David said that he would not glory in the defeat of his enemies but would glorify God because His justice has prevailed.
It is hard to hold back. It’s just impossible not to chuckle when we read the layers of retribution that Antiochus would finally experience. It’s graphic. It’s smelly. And everyone is glad it’s not them.
This is where the words of the seven brothers come true. Their prophecy is noted, and the lesson is learned.
Antiochus attempted to raid a temple in Persepolis. In this town, the people took up arms and pulled a Maccabean style stand. The big man was humiliated.
He heard about the major defeat of Nicanor and he became enraged. He got a notion to go beat up some Jews. “Drive,” he said to his charioteer. He told him not to stop until they reach Jerusalem.
He had said in his arrogance, “When I get to Jerusalem, I will turn it into a mass grave for the Jews.”2 Maccabees 9:4
As soon as he said this God struck him with sickness to his stomach and intestines. This just made him more urgent to get to Jerusalem.
He ordered the driver to speed up. This didn’t help the situation, because Antiochus flopped out of the chariot. He was now confined to a stretcher.
As he got more sickly, worms made their way out of his eyes. His body began to literally rot and the smell was so bad, the whole camp smelled like, well… him.
Here he was, the man who had once said he could touch the stars, could not even get close enough to actually touch anyone due to his ripe and nasty stench.
He was losing his arrogance. He was devastated and quite aware of the punishing hand of God upon his body. By this time, he could not even stand his own stink.
“It is fair to submit to God and for humans to stop thinking that they are God’s equals.”2 Maccabees 9:12
Repulsive & Remorseful
This repulsive man, on his way to destroy Jerusalem, began to be Repentant. He made promises to God to make things better. He would:
- He would declare Jews as equal to Athenian Greeks (even though he had considered them worthy of birdseed and the babies as wild animal food.)
- He would restore the Temple to better than he found it when he ransacked it.
- He would provide the necessary funds for all the sacrifices.
- He would become a Jew.
- He would go on a tent revival tour and proclaim that God is powerful.
An appeal to the people.
His next act would be a letter to soften the people of Israel.To the worthy Jewish citizens, from the king and governor Antiochus. Greetings and health and prosperity.If you are in good health and your children and affairs are prospering, I give thanks to God with great joy, having hope in heaven,remembering with affection your honor and goodwill. After returning from Persia and falling ill, which created a serious situation, I regarded it as necessary to think of the common safety of all the people.I haven’t abandoned my situation as hopeless but rather hold on to hope that I might recover from the illness.I have also considered, however, that my father (on the occasions when he fought in the upper regions) used to appoint a successor to rule.He did this so that if anything should happen contrary to expectation or even if there should be some unwelcome news, people throughout the country would know that someone was left behind to govern and wouldn’t be deprived of their peace of mind.Moreover, observing how neighboring dynasties and kingdoms wait for the right moment and look forward with anticipation to what might happen next, I appoint my son Antiochus as king. Many times when I had to hurry to the upper provinces, I entrusted and commended him to most of you. I have written these orders to him as well.I call on you then, and request each one of you—remembering my benefits both public and private—to be faithful toward me and my son.I firmly believe he will follow my example closely, acting with kindness and generosity, with the intention of accommodating himself to you.2 Maccabees 9:19-27
He died. Alone, in the mountains, with his own stench.