Azariah made a plea to God to have mercy on him and his friends. They were not able to open their mouths to worship God. They had become a shame and a reproach for the sake of God’s name. He wanted God not to give up on them or annul the covenant that he had made with Israel. He did not want God to withdraw his mercy from them. He reminded God about Abraham, the beloved one, Isaac, his servant, and Israel, the holy one. God had promised to multiply their descendants, like the stars in heaven or like the sand on the sea shore.
“When this message came to Nicanor, he was troubled and grieved that he had to annul their agreement when the man had done no wrong. Since it was not possible to oppose the king, he watched for an opportunity to accomplish this by a stratagem. However, Maccabeus noticed that Nicanor was more austere in his dealings with him. He was meeting with him more rudely than had been his custom. Judas Maccabeus concluded that this austerity did not spring from the best motives. So he gathered not a few of his men, and went into hiding from Nicanor. When the latter became aware that he had been cleverly outwitted by the man, he went to the great and holy temple while the priests were offering the customary sacrifices. He commanded them to hand the man over. They declared on oath that they did not know where the man was whom he wanted. Then Nicanor stretched out his right hand toward the sanctuary. He swore this oath.
‘If you do not hand Judas Maccabeus over to me as a prisoner,
I will level this shrine of God to the ground.
I will tear down the altar.
I will build here a splendid temple to Dionysus.’”
Nicanor was troubled by the message that he got from King Demetrius I. He knew that Judas Maccabeus had not done anything wrong. At the same time, he realized that he could not oppose the direct order of the king. He was trying to figure out what to do. Judas Maccabeus noticed that Nicanor was not as friendly as before and even downright rude. He suspected Nicanor of bad motives, so he and some of his men went into hiding. When Nicanor found out about this, he went to the Temple where the priests were officiating at the sacrifices. He commanded the priests to turn over Judas Maccabeus to him. When they declared under oath that they did not know where he was, Nicanor stretched out his right hand and said that if they did not turn him over to him, he would level the Temple and the altar. In its place he would build a temple to the god Dionysus. Now this could be problem.
“The king received Judas Maccabeus. He left Hegemonides as the governor from Ptolemais to Gerar. Then the king went to Ptolemais. The people of Ptolemais were indignant over the treaty. In fact, they were so angry that they wanted to annul its terms. Lysias took the public platform, made the best possible defense. He convinced them, appeased them, gained their good will, and then set out for Antioch. This is how the king’s attack and withdrawal turned out.”
Once again, this is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 6. There Lysias convinced the king and the commanders that the peace treaty with the Jews was a good idea. Here he must convince the people of Ptolemais, who did not like the Jews. The Syrian Hegemonides remained the governor of the seacoast area. However, the people of Ptolemais were upset about the treaty with the Jews. Only the eloquent speaking of Lysias convinced and appeased them. Thus with good will, they set out for Antioch. This then is the peace treaty that took place when King Antiochus V and Lysias attacked and then withdrew.