Triumph of the pro-Syrian party (1 Macc 9:23-9:27)

“After the death of Judas, the renegades emerged in all parts of Israel. All wrongdoers reappeared. In those days a very great famine occurred. The country went over to their side. Bacchides chose the godless renegades. He put them in charge of the country. They made inquiries and searched for the friends of Judas. They brought them to Bacchides. He took vengeance on them. He made sport of them. Thus there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that the prophets ceased to appear among them.”

Once Judas Maccabeus was gone, the renegade pro-Syrians Hellenized Jews emerged in all parts of Israel. However, a famine also occurred so that most of the people went to the side of the Hellenizing Syrians since there was no resistance. Bacchides, the Syrian general and governor, put these godless renegades in charge of the country. They sought out all of Judas’ old comrades in order to take vengeance on them by making sport of them. There was great distress in Israel, something like the time when the prophets ceased to exist in Israel, probably referring to the 5th century BCE.

The short admonition of Tobit to his son (Tob 4:5-4:7)

“Revere the Lord all your days, my son!

Refuse to sin!

Refuse to transgress his commandments!

Live uprightly all the days of your life!

Do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing!

Those who act in accordance with truth

Will prosper in their activities.”

Tobit warned his son not to sin, but to revere the Lord all the days of his life. He was to follow the commandments of God, not walking in the ways of the wrongdoers. He was to follow the truth, because then he would prosper. Good morality led to prosperity.