Mattathias decides to fight on the Sabbath (1 Macc 2:39-2:41)

“When Mattathias and his friends learned of the massacre, they mourned for them deeply. All said to their neighbors.

‘If we all do as our kindred have done,

If we refuse to fight with the gentiles,

For our lives and for our ordinances,

They will quickly destroy us from the earth.’

Thus they made this decision that day.

‘Let us fight against anyone

Who comes to attack us on the Sabbath day.

Let us not all die as our kindred died in their hiding places.’”

Mattathias and his friends mourned for the 1,000 people who had died. However, they realized that if they refused to fight on the Sabbath, they would very quickly be destroyed. They decided, instead, that if anyone attacked them on the Sabbath, they would fight back.