The people prepare (2 Macc 15:17-15:19)

“The people were encouraged by the words of Judas Maccabeus. They were so noble and so effective in arousing the valor and awaking the courage in the souls of the young. Thus, they determined not to remain in camp, but to attack bravely. They would decide the matter, by fighting hand to hand with all courage, because the city, the sanctuary, and the temple were in danger. Their concern for their wives and children, and also for their brothers, sisters, and relatives, lay upon them less heavily. Their greatest and first fear was for the consecrated sanctuary. Those who had to remain in the city were in no little distress, being anxious over the encounter in the open country.”

Judas Maccabeus had encouraged the people to have courage, especially the young. Instead of staying in camp, they were willing to attack bravely. They wanted to fight hand to hand with courage. They were more worried about the city, the Temple, and sanctuary rather than their wives, children, brothers, sisters, or other relatives. Their greatest fear was for the consecrated sanctuary. The people who remained in the city were anxious about the battle encounter in the open country.

The story of Judas Maccabeus (2 Macc 2:19-2:22)

“This is the story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. This is about the purification of the great temple and the dedication of the altar. Further there is an explanation of the wars against Antiochus Epiphanes and his son Eupator. There were appearances that came from heaven to those who fought bravely for Judaism. Although few in number, they seized the whole land and pursued the barbarian hordes. They regained possession of the temple famous throughout the world. They freed the city. They re-established the laws that were about to be abolished. The Lord with great kindness became gracious to them.”

For the first time, we have a biblical author tell us what he is going to do. This style is based on the custom of Greek historians. He summarized what he was going to do. This is the story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. They purified the Temple and dedicated the altar. They fought wars with King Antiochus IV and his son, King Antiochus V. There was heavenly help for the Jews. Although small in number, they chased the barbarian hordes. They took possession of the Temple and freed the holy city of Jerusalem. They reestablished the laws because God was kind to them. This so-called historical work has a clear Theo-centric basis. God was on their side.

Judas decides to fight (1 Macc 9:7-9:10)

“When Judas saw that his army had slipped away and the battle was imminent, he was crushed in spirit. He had no time to assemble them. He became faint, but he said to those who were left.

‘Stand up!

Let us march against our enemies!

May we have the strength to fight them!’

However, they tried to dissuade him, saying.

‘We do not have the strength.

Let us rather save our own lives now.

Let us come back with our kindred and fight them.

We are too few.’

But Judas said.

‘Far be it from us

To do such a thing

As to flee from them.

If our hour has come,

Let us die bravely for our kindred.

Leave nothing to question our honor.’”

Judas Maccabeus and his troop were down to 800 men. He was crushed and faint of heart, but he had no time to gather his troops together. He still wanted to fight. However, the troops warned him that they did not have the strength or manpower to fight because they were too few. Why not wait until another day? Judas was determined. He would not flee. If it is their time, so be it. They will die bravely for their brothers. No one would question their honor.