Oholah and the Assyrian lovers (Ezek 23:5-23:7)

“Oholah played the whore,
While she was mine.
She lusted
After her lovers,
The Assyrians,
The warriors,
Clothed in blue.
They were
Governors
As well as commanders.
All of them were
Handsome young men.
They were
Mounted horsemen.
She bestowed
Her favors
Upon them.
They were
The choicest men
Of Assyria,
All of them.
She defiled herself
With all the idols
Of everyone
For whom she lusted.”
Oholah, which was Samaria, had the Assyrians as lovers. Even though Oholah was still united with Yahweh, she played the whore with the Assyrians to the north. She lusted after her lovers, these Assyrian warriors, dressed in blue colors. They were all handsome young governors and commanders mounted on horses. She bestowed her favors on them, the best men of Assyria. She defiled herself with all the idols of the men that she lusted after. Clearly Samaria was lusting after her northern neighbors in Assyria, since they were disloyal to Yahweh.

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The boast of the king of Assyria (Isa 10:8-10:11)

“The King of Assyria says.

‘Are not my commanders all kings?

Is not Calno

Like Carchemish?

Is not Hamath

Like Arpad?

Is not Samaria

Like Damascus?

As my hand has reached

To the kingdoms of the idols

Whose images

Were greater than those of Jerusalem.

They were greater than those of Samaria.

Shall I not do to Jerusalem

As I have done to Samaria?

Shall I not do to her idols

As I have done to the Samarian images?’”

King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BCE), the king of Assyria said that he had commanders in his army that could become kings. He cited the examples of his capture of various towns or cities like Calno in 742 BCE and Carchemish, which is now on the border between Turkey and Syria, but was part of the Syrian empire that was lost in 738 BCE. There also was the capture of other western Syrian town of Hama or Hamath and Arpad that were in this same area that Tiglath-Pileser III captured in 741 BCE. Finally there was Damascus, also in Syria, that was captured in 732 BCE. King Menahem of Samaria was the king of northern Israel from 743-738 BCE, who paid tribute to the King of Assyria, as mentioned in 2 Chronicles, chapter 26, and 2 Kings, chapter 15. Now King Tiglath-Pileser III was thinking of attacking Jerusalem. What he had done to Samaria, he would the same to Judah by destroying their images, since he thought that Yahweh was just another idol god.

Jonathan and the battle at Hazor (1 Macc 11:67-11:74)

“Jonathan and his army encamped by the waters of Gennesaret. Early in the morning they marched to the plain of Hazor. There in the plain, the army of the foreigners met him. They had set an ambush against him in the mountains, but they themselves met him face to face. Then the men in ambush emerged from their places and joined battle. All the men with Jonathan fled. Not one of them was left except Mattathias son of Absalom and Judas son of Chalphi, commanders of the forces of the army. Jonathan tore his clothes. He put dust on his head, and prayed. Then he turned back to the battle against the enemy and routed them. They fled. When his men who were fleeing saw this, they returned to him. They joined him in the pursuit as far as Kadesh, to their camp. There they encamped. As many as three thousand of the foreigners fell that day. Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.”

Jonathan and his army rested at the Sea of Galilee, Gennesaret. They went out into the plains of Hazor where they met the foreign troops who were the followers of the deposed King Demetrius II. Another set of these troops ambushed them from the hills. However, Jonathan’s troops all fled. Only two officers were left, Mattathias and Judas, not his dead father or dead brother, but people with the same name. Then Jonathan went into mourning by ripping his clothes, putting ashes on his head, and praying. Suddenly he returned to battle and defeated the foreign troops as they fled. When his own army saw the others fleeing, they rejoined the battle. They chased them as far as Kadesh as they killed 3,000 foreigners that day. Then Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.

Holofernes organizes his army (Jdt 2:14-2:18)

“Holofernes left the presence of his lord. He summoned all the commanders, generals, and officers of the Assyrian army. He mustered the picked troops by divisions as his lord had ordered him to do, one hundred twenty thousand of them, together with twelve thousand archers on horseback. He organized them as a great army is marshaled for a campaign. He took along a vast number of camels, donkeys, and mules for transport. He had innumerable sheep, oxen, and goats for food. He had ample rations for everyone. He had a huge amount of gold and silver from the royal palace.”

Holofernes did as King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded. He got all his Assyrian officers together. He picked the 120,000 special troops and arranged for the 12,000 archers on horseback, his cavalry. He truly had a great vast army. He also had a lot of provisions. He had camels, donkeys, and mules for transportation purposes. He had livestock of sheep, oxen, and goats for food. He had plenty of rations, gold, and silver. He was good to go.