“When Jesus went outside,
And the Pharisees
Began to be
To cross examine him
About many things,”
Κἀκεῖθεν ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἤρξαντο οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι δεινῶς ἐνέχειν καὶ ἀποστοματίζειν αὐτὸν περὶ πλειόνων,
Luke uniquely indicated that when this dinner party with the Pharisees was over, Jesus and the others went outside (Κἀκεῖθεν ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ). Then the Scribes (οἱ γραμματεῖς) and the Pharisees (καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) began (ἤρξαντο) to be very hostile or urgently press Jesus (δεινῶς ἐνέχειν). They wanted to cross examine him (καὶ ἀποστοματίζειν αὐτὸν) about many things (περὶ πλειόνων). This is the only time that the word ἀποστοματίζειν is used in all the Scripture literature, meaning something like drawing out by questioning. This was the first mention of the Scribes in this section. You can see that after all these diatribes against the Pharisees and the Mosaic lawyers, they may have had some questions for Jesus. He would have to do some explaining to them about what he meant. This was not a happy ending to a dinner party. Have you ever been to a dinner party that ended badly?
“When Alcimus had said this, the rest of the king’s friends, who were hostile to Judas Maccabeus, quickly inflamed King Demetrius still more. He immediately chose Nicanor, who had been in command of the elephants. He appointed him governor of Judea. He sent him off with orders to kill Judas Maccabeus and scatter his troops. He was to install Alcimus as high priest of the great temple. The gentiles throughout Judea, who had fled before Judas Maccabeus, flocked to join Nicanor. They thought that the misfortunes and calamities of the Jews would mean prosperity for themselves.”
Once again, this is similar but not quite the same as 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. There is no mention of Bacchides here. Instead the leader of the troops and the governor of Judea was Nicanor. Apparently, Nicanor had been in charge of the elephants that seem to have been a big deal in the Syrian army. He may also have been with King Demetrius I when he was in jail in Rome. Now this meant that there was a separate governor for Judea whose sole purpose was to kill Judas Maccabees and disperse his troops. Alcimus was officially made the high priest. The gentiles in the area were happy so that they eagerly joined with Nicanor. The assumption of the gentiles was a zero sum game that if the Jews were in trouble, it would be better for them.
“When Apollonius son of Menestheus was sent to Egypt for the coronation of Philometor as king, King Antiochus learned that Philometor had become hostile to his government. The king took measures for his own security. Therefore upon arriving at Joppa, he proceeded to Jerusalem. He was welcomed magnificently by Jason and the city. He was ushered in with a blaze of torches and with shouts. Then he marched his army into Phoenicia.”
Apollonius, the governor, was sent to Egypt for the coronation of the new King Ptolemy VI the Philometor about 175 BCE. The mother of King Ptolemy VI, Cleopatra I, had died when he was only 10 years old. His father King Ptolemy V had died in 180 BCE so that he technically was king when he was 5 years old. However, he ruled with his mother until she died. In 174 BCE, at the age of 11, he married his sister Cleopatra II. He ruled in Egypt until 146 BCE. However, Apollonius learned that King Ptolemy VI and his advisors had turned anti-Syrian rather than pro-Syrian like his mother and father. Then King Antiochus IV (175-164 BCE) decided to make a trip to Joppa and Jerusalem. Jason and the people of Jerusalem warmly welcomed him, before he went to Phoenicia.
“Therefore we have decreed that those indicated to you in the letters written by Haman be destroyed. Haman is in charge of affairs and is our second father. He wishes that all these people, with their wives and children included, be utterly destroyed by the sword. We must be rid of our enemies, without pity or restraint, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, of this present year. Thus those who have long been hostile, and remain so, may go down to Hades violently in one single day. They will leave our government completely secure and untroubled hereafter.”
Interesting enough, Jews are not specifically mentioned in this decree at all, since this would be the obvious place to indicate who these people are. There is just this vague foreign “all these people,” who must be destroyed. Haman was the 2nd in command and in charge of this affair. He wanted all these people, including wives and children, destroyed by the sword without pity or restraint on the 14th day of the 12th month. Thus they will go violently down to Hades. They will leave the Persian government secure and untroubled. Notice that they are going to go down to Hades, who was the Greek god of the underworld, once again indicating a later Greek influence. Hades as a term is found in the Christian New Testament and not in the Hebrew Jewish Old Testament. This was the final section of this Greek text of the decree.
“I asked my counselors how this peace might be accomplished. Haman excels among us in sound judgment. He is distinguished for his unchanging good will and steadfast fidelity. Thus he has attained the second place in the kingdom. He pointed out to us that among all the nations in the world there is scattered a certain hostile people, who have laws contrary to those of every nation. They continually disregard the ordinances of kings. Thus the unifying of the kingdom that we honorably intend cannot be brought about. We understand that this people and it alone, stands constantly in opposition to every nation, perversely following a strange manner of life and laws. They are ill-disposed to our government. They do all the harm they can so that our kingdom may not attain stability.”
This great peaceful king asked his counselors how peace could be achieved and maintained. His number two man, Haman had sound judgment, good will, and fidelity. He pointed out that there was one ethnic group of people scattered among the 127 provinces who were hostile to all the over nations and people. They disregarded the royal ordinances. They have a strange perverse life style with their own laws. They do not like our government and they are ruining any stability that we might attain. Interesting enough, these Persian kings were tolerant and not looking for uniformity. In fact, these are like many of the complaints against the Jews in the later Hellenistic period thus indicating its origin. There is no indication that Persians ever disliked the Jews, since Nehemiah was a cup bearer as a Jew to this same king. Clearly this is the work of Haman who disliked a certain group of so-called outsiders. However, there is no specific mention of Jews in this Greek text.
“When a famine spread over the land of Canaan, they went down to Egypt. They lived there as long as they had food. They became so great a multitude that their race could not be counted. So the king of Egypt became hostile to them. He exploited them. He forced them to make bricks. They cried out to their God. Their God afflicted the whole land of Egypt with incurable plagues. So the Egyptians drove them out of their sight. Then God dried up the Red Sea before them. He led them by the way of Sinai and Kadesh-barnea. They drove out all the people of the wilderness. They took up residence in the land of the Amorites. By their might they destroyed all the inhabitants of Heshbon. Then they crossed over the Jordan and took possession of all the hill country. They drove out before them the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Shechemites, and all the Gergesites. They have lived there a long time.”
Achior tells the story of how these Israelites went to Egypt and came back. Once again, there is no mention of a specific leader like Joseph, Moses, or Joshua. The Israelites were in a famine and went to Egypt, where they became a great race. However, the king of Egypt turned on them and forced them to make bricks. In their struggle, they cried out to their God, who then inflicted the Egyptians with plagues. Then the Egyptians drove them out as their God dried up the Red Sea. They even drove out the people in the wilderness. They took the land of the Amorites around Heshbon. Then they crossed the Jordan and defeated the traditional enemies, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Shechemites, and all the Gergesites. This is the Exodus story with an emphasis on how they got to Egypt and who they wiped out along the way. Apparently, they had lived in Canaan a long time.