Feature: Greek army breaks out the elephants

In part 5 of our Hanukkah special learn about Elazar's heroic death under the elephant, Maccabees' miraculous salvation in Jerusalem.

Hezki Baruch ,

In The Footsteps of The Maccabees
In The Footsteps of The Maccabees
Arutz Sheva

This is the fifth installment of Arutz Sheva's eight part Hanukkah special, In The Footsteps of The Maccabees. For Part Four, click here.

Israeli historian Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi explains how the Hellenist Jews instigated the Greek regime to launch a renewed attack to oppress the Hasmonean rebellion, and again try to end Judaism.

The Greeks returned with a huge army consisting of 100,000 soldiers, 20,000 horsemen, and 32 war-trained elephants. The Maccabees responded in the Gush Etzion valley, catching the occupiers by surprise and trying to kill their leader in a clever ploy.

Judah Maccabee's brother Elazar heroically ran under the largest elephant and stabbed it, killing it and dying in the act. However, he did not succeed in causing the death of General Lysias who was riding the animal.

The Maccabees retreated to Jerusalem, which was put under siege. Just before they were forced to surrender by a lack of food, a miracle happened: the Greek King Antiochus died in the war in Persia and Lysias decided to return with his army to join the struggle to take power.

The result - Jerusalem was saved, and the Holy Temple could be redeemed.

Learn next time about how Nicanor was sent to continue the oppression of the Jews, and how the Maccabees heroically fought back.

Stay tuned tomorrow evening for Part Six.