The importance of the house of Judah (Zech 10:3-10:5)

“Yahweh will make

The house of Judah

Like his proud war-horse.

Out of them,

Shall come the cornerstone.

Out of them,

Shall come the tent peg.

Out of them,

Shall come the battle bow.

Out of them,

Shall come every commander.

Together they shall be

Like warriors in battle.

They will trample the foe

In the mud of the streets.

They shall fight

Because Yahweh is with them.

They shall put to shame

The riders on horses.”

Yahweh was going to make the house of Judah his war horse.  Thus, out of them would come the cornerstones, the tent pegs, the battle bows, and the commanders.  They would be strong battle warriors, so that they would trample their foes in the muddy streets.  They would fight, because Yahweh was with them.  Thus, they would put to shame the other enemy cavalries.

The attackers of Jerusalem (Ezek 23:23-23:24)

“The Babylonians,

All the Chaldeans,

With Pekod,

Shoa,

Koa,

Will come.

All the Assyrians

Will be with them.

The handsome young men,

The governors,

The commanders

All of them,

Officers,

Warriors,

All of them

Riding on horses

Will come.

They shall come

Against you

From the north

With chariots,

With wagons,

With a host of people.

They shall set themselves

Against you

On every side

With buckler,

With shield,

With helmet.

I will commit

The judgment

To them.

They shall judge you

According to their ordinances.”

The Babylonians, all the Chaldeans, including their mercenaries from Pekod, Shoa, and Koa would come against Jerusalem. All the Assyrians would be with them, including those handsome young men, the governors, and the commanders. All the officers, warriors, and those riding on horses would come against Jerusalem from the north with their chariots, wagons, and a whole army of people. They would be on every side of Jerusalem with their hand shields or bucklers, large shields, and helmets. Yahweh was going to leave the judgment of Jerusalem up to them. They would judge Jerusalem according to their own laws.

Oholibah lusts after the Assyrian men also (Ezek 23:12-23:13)

“Oholibah lusted after
The Assyrians,
The governors,
The commanders,
The warriors,
Clothed in full armor,
Mounted horsemen.
All of them were
Desirable young men.
I saw
That she was defiled.
They both took
The same way.”
Now Oholibah, Jerusalem, also lusted after the Assyrians just like her older sister, Samaria, had done. She lusted after these desirable young Assyrians. They were the governors, the commanders, and the warriors. They were clothed in full armor, mounted on their horses. Yahweh could see that the two sisters were both alike in their lust for the Assyrian men.

The vision of the attack against Babylon (Isa 21:2-21:5)

“A stern vision

Is told to me.

The betrayer betrays.

The destroyer destroys.

Go up!

O Elam!

Lay siege!

O Media!

All the sighing

She has caused

I bring to an end.

Therefore my loins are

Filled with anguish.

Pangs have seized me,

Like the pangs of a woman in labor.

I am bowed down,

So that I cannot hear.

I am dismayed

So that I cannot see.

My mind reels.

Horror has appalled me.

The twilight I longed for

Has been turned for me

Into trembling.

They prepare the table.

They spread the rugs.

They eat.

They drink.

Rise up!

Commanders!

Oil the shield!”

Isaiah has this stern vision from Yahweh. The betrayer and the destroyer act out together. Elam and Medes, the Persians and the Medes were about to attack Babylon. Since the Israelites were in Babylon, they were afraid but hopeful, like a woman experiencing labor before the birth of a child. Isaiah, in the first person singular, was not quite able to hear or see what was going on. He knew that horror was about to happen. Instead of a happy twilight there was trembling. However, they continued as normal, eating and drinking at tables with rugs. Nevertheless, the cry came to the commanders to rise up and get ready. They had to oil the straps on their shields as they prepared to do battle.

The king agrees to a peace treaty (1 Macc 6:60-6:63)

The speech of Lysias pleased the king and the commanders. He sent an offer of peace to the Jews. They accepted it. So the king and the commanders gave them their oath. On these conditions, the Jews evacuated the stronghold. But when the king entered Mount Zion, he saw what a strong fortress the place was. He broke the oath he had sworn. He gave orders to tear down the wall all around. Then he departed with haste as he returned to Antioch. There he found Philip in control of the city. However, he fought against him. Then he took the city by force.”

The speech of Lysias pleased the 10 year old king and the commanders. They wanted to give the Jews a peace offer that was accepted. They gave an oath, but when they got into the city, they broke their oath and tore down the walls around the city. Then they departed to Antioch where Philip had control of the city. However, Antiochus V and Lysias fought against Philip and took the city back by force. Obviously Lysias was the main force behind the 10 year old King Antiochus V.

The dispute between Lysias and Philip (1 Macc 6:55-6:59

Lysias heard that Philip, whom King Antiochus while still living had appointed to bring up his son Antiochus to be king, had returned from Persia and Media. Philip had the forces that had gone with the king so that he was trying to seize control of the government. So Lysias quickly gave orders to withdraw. He said to the king, the commanders of the forces, and to the men.

‘Daily we grow weaker.

Our food supply is scant.

The place against which we are fighting is strong.

The affairs of the kingdom press urgently upon us.

Now then let us come to terms with these people.

Make peace with them.

Make peace with their entire nation.

Let us agree to let them live by their laws as they did before.

For it was on account of their laws that we abolished

That they became angry

That they did all these things.’”

Lysias heard that Philip was coming back from Persia. Philip had been appointed by the late King Antiochus IV to take care of his son King Antiochus V, who happened to be with Lysias here. Lysias knew that Philip had all the eastern forces with him. Thus he wanted to go back to meet Philip to prevent him from seizing control of the Syrian part of the government. He wanted his forces to withdraw. He gave a little speech to the king, the troop commanders, and the men. He told them that they were getting weaker by the day. Besides, the Jews had strong fortifications. On top of that, there were other pressing problems in the kingdom. He wanted to have a peace treaty. He wanted to let the Jews live by their own laws like before. That would make the Jews happy and end the rebellion.

The expedition of Antiochus V (1 Macc 6:28-6:31)

“King Antiochus was enraged when he heard this. He assembled all his friends, the commanders of his forces and those in authority. Mercenary forces also came to him from other kingdoms and from the islands of the seas. The number of his forces was one hundred thousand foot soldiers, twenty thousand cavalry, and thirty-two elephants accustomed to war. They came through Idumea. They encamped against Beth-zur. For many days they fought and built engines of war. However, the Jews sallied out and burned these with fire. They fought courageously.”

The 10 year old King Antiochus V was mad when he heard this. He called all his friends and the commanders of the army. Probably Lysias was in command of the army since he had fought and lost to Judas Maccabeus. They also had mercenary forces from other kingdoms and islands. The total force for King Antiochus V and Lysias was 100,000 foot soldiers, 20,000 horsemen, and 32 elephants. That is something new. They came from the south via Idumea. They camped at Beth-zur, 18 miles south of Jerusalem, where Judas had defeated Lysias 3 years earlier in 165 BCE in chapter 4 of this book. However, the Jews fought courageously here.