Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read about a lot of destruction and war. We also read about praying for the dead. After the battle, the Jews go out and bring the bodies of the dead. Judas Maccabeus takes up a collection and sends out two thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem as an offering for those who have died.
We also read in the book of Wisdom that the author addresses those who turn to idols and the foolishness of asking a created object for help instead of turning to the Lord himself. We should all be able to perceive the reality of God from the beauty of created things.
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!
2 Maccabees 12
2 Among the local generals, Timotheus and Apollonius son of Gennaeus, as also Hieronymus and Demophon, and Nicanor the Cypriarch as well, would not allow the Jews to live in peace and quiet.
3 The people of Joppa committed a particularly wicked crime: they invited the Jews living among them to go aboard some boats they had lying ready, taking their wives and children. There was no hint of any intention to harm them;
4 there had been a public vote by the citizens, and the Jews accepted, as well they might, being peaceable people with no reason to suspect anything. But once out in the open sea they were all sent to the bottom, a company of at least two hundred.
5 When Judas heard of the cruel fate of his countrymen, he issued his orders to his men
8 But hearing that the people of Jamnia were planning to treat their resident Jews in the same way,
11 A fierce engagement followed, and with God’s help Judas’ men won the day; the defeated nomads begged Judas to offer them the right hand of friendship, and promised to surrender their herds and make themselves generally useful to him.
14 Confident in the strength of their walls and their stock of provisions, the besieged adopted an insolent attitude to Judas and his men, reinforcing their insults with blasphemies and profanity.
15 But Judas and his men invoked the great Sovereign of the world who without battering-ram or siege-engine had overthrown Jericho in the days of Joshua; they then made a fierce assault on the wall.
17 Ninety-five miles further on from there, they reached the Charax, in the country of Jews known as Tubians.
20 Maccabaeus himself divided his army into cohorts to which he assigned commanders, and then hurried in pursuit of Timotheus, whose troops numbered one hundred and twenty thousand infantry and two thousand five hundred cavalry.
21 Timotheus’ first move on learning of Judas’ advance was to send away the women and children and the rest of the baggage train to the place called the Carnaim, since it was an impregnable position, difficult of access owing to the narrowness of all the approaches.
22 Judas’ cohort came into sight first. The enemy, seized with fright and panic-stricken by the manifestation of the All-seeing, began to flee, one running this way, one running that, often wounding one another in consequence and running on the points of one another’s swords.
24 Timotheus himself, having fallen into the hands of Dositheus and Sosipater and their men, very craftily pleaded with them to let him go with his life, on the grounds that he had the relatives and even the brothers of many of them in his power, and that these could otherwise expect short shrift.
25 When at long last he convinced them that he would honour his promise and return these people safe and sound, they let him go for the sake of saving their brothers.
27 Having defeated and destroyed them, he led his army against Ephron, a fortified town, where Lysanias was living. Stalwart young men drawn up outside the walls offered vigorous resistance, while inside there were quantities of war-engines and missiles in reserve.
30 seventy-five miles from Jerusalem. But as the Jews who had settled there assured Judas that the people of Scythopolis had always treated them well and had been particularly kind to them when times were at their worst,
31 he and his men thanked them and urged them to extend the same friendship to his race in the future. They reached Jerusalem shortly before the feast of Weeks.
34 in the course of the ensuing battle a few Jews lost their lives.
35 A man called Dositheus, a horseman of the Tubian contingent, a valiant man, overpowered Gorgias and, gripping him by the cloak, was forcibly dragging him along, intending to take the accursed man alive, but one of the Thracian cavalry, hurling himself on Dositheus, slashed his shoulder and Gorgias escaped to Marisa.
38 Judas then rallied his army and moved on to the town of Adullam where, as it was the seventh day of the week, they purified themselves according to custom and kept the Sabbath.
39 Next day, they came to find Judas (since the necessity was by now urgent) to have the bodies of the fallen taken up and laid to rest among their relatives in their ancestral tombs.
40 But when they found on each of the dead men, under their tunics, objects dedicated to the idols of Jamnia, which the Law prohibits to Jews, it became clear to everyone that this was why these men had lost their lives.
42 and gave themselves to prayer, begging that the sin committed might be completely forgiven. Next, the valiant Judas urged the soldiers to keep themselves free from all sin, having seen with their own eyes the effects of the sin of those who had fallen;
43 after this he took a collection from them individually, amounting to nearly two thousand drachmas, and sent it to Jerusalem to have a sacrifice for sin offered, an action altogether fine and noble, prompted by his belief in the resurrection.
45 whereas if he had in view the splendid recompense reserved for those who make a pious end, the thought was holy and devout. Hence, he had this expiatory sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sin.
1 Yes, naturally stupid are all who are unaware of God, and who, from good things seen, have not been able to discover Him-who-is, or, by studying the works, have not recognised the Artificer.
6 Small blame, however, attaches to them, for perhaps they go astray only in their search for God and their eagerness to find him;
9 if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge to be able to investigate the world, how have they been so slow to find its Master?
10 But wretched are they, with their hopes set on dead things, who have given the title of gods to human artefacts, gold or silver, skilfully worked, figures of animals, or useless stone, carved by some hand long ago.
13 There is still a good-for-nothing bit left over, a gnarled and knotted billet: he takes it and whittles it with the concentration of his leisure hours, he shapes it with the skill of experience, he gives it a human shape
16 Thus he makes sure that it will not fall down — being well aware that it cannot help itself, since it is only an image, and needs to be helped.
1 Or someone else, taking ship to cross the wild waves, loudly invokes a piece of wood frailer than the vessel that bears him.
2 Agreed, the ship is the product of a craving for gain, its building embodies the wisdom of the shipwright;
7 For blessed is the wood which serves the cause of uprightness
9 For God holds the godless and his godlessness in equal hatred;
10 both work and workman will alike be punished.
12 The idea of making idols was the origin of fornication, their discovery corrupted life.
13 They did not exist at the beginning, they will not exist for ever;
15 A father afflicted by untimely mourning has an image made of his child so soon carried off, and now pays divine honours to what yesterday was only a corpse, handing on mysteries and ceremonies to his people;
17 Rulers were the ones who ordered that statues should be worshipped: people who could not honour them in person, because they lived too far away, would have a portrait made of their distant countenance, to have an image that they could see of the king whom they honoured; meaning, by such zeal, to flatter the absent as if he were present.
20 and the crowd, attracted by the beauty of the work, mistook for a god someone whom recently they had honoured as a man.
25 Everywhere a welter of blood and murder, theft and fraud, corruption, treachery, riot, perjury,
26 disturbance of decent people, forgetfulness of favours, pollution of souls, sins against nature, disorder in marriage, adultery and debauchery.
29 since they put their trust in lifeless idols they do not reckon their false oaths can harm them.
11 Like apples of gold inlaid with silver is a word that is aptly spoken.
13 The coolness of snow in harvest time, such is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him: he revives the soul of his master.