“He called upon God in these words.
You sent your angel at the time of Hezekiah king of Judea.
He killed fully a hundred and eighty-five thousand
In the camp of Sennacherib.
O Sovereign of the heavens,
Send a good angel to spread terror and trembling before us.
By the might of your arm
May these blasphemers
Who come against your holy people
Be struck down.’
With these words he ended his prayer.”
This prayer is a reminder to God of what the angel of God did to King Sennacherib and Assyrians in 2 Kings, chapter 19, when he killed 185,000 men in one night during the time of King Hezekiah of Judah. Judas Maccabeus wanted a similar good angel to spread terror and trembling to these blasphemers who were coming to attack these holy people.
“When Judas saw that their army was strong, he prayed, saying.
‘Blessed are you!
O Savior of Israel,
You crushed the attack of the mighty warrior
By the hand of your servant David.
You gave the camp of the Philistines
Into the hands of Jonathan, the son of King Saul,
To the man who carried his armor.
Hem in this army
By the hand of your people Israel!
Let them be ashamed of their troops and their cavalry!
Fill them with cowardice!
Melt the boldness of their strength!
Let them tremble in their destruction!
Strike them down with the sword of those who love you!
Let all who know your name praise you with hymns!’”
Judas Maccabeus saw that they had a strong army, so he prayed to the Savior of Israel, God. He reminded God of how he had saved David against the Philistines in 1 Samuel, chapter 14. Now he was asking God to hem in the army of his enemy. He wanted them to become ashamed and cowardly so that their strength would melt. He hoped that they would be destroyed by the sword. He wanted the name of the Lord known and praised. He was praying for God’s help by reminding God what he had done in the past. He was comparing himself to the men at the time of King Saul.