Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

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The Maccabee – Against the Documentary Hypothesis

October 15, 2011

‘Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’

– Jeremiah 23:29

Understanding the Documentary Hypothesis

Historically speaking, the theory that Moses ‘did not write the Pentateuch actually has been around for more than a millennium.’ Even so, the vast majority of believers, both Jew and Christian, ‘still maintained that Moses was its author’ well into the 17th century. It was around this time that the Dutch-Jewish philosopher Benedict Spinoza began to attack this common-held belief about Moses. This led to his eventual excommunication from Judaism by the Rabbinnical authorities some years later. This ‘questioning’ of the authorship of the Bible continued in the following manner:

– French physician Jean Astruc created the original Documentary Hypothesis in 1753 by listing the different names of God used in the Torah.

– After many changes and alterations, Karl Graf came out with a revised version of the ‘initial hypothesis in the mid-nineteenth century.’

– Julius Wellhausen then resummarized Graf’s Documentary Hypothesis and proceeds to preach and promote it ‘in European and American scholarly circles.’

– In the end, the refutation of Moses as author of the Torah, known as as the Documentary Hypothesis, also became ‘known to many as the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis.’

Since these earlier times, attacks upon the Judeo-Christian belief in the authorship of Moses and the first five books of the Bible have, in fact, ‘been thrust consistently into the faces of Christians.’ A staunch belief in the Documentary Hypothesis has become near universal in secular settings. One sources notes that this still unproven theory has garnered a cult-like belief in others, especially non-believers:

It is becoming increasingly popular to believe this theory…Numerous commentaries, religious journals, and Web sites consistently promote it. And many professors who teach religious courses espouse it. Undoubtedly, it is champion among the topics discussed in classes on a critical introduction to the Bible. In most “scholarly” circles, if one does not hold to the Documentary Hypothesis (or at least some form of it), he is considered fanatical and uneducated.

To sum it up, the Documentary Hypothesis boldly claims that, instead of being written by Moses around 1,200-1,500 years ago, the ‘Pentateuch was compiled from four original source documents -designated as J, E, D, and P.’ It further contends that these four theoretical documents were all created ‘by different authors, and eventually were compiled into the Pentateuch by a redactor (editor).’ According to the classic Documentary Hypothesis, the conjectured dates of authorship can be seen in the following manner:

Alleged Authorship of the Torah

I. The J (Yahwehist) document was supposedly written around 850 B.C

II. The E (Elohist) document was supposedly written around 750 B.C.

III. The D (Deuteronomist) document was supposedly written around 620 B.C.

IV. The P (Priestly) document was supposedly written around 500 B.C.

V. The R (Redactor) document, or final version of the Torah, was supposedly written around 200 B.C.

These unproven, and basically unprovable, source documents, have now been accepted as historical fact by nearly all of those who ascribe to the Documentary Hypothesis. In many ways, the main point of their claims has to openly and boldly deny that Moses wrote the first five books of the Holy Bible. This is spite of the fact that these dates have no scientific validity whatsoever. As one scholar notes:

Every dating of the pentateuchal ‘sources’ rests on purely hypothetical assumptions, which ultimately only have standing through the consensus of scholars.

– R. Rendtorff

Some believe there is an underlying reason why the followers of the Documentary Hypothesis insist on such late dating of the authorship of the Torah. Their real goal may little more than an attempt to discredit Scriptures and, with it, Christianity. The denial of Moses as the author of the Torah usually provides a stepping stone for further denials concerning the Bible. Here are just a few statements by those who believe in the Documentary Hypothesis:

One of the certain results of modern Bible study has been the discovery that the first five books of the Old Testament were not written by Moses.

– Gottwald, 1959

It is obvious that the Book of Genesis was not written by a single author (Moses).

-Rendtorff, 1998

The most determined biblicist can see that there is no way Moses could have written the Torah.

– McKinsey, 1995

At present, however, there is hardly a biblical scholar in the world actively working on the problem who would claim that the Five Books of Moses were written by Moses – or by anyone per­son.

– Dr. Richard E. Friedman, University of California at San Diego

This conventional wisdom and denial of Moses’ authorship has now managed to permeate the entire world of academia and Biblical scholarship. Indeed, it is a given that statements such as those just cited ‘have made their way into thousands of classrooms.’ The results are quite tragic, as more and more students become non-believers due to this pernicious fallacy known as the Documentary Hypothesis. One source notes: ‘Sadly, before hearing skeptics and liberal scholars present their ineffectual arguments for such beliefs, students frequently become so spellbound by the intellectual façade and bold affirmations of certainty that they rarely even consider the evidence at hand.’ The evidence, if seen and studied carefully, still seems to indicate that Moses was indeed the real author of the Pentateuch. The scholarly facts, even today, are as follows:

The fact is that there are Old Testament specialists who have been trained in schools like Harvard and Princeton and Chicago University, who have received earned doctorates, who have become skilled in all of the relevant languages and archeological discoveries, who have attended and participated in all of the leading scholarly conventions, and who have authored texts that are studied by college and seminary students all over the world, who still adhere to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.

Given all of the misleading scholarship out there these days, it should come as no surprise that when Andrew Brown, author of The Darwin Wars, wrote about a conversation he had with England’s leading Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, he became flabbergasted when ‘Dr. Sacks defended the proposition that Moses wrote (or dictated) the first five books of the Bible’. Andrew Brown surprised response was simply: ‘That is the most shocking thing I have ever heard an intellectual say.’ Nevertheless, more and more prominent scholars are now beginning to break with Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis and even going so far as to attack it as illogical and irrational. Here is one disgruntled scholar on the need for change:

Redaction history and tradition history are [not helpful]…in explaining the origin of the Pentateuch. There is a preference for the view that much of the Yahwistic material was written later than originally thought, implying a much longer period of oral and written transmission of many of the Pentateuchal narratives. The way literary criticism and tradition history were applied in the past is largely invalidated by current folklore research which should be used as a corrective as well as to devise a new theory on how the Pentateuch originated.

– Van Dyk, P. J., Current Trends in Pentateuch Criticism.

Most importantly, scholars of various stripes are also beginning to tear away at the specifics of the Documentary Hypothesis, most notably the four source document theory (J, E, P and D), which presupposes four unique original sources for the Pentateuch. Noted scholar Professor Kitchen now admits that ‘even the most ardent advocate of the documentary theory must admit that we have as yet no single scrap of external, objective…tangible, evidence for either the existence or history of ‘J’, ‘E’, or any other alleged source-documents’. His admission of error is starting to become more typical among the liberal circles of secular Biblical scholarship. Indeed, one writer claims that ‘certain liberals have been forced to admit that the JEPD hypothesis is really without merit.’ Just recently, a man named Umberto Cassuto, a professor at the University of Jerusalem, wrote a book called The Documentary Hypothesis. In the book, he freely confesses that the main arguments for Wellhausen’s theory are ‘without substance.’ Furthermore, he states that the entire Documentary Hypothesis field of study happens to be ‘founded on air’ and will inevitably become ‘null and void’. In summary, ‘there simply is no support for the documentary theories of the higher critics, and there is much evidence against them.’

Refuting the Documentary Hypothesis

The Documentary Hypothesis, sometimes called ‘the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis after the two men, K.H. Graf and Julius Wellhausen, who gave it its classic expression’, presupposes that the five Books of Moses, namely the Torah or Pentateuch, are actually derived from four different source documents, called J (Yahwist), E (Elohist), D (Deuteronomist), and P (Priestly Code). These original sources can be organized in the following manner:

J- Starting with Genesis 2:4, it includes large portions of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

E- Includes Genesis 15 and Exodus 3:15 for example

D- Includes most of Deuteronomy

P– Starting with Genesis 1:1, it includes large portions of Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers and all of Leviticus.

When going about the business of refuting the Documentary Hypothesis it is necessary to organize the arguments in fairly precise manner. One Biblical scholar R.N. Whybray, as well as others, has concluded that ‘the Documentary Hypothesis is founded on four presuppositions.’ Those four assumptions, with the pertinent refutation just beneath them, can be listed as follows:

ASSUMPTION: An evolutionary, unilinear approach to Israelite history.

REFUTATION: Most scholars agree that ‘Wellhausen built his theory on a now-discredited evolutionary philosophy with its roots in the thought of G.W.F. Hegel.’ Since then, the whole philosophy of Hegelianism has been thoroughly discredited. Because of this, it seems more than likely ‘that the history of Israelite religion cannot be portrayed in the simple, highly evolutionary manner that Wellhausen thought possible.’

 

ASSUMPTION: The possibility of dividing the Pentateuchal texts on the basis of stylistic criteria.

REFUTATION: Some of the earliest proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis claimed ‘they could easily separate one text from another on the basis of style.’ In reality, the entire Torah is written in standard Biblical Hebrew. The only real way a single style could ever really be found for each source document, namely J, E, P, and D, ‘would be if each monotonously and rigorously maintained a highly idiosyncratic style.’ This has not been the case when it comes to the Pentateuch.

 

ASSUMPTION: A simple compilation of documents by redactors.

REFUTATION: According to the claims of the Documentary Hypothesis, later editors of the Torah, called redactors, supposedly used the documents they had availible and then proceeded to use a ‘cut-and-paste’ procedure where they simply cut ‘up each document and then joining the whole into a continuous narrative.’ There is no actual proof that this sort of organizational effort ever existed. Indeed, ‘no true analogy to this somewhat bizarre editorial procedure is available.’

 

ASSUMPTION: Easy determination of the purposes and methods behind the documents and redactions.

REFUTATION: The founders of the Documentary Hypothesis believed they would be able to easily ‘deduce the purposes and methods of the redactors, despite the fact that enormous cultural differences existed between the scholars who studied Genesis and the men who wrote it.’ Scholars then began to speculate in a somewhat bizaare manner about the aims of the original writers and later editors (redactors). To be specific ‘it was assumed that each writer aimed to produce a single, continuous history but would tolerate no inconsistency, repetition, or narrative digressions.’ However, the editors (redactors) ‘were said to be utterly oblivious to every kind of contradiction and repetition.’ These strange assumptions bear no historical accuracy or proof that they are true.

It must be emphasized that the Documentary Hypothesis blithely assumes that the Torah was originally made up of four documents which were all ‘first composed as continuous, single narratives and only later were brought together and edited into the present work.’ This false assumption led to many errors in Biblical analysis. To bolster the arguments of the Documentary Hypothesis, many different ‘modifications were proposed.’ Problems with the original Hypothesis just caused their reasoning to become that much more complex and illogical. Some of the ‘modifications’ included ‘dividing the four sources into even smaller sources…whereas others reduced the number of sources, questioning the existence of E altogether.’ When it comes to the authorship of the Pentateuch, here are the seven major claims of the Documentary Hypothesis:

The Seven False Claims of the Documentary Hypothesis

1. TWO NAMES OF GOD: Torah Passages which refer to God as Yahveh originate from the J source document, while passages which refer to God as Elohim originate from the E (or P) source document.

2. DUPLICATION AND REPETITION: Genesis contains some duplicate stories and repetitions suggest they were originally portions of two different documents woven together into one text.

3. CONTRADICTION AND CONFUSION: Genesis contains contradictions which ‘indicate the existence of the separate documents.’ This implies ‘that one document had one tradition, but a second had another.’

4. LANGUAGE AND STYLE: The language and style of the original source documents vary. J is a masterful storyteller, while P is prosaic and wordy. Each document also seems to have its own preferred vocabulary.

5. MEANING AND THEOLOGY: Each original source document, ‘when extracted from the present text of Genesis, shows itself to have been a continuous, meaningful piece of literature.’ The source documents appear to have ‘a specific literary and theological purpose behind each.’

6. COMMON SENSE: Even a simple, basic reading of the Torah seem to indicate that the text ‘obviously involve more than one source.’ The best example is Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, ‘which can hardly come from a single source.’

7. PRIESTS AND LEVITES: The confusion over the ‘Israelite priesthood found in the Pentateuch is best explained by the Documentary Hypothesis.’ While some passage imply that all levites are priests, other passages state that only the descendants of Aaron are. This suggests at least two separate sources.

To summarize, it has been these seven claims that the Documentary Hypothesis has done fairly well in trying to explain. The fact of the matter, is that Wellhausen’s theory explains problematic parts of the Torah without ever suggesting that they may not be problems at all. What follows are detailed refutations of the seven false claims of the Documentary Hypothesis.

FALSE CLAIM #1: TWO NAMES OF GOD:

– The theory that passages using Yahveh (J source) or Elohim (E source) for God come from separate sources ‘has been challenged from several directions.’ To cite one example, Genesis 22:11 uses the name Yahweh even though it is considered to be a part of the E (Elohim) source document. Also, at the very beginning of the Torah, there is a combination of the two names into ‘the unusual Yahweh Elohim.’

– Biblical scholar M.H. Segal also shows that the two different divine names, Jahveh and Elohim, are used interchangeably in other Scriptures which are definitely known to have originated from a single source. In short, later Biblical passages use the two names for God as if the author saw the two names as simply different terms for the same God.

– The so-called decision of E and P sources not to use the name Yahveh (J) is simply a fictitious assumption. Likewise, there is ‘absolutely no reason that J should avoid’ using the word Elohim.

– The unexplained use of the two different names for God can also be surmised without resorting to the Documentary Hypothesis. In sum, Biblical scholar Umberto Cassuto claims that these two names simply ‘bring out different aspects of the character of God.’ Yahweh is seen as the covenant name of God, emphasizing his special relationship to Israel, just as Elohim speaks of God’s universality as God of all earth. Seen simply, ‘Elohim is what God is and Yahweh is who He is.’

– Another scholar named Segal also contends that ‘the interchange of the divine names is often for the sake of variety or reflects popular usage’.

– Biblical scholar Whybray proposes that ‘the alternation of names may be unconscious because of the [singular] identity of the two names’.

– It can rightfully be claimed that Yahveh and Elohim have ‘semantic overlap’. When the emphasis is about God as the ‘universal deity…Elohim is used’. Similarly, when a passage that mentions ‘God as covenant savior…Yahweh is more likely to be utilized’. Also, when neither aspect of God ‘is particularly stressed, the names may be alternated for variety or indeed for no specific reason’.

– The use of Yahveh and Elohim as different names of God doesn’t necessary imply two different sources for the text. Indeed, it appears there are ‘many examples from Egyptian and Mesopotamian sources of a single god being called by several names in a single text.’ It should be also noted that no ‘Egyptologist would ever use divine names for source criticism’.

– In conclusion: ‘the criterion of divine names, the historical and evidential starting point for the Documentary Hypothesis, is without foundation. It is based on misinterpretation, mistranslation, and lack of attention to extrabiblical sources’.

 

FALSE CLAIM #2: DUPLICATION AND REPETITION

– Some believe ‘the use of doublets and repetition as evidence for multiple documents in Genesis is perhaps of all the arguments the most persuasive for the modern student’. In reality, it is ‘the most spurious and abused piece of evidence’. Given everything, the use of duplication and replication in Biblical passages simply signifies ‘rhetorical concepts’ which made use of these exact forms of expression.

– On the contrary, when it comes to many ancient texts ‘there is no stronger indication that only a single document is present than parallel accounts.’ The use of what is called ‘Doublets’, menaing ‘two separate stories that closely parallel one another, are the very stuff of ancient narrative.’ They are, in fact, precisely ‘what the discriminating audience sought in a story.’

– Given the examples of other documents, it can be rightfully claimed that ‘simple repetition, first of all, is common in ancient Near Eastern literature.’ This can be seen ‘in the Ugaritic Epic of Keret’ where a certain King Keret receives specific instructions to go to the land of Udum, ruled by King Pabil, and then demand to marry the King’s daughter named Hurriya. The carrying out of these instructions is simply a repetition of what the original instructions actually state in the text.

– Repetition in the Bible is found in both the Old and New Testament. One involves the Book of Genesis 24, where the servant of Abraham meets the future wife of Isaac and the encounter is then repeated as a story. In the Book of Acts, Paul’s encounter with Christ on his way to Damascus is described three different times (Acts 9:1-19, 22:3-16, 26:9-18).

– In summary, and ‘in light of the love for repetition and parallelism in Hebrew narrative and poetry’, it should come as no surprise that ‘Hebrew narrative is sometimes redundant even within a single story.’ This practice may seem meaningless or pointless in the English language, but in its original tongue it is considered to be quite beautiful.

 

FALSE CLAIM #3: CONTRADICTION AND CONFUSION

– The Biblical account of Noah and the Flood first states in Genesis 6:2 that he should bring one pair of every kind of animal, but then it says in Genesis 7:2 to bring seven pairs of clean animals, This contradiction can easily be explained in that ‘provision had to be made to ensure that there would be sufficient livestock after the flood.’

– The entire flood story, according to the Documentary Hypothesis, is actually two sources (J and P) combined together to create one contradictory story. The reality is that ‘recent research has demonstrated the whole narrative to be far more coherent than was once recognized.’

– Some followers of Wellhausen’s theory have attempted to cite a discrepancy between the flood’s 40 days of rain and also its apparent 150 additional days of rain. This argument is completely wrong-headed and a misreading of Genesis. In reality, ‘the present chronology in the text is not the confusion it is sometimes implied to be.’

– One scholar named Emerton still insists that ‘there is a discrepancy between the 150 days of rain and the 40 days of rain’ in the story of Noah and the flood. To be sure, ‘the text nowhere implies that the rain lasted 150 days.’ Instead, the 150 days refers to ‘the time from the beginning of the flood until the water had abated enough for the ark to ground.’ With this in mind, the flood story can be said to be both ‘structurally unified and formally of a type of literature (flood narrative) that is far older’ than Wellhausen’s theory dates it.

– In conclusion, the story of Noah and the flood uses an ‘ancient narrative technique, as evidenced in its profound concern for narrative structure’. Given everything written down in Genesis concerning the flood, this account also ‘cannot be said to be chronologically confused.’

 

FALSE CLAIM #4: LANGUAGE AND STYLE

– The Documentary Hypothesis claims to have found ‘radically different styles’ of writing in the Pentateuch and finds this to be proof that it actually had at least two different sources (J and P). This is simply the ‘result of artificially dividing the text.’

– So-called differences in writing style found in the Torah cannot be proven because nobody knows anything ‘of the common speech of the people of ancient Israel’. Differing word choices could simply be ‘for the sake of a special nuance in a given circumstance, or indeed for the sake of variety’.

– Recent development of computer analysis of the Biblical text now shows that the so-called triple authorship underlying the Book of Genesis is unlikely. Instead, ‘there is massive evidence that the pre-Biblical triplicity [J, E, and P] of Genesis’ may well be a unity instead. The Documentary Hypothesis claim that Genesis was ‘worked over by a late and gifted editor into a trinity’ is basically considered to be false.

 

FALSE CLAIM #5: MEANING AND THEOLOGY

– The original Documentary Hypothesis contended that the evidence for multiple source documents, which then became the Pentateuch, included differences in metaphysical meaning and theology found in the texts themselves. The fact remains, however, that splitting a text into two opposing sources is actually quite easy. In short, opponents of Wellhausen have clearly proven ‘it is not difficult to separate a single Biblical narrative into two artificially complete documents.’ Because of this, any ‘theological analysis’ becomes ‘all the more tenuous.’

– Even the most staunch supporter of the Documentary Hypothesis has trouble these days in taking seriously any of the broad or sweeping generalizations concerning ‘the theological background of Genesis’.

– Under continuing assault by recent Bible scholars, the theological arguments promoting ‘the Elohist has disappeared from view entirely and the Yahwist is fast fading from existence.’ One scholar named Whybray has gone far in showing that ‘consensus for a theology of the Yahwist among critical scholars is collapsing.’

– In conclusion, the hypothesis claiming theological differences in the Pentateuch ‘has no value as a guide for continued research.’

 

FALSE CLAIM #6: COMMON SENSE

– Appealing to their view of the first five Books of Moses, which presupposes Moses did not write it, the Documentary Hypothesis and its adherents claim that common sense dictates in determining that the Pentateuch must have had more than one author who lived much later than Moses. However, recent authors who support the Documentary Hypothesis are now urging more ‘caution’ strongly suggesting that confidence in Wellhausen’s theory is waning and ‘that confidence in the criteria has eroded considerably’.

– In growing desperation, supporters of Wellhausen are starting to rely heavily ‘on specific texts as justification for continued adherence to the hypothesis.’ This is spite of the fact that interpretation of these specific Biblical passages are quite varied and heavily disputed today.

– One scholar makes the point that, even though it may be possible that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 may originate from separate sources, these particular sources most probably have ‘nothing to do with the four documents of the Documentary Hypothesis.’

– In conclusion, no matter what is involved ‘there is no text in Genesis which is best explained by the Documentary Hypothesis.’

 

FALSE CLAIM #7: PRIESTS AND LEVITES

– The Documentary Hypothesis contends that, since there is a discrepancy as to who is actually a Priest (a Levite or descendant of Aaron), there must be at least two authors responsible for the Torah. It also claims to have the ‘best explanation of why the term Levite is used inconsistently in the Old Testament.’ Nonetheless, there is little historical evidence to prove this to be the case.

– The reality is that, when it comes to the question of who exactly is a Priest, ‘a better solution can be obtained by reading the Pentateuch as a work that was substantially produced, as the text affirms, during the period of the Exodus.’

– Similar attempts at finding original source documents underlying the Greek classics the Iliad and the Odyssey proved to be popular in the last century, but are now considered little more than ‘antiquarian scholarly curiosities.’ It is to be hoped ‘that the same fate awaits their sister theory, the Documentary Hypothesis.’

Judaism’s Refutation of the Documentary Hypothesis

Although critics accuse biblical writers of revealing erroneous information, their claims continue to evaporate with the passing of time and the compilation of evidence.

– ApologeticsPress.org

Remember, the main theory of Wellhausen and company is that the Torah ‘was written by several different authors between about 950 BCE through 450 BCE, at which point it was assembled into the present single document, probably by Ezra.’ One should keep in mind that ‘this hypothesis is pretty much universally accepted by secularists.’ Even so, Judaism has a few resounding refutations to this theory. They can summarized as follows:

The Samaritan Pentateuch- The Samaritans have their own five books of Moses which is nearly identical to the Torah. However, Somaritans ‘have not shared a common tradition with Jews since the division of the United Monarchy following the death of King Solomon.’ This means that their Torah, and indeed both Torahs, must have written previous to Ezra (450 BC). This is because the Samaritans ‘would not have accepted a book composed by Ezra.’

Mention of Jerusalem- There is absolutely no mention of Jerusalem in the Torah, meaning that it was probably written at the time of Samuel or before, because the city of Jerusalem had become ‘the center of Judaism from the time of King David (1000 BC) up until the present.’

Religious Documentation- If Ezra (450 BC) assembled the Torah from different documents (J, P, E, and D) then there would most probably be evidence of their existence somewhere in the historical record (950-450 BC). This has not occurred. In fact, ‘no copies of the alleged pre-Ezra documents have ever been discovered anywhere, nor are they ever mentioned in any ancient literature.’ Logically speaking, if the pre-Ezra had been considered so religiously important to Judaism ‘it is implausible that they quickly and entirely disappeared.’

Talmud Without Torah- At the same time that scholars of the Documentary Hypothesis reject the Torah as historically false, they also place great emphasis on a certain passage in the Talmud (Bava Basra 109b) that speaks of the existence ‘in ancient Israel a priesthood descended from Moses’. From this single verse, they claim that these priests must have written the E source document.

Two Names for God- The Talmud many times mentions God’s two character traits – the trait of mercy and the trait of justice. Mercy is represented by the name YHVH while justice is represented by Elohim (Midrash Braishis Rabbah 73:3).

Different Styles in the Torah- Advocates of the Documentary Hypothesis point out that different parts of the Torah are written in different styles. There is a simple explanation for this. The Talmud Tractate Megilah 31b states that ‘Deuteronomy was written by Moses – it is a speech given by Moses, rather than having been simply dictated to him by God. Based upon this, we can understand why different portions of the Torah are written in different styles although they actually have a Mosaic authorship.’

In conclusion, the scholars who developed the Documentary Hypothesis were woefully ignorant of Judaism and Jewish folk-lore. Because of this, Judaism’s refutation of Wellhausen’s theology is especially convincing and accurate. Amused by all the fuss, one Jewish scholar simply states: ‘Rather than refuting the single authorship of the Torah, Bible critics have merely rediscovered the midrash.’

The Slow Death of the Documentary Hypothesis

If new approaches to the text, such as literary criticism of the type advanced here, deem the Documentary Hypothesis unreasonable and invalid, then source critics will have to rethink earlier conclusions and start anew.

– The Redaction of Genesis by Rendsburg

Is the Documentary Hypothesis a dying theory? Does this mean that Biblical scholarship can now move on into the 21st century, instead of being stuck in a discredited 19th analysis made by Wellhausen and others? Did Moses, in fact, write the first five Books of the Bible? According to some scholars, the answer to all these questions is yes. Even the on-line reference site Wikipedia, which is still in favor of the Documentary Hypothesis, is honest enough to admit it:

While the terminology and insights of the documentary hypothesis-notably its claim that the Pentateuch is the work of many hands and many centuries, and that its final form belongs to the middle of the 1st millennium BC-continue to inform scholarly debate about the origins of the Pentateuch, it no longer dominates that debate as it did for the first two thirds of the 20th century.

– Wikipedia, Documentary Hypothesis

The number of former believers and ex-followers of Wellhausen, and his theory concerning the authorship and dates of the Pentateuch, happens to be growing larger with each passing day. Many of them have realized that the general claim about the Torah being based upon four sources, namely the J, E, D and P source documents, is, in the end, utter nonsense. Some have gotten quite angry with Wellhausen’s continuing success and acceptance among modern Biblical scholars. Here are just a few opponents of the Documentary Hypothesis as it stands today:

The time has long passed for scholars of every theological persuasion to recognize that the Graf-Wellhausen theory, as a starting point for continued research, is dead. The Documentary Hypothesis and the arguments that support it have been effectively demolished by scholars from many different theological perspectives and areas of expertise.

– BibleArcheology.org

Gorden J. Wenham points out that there has been a significant change regarding the Wellhausen documentary hypothesis. In the past, rejection of this hypothesis had been from orthodox Jews and conservative Christians. However, questioning of the documentary hypothesis today has come from mainline scholarship.

– HISTORICAL CRITICISM OF THE BIBLE: METHODOLOGY OR IDEOLOGY? by Eta Linnemann

The whole structure of the Documentary Hypothesis is so vitiated with obscurantism and circular reasoning on the basis of unproved and unprovable hypotheses that it hardly deserves the status of true scholarship at all. It appears rather to be an exercise in biased subjectivism that shuns any serious consideration of conflicting evidence.

– Who Wrote the Bible? A Summary Critique, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr

The Documentary Hypothesis must be abandoned. Regardless of the theological presuppositions with which one approaches the text, and regardless of whether one wishes to affirm the tradition of Mosaic authorship or move in new directions, one must recognize the hypothesis to be methodologically unsound.

– BibleArcheology.org

Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis has come to an end. Other major scholarly views of the 20th century…are cratering. Nothing substantial, however, has replaced these views.

– Rendtorff, Rolf, The Paradigm Is Changing: Hopes – and Fears

It is now accepted that the documentary hypothesis is hampered with serious difficulties.

– Van Dyk, P. J., Current Trends in Pentateuch Criticism.

We must reject the Documentary Theory as an explanation of the composition of the Pentateuch. The theory is complicated, artificial, and anomalous. It is based on unproved assumptions. It uses unreliable criteria for the separation of the text into component documents.

– Moses H. Segal, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

The Wellhausen hypothesis...must be perceived as an exercise in subjectivism rather than a scientific treatment of the objective data bearing upon the date of the composition of the Pentateuch. The whole concept of differing recensions of the Mosaic tradition, a J-document originating in Judah and an E-document developed in the Northern Kingdom, has in this century been called into serious question by disillusioned Wellhausians like Wilhelm Moeller, B.D. Eerdmans, Johannes Pedersen, and Ivan Engnell, all of whom completely reject the whole Documentary Hypothesis as an artificial, modern occidental type of interpretation totally unsuited and irrelevant to ancient Semitic literature.

– Who Wrote the Bible? A Summary Critique, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr

These days, the old truths of Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis are becoming less and less accepted with each passing year and continue to be thoroughly discredited by a growing number of scholars and researchers. Indeed, the assumptions of the past concerning the actual origins of the Pentateuch ‘have disappeared, and in their place scholars are confronted by competing theories which are discouragingly numerous’ as well as ‘exceedingly complex’. The simple historical facts of Wellhausen’s theory are now gone with the wind. As one noted scholar opines:

The theories current in Old Testament studies, however brilliantly conceived and elab­orated were mainly established in a vacuum with little or no reference to the Ancient Near East, and initially too often in accordance with a priori philosophical and literary principles.

– Kenneth Kitchens, Ancient Orient and the Old Testament

The tried and true J, E, P, and D source documents, which continues to be the foundational cornerstone for the Documentary Hypothesis have also become invalidated by more and more current researchers. In his work The Redaction of Genesis, scholar Rendsburg openly proclaims that ‘the standard division of Genesis into J, E, and P strands should be discarded’. He blames their inadequacy on the fact that the Documentary Hypothesis is an old 19th century theology that has been hopelessly outdated. With today’s growing knowledge about the ancient world, Rendsburg states ‘there is much more uniformity and much less fragmentation in the book of Genesis than generally assumed’. This means that scholars are once again facing the same conclusion of the past, that Moses truly is the author of the Pentateuch . In the meantime, the Documentary Hypothesis, and all that it came with it, continues to pass away, to die, slowly but surely.

Moses Wrote the Torah, the Pentateuch

An objective and truly scientific handling of the evidence can only lead to the conclusion that Jesus Christ and the New Testament apostles were absolutely correct in assuming the genuineness of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.

– Who Wrote the Bible? A Summary Critique, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr

When one finally becomes convinced that the Documentary Hypothesis is indeed a incorrect theory, the question remains as to who wrote the Torah, also called the Pentateuch. Traditional Judaism has always believed that Moses was the author of the first five Books of the Bible and Christianity followed suit in the centuries after its formation. There is still every reason to believe that this is the historical truth even though the existence of Moses still cannot be scientifically proven. Considering the severity of laws espoused in the Torah, many Bible researchers say this indicates that it must have been written by Moses, before the people ever slipped into idolatrous practices. One auther states the following:

Consider the implications of Moses’ instructions to his people as recorded in Deuteronomy 13 and 17…In these two chapters we find the death penalty prescribed for any individual, family, or community that became involved in idol-worship. In the time of Josiah, or even in the time of Hezekiah, there was scarcely a community in all of the kingdom of Judah that was not infected with idolatry. Had such a law been propounded and carried out with rigor, it is safe to say that at least 50 percent of the total population would have been stoned to death. No school of prophets or priests would ever have ventured to propound such severe measures…these passages in Deuteronomy fits only a time in the history of Israel when the entire nation was committed to the worship of Yahweh alone. There is no known period which fits into this framework but the time of Moses and Joshua.

Two recent books also bolster the claim that the Book of Genesis may well be a unified document with only one actual author. One of these is called Before Abraham Was, by Kikawada and Quinn, and it shows ‘an INCREDIBLE thematic unity and artistry of the composer of Genesis 1-11.’ The other book is The Redaction of Genesis, by Rendsburg. This book goes far in proving that there truly ‘an INCREDIBLE linguistic unity and artistry of the composer of all of Genesis.’ Slowly, more and more modern scholars are returning to the belief that the Torah was written at a much earlier date than that espoused by the Documentary Hypothesis. Here is just one example of this phenomenon:

In the light of these considerations, the objective evidence of the text and of all pertinent historical records bearing upon the career of Israel leads us back to the genuineness of the Mosaic date as the only plausible period for the composition of the Pentateuch…Suffice it to say that the indications in the Pentateuch of a pre-Conquest time of composition of the books of Moses are altogether compelling.

– Who Wrote the Bible? A Summary Critique, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr

In Judaism, Genesis through Deuteronomy was always considered to be a singular work, usually called the Book of the Law. This is cited in 2 Chronicles 25:4 and Mark 12:26. This makes good sense because even a quick glance at the content ‘of its individual components will confirm that each book presupposes the one that precedes it.’ One scholar notes astutely:

Without Genesis, Exodus reads like a book begun midway; without Exodus, Leviticus is a mystery; and so on. They were not intended to be five separate volumes in a common category, but rather, are five divisions of the same book. Hence, the singular references: “the Law” or “the Book.”

– ApologeticsPress.org

Given this tradition, it seems incredible that the Documentary Hypothesis was ever believed or copied. One should remember, however, that the propenents of Wellhausen’s theory were neither Jewish nor Christian believers. It is safe to assume that they had ulterior motives in creating the Documentary Hypothesis. They knew full well that to prove that Moses did not write the Torah was to also discredit, and perhaps eventually, destroy the Judeo-Christian tradition. As one author contends:

Prove that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch and you prove that Jesus was totally mistaken and not the infallible Son of God he claimed to be. Upon your faith in Moses as the writer of the five books attributed to him rests also your faith in Jesus as the Son of God. You cannot believe in Jesus Christ without believing what Moses wrote.

– Genesis and Evolution, by M.R. DeHaan

One should also take into account the fact that the authorship of Moses is a given througout the Holy Bible, including the New Testament. Within the Pentateuch itself, one can read numerous times about how Moses wrote the law of God. Here are just a few pertinent passages from Scriptures:

– Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. (Exodus 24:4)

– The LORD said unto Moses, ‘Write thou these words…’ (Exodus 34:27).

– Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD. (Numbers 33:2).

– Moses wrote this law and delivered it unto the priests. (Deuteronomy 31:9).

– The law was given through Moses. (John 1:17)

– And beginning from Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

– For Moses from generations of old hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath. (Acts 15:21)

In addition, authors of the New Testament ‘showed no hesitation in affirming that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.’ Even Paul agreed with this, stating: ‘For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law,’ It is rather ironic that ‘both Jesus’ disciples and His enemies recognized and accepted the books of Moses.’ Christian believers should take care to understand that the authorship of the Torah should not be taken lightly and should feel assured in the belief that Moses wrote it. One scholar notes:

A final reason that one must defend the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, instead of sitting by idly and claiming that “it doesn’t really matter who wrote it,” is because Jesus Himself acknowledged that “the Law” came from Moses….The truth is, by claiming that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch, one essentially is claiming that Jesus was mistaken.

– ApologeticsPress.org

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

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The Maccabee – Understanding the Enemies of Circumcision

October 5, 2011

‘Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’

– Jeremiah 23:29

The Opposition to Circumcision

No son of a man may be forcibly circumcised.

– Yebamoth 48a

Jews have seen anti-circumcision agitations previously in history, so this new early 21st century round of attempts to criminalize male circumcision should be seen as nothing new, but a perpetual cycle of clearly Pagan, anti-Biblical, attempts to destroy Judaism, and quite possibly Christianity as well.

Of course, there have been anti-circumcision movements before, but most Jews historically have continued the religious practice of circumcision even under the threat of death.

– The Jewish Journal – North Boston

A quick look at the internet shows that opponents of male circumcision are organized and their numbers are growing more numerous with each passing day. Their rhetoric has also became far more belligerent. In short, there is ample reason to worry about the future of circumcision, both in this country and around the world. Here is a small sampling of some of the more strident, and scary, websites dedicated to the enemies of circumcision:

Anti-Circumcision Quotes from an Online Search for ‘Circumcision’ on Google

– Circumcision. A Barbaric Practice, A Human Rights Violation…

– Circumcision Is Barbaric And Unnecessary. Jews Against Circumcision

– Do not circumcise, it is barbaric, primitive and a human rights violation. Circumcision is barbaric and…

– circumcision is barbaric…Also, check out the links for more info on this evil practice.

– Is circumcision a barbaric ritual that harms a child physically? Or is it a deep meaningful…

– When our son was born, my wife decided circumcision was barbaric, but my parents insisted it was an essential…

– Circumcision (Bris Milah) is a cruel, barbaric procedure that can traumatize…

– I do find that male circumcision is barbaric and totally pointless for christians…

– Why circumcision should be abhorred- Circumcision is a barbaric tradition with deep roots in religious dogmas, like infant baptism….

Thus, it should come as little surprise that the enemies of male circumcision are at it again both in California and Massachusetts. A recent ‘San Francisco measure proposes to make the circumcision of males under 18 a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or a year in jail.’ Also, Santa Monica is discussing a similar proposal. This attempted prohibition against circumcision is especially worrisome to Jews. As one source notes bluntly:

[The] measure clearly is aimed at a particular part of the community, and there’s no doubt that this proposition knowingly targets Jews. Marc Stern, a lawyer for the American Jewish Committee, had the matter exactly right when  he said: “This is the most direct assault on Jewish religious practice in the United States. It’s unprecedented in Jewish life.”

– The Los Angeles Times

Out on the east coast, there is an effort to ban circumcision in Massachusetts  where an anti-circumcision group has filed the Male Genital Mutilation Bill presented to the Massachusetts Legislature. The proposed new law ‘calls for a ban on circumcision for males under 18, unless medically necessary, and with no religious exemptions.’ The Jewish Journal of North Boston reports:

The leader of this current initiative, Matthew Hess, president of the group called the Bill to End Male Genital Mutilation, was quoted in the Boston Herald (February 21, 2010) as saying “circumcision is painful and unnecessary, violates a baby’s human rights and decreases sexual sensation in mature males.”

– The Jewish Journal – North Boston

It should not be too far of a stretch to say that the motivation behind the move to ban circumcision in San Fransisco and elsewhere is clearly anti-Semitic and possibly indicates a serious, and perhaps enduring, hostility towards the Judeo-Christian God and the Biblical tradition.

It would have been nice to see the force behind the misguided anti-circumcision campaign in Santa Monica…voicing appropriate disgust, from a movement that created a repulsively anti-Semitic comic to advance its cause online.

– The Los Angeles Times

Luckily, the state government of California has managed to come to the rescue in the name of religious freedom, especially Jewish religious freedom for trained Rabbis to practice infant male circumcision. Specifically, ‘Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill prohibiting cities and counties from banning male circumcision, his office announced’ recently. More good news came when the San Francisco ballot measure meant to outlaw child circumcision there was struck down by  ‘a judge in July [who] ordered the circumcision ban off the November ballot.’

Support against the enemies of circumcision also came from Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Los Angeles, who got a bill passed unanimously that heads off future anti-circumcision laws and bans their implementation. Mr. Gatto publicly stated that bans on circumcision amounted to ‘an affront to the exercise of personal, medical and religious freedom.’

These small victories for the forces of circumcision should not be taken for granted as the avowed enemies of circumcision will most probably only grow that much stronger. This is especially true in a nation where the number of males being circumcised has dropped below 50%. Some of the opponents’ arguments against the practice of male circumcision include the following:

Opponents of circumcision liken it to “genital mutilation” – the forced removal of a healthy body part from an unconsenting child.

– The Miami Herald

Opponents of circumcision claim that the outdated procedure affords no medical benefits, that it causes unnecessary pain for infants, and that the lack of a foreskin may reduce sexual pleasure and performance.

– Wiki-Answers.com

Given the history of anti-circumcision movements, ‘Jewish groups have decried anti-circumcision efforts as anti-Semitic.’ This is probably accurate, but the enemies of circumcision are now using more sophisticated reasoning in order to have the procedure made illegal and to deny accusations of anti-Jewish bias. Here are some of them, followed by the rebuttals of male circumcision proponents:

Accusations of Circumcision Opponents

– the procedure is out-dated

– Has no medical benefits

– Causes unnecessary pain for infants

– Reduces sexual pleasure and performance

 

 Advocates of Circumcision Findings

– The procedure is modern, clean, and hygenic

– May reduce cancer risk and other disorders

– Infant pain is slight and easily forgotten

– Does not affect either sexual pleasure or performance

One of the new opponents of circumcision, a Jewish professor named Ronald Goldman, began his opposition to Jewish circumcision sometime during the mid-1990s. He founded the Jewish Circumcision Resource Center which ‘serves to support the questioning of circumcision among Jews.’ Dr. Goldman has published two books, one entitled Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma, and another book called Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective. They have both met with success and now ‘both books have become primers on their subjects.’ Clearly, Ronald Goldman is an enemy of circumcision, who somehow envisions an uncircumcised Jewish future. One sources sums it:

Goldman says his organization decided to issue the statement because of the increased attention to the topic, accompanied by a general lack of awareness about the harm of circumcision. “There may be a misunderstanding of the reasons why many people question circumcision,” Goldman says. “We wanted to clarify that and take the opportunity to raise awareness about the practice.”

– Jewish Circumcision Opponents Grow More Vocal, by Rebecca Wald, Beyond the Bris

Dr. Goldman began his crusade after being made uncomfortable and a little nauseous at a traditional Jewish bris, an infant male circumcision ritual performed by a professional Rabbi. Ever since this ‘unfortunate’ encounter, Goldman has moved on to become a very well-organized and influential opponent of Jewish circumcision. Nonetheless, he claims that he wants ‘to assure Jews that questioning circumcision can be done respectfully and compassionately.’ The actual historical facts concerning Jewish male circumcision show Dr. Goldman’s concerns to be completely unfounded. As a reliable source writes:

Jews have circumcised tens of millions of their infant sons for over 3,000 years with few complications and without the dire pain, trauma, and other horrible effects claimed by opponents of circumcision.

– The Jewish Journal – North Boston

Another outspoken opponent of male circumcision is Dr. George C. Denniston, most probably a Gentile. He believes that history ‘shows that the arguments in favor of circumcision are questionable.’ He disparages studies that showed that circumcision may prevent cervical cancer in female sexual partners. Dr. George C. Dennistone also belittles the studies showing that circumcision can prevent urinary tract infection and penile cancer. Obviously, Dr. Denniston is a zealous enemy of circumcision and he makes this quite clear in the following statement:

Who has the right to order or perform such surgery on a newborn infant? I contend that no one does – certainly not the physician who should know better – since there is no proven medical reason to do so, and the procedure is known by many to be harmful. Circumcision can always be performed in adulthood for men who desire it, with fully informed consent.

– Unnecessary Circumcision, by George C. Denniston, M.D.

Notice that he now insists that newborn infants have rights, which is absurd considering they are completely dependent upon their parents and other adults for survival. Dr. Denniston also defames circumcision as being ‘harmful’. He even goes to extreme lengths in ‘proving’ that circumcision causes harm to sexual function by quoting Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher from the Middle Ages! No, Dr. George Denniston’s motivations are easily seen in this closing argument:

Physicians who continue to perform routine circumcision are not only harming infants but are also harming the integrity of the medical profession. It is hard to accept that these physicians – many of whom have been circumcised themselves – are using their medical licenses to continue this contra­indicated practice. This is tragedy perpetuating itself.

– Unnecessary Circumcision, by George C. Denniston, M.D.

As can be seen, the opponents of circumcision are growing bold and more dangerous everyday. Those who support circumcision and its practice, both religious and otherwise, need to become more vigilant and more wary in their understanding of the enemies of circumcision.

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

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The Maccabee – Locating Purgatory

October 3, 2011

The Maccabee – Locating Purgatory

‘Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’

– Jeremiah 23:29

 

The Location of Purgatory

Use of the word “Purgatory” (in Latin purgatorium) as a noun appeared perhaps only between 1160 and 1180, giving rise to the idea of Purgatory as a place (what Jacques Le Goff called the “birth” of Purgatory),

– Purgatory, Wikipedia

Most scholars believe that, at the beginning of Christianity, Purgatory was imagined as a completely spiritual realm with no physical location. The early Church Fathers saw Purgatory as a process of purification which most souls underwent before going on to Heaven. The exact doctrine, as promulgated by the earliest Christian theologians, saw Purgatory as a ‘condition or process of purification or temporary punishment’ rather than a physical location, which is meant for the souls of deceased to be purified in preparation for their eventual salvation and entrance into Heaven.

In 1999 Pope John Paul II declared that the term Purgatory does not indicate a place, but “a condition of existence”.

– Purgatory, Wikipedia

However, the theory of Purgatory as being a process, rather than a place, simply reflects the complex intellectual theology of Christian experts rather than the beliefs of common folk as they have actually been throughout the centuries. It seems far more likely that Purgatory has its deeper roots in the Jewish world of the dead, called the Sheol, and the Greco-Roman world of the dead, known as Hades, places sanctified by Jesus Christ when ‘He descended into Hell.’ In both places, it was believed to be specifically located underground in what was generically called the Underworld, a dark world of ghosts (souls), a place most everyone went to after death, before moving on to Paradise, called the “Heart of Abraham’ by the Jews, alternatively designated as ‘Elysium’ by the Greeks and the Romans. In other words, the road to Heaven was considered to be down and through rather than above and upwards. One source notes aptly:

The envisioning of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory as places in the physical universe was never a Church doctrine. Nonetheless, in antiquity and medieval times, Heaven and Hell were widely regarded as places existing within the physical universe: Heaven “above”, in the sky; Hell “below”, in or beneath the earth. Similarly, Purgatory has at times been thought of as a physical location.

– Purgatory, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thus, it should seem more than obvious that Purgatory has always been thought of as having a general location, namely below the earth and buried ‘six feet under’, to put it bluntly. Saint Frances de Sales hit it on the nail when he claimed Purgatory to be below the earth. Nonetheless, there has been numerous different speculations as to where the world of Purgatory is actually located. Some of them can be described as follows:

 

Precise Location of Purgatory

I. Under the earth

II. In the air

III. By the graves of the dead

IV. Near Church altars

V. Amid past places and occurrences of sin

The general consensus of today is that Purgatory was considered by the early Church Fathers as a condition or process that had no exact material location. Even so, by the Middle Ages, discussion of the precise location of Purgatory once again became a topic of interest. One scholar in particular claims the following:

Medievalist Jacques Le Goff defines the “birth of purgatory”, i.e. the conception of purgatory as a physical place, rather than merely as a state, as occurring between 1170 and 1200.

– History of Purgatory, Wikipedia

According to the French historian Jacques Le Goff, the conception of purgatory as a physical place dates to the 12th century, the heyday of medieval otherworld-journey narratives and of pilgrims’ tales.

– Purgatory, Encyclopedia Britannica

 

Indeed, throughout the Middles Ages, ‘The idea of purgatory as a physical place became widespread on a popular level.’ The contention that Purgatory truly did have a location ‘was defended also by some theologians.’ However, most scholars today tend to assume that ‘the conception of purgatory as a geographically situated place is largely the achievement of medieval Christian piety and imagination.’ Located below are just a few examples of Purgatory as a place rather than just a process, condition, or metaphysical state of being.

In Search of Purgatory

– ‘The legend of St Patrick’s Purgatory’ (Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii) which was originally written by Hugh of Saltry, also known as Henry of Sawtry, claimed that the entrance to Purgatory was located on a remote island in Ireland.

– Another Purgatory legend contended that the ‘entrance to Purgatory’ was located in ‘a cave on the volcanic Mount Etna in Sicily

– In his work called ‘Purgatorio’, Dante described Purgatory as ‘a seven-story mountain situated’ on the exact opposite end of the world from the actual city of Jerusalem,

– In 1220, Caesarius of Heisterbach, a Cistercian monk and preacher, theorized ‘that purgatory could be in several places at once.’

– Some prominent scholars claim that Peter the Lombard, who died in 1160, ‘to have contributed significantly to the birth of purgatory in the sense of a physical place.’

– Francis de Sales, a Christian Saint, insisted that Purgatory was located beneath the Earth

– In the Divine Comedy, Dante had his Purgatory as a mountain with seven levels, with each level corresponding to one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

– In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI discussed Saint Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510), stating ‘that in her time the purification of souls (Purgatory) was pictured as a location in space. Nonetheless, she ‘saw Purgatory as a purifying inner fire, such as she experienced in her profound sorrow.’

– After His crucifixion, Jesus Christ is assumed to have ‘descended into Hell,’ and then, with His angels, is presumed to have attacked the stronghold of the Greco-Roman god Hades, along with the Devil. According to some, His presence in Hell sanctified the area, thus creating Purgatory.

Given everything, it must be concluded that, if there truly are spiritual realms of existence, then Purgatory is one of them, a definite ‘place’ in the metaphysical world, a land of the dead filled with the ghosts of those who have passed away, who are patiently awaiting entrance into Heaven.

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

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The Maccabee – 10 Simple Reasons why Christianity should Practice Male Circumcision

September 20, 2011

‘Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’

– Jeremiah 23:29

For almost 2,000 years, the consensus of Christianity has been that male circumcision is not required for the faith. Nonetheless, there are numerous and fairly valid reasons to finally reintroduce this practice among Christians throughout the world. There are also some specific passages that seem to suggest that the religion of Judaism should also promote and perhaps even require circumcision among the Gentiles as a part of their own faith.

This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

– Genesis 17:10

The covenant of male circumcision started with Abraham, the founding father of the three major faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For Christianity to truly be a part of the House of Abraham, they should circumcise their male children. After all, Christians have fulfilled the prophecy that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands upon the seashore. There are some who would claim that Christianity obeys the Seven laws of Noah and that only Jews are actually required to practice circumcision. That is the wrong assumption as the following passages from the Jewish Talmud clearly show:

The Master said: Every precept which was given to the sons of Noah and repeated at Sinai was meant for both [Noachides and Israelites]

– Sanhedrin 59a

But circumcision, which was given to the Sons of Noah, for it is written, ‘Thou shalt keep my covenant, and repeated at Sinai, And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised,’

– Sandhedrin 59b

This law was not learned from the teaching of Moses our teacher, until Ezekiel came and taught, ‘No alien, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh shall enter into my Sanctuary to serve me’

– Sanhedrin 22b

One should remember that the compromise concerning uncircumcised Christian Gentiles found in the Book of Acts was not a unanimous decision and was probably not meant to be an eternal dictate that Christians didn’t need to circumcise their male children. What follows are ten excellent reasons why Christianity should practice circumcision as a standard aspect of their faith:

Ten Reasons Why Christianity should Practice Circumcision

I. The Covenant of Abraham

BIBLE: This is my covenant, which you shall keep…Every man child among you shall be circumcised. (Genesis 17:10)

CONCLUSION: Though many Christians are not blood-related to Abraham, they are a part of his House and subject to the same law. Many followers of Abraham practiced circumcision.

II. The Gospels of Jesus Christ

BIBLE: It is easier for Heaven and earth to pass away, than one part of the law to become invalid. (Luke 16:17)

CONCLUSION: Circumcision is one of the oldest Hebrew laws and was commanded by God Himself. Regardless of past Christian tradition circumcision is still the law.

III. St. Paul’s Obvious Approval

BIBLE: What value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. (Romans 3:1-2)

CONCLUSION: Although St. Paul appears to disapprove of circumcision in some passages, this is because he was fighting against those Christians who still believed it should be required. Paul himself was circumcised.

IV. To Be Like Christ – Christian

BIBLE: When eight days had passed for the circumcising of the child, His name was called Jesus. (Luke 2:21)

CONCLUSION: Jesus Christ was circumcised on the eighth day. To be like Christ is to be circumcised. To be a Christian mother is to be like Mary’s and to circumcise their sons

V. To Be Like the Apostles

BIBLE: And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child…His mother answered…he shall be called John.- Luke 1:59-60

CONCLUSION: All of the Apostles and all the Disciples were circumcised. Jesus Christ Himself was circumcised along with His father, his brothers and all his ancestors and early followers.

VI. To Honor the Christian Martyrs

BIBLE: They put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised.- I Maccabees 1:60

CONCLUSION: St. Peter, St. Jason, St. James, St. Stephen, St. Thomas, , St. John & many other Christian Martyrs were circumcised.

VII. To Renew the Hebrew Tradition

BIBLE: Abraham took…every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin.(Genesis 17:2)

CONCLUSION: To truly become a member of the House of Abraham, to distinguish oneself from the Pagans, and in order to fulfill the laws of God as commanded by Jesus, all Christians should now circumcise all their male sons by the age of 18.

VIII. To Remove all Pagan Customs

BIBLE: They…leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation. (I Maccabees 1:48 )

CONCLUSION: Today, a growing number of Jewish and Christian mothers leave their sons uncircumcised. In the years to come, more and more Pagans will become hostile to Christianity and to the practice of circumcision. Oppose the Pagans.

IX. To Convert the Jews & Muslims

BIBLE: Ishmael…was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised. (Genesis 17:25) Abraham circumcised his son Isaac at eight days old, as God had commanded him. (Genesis 21:4)

CONCLUSION: Jews and Muslims would more likely convert to a Christianity that practices circumcision. 

X. In Tribute to the Early Saints

BIBLE: Mattathias and his allies…forcibly circumcised any uncircumcised boys whom they found in the territory of Israel…They save the law from the hands of the Gentiles. (I Maccabees 2:45)

CONCLUSION: The first 5 Saints of Christianity, St. Judas, Jonathan, John, Simon, and Eleazar were all circumcised Jews who fought against the Greeks who butchered anyone that practiced or opposed the new law that banned circumcision.

Maccabee Christianity is fully supportive of the practice of circumcision by those of the Christian faith. Indeed, read carefully, Scriptures seem to indicate that the practice of circumcision may well be destined to become universal among all men on planet Earth. History, and the Bible, stands as a clear warning to those who would so blithely disdain male circumcision as a barbaric custom of the past. Here are just a few pertinent quotes:

In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people…They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant; they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves into wrongdoing.

– I Maccabees 1:11-15

Women who had their babies circumcised were put to death, in keeping with the decree, with the babies hung from their necks; their families also and those who had circumcised them were killed.

– I Maccabees 1:60-61

The King sent messengers with letter to Jerusalem and to the cities of Judah, ordering them to follow customs foreign to the land…to leave their sons uncircumcised, and to let themselves be defiled with every kind of impurity and abomination.

– I Maccabees 1:44-48

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

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The First Book of the Maccabees

January 26, 2011

I Maccabees 1
1 After Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and the Medes, he succeeded him as king. (He had previously become king of Greece.) 2 He fought many battles, conquered strongholds, and put to death the kings of the earth. 3 He advanced to the ends of the earth, and plundered many nations. When the earth became quiet before him, he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up. 4 He gathered a very strong army and ruled over countries, nations, and princes, and they became tributary to him. 5 After this he fell sick and perceived that he was dying. 6 So he summoned his most honored officers, who had been brought up with him from youth, and divided his kingdom among them while he was still alive. 7 And after Alexander had reigned twelve years, he died.

8 Then his officers began to rule, each in his own place. 9 They all put on crowns after his death, and so did their sons after them for many years; and they caused many evils on the earth. 10 From them came forth a sinful root, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king; he had been a hostage in Rome. He began to reign in the one hundred and thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. 11 In those days lawless men came forth from Israel, and misled many, saying, “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles round about us, for since we separated from them many evils have come upon us.” 12 This proposal pleased them, 13 and some of the people eagerly went to the king. He authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. 14 So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, 15 and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.

16 When Antiochus saw that his kingdom was established, he determined to become king of the land of Egypt, that he might reign over both kingdoms. 17 So he invaded Egypt with a strong force, with chariots and elephants and cavalry and with a large fleet. 18 He engaged Ptolemy king of Egypt in battle, and Ptolemy turned and fled before him, and many were wounded and fell. 19 And they captured the fortified cities in the land of Egypt, and he plundered the land of Egypt. 20 After subduing Egypt, Antiochus returned in the one hundred and forty-third year. He went up against Israel and came to Jerusalem with a strong force. 21 He arrogantly entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lampstand for the light, and all its utensils. 22 He took also the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple; he stripped it all off. 23 He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels; he took also the hidden treasures which he found. 24 Taking them all, he departed to his own land. He committed deeds of murder, and spoke with great arrogance.

25 Israel mourned deeply in every community, 26 rulers and elders groaned, maidens and young men became faint, the beauty of women faded. 27 Every bridegroom took up the lament; she who sat in the bridal chamber was mourning. 28 Even the land shook for its inhabitants, and all the house of Jacob was clothed with shame. 29 Two years later the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute, and he came to Jerusalem with a large force. 30 Deceitfully he spoke peaceable words to them, and they believed him; but he suddenly fell upon the city, dealt it a severe blow, and destroyed many people of Israel. 31 He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. 32 And they took captive the women and children, and seized the cattle. 33 Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers, and it became their citadel. 34 And they stationed there a sinful people, lawless men. These strengthened their position; 35 they stored up arms and food, and collecting the spoils of Jerusalem they stored them there, and became a great snare. 36 It became an ambush against the sanctuary, an evil adversary of Israel continually. 37 On every side of the sanctuary they shed innocent blood; they even defiled the sanctuary.

38 Because of them the residents of Jerusalem fled; she became a dwelling of strangers; she became strange to her offspring, and her children forsook her. 39 Her sanctuary became desolate as a desert; her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into a reproach, her honor into contempt. 40 Her dishonor now grew as great as her glory; her exaltation was turned into mourning. 41 Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, 42 and that each should give up his customs. 43 All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath. 44 And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, 45 to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane sabbaths and feasts, 46 to defile the sanctuary and the priests, 47 to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals, 48 and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane, 49 so that they should forget the law and change all the ordinances. 50 “And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die.” 51 In such words he wrote to his whole kingdom. And he appointed inspectors over all the people and commanded the cities of Judah to offer sacrifice, city by city. 52 Many of the people, every one who forsook the law, joined them, and they did evil in the land; 53 they drove Israel into hiding in every place of refuge they had.

54 Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-fifth year, they erected a desolating sacrilege upon the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding cities of Judah, 55 and burned incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets. 56 The books of the law which they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire. 57 Where the book of the covenant was found in the possession of any one, or if any one adhered to the law, the decree of the king condemned him to death. 58 They kept using violence against Israel, against those found month after month in the cities. 59 And on the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar which was upon the altar of burnt offering. 60 According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised, 61 and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers’ necks. 62 But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. 63 They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. 64 And very great wrath came upon Israel.

I Maccabees 2
1 In those days Mattathias the son of John, son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, moved from Jerusalem and settled in Modein. 2 He had five sons, John surnamed Gaddi, 3 Simon called Thassi, 4 Judas called Maccabeus, 5 Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus. 6 He saw the blasphemies being committed in Judah and Jerusalem, 7 and said, ‘Alas! Why was I born to see this, the ruin of my people, the ruin of the holy city, and to dwell there when it was given over to the enemy, the sanctuary given over to aliens? 8 Her temple has become like a man without honor; 9 her glorious vessels have been carried into captivity. Her babes have been killed in her streets, her youths by the sword of the foe. 10 What nation has not inherited her palaces and has not seized her spoils? 11 All her adornment has been taken away; no longer free, she has become a slave. 12 And behold, our holy place, our beauty, and our glory have been laid waste; the Gentiles have profaned it. 13 Why should we live any longer?” 14 And Mattathias and his sons rent their clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned greatly.

15 Then the king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the city of Modein to make them offer sacrifice. 16 Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons were assembled. 17 Then the king’s officers spoke to Mattathias as follows: “You are a leader, honored and great in this city, and supported by sons and brothers. 18 Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts.” 19 But Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: “Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to do his commandments, departing each one from the religion of his fathers, 20 yet I and my sons and my brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers. 21 Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. 22 We will not obey the king’s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.”

23 When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice upon the altar in Modein, according to the king’s command. 24 When Mattathias saw it, be burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar. 25 At the same time he killed the king’s officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. 26 Thus he burned with zeal for the law, as Phinehas did against Zimri the son of Salu. 27 Then Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: “Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!” 28 And he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the city.

29 Then many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to dwell there, 30 they, their sons, their wives, and their cattle, because evils pressed heavily upon them. 31 And it was reported to the king’s officers, and to the troops in Jerusalem the city of David, that men who had rejected the king’s command had gone down to the hiding places in the wilderness. 32 Many pursued them, and overtook them; they encamped opposite them and prepared for battle against them on the sabbath day. 33 And they said to them, “Enough of this! Come out and do what the king commands, and you will live.” 34 But they said, “We will not come out, nor will we do what the king commands and so profane the sabbath day.” 35 Then the enemy hastened to attack them. 36 But they did not answer them or hurl a stone at them or block up their hiding places, 37 for they said, “Let us all die in our innocence; heaven and earth testify for us that you are killing us unjustly.” 38 So they attacked them on the sabbath, and they died, with their wives and children and cattle, to the number of a thousand persons.

39 When Mattathias and his friends learned of it, they mourned for them deeply. 40 And each said to his neighbor: “If we all do as our brethren have done and refuse to fight with the Gentiles for our lives and for our ordinances, they will quickly destroy us from the earth.” 41 So they made this decision that day: “Let us fight against every man who comes to attack us on the sabbath day; let us not all die as our brethren died in their hiding places.” 42 Then there united with them a company of Hasideans, mighty warriors of Israel, every one who offered himself willingly for the law. 43 And all who became fugitives to escape their troubles joined them and reinforced them.

44 They organized an army, and struck down sinners in their anger and lawless men in their wrath; the survivors fled to the Gentiles for safety. 45 And Mattathias and his friends went about and tore down the altars; 46 they forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised boys that they found within the borders of Israel. 47 They hunted down the arrogant men, and the work prospered in their hands. 48 They rescued the law out of the hands of the Gentiles and kings, and they never let the sinner gain the upper hand.

49 Now the days drew near for Mattathias to die, and he said to his sons: “Arrogance and reproach have now become strong; it is a time of ruin and furious anger. 50 Now, my children, show zeal for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers. 51 “Remember the deeds of the fathers, which they did in their generations; and receive great honor and an everlasting name. 52 Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? 53 Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. 54 Phinehas our father, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood. 55 Joshua, because he fulfilled the command, became a judge in Israel. 56 Caleb, because he testified in the assembly, received an inheritance in the land. 57 David, because he was merciful, inherited the throne of the kingdom for ever. 58 Elijah because of great zeal for the law was taken up into heaven. 59 Hannaniah, Azariah, and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame. 60 Daniel because of his innocence was delivered from the mouth of the lions. 61 “And so observe, from generation to generation, that none who put their trust in him will lack strength. 62 Do not fear the words of a sinner, for his splendor will turn into dung and worms.

63 Today he will be exalted, but tomorrow he will not be found, because he has returned to the dust, and his plans will perish. 64 My children, be courageous and grow strong in the law, for by it you will gain honor. 65 “Now behold, I know that Simeon your brother is wise in counsel; always listen to him; he shall be your father. 66 Judas Maccabeus has been a mighty warrior from his youth; he shall command the army for you and fight the battle against the peoples. 67 You shall rally about you all who observe the law, and avenge the wrong done to your people. 68 Pay back the Gentiles in full, and heed what the law commands.” 69 Then he blessed them, and was gathered to his fathers. 70 He died in the one hundred and forty-sixth year and was buried in the tomb of his fathers at Modein. And all Israel mourned for him with great lamentation.

I Maccabees 3
1 Then Judas his son, who was called Maccabeus, took command in his place. 2 All his brothers and all who had joined his father helped him; they gladly fought for Israel. 3 He extended the glory of his people. Like a giant he put on his breastplate; he girded on his armor of war and waged battles, protecting the host by his sword. 4 He was like a lion in his deeds, like a lion’s cub roaring for prey. 5 He searched out and pursued the lawless; he burned those who troubled his people. 6 Lawless men shrank back for fear of him; all the evildoers were confounded; and deliverance prospered by his hand. 7 He embittered many kings, but he made Jacob glad by his deeds, and his memory is blessed for ever. 8 He went through the cities of Judah; he destroyed the ungodly out of the land; thus he turned away wrath from Israel. 9 He was renowned to the ends of the earth; he gathered in those who were perishing. 10 But Apollonius gathered together Gentiles and a large force from Samaria to fight against Israel. 11 When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him, and he defeated and killed him. Many were wounded and fell, and the rest fled. 12 Then they seized their spoils; and Judas took the sword of Apollonius, and used it in battle the rest of his life.

13 Now when Seron, the commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had gathered a large company, including a body of faithful men who stayed with him and went out to battle, 14 he said, “I will make a name for myself and win honor in the kingdom. I will make war on Judas and his companions, who scorn the king’s command.” 15 And again a strong army of ungodly men went up with him to help him, to take vengeance on the sons of Israel. 16 When he approached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a small company. 17 But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas, “How can we, few as we are, fight against so great and strong a multitude? And we are faint, for we have eaten nothing today.” 18 Judas replied, “It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few. 19 It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven. 20 They come against us in great pride and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us;21 but we fight for our lives and our laws. 22 He himself will crush them before us; as for you, do not be afraid of them.” 23 When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly against Seron and his army, and they were crushed before him. 24 They pursued them down the descent of Beth-horon to the plain; eight hundred of them fell, and the rest fled into the land of the Philistines.

25 Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and terror fell upon the Gentiles round about them. 26 His fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked of the battles of Judas. 27 When king Antiochus heard these reports, he was greatly angered; and he sent and gathered all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army. 28 And he opened his coffers and gave a year’s pay to his forces, and ordered them to be ready for any need. 29 Then he saw that the money in the treasury was exhausted, and that the revenues from the country were small because of the dissension and disaster which he had caused in the land by abolishing the laws that had existed from the earliest days. 30 He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts which he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings. 31 He was greatly perplexed in mind, and determined to go to Persia and collect the revenues from those regions and raise a large fund.

32 He left Lysias, a distinguished man of royal lineage, in charge of the king’s affairs from the river Euphrates to the borders of Egypt. 33 Lysias was also to take care of Antiochus his son until he returned. 34 And he turned over to Lysias half of his troops and the elephants, and gave him orders about all that he wanted done. As for the residents of Judea and Jerusalem, 35 Lysias was to send a force against them to wipe out and destroy the strength of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem; he was to banish the memory of them from the place, 36 settle aliens in all their territory, and distribute their land. 37 Then the king took the remaining half of his troops and departed from Antioch his capital in the one hundred and forty-seventh year. He crossed the Euphrates river and went through the upper provinces. 38 Lysias chose Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes, and Nicanor and Gorgias, mighty men among the friends of the king, 39 and sent with them forty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry to go into the land of Judah and destroy it, as the king had commanded. 40 so they departed with their entire force, and when they arrived they encamped near Emmaus in the plain.

41 When the traders of the region heard what was said to them, they took silver and gold in immense amounts, and fetters, and went to the camp to get the sons of Israel for slaves. And forces from Syria and the land of the Philistines joined with them. 42 Now Judas and his brothers saw that misfortunes had increased and that the forces were encamped in their territory. They also learned what the king had commanded to do to the people to cause their final destruction. 43 But they said to one another, “Let us repair the destruction of our people, and fight for our people and the sanctuary.” 44 And the congregation assembled to be ready for battle, and to pray and ask for mercy and compassion.

45 Jerusalem was uninhabited like a wilderness; not one of her children went in or out. The sanctuary was trampled down, and the sons of aliens held the citadel; it was a lodging place for the Gentiles. Joy was taken from Jacob; the flute and the harp ceased to play. 46 So they assembled and went to Mizpah, opposite Jerusalem, because Israel formerly had a place of prayer in Mizpah. 47 They fasted that day, put on sackcloth and sprinkled ashes on their heads, and rent their clothes. 48 And they opened the book of the law to inquire into those matters about which the Gentiles were consulting the images of their idols. 49 They also brought the garments of the priesthood and the first fruits and the tithes, and they stirred up the Nazirites who had completed their days; 50 and they cried aloud to Heaven, saying, “What shall we do with these? Where shall we take them? 51 Thy sanctuary is trampled down and profaned, and thy priests mourn in humiliation. 52 And behold, the Gentiles are assembled against us to destroy us; thou knowest what they plot against us. 53 How will we be able to withstand them, if thou dost not help us?” 54 Then they sounded the trumpets and gave a loud shout.

55 After this Judas appointed leaders of the people, in charge of thousands and hundreds and fifties and tens. 56 And he said to those who were building houses, or were betrothed, or were planting vineyards, or were fainthearted, that each should return to his home, according to the law. 57 Then the army marched out and encamped to the south of Emmaus. 58 And Judas said, “Gird yourselves and be valiant. Be ready early in the morning to fight with these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. 59 It is better for us to die in battle than to see the misfortunes of our nation and of the sanctuary. 60 But as his will in heaven may be, so he will do.”

I Maccabees 4
1 Now Gorgias took five thousand infantry and a thousand picked cavalry, and this division moved out by night 2 to fall upon the camp of the Jews and attack them suddenly. Men from the citadel were his guides. 3 But Judas heard of it, and he and his mighty men moved out to attack the king’s force in Emmaus 4 while the division was still absent from the camp. 5 When Gorgias entered the camp of Judas by night, he found no one there, so he looked for them in the hills, because he said, “These men are fleeing from us.”

6 At daybreak Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men, but they did not have armor and swords such as they desired. 7 And they saw the camp of the Gentiles, strong and fortified, with cavalry round about it; and these men were trained in war. 8 But Judas said to the men who were with him, “Do not fear their numbers or be afraid when they charge. 9 Remember how our fathers were saved at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh with his forces pursued them. 10 And now let us cry to Heaven, to see whether he will favor us and remember his covenant with our fathers and crush this army before us today. 11 Then all the Gentiles will know that there is one who redeems and saves Israel.”

12 When the foreigners looked up and saw them coming against them, 13 they went forth from their camp to battle. Then the men with Judas blew their trumpets 14 and engaged in battle. The Gentiles were crushed and fled into the plain, 15 and all those in the rear fell by the sword. They pursued them to Gazara, and to the plains of Idumea, and to Azotus and Jamnia; and three thousand of them fell. 16 Then Judas and his force turned back from pursuing them, 17 and he said to the people, “Do not be greedy for plunder, for there is a battle before us; 18 Gorgias and his force are near us in the hills. But stand now against our enemies and fight them, and afterward seize the plunder boldly.” 19 Just as Judas was finishing this speech, a detachment appeared, coming out of the hills. 20 They saw that their army had been put to flight, and that the Jews were burning the camp, for the smoke that was seen showed what had happened. 21 When they perceived this they were greatly frightened, and when they also saw the army of Judas drawn up in the plain for battle, 22 they all fled into the land of the Philistines. 23 Then Judas returned to plunder the camp, and they seized much gold and silver, and cloth dyed blue and sea purple, and great riches. 24 On their return they sang hymns and praises to Heaven, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever. 25 Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

26 Those of the foreigners who escaped went and reported to Lysias all that had happened. 27 When he heard it, he was perplexed and discouraged, for things had not happened to Israel as he had intended, nor had they turned out as the king had commanded him. 28 But the next year he mustered sixty thousand picked infantrymen and five thousand cavalry to subdue them. 29 They came into Idumea and encamped at Beth-zur, and Judas met them with ten thousand men. 30 When he saw that the army was strong, he prayed, saying, “Blessed art thou, O Savior of Israel, who didst crush the attack of the mighty warrior by the hand of thy servant David, and didst give the camp of the Philistines into the hands of Jonathan, the son of Saul, and of the man who carried his armor. 31 So do thou hem in this army by the hand of thy people Israel, and let them be ashamed of their troops and their cavalry. 32 Fill them with cowardice; melt the boldness of their strength; let them tremble in their destruction. 33 Strike them down with the sword of those who love thee, and let all who know thy name praise thee with hymns.”

34 Then both sides attacked, and there fell of the army of Lysias five thousand men; they fell in action. 35 And when Lysias saw the rout of his troops and observed the boldness which inspired those of Judas, and how ready they were either to live or to die nobly, he departed to Antioch and enlisted mercenaries, to invade Judea again with an even larger army. 36 Then said Judas and his brothers, “Behold, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.”

37 So all the army assembled and they went up to Mount Zion. 38 And they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. 39 Then they rent their clothes, and mourned with great lamentation, and sprinkled themselves with ashes. 40 They fell face down on the ground, and sounded the signal on the trumpets, and cried out to Heaven. 41 Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary. 42 He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, 43 and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. 44 They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been profaned. 45 And they thought it best to tear it down, lest it bring reproach upon them, for the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, 46 and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until there should come a prophet to tell what to do with them. 47 Then they took unhewn stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one.

48 They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. 49 They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. 50 Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. 51 They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.

52 Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, 53 they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering which they had built. 54 At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. 55 All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. 56 So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness; they offered a sacrifice of deliverance and praise. 57 They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and furnished them with doors. 58 There was very great gladness among the people, and the reproach of the Gentiles was removed.

59 Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev. 60 At that time they fortified Mount Zion with high walls and strong towers round about, to keep the Gentiles from coming and trampling them down as they had done before. 61 And he stationed a garrison there to hold it. He also fortified Beth-zur, so that the people might have a stronghold that faced Idumea.

I Maccabees 5
1 When the Gentiles round about heard that the altar had been built and the sanctuary dedicated as it was before, they became very angry, 2 and they determined to destroy the descendants of Jacob who lived among them. So they began to kill and destroy among the people. 3 But Judas made war on the sons of Esau in Idumea, at Akrabattene, because they kept lying in wait for Israel. He dealt them a heavy blow and humbled them and despoiled them. 4 He also remembered the wickedness of the sons of Baean, who were a trap and a snare to the people and ambushed them on the highways. 5 They were shut up by him in their towers; and he encamped against them, vowed their complete destruction, and burned with fire their towers and all who were in them. 6 Then he crossed over to attack the Ammonites, where he found a strong band and many people with Timothy as their leader. 7 He engaged in many battles with them and they were crushed before him; he struck them down. 8 He also took Jazer and its villages; then he returned to Judea.

9 Now the Gentiles in Gilead gathered together against the Israelites who lived in their territory, and planned to destroy them. But they fled to the stronghold of Dathema, 10 and sent to Judas and his brothers a letter which said, “The Gentiles around us have gathered together against us to destroy us. 11 They are preparing to come and capture the stronghold to which we have fled, and Timothy is leading their forces. 12 Now then come and rescue us from their hands, for many of us have fallen, 13 and all our brethren who were in the land of Tob have been killed; the enemy have captured their wives and children and goods, and have destroyed about a thousand men there.” 14 While the letter was still being read, behold, other messengers, with their garments rent, came from Galilee and made a similar report; 15 they said that against them had gathered together men of Ptolemais and Tyre and Sidon, and all Galilee of the Gentiles, “to annihilate us.”

16 When Judas and the people heard these messages, a great assembly was called to determine what they should do for their brethren who were in distress and were being attacked by enemies. 17 Then Judas said to Simon his brother, “Choose your men and go and rescue your brethren in Galilee; I and Jonathan my brother will go to Gilead.” 18 But he left Joseph, the son of Zechariah, and Azariah, a leader of the people, with the rest of the forces, in Judea to guard it; 19 and he gave them this command, “Take charge of this people, but do not engage in battle with the Gentiles until we return.” 20 Then three thousand men were assigned to Simon to go to Galilee, and eight thousand to Judas for Gilead. 21 so Simon went to Galilee and fought many battles against the Gentiles, and the Gentiles were crushed before him. 22 He pursued them to the gate of Ptolemais, and as many as three thousand of the Gentiles fell, and he despoiled them. 23 Then he took the Jews of Galilee and Arbatta, with their wives and children, and all they possessed, and led them to Judea with great rejoicing.

24 Judas Maccabeus and Jonathan his brother crossed the Jordan and went three days’ journey into the wilderness. 25 They encountered the Nabateans, who met them peaceably and told them all that had happened to their brethren in Gilead: 26 “Many of them have been shut up in Bozrah and Bosor, in Alema and Chaspho, Maked and Carnaim” — all these cities were strong and large– 27 “and some have been shut up in the other cities of Gilead; the enemy are getting ready to attack the strongholds tomorrow and take and destroy all these men in one day.” 28 Then Judas and his army quickly turned back by the wilderness road to Bozrah; and he took the city, and killed every male by the edge of the sword; then he seized all its spoils and burned it with fire. 29 He departed from there at night, and they went all the way to the stronghold of Dathema. 30 At dawn they looked up, and behold, a large company, that could not be counted, carrying ladders and engines of war to capture the stronghold, and attacking the Jews within. 31 So Judas saw that the battle had begun and that the cry of the city went up to Heaven with trumpets and loud shouts, 32 and he said to the men of his forces, “Fight today for your brethren!” 33 Then he came up behind them in three companies, who sounded their trumpets and cried aloud in prayer. 34 And when the army of Timothy realized that it was Maccabeus, they fled before him, and he dealt them a heavy blow. As many as eight thousand of them fell that day. 35 Next he turned aside to Alema, and fought against it and took it; and he killed every male in it, plundered it, and burned it with fire. 36 From there he marched on and took Chaspho, Maked, and Bosor, and the other cities of Gilead.

37 After these things Timothy gathered another army and encamped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream. 38 Judas sent men to spy out the camp, and they reported to him, “All the Gentiles around us have gathered to him; it is a very large force. 39 They also have hired Arabs to help them, and they are encamped across the stream, ready to come and fight against you.” And Judas went to meet them. 40 Now as Judas and his army drew near to the stream of water, Timothy said to the officers of his forces, “If he crosses over to us first, we will not be able to resist him, for he will surely defeat us. 41 But if he shows fear and camps on the other side of the river, we will cross over to him and defeat him.” 42 When Judas approached the stream of water, he stationed the scribes of the people at the stream and gave them this command, “Permit no man to encamp, but make them all enter the battle.” 43 Then he crossed over against them first, and the whole army followed him. All the Gentiles were defeated before him, and they threw away their arms and fled into the sacred precincts at Carnaim. 44 But he took the city and burned the sacred precincts with fire, together with all who were in them. Thus Carnaim was conquered; they could stand before Judas no longer.

45 Then Judas gathered together all the Israelites in Gilead, the small and the great, with their wives and children and goods, a very large company, to go to the land of Judah. 46 So they came to Ephron. This was a large and very strong city on the road, and they could not go round it to the right or to the left; they had to go through it. 47 But the men of the city shut them out and blocked up the gates with stones. 48 And Judas sent them this friendly message, “Let us pass through your land to get to our land. No one will do you harm; we will simply pass by on foot.” But they refused to open to him.

49 Then Judas ordered proclamation to be made to the army that each should encamp where he was. 50 So the men of the forces encamped, and he fought against the city all that day and all the night, and the city was delivered into his hands. 51 He destroyed every male by the edge of the sword, and razed and plundered the city. Then he passed through the city over the slain. 52 And they crossed the Jordan into the large plain before Beth-shan. 53 And Judas kept rallying the laggards and encouraging the people all the way till he came to the land of Judah. 54 So they went up to Mount Zion with gladness and joy, and offered burnt offerings, because not one of them had fallen before they returned in safety.

55 Now while Judas and Jonathan were in Gilead and Simon his brother was in Galilee before Ptolemais, 56 Joseph, the son of Zechariah, and Azariah, the commanders of the forces, heard of their brave deeds and of the heroic war they had fought. 57 So they said, “Let us also make a name for ourselves; let us go and make war on the Gentiles around us.” 58 And they issued orders to the men of the forces that were with them, and they marched against Jamnia. 59 And Gorgias and his men came out of the city to meet them in battle. 60 Then Joseph and Azariah were routed, and were pursued to the borders of Judea; as many as two thousand of the people of Israel fell that day. 61 Thus the people suffered a great rout because, thinking to do a brave deed, they did not listen to Judas and his brothers. 62 But they did not belong to the family of those men through whom deliverance was given to Israel.

63 The man Judas and his brothers were greatly honored in all Israel and among all the Gentiles, wherever their name was heard. 64 Men gathered to them and praised them. 65 Then Judas and his brothers went forth and fought the sons of Esau in the land to the south. He struck Hebron and its villages and tore down its strongholds and burned its towers round about. 66 Then he marched off to go into the land of the Philistines, and passed through Marisa. 67 On that day some priests, who wished to do a brave deed, fell in battle, for they went out to battle unwisely. 68 But Judas turned aside to Azotus in the land of the Philistines; he tore down their altars, and the graven images of their gods he burned with fire; he plundered the cities and returned to the land of Judah.

I Maccabees 6
1 King Antiochus was going through the upper provinces when he heard that Elymais in Persia was a city famed for its wealth in silver and gold. 2 Its temple was very rich, containing golden shields, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander, the son of Philip, the Macedonian king who first reigned over the Greeks. 3 So he came and tried to take the city and plunder it, but he could not, because his plan became known to the men of the city 4 and they withstood him in battle. So he fled and in great grief departed from there to return to Babylon. 5 Then some one came to him in Persia and reported that the armies which had gone into the land of Judah had been routed; 6 that Lysias had gone first with a strong force, but had turned and fled before the Jews; that the Jews had grown strong from the arms, supplies, and abundant spoils which they had taken from the armies they had cut down; 7 that they had torn down the abomination which he had erected upon the altar in Jerusalem; and that they had surrounded the sanctuary with high walls as before, and also Beth-zur, his city.

8 When the king heard this news, he was astounded and badly shaken. He took to his bed and became sick from grief, because things had not turned out for him as he had planned. 9 He lay there for many days, because deep grief continually gripped him, and he concluded that he was dying. 10 So he called all his friends and said to them, “Sleep departs from my eyes and I am downhearted with worry. 11 I said to myself, `To what distress I have come! And into what a great flood I now am plunged! For I was kind and beloved in my power.’ 12 But now I remember the evils I did in Jerusalem. I seized all her vessels of silver and gold; and I sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judah without good reason. 13 I know that it is because of this that these evils have come upon me; and behold, I am perishing of deep grief in a strange land.” 14 Then he called for Philip, one of his friends, and made him ruler over all his kingdom. 15 He gave him the crown and his robe and the signet, that he might guide Antiochus his son and bring him up to be king. 16 Thus Antiochus the king died there in the one hundred and forty-ninth year. 17 And when Lysias learned that the king was dead, he set up Antiochus the king’s son to reign. Lysias had brought him up as a boy, and he named him Eupator.

18 Now the men in the citadel kept hemming Israel in around the sanctuary. They were trying in every way to harm them and strengthen the Gentiles. 19 So Judas decided to destroy them, and assembled all the people to besiege them. 20 They gathered together and besieged the citadel in the one hundred and fiftieth year; and he built siege towers and other engines of war. 21 But some of the garrison escaped from the siege and some of the ungodly Israelites joined them. 22 They went to the king and said, “How long will you fail to do justice and to avenge our brethren? 23 We were happy to serve your father, to live by what he said and to follow his commands. 24 For this reason the sons of our people besieged the citadel and became hostile to us; moreover, they have put to death as many of us as they have caught, and they have seized our inheritances. 25 And not against us alone have they stretched out their hands, but also against all the lands on their borders. 26 And behold, today they have encamped against the citadel in Jerusalem to take it; they have fortified both the sanctuary and Beth-zur; 27 and unless you quickly prevent them, they will do still greater things, and you will not be able to stop them.”

28 The king was enraged when he heard this. He assembled all his friends, the commanders of his forces and those in authority. 29 And mercenary forces came to him from other kingdoms and from islands of the seas. 30 The number of his forces was a hundred thousand foot soldiers, twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two elephants accustomed to war. 31 They came through Idumea and encamped against Beth-zur, and for many days they fought and built engines of war; but the Jews sallied out and burned these with fire, and fought manfully. 32 Then Judas marched away from the citadel and encamped at Beth-zechariah, opposite the camp of the king.

33 Early in the morning the king rose and took his army by a forced march along the road to Beth-zechariah, and his troops made ready for battle and sounded their trumpets. 34 They showed the elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries, to arouse them for battle. 35 And they distributed the beasts among the phalanxes; with each elephant they stationed a thousand men armed with coats of mail, and with brass helmets on their heads; and five hundred picked horsemen were assigned to each beast. 36 These took their position beforehand wherever the beast was; wherever it went they went with it, and they never left it. 37 And upon the elephants were wooden towers, strong and covered; they were fastened upon each beast by special harness, and upon each were four armed men who fought from there, and also its Indian driver. 38 The rest of the horsemen were stationed on either side, on the two flanks of the army, to harass the enemy while being themselves protected by the phalanxes. 39 When the sun shone upon the shields of gold and brass, the hills were ablaze with them and gleamed like flaming torches. 40 Now a part of the king’s army was spread out on the high hills, and some troops were on the plain, and they advanced steadily and in good order.

41 All who heard the noise made by their multitude, by the marching of the multitude and the clanking of their arms, trembled, for the army was very large and strong. 42 But Judas and his army advanced to the battle, and six hundred men of the king’s army fell. 43 And Eleazar, called Avaran, saw that one of the beasts was equipped with royal armor. It was taller than all the others, and he supposed that the king was upon it. 44 So he gave his life to save his people and to win for himself an everlasting name. 45 He courageously ran into the midst of the phalanx to reach it; he killed men right and left, and they parted before him on both sides. 46 He got under the elephant, stabbed it from beneath, and killed it; but it fell to the ground upon him and he died. 47 And when the Jews saw the royal might and the fierce attack of the forces, they turned away in flight. 48 The soldiers of the king’s army went up to Jerusalem against them, and the king encamped in Judea and at Mount Zion. 49 He made peace with the men of Beth-zur, and they evacuated the city, because they had no provisions there to withstand a siege, since it was a sabbatical year for the land. 50 So the king took Beth-zur and stationed a guard there to hold it. 51 Then he encamped before the sanctuary for many days. He set up siege towers, engines of war to throw fire and stones, machines to shoot arrows, and catapults. 52 The Jews also made engines of war to match theirs, and fought for many days. 53 But they had no food in storage, because it was the seventh year; those who found safety in Judea from the Gentiles had consumed the last of the stores. 54 Few men were left in the sanctuary, because famine had prevailed over the rest and they had been scattered, each to his own place.

55 Then Lysias heard that Philip, whom King Antiochus while still living had appointed to bring up Antiochus his son to be king, 56 had returned from Persia and Media with the forces that had gone with the king, and that he was trying to seize control of the government. 57 So he quickly gave orders to depart, and said to the king, to the commanders of the forces, and to the men, “We daily grow weaker, our food supply is scant, the place against which we are fighting is strong, and the affairs of the kingdom press urgently upon us. 58 Now then let us come to terms with these men, and make peace with them and with all their nation, 59 and agree to let them live by their laws as they did before; for it was on account of their laws which we abolished that they became angry and did all these things.” 60 The speech pleased the king and the commanders, and he sent to the Jews an offer of peace, and they accepted it. 61 So the king and the commanders gave them their oath. On these conditions the Jews evacuated the stronghold. 62 But when the king entered Mount Zion and saw what a strong fortress the place was, he broke the oath he had sworn and gave orders to tear down the wall all around. 63 Then he departed with haste and returned to Antioch. He found Philip in control of the city, but he fought against him, and took the city by force.

I Maccabees 7
1 In the one hundred and fifty-first year Demetrius the son of Seleucus set forth from Rome, sailed with a few men to a city by the sea, and there began to reign. 2 As he was entering the royal palace of his fathers, the army seized Antiochus and Lysias to bring them to him. 3 But when this act became known to him, he said, “Do not let me see their faces!” 4 So the army killed them, and Demetrius took his seat upon the throne of his kingdom. 5 Then there came to him all the lawless and ungodly men of Israel; they were led by Alcimus, who wanted to be high priest. 6 And they brought to the king this accusation against the people: “Judas and his brothers have destroyed all your friends, and have driven us out of our land. 7 Now then send a man whom you trust; let him go and see all the ruin which Judas has brought upon us and upon the land of the king, and let him punish them and all who help them.” 8 So the king chose Bacchides, one of the king’s friends, governor of the province Beyond the River; he was a great man in the kingdom and was faithful to the king. 9 And he sent him, and with him the ungodly Alcimus, whom he made high priest; and he commanded him to take vengeance on the sons of Israel.

10 So they marched away and came with a large force into the land of Judah; and he sent messengers to Judas and his brothers with peaceable but treacherous words. 11 But they paid no attention to their words, for they saw that they had come with a large force. 12 Then a group of scribes appeared in a body before Alcimus and Bacchides to ask for just terms. 13 The Hasideans were first among the sons of Israel to seek peace from them, 14 for they said, “A priest of the line of Aaron has come with the army, and he will not harm us.” 15 And he spoke peaceable words to them and swore this oath to them, “We will not seek to injure you or your friends.” 16 So they trusted him; but he seized sixty of them and killed them in one day, in accordance with the word which was written, 17 “The flesh of thy saints and their blood they poured out round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them.” 18 Then the fear and dread of them fell upon all the people, for they said, “There is no truth or justice in them, for they have violated the agreement and the oath which they swore.”

19 Then Bacchides departed from Jerusalem and encamped in Beth-zaith. And he sent and seized many of the men who had deserted to him, and some of the people, and killed them and threw them into a great pit. 20 He placed Alcimus in charge of the country and left with him a force to help him; then Bacchides went back to the king. 21 Alcimus strove for the high priesthood, 22 and all who were troubling their people joined him. They gained control of the land of Judah and did great damage in Israel. 23 And Judas saw all the evil that Alcimus and those with him had done among the sons of Israel; it was more than the Gentiles had done. 24 So Judas went out into all the surrounding parts of Judea, and took vengeance on the men who had deserted, and he prevented those in the city from going out into the country. 25 When Alcimus saw that Judas and those with him had grown strong, and realized that he could not withstand them, he returned to the king and brought wicked charges against them. 26 Then the king sent Nicanor, one of his honored princes, who hated and detested Israel, and he commanded him to destroy the people.

27 So Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a large force, and treacherously sent to Judas and his brothers this peaceable message, 28 “Let there be no fighting between me and you; I shall come with a few men to see you face to face in peace.” 29 So he came to Judas, and they greeted one another peaceably. But the enemy were ready to seize Judas. 30 It became known to Judas that Nicanor had come to him with treacherous intent, and he was afraid of him and would not meet him again. 31 When Nicanor learned that his plan had been disclosed, he went out to meet Judas in battle near Caphar-salama. 32 About five hundred men of the army of Nicanor fell, and the rest fled into the city of David.

33 After these events Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests came out of the sanctuary, and some of the elders of the people, to greet him peaceably and to show him the burnt offering that was being offered for the king. 34 But he mocked them and derided them and defiled them and spoke arrogantly, 35 and in anger he swore this oath, “Unless Judas and his army are delivered into my hands this time, then if I return safely I will burn up this house.” And he went out in great anger. 36 Then the priests went in and stood before the altar and the temple, and they wept and said, 37 “Thou didst choose this house to be called by thy name, and to be for thy people a house of prayer and supplication. 38 Take vengeance on this man and on his army, and let them fall by the sword; remember their blasphemies, and let them live no longer.” 39 Now Nicanor went out from Jerusalem and encamped in Beth-horon, and the Syrian army joined him. 40 And Judas encamped in Adasa with three thousand men. Then Judas prayed and said, 41 “When the messengers from the king spoke blasphemy, thy angel went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the Assyrians. 42 So also crush this army before us today; let the rest learn that Nicanor has spoken wickedly against the sanctuary, and judge him according to this wickedness.”

43 So the armies met in battle on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. The army of Nicanor was crushed, and he himself was the first to fall in the battle. 44 When his army saw that Nicanor had fallen, they threw down their arms and fled. 45 The Jews pursued them a day’s journey, from Adasa as far as Gazara, and as they followed kept sounding the battle call on the trumpets. 46 And men came out of all the villages of Judea round about, and they out-flanked the enemy and drove them back to their pursuers, so that they all fell by the sword; not even one of them was left. 47 Then the Jews seized the spoils and the plunder, and they cut off Nicanor’s head and the right hand which he so arrogantly stretched out, and brought them and displayed them just outside Jerusalem. 48 The people rejoiced greatly and celebrated that day as a day of great gladness. 49 And they decreed that this day should be celebrated each year on the thirteenth day of Adar. 50 So the land of Judah had rest for a few days.

I Maccabees 8
1 Now Judas heard of the fame of the Romans, that they were very strong and were well-disposed toward all who made an alliance with them, that they pledged friendship to those who came to them, 2 and that they were very strong. Men told him of their wars and of the brave deeds which they were doing among the Gauls, how they had defeated them and forced them to pay tribute, 3 and what they had done in the land of Spain to get control of the silver and gold mines there, 4 and how they had gained control of the whole region by their planning and patience, even though the place was far distant from them. They also subdued the kings who came against them from the ends of the earth, until they crushed them and inflicted great disaster upon them; the rest paid them tribute every year.

5 Philip, and Perseus king of the Macedonians, and the others who rose up against them, they crushed in battle and conquered. 6 They also defeated Antiochus the Great, king of Asia, who went to fight against them with a hundred and twenty elephants and with cavalry and chariots and a very large army. He was crushed by them; 7 they took him alive and decreed that he and those who should reign after him should pay a heavy tribute and give hostages and surrender some of their best provinces, 8 the country of India and Media and Lydia. These they took from him and gave to Eumenes the king. 9 The Greeks planned to come and destroy them, 10 but this became known to them, and they sent a general against the Greeks and attacked them. Many of them were wounded and fell, and the Romans took captive their wives and children; they plundered them, conquered the land, tore down their strongholds, and enslaved them to this day.

11 The remaining kingdoms and islands, as many as ever opposed them, they destroyed and enslaved; 12 but with their friends and those who rely on them they have kept friendship. They have subdued kings far and near, and as many as have heard of their fame have feared them. 13 Those whom they wish to help and to make kings, they make kings, and those whom they wish they depose; and they have been greatly exalted. 14 Yet for all this not one of them has put on a crown or worn purple as a mark of pride, 15 but they have built for themselves a senate chamber, and every day three hundred and twenty senators constantly deliberate concerning the people, to govern them well. 16 They trust one man each year to rule over them and to control all their land; they all heed the one man, and there is no envy or jealousy among them.

17 So Judas chose Eupolemus the son of John, son of Accos, and Jason the son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome to establish friendship and alliance, 18 and to free themselves from the yoke; for they saw that the kingdom of the Greeks was completely enslaving Israel. 19 They went to Rome, a very long journey; and they entered the senate chamber and spoke as follows: 20 “Judas, who is also called Maccabeus, and his brothers and the people of the Jews have sent us to you to establish alliance and peace with you, that we may be enrolled as your allies and friends.”

21 The proposal pleased them, 22 and this is a copy of the letter which they wrote in reply, on bronze tablets, and sent to Jerusalem to remain with them there as a memorial of peace and alliance: 23 “May all go well with the Romans and with the nation of the Jews at sea and on land for ever, and may sword and enemy be far from them. 24 If war comes first to Rome or to any of their allies in all their dominion, 25 the nation of the Jews shall act as their allies wholeheartedly, as the occasion may indicate to them. 26 And to the enemy who makes war they shall not give or supply grain, arms, money, or ships, as Rome has decided; and they shall keep their obligations without receiving any return. 27 In the same way, if war comes first to the nation of the Jews, the Romans shall willingly act as their allies, as the occasion may indicate to them. 28 And to the enemy allies shall be given no grain, arms, money, or ships, as Rome has decided; and they shall keep these obligations and do so without deceit. 29 Thus on these terms the Romans make a treaty with the Jewish people. 30 If after these terms are in effect both parties shall determine to add or delete anything, they shall do so at their discretion, and any addition or deletion that they may make shall be valid. 31 “And concerning the wrongs which King Demetrius is doing to them we have written to him as follows, `Why have you made your yoke heavy upon our friends and allies the Jews? 32 If now they appeal again for help against you, we will defend their rights and fight you on sea and on land.'”

I Maccabees 9
1 Then Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his army had fallen in battle, he sent Bacchides and Alcimus into the land of Judah a second time, and with them the right wing of the army. 2 They went by the road which leads to Gilgal and encamped against Mesaloth in Arbela, and they took it and killed many people. 3 In the first month of the one hundred and fifty-second year they encamped against Jerusalem; 4 then they marched off and went to Berea with twenty thousand foot soldiers and two thousand cavalry. 5 Now Judas was encamped in Elasa, and with him were three thousand picked men. 6 When they saw the huge number of the enemy forces, they were greatly frightened, and many slipped away from the camp, until no more than eight hundred of them were left.

7 Then Judas saw that his army had slipped away and the battle was imminent, he was crushed in spirit, for he had no time to assemble them. 8 He became faint, but he said to those who were left, “Let us rise and go up against our enemies. We may be able to fight them.” 9 But they tried to dissuade him, saying, “We are not able. Let us rather save our own lives now, and let us come back with our brethren and fight them; we are too few.” 10 But Judas said, “Far be it from us to do such a thing as to flee from them. If our time has come, let us die bravely for our brethren, and leave no cause to question our honor.”

11 Then the army of Bacchides marched out from the camp and took its stand for the encounter. The cavalry was divided into two companies, and the slingers and the archers went ahead of the army, as did all the chief warriors. 12 Bacchides was on the right wing. Flanked by the two companies, the phalanx advanced to the sound of the trumpets; and the men with Judas also blew their trumpets. 13 The earth was shaken by the noise of the armies, and the battle raged from morning till evening. 14 Judas saw that Bacchides and the strength of his army were on the right; then all the stouthearted men went with him, 15 and they crushed the right wing, and he pursued them as far as Mount Azotus. 16 When those on the left wing saw that the right wing was crushed, they turned and followed close behind Judas and his men. 17 The battle became desperate, and many on both sides were wounded and fell. 18 Judas also fell, and the rest fled.

19 Then Jonathan and Simon took Judas their brother and buried him in the tomb of their fathers at Modein, 20 and wept for him. And all Israel made great lamentation for him; they mourned many days and said, 21 “How is the mighty fallen, the savior of Israel!” 22 Now the rest of the acts of Judas, and his wars and the brave deeds that he did, and his greatness, have not been recorded, for they were very many. 23 After the death of Judas, the lawless emerged in all parts of Israel; all the doers of injustice appeared.

24 In those days a very great famine occurred, and the country deserted with them to the enemy. 25 And Bacchides chose the ungodly and put them in charge of the country. 26 They sought and searched for the friends of Judas, and brought them to Bacchides, and he took vengeance on them and made sport of them. 27 Thus there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them. 28 Then all the friends of Judas assembled and said to Jonathan, 29 “Since the death of your brother Judas there has been no one like him to go against our enemies and Bacchides, and to deal with those of our nation who hate us. 30 So now we have chosen you today to take his place as our ruler and leader, to fight our battle.” 31 And Jonathan at that time accepted the leadership and took the place of Judas his brother.

32 When Bacchides learned of this, he tried to kill him. 33 But Jonathan and Simon his brother and all who were with him heard of it, and they fled into the wilderness of Tekoa and camped by the water of the pool of Asphar. 34 Bacchides found this out on the sabbath day, and he with all his army crossed the Jordan. 35 And Jonathan sent his brother as leader of the multitude and begged the Nabateans, who were his friends, for permission to store with them the great amount of baggage which they had. 36 But the sons of Jambri from Medeba came out and seized John and all that he had, and departed with it. 37 After these things it was reported to Jonathan and Simon his brother, “The sons of Jambri are celebrating a great wedding, and are conducting the bride, a daughter of one of the great nobles of Canaan, from Nadabath with a large escort.” 38 And they remembered the blood of John their brother, and went up and hid under cover of the mountain. 39 They raised their eyes and looked, and saw a tumultuous procession with much baggage; and the bridegroom came out with his friends and his brothers to meet them with tambourines and musicians and many weapons. 40 Then they rushed upon them from the ambush and began killing them. Many were wounded and fell, and the rest fled to the mountain; and they took all their goods.

41 Thus the wedding was turned into mourning and the voice of their musicians into a funeral dirge. 42 And when they had fully avenged the blood of their brother, they returned to the marshes of the Jordan. 43 When Bacchides heard of this, he came with a large force on the sabbath day to the banks of the Jordan. 44 And Jonathan said to those with him, “Let us rise up now and fight for our lives, for today things are not as they were before. 45 For look! the battle is in front of us and behind us; the water of the Jordan is on this side and on that, with marsh and thicket; there is no place to turn. 46 Cry out now to Heaven that you may be delivered from the hands of our enemies.” 47 So the battle began, and Jonathan stretched out his hand to strike Bacchides, but he eluded him and went to the rear.

48 Then Jonathan and the men with him leaped into the Jordan and swam across to the other side, and the enemy did not cross the Jordan to attack them. 49 And about one thousand of Bacchides’ men fell that day. 50 Bacchides then returned to Jerusalem and built strong cities in Judea: the fortress in Jericho, and Emmaus, and Beth-horon, and Bethel, and Timnath, and Pharathon, and Tephon, with high walls and gates and bars. 51 And he placed garrisons in them to harass Israel. 52 He also fortified the city of Beth-zur, and Gazara, and the citadel, and in them he put troops and stores of food. 53 And he took the sons of the leading men of the land as hostages and put them under guard in the citadel at Jerusalem. 54 In the one hundred and fifty-third year, in the second month, Alcimus gave orders to tear down the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary. He tore down the work of the prophets! 55 But he only began to tear it down, for at that time Alcimus was stricken and his work was hindered; his mouth was stopped and he was paralyzed, so that he could no longer say a word or give commands concerning his house. 56 And Alcimus died at that time in great agony.

57 When Bacchides saw that Alcimus was dead, he returned to the king, and the land of Judah had rest for two years. 58 Then all the lawless plotted and said, “See! Jonathan and his men are living in quiet and confidence. So now let us bring Bacchides back, and he will capture them all in one night.” 59 And they went and consulted with him. 60 He started to come with a large force, and secretly sent letters to all his allies in Judea, telling them to seize Jonathan and his men; but they were unable to do it, because their plan became known. 61 And Jonathan’s men seized about fifty of the men of the country who were leaders in this treachery, and killed them.

62 Then Jonathan with his men, and Simon, withdrew to Bethbasi in the wilderness; he rebuilt the parts of it that had been demolished, and they fortified it. 63 When Bacchides learned of this, he assembled all his forces, and sent orders to the men of Judea. 64 Then he came and encamped against Bethbasi; he fought against it for many days and made machines of war. 65 But Jonathan left Simon his brother in the city, while he went out into the country; and he went with only a few men. 66 He struck down Odomera and his brothers and the sons of Phasiron in their tents. 67 Then he began to attack and went into battle with his forces; and Simon and his men sallied out from the city and set fire to the machines of war.

68 They fought with Bacchides, and he was crushed by them. They distressed him greatly, for his plan and his expedition had been in vain. 69 So he was greatly enraged at the lawless men who had counseled him to come into the country, and he killed many of them. Then he decided to depart to his own land. 70 When Jonathan learned of this, he sent ambassadors to him to make peace with him and obtain release of the captives. 71 He agreed, and did as he said; and he swore to Jonathan that he would not try to harm him as long as he lived. 72 He restored to him the captives whom he had formerly taken from the land of Judah; then he turned and departed to his own land, and came no more into their territory. 73 Thus the sword ceased from Israel. And Jonathan dwelt in Michmash. And Jonathan began to judge the people, and he destroyed the ungodly out of Israel.

I Maccabees 10
1 In the one hundred and sixtieth year Alexander Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus, landed and occupied Ptolemais. They welcomed him, and there he began to reign. 2 When Demetrius the king heard of it, he assembled a very large army and marched out to meet him in battle. 3 And Demetrius sent Jonathan a letter in peaceable words to honor him; 4 for he said, “Let us act first to make peace with him before he makes peace with Alexander against us, 5 for he will remember all the wrongs which we did to him and to his brothers and his nation.” 6 So Demetrius gave him authority to recruit troops, to equip them with arms, and to become his ally; and he commanded that the hostages in the citadel should be released to him.

7 Then Jonathan came to Jerusalem and read the letter in the hearing of all the people and of the men in the citadel. 8 They were greatly alarmed when they heard that the king had given him authority to recruit troops. 9 But the men in the citadel released the hostages to Jonathan, and he returned them to their parents. 10 And Jonathan dwelt in Jerusalem and began to rebuild and restore the city. 11 He directed those who were doing the work to build the walls and encircle Mount Zion with squared stones, for better fortification; and they did so.

12 Then the foreigners who were in the strongholds that Bacchides had built fled; 13 each left his place and departed to his own land. 14 Only in Beth-zur did some remain who had forsaken the law and the commandments, for it served as a place of refuge. 15 Now Alexander the king heard of all the promises which Demetrius had sent to Jonathan, and men told him of the battles that Jonathan and his brothers had fought, of the brave deeds that they had done, and of the troubles that they had endured. 16 So he said, “Shall we find another such man? Come now, we will make him our friend and ally.” 17 And he wrote a letter and sent it to him, in the following words:

18 “King Alexander to his brother Jonathan, greeting. 19 We have heard about you, that you are a mighty warrior and worthy to be our friend. 20 And so we have appointed you today to be the high priest of your nation; you are to be called the king’s friend” (and he sent him a purple robe and a golden crown) “and you are to take our side and keep friendship with us.” 21 So Jonathan put on the holy garments in the seventh month of the one hundred and sixtieth year, at the feast of tabernacles, and he recruited troops and equipped them with arms in abundance. 22 When Demetrius heard of these things he was grieved and said, 23 “What is this that we have done? Alexander has gotten ahead of us in forming a friendship with the Jews to strengthen himself. 24 I also will write them words of encouragement and promise them honor and gifts, that I may have their help.”

25 So he sent a message to them in the following words: “King Demetrius to the nation of the Jews, greeting. 26 Since you have kept your agreement with us and have continued your friendship with us, and have not sided with our enemies, we have heard of it and rejoiced.27 And now continue still to keep faith with us, and we will repay you with good for what you do for us. 28 We will grant you many immunities and give you gifts. 29 And now I free you and exempt all the Jews from payment of tribute and salt tax and crown levies, 30 and instead of collecting the third of the grain and the half of the fruit of the trees that I should receive, I release them from this day and henceforth. I will not collect them from the land of Judah or from the three districts added to it from Samaria and Galilee, from this day and for all time. 31 And let Jerusalem and her environs, her tithes and her revenues, be holy and free from tax.

32 I release also my control of the citadel in Jerusalem and give it to the high priest, that he may station in it men of his own choice to guard it. 33 And every one of the Jews taken as a captive from the land of Judah into any part of my kingdom, I set free without payment; and let all officials cancel also the taxes on their cattle. 34 And all the feasts and sabbaths and new moons and appointed days, and the three days before a feast and the three after a feast — let them all be days of immunity and release for all the Jews who are in my kingdom. 35 No one shall have authority to exact anything from them or annoy any of them about any matter. 36  Let Jews be enrolled in the king’s forces to the number of thirty thousand men, and let the maintenance be given them that is due to all the forces of the king.

37 Let some of them be stationed in the great strongholds of the king, and let some of them be put in positions of trust in the kingdom. Let their officers and leaders be of their own number, and let them live by their own laws, just as the king has commanded in the land of Judah. 38 As for the three districts that have been added to Judea from the country of Samaria, let them be so annexed to Judea that they are considered to be under one ruler and obey no other authority but the high priest. 39 Ptolemais and the land adjoining it I have given as a gift to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, to meet the necessary expenses of the sanctuary. 40 I also grant fifteen thousand shekels of silver yearly out of the king’s revenues from appropriate places. 41 And all the additional funds which the government officials have not paid as they did in the first years, they shall give from now on for the service of the temple.

42 Moreover, the five thousand shekels of silver which my officials have received every year from the income of the services of the temple, this too is canceled, because it belongs to the priests who minister there. 43 And whoever takes refuge at the temple in Jerusalem, or in any of its precincts, because he owes money to the king or has any debt, let him be released and receive back all his property in my kingdom. 44  Let the cost of rebuilding and restoring the structures of the sanctuary be paid from the revenues of the king. 45 And let the cost of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and fortifying it round about, and the cost of rebuilding the walls in Judea, also be paid from the revenues of the king.”

46 When Jonathan and the people heard these words, they did not believe or accept them, because they remembered the great wrongs which Demetrius had done in Israel and how he had greatly oppressed them. 47 They favored Alexander, because he had been the first to speak peaceable words to them, and they remained his allies all his days. 48 Now Alexander the king assembled large forces and encamped opposite Demetrius. 49 The two kings met in battle, and the army of Demetrius fled, and Alexander pursued him and defeated them. 50 He pressed the battle strongly until the sun set, and Demetrius fell on that day. 51Then Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemy king of Egypt with the following message:

52 “Since I have returned to my kingdom and have taken my seat on the throne of my fathers, and established my rule — for I crushed Demetrius and gained control of our country; 53 I met him in battle, and he and his army were crushed by us, and we have taken our seat on the throne of his kingdom — 54 now therefore let us establish friendship with one another; give me now your daughter as my wife, and I will become your son-in-law, and will make gifts to you and to her in keeping with your position.”

55 Ptolemy the king replied and said, “Happy was the day on which you returned to the land of your fathers and took your seat on the throne of their kingdom. 56 And now I will do for you as you wrote, but meet me at Ptolemais, so that we may see one another, and I will become your father-in-law, as you have said.” 57 So Ptolemy set out from Egypt, he and Cleopatra his daughter, and came to Ptolemais in the one hundred and sixty-second year. 58 Alexander the king met him, and Ptolemy gave him Cleopatra his daughter in marriage, and celebrated her wedding at Ptolemais with great pomp, as kings do.

59 Then Alexander the king wrote to Jonathan to come to meet him. 60 So he went with pomp to Ptolemais and met the two kings; he gave them and their friends silver and gold and many gifts, and found favor with them. 61 A group of pestilent men from Israel, lawless men, gathered together against him to accuse him; but the king paid no attention to them. 62 The king gave orders to take off Jonathan’s garments and to clothe him in purple, and they did so. 63 The king also seated him at his side; and he said to his officers, “Go forth with him into the middle of the city and proclaim that no one is to bring charges against him about any matter, and let no one annoy him for any reason.” 64 And when his accusers saw the honor that was paid him, in accordance with the proclamation, and saw him clothed in purple, they all fled. 65 Thus the king honored him and enrolled him among his chief friends, and made him general and governor of the province. 66 And Jonathan returned to Jerusalem in peace and gladness.

67 In the one hundred and sixty-fifth year Demetrius the son of Demetrius came from Crete to the land of his fathers. 68 When Alexander the king heard of it, he was greatly grieved and returned to Antioch. 69 And Demetrius appointed Apollonius the governor of Coelesyria, and he assembled a large force and encamped against Jamnia. Then he sent the following message to Jonathan the high priest: 70 “You are the only one to rise up against us, and I have become a laughingstock and reproach because of you. Why do you assume authority against us in the hill country? 71 If you now have confidence in your forces, come down to the plain to meet us, and let us match strength with each other there, for I have with me the power of the cities. 72 Ask and learn who I am and who the others are that are helping us. Men will tell you that you cannot stand before us, for your fathers were twice put to flight in their own land. 73 And now you will not be able to withstand my cavalry and such an army in the plain, where there is no stone or pebble, or place to flee.”

74 When Jonathan heard the words of Apollonius, his spirit was aroused. He chose ten thousand men and set out from Jerusalem, and Simon his brother met him to help him. 75 He encamped before Joppa, but the men of the city closed its gates, for Apollonius had a garrison in Joppa. 76 So they fought against it, and the men of the city became afraid and opened the gates, and Jonathan gained possession of Joppa. 77 When Apollonius heard of it, he mustered three thousand cavalry and a large army, and went to Azotus as though he were going farther. At the same time he advanced into the plain, for he had a large troop of cavalry and put confidence in it. 78 Jonathan pursued him to Azotus, and the armies engaged in battle. 79 Now Apollonius had secretly left a thousand cavalry behind them. 80 Jonathan learned that there was an ambush behind him, for they surrounded his army and shot arrows at his men from early morning till late afternoon. 81 But his men stood fast, as Jonathan commanded, and the enemy’s horses grew tired.

82 Then Simon brought forward his force and engaged the phalanx in battle (for the cavalry was exhausted); they were overwhelmed by him and fled, 83 and the cavalry was dispersed in the plain. They fled to Azotus and entered Beth-dagon, the temple of their idol, for safety. 84 But Jonathan burned Azotus and the surrounding towns and plundered them; and the temple of Dagon, and those who had taken refuge in it he burned with fire. 85 The number of those who fell by the sword, with those burned alive, came to eight thousand men. 86 Then Jonathan departed from there and encamped against Askalon, and the men of the city came out to meet him with great pomp. 87 And Jonathan and those with him returned to Jerusalem with much booty. 88 When Alexander the king heard of these things, he honored Jonathan still more; 89 and he sent to him a golden buckle, such as it is the custom to give to the kinsmen of kings. He also gave him Ekron and all its environs as his possession.

I Maccabees 11
1 Then the king of Egypt gathered great forces, like the sand by the seashore, and many ships; and he tried to get possession of Alexander’s kingdom by trickery and add it to his own kingdom. 2 He set out for Syria with peaceable words, and the people of the cities opened their gates to him and went to meet him, for Alexander the king had commanded them to meet him, since he was Alexander’s father-in-law. 3 But when Ptolemy entered the cities he stationed forces as a garrison in each city. 4 When he approached Azotus, they showed him the temple of Dagon burned down, and Azotus and its suburbs destroyed, and the corpses lying about, and the charred bodies of those whom Jonathan had burned in the war, for they had piled them in heaps along his route. 5 They also told the king what Jonathan had done, to throw blame on him; but the king kept silent. 6 Jonathan met the king at Joppa with pomp, and they greeted one another and spent the night there. 7 And Jonathan went with the king as far as the river called Eleutherus; then he returned to Jerusalem.

8 So King Ptolemy gained control of the coastal cities as far as Seleucia by the sea, and he kept devising evil designs against Alexander. 9 He sent envoys to Demetrius the king, saying, “Come, let us make a covenant with each other, and I will give you in marriage my daughter who was Alexander’s wife, and you shall reign over your father’s kingdom. 10 For I now regret that I gave him my daughter, for he has tried to kill me.” 11 He threw blame on Alexander because he coveted his kingdom. 12 So he took his daughter away from him and gave her to Demetrius. He was estranged from Alexander, and their enmity became manifest. 13 Then Ptolemy entered Antioch and put on the crown of Asia. Thus he put two crowns upon his head, the crown of Egypt and that of Asia.

14 Now Alexander the king was in Cilicia at that time, because the people of that region were in revolt. 15 And Alexander heard of it and came against him in battle. Ptolemy marched out and met him with a strong force, and put him to flight. 16 So Alexander fled into Arabia to find protection there, and King Ptolemy was exalted. 17 And Zabdiel the Arab cut off the head of Alexander and sent it to Ptolemy. 18 But King Ptolemy died three days later, and his troops in the strongholds were killed by the inhabitants of the strongholds. 19 So Demetrius became king in the one hundred and sixty-seventh year.

20 In those days Jonathan assembled the men of Judea to attack the citadel in Jerusalem, and he built many engines of war to use against it. 21 But certain lawless men who hated their nation went to the king and reported to him that Jonathan was besieging the citadel. 22 When he heard this he was angry, and as soon as he heard it he set out and came to Ptolemais; and he wrote Jonathan not to continue the siege, but to meet him for a conference at Ptolemais as quickly as possible. 23 When Jonathan heard this, he gave orders to continue the siege; and he chose some of the elders of Israel and some of the priests, and put himself in danger, 24 for he went to the king at Ptolemais, taking silver and gold and clothing and numerous other gifts. And he won his favor. 25 Although certain lawless men of his nation kept making complaints against him, 26 the king treated him as his predecessors had treated him; he exalted him in the presence of all his friends. 27 He confirmed him in the high priesthood and in as many other honors as he had formerly had, and made him to be regarded as one of his chief friends.

28 Then Jonathan asked the king to free Judea and the three districts of Samaria from tribute, and promised him three hundred talents. 29 The king consented, and wrote a letter to Jonathan about all these things; its contents were as follows: 30 “King Demetrius to Jonathan his brother and to the nation of the Jews, greeting. 31 This copy of the letter which we wrote concerning you to Lasthenes our kinsman we have written to you also, so that you may know what it says. 32 King Demetrius to Lasthenes his father, greeting. 33 To the nation of the Jews, who are our friends and fulfil their obligations to us, we have determined to do good, because of the good will they show toward us. 34 We have confirmed as their possession both the territory of Judea and the three districts of Aphairema and Lydda and Rathamin; the latter, with all the region bordering them, were added to Judea from Samaria. To all those who offer sacrifice in Jerusalem, we have granted release from the royal taxes which the king formerly received from them each year, from the crops of the land and the fruit of the trees. 35 And the other payments henceforth due to us of the tithes, and the taxes due to us, and the salt pits and the crown taxes due to us — from all these we shall grant them release. 36 And not one of these grants shall be canceled from this time forth for ever. 37 Now therefore take care to make a copy of this, and let it be given to Jonathan and put up in a conspicuous place on the holy mountain.”

38 Now when Demetrius the king saw that the land was quiet before him and that there was no opposition to him, he dismissed all his troops, each man to his own place, except the foreign troops which he had recruited from the islands of the nations. So all the troops who had served his fathers hated him. 39 Now Trypho had formerly been one of Alexander’s supporters. He saw that all the troops were murmuring against Demetrius. So he went to Imalkue the Arab, who was bringing up Antiochus, the young son of Alexander, 40 and insistently urged him to hand Antiochus over to him, to become king in place of his father. He also reported to Imalkue what Demetrius had done and told of the hatred which the troops of Demetrius had for him; and he stayed there many days. 41 Now Jonathan sent to Demetrius the king the request that he remove the troops of the citadel from Jerusalem, and the troops in the strongholds; for they kept fighting against Israel. 42 And Demetrius sent this message to Jonathan, “Not only will I do these things for you and your nation, but I will confer great honor on you and your nation, if I find an opportunity. 43 Now then you will do well to send me men who will help me, for all my troops have revolted.”

44 So Jonathan sent three thousand stalwart men to him at Antioch, and when they came to the king, the king rejoiced at their arrival. 45 Then the men of the city assembled within the city, to the number of a hundred and twenty thousand, and they wanted to kill the king. 46 But the king fled into the palace. Then the men of the city seized the main streets of the city and began to fight. 47 So the king called the Jews to his aid, and they all rallied about him and then spread out through the city; and they killed on that day as many as a hundred thousand men.48 They set fire to the city and seized much spoil on that day, and they saved the king. 49 When the men of the city saw that the Jews had gained control of the city as they pleased, their courage failed and they cried out to the king with this entreaty, 50 “Grant us peace, and make the Jews stop fighting against us and our city.” 51 And they threw down their arms and made peace. So the Jews gained glory in the eyes of the king and of all the people in his kingdom, and they returned to Jerusalem with much spoil.

52 So Demetrius the king sat on the throne of his kingdom, and the land was quiet before him. 53 But he broke his word about all that he had promised; and he became estranged from Jonathan and did not repay the favors which Jonathan had done him, but oppressed him greatly. 54 After this Trypho returned, and with him the young boy Antiochus who began to reign and put on the crown. 55 All the troops that Demetrius had cast off gathered around him, and they fought against Demetrius, and he fled and was routed. 56 And Trypho captured the elephants and gained control of Antioch. 57 Then the young Antiochus wrote to Jonathan, saying, “I confirm you in the high priesthood and set you over the four districts and make you one of the friends of the king.” 58 And he sent him gold plate and a table service, and granted him the right to drink from gold cups and dress in purple and wear a gold buckle. 59 Simon his brother he made governor from the Ladder of Tyre to the borders of Egypt.

60 Then Jonathan set forth and traveled beyond the river and among the cities, and all the army of Syria gathered to him as allies. When he came to Askalon, the people of the city met him and paid him honor. 61 From there he departed to Gaza, but the men of Gaza shut him out. So he beseiged it and burned its suburbs with fire and plundered them. 62 Then the people of Gaza pleaded with Jonathan, and he made peace with them, and took the sons of their rulers as hostages and sent them to Jerusalem. And he passed through the country as far as Damascus. 63 Then Jonathan heard that the officers of Demetrius had come to Kadesh in Galilee with a large army, intending to remove him from office. 64 He went to meet them, but left his brother Simon in the country. 65 Simon encamped before Beth-zur and fought against it for many days and hemmed it in. 66 Then they asked him to grant them terms of peace, and he did so. He removed them from there, took possession of the city, and set a garrison over it.

67 Jonathan and his army encamped by the waters of Gennesaret. Early in the morning they marched to the plain of Hazor, 68 and behold, the army of the foreigners met him in the plain; they had set an ambush against him in the mountains, but they themselves met him face to face. 69 Then the men in ambush emerged from their places and joined battle. 70 All the men with Jonathan fled; not one of them was left except Mattathias the son of Absalom and Judas the son of Chalphi, commanders of the forces of the army. 71 Jonathan rent his garments and put dust on his head, and prayed. 72 Then he turned back to the battle against the enemy and routed them, and they fled. 73 When his men who were fleeing saw this, they returned to him and joined him in the pursuit as far as Kadesh, to their camp, and there they encamped. 74 As many as three thousand of the foreigners fell that day. And Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.

I Maccabees 12
1 Now when Jonathan saw that the time was favorable for him, he chose men and sent them to Rome to confirm and renew the friendship with them. 2 He also sent letters to the same effect to the Spartans and to other places. 3 So they went to Rome and entered the senate chamber and said, “Jonathan the high priest and the Jewish nation have sent us to renew the former friendship and alliance with them.” 4 And the Romans gave them letters to the people in every place, asking them to provide for the envoys safe conduct to the land of Judah. 5 This is a copy of the letter which Jonathan wrote to the Spartans:

6 “Jonathan the high priest, the senate of the nation, the priests, and the rest of the Jewish people to their brethren the Spartans, greeting. 7 Already in time past a letter was sent to Onias the high priest from Arius, who was king among you, stating that you are our brethren, as the appended copy shows. 8 Onias welcomed the envoy with honor, and received the letter, which contained a clear declaration of alliance and friendship. 9 Therefore, though we have no need of these things, since we have as encouragement the holy books which are in our hands, 10 we have undertaken to send to renew our brotherhood and friendship with you, so that we may not become estranged from you, for considerable time has passed since you sent your letter to us. 11 We therefore remember you constantly on every occasion, both in our feasts and on other appropriate days, at the sacrifices which we offer and in our prayers, as it is right and proper to remember brethren. 12 And we rejoice in your glory. 13 But as for ourselves, many afflictions and many wars have encircled us; the kings round about us have waged war against us. 14 We were unwilling to annoy you and our other allies and friends with these wars, 15 for we have the help which comes from Heaven for our aid; and we were delivered from our enemies and our enemies were humbled. 16 We therefore have chosen Numenius the son of Antiochus and Antipater the son of Jason, and have sent them to Rome to renew our former friendship and alliance with them. 17 We have commanded them to go also to you and greet you and deliver to you this letter from us concerning the renewal of our brotherhood. 18 And now please send us a reply to this.”

19 This is a copy of the letter which they sent to Onias: 20 “Arius, king of the Spartans, to Onias the high priest, greeting. 21 It has been found in writing concerning the Spartans and the Jews that they are brethren and are of the family of Abraham. 22 And now that we have learned this, please write us concerning your welfare; 23 we on our part write to you that your cattle and your property belong to us, and ours belong to you. We therefore command that our envoys report to you accordingly.” 24 Now Jonathan heard that the commanders of Demetrius had returned, with a larger force than before, to wage war against him. 25 So he marched away from Jerusalem and met them in the region of Hamath, for he gave them no opportunity to invade his own country. 26 He sent spies to their camp, and they returned and reported to him that the enemy were being drawn up in formation to fall upon the Jews by night.

27 So when the sun set, Jonathan commanded his men to be alert and to keep their arms at hand so as to be ready all night for battle, and he stationed outposts around the camp. 28 When the enemy heard that Jonathan and his men were prepared for battle, they were afraid and were terrified at heart; so they kindled fires in their camp and withdrew. 29 But Jonathan and his men did not know it until morning, for they saw the fires burning. 30 Then Jonathan pursued them, but he did not overtake them, for they had crossed the Eleutherus river. 31 So Jonathan turned aside against the Arabs who are called Zabadeans, and he crushed them and plundered them. 32 Then he broke camp and went to Damascus, and marched through all that region.

33 Simon also went forth and marched through the country as far as Askalon and the neighboring strongholds. He turned aside to Joppa and took it by surprise, 34 for he had heard that they were ready to hand over the stronghold to the men whom Demetrius had sent. And he stationed a garrison there to guard it. 35 When Jonathan returned he convened the elders of the people and planned with them to build strongholds in Judea, 36 to build the walls of Jerusalem still higher, and to erect a high barrier between the citadel and the city to separate it from the city, in order to isolate it so that its garrison could neither buy nor sell. 37 So they gathered together to build up the city; part of the wall on the valley to the east had fallen, and he repaired the section called Chaphenatha. 38 And Simon built Adida in the Shephelah; he fortified it and installed gates with bolts.

39 Then Trypho attempted to become king in Asia and put on the crown, and to raise his hand against Antiochus the king. 40 He feared that Jonathan might not permit him to do so, but might make war on him, so he kept seeking to seize and kill him, and he marched forth and came to Beth-shan. 41 Jonathan went out to meet him with forty thousand picked fighting men, and he came to Beth-shan. 42 When Trypho saw that he had come with a large army, he was afraid to raise his hand against him. 43 So he received him with honor and commended him to all his friends, and he gave him gifts and commanded his friends and his troops to obey him as they would himself. 44 Then he said to Jonathan, “Why have you wearied all these people when we are not at war? 45 Dismiss them now to their homes and choose for yourself a few men to stay with you, and come with me to Ptolemais. I will hand it over to you as well as the other strongholds and the remaining troops and all the officials, and will turn round and go home. For that is why I am here.” 46 Jonathan trusted him and did as he said; he sent away the troops, and they returned to the land of Judah. 47 He kept with himself three thousand men, two thousand of whom he left in Galilee, while a thousand accompanied him. 48 But when Jonathan entered Ptolemais, the men of Ptolemais closed the gates and seized him, and all who had entered with him they killed with the sword.

49 Then Trypho sent troops and cavalry into Galilee and the Great Plain to destroy all Jonathan’s soldiers. 50 But they realized that Jonathan had been seized and had perished along with his men, and they encouraged one another and kept marching in close formation, ready for battle. 51 When their pursuers saw that they would fight for their lives, they turned back. 52 So they all reached the land of Judah safely, and they mourned for Jonathan and his companions and were in great fear; and all Israel mourned deeply. 53 And all the nations round about them tried to destroy them, for they said, “They have no leader or helper. Now therefore let us make war on them and blot out the memory of them from among men.”

I Maccabees 13
1 Simon heard that Trypho had assembled a large army to invade the land of Judah and destroy it, 2 and he saw that the people were trembling and fearful. So he went up to Jerusalem, and gathering the people together 3 he encouraged them, saying to them, “You yourselves know what great things I and my brothers and the house of my father have done for the laws and the sanctuary; you know also the wars and the difficulties which we have seen. 4 By reason of this all my brothers have perished for the sake of Israel, and I alone am left. 5 And now, far be it from me to spare my life in any time of distress, for I am not better than my brothers. 6 But I will avenge my nation and the sanctuary and your wives and children, for all the nations have gathered together out of hatred to destroy us.”

7 The spirit of the people was rekindled when they heard these words, 8 and they answered in a loud voice, “You are our leader in place of Judas and Jonathan your brother. 9 Fight our battles, and all that you say to us we will do.” 10 So he assembled all the warriors and hastened to complete the walls of Jerusalem, and he fortified it on every side. 11 He sent Jonathan the son of Absalom to Joppa, and with him a considerable army; he drove out its occupants and remained there.

12 Then Trypho departed from Ptolemais with a large army to invade the land of Judah, and Jonathan was with him under guard. 13 And Simon encamped in Adida, facing the plain. 14 Trypho learned that Simon had risen up in place of Jonathan his brother, and that he was about to join battle with him, so he sent envoys to him and said, 15 “It is for the money that Jonathan your brother owed the royal treasury, in connection with the offices he held, that we are detaining him. 16 Send now a hundred talents of silver and two of his sons as hostages, so that when released he will not revolt against us, and we will release him.” 17 Simon knew that they were speaking deceitfully to him, but he sent to get the money and the sons, lest he arouse great hostility among the people, who might say, 18 “Because Simon did not send him the money and the sons, he perished.” 19 So he sent the sons and the hundred talents, but Trypho broke his word and did not release Jonathan.

20 After this Trypho came to invade the country and destroy it, and he circled around by the way to Adora. But Simon and his army kept marching along opposite him to every place he went. 21 Now the men in the citadel kept sending envoys to Trypho urging him to come to them by way of the wilderness and to send them food. 22 So Trypho got all his cavalry ready to go, but that night a very heavy snow fell, and he did not go because of the snow. He marched off and went into the land of Gilead. 23 When he approached Baskama, he killed Jonathan, and he was buried there. 24 Then Trypho turned back and departed to his own land.

25 And Simon sent and took the bones of Jonathan his brother, and buried him in Modein, the city of his fathers. 26 All Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and mourned for him many days. 27 And Simon built a monument over the tomb of his father and his brothers; he made it high that it might be seen, with polished stone at the front and back. 28 He also erected seven pyramids, opposite one another, for his father and mother and four brothers. 29 And for the pyramids he devised an elaborate setting, erecting about them great columns, and upon the columns he put suits of armor for a permanent memorial, and beside the suits of armor carved ships, so that they could be seen by all who sail the sea. 30 This is the tomb which he built in Modein; it remains to this day.

31 Trypho dealt treacherously with the young king Antiochus; he killed him 32 and became king in his place, putting on the crown of Asia; and he brought great calamity upon the land. 33 But Simon built up the strongholds of Judea and walled them all around, with high towers and great walls and gates and bolts, and he stored food in the strongholds. 34 Simon also chose men and sent them to Demetrius the king with a request to grant relief to the country, for all that Trypho did was to plunder. 35 Demetrius the king sent him a favorable reply to this request, and wrote him a letter as follows,

36 “King Demetrius to Simon, the high priest and friend of kings, and to the elders and nation of the Jews, greeting. 37 We have received the gold crown and the palm branch which you sent, and we are ready to make a general peace with you and to write to our officials to grant you release from tribute. 38 All the grants that we have made to you remain valid, and let the strongholds that you have built be your possession. 39 We pardon any errors and offenses committed to this day, and cancel the crown tax which you owe; and whatever other tax has been collected in Jerusalem shall be collected no longer. 40 And if any of you are qualified to be enrolled in our bodyguard, let them be enrolled, and let there be peace between us.”

41 In the one hundred and seventieth year the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel, 42 and the people began to write in their documents and contracts, “In the first year of Simon the great high priest and commander and leader of the Jews.” 43 In those days Simon encamped against Gazara and surrounded it with troops. He made a siege engine, brought it up to the city, and battered and captured one tower. 44 The men in the siege engine leaped out into the city, and a great tumult arose in the city. 45 The men in the city, with their wives and children, went up on the wall with their clothes rent, and they cried out with a loud voice, asking Simon to make peace with them; 46 they said, “Do not treat us according to our wicked acts but according to your mercy.”

47 So Simon reached an agreement with them and stopped fighting against them. But he expelled them from the city and cleansed the houses in which the idols were, and then entered it with hymns and praise. 48 He cast out of it all uncleanness, and settled in it men who observed the law. He also strengthened its fortifications and built in it a house for himself. 49 The men in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from going out to the country and back to buy and sell. So they were very hungry, and many of them perished from famine. 50 Then they cried to Simon to make peace with them, and he did so. But he expelled them from there and cleansed the citadel from its pollutions.

51 On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred and seventy-first year, the Jews entered it with praise and palm branches, and with harps and cymbals and stringed instruments, and with hymns and songs, because a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. 52 And Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel, and he and his men dwelt there. 53 And Simon saw that John his son had reached manhood, so he made him commander of all the forces, and he dwelt in Gazara.

I Maccabees 14
1 In the one hundred and seventy-second year Demetrius the king assembled his forces and marched into Media to secure help, so that he could make war against Trypho. 2 When Arsaces the king of Persia and Media heard that Demetrius had invaded his territory, he sent one of his commanders to take him alive. 3 And he went and defeated the army of Demetrius, and seized him and took him to Arsaces, who put him under guard. 4 The land had rest all the days of Simon. He sought the good of his nation; his rule was pleasing to them, as was the honor shown him, all his days. 5 To crown all his honors he took Joppa for a harbor, and opened a way to the isles of the sea. 6 He extended the borders of his nation, and gained full control of the country. 7 He gathered a host of captives; he ruled over Gazara and Beth-zur and the citadel, and he removed its uncleanness from it; and there was none to oppose him. 8 They tilled their land in peace; the ground gave its increase, and the trees of the plains their fruit. 9 Old men sat in the streets; they all talked together of good things; and the youths donned the glories and garments of war. 10 He supplied the cities with food, and furnished them with the means of defense, till his renown spread to the ends of the earth. 11 He established peace in the land,and Israel rejoiced with great joy. 12 Each man sat under his vine and his fig tree, and there was none to make them afraid. 13 No one was left in the land to fight them, and the kings were crushed in those days. 14 He strengthened all the humble of his people; he sought out the law, and did away with every lawless and wicked man. 15 He made the sanctuary glorious, and added to the vessels of the sanctuary.

16 It was heard in Rome, and as far away as Sparta, that Jonathan had died, and they were deeply grieved. 17 When they heard that Simon his brother had become high priest in his place, and that he was ruling over the country and the cities in it, 18 they wrote to him on bronze tablets to renew with him the friendship and alliance which they had established with Judas and Jonathan his brothers. 19 And these were read before the assembly in Jerusalem.

20 This is a copy of the letter which the Spartans sent: “The rulers and the city of the Spartans to Simon the high priest and to the elders and the priests and the rest of the Jewish people, our brethren, greeting. 21 The envoys who were sent to our people have told us about your glory and honor, and we rejoiced at their coming. 22 And what they said we have recorded in our public decrees, as follows, `Numenius the son of Antiochus and Antipater the son of Jason, envoys of the Jews, have come to us to renew their friendship with us. 23 It has pleased our people to receive these men with honor and to put a copy of their words in the public archives, so that the people of the Spartans may have a record of them. And they have sent a copy of this to Simon the high priest.'” 24 After this Simon sent Numenius to Rome with a large gold shield weighing a thousand minas, to confirm the alliance with the Romans. 25 When the people heard these things they said, “How shall we thank Simon and his sons? 26 For he and his brothers and the house of his father have stood firm; they have fought and repulsed Israel’s enemies and established its freedom.” 27 So they made a record on bronze tablets and put it upon pillars on Mount Zion.

This is a copy of what they wrote: “On the eighteenth day of Elul, in the one hundred and seventy-second year, which is the third year of Simon the great high priest, 28 in Asaramel, in the great assembly of the priests and the people and the rulers of the nation and the elders of the country, the following was proclaimed to us: 29 Since wars often occurred in the country, Simon the son of Mattathias, a priest of the sons of Joarib, and his brothers, exposed themselves to danger and resisted the enemies of their nation, in order that their sanctuary and the law might be perserved; and they brought great glory to their nation. 30 Jonathan rallied the nation, and became their high priest, and was gathered to his people. 31 And when their enemies decided to invade their country and lay hands on their sanctuary, 32 then Simon rose up and fought for his nation. He spent great sums of his own money; he armed the men of his nation’s forces and paid them wages. 33 He fortified the cities of Judea, and Beth-zur on the borders of Judea, where formerly the arms of the enemy had been stored, and he placed there a garrison of Jews. 34 He also fortified Joppa, which is by the sea, and Gazara, which is on the borders of Azotus, where the enemy formerly dwelt. He settled Jews there, and provided in those cities whatever was necessary for their restoration.

35 The people saw Simon’s faithfulness and the glory which he had resolved to win for his nation, and they made him their leader and high priest, because he had done all these things and because of the justice and loyalty which he had maintained toward his nation. He sought in every way to exalt his people. 36 And in his days things prospered in his hands, so that the Gentiles were put out of the country, as were also the men in the city of David in Jerusalem, who had built themselves a citadel from which they used to sally forth and defile the environs of the sanctuary and do great damage to its purity. 37 He settled Jews in it, and fortified it for the safety of the country and of the city, and built the walls of Jerusalem higher. 38 In view of these things King Demetrius confirmed him in the high priesthood, 39 and he made him one of the king’s friends and paid him high honors.  40 For he had heard that the Jews were addressed by the Romans as friends and allies and brethren, and that the Romans had received the envoys of Simon with honor.

41 And the Jews and their priests decided that Simon should be their leader and high priest for ever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise, 42 and that he should be governor over them and that he should take charge of the sanctuary and appoint men over its tasks and over the country and the weapons and the strongholds, and that he should take charge of the sanctuary, 43 and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all contracts in the country should be written in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple and wear gold. 44 And none of the people or priests shall be permitted to nullify any of these decisions or to oppose what he says, or to convene an assembly in the country without his permission, or to be clothed in purple or put on a gold buckle. 45 Whoever acts contrary to these decisions or nullifies any of them shall be liable to punishment. 46 And all the people agreed to grant Simon the right to act in accord with these decisions. 47 So Simon accepted and agreed to be high priest, to be commander and ethnarch of the Jews and priests, and to be protector of them all. 48 And they gave orders to inscribe this decree upon bronze tablets, to put them up in a conspicuous place in the precincts of the sanctuary, 49 and to deposit copies of them in the treasury, so that Simon and his sons might have them.

I Maccabees 15
1 Antiochus, the son of Demetrius the king, sent a letter from the islands of the sea to Simon, the priest and ethnarch of the Jews, and to all the nation; 2 its contents were as follows: “King Antiochus to Simon the high priest and ethnarch and to the nation of the Jews, greeting. 3 Whereas certain pestilent men have gained control of the kingdom of our fathers, and I intend to lay claim to the kingdom so that I may restore it as it formerly was, and have recruited a host of mercenary troops and have equipped warships, 4 and intend to make a landing in the country so that I may proceed against those who have destroyed our country and those who have devastated many cities in my kingdom, 5 now therefore I confirm to you all the tax remissions that the kings before me have granted you, and release from all the other payments from which they have released you. 6 I permit you to mint your own coinage as money for your country, 7 and I grant freedom to Jerusalem and the sanctuary. All the weapons which you have prepared and the strongholds which you have built and now hold shall remain yours. 8 Every debt you owe to the royal treasury and any such future debts shall be canceled for you from henceforth and for all time. 9 When we gain control of our kingdom, we will bestow great honor upon you and your nation and the temple, so that your glory will become manifest in all the earth.”

10 In the one hundred and seventy-fourth year Antiochus set out and invaded the land of his fathers. All the troops rallied to him, so that there were few with Trypho. 11 Antiochus pursued him, and he came in his flight to Dor, which is by the sea; 12 for he knew that troubles had converged upon him, and his troops had deserted him. 13 So Antiochus encamped against Dor, and with him were a hundred and twenty thousand warriors and eight thousand cavalry. 14 He surrounded the city, and the ships joined battle from the sea; he pressed the city hard from land and sea, and permitted no one to leave or enter it. 15 Then Numenius and his companions arrived from Rome, with letters to the kings and countries, in which the following was written:

16 “Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, greeting. 17 The envoys of the Jews have come to us as our friends and allies to renew our ancient friendship and alliance. They had been sent by Simon the high priest and by the people of the Jews, 18 and have brought a gold shield weighing a thousand minas. 19 We therefore have decided to write to the kings and countries that they should not seek their harm or make war against them and their cities and their country, or make alliance with those who war against them. 20 And it has seemed good to us to accept the shield from them. 21 Therefore if any pestilent men have fled to you from their country, hand them over to Simon the high priest, that he may punish them according to their law.”

22 The consul wrote the same thing to Demetrius the king and to Attalus and Ariarathes and Arsaces, 23 and to all the countries, and to Sampsames, and to the Spartans, and to Delos, and to Myndos, and to Sicyon, and to Caria, and to Samos, and to Pamphylia, and to Lycia, and to Halicarnassus, and to Rhodes, and to Phaselis, and to Cos, and to Side, and to Aradus and Gortyna and Cnidus and Cyprus and Cyrene. 24 They also sent a copy of these things to Simon the high priest.

25 Antiochus the king besieged Dor anew, continually throwing his forces against it and making engines of war; and he shut Trypho up and kept him from going out or in. 26 And Simon sent to Antiochus two thousand picked men, to fight for him, and silver and gold and much military equipment. 27 But he refused to receive them, and he broke all the agreements he formerly had made with Simon, and became estranged from him. 28 He sent to him Athenobius, one of his friends, to confer with him, saying, “You hold control of Joppa and Gazara and the citadel in Jerusalem; they are cities of my kingdom. 29 You have devastated their territory, you have done great damage in the land, and you have taken possession of many places in my kingdom. 30 Now then, hand over the cities which you have seized and the tribute money of the places which you have conquered outside the borders of Judea; 31 or else give me for them five hundred talents of silver, and for the destruction that you have caused and the tribute money of the cities, five hundred talents more. Otherwise we will come and conquer you.”

32 So Athenobius the friend of the king came to Jerusalem, and when he saw the splendor of Simon, and the sideboard with its gold and silver plate, and his great magnificence, he was amazed. He reported to him the words of the king, 33 but Simon gave him this reply: “We have neither taken foreign land nor seized foreign property, but only the inheritance of our fathers, which at one time had been unjustly taken by our enemies. 34 Now that we have the opportunity, we are firmly holding the inheritance of our fathers. 35 As for Joppa and Gazara, which you demand, they were causing great damage among the people and to our land; for them we will give you a hundred talents.” Athenobius did not answer him a word, 36 but returned in wrath to the king and reported to him these words and the splendor of Simon and all that he had seen. And the king was greatly angered.

37 Now Trypho embarked on a ship and escaped to Orthosia. 38 Then the king made Cendebeus commander-in-chief of the coastal country, and gave him troops of infantry and cavalry. 39 He commanded him to encamp against Judea, and commanded him to build up Kedron and fortify its gates, and to make war on the people; but the king pursued Trypho. 40 So Cendebeus came to Jamnia and began to provoke the people and invade Judea and take the people captive and kill them. 41 He built up Kedron and stationed there horsemen and troops, so that they might go out and make raids along the highways of Judea, as the king had ordered him.

I Maccabees 16
1 John went up from Gazara and reported to Simon his father what Cendebeus had done. 2 And Simon called in his two older sons Judas and John, and said to them: “I and my brothers and the house of my father have fought the wars of Israel from our youth until this day, and things have prospered in our hands so that we have delivered Israel many times. 3 But now I have grown old, and you by His mercy are mature in years. Take my place and my brother’s, and go out and fight for our nation, and may the help which comes from Heaven be with you.”

4 So John chose out of the country twenty thousand warriors and horsemen, and they marched against Cendebeus and camped for the night in Modein. 5 Early in the morning they arose and marched into the plain, and behold, a large force of infantry and horsemen was coming to meet them; and a stream lay between them. 6 Then he and his army lined up against them. And he saw that the soldiers were afraid to cross the stream, so he crossed over first; and when his men saw him, they crossed over after him. 7 Then he divided the army and placed the horsemen in the midst of the infantry, for the cavalry of the enemy were very numerous. 8 And they sounded the trumpets, and Cendebeus and his army were put to flight, and many of them were wounded and fell; the rest fled into the stronghold.

9 At that time Judas the brother of John was wounded, but John pursued them until Cendebeus reached Kedron, which he had built. 10 They also fled into the towers that were in the fields of Azotus, and John burned it with fire, and about two thousand of them fell. And he returned to Judea safely. 11 Now Ptolemy the son of Abubus had been appointed governor over the plain of Jericho, and he had much silver and gold, 12 for he was son-in-law of the high priest. 13 His heart was lifted up; he determined to get control of the country, and made treacherous plans against Simon and his sons, to do away with them. 14 Now Simon was visiting the cities of the country and attending to their needs, and he went down to Jericho with Mattathias and Judas his sons, in the one hundred and seventy-seventh year, in the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat. 15 The son of Abubus received them treacherously in the little stronghold called Dok, which he had built; he gave them a great banquet, and hid men there. 16 When Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy and his men rose up, took their weapons, and rushed in against Simon in the banquet hall, and they killed him and his two sons and some of his servants. 17 So he committed an act of great treachery and returned evil for good.

18 Then Ptolemy wrote a report about these things and sent it to the king, asking him to send troops to aid him and to turn over to him the cities and the country. 19 He sent other men to Gazara to do away with John; he sent letters to the captains asking them to come to him so that he might give them silver and gold and gifts; 20 and he sent other men to take possession of Jerusalem and the temple hill. 21 But some one ran ahead and reported to John at Gazara that his father and brothers had perished, and that “he has sent men to kill you also.” 22 When he heard this, he was greatly shocked; and he seized the men who came to destroy him and killed them, for he had found out that they were seeking to destroy him. 23 The rest of the acts of John and his wars and the brave deeds which he did, and the building of the walls which he built, and his achievements, 24 behold, they are written in the chronicles of his high priesthood, from the time that he became high priest after his father.

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The Hammer of God, Part V. In Search of the Maccabee Tombs

January 15, 2011

“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”

– Jeremiah 23:29

The Hammer of God

‘Maccabee’ is the word for Hammer in Hebrew

Part V. In Search of the Maccabee Tombs

Maccabee Tomb

Most Probable Site of the Maccabee Tombs

Jerusalem of the Second Temple period was surrounded by cemeteries and grave fields. Due to the sanctity of the city and the ritual impurity of the dead, burial was permitted only at reasonable distance from the city walls.

-Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra 2, 9

In general, the exact location of the original Maccabee tombs continues to remain a matter of dispute. A growing number of experts are becoming more confident that they are located just outside of the hometown of the Maccabees, called Modein. Even so, several sites that can be classified as Hasmonean tombs, including Jason’s Tomb, have been identified and can be seen as follows:

Hasmonean Tomb of Zachariah by hasmonean 

Zachariah’s Tomb, a Hasmonean Gravesite

The Maccabee Tomb of Jason by hasmonean

Jason’s Tomb, Rehavia, Jerusalem

Historically, the Maccabees are considered the founders of the Hasmonean dynasty which ruled ruled Judea and Israel until the days of Herod, an Edomite, who managed to murder all the remaining Hasmoneans directly related to the original five sons of Mattathias the Hasmonean, namely John Gaddis, Simon Thassi, Judas Maccabaeus, Eleazar Avaran, and Jonathan Apphus. Here is the original timeline of the beginning of the Hasmonean royal dynasty:

Leader(s) of the Maccabees Timeline
167 BC: Mattathias, the Hasmonean
166 – 161 BC: Judas Maccabaeus, the Hammer of the LORD
161 – 143 BC: Jonathan Apphus, the Wary
143 – 135 BC: Simon Thassi, the Zealous Guide

Although the Maccabees, and later their descendants, the Hasmoneans, managed to keep Israel free from foreign oppression for almost 150 years, this abruptly ended with King Herod who was not a Hasmonean at all. Wikipedia states the following:

The Hasmonean dynasty, which leaped onto the stage of history with such dramatic heroism, disappeared from that same stage with cruel suddenness. The despot Herod, whose régime was forced upon the unwilling Jewish populace by his Romans overlords, was fully aware that the aura of Hasmonean charisma would constitute a continual threat to his power, and hence he undertook to ruthlessly murder all the remaining descendants of that family, including his beloved wife Mariamne, granddaughter of the Hasmonean ruler Hyrcanus II. Herod executed her on trumped-up charges of disloyalty, as he did afterwards to the two sons she had borne him, Alexander and Aristobulus.

– Wikipedia

Thus, while many of the later Hasmonean tombs have been correctly identified, the Maccabee Tombs themselves have yet to completely verified and agreed upon by the various experts in history and archaeology. In general it is believed that the Tombs of the Maccabees are located west of Jerusalem in the Ben-Shemen Forest region right nearby the modern Israeli city of Modi’in, Israel. Historically, this is very close to where the original Maccabee rebellion first began against the Greek occupation. One source describes the site in the following manner:

Ancient cave-tombs riddle the area, but the Maccabee-country location of this cluster of limestone tombs, which appears to be that of one family, and their old Arabic name – “tombs of the Jews”- persuade many that the Maccabees were buried here. Hanukkah ceremonies honoring the ancient warriors have been held here for the past century.

– GoIsrael.com

Here are just a few pictures of the vicinity where the original Maccabees are believed to have been buried. Further research and scientific digs will most probably reveal additional information in the future. For the most part, the vast majority of professionals agree that this is the most probable location of the remains of Mattathias the Hasmonean along with his five sons, the Maccabee Brothers:

The Tombs of the Maccabees  

Tomb of the Maccabees

photo 

Site of the Maccabee Tombs

photo
Maccabee Tombs 

photo 

Location of Maccabee Tombs

Maccabee Tomb Graphic

The Maccabee Tombs

searchresult_watermark.phptombmaccabee by hasmonean

General Location of the Maccabee Tombs

May the LORD GOd bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

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The Hammer of God, Part IV. The Righteous Maccabee Legacy called the Sicarii

January 13, 2011

“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”

– Jeremiah 23:29

The Hammer of God

The Maccabee stands for Hammer in Hebrew

Part IV. The Righteous Maccabee Legacy called the Sicarii

The Oldest Secret Tradition in the World
The War of the Maccabees that was fought against the sexually perverted Greek occupiers of Israel resulted in the revival of a tradition that had lain dormant within Judaism for literally thousands of years. For the first time since the Hebrew slave rebellion led by Moses against Pharaoh and the Egyptians, an ultra-secret society was formed with the sole purpose of protecting both Judaism and the Jewish people from any external threats. Legend has it that their symbol was the all-seeing eye below the pyramid, much like the back-side of the Great Seal of the United States turned upside down. Others believe it was simply the Star of David, also known as the Seal of Solomon.

Solomon was in a different category, because he ruled over the denizens of the upper world as well as of the lower.

– Babylonian Talmud, Mo’ed IV, Megillah 11b

This secret society, whose members included both the Sadducees and the Pharisees, later became known as the Sicarii, the only group that had actual contact with the Jewish dead. They saw themselves as enforcers of the Law and were instrumental in forming a Jewish educational network that taught literally all Jews the fundamentals of their religion along with basic reading and writing skills, something that had never been done before. Indeed, the Jews were the first people in history to have almost an entirely literate population. The result of this universal religious schooling was a substantial increase in the number of Zealots, pious Jews who knew the Torah, as well as a huge surplus of devout and well-educated Jews who settled throughout the Greco-Roman Empire and excelled in business and commerce. During the rise of Pagan Rome, the overall population of Jews increased exponentially due to their preference for large families and their religious ban on abortions, infanticide, or birth control, something which the Pagans practiced quite frequently.

It could be claimed that the secret tradition of Jewish independence from Gentile rule or enslavement and the underground brotherhood that kept this unwritten tradition alive originated with Abraham and was passed down by word of mouth, from father to son, until it culminated in the Sicarii brotherhood many centuries later. The exact lineage can be seen in the following manner:

Abraham –> The Twelve Sons of Israel –> The Priests of Midian –> The Maccabees

The Sicarii, the Rebels of the Suprenatural
The Sicarii were basically hard-core descendants of the Maccabean tradition, some by blood, others by initiation. Rites of passage included learning how to stare directly at the sun without going blind, eating feces and drinking urine to open the mind’s eye, drinking salt-water to induce both diarrhea and vomiting thus clearing the bowels of any unwanted elements.

Every one is (morally) blind until his eyes are opened for him from above.

– Genesis Rabba 53

Further studies included the self-mastering of both dreams and visions- in other words, the conscious control of both the subconscious and unconscious world. This was followed by the teaching of more advanced skills such as remote viewing, detecting ghosts and other spirits, invisibility, telepathy between fellow members and their spouses, and even lycanthropy itself. Jesus and His apostles were also adept at these supernatural, miraculous talents that included healing and exorcisms of evil spirits. The following chart describes some of these supernatural gifts, what the later Church would refer to as gifts of the Holy Ghost, or Charisms:

Operation Biblical Passage
Rock Song
Staring at the Sun Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Matthew 13:43)
You’re not the only one staring at the sun afraid of what you’d find if you stepped back inside. – Staring at the Sun, by U2
Ingesting Feces and Urine To the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you. (Isaiah 36:12), And another one gone, and another one gone…Hey, I’m going get you too…Another one bites the dust.
– Another One Bite the Dust, by Queen
Drinking Salt Water
You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor…it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)
I’m stepping into the twilight zone…Place is a madhouse feels like being cloned…So you’ll come to know when the bullet hits the bone. – Till the Bullet hits the Bone, by Earrings Golden
Detecting Ghosts All manner of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven…but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven. (Matthew 12:31) All we are is dust in the wind… Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky. It slips away and all your money won’t another minute buy.   – Dust in the Wind, by Kansas
Remote Viewing
And the devil, taking Him up unto a high mountain, showed…Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. (Luke 4:5) Sundown you better take care If I find you been creeping around my back stairs. She’s…looking like a queen in a sailor’s dream.  – Sundown, by Gordon Lightfoot
Invisibility
They took…up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (John 8:59)
He got early warning. He got muddy water…He say ‘One and one and one is three,’ got to be good-looking because he’s so hard to see. Come together. – Come Together, by The Beatles
Telepathy The LORD said…Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I…bear a child, when I am old? Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Nay you did laugh.’ (Genesis18:13-15)
Tell me what you find when you read my mind…Put your back on me, put your back on me. The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun when you read my mind. – Read my Mind, by The Killers
Lyncanthropy Who knows that the spirit of man goes upward, and that the spirit of the beast goes downward to the earth? (Ecclesiastes 3:21)
I hope we’re not too messianic or a trifle too satanic…I am just a monkey man…I’m glad you are a…monkey woman. I’m a monkey, I’m a monkey. – Monkey Man, by The Rolling Stones

In addition to this, several of the most exceptional members of the Sicarii, some living some dead, could also use mind reading, thought control, clairvoyance, levitation, teleportation, and were capable of spiritually possessing other people. They weren’t magicians or sorcerers in any manner and Simon Magus was certainly not one of them. For the most part, they viewed their ‘magic’ abilities as deriving from the LORD God and were wary of the Biblical prohibitions against witchcraft and sorcery. They practiced their arts with extreme caution and humility, always fearing they might offend God by accident. An explanatory chart of their more advanced abilities is as follows:

Operation Pertinent Biblical Passage
Mind Reading
Thus says the LORD God of Israel…Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be thy wife. (II Samuel 12:7-9)
Thought Control
The LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. (Exodus 10:20)
Clairvoyance
When you…see the abomination of desolation…standing where it should not, (let him that reads this understand) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains. (Mark 13:14)
Levitation
And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled…and they cried out for fear. (Matthew 14:25-26)
Teleportation
If you have faith, and doubt not…you shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. (Matthew 21:21)
Spiritual Possession
Then Satan entered into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. (Luke 22:3)

With gratitude, the Sicarii looked upon their own personal talents as spiritual gifts bestowed upon them directly by the LORD God. This was quite different from the Pagans’ perception that miraculous abilities came from themselves personally rather than from an external, divine source such as the Hebrew God. For the most part, the Sicarii used their ‘magical’ skills in a precise manner, much like a doctor uses a scalpel for surgery.

The Righteous Knives of the Sicarii
In time, and because of their rage over the Jews who betrayed them and allied themselves with Rome and their sodomite gods, the Sicarii sometimes resorted to political violence and assassination. Wikipedia writes the following:

The Sicarii resorted to terror to obtain their objective. Under their cloaks they concealed sicae, or small daggers, from which they received their name. At popular assemblies, particularly during the pilgrimage to the Temple Mount, they stabbed their enemies (Romans or Roman sympathizers, Herodians, and wealthy Jews comfortable with Roman rule), lamenting ostentatiously after the deed to blend into the crowd to escape detection. Literally, Sicarii meant “dagger-men”.

In truth, the Sicarii were far more than a terrorist sect seeking political independence from Rome. They were folk-heroes, much like Robin Hood, and would have heartily agreed with the sentiment to ‘steal from the rich to give to the poor.’ When they could, the Sicarii would purchase back poor Jews who had been sold into slavery, help young Jewish women leave the life of prostitution, and protect Jewish property from being vandalized or stolen. Many times, their members would work as bodyguards for rich Jews guarding plantations, mansions, and traveling caravans. Not all of them were strictly law-abiding, however. The ancient tradition of defecating and leaving a fresh pile of feces in the homes of the rich after burglarizing them and stealing their possessions was originally a Sicarii tradition that has survived up to the present day.

Not all the Sicarii were thieves and the ones that were would tend to burglarize non-Jewish homes such as tax-collectors, slave-traders or Pagan government officials. Theft was still considered a wicked, greedy sin by the upper echelons of the Sicarii hierarchy. If they ever did steal from their fellow Jews, it was from those rich Jews who no longer practiced Judaism and, instead, affiliated with their Roman oppressors even going so far as to worship the Pagan gods.

Little known to most modern historians, it was the Sicarii who kept the Jewish districts safe and clean throughout the entire Roman Empire. Unlike their Pagan neighbors, who would leave their own elderly and unwanted infants outside the city’s gates to be killed and eaten by wild, scavenger dogs, the Sicarii helped to care for all Jews, including the poor, orphans and widows. They did not allow raw sewage, or garbage, to build up in Jewish neighborhoods.

Outside the camp you shall have a place set aside to be used as a toilet. You shall also keep a shovel in your equipment and with it, when you go outside to ease nature, you shall first dig a hole and afterward cover up your excrement. For the LORD thy God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you…therefore shall your camp be holy: that he sees no unclean thing…and turn away from you.

– Deuteronomy 23:13-15

Contrary to those who dislike them, the Sicarii also showed pity upon as many deserving Gentiles as they could and would often sympathize with those outsiders who made an effort to worship the God of Israel and abide by Jewish law. They were not near as ‘racist,’ tribalistic, or ethnocentric as some critics might contend. Indeed, many were born and raised far away from their homeland. More than a few Sicarii were from humble origins and had mixed blood. As the Babylonian Talmud states:

We support the poor of the heathen along with the poor of Israel, and visit the sick of the heathen along with the sick of Israel, and bury the poor of the heathen along with the dead of Israel in the interests of peace.

– Babylonian Talmud, Nashim IV, Gittin 61a

Throughout the vast Jewish diaspora that existed within the Empire, the Sicarii provided an impenetrable defense against Pagan criminal predators of all varieties. They would walk the streets of Jewish neighborhoods throughout the night keeping the Jewish masses safe in their homes until the break of day. Because of the sexually perverted practices of many Pagan Greco-Romans, which included pedophilia, incest and homosexuality, the Sicarii were always careful to ensure the chastity of all young Jewish children. Although it probably seldom ever occurred, a standard practice of the Sicarii was to hunt down and castrate any Pagan who was guilty of raping a Jewish child, or adult, for that matter. They allowed the rapist to live only to show the other Gentiles what would happen to them if they dared touch any Jew in a sexually aggressive manner. As the Bible states:

Dinah, the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land…Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and raped her…And Shechem spoke unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel for my wife…And Jacob heard that he had raped Dinah his daughter…And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had wrought folly in Israel in raping Jacob’s daughter; a thing which should never be done….And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife…And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised…Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers…came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males…And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out…The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had raped their sister.

– Genesis 34:1-27

Any Pagans, including Roman centurions, who repeatedly mistreated, harassed, or violently threatened the Empire’s Jewish citizens to any great extent would often find themselves dead with their throats cut in some back alley after they refused to leave the Jews alone. Long before the Mafia, there was the Sicarri who did not indulge in gambling, extortion, or prostitution. Indeed, they were instrumental in helping fellow Jews steer clear of these wicked practices. However, they would, in fact, smoke hashish quite frequently and drink large amounts of beer and wine when they were available. There is substantial historical evidence that the ancient Jews grew and smoked marijuana, even using it as medicine. To the upper-class Greco-Romans, the Sicarii were considered a criminal nuisance that posed a potential threat to their establishment. To the pious Rabbis, they were a dirty, sinful bunch of odd-fellows that helped protect vulnerable Jews from the dangerous Gentile hordes- a necessary evil that provided safety for the Jewish lower classes. For many ordinary Jews, however, they were revered as heroes, protectors, and guardians of the Law. In modern times, Jewish Bolsheviks and socialist revolutionaries often thought of themselves in the same manner, seeing themselves as 20th century Maccabees. Beautiful Jewish maidens from rich and/or devout families would swoon at the sight of these handsome, wild outlaws only to be scolded by their parents that they were not meant to ever marry a mere Sicarri, who were mostly lower class Jewish commoners. The answer was no, absolutely not, before their daughters could even ask the question.

More than a few Sicarii never married and would satisfy their lusts with suitable partners behind closed doors. These included Pagan widows, demonic Gentile prostitutes, and lonely noble Greco-Roman ladies whose husbands preferred other males. Any offspring they produced were given to suitable Jewish families or were allowed to be brought up in wealthy Pagan households just as Moses had been thousands of years before. Sometimes, their Sicarii fathers would actually return to reclaim them when they had grown older and would then teach them the ancient Jewish traditions of the forefathers, especially male circumcision. Being somewhat ecumenical, the Sicarii would sometimes even recruit sincere Gentiles to join them. During the eighth day of initiation, the standard practice was to give the newcomer a sharp dagger and have them slice off their own foreskins and throw it into the fire rather than having an actual Rabbi perform the procedure. This ritual made them a fellow Hebrew and spiritual son of Abraham.

The Sicarii brotherhood was the primary factor behind the Jewish revolt against Rome which ended in disaster and the destruction of both Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Legend has it that giant sodomites came down from Mount Olympus and tore the Jewish Temple to pieces. When direct violence against the enemy gods proved to be a failure, some of them took to the new movement of Christianity. Much like second or third-generation mafia mobsters, they decided to go legitimate and the Christian religion ended up thriving due to their subtle influence and the generous protection they provided. Having seen more than a few ghosts in their time, many of the Sicarii probably had no problem with the belief that Jesus rose from the dead.

Some modern scholars, almost all Protestant, have attempted to link the Apostle Judas Iscariot to the Sicarii due to the similarity in spelling. One historian writes: ‘A second theory is that “Iscariot” identifies Judas as a member of the Sicarii. These were a cadre of assassins among Jewish rebels intent on driving the Romans out of Judea.’ The fact of the matter is that Judas Maccabeus and his legacy known as the Sicarii had absolutely nothing to do with Judas Iscariot and the betrayal of Jesus Christ. Anything else is Protestant ignorance, hostility and deliberate defamation of the heroic Maccabee brothers, especially of St. Judas Maccabeus.

The Dark Sicarii Roots of Christianity
In time, the Sicarii and the Maccabees faded into obscurity and became simply one of the many traditions of the Roman Catholic Church which became less and less Jewish over time. Because of their influence, however, the early Church fathers and other Christians also learned the secret arts of the Holy Ghost, both black ‘magic’ and white ‘magic’, and began displaying the same exceptional abilities that the Sicarii had previously kept completely hidden from public view. In stark contrast to the Sicarii tendency to cover up the supernatural, the Christians openly flaunted their miraculous talents, causing many of the overly superstitious Pagan Gentiles to convert to this new religion. In some respects, the Sicarii brotherhood was the original, enchanted cornerstone of the early Church. Official Christian investigators later developed procedures to record and document genuine miracles of God, long after the legendary Menorah candle that stayed lit for eight days. As it now stands today, Judaism still insists that the last miracle of God occurred during Hanukkah around 2,150 years ago. The Roman Catholic Church believes that supernatural miracles are still occurring even today and will continue to occur until the second coming of Jesus Christ.

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus, the Hammer of God.

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