To their own towns
To be registered.”
καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι, ἕκαστος εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν.
Luke said that all the people went to be registered (καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι). Each one of them went to their own town or city (ἕκαστος εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν). In other words, people returned to their ancestral home towns. It is not clear how long and why Joseph and Mary were in Nazareth. However, there had to be a reason for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. Matthew, chapter 2:1, did not say why Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, since he never mentioned anything about registering for any kind of census, like Luke here.
It shall be said.
And that one
Were born in it.’
Thus the Most High himself
Will establish it.
As he registers the peoples.
‘This one was born there.’”
Apparently there is a long list of those born in Mount Zion, Jerusalem. Yahweh seems to have some kind of record of all that were born there. Yahweh has established this city on a hill, Mount Zion, the city of David. He seems to be like a massive accountant, keeping track of everyone born there. Finally, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.
“At that time, many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to live there. They, their sons, their wives, and their livestock, went into the wilderness because troubles pressed heavily upon them. It was reported to the king’s officers, and to the troops in Jerusalem the city of David, that men who had rejected the king’s command had gone down to the hiding places in the wilderness. Many pursued them. They overtook them. They encamped opposite them. They prepared for battle against them on the Sabbath day. They said to them.
‘Enough of this!
Come out and do what the king commands,
Then you will live.’
However they said.
‘We will not come out,
Nor will we do what the king commands.
We will not profane the Sabbath day.’
Then the enemy quickly attacked them. But they did not answer them or hurl a stone at them or block up their hiding places. They said.
‘Let us all die in our innocence.
Heaven and earth testify for us that you are killing us unjustly.’
So they attacked them on the Sabbath. They died, with their wives and children and cattle, to the number of a thousand persons.”
Here there is a movement to the wilderness instead of away from it. More and more people were going out to the wilderness. The Syrian officials found out about this and began to pursue them. They caught a group of about 1,000 people with wives, children, and livestock. Since it was the Sabbath, the Jewish group would not fight. Thus 1,000 people were wiped out because they wanted to die in their innocence. They believed that they died unjustly so that we have 1,000 Jewish martyrs.
“Two years later, the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute. He came to Jerusalem with a large force. Deceitfully, he spoke peaceable words to them so that they believed him. However, he suddenly fell upon the city as he dealt it a severe blow. He destroyed many people of Israel. He plundered the city as he burned it with fire. He tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. They took captive the women and children. They seized the cattle. Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers as it became their citadel. They stationed there a sinful people, men who were renegades. These strengthened their position. They stored up arms and food. They collected the spoils of Jerusalem and stored them there. They became a great menace.”
Around 167 BCE, King Antiochus IV again attacked Jerusalem. This time he sent mercenaries with a leader who was to collect tribute for the king. Instead of just collecting the tribute, he and his men attacked the city of Jerusalem. They killed people and plundered the city. They destroyed the houses and walls. They took the women, children, and cattle. Somehow, then they rebuilt the wall around the city of David and made it a citadel or fortress. Here they put those renegades, those terrible Jews who sided with Syria. They collected the spoils of Jerusalem and stored them there. This citadel will become the home of the army garrison for controlling Judea.