The mission of Bacchides (1 Macc 7:8-7:11)

“King Demetrius chose Bacchides, one of the king’s friends, who was the governor of the province Beyond the River. He was a great man in the kingdom who was faithful to the king. King Demetrius sent him, and with him the ungodly Alcimus, whom he made high priest. He commanded him to take vengeance on the Israelites. Thus they marched away and came with a large force into the land of Judah. He sent messengers to Judas and his brothers with peaceable but treacherous words. However, they paid no attention to their words, for they saw that they had come with a large force.”

King Demetrius I chose the governor of the Province Beyond the River, which had its headquarters in Samaria from the old Persian days. This province extended west of the Euphrates River to Egypt. Bacchides was also a faithful friend of the king who brought with him the renegade Alcimus. Somehow, this non-Jewish person made Alcimus a high priest of the Jews, which did not make much sense. His orders were to take vengeance on the Israelites with a large force. However, Bacchides sent peaceable words to Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. Judas and his brothers were not fooled. They saw them as treacherous since Bacchides came with a large armed force.

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