Today in Super Metal Stories from the Bible – courtesy of Ms. Codex 236, fol. 308v – Mattathias gears up to behead a dude who has acquiesced to offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. And that’s how the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucids began! Tune in next time for “Joshua demands of God that the sun and moon stand still, because he’s straight battling right now and he’ll sleep when he’s dead”.
Manuscript description and digital images can be found here at OPenn.
(I never thought I’d reach 2,000 but here we are now, past that already! :”) Thank you so much everyone ♥ ♥
The Maccabean Revolt is perhaps the most known war in Jewish history. It’s the origin of the Jewish festival of light, Hanukkah, and takes place in 168 BC when the King of the Syrian [Seleucid] Kingdom, Antiochus IV, stepped up his campaign to erase Judaism. So he marched into Jerusalem, vandalized the Jewish Temple that at the time still stood, erected an idol on the altar to make it a house of worship for his idols instead, and desecrated the holiness of the temple with the blood of a pig. During that time, studying Torah, observing Shabbat, circumcision, and everything that was considered Jewish was banned and punishable by death - Syrian overseers and soldiers enforced the laws and forced Jews to engage in their idol worship, too.
Mattathias, a Jewish Kohen [priest] was the first to officially stand up against that oppression. When Seleucid Soldiers reached Modin, a city about twelve miles north of Jerusalem, they demanded the local leader [Kohen] to sacrifice a pig on a portable altar. With the famous cry “whoever is for G-d, follow me!” he fled to the hills and caves together with his five sons [Jonathan, Simon, Judah, Eleazar, Yohanan] as well as a ragtag army of other Jewish people who wanted to stand up against the oppression.
They later on became known as the Maccabees[מכבים or מקבים]. Their makeshift army grew and grew, and even though they were vastly outnumbered [it was once said it was 300 to 1] by the Seleucids, they managed to clear their way back to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after years, and reclaimed the temple for the Jewish people. After cleaning it and dismantling the defiled altar as well as constructing a new one to replace it, the Maccabees held a dedication of the temple with proper sacrifice, and rekindled the golden menorah - which lasted for eight days of celebration and praise to G-d.
With that, Jewish worship had been reestablished, and Hanukkah was born.
There will be a more detailed post [this is just the very basics of what actually happened!] about the Maccabees and how they fought for the freedom of Jews in their ancient homeland in the future, but for now, this has to be enough.
Of course you’re free to ask about Israel’s time in that era, too!)