The Family of Mattathias
1 # 1 Chr 24.7; Neh 11.10. In those days arose Mattathi´as the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joi´arib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin. 2And he had five sons, Joan´nan, called Caddis: 3Simon, called Thassi: 4Judas, who was called Maccabe´us: 5Ele-a´zar, called Avaran: and Jonathan, whose surname was Apphus.
Mattathias Laments over Judah and Jerusalem
6And when he saw the blasphemies that were committed in Judah and Jerusalem, 7he said, Woe is me! wherefore was I born to see this misery of my people, and of the holy city, and to dwell there, when it was delivered into the hand of the enemy, and the sanctuary into the hand of strangers? 8Her temple is become as a man without glory. 9#1 Macc 1.23,24. Her glorious vessels are carried away into captivity, her infants are slain in the streets, her young men with the sword of the enemy. 10What nation hath not had a part in her kingdom and gotten of her spoils? 11All her ornaments are taken away; of a free woman she is become a bondslave. 12And, behold, our sanctuary, even our beauty and our glory, is laid waste, and the Gentiles have profaned it. 13To what end therefore shall we live any longer? 14#Gen 37.34. Then Mattathi´as and his sons rent their clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourned very sore.
Mattathias Prevents a Pagan Sacrifice
15In the meanwhile the king's officers, such as compelled the people to revolt, came into the city Modin, to make them sacrifice. 16And when many of Israel came unto them, Mattathi´as also and his sons came together. 17Then answered the king's officers, and said to Mattathi´as on this wise, Thou art a ruler, and an honorable and great man in this city, and strengthened with sons and brethren: 18#1 Macc 3.38; 6.14; 10.65; 11.27; 2 Macc 8.9. now therefore come thou first, and fulfil the king's commandment, like as all the heathen have done, yea, and the men of Judah also, and such as remain at Jerusalem: so shalt thou and thy house be in the number of the king's friends, and thou and thy children shall be honored with silver and gold, and many rewards. 19Then Mattathi´as answered and spake with a loud voice, Though all the nations that are under the king's dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments: 20#Josh 24.15. yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. 21God forbid that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. 22We will not hearken to the king's words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left. 23Now when he had left speaking these words, there came one of the Jews in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the king's commandment. 24Which thing when Mattathi´as saw, he was inflamed with zeal, and his reins trembled, neither could he forbear to show his anger according to judgment: wherefore he ran, and slew him upon the altar. 25Also the king's commissioner, who compelled men to sacrifice, he killed at that time, and the altar he pulled down. 26#Num 25.6-15. Thus dealt he zealously for the law of God, like as Phin´ehas did unto Zimri the son of Salu. 27And Mattathi´as cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, Whosoever is zealous of the law, and maintaineth the covenant, let him follow me. 28So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that ever they had in the city.
Jews Are Killed on the Sabbath
29Then many that sought after justice and judgment went down into the wilderness, to dwell there: 30both they, and their children, and their wives, and their cattle; because afflictions increased sore upon them. 31Now when it was told the king's servants, and the host that was at Jerusalem, in the city of David, that certain men, who had broken the king's commandment, were gone down into the secret places in the wilderness, 32they pursued after them a great number, and having overtaken them, they camped against them, and made war against them on the sabbath day. 33And they said unto them, Let that which ye have done hitherto suffice; come forth, and do according to the commandment of the king, and ye shall live. 34But they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king's commandment, to profane the sabbath day. 35So then they gave them the battle with all speed. 36Howbeit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid; 37but said, Let us die all in our innocency: heaven and earth will testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. 38#2 Macc 6.11. So they rose up against them in battle on the sabbath, and they slew them, with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people.
Mattathias Encourages the Jews to Fight for Their Lives and Laws
39Now when Mattathi´as and his friends understood hereof, they mourned for them right sore. 40And one of them said to another, If we all do as our brethren have done, and fight not for our lives and laws against the heathen, they will now quickly root us out of the earth. 41At that time therefore they decreed, saying, Whosoever shall come to make battle with us on the sabbath day, we will fight against him; neither will we die all, as our brethren that were murdered in the secret places.
42Then came there unto him a company of Hasideans, who were mighty men of Israel, even all such as were voluntarily devoted unto the law. 43Also all they that fled for persecution joined themselves unto them, and were a stay unto them. 44So they joined their forces, and smote sinful men in their anger, and wicked men in their wrath: but the rest fled to the heathen for succor. 45Then Mattathi´as and his friends went round about, and pulled down the altars: 46and what children soever they found within the coast of Israel uncircumcised, those they circumcised valiantly. 47They pursued also after the proud men, and the work prospered in their hand. 48So they recovered the law out of the hand of the Gentiles, and out of the hand of kings, neither suffered they the sinner to triumph.
Before His Death Mattathias Recalls to His Sons the Acts of Their Fathers
49Now when the time drew near that Mattathi´as should die, he said unto his sons, Now hath pride and rebuke gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of indignation: 50now therefore, my sons, be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers. 51Call to remembrance what acts our fathers did in their time; so shall ye receive great honor and an everlasting name. 52#Gen 22.15-18; Gen 15.6; Rom 4.3. Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness? 53#Gen 39—41. Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and was made lord of Egypt. 54#Num 25.13; Ecclus 45.23,24; 1 Macc 2.23. Phin´ehas our father in being zealous and fervent obtained the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. 55#Exod 17.9; Josh 1.1-9,16; Ecclus 46.1-8. Joshua for fulfilling the word was made a judge in Israel. 56#Num 14.6,7,24; Josh 14.9,13; Ecclus 46.9. Caleb for bearing witness before the congregation received the heritage of the land. 57#2 Sam 7.16; Ps 89.36; 132.11,12. David for being merciful possessed the throne of an everlasting kingdom. 58#2 Kgs 2.11; Ecclus 48.9. Eli´jah for being zealous and fervent for the law was taken up into heaven. 59#Dan 3.25-27. Hanani´ah, Azari´ah, and Mish´a-el, by believing were saved out of the flame. 60#Dan 6.22; 2 Tim 4.17. Daniel for his innocency was delivered from the mouth of lions. 61And thus consider ye throughout all ages, that none that put their trust in him shall be overcome. 62Fear not then the words of a sinful man: for his glory shall be dung and worms. 63#Gen 3.19; Ps 146.4. Today he shall be lifted up and tomorrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his dust, and his thought is come to nothing. 64Wherefore, ye my sons, be valiant, and show yourselves men in the behalf of the law; for by it shall ye obtain glory. 65And behold, I know that your brother Simon is a man of counsel, give ear unto him alway: he shall be a father unto you. 66As for Judas Maccabe´us, he hath been mighty and strong, even from his youth up: let him be your captain, and fight the battle of the people. 67Take also unto you all those that observe the law, and avenge ye the wrong of your people. 68Recompense fully the heathen, and take heed to the commandments of the law. 69So he blessed them, and was gathered to his fathers. 70And he died in the hundred forty and sixth year, and his sons buried him in the sepulchres of his fathers at Modin, and all Israel made great lamentation for him.