Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Time Between Time-The Second Battle

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament

From the Historical records

The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

Remember we are counting backwards to year 0. The year is around 143 BC. (before Christ)

    400 BC                           300 BC                        200 BC                        100 BC                          Birth of Christ

photo by Mary Vee
The Syrians rule Judea.

Soldiers were equipped with the best, newest, and powerful weapons of the day: rams to break through strong city gates, bows and arrows, javelins, spears, armor, elephants, and military siege engines shaped like large crossbows having better accuracy than a catapult. What small army would dare fight them? 

A Jewish remnant led by a man named Judah of the Macabee family rallied the Jews to fight for the right to worship God. His band of fighters attacked small groups of soldiers and recently won a battle agains a Syrian army.

Antiochus IV was angry. How dare this small group of Jews attack one of his armies? "General Seron, take out those Jews hiding in caves. Kill every one!" 

"Yes, my king. Don't worry, I will rid the earth of them."

General Seron refused to give the victory away. He increased the army under his command to twice the size of the first army that failed and set out to avenge the Syrian army. He drew up a battle plan to march along the coast and avoid mountain passages farther inland. He marched his army south then cut to the east toward Jerusalem. 

But, between the coast and Jerusalem were mountains. The soldiers boldly marched forward, looking above for any signs of Judah's men. As the entire army moved deeper into the pass, Judah and his much smaller army sprang from their hiding places and attacked.  They killed over eight hundred soldiers. The rest of General Seron's army ran away.

The news spread among the Jews. More and more Jews joined the ranks. Those in the rebellion lived in their homes, ran their businesses, and secretly listened for information then passed it on to Judah. 

To say that Antiochus IV became angry about the second defeat is to understate. He was furious. How dare these untrained ruffians with simple weapons dare to attack his mighty army? 

The day came when he needed to go to Persia and collect tribute owed. Before he left, he called for his most trusted military leader, Lysias. "Lysias, Take half my army and the elephants and the best weapons and go destroy those Israelites hiding in the mountains!"

Lysias made a battle plan. He selected generals who had proven their courage, strength, wit, quick decision making skills, and success on the battlefield. He called the men for a meeting and laid out his plan then assigned duties. Twenty thousand foot soldiers were called to service along with the calvary. "I won't allow the same mistake to happen again. We will not give those Israelites the field advantage."

He drew out the plan in the sand. "Keep your men away from the mountains." He laughed. "We'll make them come to us. Out in the open. In a plain so wide our army's strength will scare those Israelites into submission We'll have room to move our units and fortify any side they dare attack. There is no way we can't win, men. Get ready."

While Lysias and his generals prepared their army and marched them to the plains, Judah and his men looked down from the mountains. The Syrian army looked like grasshoppers attacking a field. So many. So strong. How could they win?

Judah saw defeat on the men's faces. The story of Gideon may have flashed through his mind. He pulled back and called his men close. "Look, it doesn't matter if we win this battle or not, what matter is that we defend our right to worship the one and only living God. You don't want to go home without trying, do you? Forced to give up everything we believe just to live another day with them ordering us to never worship the one true God again?"

The men listened. Fear left their eyes. They sat up straighter with each word Judah said. "Listen men," he said. 

His Jewish brothers leaned closer. 

"I have a plan."

Come back next time to see what happens.

This is the history, the events that happened to real people during the time between the Old and New Testaments. 


*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981

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