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A. When Simon was visiting the Cities, and giving Orders for their Welfare, one Ptolemeus, who was his Son-in-law, invited him and his Sons to a Banquet at Jericho, and flew Simon, with two of his Sons, in order to get the Government of the Country into his own Hands : and sent privately to kill John also.
61 Q. Did Ptolemeus succeed in this his Treachery and murderous Enterprize?
A. John having got timely Notice of it, flew the Aftaffins, and was invested with the High Priesthood and the Government, after his Father. Note, Here ends that excellent History, the first Book
of the Maccabees. The following Part of this Account of the Jewsis borrowed chiefly from 7ofephus, who usually calls John by the Surname of Hyrcanus.
Se&. VII. Of the Jewish Affairs under the Conduct
of the posterity and Succeffors of SIMON the
ID John Hyrcanus enjoy his Office in
A. Antiochus Sidetes, being informed of the Death of Simon, and being invited by Ptolemeus, inyaded Judea again, besieged Jerusalem, and reduced Hyrcanus and the Jews to the last Extremity by Famine : But when they sued for Peace, he granted it, upon Condition of paying certain Tributes to the King, and demolishing the Fortifications of Jerusalem. Note, About this Time Jesus, the Son of Syrach, a Jew
of Jerusalem, coming into Egypt, translated the took of Eccleßafticus, written by Jesus his Grand
Father, father, out of Hebrew into Greek, for the Use of . the Hellenistic Jews there. The Ancients called it Panareton, or the Treafury of all Virtue."
2 Q. How did the Affairs of the Jews (succeed Under Hyrcanus?
A. A few Years afterward he took Advantage of the vaft Confusions that enfued among the Naitions, upon the Death of Antiochus, to eplarge his Borders, by seizing some neighbouring Townson Toveral Sides of Judea, and to renounce all his Dependence upon the Kings of Syria.
3 Q. Was he supported therein by any foreign Powers?
A. He renewed the League of Friend Ahip which his Father Simon had made with the Romans, who were then growing to their Grandeur; and they ordered tbat he lhould be freed from the late imposed Tribute, and that the Syrians fhould make Reparation for the Damages they bad done him.
4 Q. In what Manner did Hyrcanus deal with the Edomites or Idumeans, who were on the
South of Judea?
1. He constrained them to embrace the Jewish Religion, or to leave their Country; whereapon they chose to forsake their Idolatry, and became Proselytes to Judaifm, and were mingled and incorporated with the Jews; and, by this Means,
in less than two hundred Years, their very Name was loft. Note, In Defence of this Practice of Hyreanus, among
the Idumeans, which seems to be lo contrary to the Laws of Nature and Scripture, it may be faid, that at this Time these Edomites bad encroached on the Land of Judea, , and inhabited all the South Part of it: So that Hyrcanus, in banishing those who would not become Jews, did but dispossess them of that Country which was given to the Jews by
God himself. Yet, it must be confeffed, by this
5 Q. How did he treat the Samaritans on the North, when his Power was thus increased ?
A. He'matched with his Army, and took Shechem, which was 'then the chief Seat of the Samaritan Seft; and he deftroyed their Temple on Mount Gerizim, which Sanballat had builc; though they continued' ftill to keep an Altar there, and to offer Sacrifices.
6 Q. How came Shechem to be their chief Seat, instead of Samaria?
A. They were expelled from Samaria, by Alexander, for killing one of his Deputy-Governors in a Tumult; and they,"retiring to Shechem,' made that their chief Seat; while Alexander repeopled
Samaria with Heathens of the Syrian and Macedonian-Race.
7. Did Hyreanus extend his power farther on that Side of the Country?
4. He besieged Samaria, and took it, and utterly demolifhed it;' he not only' ruled in Judea, but in Galilee also, and the neighbouring Towns: "He became one of the most confiderable Princes of his Age, and preserved the Jewish Church and State in Safety from their Enemies, throughout a long Government.
"8 Q. What other remarkable Actions are alcribed to Hyrcanus ?
A. He was esteemed a Prophet for one or two notable Predictions, or Knowledge of Things done at a Distance. He built the Caftle' Baris, on a Iteep Rock, fifty Cubits high, without the outer Square of the Temple, but on the same Mountain :
This was the Palace of all the Afmonean Princes in Jerusalem ; and here the sacred Robes of the High Prieft were always laid up when they were not in Use.
9 Q. What Use was afterwards made of this Caftle?
A. Herod new built it, and made it a very strong Fortress, to command both the City and the Temple; and called it Antonia, in Honour of his great Friend Mark Antony of Rome : He raised it so high, that he might see what was done in the Tem. ple, and send his Soldiers in case of any Tumult. Here the Romans kept a strong Garrison, and the Governor of it was called Captain of the Temple, Aets xxi. 31. Note, It was from this Place the Centinel spying the
Jews ready to kill Paul, gave Notice to the Governor, or chief Captain, who went down immediately with some Soldiers into the Court of the Gentiles, whither they had dragged St Paul to kill him, and rescued him, and brought him up the Stairs into this Castle; and it was upon these Stairs that Paul obtained Leave to speak to the People, A&ts xxi. 26, &c.
100. What Troubles did Hyrcanus meet with toward the End of his Life?
A. His Title to the High Priesthood was unjuftly called in Question by a bold Man among the Pharisees; and, being craftily imposed upon to think it the Opinion of all that Party, he haftily renounced that Seet, for which he had before the greatest Value; he abolished their Conftitutions, and falling in with the Sect of the Sadducees, loft his Esteem
and Love among the common People. 11 Q. Since you mention the Sect of the Pha. risees here, pray let us know what were the chief Scats among the Jews
A. About this Time, the most confiderable Sects were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Ejenes; though in the next Century arose also the Herodians ; and some hundred of Years after was a Sect called the Karaites.
12 Q. What peculiar Opinions were held by the Pharisees?
A. The most distinguishing Character of this
rupted the Law in our Saviour's Time, and made
A. The present Religion of the Jews, in their several Dispersions (except among the few Karaites) is wholly formed and praclised according to the Traditions of the Pharisees, rather than according to the Law and Prophets : So that they have corrupted the old Jewish Religion, in the fame Manner as the Papifts have the
14 Q. What