Day 307 – Courage in Battle

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about Judas Maccabeus coming into Jerusalem. The desolation of the Temple is one of the greater offenses to the Lord. Today we read about it’s restoration and the origin of the Feast of Hanukkah. Maccabeus’ men have faith in the Lord as they go forward to fight against Timothy.

The people’s courage comes from their knowledge that the Lord is real and fighting for them. This should be our source of courage as well.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

2 Maccabees 10

1 Maccabaeus and his companions, under the Lord’s guidance, restored the Temple and the city,

2 and pulled down the altars erected by the foreigners in the market place, as well as the shrines.

3 They purified the sanctuary and built another altar; then, striking fire from flints and using this fire, they offered the first sacrifice for two years, burning incense, lighting the lamps and setting out the loaves.

4 When they had done this, prostrating themselves on the ground, they implored the Lord never again to let them fall into such adversity, but if they should ever sin, to correct them with moderation and not to deliver them over to blasphemous and barbarous nations.

5 This day of the purification of the Temple fell on the very day on which the Temple had been profaned by the foreigners, the twenty-fifth of the same month, Chislev.

6 They kept eight festal days with rejoicing, in the manner of the feast of Shelters, remembering how, not long before at the time of the feast of Shelters, they had been living in the mountains and caverns like wild beasts.

7 Then, carrying thyrsuses, leafy boughs and palms, they offered hymns to him who had brought the cleansing of his own holy place to a happy outcome.

8 They also decreed by public edict, ratified by vote, that the whole Jewish nation should celebrate those same days every year.

9 Such were the circumstances attending the death of Antiochus styled Epiphanes.

10 Our task now is to unfold the history of Antiochus Eupator, son of that godless man, and briefly to relate the evil effects of the wars.

11 On coming to the throne, this prince put at the head of affairs a certain Lysias, the general officer commanding Coele-Syria and Phoenicia,

12 whereas Ptolemy, known as Macron, and the first person to govern the Jews justly, had done his best to govern them peacefully to make up for the wrongs inflicted on them in the past.

13 Denounced, in consequence, to Eupator by the Friends of the King, he heard himself called traitor at every turn: for having abandoned Cyprus, which had been entrusted to him by Philometer, for having gone over to Antiochus Epiphanes, and for having shed no lustre on his illustrious office: he committed suicide by poisoning himself.

14 Gorgias now became general of the area; he maintained a force of mercenaries and a continual state of war with the Jews.

15 At the same time, the Idumaeans, who controlled important fortresses, were harassing the Jews, welcoming outlaws from Jerusalemand endeavouring to maintain a state of war.

16 Maccabaeus and his men, after making public supplication to God, entreating him to support them, began operations against the Idumaean fortresses.

17 Vigorously pressing home their attack, they seized possession of these vantage points, beating off all who fought on the ramparts; they slaughtered all who fell into their hands, accounting for no fewer than twenty thousand.

18 Nine thousand at least took refuge in two exceptionally strong towers with everything they needed to withstand a siege,

19 whereupon, Maccabaeus left Simon and Joseph, with Zacchaeus and his forces, in sufficient numbers to besiege them, and himself went off to other places requiring his attention.

20 But Simon’s men were greedy for money and allowed themselves to be bribed by some of the men in the towers; accepting seventy thousand drachmas, they let a number of them escape.

21 When Maccabaeus was told what had happened, he summoned the people’s commanders and accused the offenders of having sold their brothers for money by releasing their enemies to fight them.

22 Having executed them as traitors, he at once proceeded to capture both towers.

23 Successful in all that he undertook by force of arms, in these two fortresses he slaughtered more than twenty thousand men.

24 Timotheus, who had been beaten by the Jews once before, now assembled an enormous force of mercenaries, mustering cavalry from Asia in considerable numbers, and soon appeared in Judaea, expecting to conquer it by force of arms.

25 At his approach, Maccabaeus and his men made their supplications to God, sprinkling earth on their heads and putting sackcloth round their waists.

26 Prostrating themselves on the terrace before the altar, they begged him to support them and to show himself the enemy of their enemies, the adversary of their adversaries, as the Law clearly states.

27 After these prayers, they armed themselves and advanced a fair distance from the city, halting when they were close to the enemy.

28 As the first light of dawn began to spread, the two sides joined battle, the one having as their pledge of success and victory not only their own valour but their recourse to the Lord, the other making their own ardour their mainstay in the fight.

29 When the battle was at its height, the enemy saw five magnificent men appear from heaven on horses with golden bridles and put themselves at the head of the Jews;

30 surrounding Maccabaeus and screening him with their own armour, they kept him unscathed, while they rained arrows and thunderbolts on the enemy until, blinded and confused, they scattered in complete disorder.

31 Twenty thousand five hundred infantry and six hundred cavalry were slaughtered.

32 Timotheus himself fled to a strongly guarded citadel called Gezer, where Chaereas was in command.

33 For four days Maccabaeus and his men eagerly besieged the fortress,

34 while the defenders, confident in the security of the place, hurled fearful blasphemies and godless insults at them.

35 At daybreak on the fifth day, twenty young men of Maccabaeus’ forces, fired with indignation at the blasphemies, manfully assaulted the wall, with wild courage cutting down everyone they encountered.

36 Others, in a similar scaling operation, took the defenders in the rear, and set fire to the towers, lighting pyres on which they burned the blasphemers alive. The first, meanwhile, breaking open the gates, let the rest of the army in and, at their head, captured the town.

37 Timotheus had hidden in a storage-well, but they killed him, with his brother Chaereas, and Apollophanes.

38 When all this was over, with hymns and thanksgiving they blessed the Lord, who had shown such great kindness to Israel and given them the victory.

Wisdom 9

1 ‘God of our ancestors, Lord of mercy, who by your word have made the universe,

2 and in your wisdom have fitted human beings to rule the creatures that you have made,

3 to govern the world in holiness and saving justice and in honesty of soul to dispense fair judgement,

4 grant me Wisdom, consort of your throne, and do not reject me from the number of your children.

5 For I am your servant, son of your serving maid, a feeble man, with little time to live, with small understanding of justice and the laws.

6 Indeed, were anyone perfect among the sons of men, if he lacked the Wisdom that comes from you, he would still count for nothing.

7 ‘You have chosen me to be king over your people, to be judge of your sons and daughters.

8 You have bidden me build a temple on your holy mountain, and an altar in the city where you have pitched your tent, a copy of the holy Tent which you prepared at the beginning.

9 With you is Wisdom, she who knows your works, she who was present when you made the world; she understands what is pleasing in your eyes and what agrees with your commandments.

10 Despatch her from the holy heavens, send her forth from your throne of glory to help me and to toil with me and teach me what is pleasing to you;

11 since she knows and understands everything she will guide me prudently in my actions and will protect me with her glory.

12 Then all I do will be acceptable, I shall govern your people justly and be worthy of my father’s throne.

13 ‘What human being indeed can know the intentions of God? And who can comprehend the will of the Lord?

14 For the reasoning of mortals is inadequate, our attitudes of mind unstable;

15 for a perishable body presses down the soul, and this tent of clay weighs down the mind with its many cares.

16 It is hard enough for us to work out what is on earth, laborious to know what lies within our reach; who, then, can discover what is in the heavens?

17 And who could ever have known your will, had you not given Wisdom and sent your holy Spirit from above?

18 Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened and people have been taught what pleases you, and have been saved, by Wisdom.’

Wisdom 10

1 It was Wisdom who protected the first man to be fashioned, the father of the world, who had been created all alone, she it was who rescued him from his fall

2 and gave him the strength to subjugate all things.

3 But when in his wrath a wicked man deserted her, he perished in his fratricidal fury.

4 When because of him the earth was drowned, it was Wisdom again who saved it, piloting the upright man on valueless timber.

5 Again, when, concurring in wickedness, the nations had been thrown into confusion, she singled out the upright man, preserved him blameless before God and fortified him against pity for his child.

6 She it was who, while the godless perished, saved the upright man as he fled from the fire raining down on the Five Cities,

7 in witness against whose evil ways a desolate land still smokes, where plants bear fruit that never ripens and where, monument to an unbelieving soul, there stands a pillar of salt.

8 For, by ignoring the path of Wisdom, not only did they suffer the loss of not knowing the good, but they left the world a memorial to their folly, so that their offences could not pass unnoticed.

9 But Wisdom delivered her servants from their ordeals.

10 The upright man, fleeing from the anger of his brother, was led by her along straight paths. She showed him the kingdom of God and taught him the knowledge of holy things. She brought him success in his labours and gave him full return for all his efforts;

11 she stood by him against grasping and oppressive men and she made him rich.

12 She preserved him from his enemies and saved him from the traps they set for him. In an arduous struggle she awarded him the prize, to teach him that piety is stronger than all.

13 She did not forsake the upright man when he was sold, but snatched him away from sin;

14 she accompanied him down into the pit, nor did she abandon him in his chains until she had brought him the sceptre of a kingdom and authority over his despotic masters, thus exposing as liars those who had traduced him, and giving him honour everlasting.

15 It was Wisdom who delivered a holy people, a blameless race, from a nation of oppressors.

16 She entered the soul of a servant of the Lord, and withstood fearsome kings with wonders and signs.

17 To the holy people she gave the wages of their labours; she guided them by a marvellous road, herself their shelter by day — and their starlight through the night.

18 She brought them across the Red Sea, leading them through an immensity of water,

19 whereas she drowned their enemies, then spat them out from the depths of the abyss.

20 So the upright despoiled the godless; Lord, they extolled your holy name, and with one accord praised your protecting hand;

21 for Wisdom opened the mouths of the dumb and made eloquent the tongues of babes.

Proverbs 25:4-7

4 From silver remove the dross and it emerges wholly purified;

5 from the king’s presence remove the wicked and on uprightness his throne is founded.

6 In the presence of the king do not give yourself airs, do not take a place among the great;

7 better to be invited, ‘Come up here’, than be humiliated in the presence of the prince.


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