The message from Apollonius to Jonathan (1 Macc 10:69-10:73)

“Then Apollonius sent the following message to Jonathan the high priest.

‘You are the only one to rise up against us.

I have become a laughingstock and reproach because of you.

Why do you assume authority against us in the hill country?

If you now have confidence in your forces,

Come down to the plain to meet us,

Let us match strength with each other there,

I have with me the power of the cities.

Ask and learn

Who I am?

Who are the others that are helping us?

Men will tell you that you cannot stand before us.

Your ancestors were twice put to flight in their own land.

Now you will not be able to withstand my cavalry

And such an army in the plain,

Where there is no stone or pebble,

Or place to flee.’”

Apollonius sent this threatening message to Jonathan. He wanted to know why Jonathan was fighting back since that made Apollonius look like a laughing stock. He told Jonathan that he Jonathan was afraid to come out of the hills and have a battle on the plains where strength against strength can be measured. Apollonius had the strength of the cities with a cavalry and a strong army that Jonathan would not be able to withstand.

The prayer of Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 4:30-4:33)

“When Judas saw that their army was strong, he prayed, saying.

‘Blessed are you!

O Savior of Israel,

You crushed the attack of the mighty warrior

By the hand of your servant David.

You gave the camp of the Philistines

Into the hands of Jonathan, the son of King Saul,

To the man who carried his armor.

Hem in this army

By the hand of your people Israel!

Let them be ashamed of their troops and their cavalry!

Fill them with cowardice!

Melt the boldness of their strength!

Let them tremble in their destruction!

Strike them down with the sword of those who love you!

Let all who know your name praise you with hymns!’”

Judas Maccabeus saw that they had a strong army, so he prayed to the Savior of Israel, God. He reminded God of how he had saved David against the Philistines in 1 Samuel, chapter 14. Now he was asking God to hem in the army of his enemy. He wanted them to become ashamed and cowardly so that their strength would melt. He hoped that they would be destroyed by the sword. He wanted the name of the Lord known and praised. He was praying for God’s help by reminding God what he had done in the past. He was comparing himself to the men at the time of King Saul.