They were old with no children (Lk 1:7-1:7)

“But they had no children.

Because Elizabeth

Was barren.

Both were advanced

In years.”

 

καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τέκνον, καθότι ἦν ἡ Ἐλεισάβετ στεῖρα, καὶ ἀμφότεροι προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῶν ἦσαν.

 

Next Luke presents this unique portrait of Zechariah and Elizabeth, much like that of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis, chapters 18:1-15 and 21:1-7.  They had no children (καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τέκνον).  Elizabeth was barren or sterile (καθότι ἦν ἡ Ἐλεισάβετ στεῖρα), often times a sign of God’s displeasure.  They were both advanced (καὶ ἀμφότεροι προβεβηκότες) in their years (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῶν ἦσαν).  In other words, they were old folks, beyond child bearing years.  Thus, only a miraculous birth would give them children.

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The sons of the northern king attack the south (Dan 11:10-11:10)

“The sons of the northern king

Shall wage war.

They shall assemble

A multitude

Of great forces.

They shall advance

Like a flood.

They shall pass through.

They shall again carry the war

As far as his fortress.”

The sons of the northern King Seleucus II were King Seleucus III (225-223 BCE) and King Antiochus III (222-187 BCE) both of whom ruled after him. They decided to attack the southern king of Egypt. They assembled a great army and advanced like a flood to the fortress of Egypt.

The rising waters of the Nile River (Jer 46:7-46:9)

“Who is this?

Who is rising like the Nile?

Who is like rivers

Whose waters surge?

Egypt rises

Like the Nile.

They are

Like rivers

Whose waters surge.

It said.

Let me rise!

Let me cover the earth!

Let me destroy cities!

Let me destroy their inhabitants!

Advance!

O horses!

Dash madly!

O chariots!

Let the warriors go forth!

Men of Ethiopia!

Men of Put

Who carry the shield!

Men of Lud,

Who draw the bow!”

The Egyptians had originally thought that they would have the waters of the Nile River, or their power, take over the Babylonians, but the reverse was true. They wanted to be like rivers surging forth. They wanted to destroy other cities and their inhabitants. They had horses and chariots to carry out their mission as they advanced. They had the people from Ethiopia and Somalia. They had the people of Put, the Libyans, and Lud, the Lydians, who had shields and were good at bows and arrows. However, all this great might was turned back by the Babylonians.

Getting ready for a war battle (Jer 46:3-46:4)

“Prepare the buckler!

Prepare the shield!

Advance for battle!

Harness the horses!

Mount the steeds!

Take your stations!

Put on your helmets!

Polish your spears!

Put on your coats of mail!”

Jeremiah has a very vivid description of how these ancient warriors prepared to do battle. They had their small forearm buckler shields with their larger shield, as they advanced on foot to do battle. The cavalry horsemen had to harness their horses and then mount them. They all would take their appointed stations. They had their helmets and spears with their protective armor coats. They were now ready to do battle.

The death of Nicanor (2 Macc 15:25-15:28)

“Nicanor and his troops advanced with trumpets and battle songs. Judas Maccabeus and his troops met the enemy in battle with invocations to God and prayers. So, fighting with their hands and praying to God in their hearts, they laid low no less than thirty-five thousand men. They were greatly gladdened by God’s manifestation. When the action was over, they were returning with joy. They recognized Nicanor, lying dead, in full armor.”

Nicanor and his army advanced with trumpets and battle songs. On the other hand, Judas Maccabeus and his troops went to fight with prayers in their hearts to God. Thus they fought and prayed at the same time. This seemed to have worked quite well. They killed 35,000 troops of Nicanor. They were glad because God had manifested his gladness with their actions. After the action was all over, they too were happy. Then they recognized Nicanor in full armor dead. There is something similar to this in 1 Maccabees, chapter 7, where Nicanor was defeated.

Judas Maccabeus relies on the Lord (2 Macc 10:27-10:28)

“Rising from their prayer, they took up their arms. They advanced a considerable distance from the city. When they came near the enemy they halted. Just as dawn was breaking, the two armies joined battle. The one army had a pledge of success and victory, based not only on their valor but their reliance upon the Lord. However, the other army made their rage their leader in the fight.”

Having finished praying, the men of Judas Maccabeus took up their arms and marched into battle. The battle began at dawn. The army of Judas had a pledge of success and victory because they relied on the Lord. The other army was fighting out of rage and anger.

The activities of Lysimachus (2 Macc 4:39-4:42)

“Many acts of sacrilege had been committed in the city by Lysimachus with the connivance of Menelaus. When the report of them had spread abroad, the populace gathered against Lysimachus because many of the gold vessels had already been stolen. The crowds were becoming aroused and filled with anger. Lysimachus armed about three thousand men. He launched an unjust attack, under the leadership of a certain Auranus, a man advanced in years and no less advanced in folly. But when the Jews became aware that Lysimachus was attacking them, some picked up stones, some blocks of wood, and others took handfuls of the ashes that were lying around. They threw them in wild confusion at Lysimachus and his men. As a result, they wounded many of them. They killed some. They put all the rest of them to flight. The temple robber himself they killed close by the treasury.”

Lysimachus was the brother of Menelaus who was the second in command to the high priesthood of Menelaus. He had stolen the golden vessels from the Temple and committed other acts of sacrilege. The Jerusalem crowds became aroused and filled with anger. Lysimachus decided to get about 3,000 people led by a foolish old man named Auranus to attack the crowds. The crowds fought back by heaving, stones, wood, and ashes. I am not so sure about the value of throwing ashes. Anyway, they wounded many and killed some of these 3,000 men including Lysimachus. The rest fled. Finally, they were rid of the Temple robbers.