The punishment of Heliodorus (2 Macc 3:24-3:28)

“When Heliodorus arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, then and there the Sovereign of spirits and of all authority caused so great a manifestation that all who had been so bold as to accompany him were astounded by the power of God. They became faint with terror. There appeared to them a magnificently caparisoned horse, with a rider of frightening mien. It rushed furiously at Heliodorus and struck at him with its front hoofs. Its rider was seen to have armor and weapons of gold. Two young men also appeared to him, remarkably strong, gloriously beautiful and splendidly dressed. They stood on each side of him and scourged him continuously, inflicting many blows on him. When he suddenly fell to the ground and deep darkness came over him, his men took him up. They put him on a stretcher and carried him away. This man who had just entered the aforesaid treasury, with a great retinue and his bodyguard, was now unable to help himself. They recognized clearly the sovereign power of God.”

When Heliodorus arrived at the Temple treasury with his bodyguards, he was met by a heavenly manifestation or apparition that showed the power of God. He became faint. Appearing to him was a horse and rider who kicked him. This golden armored rider had 2 other strong, beautifully dressed men to whip him on each side until he fell to the ground. Finally they took him away on a stretcher as he was unable to help himself. This was a show of strength of the sovereign God. To what extent they were real men or not, we do not know, but the effect was real on Heliodorus.

The letter of King Demetrius II to Simon (1 Macc 13:35-13:40)

King Demetrius sent him a favorable reply to this request. He wrote him a letter as follows.

‘King Demetrius

To Simon, the high priest and friend of kings,

And to the elders and nation of the Jews,

Greetings!

We have received the gold crown

And the palm branch that you sent.

We are ready to make a general peace with you.

We are ready to write to our officials

To grant you release from tribute.

All the grants that we have made to you remain valid.

Let the strongholds that you have built be your possession.

We pardon any errors and offenses committed to this day.

We cancel the crown tax that you owe.

Whatever other tax has been collected in Jerusalem

Shall be collected no longer.

If any of you are qualified to be enrolled in our bodyguard,

Let them be enrolled.

Let there be peace between us.’”

In a strong letter to Simon, the deposed King Demetrius II granted sovereignty to Judah. The letter was addressed to Simon, the elders, and the whole Jewish nation. King Demetrius II still considered himself the King of Syria. He accepted the gifts that Simon had sent him, the gold crown and the palm branch. He wanted to have peace with Simon. He said that the Jews no longer had to pay tribute or the crown tax to him. He also stated that all the grants that he had given before still stand. He pardoned all offenses committed to that day. There were to be no more taxes in Jerusalem. Anyone qualified could become part of his bodyguard. He just wanted peace between the two of them.