“Egypt shall be desolated
Then they shall know
That I am Yahweh,
When I have set fire
All who help it
As in the preceding chapter, Egypt will be desolate among other desolate countries. Its cities would be laid waste. Yahweh was going to set Egypt on fire. All the Egyptian helpers or mercenaries would also be broken.
“Timothy, who had been defeated by the Jews before, gathered a tremendous force of mercenaries. He collected the cavalry from Asia in no small number. He came on, intending to take Judea by storm. As he drew near, Judas Maccabeus and his men sprinkled dust on their heads. They girded their loins with sackcloth, in supplication to God. Falling upon the steps before the altar, they implored God to be gracious to them. They wanted him to be an enemy to their enemies and an adversary to their adversaries, as the law declares.”
Timothy, the head of the Ammonites, had been defeated before in chapter 8 of this work and in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5. This time he had a large cavalry from Asia and a tremendous mercenary force. However, Judas Maccabeus and his troops put dust on their heads and sackcloth on their loins. They prayed to God before his altar in Jerusalem. They asked God to be gracious to them. He wanted God to be the enemy of his enemies and the adversary of his adversaries. This he proclaimed what the law said. God was with his people and against the others. This is the great cry of all wars. “God is on our side.”
“When Gorgias became governor of the region, he maintained a force of mercenaries. At every turn he kept attacking the Jews.”
There definitely is a change in tone when Gorgias became governor of Coele-syria after the death of Ptolemy. Gorgias attacked the Jews on every occasion. In 1 Maccabees, chapters 3 and 4, he played a major role in the battles with the Jews.
“Then both sides attacked as five thousand of the army of Lysias fell in action. Lysias saw the rout of his troops. He observed the boldness which inspired those troops of Judas. He saw how ready they were either to live or to die nobly. Then he withdrew to Antioch. There he enlisted mercenaries in order to invade Judea again with an even larger army.”
Both sides attacked. However, the army of Lysias lost 5,000 men. Lysias, the Syrian general saw how bold the men of Judas were since they were ready to die nobly. Then he withdrew to Antioch to enlist more mercenaries for a larger invasion of Judea.