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PTOLEMY IX. (surnamed Euergetes II.; known also as Ptolemy VII., but more commonly as Physcon):

King of Egypt from 146 to 117 B.C. After the death of Ptolemy Philometor, his brother, Euergetes II., tried to overthrow his widow and successor, Cleopatra, whose army was commanded by the Jewish general Onias (Josephus, "Contra Ap." ii., § 5). In this connection Josephus deals with the captivity and the rescue of the Jews in Alexandria which, on the strength of the Third Book of Maccabees, are assigned to the reign of Ptolemy IV. Since the Jews were persecuted by Ptolemy IX. not for their religion but on account of their political position, the matter is of little importance; and with the establishment of order, peace was doubtless restored to the life of the Jews also.

Willrich ("Juden und Griechen vor der Makkabäischen Erhebung," pp. 142-153) gives some reasons which make Ptolemy IX. appear in the light of a friend to the Jews. The grandson of Jesus b. Sira went to Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of Euergetes (the king reckoned his reign from the year 170) and found leisure there to translate the book Ecclesiasticus (Sirach). This king is probably identical with the seventh king of Egypt of Hellenic stock, who is mentioned three times in the Sibyllines (iii. 191, 318, 608).

From 117 B.C. onward, Cleopatra III. reigned with her sons, Philometor (Soter II.) or Lathyrus and Ptolemy Alexander (117-81). An account of the wars of Lathyrus on Palestinian soil may be found in the history of the Jewish princes Hyrcanus I. and Alexander Jannæus (see also Cyprus).

G. S. Kr.
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