The fate of all is the same (Ps 49:10-49:13)

“When we look at the wise,

They die.

The fool and the stupid perish together.

They leave their wealth to others.

Their graves are their homes forever.

Their dwelling places are for all generations,

Even though they named lands as their own.

Mortals cannot abide in their pomp.

They are like the animals that perish.

This is the fate

Of the foolhardy.

This is the end

Of those who are pleased with their lot.”

Selah

This psalmist reminds us to the look at the wise people, much like himself. They die. However, so do the fools and stupid people also die. Their wealth is given to others. Their house is no longer opulent since their home is the dwelling place of all people for generations to come, the grave. Mortals cannot keep their pomp forever, since they are like animals that die. This is the fate of all, to die. Even those who are foolhardy and pleased with their lot in life, they will come to an end. On that happy note, it is time for the usual musical interlude pause of Selah.

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King Ptolemy VI sees the destruction at Azotus (1 Macc 11:4-11:7)

“When King Ptolemy approached Azotus, they showed him the burnt out temple of Dagon, Azotus, and its suburbs destroyed. The corpses were lying about. The charred bodies of those whom Jonathan had burned in the war had been piled in heaps along his route. They also told the king what Jonathan had done, to throw blame on him. However, the king kept silent. Jonathan met the king at Joppa with pomp. They greeted one another and spent the night there. Jonathan went with the king as far as the river called Eleutherus. Then he returned to Jerusalem.”

It was hard to tell what King Ptolemy of Egypt thought about the destruction at Azotus. There were dead bodies piled up all over the place. The temple of Dagon had been destroyed. They told the king that Jonathan had done all this. Jonathan then met the king at Joppa. They greeted each other and stayed 1 night together. The next day, Jonathan left the king at the River Eleutherus, which is north of Tripolis, to return to Jerusalem.

King Alexander I honors Jonathan (1 Macc 10:86-10:89)

“Then Jonathan left there. He encamped against Askalon, where the people of the city came out to meet him with a great pomp. Jonathan and those with him returned to Jerusalem with a large amount of booty. When King Alexander heard of these things, he honored Jonathan still more. He sent to him a golden buckle, such as it is the custom to give to the king’s kinsmen. He also gave him Ekron and all its environs as his possession.”

Askalon had been one of the 5 major Philistine cities on the coast. There the people came out to praise Jonathan. Obviously, when he got back to Jerusalem they had a big celebration because he had brought back a large amount of booty. When King Alexander I heard about his activities in defeating the governor of King Demetrius I, he honored him by giving him a gold buckle as a token of his friendship. Now Jonathan was one of the great friends of the king, almost a relative. King Alexander I gave Jonathan the land of Ekron which was the most northern Philistine city. It almost seems like this is the completion of the wars of David against the Philistines.

Jonathan is honored by the king of Syria (1 Macc 10:59-10:66)

“Then King Alexander wrote to Jonathan to come to meet him. So he went with pomp to Ptolemais. He met the two kings. He gave them, and their friends, silver, gold, and many gifts as he found favor with them. A group of malcontents from Israel, the renegades, gathered together against him to accuse him. However, the king paid no attention to them. The king gave orders to take off Jonathan’s garments and to clothe him in purple. They did so. The king also seated him at his side. He said to his officers.

‘Go out with him into the middle of the city.

Proclaim that no one

Is to bring charges against him about any matter.

Let no one annoy him for any reason.’

When his accusers saw the honor that was paid him, in accord with the proclamation, and saw him clothed in purple, they all fled. Thus the king honored him. He enrolled him among his chief friends. He made him general and governor of the province. Jonathan returned to Jerusalem in peace and gladness.”

The Seleucid King Alexander I was very kind to Jonathan. He invited him to meet with the Egyptian King Ptolemy. Jonathan gave them many gifts, including gold and silver. However, there were those nasty renegades, who have been around for 30-40 years, the Hellenistic leaning Jews, that accused Jonathan of many things, although it is not clear what these things were. Nevertheless, the king of Syria, King Alexander I, gave Jonathan royal robes and paraded him around the city saying that no accusations could be placed against Jonathan. He also made Jonathan a general and the governor of the province of Judea. With this, the renegades fled for their lives. Jonathan now had both religious, military, and civil authority. There was no sense in fighting city hall.

The wedding of King Alexander I and Cleopatra (1 Macc 10:57-10:58)

“King Ptolemy set out from Egypt with his daughter Cleopatra. He came to Ptolemais in the one hundred sixty-second year. King Alexander met him. King Ptolemy gave him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage. They celebrated her wedding at Ptolemais with great pomp, as kings do.”

The wedding of Cleopatra, the daughter of King Ptolemy VI of Egypt, and King Alexander I of Syria took place in 150 BCE, the 167th year. So now we have Cleopatra III as part of biblical history. There were a number of women in the Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty named Cleopatra. William Shakespeare’s play “Anthony and Cleopatra” was about Cleopatra VII, about a century later. King Ptolemy must have been pleased to go to a place named after his family, Ptolemais. He and his family were strong proponents of Greek so that the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, was translated in Alexandria, Egypt, a strong Hellenized town as can be seen by its very name. King Ptolemy VI and King Alexander I met. Then he gave his daughter to him in a great big wedding ceremony, as kings normally do.