The Maccabean dynasty had now reached the zenith of its prosperity, and in its reigning representative, who alone in the history of Judaism possessed the triple offices of prophet, priest and king, the Pharisaic party had come to recognize the actual Messiah.
This second writer singles out three of the Maccabean priest kings for attack, the first of whom he charges with every abomination; the people itself, he declares, is apostate, and chastisement will follow speedily - the temple will be laid waste, the nation carried afresh into captivity, whence, on their repentance, God will restore them again to their own land, where they shall enjoy the blessedness of God's presence and be ruled by a Messiah sprung from Judah.
That the Maccabean high-priests are here designed cannot be reasonably doubted.
Now the Maccabean high-priests were the first to assume the title ` priests of the Most High God ' - the title anciently borne by Melchizedek.
But the praises accorded in this book could not apply to all the Maccabean priest-kings of the nation.