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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day 75 - 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge - 1 Maccabees 5 - 8 Great Adventure A Journey Through the Bible

Day 75 

1 Maccabees 5 - 8 

Bible Time Period:  Maccabean Revolt 
Mattathias and his sons stood up against the threats of Hellenization:  Help me resist worldliness in the culture and follow only you. 

The fight to establish political and religious independence for Judah continues in today’s readings.

As a reminder, the first and second books of Maccabbes recount the background and events of the forty-year (175 - 135BC) struggle against the invasion of paganism and Hellenization into Jewish Palestine.  Hellenization was a government policy of Alexander the Great and his successors.  It brought especially difficult challenges to Judaism when the Seleucids promoted the pagan Greek cults in opposition to monotheism.  

The Greek dynasty founded after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC by one of his generals, Seleucus I Nicator.  The Seleucids ruled an empire that encompassed Asia Minor, Syria, and Babylonia, until the Romans seized control in the first century BC.

The Seleucid Dynasty enters biblical history because of its involvements in Palestine.  Seleucus IV Philopator (187 – 175 BC) sent his minister Heliodorus to Jerusalem to plunder the treasury of the Temple.  Antiochus IV Epiphanes was sent to Hellenize the Jews. 

Antiochus IV Epiphanes brought the cult of Zeus into the sacred precincts of the Jerusalem Temple.  A revolt ensued, sparked by the zeal of Mattathias (1 Macc 2:23- 33) and carried forward by his sons Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 3 - 9), Jonathan (1 Macc 9:23 - 12:53), and Simon (1 Macc 13:1- 16:17).   After Antiochus IV's death, his son Antiochus V Eupator ruled. 

The father of Judas Maccabeus and his four brothers.  A member of the priestly order of Joarib and a resident of Modein. He was a leader of a rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes during the severe persecutions of the Jews who remained faithful to the Law.  His sons carried on the rebellion after his death.    

Judas Maccabeus
Son of Mattathias and leader of the rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his Hellenization of the Jews. 

The fourth son of Mattathias, also called Avaran.  He fought at the victory against Nicanor but was later killed in battle against Antiochus V Eupator when an elephant he had slain fell on him (1 Macc 6:43 – 46)

(Catholic Bible Dictionary, General Editor Scott Hahn)

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