2 Maccabees 5:2


1 About this time Antiochus made his second invasion of Egypt. 2 And it happened that, for almost forty days, there appeared over all the city golden-clad cavalry charging through the air, in companies fully armed with lances and drawn swords 3 troops of cavalry drawn up, attacks and counterattacks made on this side and on that, brandishing of shields, massing of spears, hurling of missiles, the flash of golden trappings, and armor of all kinds. 4 Therefore everyone prayed that the apparition might prove to have been a good omen.

Josephus The Jewish War Book 6 5:3


Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable; were it not related by those that saw it; and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals. For, before sun setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost; as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said, that in the first place they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise: and after that they heard a sound, as of a multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.”

 Notes and References

"... Here the realm of the ruler’s authority is said to be the air. Elsewhere in Ephesians, hostile powers inhabit the heavenly realms (compare 3:10; 6:12). This notion has its background in Old Testament and Jewish thought where angels and spirit powers were often represented as in heaven (e.g., Job 1:6; Dan 10:13, 21; 2 Maccabees 5:2; 1 Enoch 61.10; 90.21, 24); it was also developed in Philo. What is the relationship of “the air” to “the heavenly realms”? It may be that the writer is using terminology from different cosmological schemes, but it is fairly certain that he intends the two terms to indicate the same realm inhabited by malevolent agencies. If there is any distinct connotation, it could be that the “air” indicates the lower reaches of that realm and therefore emphasizes the proximity of this evil power and his influence over the world. In later Judaism the air is in fact thought of as the region under the firmament as in 2 Enoch 29.4, 5, “And I threw him out from the height with his angels, and he was flying in the air continuously above the abyss.” (Compare also Testament of Benjamin 3.4; Targum of Job 5.7; and Ascension of Isaiah 7.9; 10.29; 11.23 where the firmament is called the air and the ruler of this world and his angels are said to live in it) ..."

Lincoln, Andrew T. Word Biblical Commentary: Ephesians (p. 460) Zondervan, 2017

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.