The food of angels (Wis 16:20-16:23)

“Instead of these things,

You gave your people

The food of angels.

Without their toil,

You supplied them

From heaven

With bread ready to eat.

It provided every pleasure.

It suited every taste.

Your sustenance manifested

Your sweetness

Toward your children.

The bread,

Ministering to the desire of the one who took it,

Was changed to suit everyone’s liking.

Snow withstood fire without melting.

Ice withstood fire without melting.

Thus they might know

That the crops of their enemies

Were being destroyed

By the fire that blazed in the hail.

The fire flashed in the showers of rain.

Whereas the fire,

In order that the righteous might be fed,

Even forgot its native power.”

God gave his people (τὸν λαόν σου) the food of angels (ἀγγέλων τροφὴν). This bread from heaven came ready to eat, as it provided every pleasure to every taste. Obviously, this is a reference to the manna in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land as in Exodus, chapter 16. What is unique here is that the taste of it was pleasing to each person even if they had other tastes. This food of snow and ice did not melt. However, the crops of their enemies were destroyed. They, however, the righteous were able to feed themselves with the heavenly tasty food.

The letter to the Spartans about the present (1 Macc 12:9-12:18)

“Therefore, though we have no need of these things,

Since we have as encouragement

The holy books that are in our hands.

We have undertaken to send

To renew our family ties and friendship with you,

So that we may not become estranged from you.

Considerable time has passed

Since you sent your letter to us.

We therefore remember you constantly on every occasion,

Both in our festivals and on other appropriate days,

At the sacrifices which we offer

And in our prayers,

As it is right and proper to remember brothers.

We rejoice in your glory.

But as for ourselves,

Many trials and many wars have encircled us.

The kings around us have waged war against us.

We were unwilling to annoy you

And our other allies and friends with these wars.

We have the help that comes from Heaven for our aid.

We were delivered from our enemies.

Our enemies were humbled.

We therefore have chosen Numenius son of Antiochus

And Antipater son of Jason,

We have sent them to Rome to renew our former friendship

And alliance with them.

We have commanded them to go also to you,

To greet you

To deliver to you this letter from us

Concerning the renewal of our family ties.

Now please send us a reply to this.”

Jonathan’s letter continued to remind them that they relied on their holy books, which would have been the law, Torah, and the prophets. Nevertheless, Jonathan thought that it was time to renew their alliance and friendship. Almost a century and a half had passed without any renewal. During this time, they had remembered the Spartans in their prayers and festivals. Funny, this is the first mention of the Spartans. The Jews have had some problems, but their aid from heaven has helped them to defeat their enemies on every side. He was sending Numenius and Antipater to Rome to renew their friendship. However, he also wanted to renew the family ties with the Spartans. Jonathan also wanted a reply from them.