“The king spoke
Among them all,
No one was found
To compare with
They were stationed
In the king’s court.
In every matter
What the king inquired of them,
He found them
Ten times better
Than all the magicians,
All the enchanters
In his whole kingdom.
Daniel continued there
Until the first year
Of King Cyrus.”
The Babylonian king spoke with all his new young court people. These 4 young Israelite royal students, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were very successful, since no one could compare to them. Thus, they were stationed in the king’s court. In anything about wisdom and understanding, these 4 court attendants were 10 times better than the more traditional Babylonian court magicians and enchanters. These 4 young men became the favorites of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel, in fact, stayed the whole time in the royal court until King Cyrus of Persia took over around 538 BCE. Thus, Daniel would have spent pretty much his entire life in the Babylonian royal court, about 70 years.
“Meanwhile King Trypho embarked on a ship as he escaped to Orthosia. Then King Antiochus made Cendebeus the commander-in-chief of the coastal country. He gave him troops of infantry and cavalry. He commanded him to encamp against Judea. He commanded him to build up Kedron and fortify its gates. He was to make war on the people. However, the king was going to pursue Trypho. So Cendebeus came to Jamnia. He began to provoke the people and invade Judea. He took the people captive and killed them. He built up Kedron. Then he stationed horsemen and troops there, so that they might go out and make raids along the highways of Judea, as the king had ordered him.”
The siege at Dor did not work that well. King Trypho escaped from King Antiochus VII as he got on a boat and went to Orthosia, which was north of Tripolis. At the same time, King Antiochus VII was concerned about Simon and Judea. He made Cendebeus the commander of the coastal country with cavalry troops and infantry. His orders were to harass Judea, while the king went after King Trypho, so that he could claim the throne. Cendebeus built up the town of Kedron, probably southwest of Ekron, where he stationed horses and troops so that they could go out and make raids on the Judea highways, as he had been ordered to do.
“Jonathan heard that the commanders of Demetrius had returned with a larger force than before, to wage war against him. So he marched away from Jerusalem. He met them in the region of Hamath, so that he gave them no opportunity to invade his own country. He sent spies to their camp. They returned and reported to him that the enemy was being drawn up in formation to fall upon the Jews by night. So when the sun set, Jonathan commanded his troops to be alert. He commanded them to keep their arms at hand so as to be ready all night for battle. He stationed outposts around the camp. When the enemy heard that Jonathan and his men were prepared for battle, they were afraid. They were terrified at heart. So they kindled fires in their camp and withdrew. But Jonathan and his troops did not know it until morning, for they saw the fires burning. Then Jonathan pursued them, but he did not overtake them. They had crossed the Eleutherus River. So Jonathan turned aside against the Arabs who are called Zabadeans. He crushed them and plundered them. Then he broke camp and went to Damascus. He marched throughout that region.”
The old commanders of the deposed King Demetrius II returned with a larger force to wage war against Jonathan. However, Jonathan wanted to fight them not in his own country so he went out to Hamath, a city in Syria. Then he sent spies, who returned to tell him that they were going to attack him at night. Jonathan had all his men ready that night. When the commanders of the deposed King Demetrius II saw that Jonathan was waiting for them, they were afraid and left. When morning came, Jonathan realized that they were gone. He tried to overtake them, but it was impossible. Instead, he decided to fight against the Zabadean Arabs. He crushed them and took their spoils. Then he headed out of the region towards Damascus.
“Let Jews be enrolled in the king’s forces
To the number of thirty thousand men.
Let the maintenance be given them
That is due to all the forces of the king.
Let some of them be stationed in the great strongholds of the king.
Let some of them be put in positions of trust in the kingdom.
Let their officers and leaders be of their own number.
Let them live by their own laws,
Just as the king has commanded in the land of Judah.”
King Demetrius I wanted to allow Jews to be in his army. Actually to be a member of the army was a privilege. He hoped that this would strengthen their loyalty to him. He was going to allow 30,000 Jews in his royal army. Already they had quotas. These Jewish soldiers were going to be paid like the other soldiers in the royal army. They would be stationed at the great strongholds of the king. Some would even be given trusted positions. They would even have their own officers come from their ranks. Finally, they could follow all the Jewish laws in Judah.
“When Judas approached the stream of water, he stationed the officers of the people at the stream. He gave them this command.
‘Permit no man to encamp!
But make them all enter the battle!’
Then he crossed over against them first. The whole army followed him. All the gentiles were defeated before him. They threw away their arms and fled into the sacred precincts at Carnaim. But he took the town. He burned the sacred precincts with fire, together with all who were in them. Thus Carnaim was conquered. They could stand before Judas no longer.”
When Judas Maccabeus arrived at the water area, he told his officers to not let them stop and camp. This is what Timothy had wanted them to do. Then Judas led the charge across the stream as his whole army followed him. The gentiles were destroyed, but they fled to the sacred place in Carnaim, where there was worship of a Syrian fish goddess. However, Judas took the town of Carnaim and the sacred precincts with all the people in it. He burned it so that the city was conquered.
“But Judah said. ‘The strength of the burden-bearers is failing. There is too much rubbish. We are unable to work on the wall.’ Our enemies said. ‘They will not know or see anything before we come upon them. We will kill them and thus stop the work.’ When the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times. ‘From all the places where they live, they will come up against us.’ So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. After I looked these things over, I stood up. I said to the nobles and the officials, as well as the rest of the people. ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember Yahweh, who is great and awesome. Fight for your kin, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.’”
“Judah said” refers to the people of Judah who said these things. They said that they were losing their strength. There was just too much trash so that they were unable to work on the wall. They also were afraid of their enemies. They were afraid of getting killed. This was especially so in the lower parts of the wall. Nehemiah came up with a plan to station various families with sword, spears, and bows at these low places. Then he stood up to all of them. He told them not to be afraid. Yahweh was on their side because he was great and awesome. He wanted everyone to fight for their family, their children, their wives, and their homes.