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Why did Antiochus have to fall (II Maccabees 9:7)?

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Chapter Summary

The author of II Maccabees so much enjoys telling about Antiochus' suffering -which he uses as an occasion to write a long parody of a royal letter - which it could be that he doubled it just to have more fun; having first stuck the knife in, he enjoyed turning it around. However, this would seem not to be enough, for other ancient Jews with similar animus and motivations were, one after the other, willing to settle for illness and saw no need to add in any bone-breaking falling. The statement in II Maccabees 9:8, that Antiochus "had thought, in superhuman vainglory, to give orders to the ocean's waves," corresponds to that in 5:21 about his having thought to make the land navigable and the sea walkable, and both, of course, point us to Herodotus' famous description of Xerxes.

Keywords: ancient Jews; Antiochus' suffering; Herodotus; II Maccabees



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