We are having a run at the Apocrypha at Morning Prayer over these autumn weeks and have been delving into the 1st Book of Maccabees. If you do not have a copy then I suggest it would be worth getting one. This book is a real page-turner and set in that 175-134 BC period when there was a great deal of action in the people of Israel trying to fight back against the major forces lined up against them. Today, tomorrow and the next day the story is full of success for the army of Judas Maccabeus, poorly equipped and of small number compared with the opposition yet they won a great victory.
So the story of the great deliverance of the people of Israel by superior strategy and raw courage, coupled with faith in Yahweh who would not fail them. But behind the Maccabean revolt lay many of the contemporary strains on societies the world over, the gulf between rich and poor increasing and the wealthy becoming complacent, the claims of other countries upon the lands that the people held, the power blocks of the world in the days of the Maccabees ready to carve up weaker states and increase their own standing in a competitive world. Into this situation stepped an inspiring leader and visionary who could wield the fire of rebellion and the strength of conviction to bring freedom to a people whose pure beauty of culture and faith was being eroded.
The 1st Book of Maccabees is worth reading.