2 Maccabees chapter 9

Antiochus becomes a Jewish believer.





VERSE 1. Now about that time, Antiochus retreated in disorder from the region of Persia.

in disorder. Or “with dishonor.”


VERSE 2. For he had entered into the city called Persepolis, and he attempted to rob a temple and to control the city. Therefore the multitudes rushed in and the people of the country turned to defend themselves with weapons; and it came to pass that Antiochus was put to flight by the people of the country and broke his camp with disgrace.

a temple. Or “temples.”


VERSE 3. While he was at Ecbatana, news was brought to him about what had happened to Nicanor and the forces of Timotheus.


VERSE 4. Being overcome by his anger, he planned to make the Jews suffer for the evil deeds of those who had put him to flight. Therefore, with judgment from heaven even now accompanying him, he ordered his charioteer to drive without ceasing until he completed the journey; for he arrogantly said this: “I will make Jerusalem a common graveyard of Jews when I come there.”

he planned to make the Jews suffer. In the course of world history, an evil antisemitic agenda repeats over and over again. In our day, professing Christians are often the worst of the worst when it comes to Antisemitism. Read more »


VERSE 5. But the All-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him with a fatal and invisible stroke. As soon as he had finished speaking this word, an incurable pain of the bowels seized him, with bitter torments of the inner parts—

the All-seeing Lord. Nothing is hidden from the LORD God.

struck him. In the midst of his narcissistic excess, Antiochus is struck with a fatal blow.

fatal. In Greek, “remediless.”


VERSE 6. and that most justly, for he had tormented other men’s bowels with many and strange sufferings.


VERSE 7. But he in no way ceased from his rude insolence. No, he was filled with even more arrogance, breathing fire in his passion against the Jews, and giving orders to hasten the journey. But it came to pass moreover that he fell from his chariot as it rushed along, and having a grievous fall was tortured in all of the members of his body.

he fell from his chariot as it rushed along. This is a clumsy way for someone to become incapacitated.


VERSE 8. He who had just supposed himself to have the waves of the sea at his bidding because he was so superhumanly arrogant, and who thought to weigh the heights of the mountains in a balance, was now brought to the ground and carried in a litter, showing to all that the power was obviously God’s,

NAB translation. Thus he who previously, in his superhuman presumption, thought he could command the waves of the sea, and imagined he could weigh the mountaintops in his scales, was now thrown to the ground and had to be carried on a litter, clearly manifesting to all the power of God.”


VERSE 9. so that worms swarmed out of the impious man’s body, and while he was still living in anguish and pains, his flesh fell off, and by reason of the stench all the army turned with loathing from his decay.


VERSE 10. The man who a little before supposed himself to touch the stars of heaven, no one could endure to carry because of his intolerable stench.

supposed himself to touch the stars of heaven. Antiochus is filled with narcissistic excess.


VERSE 11. Therefore he began in great part to cease from his arrogance, being broken in spirit, and to come to knowledge under the scourge of God, his pains increasing every moment.

NAB translation. At last, broken in spirit, [Antiochus] began to give up his excessive arrogance, and to gain some understanding, under the scourge of God, for he was racked with pain.”

Antiochus was totally un-teachable. Then pain arrived. Pain alone could become his teacher.


VERSE 12. When he himself could not stand his own smell, he said these words: “It is right to be subject to God, and that one who is mortal should not think they are equal to God.”

could not stand his own smell. The mighty Antiochus is living in abject misery.


VERSE 13. The vile man vowed to the sovereign Lord, who now no more would have pity upon him, saying

The vile man. The biblical text makes it abundantly clear, over and over again, that Antiochus is a terrible human being.


VERSE 14. that the holy city, to the which he was going in haste to lay it even with the ground and to make it a common graveyard, he would declare free.

make. In Greek, “build.”


VERSE 15. Concerning the Jews, whom he had decided not even to count worthy of burial, but to cast them out to the animals with their infants for the birds to devour, he would make them all equal to citizens of Athens.

he would make them all equal to citizens of Athens. Now the Jewish people are equal citizens of Greece.


VERSE 16. The holy sanctuary, which before he had plundered, he would adorn with best offerings, and would restore all the sacred vessels many times multiplied, and out of his own revenues would defray the charges that were required for the sacrifices.


VERSE 17. Beside all this, he said that he would become a Jew, would visit every inhabited place, proclaiming the power of God.

NAB translation. Besides all this, he would become a Jew himself and visit every inhabited place to proclaim there the power of God.”

The persecutor has joined the Movement. Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes has become a Jewish believer in the One God.

The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »


VERSE 18. But when his sufferings did in no way cease, for the judgment of God had come upon him in righteousness, having given up all hope for himself, he wrote to the Jews the letter written below, having the nature of a supplication, to this effect:


VERSE 19. “To the worthy Jewish citizens, Antiochus, king and general, wishes much joy and health and prosperity.


VERSE 20. May you and your children fare well, and may your affairs be as you wish. Having my hope in heaven,


VERSE 21. I remembered with affection your honor and good will. Returning out of the region of Persia, and being taken with an annoying sickness, I deemed it necessary to take thought for the common safety of all,


VERSE 22. not despairing of myself, but having great hope to escape from the sickness.


VERSE 23. But considering that my father also, at the time he led an army into the upper country, appointed his successor,


VERSE 24. to the end that, if anything fell out contrary to expectation, or if any unwelcome tidings were brought, the people in the country, knowing to whom the state had been left, might not be troubled,


VERSE 25. and, moreover, observing how the princes who are along the borders and neighbors to my kingdom watch for opportunities and look for the future event, I have appointed my son Antiochus to be king, whom I often entrusted and commended to most of you when I was hurrying to the upper provinces. I have written to him what is written below.

I have appointed my son Antiochus to be king. The “I” who is speaking is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Hellenistic king of the Seleucid Empire. He reigned from 175–164 BC.

That Antiochus names his son to be the next king. That son is Antiochus V Eupator. He will reign from 164–162 BC.


VERSE 26. I therefore urge you and beg you, having in your remembrance the benefits done to you in common and severally, to preserve your present good will, each of you, toward me and my son.


VERSE 27. For I am persuaded that he in gentleness and kindness will follow my purpose and treat you with moderation and kindness.


VERSE 28. So the murderer and blasphemer, having endured the most intense sufferings, even as he had dealt with other men, ended his life among the mountains by a most piteous fate in a strange land.


VERSE 29. Philip his foster brother took the body home and then, fearing the son of Antiochus, he withdrew himself to Ptolemy Philometor in Egypt.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

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