“They were astonished
‘He has done everything well.
He even makes
καὶ ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες Καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκεν, καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν καὶ ἀλάλους λαλεῖν.
This unique saying of Mark ends with everyone being astonished or amazed. Mark said that they were astonished beyond measure (καὶ ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες). They said that Jesus had done everything well (Καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκεν). He made both the deaf hear (καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν) and the mute speak (καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν). This was great praise for Jesus.
I say to you!
‘Among those born of women,
No one has risen greater
Than John the Baptist.
Yet the least
In the kingdom of heaven
Is greater than he.’”
ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐκ ἐγήγερται ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν μείζων Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ· ὁ δὲ μικρότερος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν μείζων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν.
This saying about John the Baptist can be found almost word for word in Luke, chapter 7:28. Thus, this may have been a Q source about John, like many of the other passages about John. Matthew has Jesus issue this solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν,). There was no other human being, born of a woman (ἐγήγερται ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν), greater than John the Baptist (μείζων Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ·). Notice that he used his title here of the Baptist (τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ). However, those who would be the least, the smallest, or the littlest in the kingdom of heaven would be greater than John (ὁ δὲ μικρότερος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν μείζων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν). This was great praise for John. Yet, being a follower of Jesus made you even greater.
“With the Almighty as their ally, Judas Maccabeus killed more than nine thousand of the enemy. They wounded and disabled most of Nicanor’s army. They forced them all to flee. They captured the money of those who had come to buy them as slaves. After pursuing them for some distance, they were obliged to return because the hour was late. It was the day before the Sabbath. For that reason they did not continue their pursuit. When they had collected the arms of the enemy and stripped them of their spoils, they kept the Sabbath. They gave great praise and thanks to the Lord, who had preserved them for that day. He allotted it to them as the beginning of mercy. After the Sabbath, they gave some of the spoils to those who had been tortured, the widows, and the orphans. They distributed the rest among themselves and their children. When they had done this, they made common supplication. They implored the merciful Lord to be wholly reconciled with his servants.”
This section is a little like the battles in 1 Maccabees, chapter 4, but not quite the same. The leader of the army is Nicanor and Gorgias. As God Almighty was on their side, Judas and his men killed more than 9,000 of the 20,000 enemy soldiers. They also wounded and disabled most of Nicanor’s army, as those who were able, fled the scene. They even got the money that was going to be used to buy Jewish slaves. They had to stop pursuing them since it was the eve of the Sabbath. They then celebrated the Sabbath with great praise and thanksgiving for the Lord’s mercy to them. Then on the day after the Sabbath, they gave some, but not all, of the spoils to those who had been tortured, as well as the widows and orphans. The rest of the money they distributed it among themselves and their children. They once again prayed to the Lord so that he might be reconciled with his servants. There is no longer any mention of religious sacrifices of any kind.