“Say to the Ammonites!
The word of Yahweh God!
Thus says Yahweh God!
Over my sanctuary
When it was profaned.
Over the land of Israel
When it was made desolate.
Over the house of Judah
When it went into exile.
I am handing you over
To the people of the East
For a possession.
They shall set
They shall pitch
In your midst.
They shall eat
They shall drink
Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.
“When Jonathan learned of this, he sent ambassadors to Bacchides to make peace with him and obtain release of the captives. Bacchides agreed and he did as Jonathan said. He swore to Jonathan that he would not try to harm him as long as he lived. He restored to him the captives whom he had previously taken from the land of Judah. Then he turned and departed to his own land. He never came back into their territory. Thus the sword ceased from Israel. Jonathan settled in Michmash. He began to judge the people. He destroyed the godless out of Israel.”
When Jonathan heard that General Bacchides was leaving, he sent messengers to him to make peace and exchange prisoners. General Bacchides agreed with Jonathan. He swore that he would not harm Jonathan as long as he lived. They then exchanged prisoners or captives. General Bacchides left for his own land and never came back again. Thus there was peace in Israel. For someone unknown reason, Jonathan did not go to Jerusalem. Instead he settled in Michmash, about 8 miles northeast of Jerusalem and about 9 miles south of Bethel, where Saul had his fight with the Philistines. Jonathan was more like the early Israelite judges and Samuel than a king. However, he did destroy the godless renegades.
“The gentiles in Gilead gathered together against the Israelites who lived in their territory. They planned to destroy them. However, they fled to the stronghold of Dathema. They sent to Judas and his brothers a letter which said.
‘The gentiles around us have gathered together against us
To destroy us.
They are preparing to come
And capture the stronghold
To which we have fled.
Timothy is leading their forces.
Now then come and rescue us from their hands.
Many of us have fallen.
All our kindred who were in the land of Tob have been killed.
The enemy has captured their wives, children, and goods.
They have destroyed about a thousand persons there.’”
The Jews who were in Gilead, which is on the east side of the border in the old Gad territory, were having troubles with the gentiles also. The gentiles there were planning to destroy them. They fled to a stronghold in Dathema in Gilead where they sent a letter to Judas and his brothers. They said that the gentiles had gathered around them to destroy them. They mentioned that the leader of the group against them was Timothy, which is the same name as the guy in charge of the Ammonites. We might assume that this group is also Ammonites. Nearby, about 13 miles southeast of Sea of Galilee was the land of Tob, where 1,000 Jewish people had been killed there. This was near the land of Ammon
“Judas and his brothers saw that misfortunes had increased. They saw that the forces were encamped in their territory. They also learned what the king had commanded to do to the people to cause their final destruction. But they said to one another.
‘Let us restore the ruins of our people.
Let us fight for our people and the sanctuary.’”
Judas Maccabeus and his brothers saw the Syrian forces in the plain. They also learned about King Antiochus IV’s plan to destroy their people. However, they all joined together. They were going to fight for their people and their temple.