“Who is this that comes from Edom?
Who comes from Bozrah
In garments stained in crimson?
Who is this so splendidly robed?
Who is marching in his great might?
‘It is I!
I announce vindication!
I am mighty to save!’”
The sentinel or the prophet is standing on the wall or guarding the city. Thus he wants to know who was coming from Edom and its capital city of Bozrah, that was south of Judah on the other side of the Jordan River. Here we have an unusual dialog. The people from Edom were wearing splendid stained crimson robes. They were marching with a great army. After these questions, there is a response. The response is in the first personal singular as if it is Yahweh himself announcing and seeking vindication, while trying to save his people.
“After this, Trypho came to invade the country. He wanted to destroy it. He circled around by the way to Adora. But Simon and his army kept marching along opposite him to every place he went. Now the men in the citadel kept sending envoys to Trypho urging him to come to them by way of the wilderness and to send them food. So Trypho got all his cavalry ready to go, but that night a very heavy snow fell. He did not go because of the snow. He marched off and went into the land of Gilead. When he approached Baskama, he killed Jonathan. He was buried there. Then Trypho turned back. He went back to his own land.”
Trypho came to invade and destroy Judah by way of Adora, about 5 miles southwest of Hebron. However, Simon and his army were marching opposite him. This seems strange. Who was following who? The Syrian men in the Jerusalem citadel sent messengers to Trypho to go through the wilderness. They needed food. This plan was cancelled when a strange snow storm hit. This is the first mention of snow, since it obviously was not that common. Trypho decided to head north to Gilead where he killed and buried Jonathan at Baskama, which is northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Then he went home without fighting any battle.
“Then Trypho sent troops and cavalry into Galilee and the Great Plain to destroy all Jonathan’s soldiers. However, they realized that Jonathan had been seized and had perished along with his men. They then encouraged one another and kept marching in close formation, ready for battle. When their pursuers saw that they would fight for their lives, they turned back. So they all reached the land of Judah safely. They mourned for Jonathan and his companions. They were in great fear. All Israel mourned deeply. All the nations around about them tried to destroy them. They said.
‘They have no leader or helper.
Now therefore let us make war on them.
Let us blot out the memory of them from humankind.’”
Trypho wanted to defeat the Jewish troops of Jonathan. He sent his cavalry into Galilee and the great plain. However, the troops realized what had happened to Jonathan, so they decided to march in close formation as if they were ready for battle. When the Syrian troops saw this, they turned back and let them reach the land of Judah safely. Now they all mourned for Jonathan and his companions, as did all Israel. They feared that their neighbors would attack them since they had no leader. They might be annihilated.