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by Alexander the great. When that monareb was preparing to besiege Tyre, he sent to Jaddua, the high priest at Jerusalem, to supply him with a quantity of provisions. Jaddua refused upon the ground of his oath of fidelity to the king of Persia. This irritated Alexander; and when he had taken Tyre, he marched towards Jerusalem, to revenge himself upon the Jews.
Jaddua had notice of his approach, and by Divine direction went out of the city to meet him, dressed in his pontifical robes, and attended by the Levites in white garments. Alexander, visibly struck with this solemn appearance, immediately laid aside his hostile intentions, advanced towards the high priest, embraced him, and paid adoration to the name of God, which was inscribed upon the frontlet of his mitre. This prince afterwards went into the city with the high priest, and offered sacrifices in the tem ple to the God of the Jews.
This sudden change in the disposition of Alexander, excited no small astonishment among his followers. And when his favourite Parmenio inquired of him the cause, he answered, it was occasioned by the recollection of a remarkable dream which he had while in Macedonia, in which a person dressed precisely like the Jewish high priest, had encouraged him to undertake the
conquest of Persia, and had promised him success. He therefore adored the name of that God, by whose direction he acted; and showed kindness to his people.
It is also said, that whilst he was at Jerusalem, the prophecies of Daniel were pointed out to him, which foretold, that the king of Grecia should conquer Persia. Before he left Jerusalem, he granted the Jews the same free enjoyment of their laws and their religion, and exemption from tribute every sabbatical year, which they had been allowed by the kings of Persia ; and, as we have already seen, when he built Alexandria, he settled a great number of Jews there, and granted them many favours and immunities.
After the division of Alexander's empire, Ptolemy Soter, son of Lagus king of Egypt, made himself master of Jerusalem by a stratagem. He entered it on a sabbath day, under pretence of offering sacrifice, and took possession of the city without resistance from the Jews, who did not, even on this occasion, dare to transgress the law by fighting on a sabbath day. Ptolemy carried many thousands of them captive into Egypt, both Jews and Samaritans, and settled them there; he afterwards treated them with kindness on account of their acknowledged fidelity to their engagements, particularly in their conduet
towards Darius, king of Persia. And he granted them equal privileges with the Macedonians themselves at Alexandria.
Ptolemy Philadelphus is said to have given the Jews, who were captives in Egypt, their liberty, to the number of one hundred and twenty thousand. In his time, as has been before observed, the Jewish Scriptures were translated into Greek, which version was called the Septuagint.
After the Jewish nation had been tributary to the kings of Egypt, for about one hundred years, it became subject to the kings of Greece. They divided the land, which now began to be called Palestine, into five provinces; three of which were on the west side of Jordan, namely, Galilee, Samaria and Judea; and two on the east side, namely Trachonitis, and Perca: but they suffered them to be governed by their own laws, under the high priest and council of the nation. Seleucus Nicanor gave them the right of citizens in the cities which he built in Asia Minor and Cole Syria; and even in Antioch, his capital, with privileges which they continued to enjoy under the Romans.
"Antiochus the great, granted considerable favours and immunities to the city of Jerusalem; and to secure Lydia and Phrygia, he established solonies of Jews in these provinces. In the series
of wars which took place between the kings of Syria and Egypt, Judea being situate between these two countries, was in a greater or less degree affected by all the revolutions which they experienced, and was frequently the scene of bloody and destructive battles. The evils to which the Jews were exposed from these foreign powers, were considerably aggravated by the corruption and misconduct of their own high priests, and other persons of distinction among them. To this corruption and wickedness, and the increasing depravity of the people, their sufferings might indeed be attributed, according to the express declarations of God by the mouth of his prophets.
It is certain, that about this time, a considerable part of the nation was become much attached to Grecian manners and customs, though they continued perfectly free from the sin of idolatry. Near to Jerusalem, places were appropriated to gymnastic exercises; and the people were led by Jason, who had obtained the high priesthood from Antiochus Epiphanes through the most disbonourable means, to neglect the temple worship, and the observance of the law, in a manner which they had not before been guilty of since their return from the captivity.
Divine judgment seemed to be inflicted upon
them for their defection, by the hand of the very person whom they particularly sought to please. Antiochus Epiphanes, irritated at having been prevented by the Jews from entering the holy place, when he visited the temple, soon afterwards made a popular commotion the pretence for the exercise of tyranny: he took the city, plundered the temple, and slew or enslaved great numbers of the inhabitants, with every circumstance of profanation and cruelty which can be conceived. Then was fulfilled the prediction of Daniel, "the daily sacrifice was taken away for three years and a half; the temple was defiled, and partly destroyed. The observance of the law was prohibited under the most severe penalties; and the people required to sacrifice to idols, under pain of the most agonizing death.”
Numerous were the apostates, for the previous corruption of manners had but ill prepared them for such a trial; but a remnant continued faithful; and the complicated miseries which the people endured under this cruel yoke, excited a general impatience. At length the time of deliverance arrived; Mattathias, a priest eminent for his piety and resolution; and the father of five sons equally zealous for their religion, encouraged the people by his example and exhortations to stand up for the law; and hay