The Gentile forces in chapter five remind me of a bad gambling problem and the great fear surrounding gambling. Let’s say you go to the casino with 100 pennies and sit down at the penny slot machine (I’ve only been to a casino twice in my life so if this isn’t actually how it works I’m sorry) and you are infatuated by the bright lights and the desire to win so badly you spend all of your pennies because you want to achieve something that you don’t actually need to do. This is also similar to the little child who wants that brand new bike in July and is willing to sacrifice a year's worth of birthday and christmas gifts for it right now and then being upset when he doesn’t get any gifts that christmas. The king wanted so badly to defeat Judas he exhorted an entire nation and lost all of their lives because he wanted to institute his pagan religion.
Judas once again shows incredible trust and faith in God as he splits up his men to cover all of the surrounding Gentile camps. The fierce warrior won all of his battles and plundered all of the cities. I like that the author makes it a point to mention he only kills the male population, although Judas is ferociously killing thousands of people, he’s only doing it out of protection for God’s people and his zeal to uphold the law. He isn’t looking to collect blood but defeat the pagan oppression of his people which in these times would only happen through the males. Don’t allow the number of deaths to distract you from the faithful work Judas is fulfilling.
There is one line from this chapter I want to call to attention and that is 1 Maccabees 5:62 which says “But they did not belong to the family of those men to whom it was granted to achieve Israel’s salvation.” Protestants don’t include the book of Maccabees in their Bibles because of the lack of accreditation it has and divine intervention on the inspiration for writing it. When you look at all that Judas and his family accomplished in squandering the pagan oppression of the law and how many men they were able to defeat, they truly were chosen by God to uphold this law. These two books show how much love and salvation God had for his chosen people who kept his covenant. I think the family of Judas is proof itself of divine intervention and is absolutely a necessity to the salvation story.
For Friday, please read 1 Maccabees 6.