|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:31-45 The remainder of this prophecy is very difficult, and commentators differ much respecting it. From Antiochus the account seems to pass to antichrist. Reference seems to be made to the Roman empire, the fourth monarchy, in its pagan, early Christian, and papal states. The end of the Lord's anger against his people approaches, as well as the end of his patience towards his enemies. If we would escape the ruin of the infidel, the idolater, the superstitious and cruel persecutor, as well as that of the profane, let us make the oracles of God our standard of truth and of duty, the foundation of our hope, and the light of our paths through this dark world, to the glorious inheritance above.
Verse 32. - And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. The LXX. translates, "And by sins of the covenant shall they defile themselves with a hard people, and the people knowing these things shall have the mastery and do (exploits)." The מ, the preformative of the participle hiphil, has been taken for the preposition מִן. written defectively, and probably בִּלְ לֺאם קָשֵׁה for בַּחֲלַקֹת. Theodotion does not require special notice, as his version here agrees closely with the Massoretic. The Peshitta is somewhat shorter and having a different significance, "And those who transgress against the covenant he shall condemn them. And the people who know the fear shall be strong." The Vulgate rendering is, "And the impious against the covenant shall feign falsely (simulabunt fraudu-lenter), but the people knowing their God shall possess and do (exploits)." Men like Alcimus, the high priest after Menelaus, were transgressors of the sacred covenant, and were corrupted by the flatteries of Epiphanes. He used them to gain the people over to his views. But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. Even when Epiphanes seemed most nearly successful, there was a deep-seated opposition to this Hellenizing process. Especially prominent were those who were zealous for the Law, the Hasidim, or, to give them the name they have in the Book of Maccabees, the Assidseans. These religionists, headed by Mattathias and his sons, especially by the heroic Judas Maccabaeus, certainly knew their God, and as certainly did exploits.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall be corrupted by flatteries,.... That forsook the law of God, the book of the covenant, and did things contrary to it; and particularly violated the covenant of circumcision, drawing on the foreskin, and becoming uncircumcised; as well as rejected other ordinances of religious worship the Jews by covenant were obliged to observe: these apostates Antiochus corrupted by good words and fair speeches, by gifts and presents; and they became his tools, to do his pleasure, and were his instruments to seduce the Jews to renounce their religion, and give in to his idolatry; such as Jason, Menelaus, and others; in the Apocrypha:
"Now when the kingdom was established before Antiochus, he thought to reign over Egypt that he might have the dominion of two realms.'' (1 Maccabees 1:16)
"Now such was the height of Greek fashions, and increase of heathenish manners, through the exceeding profaneness of Jason, that ungodly wretch, and no high priest;'' (2 Maccabees 4:13)
"Yet was he not content with this, but presumed to go into the most holy temple of all the world; Menelaus, that traitor to the laws, and to his own country, being his guide:'' (2 Maccabees 5:15)
"But they that had the charge of that wicked feast, for the old acquaintance they had with the man, taking him aside, besought him to bring flesh of his own provision, such as was lawful for him to use, and make as if he did eat of the flesh taken from the sacrifice commanded by the king;'' (2 Maccabees 6:21)
but the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits; such who knew the Lord God of Israel to be the true God, and owned and acknowledged him as such; and not only professed him, but served and worshipped him, having a spiritual knowledge of him, and communion with him; and therefore could not be drawn off from him and his worship by flatteries or frowns, by promises or menaces: these were strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; they held fast their religion, and the profession of it, and were proof against all allurements or threatenings, and endured racks and tortures, all sorts of punishment, and death in every shape, with the greatest constancy and courage; such as Eleazar, the mother and her seven sons, and others; as well as others did many valiant actions in the defence of themselves and country, as Mattathias, Judas Maccabaeus, and his brethren; to which heroic actions the apostle refers in Hebrews 11:34, so Josephus (i) says,
"that many of the Jews indeed, some willingly, and others through fear of punishment, obeyed the king's commands; but the more approved, and those of generous minds, had a greater regard to the customs of their country than to the punishment threatened to the disobedient; and for this being continually harassed, and enduring grievous punishments, died; some were scourged, and their bodies mutilated, and being yet alive and breathing, were crucified; women and their children, whom they crucified, were by the king's orders strangled, and hanged about the necks of their parents that were crucified;''
In the Apocrypha:
"60 At which time according to the commandment they put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised. 61 And they hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them. 62 Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing. 63 Wherefore the rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant: so then they died. 64 And there was very great wrath upon Israel.'' (1 Maccabees 1)
(i) Antiqu. l. 12. c. 5. sect. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
32. (1 Maccabees 1:52).
corrupt—seduce to apostasy.
by flatteries—promises of favor.
people that … know their God—the Maccabees and their followers (1 Maccabees 1:62, 63).
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