Francis Borchardt deposited The Battle of Emmaus and 1 Maccabees’ Creative Use of Martial Law on Humanities Commons 6 years, 7 months ago
Forty thousand infantry prepared for battle slowly march south toward Judea from the Seleucid capital in Antioch. They are joined by seven thousand cavalry with a single command: destroy Judea. Upon reaching the land they make camp at Emmaus and wait for a rather small band of Judean rebels to respond. Such is the opening scene of the battle of Emmaus, one of the many skirmishes descri- bed in 1 Maccabees. Typically, the invading force led by Seleucid courtiers, is im- mense, well-armed, and seemingly invincible. The point is underlined by the ar- rival of slavers and mercenaries from the nations roundabout seeking to earn a share of the spoils of victory that will surely present themselves. The small force of three thousand Judeans is presented as poorly armed and frightened, as usual. Yet, by tactical superiority and implied divine assistance Judas Maccabeus and his followers rout the invading army and enrich themselves by plunder, again as usual. This set of events, richly described in 1 Macc 3:38–4:25 will be the basis of our discussion of the interpretation of martial law in 1 Maccabees. We will seek to show that the description of this battle is rich with examples of both the realization of legal text in narrative and the understanding of narra- tive text as law.