Day 197 – 1 Maccabees 10:59-11:53; Psalm 17:33–51; Proverbs 3:17–22; Acts 19:23–41

1 Maccabees 10:59-11:53

59 Then King Alexander wrote for Jonathan to meet him. 60 So he journeyed with splendor to Ptolemais and there met the two monarchs. He offered them silver and gold, and gave their friends numerous gifts. Thus he found favor with them.
61 Then some troublemakers from Israel, lawless men, also gathered against Jonathan to accuse him, but the king paid no attention to them. 62 The king then gave command to remove Jonathan’s clothes and robe him in purple; and they did. 63 Then the king seated him with himself and said to his leaders, “Go out with him into the midst of the city and proclaim that no one should accuse him concerning any matter; and let no one trouble him for any cause.” 64 So it was that when his accusers saw the honor given him according to the proclamation, and saw him robed in purple, they fled. 65 Thus the king honored him and inscribed him among his close friends. He also appointed him general and provincial governor. 66 Then Jonathan departed to Jerusalem with peace and gladness of heart.
Demetrius II Appoints Apollonius
67 Now in the one hundred and sixty-fifth year, Demetrius, the son of Demetrius, traveled from Crete to the land of his fathers. 68 When King Alexander heard it, he was very distressed and went back to Antioch. 69 Then Demetrius appointed Apollonius governor of Coele-Syria. Apollonius gathered a large army and marched against Jamnia. He sent word to Jonathan the high priest, saying:
70 “You alone rose up against us, but I was ridiculed and disgraced because of you. Why do you maintain authority over us in the hill country? 71 Now therefore, if you trust in your army, come down against us in the plain, and let us judge together for ourselves there, for I have an army of the cities. 72 Inquire and learn who I am, and the others who help us. They tell us there is no place for your foot to stand before us, because your fathers were put to flight twice in their land. 73 Even now, you shall not be able to withstand such a cavalry and army in the plain, where there is neither stone nor pebble nor any place to flee.”
Jonathan Defeats Apollonius
74 But when Jonathan heard the words of Apollonius, he was moved to action. He chose ten thousand men and departed from Jerusalem, and his brother Simon joined to help him. 75 He took up a position at Joppa, but the men of that city shut its gates; for Apollonius had a band of soldiers in Joppa. So Jonathan attacked them. 76 Then the men of Joppa became fearful and opened the gates; and Jonathan captured Joppa.
77 When Apollonius got word of it, he gathered three thousand cavalry and a sizable army and marched into Azotus, as though he were going beyond. But he went ahead into the plain, since he had a large cavalry and trusted in it. 78 Jonathan chased him to Azotus, and there the armies joined in battle. 79 But Apollonius secretly had left a thousand cavalry behind. 80 Jonathan discovered there was an ambush behind him, for they encircled his army and shot arrows at his troops from morning till sundown. 81 But his army stood their ground, as Jonathan had ordered, and their cavalry grew tired.
82 Then Simon brought in his army and confronted the phalanx in battle (for the cavalry had grown tired); and they were crushed by him and fled. 83 When the cavalry was scattered on the plain, they retreated to Azotus, entering Beth-dagon, their pagan temple, to hide. 84 Then Jonathan set Azotus and the surrounding cities on fire and took spoils from them. The temple of Dagon and those who took refuge in it were burned up in the fire. 85 So eight thousand men fell by the sword along with those who were killed by the fire.
  86 Then Jonathan left there and camped opposite Ashkelon, and the men of the city came out with great ceremony to meet him. 87 Jonathan and the men with him later went back to Jerusalem with many spoils. 88 Thus when King Alexander heard these reports, he proceeded to honor Jonathan again. 89 So he sent him a golden buckle, as was customary to give to the relatives of kings. He also gave to him Ekron and all its regions as his possession.
Ptolemy IV, Alexander Die
1 Then the king of Egypt gathered together a large army, like sand along the seashore, and many ships; and he sought to obtain possession of Alexander’s kingdom by deceit, and to add it to his kingdom. 2 So he set out for Syria with words of peace, and those from the cities were open to him and met with him, because King Alexander ordered them to meet him since he was his father-in-law. 3 But when Ptolemy entered the cities, he set a band of soldiers in every city.
4 But when they neared Azotus, they showed him the temple of Dagon which had been burned, and Azotus and the surrounding fortifications that were destroyed, and the bodies of those lying about whom Jonathan had burned in the war; for they made heaps of them in his path. 5 They also told the king what Jonathan had done, so as to blame him; but the king remained silent. 6 Jonathan then met the king in Joppa with great ceremony, and they greeted each other and stayed the night there. 7 Jonathan journeyed with the king to the river Eleutherus, and then went back to Jerusalem.
8 Thus King Ptolemy ruled over the coastal cities as far as Seleucia by the sea, and devised evil plans against Alexander. 9 So he sent ambassadors to King Demetrius, saying, “Come, let us enter into a covenant with one another. I will give you my daughter, Alexander’s wife, in marriage, and you will reign over your father’s kingdom. 10 For I regret giving him my daughter, since he tried to kill me.” 11 Thus, Ptolemy blamed Alexander because he desired his kingdom. 12 So he took back his daughter and gave her to Demetrius. Therefore he was estranged from Alexander, and their animosity was evident.
13 Then Ptolemy entered Antioch and assumed the crown of Asia. So he wore two crowns on his head, that of Egypt and that of Asia. 14 But King Alexander was in Cilicia at this time, for the inhabitants there were in revolt. 15 When Alexander heard of it, he engaged him in battle. So Ptolemy went out with a mighty force and faced him, putting him to flight. 16 Then Alexander took refuge in Arabia, seeking safety. King Ptolemy was held in great honor. 17 So Zabdiel the Arab cut off Alexander’s head and sent it to Ptolemy. 18 But King Ptolemy died three days later, and his garrisons in the fortresses were destroyed by the inhabitants of those fortresses. 19 Thus in the one hundred and sixty-seventh year, Demetrius became king.
Jonathan Finds Favor with Demetrius II
20 In those days, Jonathan gathered men from Judea to attack the citadel in Jerusalem, and he built many engines of war for use against it. 21 But some lawless men who despised their nation came to the king and told him Jonathan would set siege to the citadel. 22 When the king heard this, he was enraged; and he broke camp and went to Ptolemais. He wrote Jonathan that he was to lift the siege, and to meet him in Ptolemais at once for a conference.
23 But when Jonathan heard this, he issued orders to continue the siege. Then he chose some elders of Israel and some priests, and put himself in danger. 24 For he took silver, gold, clothing, and many other friendly gifts and went to the king in Ptolemais. And Jonathan found favor with him. 25 Again, some lawless men from the nation accused Jonathan. 26 But the king did to him as those before him had done and exalted him in front of all his friends. 27 He also confirmed him in the high priesthood and whatever other honors he held before, and considered him as one of his best friends. 28 Then Jonathan asked the king to exempt Judea from taxes along with the three provinces and Samaria, and promised him three hundred talents. 29 The king was pleased and wrote Jonathan a letter concerning all these things. Its message was as follows:
  30 “King Demetrius to his brother Jonathan and the nation of the Jews, greetings. 31 The copy of this letter which we wrote to Lasthenes our relative concerning you we have copied also to you, that you might know what it says. 32 ‘King Demetrius to his father Lasthenes, greetings. 33 To the nation of the Jews, our friends, and who do what is right towards us, we have decided to do good, because of their goodwill toward us. 34 We have established the borders of Judea for them and the three provinces of Aphairema, Lydda, and Rathamin. They were added to Judea from Samaria, as well as all the areas bordering them. All who offer sacrifices in Jerusalem we have released from the royal taxes which the king received from them each year, from the harvest of the earth and fruit of the trees. 35 Any other payments due us from now on from the tithes, the salt pits, and the crown taxes—from all these we grant release. 36 None of these provisions will be cancelled from now on for all time. 37 Now therefore, take heed to make a copy of this, and let it be given to Jonathan and put in a notable place on the holy mountain.’ ”
Jonathan Aids Demetrius II
38 When King Demetrius saw the land was peaceful before him and no one was opposed to him, he dismissed his troops, each to their own place, except the foreign soldiers whom he had recruited as mercenaries from the islands of the nations. So all the soldiers who had served his fathers hated him. 39 Now Trypho formerly had been one of Alexander’s supporters. He saw that all the soldiers complained against Demetrius. So he approached Imalkue the Arab, who was rearing Antiochus, the young son of Alexander. 40 He insisted that he hand Antiochus over to him, so as to make him king in place of his father. He told Imalkue everything Demetrius had done and the hatred his troops had for him; and he remained there many days.
41 Meanwhile, Jonathan sent to King Demetrius the request that he remove the soldiers in the citadel from Jerusalem as well as those in the fortresses; for they were at war with Israel. 42 Then Demetrius sent to Jonathan, saying, “Not only will I do these things for you and your nation, but I will greatly honor you and the Jewish nation when I have the opportunity. 43 And you will do rightly to send me soldiers who will ally with me, because all my troops have revolted.” 44 So Jonathan sent three thousand very able men to him at Antioch. When they came to the king, he was very glad at their arrival.
45 Then men from the city gathered within the city, a hundred and twenty thousand of them, and they wanted to kill the king. 46 But the king fled into the palace, and those from the city seized the streets of the city, and they began to fight. 47 So the king summoned the Jews for help, and they all rallied around him and dispersed throughout the city. On that day they killed about one hundred thousand men. 48 They set the city on fire, took many spoils on that day, and rescued the king. 49 When the men of the city realized the Jews had gained control of the city at will, they lost their courage and called out to the king with this request: 50 “Restore the peace and make the Jews quit fighting us and the city.” 51 So they threw down their weapons and made peace. Then the Jews were honored before the king and before all those in his kingdom. After this, they returned to Jerusalem with many spoils.
52 Thus King Demetrius ruled on the throne of his kingdom, and the land was peaceful before him. 53 But he broke his word about everything he promised Jonathan. Thus he became estranged from him, and did not repay Jonathan the favors he had done for him, but greatly afflicted him.
Psalm 17:33–51

33 It is God who girds me with power,

And He made my way blameless;

34 Who makes my feet like a deer

And sets me on high places;

35 Who teaches my hands to make war;

And You make my arms a bronze bow;

36 And You gave me the shield of Your salvation;

And Your right hand supported me;

And Your instruction restored me to the end;

And Your instruction will teach me.

37 You widened my steps under me,

And my footsteps were not feeble.

38 I shall pursue my enemies and overtake them;

And I shall not turn back until they faint;

39 I shall wound them until they cannot stand;

They shall fall under my feet.

40 For You armed me with strength for war;

  You entangled under my feet all who rose up against me,

41 And You gave me the back of my enemies;

And You destroyed all who hate me.

42 They cried out, but there was none to save them;

Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.

43 I will grind them fine, like the dust that blows in the wind;

I will smooth them out, like mud in the streets.

44 Deliver me from the contradictions of the people;

You will establish me as the head of the Gentiles;

A people I never knew served me;

45 The moment they heard, they obeyed me;

Sons who are strangers lied to me;

46 Sons who are strangers became old,

And they became lame because of their beaten path.

47 The Lord lives, and blessed is my God.

Let the salvation of my God be exalted,

48 The God who vindicates me,

And who subdued the peoples under me,

49 My deliverer from the rage of my enemies;

Because of those who rise up against me, You will exalt me;

You will deliver me from the unrighteous man.

50 Therefore I will give thanks to You among the Gentiles, O Lord,

And sing to Your name,

51 He who magnifies the salvation of His king

And shows mercy to His anointed,

To David and his seed forever.”

Proverbs 3:17–22

17 For length of days and years of life are in her right hand,

And in her left hand are riches and glory;

18 Righteousness proceeds from her mouth,

And she carries law and mercy upon her tongue.

19 Her ways are good ways,

And all her paths are in peace.

20 She is a tree of life for all who cleave to her,

And she is security for those who lean upon her as upon the Lord.

21 God by wisdom founded the earth

And prepared the heavens with discernment.

22 With perception the depths were broken up,

And the clouds flowed with dew.

Acts 19:23–41

23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of [e]Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. 25 He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. 26 Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. 27 So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and [f]her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”

28 Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” 29 So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul’s travel companions. 30 And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him. 31 Then some of the [g]officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater. 32 Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people. 34 But when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

35 And when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple guardian of the great goddess [h]Diana, and of the image which fell down from [i]Zeus? 36 Therefore, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of [j]your goddess. 38 Therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a [k]case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly. 40 For we are in danger of being [l]called in question for today’s uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

2 Replies to “Day 197 – 1 Maccabees 10:59-11:53; Psalm 17:33–51; Proverbs 3:17–22; Acts 19:23–41”

  1. Blessing to you Father Alexis. What a wonderful service you provide to us.

    How wonderful to have been on this journey for 197 Days now.

    On this second time through Psalms and Proverbs I am wondering about the importance of proverbs. What I initially thought of an an intriguing addition to others readings, I now see as quite significant. I wonder if you might provide your thoughts on this.

    1. The book of Proverbs is a timeless collection of wisdom. In a few words or sentence, we can learn so much, especially in application to our daily lives. It can’t be fully understood too literally or without the council of the fathers and the church. We should always read Proverbs and indeed all the Scriptures in the community of the Church. Wisdom on pride, humility, debt, jealousy, council, righteousness, friendship and so many other things are contained in this book. – Fr Alex

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