“A sword shall come
Anguish shall be
When the slain
Will be carried away.
Will be torn down.
Of the allied lands
By the sword.”
When the sword or battle would come to Egypt, the anguish would also come to Ethiopia, which is south of Egypt. The wealth of the dead people in Egypt would be carried away. The foundations of Egypt would be shaken and torn down. However, the neighboring countries and those allied with Egypt would also suffer. Besides Ethiopia, there were the people from Put and Lud, who had also served in the army of Tyre, as mentioned earlier in chapter 27. However, those affected by this invasion were also the people from Libya, west of Egypt, as well as all the Arabian tribes and those people allied with Egypt. They would all fall by the sword.
“Let not the archer
Bend his bow!
Let him not array himself
In his coat of mail!
Do not spare
Her young men!
Her entire army!
They shall fall down slain
In the land
Of the Chaldeans,
In her streets.”
In this battle with Babylon, the Babylonian archers with their bows and arrows would be useless. Those who put on armored coats of mail would also find little protection. The invaders were to utterly destroy the young men and the army of the Babylonians. They were to defeat the Chaldeans in their own streets, even letting the wounded ones lay there.
“‘As for King Zedekiah
With his officials,
I will hand them over
To their enemies,
To those who seek their lives,
To the army
Of the king of Babylon
That has withdrawn
‘I am going
To command them.
I will bring them
Back to this city.
They will fight against it.
They will take it.
They will burn it
I will make the towns
Yahweh says that King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials would also be punished. They were to be handed over to the army of King Nebuchadnezzar, without any indication as to whether they would be killed or taken in captivity. The king of Babylon with his army had left Jerusalem to take on another town in Judah, but Yahweh was going to call them back to fight against the towns of Judah and Jerusalem itself. Eventually, the king of Babylon would take the city of Jerusalem. Then he would burn it, along with the other towns of Judah, until there was complete desolation without anyone living there.
“Therefore the Sovereign,
Yahweh of hosts,
A wasting sickness
Among his stout warriors.
Under his glory
A burning will be kindled,
Like the burning of a fire.
The light of Israel
Will become a fire.
His Holy One
Will be a flame.
It will burn his thorns.
It will devour his briers in one day.
Yahweh will destroy
The glory of his forest.
Yahweh will destroy
The glory of his fruitful land,
Both soul and body.
It will be as
When an invalid wastes away.
The remnant of the trees
Of his forest
Will be so few
That a child
Can write them down.”
Isaiah predicts the devastation of the army and land of the king of Assyria. Yahweh was going to send a wasting sickness among his warriors. This maybe an allusion to 2 Kings, chapter 19, when 185,000 Assyrian troops died. The light of Israel will become a raging flame starting a great fire that will destroy and devour the thorns and briers of Assyria itself. Yahweh will destroy the forests and the fruitful land with a wild fire, so that both their bodies and souls will be destroyed. There will be so few trees left, so that a mere child can count and write the number down.
“The Jews and their priests decided
That Simon should be their leader
And high priest forever,
Until a trustworthy prophet should arise.
He should be governor over them.
He should take charge of the sanctuary.
He should appoint officials over its tasks.
He should appoint officials over the country.
He should appoint officials over the weapons and the strongholds.
He should take charge of the sanctuary.
He should be obeyed by all.
All contracts in the country should be written in his name.
He should be clothed in purple and wear gold.”
This decree said that the Jews and the priests had decided that Simon and his family would be in charge forever. However, there was one caveat that a trustworthy prophet might rise up and challenge one of his descendents. He was the governor and the high priest combining the political and religious authority. He was in charge of the sanctuary as well as all the tasks of the government and the army. Every contract with another country had to be written in his name. He was to wear purple and gold. He was like a modern day appointed dictator benevolent ruler.
“In the one hundred seventy-second year, King Demetrius assembled his forces. He marched into Media to secure help, so that he could make war against Trypho. When King Arsaces of Persia and Media heard that King Demetrius had invaded his territory, he sent one of his commanders to take him alive. The general went and defeated the army of King Demetrius. They seized him and took him to King Arsaces, who put him under guard.”
About 139 BCE, King Demetrius II wanted to go to war against King Trypho. He went into Media, which was west of Teheran, and supposedly a part of the Seleucid Empire. However, when King Arsaces IV (171-138 BCE), the king of Persia and Media heard about King Demetrius in his territory, he defeated his army and captured King Demetrius II.
“Jonathan and his army encamped by the waters of Gennesaret. Early in the morning they marched to the plain of Hazor. There in the plain, the army of the foreigners met him. They had set an ambush against him in the mountains, but they themselves met him face to face. Then the men in ambush emerged from their places and joined battle. All the men with Jonathan fled. Not one of them was left except Mattathias son of Absalom and Judas son of Chalphi, commanders of the forces of the army. Jonathan tore his clothes. He put dust on his head, and prayed. Then he turned back to the battle against the enemy and routed them. They fled. When his men who were fleeing saw this, they returned to him. They joined him in the pursuit as far as Kadesh, to their camp. There they encamped. As many as three thousand of the foreigners fell that day. Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.”
Jonathan and his army rested at the Sea of Galilee, Gennesaret. They went out into the plains of Hazor where they met the foreign troops who were the followers of the deposed King Demetrius II. Another set of these troops ambushed them from the hills. However, Jonathan’s troops all fled. Only two officers were left, Mattathias and Judas, not his dead father or dead brother, but people with the same name. Then Jonathan went into mourning by ripping his clothes, putting ashes on his head, and praying. Suddenly he returned to battle and defeated the foreign troops as they fled. When his own army saw the others fleeing, they rejoined the battle. They chased them as far as Kadesh as they killed 3,000 foreigners that day. Then Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.
“In the one hundred fifty-first year, Demetrius son of Seleucus set out from Rome. He sailed with a few men to a city by the sea. There he began to reign. As he was entering the royal palace of his ancestors, the army seized King Antiochus and Lysias to bring them to him. But when this act became known to him, he said.
‘Do not let me see their faces!’
So the army killed them. Then Demetrius took his seat on the throne of his kingdom.”
Now we have a new player on the scene King Demetrius I (185-150 BCE), who was the son of King Seleucus IV, the brother of King Antiochus IV. He would rule from 161-150 BCE. He had escaped from Rome, who liked the 11 year old King Antiochus V. King Demetrius I was 24 years old in 161 BCE, when he began to rule. He came by boat to a small town. When he arrived at the royal palace, the army seized King Antiochus V and Lysias. When King Demetrius I heard about this, he told them to kill them since he did not want to see their faces. Thus he killed his nephew to begin to rule as King Demetrius I.
“Then Judas ordered a proclamation to be made to the army that all should encamp where they were. The men of the forces encamped. Judas fought against the town all that day and all the night. Finally, the town was delivered into his hands. He destroyed every male by the edge of the sword. He razed and plundered the town. Then he passed through the town over the bodies of the dead.”
After they refused his friendly request, Judas Maccabeus told his troops to camp out. He took a few of his forces and attacked the town all day and night. Finally, he won. As usual, he killed every male, razed, and plundered the town. His whole group marched through the town over the dead bodies there. In every instance Judas killed every male in these towns that led to the total destruction of these people and their town.
“They went all the way to the stronghold of Dathema. At dawn, they looked out and saw a large company that could not be counted, carrying ladders and engines of war to capture the stronghold. They were attacking the Jews within it. Judas saw that the battle had begun. The cry of the town went up to heaven with trumpets and loud shouts. Judas said to the men of his forces.
‘Fight today for your kindred’
Then he came up behind them in three companies. They sounded their trumpets. They cried aloud in prayer. When the army of Timothy realized that it was Maccabeus, they fled before him. He had dealt them a heavy blow. As many as eight thousand of them fell that day.”
Next Judas Maccabeus and his men went back to the stronghold of Dathema, where many of the Jews were at as was indicated earlier in this chapter. It must not have been that far from Bozrah since it only took one night to get there. However, when they arrived, the place was under attack by that wicked Timothy and his army. Judas Maccabeus called his troops to fight for their relatives. When Timothy and his group realized that Judas Maccabeus was attacking them, they fled with a loss of about 8,000 men.