As we journey along through Maccabees together, I want to remind everyone of how important it is to read, study, and meditate on scripture. This book just happens to be one of my favorites in the Old Testament but no book is better than another. If God isn’t speaking to you through Judas and his family, then find another book that does. I want these studies to enhance the knowledge and prayer of those people who are reached by these stories. If you have a book that has spoken to you, let me know in the comments and we can read through it together.
Chapter 10 begins with news of Alexander, descendant of Antiochus, taking Ptolemais. Historians say he was a fraud and was from Smyrna. The author of Maccabees accepted Alexander as king because of his opposition to Demetrius. Now both kings were fighting for the loyalty and support of Jonathan and the Jewish people after seeing all the wars they had won. Demetrius put in the first bid and was rejected by the Jewish people. Alexander rebutted with an offer to make Jonathan high priest and Jonathan accepted. This symbolizes the friendship of the king to Jonathan and offers protection to his people. It’s important to remember Jonathan is from a priestly family, this we assume is another reason why he took this offer. Demetrius wasn’t going to give up easily so he returned with an offer no reasonable person could resist but Jonathan, recalling the trouble Demetrius caused his people, decided to refuse and stay aligned with Alexander.
Now with Jonathan on his side, Alexander sets out for battle against Demitrius and defeats and kills him. Now with sole possession of the Monarchy, Alexander sets his eyes on an alliance with Egypt. He proposed marriage to the daughter of the Egyptian king and an agreement was reached. Jonathan was present at the ceremony and was seated at the side of the king. Then comes the return of Apollonius and the son of Demetrius, Demitrius II. They set out to battle against Jonathan and his men. Apollonius was the man who killed his brother Judas, this certainly enraged Jonathan and his family and fought valiantly. They managed to destroy the pagan temple and the surrounding area. Jewish law was now the religious law of the kingdom. With command of the royal army, seat of high priesthood, no more pagan temples, surely Jonathan and the Israelites finally felt at ease, but did not know what was coming ahead.
On Monday we will be discussing chapter 11.