ON SOMETHING BIBLICAL ABOUT II MACCABEES*
Daniel R. Schwartz
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Any handbook or commentary will tell you that I Maccabees, composed in Hebrew, is written in the tradition of biblical historiography while II Maccabees, composed in Greek, is not. It is not even written in Septuagint Greek. Rather, from the points of view of language, style and contents, it is a Hellenistic book. We should expect nothing else from a second-century BCE book based -- as it states at 2:23 -- on a work by someone called Jason of Cyrene.
The challenge, therefore, in a framework such as this conference, is to show that I Maccabees is somewhat non-biblical and that II Maccabees is somewhat biblical. The former task has often been undertaken. Namely, many have recognized that the characterization of I Maccabees needs to be qualified. For while there is obviously much in it which imitates biblical style, a very major aspect of the book is antithetical to biblical historiography. It may be taken as axiomatic, that the basis of biblical historiography is God's involvement in history. But what do we find in I Maccabees? As often, not much need be added to the comments of C. L. W. Grimm, whose 1853 commentary is still among the best. After noting that I Maccabees' language, style and tone are simple and like that of the Hebrew Bible, which is why it is usually classed together with the books of Samuel and Kings, he goes on to qualify that:
Only in one not insignificant point [I wonder how far Grimm's tongue was into his cheek when he wrote that -- DRS] is it to be distinguished from the old Israelite historiography and compared rather with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, namely, that in contrast to the old theocratic pragmatism it no longer presents events in light of the supernatural, and no longer has the Deity direct events in amazing deeds and in accordance with a defined plan, forever interfering with natural causation. 1
Further down the same page, moreover, Grimm distinguishes I Maccabees not only from the old Israelite historiography but even from that of such later books as Ezra and Nehemiah:
Nowhere do we read in I Maccabees that God arouses or directs the hearts of the participants in the religious struggles (such as we read in Ezra and Nehemiah; Ezra 8:31; Neh. 2:8,12,20; 4:9; 7:5); of none of the heroes in the struggle do we hear: "God's spirit moved him", etc.
And one could go on and on about the relative absence of God in I Maccabees, especially after ch. 5: a few glances in Hatch and Redpath's concordance will show that there is no more Theos or Kyrios after this point and even "Heaven" (ou)rano&j) makes only three appearances, one of which (12:15) in some international correspondence where it sounds like pious window-dressing (the other two are at 9:46 and 16:3). Indeed, I Maccabees takes care to underline the cessation of prophecy (4:46; 9:27), as might be expected from a dynastic propagandist whose heroes would have been discomfited by its renewal (14:41).
True, God may be meant even when He is not mentioned. Thus, for example, the prayers in I Macc 7:37-38,41-42 are obviously addressed to God, even if with all modern editors we reject "Kyrios" in vv. 37 and 41 as scribal additions. But 7:41-42 is the last prayer in I Maccabees (the closest we come in the last nine chapters are the exhortation at 9:46 and the window-dressing at 12:11), other cases where God might be assumed are rare, and usually "out of sight -- out of mind" seems, to me, more convincing than attempts to posit God's immanence in the story despite its failure to mention Him.2
Suffice it to say, that readers of I Maccabees, from Josephus to the twentieth century, have often felt the need to insert God into its story. Note, for example, Josephus's insertion (in Antiquities 13.163) of God's providence (pro&noia) into I Macc 12:1 and Abel's insertion of God into the mh& moi ge&noito ("let it not happen to me") of I Macc 9:10: "Dieu me garde".3 Both verses in fact refer to an impersonal "hour" (kairo&j) which now helps the Jews, now -- their enemies; for the same notion, see also 15:33-34, in sharp contrast to God's involvement in the parallel at Judges 11:24. But historiography without God isn't biblical historiography.
However, to say that I Maccabees is not so very biblical does not make II Maccabees more biblical. Furthermore, although God's involvement in history -- invoked and realized -- is very prominent in II Maccabees, a book which even features frequent and often graphic revelations (see 2:21; 3:24ff.; 5:2-4; 10:29-30; 11:8; 12:22; 14:15; 15:27), such providential involvement is just as much a tenet of Judaism as it is of the Hebrew Bible. II Maccabees is a Jewish book, not a biblical book. And, indeed, it is very difficult to find use of the Bible in II Maccabees. Moreover, even what we do find is not very impressive.
First, for the sake of completeness we must note that there is quite a bit of use of the Bible in the letters prefaced to the book (1:1-2:18). This is quite obvious. The first letter (1:1-9), originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, is chock full of biblical phrases, especially using Jeremiah 32-33 (see 33:9 with II Macc 1:1 ["good and peace"]; 32:39-41 with II Macc 1:2 ["be good"]; 32:39 with II Macc 1:3 ["heartto revere"], etc.). As for the second letter, whatever its origin, its concern is to demonstrate the legitimacy of the Second Temple, and of the Hasmoneans' temple in particular, by linking it up with Moses' tabernacle and Solomon's temple via Jeremiah's preservation of the holy utensils and the sacred fire -- essential items which were returned to Judaea by Nehemiah. Hence, this letter too is full of biblical allusions.
But these Judaean letters, tacked onto II Maccabees, are not at all representative of the book.4
As for the book itself, beginnning in ch. 3, now and then we do find a biblical narrative which seems to underlie or inform its account. Especially Jonathan A. Goldstein, in his 1983 Anchor Bible commentary, has suggested numerous such allusions (as also those to Jeremiah 32-33 in the first letter), some more convincing, some less so, as he himself often notes; see his long index of biblical references. We can add an example to the ones he noticed, no better or worse than many of them. In one of the battle accounts in ch. 10 (vv. 26-30) we first find an explicit allusion to a biblical verse (Exod. 23:22; the only such allusion in the body of the book), and then comes an account which sounds as if it was written with II Kings 6:15-18 in mind: both feature heavenly horses which surround the hero, are invisible to the Israelites/Jews,5 and bring blindness and defeat upon their enemies. And one might even consider the heavenly horsemen of II Maccabees here to be a fulfillment of the wish expressed in the verse after the one quoted from Exodus: "When my angel goes before you" But there is nothing deep about this, no carry-through, no thorough-going attempt to compare Judas Maccabaeus to Elisha, not even any attempt to deal with the contradiction between the fact that whereas Elisha took his enemies captive and, like Robin Hood, had them released after a banquet, Judas Maccabeus slaughtered his enemies. In fact, if anyone remains unconvinced that II Kings 6 played a role somewhere in the mind of the author of II Macc 10, or that the horsemen of II Macc 10 are the angel of Exodus 23:23, I would neither be surprised nor bother to argue the matter.
Similarly, while II Macc 9's denunciation and account of the downfall of Antiochus IV contains several allusions to Isaiah 14's denunciation and account of the downfall of the wicked king of Babylon (after all, Antiochus' kingdom did include Babylon), as has often been noted,6 it is nevertheless true that the main and most literal allusions are Greek -- as has been noted just as often. 7 Compare II Macc 9:8-12:
Thus he who had just been thinking that he could command the waves of the sea, in his superhuman arrogance, and imagining that he could weigh the high mountains in a balance, was brought down to earth and carried in a litter, making the power of God manifest to all"It is right to be subject to God, and, being a mortal (qnhto_n o!nta), not to think (fronei~n) oneself equal to God (i0so&qea)". (RSV, with some slight corrections in last ten words)
to Aeschylus, "Persians" 744-751 (Darius speaking, in reference to the famous story of Xerxes' attempt to make a canal across Athos and bridge the Hellespont -- Herodotus VII 22-24, 34-37):
A son of mine it was who, in his ignorance, brought these things to pass through youthful recklessness; for he conceived the hope that he could by shackles, as if it were a slave, restrain the current of the sacred HellespontMortal though he was (qnhto_j w@n), he thought in his folly that he would gain the mastery over all the gods" (trans. Smyth, Loeb Classical Library; cf. line 820: ou)x u(pe&rfeu qnhto_n o!nta xrh& fronei~n)
Nothing in the biblical echoes in this chapter comes this close. Moreover, note II Macc 5:21, which refers to Antiochus as having thought that he could sail on the land and walk on the sea. All in all, then, the Xerxes topos seems to have been much more prominent in our author's mind than was Isaiah's "King of Babylon"; and note that our author never even uses "Babylonia(n)" in connection with the Seleucids.
Nevertheless, there is one biblical passage which seems to underlie, in a fundamental way, II Maccabees' interpretation of the events it reports. To understand this, we must recall that II Maccabees deals with an episode of Jewish history during which the Jews suffered at the hands of a foreign king. As is usual in biblical historiography, there is a double explanation for this.8 On the one hand, the most basic explanation is that the Jews were being punished for their sins; this is a point the book's author makes very pedantically on several occasions, esp. 5:17-20; 6:12-16; 7:18,32; 10:4.
On the other hand, the king who punished the Jews, on God's behalf, was nevertheless wicked, and so -- after the Jews' atonement -- he too must be punished. This too is a point made quite clearly in the book. Namely, after the sins of ch. 4 are followed by the persecutions of chs. 5 and the first part of ch. 6, the Jewish response is characterized at length as one of martyrdom in the rest of ch. 6 and all of ch. 7, and then -- just as the martyrs in their speeches expressed the hope that due to their deaths God will be reconciled with the Jews (see esp. 7:38)9 -- in ch. 8 that is precisely what happens. Here, the turning-point of the whole book, at the beginning of its middle chapter, after Judas Maccabaeus and his men pray to God to consider all the catastrophes which had transpired, and to hearken to the blood of all those who had been killed, even innocent babies (see 6:10), we read that they indeed began to have success because "the wrath of God had turned (trapei/shj) to mercy" (8:5).10 Consequently, after ch. 8 displays that success, ch. 9 goes on to portray, with great detail and gusto, the chastisement and death of the persecutor, Antiochus Epiphanes.
This sin-punishment-reconciliation theme, which comes together with the punishment of the wicked persecutor who had been God's agent, seems to be inspired by one central biblical text: Deuteronomy 32. This is, indeed, the source of the only biblical verse formally quoted in II Maccabees. Namely, at 7:6 the first of the seven sons refers to "Moses' song which bore witness against the people" (see Deut 31:19,26) as the source of his confidence that God will eventually be reconciled (parakalei~tei) with his people, and then quotes the Septuagint version of its vs. 36, which says just that: "and (He) will paraklhqh&setai upon His servants".
But beyond this explicit citation of a single verse, anyone familiar with II Maccabees who reads Deut 32 will find it difficult, if not irresponsible, to avoid the conclusion that this song informed our author's thought very thoroughly. To summarize Deut 32 very briefly, what it claims is that Israel is God's own personal portion (vs. 9), but that when Israel sins God hides His face (v. 20), which allows for persecution (vv. 21-26); the persecutors, who lack understanding, think they are getting away with it on their own account, and therefore don't expect their own final fall (vv. 27-29); but when the people is finally humiliated and destitute God will turn around, have mercy upon His people (v. 36), and avenge His servants' blood upon the nations who were His erstwhile and unwitting agents (vv. 41-43). This is echoed quite precisely in the author's excursus at 5:17-20, where we read both of God's ignoring Israel for a while, due to its sins, and His eventual reconciliation with His people, just as the martyrs of ch. 7, especially the last two sons, emphasize both that Antiochus is God's agent, due to their sins, and that he too will be punished -- as indeed he is, in ch. 9. For Israel as God's own particular people, see also the author's other excursus (6:14-16), as well as the prayer at 14:15 (th~j e(autou~ meri/doj).
And compare Deut 32:25:
In the open the sword shall bereave, and in the chambers shall be terror, destroying both young man and virgin, the suckling child with the man of gray hairs. (RSV)
with II Macc 5:12-13, which just precedes the explicit theological excursus discussed above (ibid. vv. 17-20):
And he commanded his soldiers to cut down relentlessly every one they met and to slay those who went into the houses. Then there was killing of young and old, destruction of boys, women and children, and slaughter of virgins and infants. (RSV -- Hanhart et al. omit "boys")
This passage too seems clearly to indicate that our author had Deut 32 on his mind.
In particular, however, I would turn to Deut 32:36, the verse which is quoted in II Macc 7:6. The Hebrew reads Mxnty wydb( l(w. The verb is usually rendered "will have compassion" (NEB and RSV), "will take pity" (Jerusalem Bible) or the like, all going back to the Vulgate: "in servis suis miserebitur". But in fact it means "repent", "relent", "change his mind", as is especially shown by Num 23:19, where RSV offers "repent", NEB gives "change his mind" or (in a note) "feel regret", and the Jerusalem Bible -- "draw back". The Vulgate gives "mutetur", emphasizing, as the others, the notion of change. Why not translate like that at Deut 32:36 too? Thus, Rashi (ad loc.) simply notes that the verb means a change of thought from good to bad or bad to good, as ever the case may be. A mourner, for example, may agree to move from mourning to consolation, or, like Jacob, he may refuse Mxnthl (Gen 37:35).
The Vulgate translation in Deuteronomy, and the modern versions which follow it with "have compassion" and the like, thus turn out to be what I would call "second story translations", which, while beginning (on the "ground floor") with the recognition that the verb indicates a change, a turnabout, attempt to specify it by contrasting God's stance at this part of the verse with His judgemental stance (Nydy) at its outset. They specify that the move from judgment to its opposite is a move to compassion, which I suppose is true. But the basic sense of the verb, as we have seen, is "move to opposite", "repent", "relent" or the like; until now He has been judging them, now He will repent or relent and become reconciled with them. And it is precisely this translation of Mxnty which is reflected in the Septuagint translation, which is reproduced in II Macc 7:6, and which has been rendered "et pour ses serviteurs il se laissera fléchir";11 Cassell's French-English dictionary (s.v. fléchir) renders this combination as "relent", "give in", "consent".
Now, having established the basic meaning of Mxnty in Deut 32:36,12 we may return to II Maccabees. We have already noted that this verse is unique in II Maccabees insofar as it is the only biblical verse explicitly quoted. Now I would go on to note two other remarkable points in II Maccabees which seem to be relevant here. The first is that the Jews are called God's servants, dou~loi, only three times in the body of the book: in 7:6, where the first of the seven sons quotes our verse from Deuteronomy; in 7:33, where the last of the seven sons expresses the hope that God will soon be reconciled with his servants; and in 8:29, where Judas Maccabeus and his men pray to God, who had just given them their first victory, to become fully reconciled with His servants. Note well: in the only passages apart from 7:6 which call the Jews God's servants, the term comes along with the hope that He will become reconciled with them -- as does 7:6. This is remarkable.
Now, in both 7:33 and 8:29 the verb used is katalla&ssw. The other remarkable point we wish to underline is that katalla&ssw is quite prominent in II Maccabees but also quite unprecedented. Its prominence, first of all, is shown by the two passages just cited, which are very central, and especially by 5:20, where the author positively trumpets, at the end of his theological excursus, his confidence in God's future reconciliation (katallagh&) with his people. And it reappears in the first letter appended at the beginning of the book (1:5), where the Jews of Judaea express the hope that God will become reconciled with the addressees, the Jews of Egypt; the apparent thought is that the present book shows that He has already become reconciled with the authors, the Jews of Judaea. While this does not mean the letter is part and parcel of the book, it does indicate that whoever wrote this letter noticed, as we have, the importance of this theme.13
This prominence of katalla&ssw and cognate terminology in II Maccabees, which has been noted by various scholars,14 is complemented by its lack of precedent. As especially the latter two scholars have shown, use of this verb for conciliation with God is quite rare in literature prior to the first century CE, where it appears in Josephus and especially in the New Testament. But here we have it three times in the book and once in the accompanying letter. As far as I know, no one has suggested where it came from. But once the question is asked, the answer seems obvious. The fact that it comes twice in connection with "upon His servants", including once bracketing a chapter of which the first bracket (7:6) explicitly quotes Deut 32:36, seems, in my opinion, to point clearly to that verse as the answer. That is, katalla&ssw is our author's translation of Mxnthl. While for the formal quotation in 7:6 the Septuagint version was used, for some reason or other,15 in his own prose our author preferred katalla&ssw, which is much less ambiguous.16
Thus, although II Maccabees is still quite definitely a Hellenistic work and very different from biblical historiography, and although many or most of its biblical allusions -- whatever they may indicate about the author's education and world of associations -- are fairly inconsequential, we would suggest that at the most basic level its understanding of history seems to have been informed by a central biblical chapter -- Deut 32. Add to this the oft-noted fact that God, as in biblical historiography, is very obviously and even sensationally involved in the story of II Maccabees, in contrast to that of I Maccabees, and perhaps we will have successfully imported some balance, or confusion, into the simple dichotomy with which we began this paper.
* This paper was written during the year I spent as a fellow at Hebrew University's Institute of Advanced Studies, working on a Hebrew translation and commentary on II Maccabees. My thanks to Professors Uriel Rappaport and Israel Shatzman, who invited me to their group at the Institute, and to the Institute's staff, for making it such a pleasant year. My thanks also to Prof. Rappaport, and to Prof. Tessa Rajak, for their comments on a draft of this paper. [Back to text]
1 My translation from C. L. W. Grimm, Das erste Buch der Maccabäer (Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch zu den Apokryphen des Alten Testamentes, 3; Leipzig: Hirzel, 1853), pp. xvii-xviii. [Back to text]
2 Such as D. Arenhoevel, Die Theokratie nach dem 1. und 2. Makkabäerbuch (Walberberger Studien, 3; Mainz: Matthias Grünewald, 1967), pp. 34-40. For recent studies which emphasize, as we have, the relative absence of God in I Maccabees, see D. Gera, "The Battle of Beth Zachariah and Greek Literature", The Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman World: Studies in Memory of Menahem Stern (edd. I. M. Gafni, A. Oppenheimer & D. R. Schwartz; Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1996), pp. 49-50 (in Hebrew), and U. Rappaport's contribution to the present collection. [Back to text]
3 F.-M. Abel, Les livres des Maccabées (Études bibliques; Paris: Gabalda, 1949), p. 161. Concerning Josephus, it has recently been noted that he played down God's role even more than the author of I Maccabees did, as part of his general attempt to enhance the roles of his heroes; see L. H. Feldman, "Josephus' Portrayal of the Hasmoneans Compared with I Maccabees", Josephus and the History of the Greco-Roman Period: Essays in Memory of Morton Smith (Studia Post-Biblica. 41, edd. F. Parente and J. Sievers), Leiden: Brill, 1994, pp. 63-65 = idem, Studies in Hellenistic Judaism (Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums, 30; Leiden: Brill, 1996), pp. 159-160. No one should expect consistency in such matters. [Back to text]
4 It is "heute fast allgemein anerkannt" that these letters are not part of Jason of Cyrene's original work (C. Habicht, 2. Makkabäerbuch (Jüdische Schriften aus hellenistisch-römischer Zeit I/3 [Gütersloh: Mohn, 1979], p. 199, with copious bibliography). Nor do they seem to have been part of the original epitome, the preface of which begins after the second letter (2:19ff.). Rather, they seem to have been added to the existing epitome. See R. Doran, Temple Propaganda: The Purpose and Character of 2 Maccabees (Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series, 12; Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association, 1981), pp. 3-12; although he emphasizes the compatability of the letters and the epitome, he shows well that they are distinct from it and of different authorship. [Back to text]
5 II Kings 6:17 and II Macc 10:29 (e)fa&nhsan toi~j u(penanti/oij). The motif of miracles unseen by their Jewish beneficiaries recurs elsewhere in II Maccabees (3:25,26,33; cf. 9:5) and other books, such as III Macc 6:18, Mark 1:10-11 (contrast Matthew 3:16 and its witnesses), and seems to result from the author's need to allay the doubts of such Jews who had not heard about these miracles. [Back to text]
6 Compare especially the descriptions of vainglory in II Macc 9:8,10 and Isa 14:13-14, the worms of II Macc 9:9 and those of Isa 14:11, the self-comparison to God in II Macc 9:12 and that of Isa 14:14, and the denial of proper burial in II Macc 9:28-29 and that in Isa 14:18-20. See the commentaries ad loc. and G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism (Harvard Theological Studies, 26; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard, 1972), p. 79. For Antiochus not only as king of Babylon but even its "founder", see Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae (ed. Dittenberger) I, no. 253 and O. Mørkholm, Antiochus IV of Syria (Classica et Mediaevalia, Dissertationes 8; København: Gyldendalske - Nordisk, 1966), pp. 100, 117-118. As for other eastern influences on II Macc 9, see Nickelsburg, pp. 79-80 and D. Mendels, "A Note on the Tradition of Antiochus IV's Death", Israel Exploration Journal 31 (1981), pp. 53-56. [Back to text]
7 On the text here, see Habicht (n. 4) ad loc. The coming parallel in Aeschylus, and others, was noted by Grimm, Abel, Goldstein et al. [Back to text]
8 For this notion in ancient and biblical thought, see especially I. L. Seeligmann, "Menschliches Heldentum und gottliche Hilfe: Die doppelte Kausalitat im alttestamentlichen Geschichtsdenken", Theologische Zeitschrift 19 (1963), pp. 385fi411. There is a bit of a discussion of I Maccabees on pp. 400fi401, but none of II Maccabees. For a Hebrew version of Seeligmann's paper, see his Studies in Biblical Literature (edd. A. Hurvitz, S. Japhet and E. Tov; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1992), pp. 62-81 (p. 73 on I Macc). [Back to text]
9 Abel's literal "Puisse enfin en moi et en mes frères s'arrêter la colère du Tout-Puissant" captures best the instrumental meaning of the preposition (e)n e)moi\ de_ kai\ toi~j a)delfoi~j mou), somewhat obscured by such translations as "mit mir" (Habicht), "with me" (Goldstein), "bei mir" (U. Kellermann, Auferstanden in den Himmel: 2 Makkabaer 7 und die Auferstehung der Martyrer [Stuttgarter Bibelstudien 95; Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1979], p. 32). These latter translations seem more appropriate for a scene such as that of Num 16:47-48 (Hebrew 17:12-13), where the divine wrath kills up to a certain point and then stops. But in that case another instrument is mentioned: Aaron's incense. Similarly, here the martyrs' deaths are the instrument which causes the end of God's wrath upon Israel. In his note t ad loc Kellermann does refer to his discussion on pp. 12-13, n. 16, where, quite properly, he points up the intercessionary atoning function of the martyrs' deaths according to this chapter. [Back to text]
10 By way of comparison, note that while both Daniel (11:33ff.) and I Maccabees have salvation following martyrdom, in neither case does the death of martyrs cause a divine turnabout. In Daniel everything is part of one fixed plan, divided up according to different "times", so there is no room for a turnabout, and in I Macc 3:8 it is Judas Maccabaeus who turns away the divine "wrath" evidenced by the persecution of the martyrs (1:64). In II Maccabees, Judas and his men call God's attention to the martyrs' deaths, and He consequently relents. [Back to text]
11 C. Dogniez & M. Harl, La Bible d'Alexandrie: Le Deuteronome (Paris: Cerf, 1992), p. 338. [Back to text]
12 Although one should note that ancient translations and modern scholarship have raised several other possibilities, which I hope to deal with in a paper at a University of Haifa conference on ancient biblical interpretation (spring 1997). See, for example, S. Morag, "`Layers of Antiquity': Some Linguistic Observations on the Oracles of Balaam", Tarbiz Jubilee Volume (vol. 50 [1980/81]), p. 22, n. 76 (in Hebrew), and A. B. Ehrlich, Randglossen zur hebräischen Bibel, II (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1909), p. 345. [Back to text]
13 See esp. Doran (above, n. 4), p. 5. [Back to text]
14 Including Doran, ibid.; C. Spicq, Notes de lexicographie neo-testamentaire, I (Fribourg, Suisse: Universitaires, & Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1978), p. 409; I. H. Marshall, Jesus the Saviour: Studies in New Testament Theology (London: SPCK, 1990), pp. 261-262 (article originally published in 1978); and S. E. Porter,Katalla&ssw in Ancient Greek Literature, with Reference to the Pauline Writings (Estudios de Filologia neotestamentaria, 5; Cordoba: El Almendro, 1994), pp. 60-62. [Back to text]
15 At first I supposed that the author of II Macc 7 in fact used katalla&ssw in vs. 6 too, but that it was replaced by a scribe loyal to Septuagint usage. But there is no evidence for that, and the use of parakalei~tai in 7:6 seems to guarantee the quotation's text as we have it (unless, of course, one would speculate that the Septuagintalizing scribe changed it too). Perhaps we should rather assume -- as Prof. Tessa Rajak urges me -- that the author of II Maccabees himself felt bound by the Septuagint when directly quoting the Bible. At 10:26 too the allusion conforms precisely -- again without variants -- to that of the Septuagint (Exod 23:33). [Back to text]
16 And parakale_w and related terminology is anyway overworked in II Macc 7, in a variety of senses; see vv. 5, 6, 21, 24. [Back to text]
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