“Then some of the scribes
Said to themselves.
‘This man is blaspheming.’”
Perceiving their thoughts,
‘Why do you think evil
In your hearts?’”
καὶ ἰδού τινες τῶν γραμματέων εἶπαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Οὗτος βλασφημεῖ.
καὶ εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν εἶπεν Ἵνα τί ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν;
This is similar to Mark, chapter 2:6-8, and Luke, chapter 5:21-22, about the scribes and blasphemy. Interesting enough, Matthew does not mention the Pharisees here. Some of these scribes seem to be talking to themselves, but not to others (καὶ ἰδού τινες τῶν γραμματέων εἶπαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς). These scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed. They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society. They might have been the fore-runners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time. They thought that Jesus was blaspheming (Οὗτος βλασφημεῖ). Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God. Jesus seemed to know what they were thinking (καὶ εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν) and saying to themselves. He asked them why they had such evil thoughts in their hearts (εἶπεν Ἵνα τί ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν). Thus, Jesus turned the tables on them by exposing their evil thoughts.
“Timothy himself fled to a stronghold called Gazara, especially well garrisoned, where Chaereas was the commander. Then Judas Maccabeus and his men were glad. They besieged the fort for four days. The men within the town, relying on the strength of the place, kept blaspheming terribly. They uttered wicked words. But at dawn on the fifth day, twenty young men in the army of Judas Maccabeus, filled with anger because of the blasphemies, bravely stormed the wall. With savage fury, they cut down every one they met. Others who came up in the same way wheeled around against the defenders. They set fire to the towers. They kindled fires and burned the blasphemers alive. Others broke open the gates. They let in the rest of the force as they occupied the city. They killed Timothy, who was hiding in a cistern, and his brother Chaereas and Apollophanes. When they had accomplished these things, with hymns and thanksgivings they blessed the Lord who shows great kindness to Israel. He gave them the victory.”
In 1 Maccabees, chapter 13, the attack on Gazara was led by Simon, much later after the death of Judas Maccabeus. Here it takes place under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus. There Simon just deported the citizens, not killed them as here. Chaereas, the brother of Timothy, was the commander at Gazara, where Timothy had fled. They besieged the fort for 4 days. During that time, the men inside blasphemed against the Jewish God. On the fifth day, 20 young men from the army of Judas Maccabeus stormed the wall, killing everyone they men. They set fire to the towers and opened the gates. After they occupied the city, then they killed Timothy and his 2 brothers, Chaereas and Apollophanes. Finally they blessed the Lord with hymns and thanksgivings for the victory. So ends the story of Timothy, the enemy of the Jews. Notice that they praise God before and after they kill their enemy.