Smith's Bible DictionaryMaccabees
(a hammer), The. This title, which was originally the surname of Judas, one of the sons of Mattathias, was afterward extended to the heroic family of which he was one of the noblest representatives. Asmonaeans or Hasmonaeans is the Proper name of the family, which is derived from Cashmon, great grandfather of Mattathias. The Maccabees were a family of Jews who resisted the authority of Antiochus Epiphanes king of Syria and his successors who had usurped authority over the Jews, conquered Jerusalem, and strove to introduce idolatrous worship. The standard of independence was first raised by Mattathias, a priest of the course of Joiarih. He seems, however, to have been already advanced in years when the rising was made, and he did not long survive the fatigues of active service. He died B.C. 166, having named Judas --apparently his third son--as his successor in directing the war of independence. After gaining several victories over the other generals of Antiochus, Judas was able to occupy Jerusalem except the "tower," and purified the temple exactly three years after its profanation. Nicanor was defeated, first at Capharsalama, and again in a decisive battle at Adasa B.C. 161, where he was slain. This victory was the greatest of Judas' successes, and practically decided the question of Jewish independence; but shortly after Judas fell at Eleasa, fighting at desperate odds against the invaders. After the death of Judas, Jonathan his brother succeeded to the command, and later assumed the high-priestly office. He died B.C. 144, and was succeeded by Simon the last remaining brother of the Maccabaean family, who died B.C. 135. The efforts of both brothers were crowned with success. On the death of Simon, Johannes Hyrcanus, one of his sons, at once assumed the government, B.C. 135, and met with a peaceful death B.C. 105. His eldest son, Aristobulus I., who succeeded him B.C. 105-101, was the first who assumed the kingly title, though Simon had enjoyed the fullness of the kingly power. Alexander Jannaeus was the next successor B.C. 104-78. Aristobulus II. and Hyrcanus III. engaged in a civil war On the death of their mother, Alexandra, B.C. 78-69, resulting in the dethronement of Aristobulus II., B.C. 69-69, and the succession of Hyrcanus under Roman rule but without his kingly title, B.C. 63-40. From B.C. 40 to B.C. 37 Antigonus, a son of Aristobulus II., ruled, and with his two grandchildren, Aristobulus and Mariurnne, the Asmonaean dynasty ended.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaMACCABAEUS; MACCABEES
mak-a-be'-us (Makkabaios), mak'-a-bez (hoi Makkabaioi):
I. PALESTINE UNDER KINGS OF SYRIA
1. Rivalry of Syria and Egypt
2. Palestine Seized by Antiochus the Great
3. Accession of Antiochus Epiphanes
II. PALESTINE UNDER THE MACCABEES
5. John Hyrcanus
6. John and Eleazar
The name Maccabeus was first applied to Judas, one of the sons of Mattathias generally called in English the Maccabees, a celebrated family who defended Jewish rights and customs in the 2nd century B.C. (1 Maccabees 2:1-3). The word has been variously derived (e.g. as the initial letters of Mi Khamokha, Ba-'elim Yahweh! "Who is like unto thee among the mighty, O Yahweh ?"), but it is probably best associated with maqqabhah "hammer," and as applied to Judas may be compared with the malleus Scotorum and malleus haereticorum of the Middle Ages (see next article). To understand the work of the Maccabees, it is necessary to take note of the relation in which the Jews and Palestine stood at the time to the immediately neighboring nations.
I. Palestine under Kings of Syria.
1. Rivalry of Syria and Egypt:
On the division of Alexander's empire at his death in the year 323 B.C., Palestine became a sort of buffer state between Egypt under the Ptolemies on the South, and Syria, under the house of Seleucus, the last survivor of Alexander's generals, on the North. The kings of Syria, as the Seleucid kings are generally called, though their dominion extended practically from the Mediterranean Sea to India, had not all the same name, like the Ptolemies of Egypt, though most of them were called either Seleucus or Antiochus. For a hundred years after the death of Alexander, the struggle went on as to which of the two powers was to govern Palestine, until in the year 223 came the northern prince under whom Palestine was destined to fall to the Seleucids for good.
2. Palestine Seized by Antiochus the Great:
This was Antiochus III, commonly known as Antiochus the Great. He waged two campaigns against Egypt for the possession of Palestine, finally gaining the upper hand in the year 198 B.C. by his victory at Panium, so called from its proximity to a sanctuary of the god Pan, a spot close to the sources of the Jordan and still called Banias. The Jews helped Antiochus to gain the victory and, according to Josephus, his rule was accepted by the Jews with good will. It is with him and his successors that the Jews have now to deal. Antiochus, it should be noticed, came in contact with the Romans after their conquest of Macedonia in 197, and was defeated by Scipio Asiaticus at Magnesia in 190. He came under heavy tribute which he found it difficult to pay, and met his end in 187, while plundering a Greek temple in order to secure its contents. His son and successor Seleucus IV was murdered by his prime minister Heliodorus in 176-175 B.C., who reaped no benefit from his crime.
3. Accession of Antiochus Epiphanes:
The brother of the murdered king succeeded to the throne as Antiochus IV, generally known as Antiochus Epiphanes ("the Illustrious"), a typical eastern ruler of considerable practical ability, but whose early training while a hostage at Rome had made him an adept in dissimulation. Educated in the fashionable Hellenism of the day, he made it his aim during his reign (175-164 B.C.) to enforce it upon his empire a policy which brought him into conflict with the Jews. Even before his reign many Jews had yielded to the attraction of Greek thought and custom, and the accession of a ruler like Antiochus Epiphanes greatly increased the drift in that direction, as will be found described in the article dealing with the period between the Old and the New Testaments (see BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS). Pious Jews meanwhile, men faithful to the Jewish tradition, Chasidim (see HASIDAEANS), as they were called, resisted this tendency, and in the end were driven to armed resistance against the severe oppression practiced by Antiochus in advancing his Hellenizing views.
II. Palestine under the Maccabees.
Mattathias, a priest of the first 24 courses and therefore of the noblest who dwelt at Modin, a city of Judah, was the first to strike a blow. With his own hand he slew a Jew at Modin who was willing to offer the idolatrous sacrifices ordered by the king, and also Apelles, the leader of the king's messengers (1 Maccabees 2:15-28). He fled with his sons to the mountains (168 B.C.), where he organized a successful resistance; but being of advanced age and unfit for the fatigue of active service, he died in 166 B.C. and was buried "in the sepulchres of his fathers" at Modin (1 Maccabees 2:70; Josephus, Ant, XII, vi, 3). He apparently named as his successor his 3rd son, Judas, though it was with real insight that on his deathbed he recommended the four brothers to take Simon as their counselor (1 Maccabees 2:65).
Judas, commonly called Judas Maccabeus-often called in 2 Maccabees "Judas the Maccabee"-held strongly the opinions of his father and proved at least a very capable leader in guerrilla warfare. He defeated several of the generals of Antiochus-Apollonius at Beth-horon, part of the army of Lysias at Emmaus (166 B.C.), and Lysias himself at Bethsura the following year. He took possession of Jerusalem, except the "Tower," where he was subsequently besieged and hard pressed by Lysias and the young king Antiochus Eupator in 163 B.C.; but quarrels among the Syrian generals secured relief and liberty of religion to the Jews which, however, proved of short duration. The Hellenizing Jews, with ALCIMUS (which see) at their head, secured the favor of the king, who sent Nicanor against Judas. The victory over Nicanor first at Capharsalama and later (161 B.C.) at Adasa near Beth-horon, in which engagement Nicanor was slain, was the greatest of Judas' successes and practically secured the independence of the Jews. The attempt of Judas to negotiate an alliance with the Romans, who had now serious interests in these regions, caused much dissatisfaction among his followers; and their defection at Elasa (161 B.C.), during the invasion under Bacchides, which was undertaken before the answer of the Roman Senate arrived, was the cause of the defeat and death of Judas in battle. His body was buried "in the sepulchres of his fathers" at Modin. There is no proof that Judas held the office of high priest like his father Mattathias. (An interesting and not altogether favorable estimate of Judas and of the spiritual import of the revolt will be found in Jerusalem under the High Priests, 97-99, by E.R. Bevan, London, 1904.)
Jonathan (called Apphus, "the wary"), the youngest of the sons of Mattathias, succeeded Judas, whose defeat and death had left the patriotic party in a deplorable condition from which it was rescued by the skill and ability of Jonathan, aided largely by the rivalries among the competitors for the Syrian throne. It was in reality from these rivalries that resulted the 65 years (129-64 B.C.) of the completely independent rule of the Hasmonean dynasty (see ASMONEANS) that elapsed between the Greek supremacy of the Syrian kings and the Roman supremacy established by Pompey. The first step toward the recovery of the patriots was the permission granted them by Demetrius I to return to Judea in 158 B.C.-the year in which Bacchides ended an unsuccessful campaign against Jonathan and in fact accepted the terms of the latter. After his departure, Jonathan "judged the people at Michmash" (1 Maccabees 9:73). Jonathan was even authorized to reenter Jerusalem and to maintain a military force, only the "Tower" the Akra, as it was called in Greek, being held by a Syrian garrison.
See further under ASMONEANS; LACEDAEMONIANS; TRYPHON.
Simon, surnamed Thassi ("the zealous"?) was now the only surviving member of the original Maccabean family, and he readily took up the inheritance. Tryphon murdered the boy-king Antiochus Dionysus and seized the throne of Seleucus, although having no connection with the Seleucid family. Simon accordingly broke entirely with Tryphon after making successful overtures to Demetrius, who granted the fullest immunity from all the dues that had marked the Seleucid supremacy. Even the golden crown, which had to be paid on the investiture of a new high priest, was now remitted. On the 23rd of Ijjar (May), 141, the patriots entered even the Akra "with praise and palm branches, and with harps, and with cymbals and with viols, and with hymns, and with songs" (1 Maccabees 13:51). Simon was declared in a Jewish assembly to be high priest and chief of the people "for ever, until there should arise a prophet worthy of credence" (1 Maccabees 14:41), a limitation that was felt to be necessary on account of the departure of the people from the Divine appointment of the high priests of the old line and one that practically perpetuated the high-priesthood in the family of Simon. Even a new era was started, of which the high-priesthood of Simon was to be year 1, and this was really the foundation of the Hasmonean dynasty (see ASMONEANS).
5. John Hyrcanus:
John Hyrcanus, one of the sons of Simon, escaped from the plot laid by Ptolemy, and succeeded his father, both as prince and high priest. See ASMONEANS. He was succeeded (104 B.C.) by his son Aristobulus I who took the final step of assuming the title of king.
6. John and Eleazar:
Two members of the first generation of the Maccabean family still remain to be mentioned:
(1) John, the eldest, surnamed Gaddis (the King James Version "Caddis"), probably meaning "my fortune," was murdered by a marauding tribe, the sons of JAMBRI (which see), near Medeba, on the East of the Jordan, when engaged upon the convoy of some property of the Maccabees to the friendly country of the Nabateans (1 Maccabees 9:35-42).
(2) Eleazar, surnamed Avaran, met his death (161 B.C.) in the early stage of the Syrian war, shortly before the death of Judas. In the battle of Bethzacharias (163 B.C.), in which the Jews for the first time met elephants in war, he stabbed from below the elephants on which he supposed the young king was riding. He killed the elephant but he was himself crushed to death by its fall (1 Maccabees 6:43-46). For the further history of the Hasmonean dynasty, see ASMONEANS; MACCABEES, BOOKS OF.
There is a copious literature on the Maccabees, a family to which history shows few, if any, parallels of such united devotion to a sacred cause. The main authorities are of course the Maccabean Books of the Apocrypha; but special reference may be made to the chapters of Stanley, Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church, dealing with the subject, and to E.R. Bevan. Jerusalem under the High Priests, 1904, or to the 2nd volume of House of Seleucus by the same author, 1902.
MACCABEES, BOOKS OF
I. 1 MACCABEES
5. Author's Standpoint and Aim
8. Original Language
9. Text and Versions
II. 2 MACCABEES
6. Teaching of the Book
9. Original Language
10. Text and Versions
III. 3 MACCABEES
5. Aim and Teaching
6. Authorship and Date
7. Original Language
8. Text and Versions
IV. 4 MACCABEES
5. Authorship and Date
6. Original Language
7. Text and Versions
V. 5 MACCABEES
2. Canonicity 3. Contents
5. Original Language
6. Aim and Teaching
7. Authorship and Date
8. Text and Versions
I. 1 Maccabees.
The Hebrew title has perished with the original Hebrew text. Rabbinical writers call the Books of Maccabees ciphere ha-chashmonim, "The Book of the Hasmoneans" (see ASMONEANS). Origen gives to Book I (the only one he seemed to know of) the name Sarbeth Sabanaiel, evidently a Hebrew or Aramaic name of very uncertain meaning, but which Dalman (Aramaic Grammar, section 6) explains as a corruption of Aramaic words= "The Book of the House of the Hasmoneans" (compare the rabbinical name given above). In the Greek manuscripts N, V (Codex Venetus), the 4 books go under the designation Makkabaion, Codices Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Gamma Delta, biblos, being understood. In the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) the 1st and 2nd books are alone found, and appear under the name Machabaeorum liber primus, secundus. The spelling Machabaeorum reproduces probably the pronunciation current in Jerome's day.
The name "Maccabee" belongs strictly only to Judas, who in 2 Maccabees is usually called "the Maccabee" (ho Makkabaios). But the epithet came to be applied to the whole family and their descendants. The word means probably "extinguisher" (of persecution) (makhbi, from kabhah, "to be extinguished"; so Niese; Josephus, Ant, XII, vi, 1 f; S.J. Curtis, The Name Maccabee). The more usual explanation, "hammerer" (maqqabhay), is untenable, as the noun from which it is derived (maqqebheth) (Judges 4:21) denotes a smith's hammer.
Since the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) includes only the first 2 books of Maccabees, these are the only books pronounced canonical by the Council of Trent and included in recognized Protestant versions of the Apocrypha (see APOCRYPHA). That 1 Maccabees was used largely in the early Christian church is proved by the numerous references made to it and quotations from it in the writings of Tertullian (died 220), Clement of Alexandria (died 220), Hippolytus (died 235), Origen (died 254), etc. The last named states that 1 Maccabees is uncanonical, and it is excluded from the lists of canonical writings given by Athanasius (died 373), Cyril of Jerusalem (died 386), and Gregory of Nazianzus (died 390). Indeed, none of the books of the Maccabees was recognized as canonical until the Council of Trent (1553) gave this rank to the first 2 books, and Protestants continue in their confessions to exclude the whole of the Apocrypha from the Bible proper, though Luther maintained that 1 Maccabees was more worthy of a place in the Canon than many books now included in it.
1 Maccabees gives first of all a brief view of the reign of Alexander the Great and the partition of his kingdom among his successors. Having thus explained the origin of the Seleucid Dynasty, the author proceeds to give a history of the Jews from the accession of Antiochus IV, king of Syria (175 B.C.), to the death of Simon (135 B.C.). The events of these 40 years are simply but graphically related and almost entirely in the order of their occurrence. The contents of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees 4-15 are in the main parallel, dealing with the same incidents; but the simple narrative character of 1 Maccabees, in contrast to the didactic and highly religious as well as supernatural coloring of 2 Maccabees, can easily be seen in these corresponding parts. The victories due to heroism in 1 Maccabees are commonly ascribed to miraculous intervention on the part of God in 2 Maccabees (see 1 Maccabees 4:1; compare 2 Maccabees 8:23). 2 Maccabees is more given to exaggerations. The army of Judas at Bethsura consists of 10,000 according to 1 Maccabees 4:29, but of 80,000 according to 2 Maccabees 11:2. The following is a brief analysis of 1 Maccabees:
(1) 1 Maccabees 1:1-10:
An account of the rise of the Seleucid Dynasty.
(2) 1 Maccabees 1:11-16:24:
History of the Jews from 175 to 135 B.C.
(a) 1 Maccabees 1:11-64: Introductory. Some Jews inclined to adopt Greek customs (religious, etc.); Antiochus' aim to conquer Egypt and to suppress the Jewish religion as a source of Jewish disloyalty. Desecration of the Jewish temple: martyrdom of many faithful Jews.
(b) 1 Maccabees 2:1-70: The revolt of Mattathias
(c) 1 Maccabees 3:1-9:22: Leadership of Judas Maccabeus after his father's death. Brilliant victories over the Syrians. Purification of the temple. Death of Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) and accession of Antiochus V (Eupator) (164 B.C.). Demetrius I became king of Syria, and Alcimus Jewish high priest (162 B.C.). Treaty between Jews and Romans. Defeat of Jews at Eleasa and death of Judas Maccabeus (161 B.C.).
(d) 1 Maccabees 9:23-12:53: Leadership of Jonathan, 5th son of Mattathias, elected to succeed his brother Judas. He becomes high priest. Political independence of Judea secured.
(e) 1 Maccabees 13:31-16:24: Peaceful and prosperous rule of Simon, brother of Jonathan; accession of his son John Hyrcanus (135 B.C.).
That the author of 1 Maccabees aims at giving a correct narrative, and that on the whole his account is correct, is the opinion of practically all scholars. The simple, straight-forward way in which he writes inspires confidence, and there can be no doubt that we have here a first-class authority for the period covered (175-135 B.C.). It is the earliest Jewish history which dates events in reference to a definite era, this era being that of the Seleucids, 312 B.C., the year of the founding of that dynasty. The aid received from God is frequently recognized in the book (2:51;; 3:18; 4:10; 9:46; 16:3), yet it is mainly through personal valor that the Jews conquer, not, as in 2 Maccabees (see III, 3 below), through miraculous Divine interpositions. Ordinary, secondary causes are almost the only ones taken into account, so that the record may be relied upon as on the whole trustworthy. Yet the writer shows the defects which belong to his age and environment, or what from the standpoint of literal history must be counted defects, though, as in the case of 2 Maccabees (compare Chronicles), a writer may have other aims than to record bare objective facts. In 1:1-9 the author errs through ignorance of the real facts as regards Alexander's partition of his kingdom; and other misstatements of fact due to the same cause occur in 10:1; (Alexander (Balas), son of Antiochus Epiphanes) and in 13:31; (time of assassination of Antiochus VI by Tryphon). In 6:37 it is said there were 32 men upon each elephant, perhaps a misreading of the original "2 or 3," although the Indian elephant corps at the turn of this century carried more.
We know nothing of a Persian village Elymais (1 Maccabees 6:1). The number of Jewish warriors that fought and the number slain are understated, while there are evident exaggerations of the number of soldiers who fought against them and of those of them who were left dead on the field (see 1 Maccabees 4:15; 7:46; 11:45-51, etc.).
But in this book, prayers, speeches and official records abound as they do in Ezra, Nehemiah (see Century Bible, "Ezra," "Nehemiah," "Esther," 12;), and many modern Protestant writers doubt or deny the authenticity of a part of those, though that is not necessarily to question their genuineness as part of the original narrative.
As regards the prayers (1 Maccabees 3:50-54; 4:30-33) and speeches (1 Maccabees 2:7-13; 2:50-68; 4:6-11, etc.), there is no valid reason for doubting that they give at least the substance of what was originally said or written, though ancient historians like Thucydides and Livy think it quite right to edit the speeches of their characters, abbreviating, expanding or altering. Besides, it is to be remembered that the art of stenography is a modern one; even Dr. Johnson, in default of verbatim reports, had to a large extent to make the speeches which he ostensibly reported.
There is, however, in the book a large number of official documents, and it is in regard to the authenticity of these that modern criticism has expressed greatest doubt. They are the following:
(1) Letter of the Jews in Gilead to Judas (1 Maccabees 5:10-13).
(2) Treaty of alliance between the Romans and Jews; copy written on brass tablets sent to Judas (1 Maccabees 8:22-32).
(3) Letter from King Alexander Balas to Jonathan (1 Maccabees 10:18-20).
(4) Letter from King Demetrius I to Jonathan (1 Maccabees 10:25-45).
(5) Letter from King Demetrius II to Jonathan (1 Maccabees 11:30-37), together with letter to Lasthenes (1 Maccabees 11:31-37).
(6) Letter from the young prince Antiochus to Jonathan, making the latter high priest (1 Maccabees 11:57).
(7) Letter from Jonathan to the Spartans, asking for an alliance (1 Maccabees 12:5-18).
(8) Earlier letter of the Spartan king Arius to the high priest Onias (1 Maccabees 12:20-23).
(9) Letter from King Demetrius II to Simon (1 Maccabees 13:36-40).
(10) Letter from the Spartans to Simon (1 Maccabees 14:20-24).
(11) A decree of the Jews recognizing the services of Simon and his brothers (1 Maccabees 14:27-45).
(12) Letters from Antiochus VII (Sidetes) to Simon (1 Maccabees 15:2-9).
(13) Message from the Roman consul Lucius to Ptolemy, king of Egypt, asking protection for the Jews (1 Maccabees 15:16-21). A copy was sent to Simon (1 Maccabees 15:24).
Formerly the authenticity of these state documents was accepted without doubt, as they still are by Romanist commentators (Welte, Scholz, etc.). At most, they are but translations of translations, for the originals would be written in Greek and Latin, from which the author would translate into Hebrew. The Greek of our book is a translation from the Hebrew (see II, 8 below).
Rawlinson (Speaker's Apocrypha, II, 329) says these documents "have a general air of authenticity." Most modern scholars reject the letters purporting to emanate from the Romans (numbers 2 and 13 above) and from the Spartans (numbers 8, 10 above), together with Jonathan's message to the latter (number 7, above), on the ground that they contain some historical inaccuracies and imply others. How could one consul issue official mandates in the name of the Roman republic (see number 13, above)? In number 8 above, it is the king of the Spartans who writes on behalf of his people to Onias the high priest; but it is the ephoroi or rulers who write for the Spartans to Simon. Why the difference? Moreover, in 1 Maccabees 12:21 the Spartans and Jews are said to be kinsmen (literally, brothers), both alike being descendants of Abraham; so also 14:20. This is admittedly contrary to fact. For a careful examination of these official documents and their objective value, see Kautzsch, Die Apokryphen des Altes Testament, 27-30. Though, however, these documents and some others can be proved incorrect as they stand, they do seem to imply actual negotiations of the kind described; i.e. the Jews must have had communications with the Romans and Spartans, the Jews of Gilead must have sent a missive to Judas (number 1), Alexander Balas did no doubt write to Jonathan, etc., though the author of 1 Maccabees puts the matter in his own way, coloring it by his own patriotic and religious prejudices.
5. Author's Standpoint and Aim:
Though the name of the author is unknown, the book itself supplies conclusive evidence that he belonged to the Sadducee party, the party favored by the Hasmoneans. The aim of the writer is evidently historical and patriotic, yet his attitude toward religious questions is clearly indicated, both directly and indirectly.
(1) Nowhere in the book is the Divine Being mentioned under any name except Heaven (1 Maccabees 3:18, 50, 60; 4:10, 55; 12:15, etc.), a designation common in rabbinical Hebrew (Talmud, etc.). As early as 300 B.C. the sacred name "Yahweh" was discarded in favor of "Adonai" (Lord) for superstitious reasons. But in 1 Maccabees no strictly Divine name meets us at all. This would seem to suggest the idea of a certain aloofness of God, such as characterized theology of the Sadducee party. Contrast with this the mystic closeness of God realized and expressed by the psalmists and prophets of the Old Testament.
(2) The author is a religious patriot, believing that his people have been Divinely chosen and that the cause of Israel is the cause of God.
(3) He is also a strict legalist, believing it the duty of every Jew to keep the Law and to preserve its institutions (1 Maccabees 1:11, 15, 43, 49, 54, 60, 62; 2:20;, 27, 42, 48, 50; 3:21, etc.), and deprecating attempts to compel Jews to desecrate the Sabbath and feast days (1 Maccabees 1:45), to eat unclean food (1 Maccabees 1:63) and to sacrifice to idols (1 Maccabees 1:43). Yet the comparatively lax attitude toward the Sabbath implied in 1 Maccabees 2:41;, involving the principle of Christ's words, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27), agrees with the Sadducee position against that of the Pharisees.
(4) The book teaches that the age of inspiration is past, and that the sacred books already written are the only source of comfort in sorrow and of encouragement under difficulties (1 Maccabees 12:9).
(5) The legitimacy of the high-priesthood of Simon is not once questioned, though it is condemned by both the Deuteronomic law (D), which restricts the priesthood to the tribe of Levi, and by the priestly law (P), which requires in addition that a priest must be of the family of Aaron. This laxity agrees well with the general tenets of the Sadducees.
(6) The book contains no trace of the Messianic hope, though it was entertained at the time in other circles (the Pharisees; see MESSIAH, II, 2; PROPHECY); 1 Maccabees 2:57 is no exception, for it implies no more than a belief that there would be a restoration of the Davidic Dynasty. Perhaps it is implied that that expectation was realized in the Hasmoneans.
(7) There is no reference in the book to the doctrine of a resurrection from the dead or to that of the immortality of the soul, though we know that both these beliefs were commonly held by Jews of the time (see Daniel 12:3; Enoch 19; 22:11-14; 9:1, 5;; 2 Maccabees 7:9, 11, 14, 29). We know that the Pharisee party believed in a resurrection (see Acts 23:6). The Maccabean heroes fought their battles and faced death without fear, not because, like Moslems, they looked to the rewards of another life, but because they believed in the rightness of their cause and coveted the good name won by their fathers by acts of similar courage and devotion.
This outline of the doctrines taught or implied in the book makes it extremely likely that the author was a member of the Sadducee party.
1 Maccabees must have been written before the Roman conquest under Pompey, since the writer speaks of the Romans as allies and even friends (8:1, 12; 12:01; 14:40); i.e. the composition of the book must have been completed (unless we except chapters 14-16; see below) before 63 B.C., when Pompey conquered Jerusalem, and Judea became a Roman province. We thus get 63 B.C. as a terminus ad quem. Moreover, the historical narrative is brought down to the death of Simon (16:16), i.e. to 135 B.C. We have thus an undoubted terminus a quo in 135 B.C. The book belongs for certain to the period between 135 and 63 B.C. But 1 Maccabees 16:18-24 implies that John Hyrcanus (died 105 B.C.) had for some time acted as successor to Simon, and Reuss, Ewald, Fritzsche, Grimm, Schurer, Kautzsch, etc., are probably right in concluding from 16:23 that John was dead when the book was completed, for we have in this verse the usual formula recording the close of a royal career (see 1 Kings 11:41 2 Kings 10:34, etc.), and the writer makes it sufficiently understood that all his acts were already "entered in the public annals of the kingdom" (Ewald, History of Israel, V, 463, note), so that repetition was unnecessary. But Bertheau, Keil, Wellhausen and Torrey draw the contrary conclusion, arguing that John had but begun his rule, so that at the time of writing there was practically nothing to record of the doings subsequent to 135, when John succeeded Simon (see EB, III, 2860 (Toy)). In 1 Maccabees 13:30 we read that the monument erected in 143 B.C. by Simon in memory of his father and brothers was standing at the time when this book was written, words implying the lapse of say 30 years at least. This gives a terminus a quo of 113 B.C. Moreover, the panegyric on Simon (died 135 B.C.) and his peaceful rule in 14:4-15 leaves the impression that he had been long in his grave. We cannot be far wrong in assigning a date for the book in the early part of the last century B.C., say 80 B.C.
Destinon (Die Quellen des Flavius Josephus, I, 1882, 80;), followed by Wellhausen (IJG, 1894, 222), maintained that Josephus (died circa 95), who followed 1 Maccabees up to the end of chapter 13, could not have seen chapters 14-16 (or from 14:16?), or he would not have given so meager an account of the high-priesthood of Simon (see Ant, XIII, vi, 7), which the author of 1 Maccabees describes so fully in those chapters. But Josephus must have used these chapters or he could not have written of Simon even as fully as he does.
If, as Torrey (EB, III, 2862) holds, we have in 1 Maccabees "the account of one who had witnessed the whole Maccabean struggle from its beginning," the book having been completed soon after the middle of the 2nd century B.C., it may then be assumed that the writer depended upon no other sources than his own. But even in this case one is compelled, contrary to Torrey (loc. cit.), to assume that written sources of his own were used, or the descriptions would not have been so full and the dating so exact. If, however, we follow the evidence and bring down the date of the book to about 80 B.C. (see I, 6), it must be supposed that the author had access to written sources. It may legitimately be inferred from 1 Maccabees 9:22 and 16:23 and from the habit of earlier times (see Century Bible, "Ezra," etc., 11;) that official records were kept in the archives of the temple, or elsewhere. These might have contained the state documents referred to in I, 4, some or all, and reports of speeches and prayers, etc. It must be admitted that, unlike the compilers of the historical books of the Old Testament (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, etc.), the author of 1 Maccabees does not definitely name his written sources. The writer might well be supposed to have kept a kind of diary of his own in which the events of his own early life were recorded. Oral tradition, much more retentive of songs, speeches and the like in ancient than in modern times, must have been a very important source.
8. Original Language:
We have the testimony of Origen (see I, 1) and Jerome (Prolog. Galeatus) that the book existed in Hebrew in their day. But it is doubtful whether the words of Origen imply a Hebrew or an Aramaic original, and though Jerome does speak of the book as Hebrew (hebraicus), it has to be remembered that in later times the Greek adjective denoting Hebrew (hebraisti) and perhaps the corresponding Latin one (hebraicus) often denoted Palestinian Aramaic (see Judges 5:2; Judges 19:13, 17; and Kautzsch, Grammatik des bib. Aramaic, 19).
Hebraisms (or Aramaisms?) abound throughout the book. In the following examples Hebraisms are literally rendered in Greek, though in the latter language they are unidiomatic and often unintelligible: "two years of days" = two full years (1 Maccabees 1:29, etc.); "month and month" = every month (1 Maccabees 1:58); "a man (or each one) his neighbor" = each.... the other (1 Maccabees 2:40; 3:43); "sons of the fortress" = occupants of the fortress (1 Maccabees 4:2); "against our face" = before us (1 Maccabees 4:10); "men of power" = warriors (1 Maccabees 5:32); "of them" = some of them (1 Maccabees 6:2; compare 7:33, "of the priests" = some of the priests); "the right hand wing" = the southern wing (1 Maccabees 9:1); "yesterday and the third day" = hitherto (1 Maccabees 9:44). The above are strictly Hebraisms and not for the most part Aramaisms. The implied use of the "waw-consecutive" in 1 Maccabees 3:1, 41; 8:01; 9:1, and often, points also to a Hebrew, not to an Aramaic origin. "Heaven" as a substitute for "God," so common in this book (see I, 5), is perhaps as much an Aramaism as a Hebraism (see Targum Jerusalem). Many of the proper names in the book are obviously but trans-literations from the Hebrew; thus, Phulistiein (1 Maccabees 3:24); compare Sirach 46:18; 47:07:00; see the names in 1 Maccabees 11:34; and Schurer, GJV4, I, 233.
9. Text and Versions:
The original Hebrew text of 1 Maccabees (see I, 8) must have been lost at a very early time, since we have no evidence of its use by any early writer. J.D. Michaells held that Josephus used it, but this idea has been abandoned in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The Hebrew text of the first half of 1 Macc, edited by A. Schweitzer and taken by him to be a part of the original text, is in reality a translation from the Latin made in the 11th century of our era (so Noldeke, etc.).
The Greek text from which the other versions are nearly all made is given in all editions of the Septuagint. It occurs in the uncials Codex Sinaiticus (Fritzsche, X), Codex Alexandrinus (Fritzsche, III), and Codex Venetus (8th or 9th century), not in Codex Vaticanus; and in a large number of cursives. Swete (Old Testament in Greek) gives the text of Codex Alexandrinus with the variations of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Venetus. Though the Greek text has so many Hebraisms, it is an exceedingly good rendering, full of spirit and on the whole more idiomatic than the rest of the Septuagint.
There are two Latin recensions of the book: (a) that found in the Vulgate, which agrees almost entirely with the Old Latin version. It is in the main a literal rendering of the Greek (b) Sabatier (Bibliorum sacrorum Latinae versiones antiquae, II) published in 1743 a Latin version of 1 Maccabees 1-13 found in but one manuscript (Sangermanensis). Though it is evidently made from the Greek it differs at many points from the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) It is probably older than the Old Latin and therefore than the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.)
There are also two varying texts in this language.
(a) The best known is that printed in the Paris Polyglot (Vol. IX), copied with some changes into the London Polyglot (Vol. IV; for readings see volume V). Lagarde (Lib. Vet. Test. Apocrypha. Syriac., 1861) has edited this version, correcting and appending readings.
(b) A text differing in many respects from (a) is given by Ceriani in his Codex Ambros. of the Peshitta (1876-83), though this also is made from the Greek For a careful collection of both the above Syriac texts by G. Schmidt, see Z A T W, 1897, 1-47, 233-62.
Seeliterature cited in the foregoing material. For texts and commentaries on the Apocrypha, see APOCRYPHA. The following commentaries deserve special mention: Grimm, Kurz. exeg. Handbuch, etc., to which the commentaries by Keil (1 and 2 Maccabees) and Bissel (Lange) owe very much; Kautzsch, Die Apocrypha des AT; W. Fair-weather and J.S. Black, Cambridge Bible, "1 Maccabees," and Oesterley in the Oxford Apocrypha edited by R. H. Charles (1913). Of the dict. articles those in E B (Torrey) and H D B (Fairweather) are excellent. See also E. Montet, Essai sur les origines des saduceens et des pharisiens, 1885; Wibrich, Juden und Griechen vor der mak. Erhebung, 1875, 69-76; B. Niese, Kritik der beiden Makkabderbucher, 1900. For a very full bibliography see Schurer, GJ V4, III, 198;, and his article "Apocrypha" in R E3, and in Sch-Herz.
II. 2 Maccabees.
SeeI, above. The earliest extant mention of the book as 2 Maccabees is in Euseb., Praep. Evang., VIII, 9. Jerome also (Prol. Galeatus) calls it by this name.
In the early church 2 Maccabees was much less valued and therefore less read than 1 Maccabees. Augustine was the only church Father to claim for it canonical rank and even he in a controversy with the Donatists who quoted 2 Maccabees, replied that this book had never been received into the Canon. Since they formed an integral part of the Vulgate, 1 and 2 Maccabees were both recognized by the Council of Trent as belonging to the Romanist Canon.
(1) 2 Maccabees 1-9:18:
Two letters from the Jews of Jerusalem to their brethren in Egypt, urging them to keep the Feast of Dedication and in a general way to observe the Law given them by God through Moses. Both letters appear designed to win for the Jerusalem temple the love and devotion which the Jews of Egypt were in danger of lavishing upon the Leontopolis temple in Egypt. These letters have no connection with the rest of the book or with each other, and both are undoubted forgeries. There can be no doubt that 2 Maccabees was first of all composed, and that subsequently either the author or a later hand prefixed these letters on account of their affinity in thought to the book as it first existed. Seefurther on these letters II, 4 and 9.
(2) 2 Maccabees 2:19-32:
Introduction to what follows. The author or epitomizer claims that his history (chapter 3 to end of the book) is an epitome in one book of a larger work in 5 books by Jason of Cyrene. But see II, 4, below.
(3) 2 Maccabees 3:1-15:39 (End of Book):
History of the rise and progress of the Maccabean wars from 176 B.C., to the closing year of the reign of Seleucus IV Philopator, to the defeat and death of Nicanor in 161 B.C., a period of 15 years. The record in 2 Maccabees begins one year earlier than that of 1 Maccabees, but as the latter reaches down to 135 B.C. (and probably below 105 B.C.; see I, 5), 1 Maccabees covers a period of at least 40 years, while 2 Maccabees gives the history of but 15 years (176-161 B.C.). The history of this period is thus treated:
(a) 2 Maccabees 3:1-4:6: Traitorous conduct of the Benjamite Simon in regard to the temple treasures and the high priest; futile attempt of Heliodorus, prime minister of Seleucus IV, to rob the temple (see I, 3, (11) above);
(b) 2 Maccabees 4:7-7:42 parallel 1 Maccabees 1:10-64 with significant variations and additions. Accession of Antiocus Epiphanes (175 B.C.); the Hellenizing of some Jews; persecution of the faithful; martyrdom of Eleazar and the 7 brethren and their mother (this last not in 1 Maccabees);
(c) 2 Maccabees 8-15 (end) parallel 1 Maccabees 3-7, with significant divergences in details.
Rise and development of the Maccabean revolt (see I, 3, above). In the closing verses (2 Maccabees 15:38;) the writer begs that this composition may be received with consideration.
The record of events in 2 Maccabees ends with the brilliant victory of Judas over Nicanor, followed by the death of the latter; but it is strange that the history of the main hero of the book should be dropped in the middle. Perhaps this abrupt ending is due to the writer's aim to commend to the Jews of Egypt the two new festivals, both connected with the Jerusalem temple:
(a) Chanukkah (Festival of Dedication) (1:9, 18; 2:16; 10:8);
(b) Nicanor Day (15:36), to commemorate the defeat and death of Nicanor.
To end the book with the account of the institution of the latter gives it greater prominence.
In its present form 2 Maccabees is based ostensibly on two kinds of written sources.
(1) In 2 Maccabees 2:19-32 the writer of 3:1 to the end, which constitutes the book proper, says that his own work is but an epitome, clearly, artistically and attractively set out, of a larger history by one Jason of Cyrene. Most commentators understand this statement literally, and endeavor to distinguish between the parts due to Jason and those due to the epitomizer. Some think they see endings of the 5 books reflected in the summaries at 3:40; 7:42; 10:09; 13:26; 15:37. But W.H. Kosters gives cogent reasons for concluding that the reference to Jason is but a literary device to secure for his own composition the respect accorded in ancient, as in a lesser degree in modern, times to tradition. The so-called "epitomizer'' is in that case alone responsible for the history he gives. The present writer has no hesitation in accepting these conclusions. We read such nowhere a large else of a historian called "Jason," or of such a large history at his must have been if it extended to 5 books dealing with the events of 15 years, though such a man and so great a work could hardly have escaped notice. Hitzig (Gesch. des Volkes Israels, II, 415) held that Jason or his supposed epitomizer made use of 1 Maccabees, altering, adding and subtracting to suit his purpose. But the different order of the events and the contradictions in statements of facts in the 2 books, as well as the omission from 2 Maccabees of important items found in 1 Maccabees, make Hitzig's supposition quite untenable. A careful examination of 2 Maccabees has led Grimm, Schurer, Zockler, Wibrich, Cornill, Torrey and others to the conclusion that the author depended wholly upon oral tradition. This gives the best clue to the anachronisms, inconsistencies and loose phrasing which characterize the book. According to 1 Maccabees 4:26-33, the first campaign of Lysias into Judea took place in 165 B.C., the year before the death of Antiochus IV; but 2 Maccabees 11 tells us that it occurred in 163 B.C., i.e. subsequent to the death of Antiochus IV. Moreover, in the latter passage this 1st expedition of Lysias is connected with the grant of freedom to the Jews, which is really an incident of the 2nd expedition, and in 2 Maccabees 13:1-24 is rightly mentioned in the account of the 2nd expedition. The writer of 2 Maccabees, relying upon memory, evidently mixes up the stories of two different expeditions. Similarly the invasions of neighboring tribes under Judas, which are represented in 1 Maccabees 5:1-68 as taking place in quick succession, belong, according to 2 Maccabees 8:30; 10:15-38; 12:2-45, to separate dates and different sets of circumstances. The statements in 2 Maccabees are obscure and confused, those in 1 Maccabees 5 clear and straightforward. Though in 2 Maccabees 10:37 we read of the death of Timotheus, yet in 12:2; he appears as a leader in other campaigns. There again the writer's memory plays him false as he recalls various accounts of the same events.
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Easton's Bible Dictionary
This word does not occur in Scripture. It was the name given to the leaders of the national party among the Jews who suffered in the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, who succeeded to the Syrian throne B.C. 175. It is supposed to have been derived from the Hebrew word (makkabah) meaning "hammer," as suggestive of the heroism and power of this Jewish family, who are, however, more properly called Asmoneans or Hasmonaeans, the origin of which is much disputed.
After the expulsion of Antiochus Epiphanes from Egypt by the Romans, he gave vent to his indignation on the Jews, great numbers of whom he mercilessly put to death in Jerusalem. He oppressed them in every way, and tried to abolish altogether the Jewish worship. Mattathias, an aged priest, then residing at Modin, a city to the west of Jerusalem, became now the courageous leader of the national party; and having fled to the mountains, rallied round him a large band of men prepared to fight and die for their country and for their religion, which was now violently suppressed. In 1 Macc. 2:60 is recorded his dying counsels to his sons with reference to the war they were now to carry on. His son Judas, "the Maccabee," succeeded him (B.C. 166) as the leader in directing the war of independence, which was carried on with great heroism on the part of the Jews, and was terminated in the defeat of the Syrians.
Maccabees, Books of the
There were originally five books of the Maccabees. The first contains a history of the war of independence, commencing (B.C. 175) in a series of patriotic struggles against the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, and terminating B.C. 135. It became part of the Vulgate Version of the Bible, and was thus retained among the Apocrypha.
The second gives a history of the Maccabees' struggle from B.C. 176 to B.C. 161. Its object is to encourage and admonish the Jews to be faithful to the religion of their fathers.
The third does not hold a place in the Apocrypha, but is read in the Greek Church. Its design is to comfort the Alexandrian Jews in their persecution. Its writer was evidently an Alexandrian Jew.
The fourth was found in the Library of Lyons, but was afterwards burned. The fifth contains a history of the Jews from B.C. 184 to B.C. 86. It is a compilation made by a Jew after the destruction of Jerusalem, from ancient memoirs, to which he had access. It need scarcely be added that none of these books has any divine authority.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n. pl.
) The name given later times to the Asmonaeans, a family of Jewish patriots, who headed a religious revolt in the reign of Antiochus IV., 168-161 B. C., which led to a period of freedom for Israel.
2. (n. pl.) The name of two ancient historical books, which give accounts of Jewish affairs in or about the time of the Maccabean princes, and which are received as canonical books in the Roman Catholic Church, but are included in the Apocrypha by Protestants. Also applied to three books, two of which are found in some MSS. of the Septuagint.