The meeting with the Nabateans (1 Macc 5:24-5:27)

“Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the Jordan River. They made a three days journey into the wilderness. They encountered the Nabateans, who met them peaceably. They told them all that had happened to their kindred in Gilead.

‘Many of them have been shut up in Bozrah and Bosor,

In Alema and Chaspho, Maked and Carnaim,

All these cities were strong and large.

Some have been shut up in the other cities of Gilead.

The enemy is getting ready to attack the strongholds tomorrow.

They want to take and destroy all these men in one day.’”

Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan with 5,000 troops crossed the Jordan River and went 3 days into the wilderness before they met the Nabateans, a peaceful group. These Nabateans were an Arab Semitic group that may have its roots in an Ishmaelite tribe. They will become stronger as time goes on. However, here they seem to be with the Jewish people talking about how the Jewish people have held in the major cities of Bozrah, Bosor, Alema, Chaspho, Maked, and Carnaim. Bozrah was a city in Edom, while Bosor, Alema, Chaspho, Maked, and Carnaim are only mentioned here and difficult to identify. The Nabateans said that some unidentified enemy was going to destroy them tomorrow, that is right away.

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