2 Maccabees chapter 11

Victory over Lysias. They make a treaty with Lysias.





VERSE 1. Now after a very little time, Lysias, the king’s guardian, kinsman, and chancellor, being very displeased about the things that had happened,


VERSE 2. collected about eighty thousand infantry and all his cavalry and came against the Jews, planing to make the city a home for Greeks,

eighty thousand infantry. This is a formidable army.

came against the Jews. In the course of world history, an evil antisemitic agenda repeats over and over again. In our day, professing Christians are often the worst of the worst when it comes to Antisemitism. Read more »


VERSE 3. and to levy tribute on the temple, as on the other sacred places of the nations, and to put up the high priesthood for sale every year.

on the other sacred places of the nations. Or “on all the sacred places of the heathen.”


VERSE 4. He took no account of God’s power, but was puffed up with his ten thousands of infantry, his thousands of cavalry, and his eighty elephants.

NAB translation. He did not take God’s power into account at all, but felt exultant confidence in his myriads of foot soldiers, his thousands of horsemen, and his eighty elephants.”

Lysias was filled with an exaggerated sense of his own power, but had no regard for the power of God.

Some people have the reverse problem. They have a great sense of the power of the LORD God. But they do not believe in their own capabilities at all.

his eighty elephants. This is unexpected. How did they get elephants?


VERSE 5. Coming into Judea and approaching Bethsuron, which was a strong place and about five stadia away from Jerusalem, he pressed it hard.

five stadia. One stadia was roughly 189 meters or 618 feet. So five stadia was about a little less than 1  km, or a little more than half a mile.


VERSE 6. When Maccabaeus and his men learned that he was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people with lamentations and tears made supplication to the Lord to send a good angel to save Israel.

NAB translation. When Maccabeus and his men learned that Lysias was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people begged the Lord with lamentations and tears to send a good angel to save Israel.

to send a good angel. At this point in the biblical narrative, it seems most Jewish people believed in angels.

They ask for a “good” angel. The existence of “good” angels implies the existence of “bad” angels.


VERSE 7. Maccabaeus himself took up weapons first, and exhorted the others to put themselves in jeopardy together with him and help their kindred; and they went out with him very willingly.


VERSE 8. As they were there, close to Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head in white apparel, brandishing weapons of gold.

NAB translation. Suddenly, while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white garments and brandishing gold weapons.

brandishing. In Greek, “panoply.”

a horseman appeared at their head in white. Horses and chariots appear in the Old Testament. They are not a natural phenomenon of the time-space continuum. What are they? Read more »


VERSE 9. They all together praised the merciful God, and were yet more strengthened in heart, being ready to assail not only men but the wildest animals and walls of iron,

NAB translation. Then all of them together thanked God for his mercy, and their hearts were filled with such courage that they were ready to assault not only men, but the most savage beasts, yes, even walls of iron.

One single angel is manifested. Look at the great impact the angel has on the morale of the nation!

assail. In Greek, “wound.”


VERSE 10. they advanced in array, having him who is in heaven to fight on their side, for the Lord had mercy on them.


VERSE 11. Hurling themselves like lions against the enemy, they killed eleven thousand infantry and one thousand six hundred cavalry, and forced all the rest to flee.


VERSE 12. Most of them escaped wounded and naked. Lysias himself also escaped by shameful flight.




VERSE 13. But as he was a man not void of understanding, pondering the defeat which had befallen him, and considering that the Hebrews could not be overcome because the Almighty God fought on their side, he sent again

he was a man not void of understanding. Lysias was not stupid. He reflected on the defeat he had suffered, and came to realize that the Hebrews were invincible because the mighty LORD God was their ally.


VERSE 14. and persuaded them to come to terms on condition that all their rights were acknowledged, and promised that he would also persuade the king to become their friend.

promised that he would also persuade the king to become their friend. The Greek text here is corrupt.


VERSE 15. Maccabaeus gave consent upon all the conditions which Lysias proposed to him, being careful of the common good; for whatever requests Maccabaeus delivered in writing to Lysias concerning the Jews the king allowed.

NAB translation. But Judas and his men invoked the aid of the great Sovereign of the world, who, in the day of Joshua, overthrew Jericho without battering-ram or siege machine; then they furiously stormed the ramparts.


VERSE 16. The letter written to the Jews from Lysias was to this effect: “Lysias to the people of the Jews, greetings.

NAB translation. Capturing the city by the will of God, they inflicted such indescribable slaughter on it that the adjacent pool, which was about a quarter of a mile wide, seemed to be filled with the blood that flowed into it.

people. In Greek, “multitude.”


VERSE 17. John and Absalom, who were sent from you, having delivered the document written below, made request concerning the things written therein.


VERSE 18. Whatever things therefore needed to be brought before the king I declared to him, and what things were possible he allowed.


VERSE 19. If then you will all preserve your good will toward the government, I will also endeavor in the future to contribute to your good.


VERSE 20. Concerning this, I have given order in detail, both to these men and to those who are sent from me, to confer with you.


VERSE 21. Farewell. Written in the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the twenty-fourth day of the month Dioscorinthius.”

the month Dioscorinthius. This month name is not found elsewhere, and is perhaps corrupt.


VERSE 22. And the king’s letter contained these words: “King Antiochus to his brother Lysias, greetings.


VERSE 23. Seeing that our father passed to the gods having the wish that the subjects of his kingdom should be undisturbed and give themselves to the care of their own affairs,

should be undisturbed and. Or “should not be disquieted but.”


VERSE 24. we, having heard that the Jews do not consent to our father’s purpose to turn them to the customs of the Greeks, but choose rather their own way of living, and make request that the customs of their law be allowed to them—


VERSE 25. choosing therefore that this nation also should be free from disturbance, we determine that their temple is to be restored to them, and that they live according to the customs that were in the days of their ancestors.

their temple is to be restored to them. Hurray!

live according to the customs that were in the days of their ancestors. Hurray!


VERSE 26. You will therefore do well to send messengers to them and give them the right hand of friendship, that they, knowing our mind, may be of good heart, and gladly occupy themselves with the conduct of their own affairs.”


VERSE 27. And to the nation, the king’s letter was as follows: “King Antiochus to the senate of the Jews and to the other Jews, greetings.


VERSE 28. If you are all well, it is as we desire. We ourselves also are in good health.


VERSE 29. Menelaus informed us that your desire was to return home and follow your own business.


VERSE 30. They therefore who depart home up to the thirtieth day of Xanthicus shall have our friendship, with full permission

our friendship. In Greek, our “right hand.”


VERSE 31. that the Jews use their own foods and observe their own laws, even as formerly. None of them shall be in any way molested for the things that have been done in ignorance.


VERSE 32. Moreover I have sent Menelaus also, that he may encourage you.


VERSE 33. Farewell. Written in the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the fifteenth day of Xanthicus.”


VERSE 34. The Romans also sent to them a letter in these words: “Quintus Memmius and Titus Manius, ambassadors of the Romans, to the people of the Jews, greetings.

The Romans. The evil Roman Empire gets involved.


VERSE 35. In regard to the things which Lysias the king’s kinsman granted you, we also give consent.

we also give consent. They do not have authority over Israel. This is not their decision.

But they act as though they are important decision-makers.


VERSE 36. But as for the things which he judged should be referred to the king, send someone promptly, after you have considered them, that we may publish such decrees as are appropriate for your case; for we are on our way to Antioch.


VERSE 37. Therefore send someone with speed, that we also may learn what is your mind.


VERSE 38. Farewell. Written in the one hundred forty-eighth year, on the fifteenth day of Xanthicus.

Farewell. In Greek, “Be in good health.”


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

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