1. Book of the Maccabees

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Old Testament history books

Names indented after the ÖVBE
: Deuterocanonical (Catholic and Orthodox) or Apocrypha (Protestant)

The first book of the Maccabees (abbreviated 1 Makk ) is a deutero-canonical book of the Catholic and Orthodox Old Testament (but not of the Jewish Tanakh ), which was published around 130 BC. It was probably written in Hebrew by a nationally minded, law-abiding Jew in Palestine who sympathized with the Maccabees . Only its Greek version has been preserved. In terms of its form, it is a cautiously religiously interpreting, comparatively factual narrative national history that depicts the Maccabees as religious freedom fighters.

The book was not included in the canon of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), but it is part of the Septuagint and is considered part of the Bible by Catholics and Orthodox Christians - but not by Protestants , for whom it is considered apocryphal . The Jewish festival of Hanukkah refers to events described in the first and second books of the Maccabees (the consecration of the altar and the establishment of an annual commemorative festival in 1 Makk 4 : 52–59  EU ).


The book tells the story of the Jews' struggle for independence against the Seleucids (175–140 BC). It should be borne in mind that historical research today usually interprets the conflict as an internal Jewish civil war .

The Book of Maccabees, on the other hand, reports that the Jews had to suffer various tribulations under the Seleucid rule. The trigger for the ultimately successful liberation struggles was the attempt by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–163 BC) to forcibly establish a cultural and, in particular, religious unity in the country. The order to the Jews to take part in the Greek cult met with widespread rejection and resistance. The resistance was followed by severe persecution.

The leader of the revolt against the Seleucids and the Hellenized Jews allied with them, which began as a guerrilla war , was the priest Mattatias with his sons, who saw themselves as chosen by God for this purpose.

Under her leadership, the rebels attacked the Seleucid troops from various hiding places, gained more and more support among the people and recaptured the "desecrated" temple. Mattatias' son Judas , called maqqaba, d. H. Hammer. He continued the work begun by his father and took control of almost the whole country.

From him the name Maccabees passed on to the whole family of Mattatias. When Judas 160 BC He was killed in a battle by his brother Jonathan and this Simeon , who completely pacified the country ( 1 Makk 14.4–13  EU ). 140 v. Chr. The Jews received the crown and the office of high priest out of gratitude. He was followed by his son Johanan (135-106 BC).

The second book of the Maccabees is not a continuation of the first book despite its name of the same name; it is by a different author, covers some of the same events, and contains additional material and corrections or contradictions.


  • 1–2 EU : cause of the fighting
  • 3–9.22 EU : Deeds of Jude (166–161)
  • 9.23–12 EU : Deeds of Jonathan (161–143)
  • 13-16 EU : Acts of Simeon (143-135)

See also


Web links

Commons : 1 Maccabees  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Bernhardt, Johannes Christian: The Jewish Revolution: Investigations into causes, course and consequences of the Hasmonean uprising . De Gruyter, Berlin 2017, pp. 41-42, ISBN 978-3-05-006482-6 .