Were all in your army.
Your mighty warriors.
They hung their shield
They hung their helmet
They gave you splendor.
The men of Arvad,
The men of Helech,
Were on your walls
The men of Gamad
Were at your towers.
They hung their quivers
They made perfect
Tyre had a mercenary army with people from Persia, Lydia (Lud), and Libya (Put). These were the mighty warriors of Tyre who hung their shields and helmets in Tyre to give the town more splendor. Within the town, guarding the walls, were the men from the Arvad island and Cilicia (Helech), a coastal town in Asia Minor. Meanwhile, the men of Cappadocia (Gamad) guarded the towers of Tyre. They kept their bow and arrows in the town. Thus the city of Tyre had an international army protecting it, inside and outside, to make it a thing of beauty.
“For this reason, not only Jews, but many also of other nations, were grieved and displeased at the unjust murder of Onias. When the king returned from the region of Cilicia, the Jews in the city appealed to him with regard to the unreasonable murder of Onias. The Greeks shared their hatred of the crime. Therefore King Antiochus was grieved at heart and filled with pity. He wept because of the moderation and good conduct of the deceased. Inflamed with anger, he immediately stripped off the purple robe from Andronicus. He tore off his garments. He led him around the whole city to that very place where he had committed the outrage against Onias. There he dispatched the bloodthirsty fellow. The Lord thus repaid him with the punishment he deserved.”
The killing of the deposed high priest Onias was a semi-official act of the king. The Jews and many other nations were upset about this murder of Onias. After all, Andronicus had tricked Onias into coming out of a pagan sanctuary Temple. When King Antiochus IV returned from Cilicia, the southern coastal region of Asia Minor, he was upset and angry. He too wept for the good man. He immediately stripped Andronicus of his purple robes, the robes of authority. He tore his garments and brought him to the place where the outrage had taken place. Then he killed him so that he was given the punishment that the Lord said that he deserved. Here the king of Syria implements the will of God and brings justice to the death of the former Jerusalem high priest.
“Then King Ptolemy entered Antioch. He put on the crown of Asia. Thus he put two crowns upon his head, the crown of Egypt and that of Asia. Now King Alexander was in Cilicia at that time, because the people of that region were in revolt. When King Alexander heard of it, he came against him in battle. King Ptolemy marched out and met him with a strong force. He put him to flight. King Alexander fled into Arabia to find protection there. King Ptolemy was exalted. Zabdiel the Arab cut off the head of Alexander and sent it to King Ptolemy. However, King Ptolemy died three days later. His troops in the strongholds were killed by the inhabitants of the strongholds. Thus Demetrius became king in the one hundred sixty-seventh year.”
The Egyptian King Ptolemy VI entered Antioch and put on the crown as the King of Asia. Thus he had 2 crowns as king of both Asia and Egypt. King Alexander was in Cilicia, which is Turkey or Asia Minor, putting down a revolt when this happened. He returned to battle his father-in-law who had taken his wife and crown away from him. However, King Ptolemy put King Alexander I to flight where he fled to Arabia. There the Arab Zabdiel cut off his head and sent it back to King Ptolemy VI. Everything was going good for the Egyptian king but then he died 3 days later. In a strange twist of fate, King Demetrius II became the king of Asia and Egypt in 145 BCE. He was the son of King Demetrius I, who had been in exile in Crete after the death of his father 5 years earlier. Thus he was a rather young man.
“They marched for three days from Nineveh to the plain of Bectileth. There they camped opposite Bectileth, near the mountain that is to the north of Upper Cilicia. From there Holofernes took his whole army, his infantry, cavalry, and chariots, and went up into the hill country. He ravaged Put and Lud. He plundered all the Rassisites and the Ishmaelites on the border of the desert, south of the country of the Chelleans. Then he followed the Euphrates River and passed through Mesopotamia. He destroyed all the hilltop cities along the brook Abron, as far as the sea. He also seized the territory of Cilicia. He killed every one who resisted him. Then he came to the southern borders of Japheth, fronting toward Arabia. He surrounded all the Midianites. He burned their tents and plundered their sheepfolds. Then he went down into the plain of Damascus during the wheat harvest. He burned all their fields. He destroyed their flocks and herds. He sacked their towns. He ravaged their lands. He put to death all their young men with the edge of the sword. Fear and dread of him fell upon all the people who lived along the seacoast. This included those at Sidon and Tyre, as well as those who lived in Sur, Ocina, and all who lived in Jamnia. Those who lived in Azotus and Ascalon feared him greatly.”
The geography here is a little muddled. It is about 600 miles from Nineveh to Damascus, but here it seems like just a few days. No one seems to know where this Bectileth was. Cilicia was on the Mediterranean Sea in Asia Minor, part of modern day Turkey. It, too, was about 500-600 miles from Nineveh, a difficult trip in 3 days, even in our modern times. Lud maybe the Syrian Lydia, but it is difficult to find Put. It is also difficult to know much about the Rassisites, the Ishmaelites, or the Chelleans. Generally, Ishmaelites usually referred to Arabs. It is also difficult to pinpoint the Abron brook. Obviously, he traveled south along the Euphrates River, which is about 300 miles east of the seacoast. Japheth was near Arabia, which would be south of where he was. He also attacked the Midianites, on his way to Damascus. Holofernes burned down the wheat fields, destroyed the flocks and herds, sacked and ravaged the land. He killed their young men. He then turned further south towards the coast. Thus there was great fear in Sidon and Tyre, as well as all along the coastal towns of Sur, Ocina, Jamnia, Azotus, and Ascalon near Tyre, in the Asher tribe territory.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar became very angry with this whole region. He swore by his throne and kingdom that he would take revenge on the whole territory of Cilicia, Damascus, and Syria. He would kill them with his sword. He would kill all the inhabitants of the land of Moab and the people of Ammon. He would kill all Judea and every one in Egypt, as far as the coasts of the two seas.”
When the king found out about his messengers, he was angry. He swore by the throne and his kingdom that he was going to take revenge on these western people. He would kill the people of Damascus, Syria, Moab, Ammon, Judea, and Egypt. That was quite a lot of people to wipe out.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar of the Assyrians sent messengers to all who lived in Persia. He sent messengers to all who lived in the west, those who lived in Cilicia, Damascus, Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. He sent messengers to all who lived along the seacoast. He sent messengers to those nations of Carmel, Gilead, Upper Galilee, the great Plain of Esdraelon, Samaria and its surrounding towns, and beyond the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, Bethany, Chelous, and Kadesh. He even sent messengers to the river of Egypt, Tahpanhes, Raamses, the whole land of Goshen, even beyond Tanis and Memphis, to all who lived in Egypt as far as the borders of Ethiopia. But all who lived in the whole region disregarded the summons of King Nebuchadnezzar of the Assyrians. They refused to join him in the war. They were not afraid of him, but regarded him as only one man. So they sent back his messengers empty-handed and in disgrace.”
King Nebuchadnezzar sent messengers into Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt to get people to fight with him. These were the people west of Babylon. However, in none of these areas did anybody respond to him because they were not afraid of him. He was just one man living in a faraway place. Thus his messengers returned empty-handed and disgraced.