We continue our story…
We all gathered at Maspha, along with any like minded believers we could find. We had often gathered there to pray in the past, and we knew we’d be doing plenty of it now. Odds had been against us in the past, but this time I thought it seemed much worse. Half the Greek army had been sent with strict orders to utterly destroy us, and Syria and the Philistines had joined them. In my heart, I did not understand why it was so hard. Hadn’t we done everything we knew to obey? We had destroyed the pagan altars, circumcised every believer we found, and given the people the courage to obey Torah once again. Why did YHVH send us even harder fights than before?
Judas called the people together, and declared a fast. Emotions were high as we dressed in sackcloth and ashes. We all felt as though our hearts were breaking. We wanted to cry out and sob and yell, all at the same time. Many did just that.
I could not believe my eyes when Simeon brought out one of the few scrolls of the Law. As he unrolled it, everyone could see a painted image of Alexander the Great! A fresh wave of heart cry rose from each of us. They had taken everything, stomped all over the temple, and now, they filled the holy Torah with images of Greek leaders. Had justice left our land?
“YHVH, we kneel humbly before you.” Simeon prayed for all the people to hear. “The heathen are gathered to wipe us off the face of the earth. The intentions of their hearts are only evil. How can we stand against them? You must fight for us if we are to win and restore your ways to the land.”
Blasts from many shofars at once filled the air. We lifted our hands in praise and thanksgiving, knowing YHVH would fight for us.
“Praise be YHVH, who gives the victory!”
Judas assembled the people and then called for anyone betrothed, or building a house. He sent them home, just like Torah commands. Then we set up camp just south of Emmaus. We were only 15 miles from Jerusalem. That is where I really wanted to go. I wanted to see Jerusalem in all its glory again, not like the last time I had been there.
A shout was heard from the back, “They are ready to attack! They are coming here!”
“Not if I can help it.” Judas led everyone out of camp so we could attack the troops at Emmaus. We all hid along the plain, among the trees and shrubs, and waited. The branches were poking into my back, but I tried very hard to be still and wait. The Greek army could be seeing entering our camp and then turning around, because there was nothing but an empty camp!
“Look! They think we fled to the mountains!”
Judas rose and yelled, “Remember how Pharaoh was thrown into the sea! There is one Elohim who delivers Israel!”
With that we ran, and the enemy ran, too. We got some of them, though, before they ran away like little dogs. YHVH had put a great fear of us in the enemy camp. The hoplite Greek foot soldiers were well armed, with spears and swords, but we fought with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I had seen this many times before, but I still fell on my knees and thanked YHVH with all my heart.
“YHVH, forgive me for doubting you. I questioned you and wondered if you could take on the Greeks. You are more powerful than all and I will trust only you.”
The fifteen miles to Jerusalem suddenly seemed such a great distance. I felt an irresistible draw to the Temple. My father had served as a priest, and my heart desired to do the same. We must get to Jerusalem somehow.
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