The festival of fire (2 Macc 1:18-1:18)

“On the twenty-fifth day of Chislev

We shall celebrate the purification of the temple.

We thought it necessary to notify you.

Thus you also may celebrate the feast of booths.

You may celebrate the feast of the fire

That was given when Nehemiah offered sacrifices

When he built the temple and the altar.”

Judas Maccabeus had celebrated the festival of booths in 1 Maccabees, chapter 4, in 164 BCE. They wanted to celebrate the purification of the temple. At the same time, they wanted them to know that the festival of fire was like at the time of Nehemiah, chapter 8. That writing explained what was to take place at the festival of Booths. There they gathered branches to make tents and live around the fire. It could also refer to the reestablishment of the Temple at that time.

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