“Remember the deeds of the ancestors.
What they did in their generations.
Then you will receive great honor and an everlasting name.
Was not Abraham found faithful when tested?
It was reckoned to him as righteousness.
Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment.
He became lord of Egypt.
Phinehas our ancestor,
Because he was deeply zealous,
He received the covenant of everlasting priesthood.
Joshua, because he fulfilled the command,
He became a judge in Israel.
Caleb, because he testified in the assembly,
He received an inheritance in the land.
David, because he was merciful,
He inherited the throne of the kingdom forever.
Elijah, because of great zeal for the law
He was taken up into heaven.
Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael believed.
They were saved from the flame.
Daniel, because of his innocence
He was delivered from the mouth of the lions.”
Much like Jacob at the end of Genesis, chapter 49, the dying Mattathias reminded his sons about their great ancestors, although there is no explicit mention of Jacob. It is interesting to note which ancestors he cited. Abraham and Joseph from Genesis were obvious examples. There is no mention of Moses, but there is a mention of Phinehas from Numbers, who was the grandson of Aaron. Then he mentioned Joshua and Caleb because of their fighting spirit. David, the great king, and Elijah, the great prophet, were obvious choices. Finally, there is the mention of Daniel and the 3 Judeans. This gives some idea of the people that Mattathias and this biblical author admired.