The battle of Ephron (2 Macc 12:27-12:28)

“After the rout at Carnaim and the destruction of these, he marched also against Ephron, a fortified town where Lysias lived with multitudes of people of all nationalities. Stalwart young men took their stand before the walls. They made a vigorous defense. Great stores of war engines and missiles were there. However, the Jews called upon the sovereign who with power shatters the might of his enemies. They got the town into their hands. They killed as many as twenty-five thousand of those who were within it.”

After killing 25,000 at Carnaim, they went and killed another 25,000 at Ephron, 8 miles east of the Jordan River. Ephron was the home town of Lysias, who lived there with many different nationalities. Although they had stalwart young men defending it, with war engines and many missiles, the Jews called upon their powerful sovereign God who shattered their enemies. They took the town and killed another 25,000 people here. That seems to be a favorite number.

The apparition in Jerusalem (2 Macc 5:1-5:4)

“About this time, King Antiochus made his second invasion of Egypt. It happened that, for almost forty days, there appeared over all the city golden-clad cavalry charging through the air, in companies fully armed with lances and drawn swords. These troops of cavalry had drawn up. There were attacks and counterattacks made on this side and on that side. There were brandishing of shields, massing of spears, hurling of missiles, the flash of golden trappings, and armor of all kinds. Therefore everyone prayed that the apparition might prove to have been a good omen.”

There is some confusion about the 1st and 2nd invasion of King Antiochus IV into Egypt. The first attack would have been in 170 BCE when he conquered Egypt, but left it with a puppet government in order to please Rome. In 168 BCE, 2 years later, he invaded again. Once again, the Roman legate told him to stop. He drew a line in the sand. If he went beyond that, Rome would declare war on the Seleucid dynasty. Was this simply 2 phases of the same war or 2 wars? At this time there was some kind of apparition that lasted 40 days in Jerusalem. People saw golden clad cavalry fighting with shields, spears, and armor. Everyone was hoping that this was a good omen.