Antiochus Eupator invades Judea. Menelaus is executed. Judas Maccabeus responds. Antiochus Eupator ceases his attack.
VERSE 1. In the one hundred forty-ninth year, news was brought to Judas and his company that Antiochus Eupator was coming with multitudes against Judea,
the one hundred forty-ninth year. That is, 163 to 162 BC.
VERSE 2. and with him Lysias his guardian and chancellor, each having a Greek force of one hundred ten thousand infantry, five thousand three hundred cavalry, twenty-two elephants, and three hundred chariots armed with scythes.
one hundred ten thousand infantry. This is a massive army.
twenty-two elephants. This is unexpected. How did they get elephants?
VERSE 3. And Menelaus also joined himself with them, and with great hypocrisy encouraged Antiochus, not for the saving of his country, but because he thought that he would be set over the government.
NAB translation. Menelaus also joined them, and with great duplicity kept urging Antiochus on, not for the welfare of his country, but in the hope of being established in office.”
Leaders often urge their people to do projects, not because the projects are great, but because the project will further the hidden agenda of the leader.
This is often true even of Christian leaders.
VERSE 4. But the King of kings stirred up the anger of Antiochus against the wicked wretch. When Lysias informed him that this man was the cause of all the evils, the king commanded to bring him to Beroea, and to put him to death in the way customary in that place.
the King of kings. That is, the LORD God.
VERSE 5. Now there is in that place a tower that is fifty cubits high, full of ashes, and it had all around it a circular rim sloping steeply on every side into the ashes.
circular rim. In Greek, “contrivance” or “machine.”
VERSE 6. Here one who is guilty of sacrilege or notorious for other crimes is pushed down to destruction.
VERSE 7. By such a fate it happened that the breaker of the law, Menelaus, died, without obtaining so much as a grave in the earth, and that justly;
VERSE 8. for inasmuch as he had perpetrated many sins against the altar, whose fire and whose ashes were holy, he received his death in ashes.
many sins against the altar. In Greek, “many sins about the altar.”
VERSE 9. Now the king, infuriated in spirit, was coming with intent to inflict on the Jews the very worst of the sufferings that had been done in his father’s time.
infuriated. Some authorities read “indignant.”
VERSE 10. But when Judas heard of these things, he commanded the multitude to call upon the Lord day and night, if ever at any other time, so now to help those who were at the point of being deprived of the law, their country, and the holy temple,
NAB translation. When Judas learned of this, he urged the people to call upon the LORD night and day, to help them now, if ever …
call upon the Lord day and night. Judas Maccabees calls his nation to spiritual warfare. They fast and pray continually to the LORD God.
VERSE 11. and not to allow the people who had just begun to be revived to fall into the hands of those profane heathen.
VERSE 12. So when they had all done the same thing together, begging the merciful Lord with weeping and fastings and prostration for three days without ceasing, Judas exhorted them and commanded they should join him.
NAB translation. When they had all joined in doing this, and had implored the merciful LORD continuously with weeping and fasting and prostrations for three days …
three days without ceasing. Judas Maccabees calls his nation to spiritual warfare. They fast and pray continually to the LORD God for three days.
begging. In Greek, “implored.”
VERSE 13. Having consulted privately with the elders, he resolved that before the king’s army entered into Judea and made themselves masters of the city, they should go out and decide the matter by the help of God.
God. Some authorities read “the Lord.”
VERSE 14. And committing the decision to the Lord of the world, and exhorting those who were with him to contend nobly even to death for laws, temple, city, country, and way of life, he pitched his camp by Modin.
Lord of the world. Some authorities read “Creator.”
VERSE 15. He gave out to his men the watchword, “VICTORY IS GOD’S”, with a chosen force of the bravest young men he attacked by the king’s pavilion by night, and killed of his army as many as two thousand men, and brought down the leading elephant with him who was in the tower on him.
VICTORY IS GOD’S. Judas Maccabees summons the people to battle with this beautiful phrase.
brought down the leading elephant with him. The Greek text here is probably corrupt.
the tower. In Greek, “house.”
the army. In Greek, the “camp.”
VERSE 17. This had been accomplished when the day was just dawning, because of the Lord’s protection that gave Judas help.
Judas. In Greek, “him.”
VERSE 18. But the king, having had a taste of the exceeding boldness of the Jews, made strategic attacks on their positions,
the exceeding boldness of the Jews. The Jewish people are heroes of courage.
When we walk with the LORD God, we can overcome our fears and be bold. As bold as a lion! Read more »
VERSE 19. and on a strong fortress of the Jews at Bethsura. He advanced, was turned back, failed, and was defeated.
VERSE 20. Judas sent the things that were necessary to those who were within.
VERSE 21. But Rhodocus, from the Jewish ranks, made secrets known to the enemy. He was sought out, arrested, and shut up in prison.
VERSE 22. The king negotiated with them in Bethsura the second time, gave his hand, took theirs, departed, attacked the forces of Judas, was put to the worse,
VERSE 23. heard that Philip who had been left as chancellor in Antioch had become reckless, was confounded, made to the Jews an overture of peace, submitted himself and swore to acknowledge all their rights, came to terms with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and the place,
VERSE 24. showed kindness and graciously received Maccabaeus, left Hegemonides governor from Ptolemais even to the Gerrenians,
the Gerrenians. The form of this word is uncertain. It could also be Girzites, Gizrites, or Gerarenes.
VERSE 25. and came to Ptolemais. The men of Ptolemais were displeased at the treaty, for they had exceedingly great indignation against the Jews. They desired to annul the articles of the agreement.
VERSE 26. Lysias came forward to speak, made the best defense that was possible, persuaded, pacified, gained their good will, and departed to Antioch. This was the issue of the attack and departure of the king.
came forward to speak. In Greek, “came forward to the tribune or judgment seat.”
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.