A reminder for Israel (Bar 4:5-4:8)

“Take courage!

My people!

You perpetuate

Israel’s name!

It was not

For destruction

That you were sold

To the nations.

But you were handed over

To your enemies

Because you angered

God.

You provoked the one

Who made you!

You sacrificed to demons,

Not to God!

You forgot

The everlasting God,

Who brought you up!

You grieved Jerusalem,

Who reared you.”

This reminder for Israel was for the people to have courage, since they were going to perpetuate the name of Israel. These Israelites had been sold to various nations, not to destroy them, but to punish them. They had been handed over to their enemies, because they had angered God. They had provoked their creator by sacrificing to demons, and not God. They had forgotten their everlasting God who brought them up. There was no mention of the name of Yahweh here. They had grieved Jerusalem, the city that had reared them. Once again there is a personification of Jerusalem that can feel pain.

The money problems of King Antiochus IV (1 Macc 3:27-3:31)

“When King Antiochus heard these reports, he was greatly angered.  He sent for and gathered all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army.  He opened his coffers and gave a year’s pay to his forces.  He ordered them to be ready for any need.  Then he saw that the money in the treasury was exhausted.  The revenues from the country were small because of the dissension and disaster that he had caused in the land by abolishing the laws that had existed from the earliest days.  He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts which he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings.  He was greatly perplexed in mind.  He determined to go to Persia.  There he could collect the revenues from those regions and thus raise a large fund.”

The Seleucid Syrian King Antiochus IV got angry when he heard these reports about Judas Maccabeus.  He wanted a strong army.  Thus he paid all the people in the army for a full year so that they would be ready at any moment.  However, he soon realized that he did not have as much money as he expected.  The revenues were diminishing after he set in motion the new laws of unification that did away with all the local laws.  There was a lot of dissension that led to this disaster.  He decided that he would go to Persia and get some money from that region there.