2 Maccabees chapter 5

Sedition and death of Jason. Jerusalem is ravaged.





VERSE 1. Now about this time Antiochus made his second invasion into Egypt.

second invasion into Egypt. This was in 168 BC.


VERSE 2. It happened that throughout all the city, for almost forty days, cavalry appeared in the midst of the sky in swift motion, wearing robes woven with gold and carrying spears, equipped with troops for battle—

NAB translation. It then happened that all over the city, for nearly forty days, there appeared horsemen, clothed in garments of a golden weave, charging in midair—companies fully armed with lances and drawn swords;

in the midst of the sky. That is, “in midair.”

These horsemen in the sky are appearing to people everywhere. We imagine they are angels.

The angels of God are made visible! They are doing combat against the spiritual forces of evil in the invisible realm.


VERSE 3. drawing swords, squadrons of cavalry in array, encounters and pursuits of both armies, shaking shields, multitudes of lances, throwing of missiles, flashing of golden trappings, and putting on all sorts of armor.

NAB translation. squadrons of cavalry in battle array, charges and countercharges on this side and that, with brandished shields and bristling spears, flights of arrows and flashes of gold ornaments, together with armor of every sort.

The angels of God are made visible! They are doing combat against the spiritual forces of evil in the invisible realm.


VERSE 4. Therefore everyone prayed that the manifestation might have been given for good.

the manifestation. This army is a heavenly manifestation.


VERSE 5. When a false rumor had arisen that Antiochus was dead, Jason took not less than a thousand men, and suddenly made an assault upon the city. When those who were on the wall were being routed, and the city was at length nearly taken, Menelaus took refuge in the citadel.


VERSE 6. But Jason slaughtered his own citizens without mercy, not considering that good success against kinsmen is the greatest misfortune, but supposing himself to be setting up trophies over enemies, and not over fellow-countrymen.

NAB translation. Jason then slaughtered his fellow citizens without mercy, not realizing that triumph over one’s own kindred was the greatest failure, but imagining that he was winning a victory over his enemies, not his fellow countrymen.

triumph over one’s own kindred was the greatest failure. This is where many Catholics have been for decades. And it is where politicians are at in the U.S.

For decades, Catholics wanted to demolish other Catholics who saw things differently:

  • Catholic conservatives attacked Catholic liberals
  • Catholic liberals attacked Catholic conservatives

Their in-fighting only helped to demolish the entire church.


VERSE 7. He didn’t win control of the government, but receiving shame as the result of his conspiracy, he fled again as a fugitive into the country of the Ammonites.


VERSE 8. At last therefore he met with a miserable end. Having been imprisoned at the court of Aretas the prince of the Arabians, fleeing from city to city, pursued by all men, hated as an rebel against the laws, and abhorred as the executioner of his country and his fellow citizens, he was cast ashore in Egypt.

Aretas the prince of the Arabians. This is Aretas, Harith I, king of the Nabateans.


VERSE 9. He who had driven many from their own country into exile perished in exile, having crossed the sea to the Lacedaemonians, hoping to find shelter there because they were near of kin.

Lacedaemonians. They were Spartans, in Greece.


VERSE 10. He who had thrown out a multitude unburied had none to mourn for him. He didn’t have any funeral at all and no place in the tomb of his ancestors.




VERSE 11. Now when news came to the king concerning that which was done, he thought that Judea was in revolt. So, setting out from Egypt in a rage, he took the city by force of weapons,

in a rage. That is, “raging like a wild animal” (NAB translation).


VERSE 12. and commanded his soldiers to cut down without mercy those who came in their way, and to kill those who went into their houses.


VERSE 13. Then there was killing of young and old, destruction of boys, women, and children, and slaying of virgins and infants.

This is a slaughter.


VERSE 14. In a total of three days, eighty thousand were destroyed, of which forty thousand were slain in close combat, and no fewer were sold into slavery than slain.


VERSE 15. Not content with this, he presumed to enter into the most holy temple of all the earth, having Menelaus for his guide (who had proved himself a traitor both to the laws and to his country),

enter into the most holy temple. Gentiles were forbidden to enter the most sacred parts of the temple complex.

having Menelaus for his guide. Menelaus was the high priest. He knew better than to do this.


VERSE 16. even taking the sacred vessels with his polluted hands, and dragging down with his profane hands the offerings that had been dedicated by other kings to enhance the glory and honor of the place.

taking the sacred vessels with his polluted hands. A Gentile could not handle the sacred vessels.


VERSE 17. Antiochus was lifted up in mind, not seeing that because of the sins of those who lived in the city the Sovereign Lord had been provoked to anger a little while, and therefore his eye was turned away from the place.

The LORD God allowed this profanation of the temple because of the people’s sins.


VERSE 18. But had it not been so that they were already bound by many sins, this man, even as Heliodorus who was sent by King Seleucus to view the treasury, would, as soon as he came forward, have been scourged and turned back from his daring deed.


VERSE 19. However the Lord didn’t choose the nation for the place’s sake, but the place for the nation’s sake.

NAB translation. The Lord, however, had not chosen the people for the sake of the Place, but the Place for the sake of the people.”

In the eyes of the LORD God, it’s all about people, not buildings. He has been with us wherever we went; his dwelling is within our hearts.

At Explore the Faith, we want to help people build that Inner Castle, that Place Within, where God dwells.


VERSE 20. Therefore also the place itself, having shared in the calamities that happened to the nation, did afterward share in its benefits; and the place which was forsaken in the wrath of the Almighty was, at the reconciliation of the great Sovereign, restored again with all glory.


VERSE 21. As for Antiochus, when he had carried away out of the temple one thousand eight hundred talents, he hurried away to Antioch, thinking in his arrogance that he could sail on land and walk on the sea, because his heart was lifted up.

one thousand eight hundred talents. Antiochus stole 51 tons of silver.


VERSE 22. Moreover he left governors to afflict the race: at Jerusalem, Philip, by race a Phrygian, and in character more barbarous than him who set him there;


VERSE 23. and at Gerizim, Andronicus; and besides these, Menelaus, who worse than all the rest, exalted himself against his fellow-citizens. Having a malicious mind toward the Jews whom he had made his citizens,

toward the Jews whom he had made. Some authorities read “toward the Jews, he sent.”

Having a malicious mind toward the Jews. He is like Hitler.


VERSE 24. he sent that lord of pollutions Apollonius with an army of twenty-two thousand, commanding him to kill all those who were of full age, and to sell the women and the boys as slaves.

lord of pollutions. The Greek word is Μυσάρχην. It also may mean ruler of the Mysians.


VERSE 25. He came to Jerusalem, and pretending to be a man of peace, waited till the holy day of the Sabbath, and finding the Jews at rest from work, he commanded his men to parade fully armed.


VERSE 26. He put to the sword all those who came out to the spectacle. Running into the city with the armed men, he killed great multitudes.


VERSE 27. But Judas, who is also called Maccabaeus, with about nine others, withdrew himself, and with his company kept himself alive in the mountains like wild animals do. They continued feeding on what grew wild, that they might not be partakers of the defilement.

feeding on what grew wild. Judas Maccabeus and his nine companions observe the Jewish food laws by eating food they found in the wild.


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Author: todd

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