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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on 1 Maccabees

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2.1–48 : Revolt of Mattathias.

1 :

The family of Mattathias is known as Hasmoneans from a traditional ancestor Hashmonia, not mentioned in 1 Maccabees but named in Josephus (Ant. 12.6.1). The name may be a rendering of Simeon, the grandfather of Mattathias. Joarib was first in the list of divisions of priests (1 Chr 24.7; Neh 11.10 ). Modein, in the hills on the road from Beth‐horon, about 30 km (18 mi) northwest of Jerusalem.

2–5 :

Simon, third of the family to rule (chs 13–16 ). Maccabeus, probably from a Hebrew word meaning “hammer.” The other surnames are of uncertain derivation. Jonathan, successor of Judas (chs 9–12 ).

7–13 :

Poetic lament (cf. 1.36–40 ); for the portrait of Jerusalem as a beautiful woman dishonored, see Lam 1.1 .

14 :

Tore their clothes, put on sackcloth, signs of mourning (Gen 37.34 ).

18 :

The Friends of the king were a special class of courtiers who wore distinctive purple dress and insignia (1 Macc 10.65; 11.27 ).

23 :

Elsewhere in chs 1–13 , “Israelite” is used instead of the term Jew, which here perhaps means “Judean.”

24 :

His heart, literally “his kidneys,” which were considered the seat of emotion.

25 :

He tore down the altar, see Judg 6.25 .

26 :

As Phinehas did, the whole episode is written to echo Num 25.6–15 . Phineas is praised in Sir 45.23–24 .

28 :

2 Macc 5.27 .

29–31 :

In the wilderness of Judea they found hiding places (Isa 32.16 ).

37 :

1.63 .

41 :

The earliest statement of the principle that one may profane one sabbath in order to keep all the others.

42 :

Hasideans, “the pious,” a group not concerned for Jewish nationalism but only for the religious law. At first they resisted passively ( 1.62–63; 2.37 ), but now turned to violent action (but see 1 Macc 7.12–13 ).

2.49–70 : Last words of Mattathias.

Mattathias is portrayed like Jacob in Gen 49 .

51 :

See Sirach 44–50 .

52 :

Faithful when tested, Gen 22.1–18 . Reckoned to him, Gen 15.6 .

53 :

Joseph, Gen 39.9; 41.41–43; Ps 105.17–22 .

54 :

Phinehas, v. 26n.

55–56 :

Joshua … Caleb, Num 13.1–14.12; 26.65; Josh 1.1–9 .

57 :

Merciful, or perhaps “loyal” (1 Sam 24.16–22; 2 Sam 7.16; 9.1; Ps 89.35–37; 132.11–12 ).

58 :

1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 2.9–12 .

59–60 :

Dan 3.8–30; 6.1–24 .

62 :

See 2 Macc 9.5–12 on the death of Antiochus IV.

63 :

Ps 37.10,35–36.

65 :

Simeon, that is, Simon.

69 :

Gathered to his ancestors, buried with his ancestors (Judg 2.10 ).

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