The noun ‘hammer’ is found only a few times in Scripture. The first time is when Ya’el, the wife of Heber, uses a hammer to pound a tent stake into the head of Sisra piercing his skull and crushing his temple (Judges 4:21). With this act, she sets Israel free from God’s judgment for worshiping idols. The second time it is used when Solomon built the Temple. That stones were prepared at the quarry so that no ‘hammer’ could be heard while it was being built (1 Kings 6:7).
At their first encounter, Judah Maccabee and his men defeated 500 men and killed one elephant, but had to retreat. They were not expecting elephants in their battle plans. Perhaps it was at this juncture that the Maccabees began to say ‘stronger and smarter than an elephant’ as they prepared for further military encounters with these massive animals.