Like a virgin
Dressed in sackcloth
For the husband
Of her youth!
The grain offering,
The drink offering,
Are cut off
From the house
The priests mourn.
The ministers of Yahweh
The fields are devastated.
The ground mourns.
The grain is destroyed.
The wine dries up.
The oil fails.”
The people should go into mourning. They should lament like a virgin who had lost the husband of her youth, dressed in sackcloth. There was not going to be any grain or drink offerings in the house of Yahweh. The priests and the ministers should mourn because the fields were devastated. The ground itself mourned because the grain was destroyed. The wine had dried up. The oil had failed. There was good reason to go into mourning.
“There is swearing.
There is lying.
There is murder.
There is stealing.
Adultery breaks out.
Bloodshed follows bloodshed.
The land mourns.
All who live in it
The wild animals,
The birds of the air,
Even the fish of the sea,
Hosea explained how bad the situation was in Israel. First, the place was full of sin with swearing, lying, murder, and stealing. Adultery was all over the place, with bloodshed everywhere. Thus, the land and its people mourned. Everyone who lived there was languishing. The wild animals, the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea were perishing or dying. Death was in the air.
“All these seamen
They cry bitterly.
They cast dust
On their heads.
They make themselves
They put on
In bitterness of soul,
With bitter mourning.
In their wailing,
‘Who was ever destroyed
In the midst
Of the sea?’”
All these seamen onlookers lamented and mourned for Tyre. They wailed loudly and cried bitterly over Tyre. In typical mourning fashion, they put dust on their heads and wallowed in ashes. They made themselves bald and put on sackcloth. They wept with a bitterness of soul in their mourning. They lamented over Tyre. They wondered if anyone had ever been destroyed on the high seas like Tyre.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem!
Be glad for her!
All you who love her!
Rejoice with her in joy!
All you who mourn over her!
That you may nurse!
That you be satisfied
From her consoling breasts!
Thus you may drink deeply
From her glorious bosom!”
Everyone was to rejoice with Jerusalem. Everyone who loved her was to be glad for her, even those who mourned for her. They would all nurse and be satisfied from the consoling breasts and glorious bosom of Jerusalem. They would all drink deeply with great delight.
“Simon sent and took the bones of his brother Jonathan. They buried him in Modein, the city of his ancestors. All Israel bewailed him with great lamentation. They mourned for him many days. Simon built a monument over the tomb of his father and his brothers. He made it high so that it might be seen, with polished stone at the front and back. He also erected seven pyramids, opposite one another, for his father and mother and four brothers. For the pyramids he devised an elaborate setting, erecting about them great columns. On the columns he put suits of armor for a permanent memorial. Beside the suits of armor, he carved ships, so that they could be seen by all who sail the sea. This is the tomb which he built in Modein. It remains to this day.”
Simon had the bones of his brother brought back to Modein, where the rest of his family was buried. There was great bewailing, mourning, and lamentations over the death of Jonathan. However, Simon built a special monument to his family. He built 7 pyramids for his parents and his siblings. He also built great columns with suits of armor and carved ships. This giant tomb could not be seen from the sea, but it was meant as a memorial for those who do sail the seas. However, they did have a sea port in Joppa. This great monument certainly existed at the time of the biblical author of this book.
“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.
“Then Jonathan and Simon took their brother Judas and buried him in the tomb of their ancestors at Modein. They wept for him. All Israel made great lamentation for him. They mourned many days and said.
‘How the mighty have fallen,
The savior of Israel!’
Now the rest of the acts of Judas, his wars, the brave deeds that he did, and his greatness have not been recorded, but they were very many.”
The 2 brothers of Judas Maccabeus, Jonathan and Simon took his body and buried him in the tomb of their father at Modein. They wept for their brother, while all of Israel lamented and mourned. This Israelite lamentation is almost the same as when David found out about the death of King Saul in 2 Samuel, chapter 1. On the other hand the phrase about the life of Judas “How the mighty have fallen” is reminiscent of the style of 1 Kings, chapter 11, which began with the death of King Solomon. Everything was written in the acts or annals of the individual kings. However, Judas was not king. Besides, his acts were too many to be written down in one place.
“Then he blessed them. He was then gathered to his ancestors. He died in the one hundred and forty-sixth year. He was buried in the tomb of his ancestors at Modein. All Israel mourned for him with great lamentation.”
Mattathias blessed his children. Then he died in 166 BCE, 146th year since the beginning of the Greek empire, which was only 1 year after the King Antiochus IV sent out his decree of uniformity in 167 BCE. Mattathias was buried in the tomb of his ancestors, but he had moved from Jerusalem to Modein. How could his ancestors be here and not in Jerusalem? Obviously, not all Israel mourned him. Some might have been mad at him for his attacks on other non-observant Jews.
“When Mattathias and his friends learned of the massacre, they mourned for them deeply. All said to their neighbors.
‘If we all do as our kindred have done,
If we refuse to fight with the gentiles,
For our lives and for our ordinances,
They will quickly destroy us from the earth.’
Thus they made this decision that day.
‘Let us fight against anyone
Who comes to attack us on the Sabbath day.
Let us not all die as our kindred died in their hiding places.’”
Mattathias and his friends mourned for the 1,000 people who had died. However, they realized that if they refused to fight on the Sabbath, they would very quickly be destroyed. They decided, instead, that if anyone attacked them on the Sabbath, they would fight back.
Why was I born to see this?
The ruin of my people,
The ruin of the holy city,
I had to live there when it was given over to the enemy.
The sanctuary was given over to aliens.
Her temple has become like a person without honor.
Her glorious vessels have been carried into exile.
Her infants have been killed in her streets.
Her youth have been killed by the sword of the foe.
What nation has not inherited her palaces?
What nation has not seized her spoils?
All her adornment has been taken away.
She is no longer free.
She has become a slave.
Our holy place,
Our glory have been laid waste.
The gentiles have profaned it.
Why should we live any longer?’
Mattathias and his sons tore their clothes. They put on sackcloth. They mourned greatly.”
Once again we have poetic fragment. This one is ascribed to Mattathias as he laments the state of Jerusalem. He wanted to know why he was born and why should he live. The situation in Jerusalem was so bad with the ruin of his people and the holy city as it was given over to the alien enemy. Her sanctuary and vessels were defamed and all gone. There was no honor, as infants were killed in the streets. Young people were killed. Every nation has seized some part of her palaces. Jerusalem was not free, but a slave. The holy, beautiful places of glory lay wasted. He and his sons tore their clothes and put on sackcloth. They mourned greatly over Jerusalem with the traditional signs of mourning, ashes and sackcloth. They left their wonderful Jerusalem in shambles.