Nicanor plans to attack Judas Maccabeus (2 Macc 15:1-15:5)

“When Nicanor heard that Judas and his troops were in the region of Samaria, he made plans to attack them with complete safety on the day of rest. The Jews who were compelled to follow him said.

‘Do not destroy so savagely and barbarously,

But show respect for the day

That he who sees all things

Has honored and hallowed above other days.’

The thrice-accursed wretch asked if there were a sovereign in heaven who had commanded the keeping of the Sabbath day. They declared.

‘It is the living Lord himself,

The Sovereign in heaven,

Who ordered us to observe the seventh day.’

He replied.

‘I am a sovereign also, on earth,

I command you to take up arms.

I command you to finish the king’s business.’

Nevertheless, he did not succeed in carrying out his abominable design.”

Nicanor found out that Judas Maccabeus and his troops were in Samaria. He wanted to attack them on the Sabbath day, the day of rest. However, his Jewish followers, the renegades, told him that this was not a good idea. It would not be a good idea to kill Judas on the Sabbath because the living God had told them to observe the Sabbath. However, Nicanor responded that he was a sovereign also. He was commanding them to take up arms and finish the king’s business. However, this wretched fellow’s plans were not successful. Now this biblical author has an extremely negative view of Nicanor.

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 attack of Judas Maccabeus on Caspin (2 Macc 12:13-12:16)

“Judas Maccabeus also attacked a certain city that was strongly fortified with earthworks and walls. Inhabited by all sorts of gentiles, its name was Caspin. Those who were within, relying on the strength of the walls and on their supply of provisions, behaved most insolently toward Judas Maccabeus and his men. They railed at them, even blaspheming and saying unholy things. But Judas Maccabeus and his men, calling upon the great Sovereign of the world, who without battering-rams or engines of war overthrew Jericho in the days of Joshua, rushed furiously upon the walls. They took the town by the will of God. They slaughtered untold numbers, so that the adjoining lake, a quarter of a mile wide, appeared to be running over with blood.”

This Caspin may be the same as Chaspho in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5. The only apparent reason for attacking this strongly fortified town was because they had some gentiles there. However, for some reason, the people in this town were insolent to Judas Maccabeus and his men. They blasphemed and said unholy things. Judas Maccabeus, after calling on the sovereign Lord, rushed the walls of this town named Caspin. Once again, by the will of God, they took this town like in the days of Joshua at Jericho. Here they killed so many people that a lake a quarter of a mile wide looked like it was running over with blood.