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17-18-Bible-Study-_14

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17-18 Bible Study #14
1 23 18
The Book of 1stMaccabees
Key Dates
1streturnfrom Babylonian captivity–538 B.C.Zerubbabelwas the governorJeshuawas the high priestTheAltar was built 536 B.C.(construction on the rest if temple halted for 20 years)536 B.C. Foundation of the Temple was laidYouth rejoicedElderly wept534 – 520 B.C.workstoppeddue to Samaritan harassment
Key Dates (Cont)
2ndreturn 525-457 BCThe prophetHaggaiandZechariahcalledfor the people to return to the construction of the TempleTemple wasdedicated – 515 B.C.3rdreturn 444 B.C.Nehemiahled therebuilding of walls of Jerusalem–444 B.C.Ezrareturned and taught in Jerusalem in 458 B.C.Persians remain in control of region
Key Dates (Cont)
Alexander the Great 356-323 B.C.DefeatedKing Darius III of Persia in 330 B.C.Died in 323 B.C. at age 38Succeeded by four generals who divided the empire:Ptolemy I - VI 323- 170 B.C.Controlled EgyptDefeatedby a Seleucus kingSeleucusI- IV -305-175 B.C.ControlledSyriaAntiochus EpiphanesdefeatedPtolemy VIin175 B.C.Controlled Palestine
Review of 1stMaccabees 1
Sets the historical background by focusing on the deathAlexander the Greatand the division of his empireIntroducesAntiochus Epiphaneswho defeats the Ptolemy dynasty in Egypt and then plundered the temple in JerusalemKing Antiochussent a force in 141 B.C. to collect taxes, established and occupied a citadel inJerusalem,and imposed a terrible religious persecution on the Jews
Review of 1stMaccabees1 (Cont)
Mattathiaswas aLeviticalpriest in the line ofAaron (Levite)who settled in the town ofModeinThis is important because he ruled even though he was not in the line of David (Judah)Yet he and his sons did many David-like thingsThis lead some to believe that one of his sons might be the MessiahHe witnessed the blasphemies being committed inJudeaand he refused to offer a pagan sacrifice *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 2:1-6Mattathiashad fivesons:John diedSimon became the counselorJudas Maccabeus (the hammer) led the armyEleazardiedJohathanfoundedHazmoneanDynasty*
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees2:7-15Earlier in1stMaccabees 1:51we heard aboutKing Antiochus Epiphanesappointing inspectors to go to all of the towns and villages of the country to insure that the people offered sacrifices to the Greek godsAt this point one of the inspectors, with a small contingent of soldiers, arrived atModeinwhereMattathiasand his sons were hiding out in a somewhat faithful city *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 2:16-18The people of the city were gathered together, the officials ofAntiochus Epiphanesbuilt a pagan altar in the city square, and announced that it was time to offer a sacrifice to their godsThe officials looked to see who would keep the king’s law by forsaking the TorahWhen they sawMattathiasand his sons (prominent members of the community), they called uponMattathiasto go first so that the rest of the community would follow *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 2:19-22Where didMattathiasget this confidence?First, he had several grown sons and brothers who were carrying swordsHe and his family also controlledModemThe Greek inspector only had a few soldiers with him while all thatMattathiashad to do was turn his forces on them and take control*
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 2:23Mattathiaswas standing there defying the king’s laws and suddenly a “lawbreaking” Jew stepped forward to sprinkle a little incense on the altarHe said that he would be happy to take some silver or gold for this actMattathiasdid not take kindly to this act so he killed the Jew and then followed by killing the royal official*
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 2:24-26Remember what happened when Moses’ leadership was condemned by the people of Israel in the wilderness?(Numbers 25:1-14*)TheMidianitessent their girls into the Hebrew camp to get the Jewish men to join in their cult prostitution as a part of their pagan worshipAfter Moses condemned the people for their apostasy, a man(namedZimri)came to the “tent of meeting” with a Midianite womanPhinehascame forward with a spear and killed them bothThis was seen as an act of righteous anger
1stMaccabees (Cont)
Mattathiascommitted a similar righteous act and then fled to the hills with family and followersIn doing this he put his full trust in the Lord *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees2:27-41At the outset of this rebellion, while hiding in caves, the Jews refused to fight on the SabbathTherefore, the Greeks decided that they wouldalways attack on the SabbathMany Jews were killed when they refused to fight on the Sabbath
1stMaccabees (Cont)
SoMattathiasdetermined that it would not be unlawful for them to defend themselves on the SabbathWe have an allusion to this event in the Synoptic gospels when Jesus asks the Pharisees if it was all right to heal a sick person, or to do good on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-14) *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 2:42-50Matthaeuswasjoined by a company ofHasideansTheHasideanswere theholyor pious ones/mighty warriorsofIsrael (some see them as the forefathers of thePharisees)Their support strengthenedMattathias’movementThis new group began to roam all over the country cleaning the land of the “lawless men” (Jews)Mattathiaswill begin to catechizehis sons from his death bed
1stMaccabees (Cont)
Here we see an example of biblical catechesis or teaching of the faith based on stories of salvation historyExamples of this type of catechesis can be found in both Old and New Testament *
1stMaccabees (Con)
1stMaccabees 2:51-60Matthaeuswas reminding his sons of the stories that he had taught them since their childhoodThis passage can be seen as a “cliff notes” of all the education that he had given them since they were first able to understand his fatherly words *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 2: 61Here he moves from the past to the present and futureHis sons were going to be asked to step into this story and become characters inSalvation History just as we are every time we are asked to exercise our faith *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 2:62-70Just before his death,Mattathiasreminded his sons in an abbreviated form of all that he had given them about Salvation History with emphasis on what God had done for Israel in the pastHe identified the roles his sons would play in this endeavor
1stMaccabees (Cont)
His sonsknewwhatGodhad donefor Israel fromthe stories they had learned in their youthSotheir father asked them, usingreason, to put their faith in God who would save them as He had saved those who preceded them in Salvation HistoryHeblessedhis sons anddiedatModein *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:1-9Here we meetJudas Maccabees, the son ofMattathias, who:Took command of the armyDefeated and killedthe Greek GeneralApolloniusBecame a great and successful warriorDefeatedSeronthe commander of the Syrian armyPrepared to fight the mighty Army of King Antiochus under the direction of Lysias atEmmaus
1stMaccabees (Cont)
Again, we see the text moving back to poetry implying that it might have been sung before it returns to the historical settingLook at whatJudasdoes with the information he was taught by his father *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:10-12TheGreeks,under the leadership ofApollonius,decided to gather Gentiles and Samaritans to capture and destroyJudasand his forcesInsteadJudasrenders them a massive defeatTo “take the sword of your enemy” was a great insultThose defeated in this battle were not only the Gentiles and Samaritans but also the “lawless” Jews who had forsaken theTorahand joined forces with the Greeks *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:13-15NextSeron, the commander of theSyrian Army, decided to make a name for himself by defeatingMaccabeusHe gathered a strong organized army of ungodly men *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:16-26This was like whatMosessaid to the people of Israel who were standing in front of the Red Sea with the most powerful army in the world coming upon them with horse and chariot (Ex 14:13-14)Judascalled them to be still and wait for God to fight for them!Look at whatJudasdoes next *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
Judashad so much zeal that after his pep talk he drew his sword and rushes the enemy aloneOf course his army followedCan’t you hear them say “there he goes again, okay lets follow himJudaswas not afraid because he knew the promise God made to Israel: that one man could put to flight a thousand enemy soldiersThe enemy was crushed and learned to fear the great warriorJudas Maccabaeus **
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:27-31KingAntiochussuddenly realized that the taxes were no longer coming into his treasuryThis was a problem because his entire army was a paid forcewho did not believe in the king and had to be paid to fight for himIf the pay stubs ceased his army would stop fightingOn the other hand theMaccabeeswere fighting for their lives and the lives of their familiesThey were also fighting for their faith in the TorahThis situation led KingAntiochusto divide his army and take one half intoPersiato collect the tribute from thePersiansin orderto acquire enough money to pay for the fight against theMaccabees *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:32-33Lysiaswas in control from theEuphratesdown to the border ofEgyptHe was left in charge of the other half of the army when the King went to PersiaHe was also charged with taking care ofKing Antiochus’sonIn this passage we see another reference to the use ofelephantsas a weapon of war *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:34-44As mentioned,King Antiochusdivided his army, leaving half underLuciusto finish off the rebellion inJudeawhile he led the rest to enforce taxation in PersiaLook at the numbersLuciusbrought against theMaccabeesin Judea40,000 Infantry7,000 CavalryPlus forces fromSyriaand thePhilistinesUp to this point theMaccabeeshad been primarily fighting against local Gentile forcesBut this was a sizable and professional army *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:45-47At this pointJerusalemwas under Greek controlNotice that theMaccabeeswere not sharpening their swords, counting the size of their force, or wondering if they were strong enough to defeat such a large forceInstead, they were doing the only thing that mattered – they were praying and fasting as they prepared spiritually for the battle *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:48-53The Gentiles were occupying the temple in Jerusalem while Judas Maccabees and his men were consulting the TorahNotice that the Maccabees did not rely upon their own military mightLook at what they had already accomplishedBut instead of believing , based on their past victories, that they could do it again, they turned to Yahweh in prayerThey knew that the odds were greatly against them, but they also knew that God was on their side *
1stMaccabees (Cont)
1stMaccabees 3:54-60HereJudasreminded his men of the exemptions for going into battle found in the Torah to include release of:The newly marriedThose who recently planted a vineyardThose who were afraid(Du 20:1-9)In the end they simply put themselves in the hand of GodThe battle is described in thenext chapter6y*

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