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were many-alone anxious to be with the master force-were preparing to tack about and go over to the other side; and one further triumph, and Hellenism is to divide the counsels of the people no more.
43. And this success is to come, not in the time of Jonathan, but of his brother Simon. Alexander being murdered soon after, Demetrius II revived his father's claim. Then an adventurer, one Tryphon, also ran a puppet king, a son or once more a pretended son of Alexander. Varying fortunes attended the two enemies, and Jonathan was friendly, and at variance, and friendly yet again with both. Then Tryphon invited him to a conference, treacherously captured and slew him, and then with a great force came up to subdue the land of Judea. But Simon, the last son of Mattathias the father of so many heroes, rose in his place, and though at first faced with annihilation, just managed to beat off his attempt. Tryphon, foiled in his surprise attack, had other enemies to reckon with, and Simon became established in the kingdom. He followed up this success by finally capturing the tower which had so long been the stronghold of their bitterest enemies. With its fall Hellenism as a threatening rival faction was at an end. And Simon consolidated his power and the dignity of High Priestvirtually that of king—was made hereditary in his family. From now on the people of Israel began to write in their intruments and contracts : In the first year of Simon the High Priest, the governor and leader of the Jews.”
We thus enter on a new phase of Jewish history. They are once more a free and independent people, soon to be the dominant power in those parts; and we see them ruled by their own princes, and courted and making alliances on terms of equal status with other people. From Rome they receive letters of warmest congratulation on their success as well as from the Lacedemonians, who curiously see in the Jews their brethren as they also are of the stock of Abraham.*
*1 Maccabees xii. 21.
And religious differences are also at an end. At last they are one in faith and that faith is in essentials much as it has been these past two thousand years or more. All things are now possible to them. The independence which has faded from them like a shadow--amazing fact-is theirs, and none to say them nay. And in this they saw the hand of God who humbled the proud, but who the meek and lowly saved and raised up.
Their next hundred years was to be the story of how once more they threw away their inheritance.
THE MACCABEAN TYRANNY. | 44. HERE let us give a synopsis of the principal events until the birth of our Lord and the end of even the nominal independence of the Jews.
his brother Jonathan.
asticus written about this time. 135. Is murdered. His son Hyrcanus succeeds
him. 130. Hyrcanus destroys Samaria with great
ferocity. 107. Aristobulus his son succeeds and makes
himself king. 106. Alexander Jannaeus, his brother, succeeds
him. 86. Fierce civil war. Crucifies 800 Pharisees. 79. His wife, Alexandra, succeeds to power,
whilst his son Hyrcanus becomes High
Priest. 70. Aristobulus, the younger brother, supplants
Hyrcanus. Civil war renewed. 64. Pompey on a Syrian campaign is appealed
to by both sides. 63. He tukes Jerusalem, re-establishes Hyrcanus, but deprives Jews of all their con
quests. REAL END OF JEWISH INDEPENDENCE. 57. Aristobulus and his son Alexander renew
war with Hyrcanus, and are vanquished by Romans. Hyrcanus makes his friend Antipater, an Idumaean Jew, civil
magistrate... 54. Crassus plunders Temple. 47. Antipater appointed governor of Judea by
Julius Caesar. 46. Jews in Alexandria give him assistance. 44. Julius Caesar assassinated. 43. Death of Antipater by poison. 40. Parthians support Antigonus—last of the
Maccabees-take Jerusalem, and make him king. Herod flees to Rome and is made king of the Jews by Anthony and
Augustus Roman Emperor.
6. Kills his two sons by Mariamne. Exact chronology is here a little vague. A.D. The birth of OUR LORD. The death of
Herod. Is succeeded by his son Arche
laus. Ten years later, at the suit of the Jews Archelaus
is banished to Vienna and Judea made a
INDEPENDENCE. 45. Monotony marks the story of the Maccabees. Jonathan had been murdered by treachery and now a like fate awaits Simon. The king of Syria naturally resented his cities and lands taken from him, to say nothing
himSimere assas. He et, John there is name a his
of the loss of Judea itself, and now to court favour with him, Simon's own son-in-law invites him to a festival and there assassinates him and his two sons he had invited with him. He then tries to ensnare and murder the remaining brother, John Hyrcanus, but he, less confiding, escapes his toils. There is the usual unsettlement at first, but many rally to his name and once in the saddle he proves even abler than his father. With the Roman genius for consolidation and united amongst themselves still anything was now possible to him and his people. But a pitiless cruelty is bane of both. He proves a great general and amongst other successes he has Samaria at last entirely in his power. Now was the opening for a Semitic league that should have bidden defiance to Greek and Roman alike. But mercy he had none. To the full he wreaked his vengeance on his unhappy kinsmen. He would stamp them out of existence. Their hated temple on Mount Gerizim he razed to the earth. And even this did not glut his fury. To its very foundation the city should be blotted out. The very place of it should be known no more. He turned the waters upon where once it had been and he left it a swamp in which the bittern might cry; a desert in which the lion might prowl.
We need not follow his history in detail. He renewed the alliance with Rome; he made an innovation in introducing mercenaries into his armies, and amongst other conquests he overcame the Idumaeans of the blood of Isaac and who became accepted Jews. Herod the Great was of this country, though he himself claimed to be of pure blood, with pedigree going back to the Babylonian captivity—the hall mark of ancestry.
At this time we see the nation united in formal belief. With worldly success, Hellenism has given place to a violent hate of all things Greek and it is ended. But not so faction. When men in themselves are violently at variance they are never at a loss for excuse to justify their mutual hate. As
Sadduceefiarisees alsgiscover hele
Polybius well remarks, it is essential to differentiate between the cause of war and the pretext for war. At this time we see the Maccabees in the height of their popularity, and the heroes of their race, whilst also we begin to find the Pharisees and. Sadducees as two definite and distinctive parties. The former are the popular leaders of the day, the latter the wealthy and important citizens. For a time Hyrcanus has identified himself with the Pharisees, but he is beginning to lean to the Sadducees. This, of course, is not the reason why the Pharisees also begin to plot against him, but because they now discover he is not of the pure blood of Aaron on both sides. He is a strong man, not easily to be withstood, but soon once more we are to see the nation plunged in civil war. Then, as one tyrant follows another, we are to find a complete revulsion of feeling to the Maccabean rule and with it inception of the idea that it is in the line of David a Messiah* is to be looked for as restorer of his people, an idea increasingly intolerable to the house of Aaron, with whom is becoming popular the new tenet that God alone is their king, and that it is treason to him to give allegiance to any other monarch. And the Jew, being above all an educated man, is to be appealed to by writings, and many an old writing is to be discovered in which guidance is to be found. The Pharisees in particular found their dogmas most minutely laid down in the “ Book of the Jubilees.” This wonderful recovery was a revelation given by God to His people actually before the time of Moses himself. And so provident. In a current tongue so that it could be understood. It was a flagrant bit of editing, but, like our forged decretals of the middle ages, escaped challenge and so came to pass muster as years went by. But as regards these quarrellings, we need not probe too deeply into the reasons for them. As ever
* In Ecclesiasticus, written after the accession of Simon, B.C. 143-135, and before the sack of Samaria, B.C. 130, there is as yet no reference to a Messiah.