Johanan intends to go to Egypt (Jer 41:16-41:18)

“Then Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the leaders

Of the forces with him,

Took all the rest

Of the people

Whom Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Had carried away captive

From Mizpah.

This was after

He had slain Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam.

This included

Soldiers,

Women,

Children,

Eunuchs,

Whom Johanan brought back

From Gibeon.

They set out.

They stopped at

Geruth Chimham

Near Bethlehem.

They intended

To go to Egypt

Because of the Chaldeans.

They were afraid of them.

Because Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Had killed Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

Whom the king of Babylon

Had made governor

Over the land.”

Johanan and his forces, along with the now freed captives of Mizpah that included soldiers, women, children, and eunuchs, were going to go to Egypt. They set out on their way in a reverse kind of Exodus. However, they stopped at Geruth Chimham, near Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem. They were afraid that the Chaldeans would be mad at them, because of the death of Governor Gedaliah, who had been appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.

King Antiochus VII and the dispute with Simon (1 Macc 15:25-15:31)

“King Antiochus besieged Dor for the second time. He continued to throw his forces against it. He was making engines of war. He shut Trypho up and kept him from going out or in. Simon sent to King Antiochus two thousand picked troops, to fight for him, with silver and gold and much military equipment. However, King Antiochus refused to receive them. He broke all the agreements he formerly had made with Simon. He became estranged from him. He sent to him Athenobius, one of his friends, to confer with him, saying.

‘You hold control of Joppa and Gazara

And the citadel in Jerusalem.

They are cities of my kingdom.

You have devastated their territory.

You have done great damage in the land.

You have taken possession of many places in my kingdom.

Now then, hand over the cities which you have seized.

Pay the tribute money of the places

That you have conquered outside the borders of Judea.

Or else pay me five hundred talents of silver,

For the destruction that you have caused.

Pay me five hundred talents more

For the tribute money of the cities.

Otherwise we will come and make war on you.’”

Now we are back to the situation at Dor. When Simon heard about the siege there, he sent 2,000 troops with gold and silver as well as military equipment to help King Antiochus VII. However, King Antiochus VII took offense at this. He broke all his agreements with Simon that he had made in writing earlier in this chapter. He sent his friend Athenobius with a message for Simon. He complained that Simon have taken over Joppa, Gaza, and the citadel in Jerusalem. He contended that they were not in Judea. Simon had done a lot of damage. He either wanted those places back or money since Simon had left the borders of Judea and taken parts of his kingdom. However, King Antiochus VII was still not technically in charge since King Demetrius II was in prison and King Trypho was in Dor. He also wanted the tribute from those 3 places. Otherwise he was going to make war on Simon. What a change of heart!

King Demetrius II rises up again (1 Macc 14:1-14:3)

“In the one hundred seventy-second year, King Demetrius assembled his forces. He marched into Media to secure help, so that he could make war against Trypho. When King Arsaces of Persia and Media heard that King Demetrius had invaded his territory, he sent one of his commanders to take him alive. The general went and defeated the army of King Demetrius. They seized him and took him to King Arsaces, who put him under guard.”

About 139 BCE, King Demetrius II wanted to go to war against King Trypho. He went into Media, which was west of Teheran, and supposedly a part of the Seleucid Empire. However, when King Arsaces IV (171-138 BCE), the king of Persia and Media heard about King Demetrius in his territory, he defeated his army and captured King Demetrius II.

The gathering at Bethbasi (1 Macc 9:62-9:64)

“Then Jonathan, with his men and Simon, withdrew to Bethbasi in the wilderness. He rebuilt the parts of it that had been demolished. Then they fortified it. When General Bacchides learned of this, he assembled all his forces. He sent orders to the men of Judea. Then he came and encamped against Bethbasi. He fought against it for many days as he made machines of war.”

Jonathan and his men went southeast of Bethlehem to Bethbasi in the wilderness marshes along the Jordan River, near Tekoa. They rebuilt their stronghold and fortified it. When General Bacchides heard of this, he assembled his forces and camped out against the forces of Jonathan for many days. He kept building his war machines.

The expedition of Antiochus V (1 Macc 6:28-6:31)

“King Antiochus was enraged when he heard this. He assembled all his friends, the commanders of his forces and those in authority. Mercenary forces also came to him from other kingdoms and from the islands of the seas. The number of his forces was one hundred thousand foot soldiers, twenty thousand cavalry, and thirty-two elephants accustomed to war. They came through Idumea. They encamped against Beth-zur. For many days they fought and built engines of war. However, the Jews sallied out and burned these with fire. They fought courageously.”

The 10 year old King Antiochus V was mad when he heard this. He called all his friends and the commanders of the army. Probably Lysias was in command of the army since he had fought and lost to Judas Maccabeus. They also had mercenary forces from other kingdoms and islands. The total force for King Antiochus V and Lysias was 100,000 foot soldiers, 20,000 horsemen, and 32 elephants. That is something new. They came from the south via Idumea. They camped at Beth-zur, 18 miles south of Jerusalem, where Judas had defeated Lysias 3 years earlier in 165 BCE in chapter 4 of this book. However, the Jews fought courageously here.

The attack on Dathema (1 Macc 5:29-5:34)

“They went all the way to the stronghold of Dathema. At dawn, they looked out and saw a large company that could not be counted, carrying ladders and engines of war to capture the stronghold. They were attacking the Jews within it. Judas saw that the battle had begun. The cry of the town went up to heaven with trumpets and loud shouts. Judas said to the men of his forces.

‘Fight today for your kindred’

Then he came up behind them in three companies. They sounded their trumpets. They cried aloud in prayer. When the army of Timothy realized that it was Maccabeus, they fled before him. He had dealt them a heavy blow. As many as eight thousand of them fell that day.”

Next Judas Maccabeus and his men went back to the stronghold of Dathema, where many of the Jews were at as was indicated earlier in this chapter. It must not have been that far from Bozrah since it only took one night to get there. However, when they arrived, the place was under attack by that wicked Timothy and his army. Judas Maccabeus called his troops to fight for their relatives. When Timothy and his group realized that Judas Maccabeus was attacking them, they fled with a loss of about 8,000 men.

Judas told them not to plunder the camp now (1 Macc 4:16-4:18)

“Then Judas and his force turned back from pursuing them. He said to the people.

‘Do not be greedy for plunder.

There is a battle before us.

Gorgias and his force are near us in the hills.

But stand now against our enemies!

Fight them!

Afterward seize the plunder boldly.’”

When they turned back from pursuing their enemy, Judas reminded them that the battle was not over yet. He told them not to be greedy for plunder because Gorgias and his forces were still in the surrounding hills. They should stand and fight now. Then afterwards they could seize the plunder.