After an initial victory on the plains of Emmaus, Judas Maccabeus and his brothers set out to attack Jerusalem, which had become an enemy stronghold and from which the whole land was controlled. This is where we hear mention of "the citadel." Ah, the citadel of Jerusalem! "The sanctuary was trampled on, and foreigners were in the citadel" (1 Maccabees 3:45).
The citadel, also known as the "Tower of David," was significant for the Jews. The highest point of the city of Jerusalem, higher even than the Temple Mount itself, it was the core of the city's defenses and also symbolic of God's favor. Thus the citadel's occupation by a foreign and pagan power was demoralizing. "The citadel became an ambush against the sanctuary, and a wicked adversary to Israel at all times" (1 Maccabees 1:36).
The Syrians had not only conquered the Tower of David, they had recreated it as their own citadel, calling it the akra. A garrison atop this high point, along with pagan idols, was a direct challenge to God. Judas, the leader of the revolutionaries, realized thus he must take the citadel. "So in the year one hundred and fifty they assembled and stormed the citadel, for which purpose he constructed catapults and other devices" (1 Maccabees 6:30).
Judas was killed in the attempt to capture the citadel and his brother, Simon, later wrested it free from the Syrians. But the Tower would eventually be destroyed.
The citadel can be seen today. Not in Jerusalem, no. The citadel is Mary. She is the Tower of David. We should fight for her, like the brothers Maccabeus, for when Mary stands in our hearts, we stand secure.