Jonathan fights at Azotus (1 Macc 10:77-10:81)

“When Apollonius heard of Joppa, he mustered three thousand cavalry and a large army. He went to Azotus as though he were going farther. At the same time he advanced into the plain. He had a large troop of cavalry and put confidence in it. Jonathan pursued him to Azotus. There the armies engaged in battle. Now Apollonius had secretly left a thousand cavalry behind them. Jonathan learned that there was an ambush behind him. They surrounded his army. They shot arrows at his men from early morning until late afternoon. His men stood fast, as Jonathan had commanded, but the enemy’s horses grew tired.”

Apollonius heard about what was going on at Joppa. He took his 3,000 cavalry and his large army to Azotus, which apparently is the old Philistine city of Ashdod between Gaza and Joppa. However, when Jonathan followed Apollonius, Apollonius had 1,000 cavalry behind him that put Jonathan into an ambush. However, Jonathan and his group fought all day as the horses got tired.

The prayer of Sarah (Tob 3:11-3:15)

“At that same time, with hands outstretched toward the window, she prayed and said.

‘Blessed are you,

Merciful God!

Blessed is your name forever!

Let all your works praise you forever!

Now, Lord,

I turn my face to you.

Command that I be released from the earth

And not listen to such reproaches any more.

You know, O Lord,

That I am innocent of any defilement with a man.

I have not disgraced my name

Or the name of my father in the land of my exile.

I am my father’s only child.

He has no other child to be his heir.

He has no close relative or other kindred,

For whom I should keep myself as wife.

Already seven husbands of mine have died.

Why should I live?

But if it is not pleasing to you,

O Lord, to take my life,

Hear me in my disgrace.’”

This is s classical Jewish prayer. The merciful God is asked to intercede in a difficult situation. God is blessed and his name shall last forever. Sarah wants to be released from this earth. She is tired of listening to reproaches. She has not defiled herself. She has not disgraced herself or her father. She is an only child and there will be no heir. There is no kinsman to marry since 7 have died in trying to marry her. Why should she live? She wanted God to take her life because she was in disgrace.