Landed at Caesarea,
He went up
He greeted the church.
Then he went down
καὶ κατελθὼν εἰς Καισάριαν, ἀναβὰς καὶ ἀσπασάμενος τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, κατέβη εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν,
The author of Acts indicated that when Paul landed (καὶ κατελθὼν) at Caesarea (εἰς Καισάριαν), he went up (ἀναβὰς) to Jerusalem. He greeted (καὶ ἀσπασάμενος) the church (τὴν ἐκκλησίαν). Then he went down (κατέβη) to Antioch (εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν). This sailing from Ephesus to Caesarea was a long distance, about 600 miles, but it was closer to Jerusalem than Antioch, about 50 miles. He then went to Jerusalem and then finally from Jerusalem to Antioch, about 300 miles on foot, quite a distance. Did the greeting in Jerusalem indicate some Jewish or Christian festival? Actually, there was no particular Jerusalem Jewish festival explicitly mentioned, just that he went up and greeted the church and then went to Antioch. If anything, this was a very short visit to Jerusalem. This was a lot of travel with very little comment on what happened. Have you ever traveled a long distance?
“When Alcimus noticed their good will for one another, he took the covenant that had been made and went to King Demetrius. He told him that Nicanor was disloyal to the government. He had appointed that conspirator against the kingdom, Judas Maccabeus, to be his successor. The king became excited. Provoked by the false accusations of that depraved man, he wrote to Nicanor. He stated that he was displeased with the covenant. He commanded him to send Judas Maccabeus to Antioch as a prisoner without delay.”
Alcimus, the high priest in Jerusalem, was not pleased at the turn of events. He took the treaty that Nicanor and Judas Maccabeus had agreed on to King Demetrius I. He pointed out that Nicanor had been disloyal to king since his instructions were to kill Judas Maccabeus. Instead, Judas Maccabeus was to become the new high priest as the successor to Alcimus. King Demetrius I was very upset by these accusations. He wrote to Nicanor that he did not like the treaty. He commanded him to send Judas Maccabeus in chains as a prisoner to Antioch without any delay. None of this was in 1 Maccabees.
“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.
“Judas Maccabeus sent in to the garrison whatever was necessary. However, Rhodocus, a man from the ranks of the Jews, gave secret information to the enemy. He was sought for, caught, and put in prison. The king negotiated a second time with the people in Beth-zur. He gave pledges and received theirs. Then he withdrew. He then attacked Judas Maccabeus and his men. However, he was defeated. He got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch. He was dismayed. Thus he called in the Jews. He yielded. He swore to observe all their rights as he settled with them. He offered a sacrifice, honored the sanctuary, and showed generosity to the holy place.”
This is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 6. Here, however, there is a Jewish traitor named Rhodocus who was imprisoned for revealing secrets to the army of Lysias and King Antiochus V. Meanwhile the king was defeated at Beth-zur. Nevertheless, the real turning point was the news that Philip in Antioch was revolting against his rule and that of Lysias. Thus he and Lysias decided to set up a peace treaty with the Jews. He let them observe all their rights, with their sanctuary and Temple.
“The Romans also sent them a letter, which read thus.
‘Quintus Memmius and Titus Manius,
Envoys of the Romans,
To the people of the Jews,
With regard to what Lysias the kinsman of the king has granted you,
We also give consent.
But as to the matters which he decided
Those are to be referred to the king,
As soon as you have considered them,
Send someone promptly,
So that we may make proposals appropriate for you.
For we are on our way to Antioch.
Therefore make haste and send some men,
So that we may have your judgment.
The one hundred and forty-eighth year,
All these letters are in the same time frame in 164 BCE after King Antiochus V has taken over as the king. This letter is 2 days after the previous letter. Little is known about these 2 Roman envoys. They were on their way to Antioch. The Romans had some kind of relationship with the Jews as later indicated in 1 Maccabees, chapter 12-15. However, this is the time of Judas and not Jonathan or Simon. These envoys seem concerned about the status of the Jews in the Seleucid Empire. They wanted more information about what was happening.
“The thrice-accursed Nicanor had brought one thousand merchants to buy the Jews. He was now humbled with the help of the Lord by opponents whom he regarded as of the least account. He took off his splendid uniform. He made his way alone like a runaway slave across the country until he reached Antioch. He had succeeded chiefly in the destruction of his own army! Thus he who had undertaken to secure tribute for the Romans by the capture of the people of Jerusalem proclaimed that the Jews had a Defender. Therefore the Jews were invulnerable, because they followed the laws ordained by him.”
Nicanor comes in for a heavy dismissal since he was cursed 3 times. He was the one who brought 1,000 merchants to buy the Jews for slavery. He was humbled by his opponents with the help of the Lord. However, he took off his wonderful uniform, and fled across the countryside like a runaway slave until he reached Antioch. His only success was that he had destroyed his own army. He now claimed that the Jews were invulnerable as long as they followed the laws of their almighty defender. Nicanor will appear again later in this book.
“King Antiochus carried off eighteen hundred talents from the temple. He hurried away to Antioch, thinking in his arrogance that he could sail on the land and walk on the sea. His mind was elated. He left governors to oppress the people. At Jerusalem, he left Philip, by birth a Phrygian and in character more barbarous than the man who appointed him. At Gerizim, he left Andronicus. Besides these, he left Menelaus, who lorded it over his compatriots worse than the others did.”
King Antiochus IV was very happy with his haul of loot. He thought that he could walk on water or fly in the air. He appointed governors to further suppress the Israelites. In Jerusalem he had the brutal Philip and the friendly high priest Menelaus to carry out his orders. Apparently, the king thought that Samaria was still part of Israel. Andronicus was the governor at Gerizim, a sacred site for the Samaritans. Samaria had played a role as the city of a governor in the Persian Empire.
“While such was the state of affairs, it happened that the people of Tarsus and of Mallus revolted because their cities had been given as a present to Antiochis, the king’s concubine. So the king went hurriedly to settle the trouble. He left Andronicus, a man of high rank, to act as his deputy. But Menelaus, thinking he had obtained a suitable opportunity, stole some of the gold vessels of the temple. He gave them to Andronicus. As it happened, he had sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring cities. When Onias became fully aware of these acts he publicly exposed them. He had first withdrawn to a place of sanctuary at Daphne near Antioch. Therefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus aside, urged him to kill Onias. Andronicus came to Onias. Resorting to treachery, he offered him sworn pledges and gave him his right hand. He persuaded Onias, though still suspicious, to come out from the place of sanctuary. Then, with no regard for justice, he immediately put him out of the way.”
When there was a revolt in Tarsus and Mallus because of a present to his concubine, King Antiochus IV had to go there to settle the problem. He left Andronicus as his deputy in charge. Menelaus then stole some gold vessels from the Temple and gave them to Andronicus. Menelaus then sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring seacoast towns. When deposed high priest Onias III heard about this he first went to an Apollo sanctuary in Daphne about 5 miles from Antioch. There he publically exposed the actions of Menelaus. Menelaus then persuaded the deputy of the king, Andronicus, to kill Onias. Andronicus tricked Onias when he swore not to hurt him, but when he came out of the sanctuary, he killed him. There was no regard for justice.