor to them !”

In their savage rage these desperate men were
about to plunge their weapons into their own
commander, when, grasping at the last chance of
deliverance, Josephus made the following pro-
posal: “Since it is resolved among you,” said he,
“that we will die, let us commit our mutual
deaths to determination by lot. He to whom
the first lot falls shall be killed by him who draws
the second, and thus shall death make progress
through us all, but none shall perish by his own
hand !”

The proposition was accepted. Josephus him-
self drew among the rest; but as Providence
ordered it, his lot was the last but one. When
the general was surrounded by the bloody corpses
of his fierce companions, he succeeded in persuad-
ing the only one of them who survived not to
complete the horrible work of destruction. He
and the man surrendered to the Romans, and
received mercy from Vespasian.

But even the horrors of Jotapata were light
compared to those of the siege of Jerusalem! At
184 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

the feast of the Passover, at the season when
the city was most crowded
with worshippers — at the
season when the Messiah
had been slain—the Roman
army, under the conduct of
Titus, invested Jerusalem,
70 aD. A wall was thrown
up around it; there was no
means: of escape for the
multitudes within, except



that of accepting the prof-
TiEUs: fered mercy of Titus; that
mercy was fiercely rejected.

As though the miseries of such a war were not
sufficient, the city was rent by internal dissensions.
Eleazar, at the head of a body of fierce bigots,
garrisoned the temple of Jerusalem; John of Gis-
chala, an unprincipled ruffian, swept the streets
with his bands of robbers; and Simon, a savage
tyrant, filled the lower parts of the city with
blood. These three parties attacked each other
with the fury of ravening wolves, and only united
in ferocious sallies against the common enemy.
In the madness of their rage in this intestine
strife, the Jews actually set fire to the houses












































THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM,
186 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

which contained their own stores of provisions,
and thus added to all other horrors that of the
extremity of famine. Multitudes perished by
hunger; and happiest were those who were first
relieved by death from their horrible torments.
Girdles and shoes were eagerly devoured ; leather
from the shields was torn off and gnawed ; robbers
burst into the houses where wretched families
were dying of hunger, and tortured the poor
wretches to force them to discover where a morsel
of food might lie concealed. Many of the fam-
ished sufferers who endeavoured to escape from
the city were seized by the Romans, and crucified
in such numbers that wood could scarcely be found
for the crosses; while if any in the beleaguered
town were suspected of wishing to quit it, they
were murdered by the furious Zealots. The
sound of war in Jerusalem was heard by day
and by night; the streets were slippery with
gore; no one there attempted to bury the heaps
of corpses. It is said that 1,100,000 of the
people perished in this horrible siege.

One by one the three walls which encompassed
the city were taken by assault; as the circle grew
narrower and narrower, the misery within grew
more dreadful. Unnatural horrors were perpe-
FALL OF JERUSALEM. 187

trated. Not only would parents tear the last
morsel of food from their famishing babes, but,
fearful to relate, a mother was known even to
feed upon her own offspring! Let a veil be
drawn over such awful scenes. Fearfully was
the prediction of the Messiah at this time accom-
plished—‘“ There shall be great tribulation, such
us was not since the beginning of the world, no,
nor ever shall be !”

The Lord had foretold that false prophets should
arise and deceive many, and that fearful sights
and great signs should be from heaven; and these
words were literally fulfilled. The miserable Jews
desperately grasped at the hope of a coming Mes-
siah, and eagerly listened to deceivers, who only
lured them to ruin. A wonder in the sky, re-
sembling a fiery sword, hung over the devoted
city ; appearances as of chariots and assembling
armies in the clouds terrified the astonished be-
holders ; and one night the priests in the temple
were alarmed by a quaking of the earth, accom-
panied by a strange sound, and a voice which
uttered the mysterious words, “Let us depart !”

At length the hour of complete vengeance
arrived. Ministers of God’s wrath, the Romans
burst through the last defences of the Jews, and
188 FALL OF JERUSALEM.



TITUS LEADING ON HIS TROOPS

the torrent of blood swept the city. Titus had
resolved to spare the magnificent temple ; but he
could not baffle the decree of the Almighty. The
Lord had declared that not one stone should be
FALL OF JERUSALEM. 189

left upon another; and heaven and earth must
pass away before one of His words can fall to the
ground. A Roman soldier, acting without orders,
set fire to the glorious building, which was speedily
enveloped in flames. Loud and fearful rose the
ery of the despairing Jews when their last hope
perished in the blazing pile. In vain Titus in
person exerted himself to put a stop to the pro-
gress of the fire; the flames curled round the
pillars, spread over the roof, and the crash of fall-
ing timbers, and the roar of the conflagration,
mingled with the shrieks of a multitude of the
Jews who were burned in the cloisters of the
temple.

CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENT.
65—70 A.D.

Martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul................ceceee ee 66




CHAPTER XIX.

CONCLUSION.

Reflections on the Past— Promises for the Future-—Duties for the Present.

Ea HUS fell guilty Jerusalem—once the chosen
& city, the joy of the earth! Thus fearful
retribution overtook those who had re-
jected and slain the Messiah !

And what is Judea now, after the lapse of
eighteen centuries? Still an oppressed and de-
solate land—a land which has been ruled by
Saracen, Christian, Turk; but never since that
fatal day by a monarch of her own. A land in
bondage to strangers, whose valleys, once flowing



with milk and honey, now lie comparatively
barren, showing that the curse of Heaven still
rests like a blight upon them.

And where are the sons of Israel, the descend-
ants of patriots and of heroes? Scattered over
CONCLUSION. 191

the face of the earth,—aliens in many lands, yet’
ever a distinct and peculiar people; jealously
guarding the Scriptures of the Old Testament,
though blind to their prophetic meaning ; and yet
looking for the appearance of their Messiah, and
their own restoration to the land of their fathers.
Will the Jews ever be restored? Will they
return as from Egypt and Babylon, and tread
again .the city of Zion? We turn to the words
of prophecy, which shine like stars in the dark-
ness, and select a few out of many :—“ Thus
saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will save My
people from the east country, and from the west
country ; and I will bring them, and they shall
dwell im the midst of Jerusalem ; and they shall
be My people, and I will be their God, in truth
and in righteousness.” * ‘Ye shall be gathered
one by one, O ye children of Israel.” + “And it
shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among
the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel;
so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing :
fear not, but let your hands be strong.” t “I
will pour upon the house of David, and upon the
inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of
supplications ; and they shall look wpon Me whom

* Zech. viii. 7, 8. t Isaiah xxvii. 12. t Zech. viii. 13.
192 CONCLUSION.

they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him,
as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in
bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for
his first-born.” * “Shake thyself from the dust ;
arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem, for the Lord
hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed
Jerusalem.” +

Christian reader! let us not forget that the
Lord worketh by human means; that to us,
Gentiles, who walk in the light that first shone
over the plains of Judea, is committed the sacred
charge, by holy example, free liberality, and fer-
vent prayers, to gather the outcasts of Israel ‘one
by one” into the Saviour’s fold.: “What,” wrote
the Apostle of the Gentiles, pleading for his own
beloved people— “what shall the receiving of them
be, but life from the dead?” * Well may we
conclude in the words of the martyr prophet and
psalmist king,—‘‘ Ye that make mention of the
Lord, keep not silence; and give Him no vest till He
establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in
the earth.”§ “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within
thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.” ||

* Zech. xii. 10. t Isaiah lii. 2, 9. t Rom. xi. 15. § Isaiah lxii. 6, 7.
ll Psalm cxxii. 6, 7.
Kr \$203


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