The meeting with the Hasideans (1 Macc 7:12-7:18)

“Then a group of scribes appeared in a body before Alcimus and Bacchides to ask for just terms. The Hasideans were first among the sons of Israel to seek peace from them. They said.

‘A priest of the line of Aaron has come with an army.

He will not harm us.’

Alcimus spoke peaceable words to them. He swore this oath to them.

‘We will not seek to injure you or your friends.’

So they trusted him. However, Bacchides seized sixty of them. He killed them in one day, in accordance with the word which was written.

‘The flesh of your faithful ones and their blood,

They poured out all around Jerusalem.

There was none to bury them.’

Then the fear and dread of them fell upon all the people. They said.

‘There is no truth or justice in them,

They have violated the agreement and the oath that they swore.’”

The Hasideans may be the same group of warriors mentioned in chapter 2 of this book that joined with Judas’ father Mattathias. However, here they are portrayed as a group of ascetic scribes who were willing to live under Syrian rule as long as they were permitted to keep the Mosaic Law. These Hasideans may have developed into the group of Essenes in the 1st century CE. They saw Alcimus and recognized him as a descendent of Aaron, so that they did not fear him. Alcimus even swore under oath that he would not injure them. However, Bacchides took 60 of them and killed them. Somehow this was the fulfillment of a written word. The word is not the Mosaic Law, but from Psalm 79, which maybe from this same time period. This is part of a lament that the blood of the bodies was on the streets as unburied victims. Now, everybody became fearful, because this group with Bacchides and Alcimus could not be trusted. They had broken their word or oath, by killing 60 of these peaceable men.