King Demetrius I sends more troops to Jerusalem (1 Macc 9:1-9:4)

“When King Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his army had fallen in battle, he sent Bacchides and Alcimus into the land of Judah a second time. He sent the right wing of the army with them. They went by the road that leads to Gilgal. They encamped against Mesaloth in Arbela. They took that town and killed many people. In the first month of the one hundred fifty-second year they encamped against Jerusalem. Then they marched off and went to Berea with twenty thousand foot soldiers and two thousand cavalry.”

Now we are back to the problem of King Demetrius I and Judas Maccabeus, since the preceding chapter 8 seems to be an insertion to show how the Romans had been kind to the Jews. With the defeat of Nicanor, the king went back to his faithful duo of Bacchides and Alcimus, who was still the chief priest in Jerusalem in 160 BCE. Gilgal was between Jericho and the Jordan River. This duo camped at Mesaloth and destroyed it. It might have been close to Samaria. Then they went out to Berea, perhaps a town about 10 miles north of Jerusalem called el-Birch. Anyway, they had a large army of 20,000 foot soldiers and 2,000 cavalry.

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