1 In those days rose up Mattathias the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem; and he lived at Modin. 2 And he had five sons,* Gr. Joannes. John, who was surnamed Gaddis; 3 Simon, who was called Thassi; 4 Judas, who was called Maccabaeus; 5 Eleazar, who was called Avaran; Jonathan, who was called Apphus.
6 And he saw the blasphemies that were committed in Judah and in Jerusalem, 7 and he said,
Woe is me! wherefore was I born to see the destruction of my people, and the destruction of the holy city, and to dwell there, when it was given into the hand of the enemy, the sanctuary into the hand of aliens? 8 Her temple is become as a man† Some authorities read inglorious. that was glorious: 9 her vessels of glory are carried away into captivity, her infants are slain in her streets, her young men with the sword of the enemy. 10 What nation has not inherited her palaces, and gotten possession of her spoils? 11 her adorning is all taken away; instead of a free woman she is become a bond woman: 12 and, behold, our holy things and our beauty and our glory are laid waste, and the Gentiles have profaned them. 13 Wherefore should we live any longer?
14 And Mattathias and his sons tore their clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourned exceedingly.
15 And the king’s officers, that were enforcing the apostasy, came into the city Modin to sacrifice. 16 And many of Israel came to them, and Mattathias and his sons were gathered together. 17 And the king’s officers answered and spoke to Mattathias, saying, You are a ruler and an honorable and great man in this city, and strengthened with sons and kindred: 18 now therefore come you first and do the commandment of the king, as all the nations have done, and the men of Judah, and those who remain in Jerusalem: and you and your house shall be in the number of the king’s‡ See 1 Maccabees 3:38; 10:10, etc.; Compare 1 Maccabees 10:65; 11:27; 2 Maccabees 8:9. Friends, and you and your sons shall be honored with silver and gold and many gifts. 19 And Mattathias answered and said with a loud voice, If all the nations that are in the house of the king’s dominion listen to him, to fall away each one from the worship of his fathers, and have made choice to follow his commandments, 20 yet I and my sons and my kindred will walk in the covenant of our fathers. 21 § Gr. May he be propitious. Compare 2 Samuel 23:17 (Septuagint). Heaven forbid that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. 22 We will not listen to the king’s words, to go aside from our worship, on the right hand, or on the left. 23 And when he had left speaking these words, there came a Jew in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the king’s commandment. 24 And Mattathias saw it, and his zeal was kindled, and his reins trembled, and he showed forth his wrath according to judgement, and ran, and killed him upon the altar. 25 And the king’s officer, who compelled men to sacrifice, he killed at that time, and pulled down the altar. 26 And he was zealous for the law, even as Phinehas did to Zimri the son of Salu. 27 And Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying, Whosoever is zealous for the law, and maintains the covenant, let him come forth after me. 28 And he and his sons fled into the mountains, and forsook all that they had in the city.
29 Then many that sought after justice and judgement went down into the wilderness, to dwell there, 30 they, and their sons, and their wives, and their cattle; because evils were multiplied upon them. 31 And it was told the king’s officers, and the forces that were in Jerusalem, the city of David, that certain men, who had broken the king’s commandment, were gone down into the secret places in the wilderness; 32 and many pursued after them, and having overtaken them, they encamped against them, and set the battle in array against them on the Sabbath day. 33 And they said to them, Thus far. Come forth, and do according to the word of the king, and you° shall live. 34 And they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the word of the king, to profane the Sabbath day. 35 And they hurried to give them battle. 36 And they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped up the secret places, 37 saying, Let us die all in our innocency: heaven and earth witness over us, that you° put us to death without trial. 38 And they rose up against them in battle on the Sabbath, and they died, they and their wives and their children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand* Gr. souls of men. souls.
39 And Mattathias and his friends knew it, and they mourned over them exceedingly. 40 And one said to another, If we all do as our kindred have done, and fight not against the Gentiles for our lives and our ordinances, they will now quickly destroy us from off the earth. 41 And they took counsel on that day, saying, whoever shall come against us to battle on the Sabbath day, let’s fight against him, and we shall in no wise all die, as our kindred died in the secret places. 42 Then were gathered together to them a company of† That is, Chasidim. Hasidaeans, mighty men of Israel, every one that offered himself willingly for the law. 43 And all those who fled from the evils were added to them, and became a stay to them. 44 And they mustered an army, and struck sinners in their anger, and lawless men in their wrath: and the rest fled to the Gentiles for safety. 45 And Mattathias and his friends went round about, and pulled down the altars; 46 and they circumcised by force the children that were uncircumcised, as many as they found in the coasts of Israel. 47 And they pursued after the sons of pride, and the work prospered in their hand. 48 And they rescued the law out of the hand of the Gentiles, and out of the hand of the kings, neither‡ Gr. gave they a horn to the sinner. suffered they the sinner to triumph.
49 And the days of Mattathias drew near that he should die, and he said to his sons,
Now have pride and rebuke gotten strength, and a season of overthrow, and wrath of indignation. 50 And now, my children, be you° zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers. 51 And call to remembrance the deeds of our fathers which they did in their generations; and receive great glory and an everlasting name. 52 Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness? 53 Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. 54 Phinehas our father, for that he was zealous exceedingly, obtained the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. 55 Joshua for fulfilling the word became a judge in Israel. 56 Caleb for bearing witness in the congregation obtained a heritage in the land. 57 David for being merciful inherited the throne of a kingdom forever and ever. 58 Elijah, for that he was exceedingly zealous for the law, was taken up into heaven. 59 Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, believed, and were saved out of the flame. 60 Daniel for his innocency was delivered from the mouth of lions. 61 And thus consider you° from generation to generation, that none that put their trust in him shall lack for strength. 62 And be not afraid of the words of a sinful man; for his glory shall be dung and worms. 63 To-day he shall be lifted up, and tomorrow he shall in no wise be found, because he is returned to his dust, and his thought is perished. 64 And you°, my children, be strong, and show yourselves men in behalf of the law; for therein shall you° obtain glory. 65 And, behold, Simon your brother, I know that he is a man of counsel; give ear to him always: he shall be a father to you. 66 And Judas Maccabaeus, he has been strong and mighty from his youth: he shall be your captain, and§ Some ancient authorities read you° shall fight. shall fight the battle of the people. 67 And take you° to you all the doers of the law, and avenge the wrong of your people. 68 Render a recompense to the Gentiles, and take heed to the commandments of the law. 69 And he blessed them, and was gathered to his fathers. 70 And he died in* circa B.C. 167. the hundred and forty and sixth year, and his sons buried him in the sepulchres of his fathers at Modin, and all Israel made great lamentation for him.
*2:2 Gr. Joannes.
†2:8 Some authorities read inglorious.
*2:38 Gr. souls of men.
†2:42 That is, Chasidim.
‡2:48 Gr. gave they a horn to the sinner.
§2:66 Some ancient authorities read you° shall fight.
*2:70 circa B.C. 167.