The prayer of Judas Maccabeus and his men (2 Macc 8:1-8:4)

“Meanwhile Judas, who was also called Maccabeus, and his companions secretly entered the villages. They summoned their kindred. They enlisted those who had continued in the Jewish faith. They gathered about six thousand men. They implored the Lord to look upon the people who were oppressed by all. They wanted the Lord to have pity on the temple which had been profaned by ungodly men. They wanted him to have mercy on the city that was being destroyed, and about to be leveled to the ground. They wanted the Lord to hearken to the blood that cried out to him. They wanted him to remember also the lawless destruction of the innocent babies. They wanted him to remember the blasphemies committed against his name. They wanted him to show his hatred of evil.”

Judas Maccabeus and his companions, and not just his brothers, entered the villages. There is no mention of Mattathias, the father of Judas, as if nothing happened until Judas came on the scene. This is the first mention of Judas in chapter 8, outside of the author’s preface in chapter 2 of this book. In 1 Maccabees, Judas came on the scene in chapter 3, after the death of his father, who had started the uprising. Judas gathered about 6,000 men. The first thing they did was pray to the Lord. They wanted God to look on their oppression and have pity on the Temple and its profanation. They wanted mercy for their city Jerusalem that was being leveled to the ground. They wanted God to listen to the innocent blood crying out to him from innocent babies. They wanted him to remember the blasphemies against his name and all the other evils that was going on.

Mattathias and his sons (1 Macc 2:1-2:6)

“In those days, Mattathias son of John, son of Simeon, a priest of the family of Joarib, moved from Jerusalem. He settled in Modein. He had five sons, John surnamed Gaddi, Simon called Thassi, Judas called Maccabeus, Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus. He saw the blasphemies being committed in Judah and Jerusalem.”

This Mattathias was the son of John and grandson of Simeon, the Hasmonean, from a priestly family. He moved his family from Jerusalem to Modein, about 17 miles northwest of Jerusalem, but there is no date for this migration except the vague ‘in those days.’ His 5 sons were 1) John, 2) Simon, 3) Judas, 4) Eleazar, and 5) Jonathan. He had seen the blasphemies committed against Judah and Jerusalem. This is the introduction to the Maccabees family, although only 1 in the family used the name of Maccabeus.