Christianity Knowledge Base
This article is about the Maccabee rebels. For other uses, see Maccabees (disambiguation).
Wojciech Stattler - Machabeusze

Wojciech Stattler, Maccabees

The Maccabees (Hebrew: מכבים or מקבים, Makabim) were Jewish rebels who fought against the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty, who was succeeded by his infant son Antiochus V Eupator. The Maccabees founded the Hasmonean royal dynasty and established Jewish independence in the Land of Israel for about one hundred years, from 165 BCE to 63 BCE.

Start of the Revolt[]

In 167 BC, a Jewish priest, Mattathias, started the revolt against the Seleucid overlords of Judea by refusing to worship the Greek gods and slaying the Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to worship an idol. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judea. After Mattathias' death about one year later, his son Judas Maccabaeus led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucids. After the victory, he entered Jerusalem in triumph and religiously cleansed the Temple, reestablishing traditional Jewish worship there.

Allegations were later made that the victorious Maccabees conducted brutal reprisals against Hellenized Jews.

Every year Jews celebrate Hanukkah in commemoration of Judas Maccabeus' victory over the Seleucids.

Mention in Deuterocanon[]

The story of the Maccabees can be found in the Hebrew Bible in the deuterocannonical books of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees. Books of 3 Maccabees and 4 Maccabees also exist, though they are not directly related to the Maccabees.

Origin of Name[]

The name "Maccabee" is sometimes seen used as synonym for the entire Hasmonean Dynasty, but the Maccabees proper were Judas Maccabeus and his four brothers. The name Maccabee was a personal epithet of Judas, and the later generations were not his descendants.

See also[]

  • Judas Maccabaeus
  • Jonathan Maccabaeus
  • Alexander Jannaeus
  • Simon Maccabeus
  • John Hyrcanus
  • Aristobulus
  • Salome Alexandra
  • Hyrcanus II
  • Aristobulus II

External links[]

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