In another form
To two of them,
As they were going walking
Into the country.”
Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα δυσὶν ἐξ αὐτῶν περιπατοῦσιν ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ πορευομένοις εἰς ἀγρόν·
This appearance of Jesus to these 2 men walking in the country is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 24:13-35, with the 2 disciples walking near the village of Emmaus, but in an abbreviated form. This long ending of Mark said that after this initial announcement by Mary Magdalene (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα), Jesus appeared in another form (ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ) to 2 of his disciples as they were walking (δυσὶν ἐξ αὐτῶν περιπατοῦσιν) into the country (πορευομένοις εἰς ἀγρόν). These disciples are not named, nor is there any mention of where they are.
“Then Bacchides returned to Jerusalem. He built strong cities in Judea. He built the fortress in Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon, and Tephon, with high walls, gates, and bars. He placed garrisons in them to harass Israel. He also fortified the city of Beth-zur, Gazara, and the citadel. He put troops and stores of food in them. He took the sons of the leading men of the land as hostages. He put them under guard in the citadel at Jerusalem.”
General Bacchides returned to Jerusalem. Then he built strong cities around Jerusalem with high walls and gates in Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon, and Tephon. He also put garrisons in them to harass and keep the Jewish guerrillas from attacking. He put troops and food storage in Beth-zur, Gazara, and the Jerusalem citadel. Then he took the sons of the leading men as hostages as he guarded them in Jerusalem.
“Then they sounded the trumpets and gave a loud shout. After this, Judas appointed leaders of the people, in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. He said to those who were building houses, or about to be married, or planting vineyards, or were fainthearted to go home. Each should return to his home again, according to the law. Then the army marched out and encamped to the south of Emmaus.”
When the trumpet sounded, the army was to gather in force. They were divided into groups of 10, 50, 100, and 1,000 with a leader for each group. The idea of sorting the people into smaller groups goes back to Moses appointing judges in Exodus, chapter 18. However, those who were building houses, vineyards, or getting married or just fainthearted should go home. This is a reference to the Mosaic Law in Deuteronomy, chapter 20. Then this army marched out to Emmaus.
“Lysias chose Ptolemy son of Dorymenes, Nicanor, and Gorgias, able men among the friends of the king, as leaders. He sent them with forty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry into the land of Judah to destroy it, as the king had commanded. Thus they set out with their entire force. When they arrived, they encamped near Emmaus in the plain. When the traders of the region heard what was said to them, they took silver and gold in immense amounts. They went to the camp to get the Israelites for slaves. Forces from Syria and the land of the Philistines joined with them.”
Lysias, who was in charge now that the king had left for Persia, named 3 people to lead the charge in Judah, Ptolemy, not the king of Egypt, Nicanor, and Gorgias. These 3 friends of the king had 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry to destroy Judah. They camped near Emmaus, about 25 miles west of Jerusalem. Somehow the traders wanted to get Israelite slaves. This Syrian force had other Syrians and those pesky Philistines with them also.