Chapter seven of 1 Maccabees begins with the expedition of Bacchides and Alcimus. Bacchides is a loyal supporter and friend of king Demetrius and Alcimus is a power driven high priest. The two men are tasked with defeating Judas and taking down the Israelites. Alcimus’ plan was to deceive the Israelites with fake peace offerings. The Hasideans fell but God did not allow the same to happen to Judas and his camp. Judas was alerted to the terrible things Alcimus was doing, far worse than the Gentiles, and scared him back to the king who accused Judas and his men of crimes they did not do. This is a great example of how God not only protects his people but his protection of the innocent. The king now had no choice but to send in someone else, Nicanor. Once again the man of the king tried to deceive the Israelites but their plan was foiled. Nicanor regrouped and returned with an army but God once again answered the cry from his people and led Judas to the defeat of Nicanor. Because Nicanor said blasphemous things about the temple and the priest, Judas removed the head of Nicanor and displayed it from the Jewish citadel as an example of what will happen to all those who go against the law.
Chapter eight we see the uprise and appearance of the Roman empire for the first time in the entire Bible to this point. Judas makes haste to seek an alliance with them as they quickly gain control of anyone they want. Rome agrees to align with the Jewish nation and offer it’s full support of them if someone were to wage battle and even sent a warning to king Demetrius.
As you read this, we both know what Rome will end up doing to our church and the story of the Bible but this important alliance is a small part of the salvation story fulfilled when the Romans put Jesus to death.
For Wednesday, please read chapter nine.