The happy visit to Scythopolis (2 Macc 12:29-12:31)

“Setting out from Ephron, they hastened to Scythopolis, which is seventy-five miles from Jerusalem. However, the Jews who lived there bore witness to the goodwill that the people of Scythopolis had shown them. They had shown their kind treatment of them in times of misfortune. Thus the men of Judas Maccabeus thanked them. They exhorted them to be well disposed to their race in the future also.”

Scythopolis was about 75 miles northeast of Jerusalem on the Jordan River. There had been many battles fought here under the Hebrew name of Beth-Shan, where King Saul was defeated by the Philistines. By the 2nd century BCE it had the Greek name of Scythopolis. This time the Jews there said that the folks in this town treated them with good will. Since they had been treated kindly, they thanked them and moved on. There was no battle here.

Those who receive much should be generous (Greek text only)

“Many people,

The more they are honored

With the most generous kindness of their benefactors,

The more proud they become.

They not only seek to injure our subjects,

But in their inability to stand prosperity,

They even undertake to scheme against their own benefactors.

They not only take away thankfulness from others,

But carried away

By the boasts of those who know nothing of goodness,

They even assume that they will escape

The evil-hating justice of God,

Who always sees everything.

Often many of those

Who are set in places of authority

Have been made in part responsible

For the shedding of innocent blood.

They have been involved in irremediable calamities.

By the persuasion of friends

Who have been entrusted

With the administration of public affairs,

These men by the false trickery

Of their evil natures

Beguile the sincere goodwill of their sovereigns.”

Once again, this is found in the Greek text only, not in the Hebrew text. Some people have been blessed by God and benefactors. However, they can become proud. They sought to injure our Persian subjects and even their own benefactors. They are not thankful but evil in the sight of God who sees everything. This is especially bad when irresponsible authorities try to shed blood. By false trickery and their evil nature they beguile the goodwill of kings. This is a veiled reference to Haman, since this and the other decree are both from the same person, King Artaxerxes. He cannot contradict himself, since Haman wrote the first decree and Mordecai wrote this one.

Mordecai and the plot to kill the king (Esth 2:21-2:23)

“While Mordecai was sitting in the royal courtyard, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Terseh, who were the chief bodyguards, became angry. They conspired to assassinate King Artaxerxes. This matter became known to Mordecai, who warned Queen Esther. She, in turn, revealed the plot to the king in the name of Mordecai. When the affair was investigated and found to be true, the men were both hanged. Then the king ordered a memorandum to be deposited in the royal library in praise of the goodwill shown by Mordecai. It was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.”

The names of the 2 eunuchs are only in the Hebrew text, not the Greek text. Eunuchs were personal bodyguards. Perhaps this relates to the preliminary Greek text about the plot against the king, where Mordecai heard 2 eunuchs plotting to kill the king. There they confessed and were executed. It sounds very similar. Except here, Mordecai told Esther who then told the king. Here it is very clearly recorded in the annals of the king.