Thursday, September 20, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Maccabees 7 and 2 Timothy 1

1 Maccabees 7 – It is 161 BC. Demetrius, a son of Seleucus and older brother of Antiochus IV, challenges Antiochus V and Lysias. Demetrius had been the true heir of Seleucus but had been held as a hostage in Rome; his younger brother had used this as an opportunity to seize the throne. In 161 Demetrius escapes Rome and is here trying to reestablish his authority over the kingdom.

The young Antiochus is killed along with his protector, Lysias, and Demetrius takes the throne. The “godless men” of Israel - the Hellenistic party – led by man named Alcimus join him.

The first thing he does is accuse the brothers Maccabee of hurting the kingdom. Demetrius sends a friend, Bacchides and also Alcimus, whom he made High Priest to bring order. Alcimus is of the tribe of Aaron, and the Hasideans [anti-Hellenists] trust him foolishly. He seizes 60 of them and kills them in one day. Bacchides puts Alcimus in control of Judah and returns to the king. The people who join with Alcimus and try to control the land of Judah do great damage. Judas begins to take revenge on those who are part of Alcimus’ regime. Alcimus turns to the king eventually for help with Judas.
The king sends Nicanor, an honored prince who hates Israel and tells him to destroy the resistors. The people try to placate Nicanor, but he tells them if they don’t turn Judas over, he will burn the Temple. When the armies of the two meet, Nicanor is crushed. They cut off his head and right hand and put them on display. The Jews gain another holiday to celebrate.

2 Timothy 1 – Paul encourages his “dear son” Timothy to be patient and faithful even in the face of opposition and suffering.  He recalls Timothy’s “sincere faith . . . the kind of faith that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had” (1:1). He tells him not to fear the suffering that might come as it has come to Paul. He speaks of how “everyone in the province of Asia” has deserted him (1:15). Phygelus and Hermogenes are mentioned, but we know nothing specific about the reason for their hostility.

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