The defeat of King Antiochus in Elymais (1 Macc 6:1-6:4)

“King Antiochus was going through the upper provinces when he heard that Elymais in Persia was a city famed for its wealth in silver and gold. Its temple was very rich, containing golden shields, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian king who first reigned over the Greeks. So he came and tried to take the city and plunder it. However he could not because his plan became known to the citizens. They withstood him in battle. So he fled. In great disappointment, he left there to return to Babylon.”

King Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid Syria dynasty tried to take some treasures from the town of Elymais in Persia, which was near Susa. This had been a favorite of Alexander the Great. However, the citizens of the town found out that he was coming. They withstood his attack so that he had to flee back to Babylon.

The blinding of Tobit (Tob 2:9-2:10)

“That same night I washed myself. I went into my courtyard. I slept by the wall of the courtyard. My face was uncovered because of the heat. I did not know that there were sparrows on the wall. Their fresh droppings fell into my eyes. The droppings produced white films. I went to physicians to be healed. However, the more they treated me with ointments the more my vision was obscured by the white films, until I became completely blind. All my kindred were sorry for me. Ahikar took care of me for two years before he went to Elymais.”

Washing was important for ritual purity after touching dead bodies. After Tobit washed himself, he lay out in the courtyard because it was hot. He slept by the wall of the courtyard. Somehow he left his eyes open so that sparrow droppings fell into his eyes, the way that sparrow droppings fall on modern parked cars. He had some kind of white film on his eyes that led to blindness. Although he went to physicians, they only made the situation worse. This is the first biblical mention of an attempt at a cure that does not have a religious base. Everyone felt sorry for him. However, it was nephew, the well connected Ahikar who took care of him. There is no mention of his wife or son helping him. After 2 years, Ahikar had an assignment to go to Elymais, a rich city in Persia, south of Media and north of Susiana.