« ÎnapoiContinuă »
parlance, he who is entrusted with
all representations wbich are adthe royal commission for any espe.. dressed to him are couched in precial purposes, issues his commands cisely the same terms as if directed in the name of the King; and that to the King himself.
(To be continued.)
V.-CUSTOMS AND OBSERVANCES OF THE JEWS.
THE FESTIVAL OF INAUGURATION.” This festival, which commemo- less tenor of their annals. If the rates the preservation of the national rancorous hatred of Haman threatexistence, and the liberation of the ened extermination to the Jewish Jews from oppression the most gall. name, the merciful interposition of ing and inhuman, is celebrated dur- Providence averted the danger, and ing eight days, commencing on the the fate which a remorseless foe had twent-fifth day of the month Kislev. prepared for Israel recoiled on his As the historical events, the memory own head. Haman, his sons, and of which this festival perpetuates, adherents, perished ignominiously; are most important to every Jew, we and in Judea, and throughout the deem it our duty to present our one hundred and twenty-seven proreaders with a short extract, from vinces which composed the mighty the annals of our ancestors, concern- Persian empire, the Jews, in quiet ing this period of deep national ca- and comfort, could, on each revolvlamity and suffering, from which a ing year, renew their thanks to the merciful God vouchsafed to deliver All-merciful Being who hail frustratour fathers. The authorities we use ed the murderous counsels of their are Josephus, (Antiq., book xii,) the apocryphal history of the Maccabees, But this state of quiet happiness and the Hebrew 199907. (Book iii.) was doomed to be most fearfully inWe have also thankfully and largely terrupted. Alexander the Great, availed ourselves of the aid afforded King of Macedon, and leader of the to us by the History of the Jews by Grecian hosts, attacked the last Professor Milman.
monarch of Persia. His irresistible The seventy years of exile and might overcame and scattered the captivity which an offended Deity numerous hosts of Darius. Wherehad denounced against Judah and ever he came he conquered. In his Jerusalem, were terminated by the progress he besieged Tyre; thence decree of Cyrus, as had been pre- he sent his messengers to Jerusalem, dicted by the Prophet of the Lord. and commanded the High Priest to The Jews returned to Jerusalem. furnish him with the same aid and The favour of the mighty monarch supplies which, till then, the Jews of Persia was extended to the wor- had furnished to Darius, King of shippers of the true God. They re
Persia. The Jews, true to the monbuilt their temple and city, and lived arch whose bounty they had experipeaceably in their native vallies. enced, loyal and faithful in their alWhile all around them was war and legiance, refused to comply with devastation, while Xerxes undertook Alexander's commands. Their High his rash expedition
against the Priest, in the name of the assembled Greeks, and these in revenge ravaged Council of Israel, replied, that they the shores of Asia Minor, till the had sworn not to bear arms against great king was forced to sue for Darius during their lives, and that peace, the tranquil Jews, under the they could not break their oath of directions of their Iigh Pri cul- allegiance. The haughty conqueror tivated the arts of peace, and strove felt offended. He vowed vengeance gradually to recover the opulence against the petty tribe that had dared and national welfare which they had to disobey his mandate. Tyre was once enjoyed. No remarkable event, soon subdued ; and Jerusalem was for many years, interrupted the noise- next threatened by his arins. The long-continued tranquillity and pros- and, as I am thus convinced of the perity of the Jews had excited the divine protection, I no longer doubt envy of the neighbouring tribes. The but I shall fully succeed in my unopulence of Jerusalem and its tem- dertakings.” He entered Jerusalem ple tempted their cupidity. No as a friend, offered rich sacrifices, sooner was it known that the victo- and granted the nation all those farious army of Alexander was march- vours and immunities which they ing against Jerusalem, than numer- solicited from him. After a short ous reinforcements of Samaritans sojourn, he departed to complete the and Syrians, Phænicians and Chal- final subjugation of the Persian mondeans swelled his ranks. Jaddua archy, and thus to verify the predicthe High Priest, and the Jewish tion of the Prophet, that the empire people, were in the utmost corster- of Cyrus should be subverted by a nation and dismay. Public sacri- Greek. fices were offered for the national The imminent danger being overwelfare; public prayers arose to im- past, Jerusalem could joyfully acplore the protection of the Deity. A knowledge the Divine protection. nocturnal vision revealed to Jaddua But the period of peace which enhow to appease the incensed Mace- sued was not of long duration. Alexdonians. Accordingly, he caused ander died within a few years after the city to be ornamented with gar- his visit to Jerusalem. The prinlands and flowers, and the gates to 'cipal leaders of his armies shared his be thrown open, whilst himself, and conquests. Alike ambitious and the other Priests, dressed in their grasping, each strove to raise his own sacred vestments, and the people power on the ruin of his compeers. clothed in robes of white, prepared Constant warfare devastated the to meet the dreaded conqueror. The eastern world ; and, far as the consolemn procession marched forth to 'quests of Alexander had extended, Sapha, an eminence from whence rapine, oppression, and cruelty tramthe whole city and temple might be pled down the unoffending inhabit
No sooner had Alexander ants. Judea did not escape the beheld the High Priest in his hya- dreadful anarchy which ensued ducinthine robes embroidered with ring this destructive warfare, waged gold, wearing his mitre with the by the generals and successors of golden frontal, than he fell prostrate Alexander. Ptolemy, king of Egypt, and adored the Holy Name which assaulted Jerusalem on the Sabbath. was there inscribed in golden cha- The Jews did not presume to violate racters. His attendants were aston- the sanctity of the day by entering ished; the enemies of the Jews who on the work of slaughter, no resistimpatiently expected the signal of ance was offered, and Ptolemy abused slaughter and pillage,were struck with his bloodless conquest by carrying amazement. At length Parmenio, one away one hundred thousand captives, of Alexander's principal leaders, ad- whom he settled chiefly at Alexandressed him and said, “How comes dria in Egypt, and Cyrene. Nor it that thou, before whom every one was he long left in undisturbed posprostrates himself, shouldest kneel session ; twice was Judea conquered before this Priest of the Jews ?” by Antigonus, another of the rival Alexander replied, “I worship not chieftains ;(twice regained by Ptolemy, this man, but his God.” He further under whose dominion it finally rerelated how, previous to his entering mained. But Ptolemy had by this on his expedition to Persia, he had, time learned to respect his new subin a nocturnal vision, at Dion in jects. He found them still as obMacedonia, seen the Jewish High- servant of their plighted faith, as Priest dressed as he was then before loyal in their allegiance, as Alexanhim ; that the man who appeared to der had found them to be. He him in that vision had encouraged therefore endeavoured to attach them him, and promised him the conquest to his cause, enrolled an army of of all Asia ; and he concluded by thirty thousand Jews, and entrusted saying, “ Now that I see him before the chief garrisons of the country to me, my vision recurs to my mind, their care. Under the mild govern
ment of the three first Ptolemies, he inhabits. But we anticipate the Soter, Philadelphus, and Euergetes, course of our narrative, to which we both the native and Alexandrian now return. Jews enjoyed many marks of the Two contending High Priests of royal favour; and while nearly all the Jews outbid each other in the the rest of the world was ravaged by royal favour. Joshua, who had aswar, their country flourished in pro- sumed the Grecian name, Jason, was found peace, until the founding of forced to yield to the richer presents the Syro-Grecian kingdom, by Seleu- of his brother Onias, who, secure in cus, and the establishment of Anti- the venal protection of Antiochus, asoch as the capital, brought them sumed the name of Menelaus, and into the unfortunate situation of a oppressed his people. A formidable weak nation placed between insurrection broke out in Jerusalem great conflicting monarchies. Egyp- against his authority. Report magtians and Syro-Grecians alternately nified it into a deliberate revolt of wrested the land from each other; the whole nation against Antiochus. peace and security fled. Intestiné He marched without delay to Jerusadivisions increased the misfortunes lem, put to death in three days forty produced by foreign tyranny, and thousand of the inhabitants, and eventually led to the plunder and seized as many more to be sold as ruin of the holy city, and to the per- slaves He next entered the temple ; secutions, and almost to the complete and, having stripped it of its conseextermination, of its people.
crated utensils and other treasures, Antiochus, surnamed “ Epiphanes he caused unclean animals to be sathe illustrious,” had ascended the crificed, and every part of the temthrone of Syria. Theconflicting chiefs ple to be desecrated with the most of Judea in turn appealed to his su- odious defilement. Nor was this premacy and implored his aid. Anti- sufficient to satisfy his cruelty and ochus united the quick and ver- fanaticism : He determined to extersatile character of a Greek with the minate the whole Hebrew race; and splendid voluptuousness and fierce the dreadful edict was entrusted despotism of an Asiatic. Amongst to Apollonius, by whom it was exe. the discrepancies of this worthless cuted with as cruel dispatch as the character, must be reckoned a great most sanguinary tyrant could desire. degree of bigotry and religious intol- Apollonius waited till the Sabbath,
Few of the most fanatical when the whole people were occupersecutors of after-ages equalled pied in their peaceful religious duthe ruthless attempts of Antiochus ties. He then let loose his soldiers to exterminate the religion of the against the unresisting multitude, Jews and substitute that of the slew the men and seized all the woGreeks. Yet the savage and tyran- men as captives. He proceeded to nical violence of Antiochus was, in pillage, and then to dismantle, the fact, and surely we may say provi- city, which he set on dentially, the safeguard of the Jew- places : He threw down the walls, ish nation from the greatest moral and built a strong fortress on the danger to which it had ever been highest part of Mount Zion, which exposed, the slow and secret, but commanded the temple and all the certain and pernicious, encroachment rest of the city. From this garriof Grecian manners, Grecian arts, son he harassed all the people of Grecian vices, and Grecian idolatry. It the country, who stole in with fond roused the dormant energy of thewhole attachment to visit the ruins, or people, and united again in indissolu- to offer a hasty and interrupted worble bonds the generous desire of na- ship in the place, of the sanctuary : tional independence with zealous at- For all the public services had ceased, tachment to the religious worship of and no voice of adoration was heard the Creator. It again identified the in the holy city, unless that of the true patriot with the devout worship- profane heathen calling on their idols. per, and taught the Jew to know The persecution did not end here : that he owes his allegiance, first to Antiochus issued an edict for uni. his God, and next to the land which formity of worship throughout his
re in many
dominions; and dispatched officers justly glories in her Wallace; if into all parts to enforce rigid com- Gustavus Vasa in Sweden, William pliance with the decree. Jerusalem, Tell in Switzerland, have merited conspicuous above all other places, the gratitude of their people and the was exposed to the utmost fury of admiration of posterity : If the glothe royal bigot. The statue of Jupi. rious names of these great men, ter Olympius, to whom the temple their noble struggles and heroic dehad been dedicated, was erected on votion, command the sympathies, the altar of burnt-offerings. Every "and share the veneration of every rite of the Mosaic law and worship true friend of humanity ; that sym.. was strictly prohibited under pain of pathy and veneration is in a much death,-a penalty which many will- higher degree due to Judas Maccaing victims incurred. The Book of bæus and his worthy brethren, the Maccabees records the sufferings glorious prototypes to all who, in and the fortitude of an oppressed after-ages, merited the blessings of people. We refer to its pages, and to their oppressed and injured fellowthose of Josephus, for a detail of men. cruelties which we shudder to insert In Modin, a village of Judea, on in our own. The licentious orgies of an eminence, commanding a view of the Bacchanalia were substituted for the sea, lived Mattathias, an aged the national festival of the tabernacles. man of the sacerdotal line, with his The reluctant Jews were forced to five sons Joannan, Simon, Judas, join in these disgraceful riots. Who- Eleazar, and Jonathan,-all in the ever resisted met with instant death; prime of life. He often lamented and total extermination or abandon- before his sons the wretched state of ment of their holy law was the alter- their people, and was accustomed to native offered to every Hebrew. say that it was far more noble to sa
Thus on the verge of apostasy, crifice their lives in defence of their ruin, and extermination, nothing religion, their laws, and their councould avert the fate which threat try, than to live as apostates and ened our ancestors, when it pleased slaves. The opportunity of vindithe Divine Providence to interpose cating his principles, and of proving and to save the remnant of his
peo- that they were those of his soul, not ple : Not indeed by a direct and mi- merely of his lips, was soon afforded raculous intervention as in days of to him. Apelles, a royal officer, arold; but by pouring forth the spirit rived at Modin, to enforce the edict of zeal and patriotism ; awakening for abolishing the religion and laws in the minds of virtuous men that of the Jews. He first applied to noble daring which leads them to Mattathias, the man whose priestly conquer or to die, and that gene- birth and high moral character gave rous and true valour which considers him the first rank in the place, and life of no value unless devoted to the the influence of whose example cause of God and of their father would insure willing obedience to the land.. Such were the sentiments decree of Antiochus. Threats and which induced the aged Mattathias promises were alike resorted to by to raise the sword against the fell Apelles, but in vain. ,Mattathias oppressors of his people; which nobly replied, that, though every prompted his five sons nobly to other person submitted, he would stake their lives in defence of their rather die than forsake the laws faith, and to free their injured bre- of the great God of Israel,- and thren from the ruthless tyranny of exhorted his five sons to follow his their cruel persecutor. One by one example. The altercation which they fellesvilling sacrifices to their ensued became aggravated by an most sacred cause ; but their noble apostate, who, in the presence of his blood was not poured forth in vain. indignant countrymen, sacrificed to Civil and religious freedom, peace, the idols whose worship the royal and the undisturbed worship of the decree commanded. He fell by the one true God, were the glorious re- hand of Mattathias; Apelles himself wards of their toils, their dangers, and his attendants were attacked and their death. And if Scotland and slain, and the men of Modin re
tired to the mountains. Many true and wives, planted vineyards, built zealous Jews joined them, and rallied houses, or was fearful, should retire.* round the standard of freedom which Half his forces availed themselves of Mattathias and his sons erected. the permission. With those few who Success attended their undertakings, remained, the consummate generalship which were conducted with equal of Judas, under providence, obtained. enterprise and discretion. For a a decisive victory. The rich booty time Mattathias and his followers lay of the camp fell into the hands of hidden in the mountain fastnesses; the Jews, who, with just retribution, and, as opportunity offered, attacked sold for slaves as many of the slavethe towns, destroyed the heathen merchants as they could find. Nualtars, enforced circumcision, re- merous other battles were fought established synagogues for public with similar good success. The next worship, and drove off such of the year the king's lieutenant, Lysias, king's officers as were appointed to appeared in person at the head of enforce idolatry.
sixty thousand foot and five thousand The venerable Mattathias did not horse. Judas marched forth to meet long survive these first successes. him at the head of ten thousand Jews, Dying, he entrusted the command to defeated him, and forced him to rethe most valiant of his sons, Judas treat surnamed '59, “ Maccabæus." It is Thus triumphant, victors in every supposed this name was given from well-contested field, Judas and his the inscription of his banner, the ini- gallant followers entered Jerusalem. tials of the words "7 SSA37103, Freedom of conscience, and the un“Who is like unto thee ainong disturbed worship of their God, had the Gods, O Lord ?” (Exodus xv.
been the potent motives which made 11.) The new leader proved himself them draw the sword against their well worthy of the paternal confi- haughty, and bigotted oppressors. dence, and fully equal to the exigen- Crowned with success, they now precies of those stirring times. Having pared to restore that worship to its tried his soldiers by many gallant ancient purity and splendour. They adventures, surprising many cities found the gates of the temple burnt, which he garrisoned and fortified, as
and the sanctuary abandoned ; shrubs places of refuge to his oppressed and weeds covered the courts, and brethren, Judas at length determined desolation had spread its ruthless to meet the enemy in the field. hand over every part of the splendid Apollonius, Governor of Samaria, pile. With tearful eyes, but heartwho marched against him, was to
felt gratitude, Judas and his men tally defeated. He himself fell in commenced the task of repairing, single combat with Judas, who took cleansing, and consecrating the sahis sword as a trophy, which ever
cred buildings. The holy utensils, after he used in battle. Seron, Go- the table of shew.bread, the candlevernor of Cælo-Syria, was next de- sticks, and the altar of incense, all feated by Judas with great slaughter. pure gold, were made anew, and re
Antiochus, informed that the peo. placed in the sanctuary; and the ple whom he had so long oppressed temple was again inaugurated, on the with impunity had at length been twenty-fifth day of the third month, goaded into resistance, sent forth a precisely three years after its profaformidable army of forty thousand nation and pillage by Antiochus. foot and seven thousand horse. In The Talmud (treatise, Sabbath, chap. their train came
numerous slave- ii ) relates, that when every preparamerchants; for the royal will of An
tion for the inauguration was comtiochus had decided that the con- pleted, no consecrated oil could be quered Jews should be sold, in order found for the sacred lights; and the to replenish his exhausted treasuries. scrupulous Judas justly feared to To meet this formidable host, Judas contaminate the purity of the temcould number but six thousand fol- ple by using oil which had been delowers. In strict conformity with filed by idolaters. In this strait, a the commands of the law, he pro
small jar of oil, with the seal of a claiined that whosoever had married
* Deut, xx. 5 - 8.