Gabriel explains the vision (Dan 8:19-8:22)

“Gabriel said.

‘Listen!

I will tell you

What will take place later

In the period

Of wrath!

It refers

To the appointed time

Of the end.

As for the ram

That you saw

With the two horns,

These are the kings

Of Media and Persia.

The male goat is

The king of Greece.

The great horn

Between its eyes

Is the first king.

As for the horn

That was broken,

In place of which

Four others arose,

Four kingdoms

Shall arise

From his nation,

But not with his power.’”

Gabriel told Daniel to listen to what he was going to tell him. This all would take place at a later appointed end time, when the wrath of God would be displayed. Then he went into details about the vision. The ram with the two horns represented Media and Persia. The male goat was the king of Greece. His broken horn represented the 4 people who took over after the death of Alexander the Great, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, the successors of Alexander. However, these 4 kingdoms would not be as strong as the first kingdom of Greece under Alexander.

The Assyrian area (Jer 25:25-25:25)

“I went to

All the kings of Zimri,

All the kings of Elam,

All the kings of Media.”

Zimri were the people in northeast Assyria. Elam was a province of the Assyrian Empire. Media may be a reference to Medes, an old Persian province.

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 importance of the Romans (1 Macc 8:1-8:11)

“Judas heard of the fame of the Romans since they were very strong. They were well-disposed toward all who made an alliance with them. They pledged friendship to those who came to them since they were very strong. He had been told of their wars and of the brave deeds which they were doing among the Gauls. They had defeated them and forced them to pay tribute. He learned what they had done in the land of Spain to get control of the silver and gold mines there. They had gained control of the whole region by their planning and patience, even though the place was far distant from them. They also subdued the kings who came against them from the ends of the earth, until they crushed them. They inflicted great disaster upon them. The rest paid them tribute every year. They had crushed in battle and conquered Philip, King Perseus of the Macedonians, and the others who rose up against them. They also had defeated King Antiochus the Great, king of Asia, who went to fight against them with one hundred twenty elephants, cavalry, chariots, and a very large army. He was crushed by them. They took him alive. They decreed that he and those who should rule after him should pay a heavy tribute, give hostages, and surrender some of their best provinces, the countries of India, Media, and Lydia. These they took from him and gave to King Eumenes. The Greeks planned to come and destroy them. However, this became known to them. Then they sent a general against the Greeks who attacked them. Many of them were wounded and fell. The Romans took captive their wives and children. They plundered them, conquered the land, tore down their strongholds, and enslaved them to this day. The remaining kingdoms and islands, as many as ever opposed them, they destroyed and enslaved.”

For some reason, the Romans made a big impression on Judas Maccabeus as they were beginning their ascendancy in the Mediterranean world. He knew that the Romans were strong and faithful in their alliances. Then this biblical author presented the great feats of the Romans. First they had conquered the Gauls and the Spaniards, these western territories around 190 BCE and the Punic wars with Carthage in North Africa from the 3rd century BCE. Prior to this time the only thing west was Egypt and Greece. Now Rome and the west made an impression. These Romans had gone and subdued kings from the ends of the earth. The Romans had defeated the last of the Macedonian kings, King Perseus in 168 BCE, the son of King Philip who had had been defeated in 179 BCE. Obviously this author had some sense of history. As noted, King Antiochus V was not killed, but had to give hostages to Rome, one of which was this King Demetrius I. However, he kept Medes, but did give up Lydia and other parts of Asia Minor. King Eumenes was a Cappadocian ruler. The Romans also defeated the Greeks. Although the Roman Empire did not come to its full height for a few centuries, it was well on its way in the 2nd century BCE.

The dispute between Lysias and Philip (1 Macc 6:55-6:59

Lysias heard that Philip, whom King Antiochus while still living had appointed to bring up his son Antiochus to be king, had returned from Persia and Media. Philip had the forces that had gone with the king so that he was trying to seize control of the government. So Lysias quickly gave orders to withdraw. He said to the king, the commanders of the forces, and to the men.

‘Daily we grow weaker.

Our food supply is scant.

The place against which we are fighting is strong.

The affairs of the kingdom press urgently upon us.

Now then let us come to terms with these people.

Make peace with them.

Make peace with their entire nation.

Let us agree to let them live by their laws as they did before.

For it was on account of their laws that we abolished

That they became angry

That they did all these things.’”

Lysias heard that Philip was coming back from Persia. Philip had been appointed by the late King Antiochus IV to take care of his son King Antiochus V, who happened to be with Lysias here. Lysias knew that Philip had all the eastern forces with him. Thus he wanted to go back to meet Philip to prevent him from seizing control of the Syrian part of the government. He wanted his forces to withdraw. He gave a little speech to the king, the troop commanders, and the men. He told them that they were getting weaker by the day. Besides, the Jews had strong fortifications. On top of that, there were other pressing problems in the kingdom. He wanted to have a peace treaty. He wanted to let the Jews live by their own laws like before. That would make the Jews happy and end the rebellion.

Tobias in Ecbatana (Tob 14:12-14:15)

“When Tobias’ mother Anna died, he buried her beside his father. Then he and his wife and their children returned to Media. He settled in Ecbatana with Raguel his father-in-law. He treated his parents-in-law with great respect in their old age. He buried them in Ecbatana of Media with honor and magnificent funerals. He inherited both the property of Raguel and that of his father Tobit. He died highly respected at the age of one hundred seventeen years. Before he died, he heard of the destruction of Nineveh. He saw its prisoners being led into Media, those whom King Cyrus of Media had taken captive. Tobias praised God for all he had done to the people of Nineveh and Assyria. Before he died, he rejoiced over Nineveh. He blessed the Lord God forever and ever. Amen.”

After the death and burial of his mother Anna, Tobias with his wife and children returned to Ecbatana to be with the parents of his wife Sarah. He treated his elderly in-laws well, and buried them correctly. He then inherited both the estates of his father Tobit and his father-in-law Raguel. It made sense to return to Ecbatana, so that his wife could be with her elderly parents. Before Tobias died, King Cyrus took over Nineveh and Assyria. In fact, Tobias praised God for the Persians and King Cyrus. There definitely was a strong tendency to favor the Persians over the Assyrians and Babylonians. He died blessing God forever, so that it was fitting to end with an Amen.

The value of the prophets (Tob 14:3-14:4)

When he was about to die, he called his son Tobias and the seven sons of Tobias. He gave them his command.

‘My son, take your children and hurry off to Media.

I believe the word of God that Nahum spoke about Nineveh.

All these things will take place and overtake Assyria and Nineveh.

Everything that was spoken by the prophets of Israel,

Whom God sent,

Will occur.

None of their words will fail.

All will come true at their appointed times.

It will be safer in Media than in Assyria and Babylon.

I know and believe that whatever God has said

Will be fulfilled

And will come true.

Not a single word of the prophecies will fail.

All our kindred,

Inhabitants of the land of Israel,

Will be scattered.

They will be taken as captives from the good land.

The whole land of Israel,

Even Samaria and Jerusalem,

Will be desolate.

The temple of God in it will be burned to the ground.

It will be desolate for a while.’”

As Tobit was about to die, he called his son Tobias and his 7 grandchildren. See the number 7 again. He told them to go to Media because there was going to be trouble in Nineveh. Tobit believed in all prophets and how valuable their prophecies were. He was a strong believer in the prophets proclaiming the word of God. He even said that not a single word of the prophecies would fail. Nahum was considered a minor prophet of the 7th century that he would have known. Nahum saw the destruction of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, but he predicted the downfall of Nineveh, which of course led to the ascent of the Persians. Tobit here also predicted the ruin of both the north and south in Israel, including Jerusalem and also the Temple itself. There would be desolation.