Chapter six brings about a lot of changes for the Israelites. First we learn about the death of King Antiochus IV after his defeat to Judas and his army again. The news that the Israelites reclaimed the altar in Jerusalem and built a fort around it terrified him and he instantly was struck down by shame and fear. God opened his heart and made him realize he unnecessarily took all of this away from the Jewish people and now had the blood of thousands of his soldiers on his hands after fighting a war that didn’t need to happen. Before his death we learn that the king appoints Philip over control of his throne until his son, who was nine at the time, was old enough and prepared to take over.
Lysias learns of the plans of Judas and his army to overrun the citadel and to force the removal of Gentile occupation from outside their temple. Lysias sends his men to reason with the new king. Although the Bible doesn’t give us the king’s response, war is waged. Lysias under the command of king Philip took an enormous army to fight Judas and his men. It was a famine year so the food surplus was very low with all the new Jews now seeking asylum with Judas, causing the Jewish army to grow weaker and perish. A man by the name of Eleazar, rushed what he thought was an elephant carrying the king, who was still in persia, and killed him at what we assume now was the climax of the war. Jews began to retreat and fall into the walls of the sanctuary.
Then a miracle happens, Lysias hears Philip is returning from his trip to Persia and is seeking to take over the entire government so he, along with his army, leave the battle and withdraw home in order to reason with the king over peace treaties. Lysias did not leave them any civil liberties but with religious ones which is all the Jews wanted. The rulers realize it was lack of religious liberties that they pursued these battles and wars, not out of unhappiness with civil authority. King Antiochus V agreed to allow the Jewish people their own dietary and religious sacrifices at no crime against the kingdom.
In ancient times when multiple rulers were appointed by the king to oversee large kingdoms, personal goals and desires get the better of them. God appoints his priest to oversee his kingdom here on earth, let us pray today that they uphold the will of God and help us keep our religious freedoms even when all else seems lost.
For Monday, please read chapter 7 and 8.