And they that understand among the people shall instruct many,
&c.] Such as had a better understanding of divine things than others, had more light and knowledge in the sacred Scriptures, in the law of God, and in his mind and will, and were capable of teaching others; and such as these the Lord raises up among his people in the worst of times, in the times of the greatest apostasy and declension; and these are enabled to perform their duty, to instruct the people in theirs, teach them what they should do, and how they should behave; exhort them to retain the doctrines and ordinances of their holy religion, and not embrace the doctrines and inventions of men, will worship, superstition, and idolatry; and so they instructed the ignorant, strengthened the weak, and established the wavering; such were Mattathias the priest of Modin, and Eleazar, one of the chief scribes, in the Apocrypha:
``In those days arose Mattathias the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin.'' (1 Maccabees 2:1)
``Eleazar, one of the principal scribes, an aged man, and of a well favoured countenance, was constrained to open his mouth, and to eat swine's flesh.'' (2 Maccabees 6:18)Auk applies this to the times of the apostles, who he thinks are here meant; so Sir Isaac Newton: yet they shall fall by the sword;
by the sword of Antiochus and his soldiers; as multitudes of the Jews did, even both the instructors and the instructed, who would not comply with his orders: and by flame;
some were burnt alive in caves, where they fled for shelter; and others as the mother and her seven sons, were cast into heated caldrons of brass; in the Apocrypha: ``And others, that had run together into caves near by, to keep the sabbath day secretly, being discovered by Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a conscience to help themselves for the honour of the most sacred day.'' (2 Maccabees 6:11) ``3 Then the king, being in a rage, commanded pans and caldrons to be made hot: 4 Which forthwith being heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him that spake first, and to cut off the utmost parts of his body, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on. 5 Now when he was thus maimed in all his members, he commanded him being yet alive to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan: and as the vapour of the pan was for a good space dispersed, they exhorted one another with the mother to die manfully, saying thus,'' (2 Maccabees 7) by captivity;
so it is expressly said of Antiochus, that he carried captive women and children and at another time ordered the women and children to be sold for slaves, in the Apocrypha: ``Insomuch that the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled because of them: whereupon the city was made an habitation of strangers, and became strange to those that were born in her; and her own children left her.'' (1 Maccabees 1:38) ``He sent also that detestable ringleader Apollonius with an army of two and twenty thousand, commanding him to slay all those that were in their best age, and to sell the women and the younger sort:'' (2 Maccabees 5:24) and by spoil many days;
being plundered of their substance, their houses rifled, and their goods carried away; and this distress lasted "days", a short time only; Josephus F11 reckons it at three years and a half. All this Cocceius interprets of the persecutions of the Christians by the Romans; and likewise Sir Isaac Newton.
F11 De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 1. sect. 7.