Judas Maccabeus battles with the Ammonites (1 Macc 5:6-5:8)

“Then Judas crossed over to attack the Ammonites, where he found a strong band and many people with Timothy as their leader. He engaged in many battles with them.   Finally, they were crushed before him as he struck them down. He also took Jazer and its villages. Then he returned to Judea.”

Judas Maccabeus went across the Jordan River. He then attacked the Ammonites, another Semitic group, which had a man named Timothy as their leader. He then crushed them, destroying the village of Jazer, which was near Gilead and Ammon, before he returned to Judea.

The battle of Emmaus (1 Macc 4:12-4:15)

“When the foreigners looked up, they saw them coming against them. They went out from their camp to battle. Then the men with Judas blew their trumpets. They engaged in the battle. The gentiles were crushed. They fled into the plain. All those in the rear fell by the sword. They pursued them to Gazara, and to the plains of Idumea, as well as to Azotus and Jamnia. Three thousand of them fell.”

When Judas and his men attacked, the foreign gentiles saw them coming as they went out to do battle. Then Judas and his men sounded the trumpet. This trumpet blowing was a sign of encouragement that seemed to have worked. They crushed the gentiles. Somehow they had enough swords to kill 3,000 of the 6,000 soldiers against them. They pursued them in four different directions. Gazara was 5 miles northwest of Emmaus. Idumea was to the south, while Azotus was in the west and Jamnia was southwest.

King Antiochus Epiphanes attacks Egypt (1 Macc 1:16-1:19)

“When Antiochus Epiphanes saw that his kingdom was established, he determined to become king of the land of Egypt, so that he might reign over both kingdoms. Thus he invaded Egypt with a strong force of chariots and elephants and a cavalry with a large fleet. He engaged King Ptolemy of Egypt in battle. King Ptolemy turned and fled before him. Many were wounded and fell. They captured the fortified cities in the land of Egypt. He plundered the land of Egypt.”

King Antiochus Epiphanes is known as King Antiochus IV. He decided to invade Egypt and combine it with Syria. He had a huge invasion army. This appears to be the first biblical mention of elephants and a fleet of battle ships. He took on the Egyptian King Ptolemy VI (186-145 BCE), who apparently fled. This Ptolemy VI had a strange history. His mother was called Cleopatra I. He married his sister called Cleopatra II. He had a daughter named Cleopatra III, who would marry a Syrian king. He was 6 when he became king with his mother until she died when he was 10. Thus he would have been 16 when this invasion by King Antiochus IV took place in 170 BCE, while the invading king was 45 years old. Some 25 years later in 145 BCE, this same Egyptian King Ptolemy VI, when he was 41, would invade and capture Syria. Now back to our story, King Antiochus IV has captured and plundered Egypt.

Raphael makes a plan for Tobias and Sarah (Tob 6:10-6:13)

“When they entered Media, they were already approaching Ecbatana. Raphael said to the young man. ‘Brother Tobias!’ He answered. ‘Here I am!’ Raphael said to him.

‘We must stay this night in the home of Raguel.

He is your relative.

He has a daughter named Sarah.

He has no male heir.

He has no daughter except Sarah only.

You are as next of kin to her.

You have before all other men a hereditary claim on her.

Also it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions.

Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful.

Her father is a good man.

You have every right to take her in marriage.

So listen to me, brother.

Tonight, I will speak to her father about the girl,

Thus you may take her to be your bride.

When we return from Rages,

We will celebrate her marriage.

For I know that Raguel can by no means keep her from you

Or promise her to another man

Without incurring the penalty of death,

According to the decree of the Book of Moses.

Indeed, he knows that you, rather than any other man,

Are entitled to marry his daughter.

So now listen to me, brother!

Tonight we shall speak concerning the girl.

We will arrange her engagement to you.

When we return from Rages,

We will take her and bring her back with us to your house.’”

They do not mention the time frame, but it would have taken a few days to get to Media. Raphael told Tobias that they were going to spend the night at the house of Raguel, since he was a relative of Tobias. Raphael explained that Raguel had a beautiful only daughter. Since Tobias was the next of kin, he was entitled to marry her. No one else had such a good claim on her as he did. This is based on the Book of Moses, without indicating which book, perhaps Numbers, chapter 36, about the family with no sons. However, there was nothing about a death penalty in the biblical books. Somehow there was the levirate law that the next of kin had first rights on a woman as was laid out in Deuteronomy, chapter 25, with the brother’s right to marry the widow of his brother. This was prevalent in the book of Ruth. They would be engaged now. Then they would get married after they came back from Rages. Raphael was going to make all the arrangements with her father.