Thursday, September 30, 2010

Judas Maccabaeus, a Poem and a Play

Judas Maccabaeus
A Theatrical Poem, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Act I. the Citadel of Antiochus At Jerusalem
Act II. the Dungeons in the Citadel
Act III. the Battle-Field of Beth-Horon
Act IV. the Outer Courts of the Temple At Jerusalem
Act V. the Mountains of Ecbatana

ACT I. The Citadel of Antiochus at Jerusalem


O Antioch, my Antioch, my city!
Queen of the East! my solace, my delight!
The dowry of my sister Cleopatra
When she was wed to Ptolemy, and now
Won back and made more wonderful by me!
I love thee, and I long to be once more
Among the players and the dancing women
Within thy gates, and bathe in the Orontes,
Thy river and mine. O Jason, my High-Priest,
For I have made thee so, and thou art mine,
Hast thou seen Antioch the Beautiful?

Never, my Lord.

Then hast thou never seen
The wonder of the world. This city of David
Compared with Antioch is but a village,
And its inhabitants compared with Greeks
Are mannerless boors.

They are barbarians,
And mannerless.

They must be civilized.
They must be made to have more gods than one;
And goddesses besides.

They shall have more.

They must have hippodromes, and games, and baths,
Stage-plays and festivals, and most of all
The Dionysia.

They shall have them all.

By Heracles! but I should like to see
These Hebrews crowned with ivy, and arrayed
In skins of fawns, with drums and flutes and thyrsi,
Revel and riot through the solemn streets
Of their old town. Ha, ha! It makes me merry
Only to think of it!--Thou dost not laugh.

Yea, I laugh inwardly.

The new Greek leaven
Works slowly in this Israelitish dough!
Have I not sacked the Temple, and on the altar
Set up the statue of Olympian Zeus
To Hellenize it?

Thou hast done all this.

As thou wast Joshua once and now art Jason,
And from a Hebrew hast become a Greek,
So shall this Hebrew nation be translated,
Their very natures and their names be changed,
And all be Hellenized.

It shall be done.

Their manners and their laws and way of living
Shall all be Greek. They shall unlearn their language,
And learn the lovely speech of Antioch.
Where hast thou been to-day? Thou comest late.

Playing at discus with the other priests
In the Gymnasium.

Thou hast done well.
There's nothing better for you lazy priests
Than discus-playing with the common people.
Now tell me, Jason, what these Hebrews call me
When they converse together at their games.

Antiochus Epiphanes, my Lord;
Antiochus the Illustrious.

O, not that;
That is the public cry; I mean the name
They give me when they talk among themselves,
And think that no one listens; what is that?

Antiochus Epimanes, my Lord!

Antiochus the Mad! Ay, that is it.
And who hath said it? Who hath set in motion
That sorry jest?

The Seven Sons insane
Of a weird woman, like themselves insane.

I like their courage, but it shall not save them.
They shall be made to eat the flesh of swine,
Or they shall die. Where are they?

In the dungeons
Beneath this tower.

There let them stay and starve,
Till I am ready to make Greeks of them,
After my fashion.

They shall stay and starve.--
My Lord, the Ambassadors of Samaria
Await thy pleasure.

Why not my displeasure?
Ambassadors are tedious. They are men
Who work for their own ends, and not for mine
There is no furtherance in them. Let them go
To Apollonius, my governor
There in Samaria, and not trouble me.
What do they want?

Only the royal sanction
To give a name unto a nameless temple
Upon Mount Gerizim.

Then bid them enter.
This pleases me, and furthers my designs.
The occasion is auspicious. Bid them enter.


Approach. Come forward; stand not at the door
Wagging your long beards, but demean yourselves
As doth become Ambassadors. What seek ye?

An audience from the King.

Speak, and be brief.
Waste not the time in useless rhetoric.
Words are not things.

AMBASSADOR (reading). "To King Antiochus,
The God, Epiphanes; a Memorial
From the Sidonians, who live at Sichem."


Ay, my Lord.

Go on, go on!
And do not tire thyself and me with bowing!

AMBASSADOR (reading).
"We are a colony of Medes and Persians."

No, ye are Jews from one of the Ten Tribes;
Whether Sidonians or Samaritans
Or Jews of Jewry, matters not to me;
Ye are all Israelites, ye are all Jews.
When the Jews prosper, ye claim kindred with them;
When the Jews suffer, ye are Medes and Persians:
I know that in the days of Alexander
Ye claimed exemption from the annual tribute
In the Sabbatic Year, because, ye said,
Your fields had not been planted in that year.

AMBASSADOR (reading).
"Our fathers, upon certain frequent plagues,
And following an ancient superstition,
Were long accustomed to observe that day
Which by the Israelites is called the Sabbath,
And in a temple on Mount Gerizim
Without a name, they offered sacrifice.
Now we, who are Sidonians, beseech thee,
Who art our benefactor and our savior,
Not to confound us with these wicked Jews,
But to give royal order and injunction
To Apollonius in Samaria.
Thy governor, and likewise to Nicanor,
Thy procurator, no more to molest us;
And let our nameless temple now be named
The Temple of Jupiter Hellenius."

This shall be done. Full well it pleaseth me
Ye are not Jews, or are no longer Jews,
But Greeks; if not by birth, yet Greeks by custom.
Your nameless temple shall receive the name
Of Jupiter Hellenius. Ye may go!


My task is easier than I dreamed. These people
Meet me half-way. Jason, didst thou take note
How these Samaritans of Sichem said
They were not Jews? that they were Medes and Persians,
They were Sidonians, anything but Jews?
'T is of good augury. The rest will follow
Till the whole land is Hellenized.

My Lord,
These are Samaritans. The tribe of Judah
Is of a different temper, and the task
Will be more difficult.

Dost thou gainsay me?

I know the stubborn nature of the Jew.
Yesterday, Eleazer, an old man,
Being fourscore years and ten, chose rather death
By torture than to eat the flesh of swine.

The life is in the blood, and the whole nation
Shall bleed to death, or it shall change its faith!

Hundreds have fled already to the mountains
Of Ephraim, where Judas Maccabaeus
Hath raised the standard of revolt against thee.

I will burn down their city, and will make it
Waste as a wilderness. Its thoroughfares
Shall be but furrows in a field of ashes.
It shall be sown with salt as Sodom is!
This hundred and fifty-third Olympiad
Shall have a broad and blood-red sea upon it,
Stamped with the awful letters of my name,
Antiochus the God, Epiphanes!--
Where are those Seven Sons?

My Lord, they wait
Thy royal pleasure.

They shall wait no longer!

ACT II. The Dungeons in the Citadel.

SCENE I. -- THE MOTHER of the SEVEN SONS alone, listening.

Be strong, my heart!
Break not till they are dead,
All, all my Seven Sons; then burst asunder,
And let this tortured and tormented soul
Leap and rush out like water through the shards
Of earthen vessels broken at a well.
O my dear children, mine in life and death,
I know not how ye came into my womb;
I neither gave you breath, nor gave you life,
And neither was it I that formed the members
Of every one of you. But the Creator,
Who made the world, and made the heavens above us,
Who formed the generation of mankind,
And found out the beginning of all things,
He gave you breath and life, and will again
Of his own mercy, as ye now regard
Not your own selves, but his eternal law.
I do not murmur, nay, I thank thee, God,
That I and mine have not been deemed unworthy
To suffer for thy sake, and for thy law,
And for the many sins of Israel.
Hark! I can hear within the sound of scourges!
I feel them more than ye do, O my sons!
But cannot come to you. I, who was wont
To wake at night at the least cry ye made,
To whom ye ran at every slightest hurt,
I cannot take you now into my lap
And soothe your pain, but God will take you all
Into his pitying arms, and comfort you,
And give you rest.

A VOICE (within).
What wouldst thou ask of us?
Ready are we to die, but we will never
Transgress the law and customs of our fathers.

It is the Voice of my first-born! O brave
And noble boy! Thou hast the privilege
Of dying first, as thou wast born the first.

THE SAME VOICE (within).
God looketh on us, and hath comfort in us;
As Moses in his song of old declared,
He in his servants shall be comforted.

I knew thou wouldst not fail!--He speaks no more,
He is beyond all pain!

ANTIOCHUS. (within).
If thou eat not
Thou shalt be tortured throughout all the members
Of thy whole body. Wilt thou eat then?

SECOND VOICE. (within).

It is Adaiah's voice. I tremble for him.
I know his nature, devious as the wind,
And swift to change, gentle and yielding always.
Be steadfast, O my son!

THE SAME VOICE (within).
Thou, like a fury,
Takest us from this present life, but God,
Who rules the world, shall raise us up again
Into life everlasting.

God, I thank thee
That thou hast breathed into that timid heart
Courage to die for thee. O my Adaiah,
Witness of God! if thou for whom I feared
Canst thus encounter death, I need not fear;
The others will not shrink.

THIRD VOICE (within).
Behold these hands
Held out to thee, O King Antiochus,
Not to implore thy mercy, but to show
That I despise them. He who gave them to me
Will give them back again.

O Avilan,
It is thy voice. For the last time I hear it;
For the last time on earth, but not the last.
To death it bids defiance and to torture.
It sounds to me as from another world,
And makes the petty miseries of this
Seem unto me as naught, and less than naught.
Farewell, my Avilan; nay, I should say
Welcome, my Avilan; for I am dead
Before thee. I am waiting for the others.
Why do they linger?

FOURTH VOICE (within).
It is good, O King,
Being put to death by men, to look for hope
From God, to be raised up again by him.
But thou--no resurrection shalt thou have
To life hereafter.

Four! already four!
Three are still living; nay, they all are living,
Half here, half there. Make haste, Antiochus,
To reunite us; for the sword that cleaves
These miserable bodies makes a door
Through which our souls, impatient of release,
Rush to each other's arms.

FIFTH VOICE (within).
Thou hast the power;
Thou doest what thou wilt. Abide awhile,
And thou shalt see the power of God, and how
He will torment thee and thy seed.

O hasten;
Why dost thou pause? Thou who hast slain already
So many Hebrew women, and hast hung
Their murdered infants round their necks, slay me,
For I too am a woman, and these boys
Are mine. Make haste to slay us all,
And hang my lifeless babes about my neck.

SIXTH VOICE (within).
Think not,
Antiochus, that takest in hand
To strive against the God of Israel,
Thou shalt escape unpunished, for his wrath
Shall overtake thee and thy bloody house.

One more, my Sirion, and then all is ended.
Having put all to bed, then in my turn
I will lie down and sleep as sound as they.
My Sirion, my youngest, best beloved!
And those bright golden locks, that I so oft
Have curled about these fingers, even now
Are foul with blood and dust, like a lamb's fleece,
Slain in the shambles.--Not a sound I hear.
This silence is more terrible to me
Than any sound, than any cry of pain,
That might escape the lips of one who dies.
Doth his heart fail him? Doth he fall away
In the last hour from God? O Sirion, Sirion,
Art thou afraid? I do not hear thy voice.
Die as thy brothers died. Thou must not live!


Are they all dead?

Of all thy Seven Sons
One only lives. Behold them where they lie
How dost thou like this picture?

God in heaven!
Can a man do such deeds, and yet not die
By the recoil of his own wickedness?
Ye murdered, bleeding, mutilated bodies
That were my children once, and still are mine,
I cannot watch o'er you as Rispah watched
In sackcloth o'er the seven sons of Saul,
Till water drop upon you out of heaven
And wash this blood away! I cannot mourn
As she, the daughter of Aiah, mourned the dead,
From the beginning of the barley-harvest
Until the autumn rains, and suffered not
The birds of air to rest on them by day,
Nor the wild beasts by night. For ye have died
A better death, a death so full of life
That I ought rather to rejoice than mourn.--
Wherefore art thou not dead, O Sirion?
Wherefore art thou the only living thing
Among thy brothers dead? Art thou afraid?

O woman, I have spared him for thy sake,
For he is fair to look upon and comely;
And I have sworn to him by all the gods
That I would crown his life with joy and honor,
Heap treasures on him, luxuries, delights,
Make him my friend and keeper of my secrets,
If he would turn from your Mosaic Law
And be as we are; but he will not listen.

My noble Sirion!

Therefore I beseech thee,
Who art his mother, thou wouldst speak with him,
And wouldst persuade him. I am sick of blood.

Yea, I will speak with him and will persuade him.
O Sirion, my son! have pity on me,
On me that bare thee, and that gave thee suck,
And fed and nourished thee, and brought thee up
With the dear trouble of a mother's care
Unto this age. Look on the heavens above thee,
And on the earth and all that is therein;
Consider that God made them out of things
That were not; and that likewise in this manner
Mankind was made. Then fear not this tormentor
But, being worthy of thy brethren, take
Thy death as they did, that I may receive thee
Again in mercy with them.

I am mocked,
Yea, I am laughed to scorn.

Whom wait ye for?
Never will I obey the King's commandment,
But the commandment of the ancient Law,
That was by Moses given unto our fathers.
And thou, O godless man, that of all others
Art the most wicked, be not lifted up,
Nor puffed up with uncertain hopes, uplifting
Thy hand against the servants of the Lord,
For thou hast not escaped the righteous judgment
Of the Almighty God, who seeth all things!

He is no God of mine; I fear him not.

My brothers, who have suffered a brief pain,
Are dead; but thou, Antiochus, shalt suffer
The punishment of pride. I offer up
My body and my life, beseeching God
That he would speedily be merciful
Unto our nation, and that thou by plagues
Mysterious and by torments mayest confess
That he alone is God.

Ye both shall perish
By torments worse than any that your God,
Here or hereafter, hath in store for me.

My Sirion, I am proud of thee!

Be silent!
Go to thy bed of torture in yon chamber,
Where lie so many sleepers, heartless mother!
Thy footsteps will not wake them, nor thy voice,
Nor wilt thou hear, amid thy troubled dreams,
Thy children crying for thee in the night!

O Death, that stretchest thy white hands to me,
I fear them not, but press them to my lips,
That are as white as thine; for I am Death,
Nay, am the Mother of Death, seeing these sons
All lying lifeless.--Kiss me, Sirion.

ACT III. The Battle-field of Beth-horon.

SCENE I. -- JUDAS MACCABAEUS in armor before his tent.

The trumpets sound; the echoes of the mountains
Answer them, as the Sabbath morning breaks
Over Beth-horon and its battle-field,
Where the great captain of the hosts of God,
A slave brought up in the brick-fields of Egypt,
O'ercame the Amorites. There was no day
Like that, before or after it, nor shall be.
The sun stood still; the hammers of the hail
Beat on their harness; and the captains set
Their weary feet upon the necks of kings,
As I will upon thine, Antiochus,
Thou man of blood!--Behold the rising sun
Strikes on the golden letters of my banner,
Be Elohim Yehovah! Who is like
To thee, O Lord, among the gods!--Alas!
I am not Joshua, I cannot say,
"Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon, and thou Moon,
In Ajalon!" Nor am I one who wastes
The fateful time in useless lamentation;
But one who bears his life upon his hand
To lose it or to save it, as may best
Serve the designs of Him who giveth life.


Who and what are ye, that with furtive steps
Steal in among our tents?

O Maccabaeus,
Outcasts are we, and fugitives as thou art,
Jews of Jerusalem, that have escaped
From the polluted city, and from death.

None can escape from death. Say that ye come
To die for Israel, and ye are welcome.
What tidings bring ye?

Tidings of despair.
The Temple is laid waste; the precious vessels,
Censers of gold, vials and veils and crowns,
And golden ornaments, and hidden treasures,
Have all been taken from it, and the Gentiles
With revelling and with riot fill its courts,
And dally with harlots in the holy places.

All this I knew before.

Upon the altar
Are things profane, things by the law forbidden;
Nor can we keep our Sabbaths or our Feasts,
But on the festivals of Dionysus
Must walk in their processions, bearing ivy
To crown a drunken god.

This too I know.
But tell me of the Jews. How fare the Jews?

The coming of this mischief hath been sore
And grievous to the people. All the land
Is full of lamentation and of mourning.
The Princes and the Elders weep and wail;
The young men and the maidens are made feeble;
The beauty of the women hath been changed.

And are there none to die for Israel?
T is not enough to mourn. Breastplate and harness
Are better things than sackcloth. Let the women
Lament for Israel; the men should die.

Both men and women die; old men and young:
Old Eleazer died: and Mahala
With all her Seven Sons.

At every step thou takest there is left
A bloody footprint in the street, by which
The avenging wrath of God will track thee out!
It is enough. Go to the sutler's tents;
Those of you who are men, put on such armor
As ye may find; those of you who are women,
Buckle that armor on; and for a watchword
Whisper, or cry aloud, "The Help of God."


Hail, Judas Maccabaeus!

Hail!--Who art thou
That comest here in this mysterious guise
Into our camp unheralded?

A herald
Sent from Nicanor.

Heralds come not thus.
Armed with thy shirt of mail from head to heel,
Thou glidest like a serpent silently
Into my presence. Wherefore dost thou turn
Thy face from me? A herald speaks his errand
With forehead unabashed. Thou art a spy sent by Nicanor.

No disguise avails!
Behold my face; I am Nicanor's self.

Thou art indeed Nicanor. I salute thee.
What brings thee hither to this hostile camp
Thus unattended?

Confidence in thee.
Thou hast the nobler virtues of thy race,
Without the failings that attend those virtues.
Thou canst be strong, and yet not tyrannous,
Canst righteous be and not intolerant.
Let there be peace between us.

What is peace?
Is it to bow in silence to our victors?
Is it to see our cities sacked and pillaged,
Our people slain, or sold as slaves, or fleeing
At night-time by the blaze of burning towns;
Jerusalem laid waste; the Holy Temple
Polluted with strange gods? Are these things peace?

These are the dire necessities that wait
On war, whose loud and bloody enginery
I seek to stay. Let there be peace between
Antiochus and thee.

What is Antiochus, that he should prate
Of peace to me, who am a fugitive?
To-day he shall be lifted up; to-morrow
Shall not be found, because he is returned
Unto his dust; his thought has come to nothing.
There is no peace between us, nor can be,
Until this banner floats upon the walls
Of our Jerusalem.

Between that city
And thee there lies a waving wall of tents,
Held by a host of forty thousand foot,
And horsemen seven thousand. What hast thou
To bring against all these?

The power of God,
Whose breath shall scatter your white tents abroad,
As flakes of snow.

Your Mighty One in heaven
Will not do battle on the Seventh Day;
It is his day of rest.

Silence, blasphemer.
Go to thy tents.

Shall it be war or peace?

War, war, and only war. Go to thy tents
That shall be scattered, as by you were scattered
The torn and trampled pages of the Law,
Blown through the windy streets.

Farewell, brave foe!

Ho, there, my captains! Have safe-conduct given
Unto Nicanor's herald through the camp,
And come yourselves to me.--Farewell, Nicanor!


The hour is come. Gather the host together
For battle. Lo, with trumpets and with songs
The army of Nicanor comes against us.
Go forth to meet them, praying in your hearts,
And fighting with your hands.

Look forth and see!
The morning sun is shining on their shields
Of gold and brass; the mountains glisten with them,
And shine like lamps. And we who are so few
And poorly armed, and ready to faint with fasting,
How shall we fight against this multitude?

The victory of a battle standeth not
In multitudes, but in the strength that cometh
From heaven above. The Lord forbid that I
Should do this thing, and flee away from them.
Nay, if our hour be come, then let us die;
Let us not stain our honor.

'T is the Sabbath.
Wilt thou fight on the Sabbath, Maccabaeus?

Ay; when I fight the battles of the Lord,
I fight them on his day, as on all others.
Have ye forgotten certain fugitives
That fled once to these hills, and hid themselves
In caves? How their pursuers camped against them
Upon the Seventh Day, and challenged them?
And how they answered not, nor cast a stone,
Nor stopped the places where they lay concealed,
But meekly perished with their wives and children,
Even to the number of a thousand souls?
We who are fighting for our laws and lives
Will not so perish.

Lead us to the battle!

And let our watchword be, "The Help of God!"
Last night I dreamed a dream; and in my vision
Beheld Onias, our High-Priest of old,
Who holding up his hands prayed for the Jews.
This done, in the like manner there appeared
An old man, and exceeding glorious,
With hoary hair, and of a wonderful
And excellent majesty. And Onias said:
"This is a lover of the Jews, who prayeth
Much for the people and the Holy City,--
God's prophet Jeremias." And the prophet
Held forth his right hand and gave unto me
A sword of gold; and giving it he said:
"Take thou this holy sword, a gift from God,
And with it thou shalt wound thine adversaries."

The Lord is with us!

Hark! I hear the trumpets
Sound from Beth-horon; from the battle-field
Of Joshua, where he smote the Amorites,
Smote the Five Kings of Eglon and of Jarmuth,
Of Hebron, Lachish, and Jerusalem,
As we to-day will smite Nicanor's hosts
And leave a memory of great deeds behind us.

The Help of God!

Be Elohim Yehovah!
Lord, thou didst send thine Angel in the time
Of Esekias, King of Israel,
And in the armies of Sennacherib
Didst slay a hundred fourscore and five thousand.
Wherefore, O Lord of heaven, now also send
Before us a good angel for a fear,
And through the might of thy right arm let those
Be stricken with terror that have come this day
Against thy holy people to blaspheme!

ACT IV. The outer Courts of the Temple at Jerusalem.


Behold, our enemies are discomfited.
Jerusalem is fallen; and our banners
Float from her battlements, and o'er her gates
Nicanor's severed head, a sign of terror,
Blackens in wind and sun.

O Maccabaeus,
The citadel of Antiochus, wherein
The Mother with her Seven Sons was murdered,
Is still defiant.


Its hateful aspect
Insults us with the bitter memories
Of other days.

Wait; it shall disappear
And vanish as a cloud. First let us cleanse
The Sanctuary. See, it is become
Waste like a wilderness. Its golden gates
Wrenched from their hinges and consumed by fire;
Shrubs growing in its courts as in a forest;
Upon its altars hideous and strange idols;
And strewn about its pavement at my feet
Its Sacred Books, half burned and painted o'er
With images of heathen gods.

Woe! woe!
Our beauty and our glory are laid waste!
The Gentiles have profaned our holy p]aces!

(Lamentation and alarm of trumpets.)

This sound of trumpets, and this lamentation,
The heart-cry of a people toward the heavens,
Stir me to wrath and vengeance. Go, my captains;
I hold you back no longer. Batter down
The citadel of Antiochus, while here
We sweep away his altars and his gods.


Lurking among the ruins of the Temple,
Deep in its inner courts, we found this man,
Clad as High-Priest.

I ask not who thou art.
I know thy face, writ over with deceit
As are these tattered volumes of the Law
With heathen images. A priest of God
Wast thou in other days, but thou art now
A priest of Satan. Traitor, thou art Jason.

I am thy prisoner, Judas Maccabaeus,
And it would ill become me to conceal
My name or office.

Over yonder gate
There hangs the head of one who was a Greek.
What should prevent me now, thou man of sin,
From hanging at its side the head of one
Who born a Jew hath made himself a Greek?

Justice prevents thee.

Justice? Thou art stained
With every crime against which the Decalogue
Thunders with all its thunder.

If not Justice,
Then Mercy, her handmaiden.

When hast thou
At any time, to any man or woman,
Or even to any little child, shown mercy?

I have but done what King Antiochus
Commanded me.

True, thou hast been the weapon
With which he struck; but hast been such a weapon,
So flexible, so fitted to his hand,
It tempted him to strike. So thou hast urged him
To double wickedness, thine own and his.
Where is this King? Is he in Antioch
Among his women still, and from his windows
Throwing down gold by handfuls, for the rabble
To scramble for?

Nay, he is gone from there,
Gone with an army into the far East.

And wherefore gone?

I know not. For the space
Of forty days almost were horsemen seen
Running in air, in cloth of gold, and armed
With lances, like a band of soldiery;
It was a sign of triumph.

Or of death.
Wherefore art thou not with him?

I was left
For service in the Temple.

To pollute it,
And to corrupt the Jews; for there are men
Whose presence is corruption; to be with them
Degrades us and deforms the things we do.

I never made a boast, as some men do,
Of my superior virtue, nor denied
The weakness of my nature, that hath made me
Subservient to the will of other men.

Upon this day, the five and twentieth day
Of the month Caslan, was the Temple here
Profaned by strangers,--by Antiochus
And thee, his instrument. Upon this day
Shall it be cleansed. Thou, who didst lend thyself
Unto this profanation, canst not be
A witness of these solemn services.
There can be nothing clean where thou art present.
The people put to death Callisthenes,
Who burned the Temple gates; and if they find thee
Will surely slay thee. I will spare thy life
To punish thee the longer. Thou shalt wander
Among strange nations. Thou, that hast cast out
So many from their native land, shalt perish
In a strange land. Thou, that hast left so many
Unburied, shalt have none to mourn for thee,
Nor any solemn funerals at all,
Nor sepulchre with thy fathers.--Get thee hence!

(Music. Procession of Priests and people,
with citherns, harps, and cymbals. JUDAS
MACCABAEUS puts himself at their
head, and they go into the inner courts.)

SCENE III. -- JASON, alone.

Through the Gate Beautiful I see them come
With branches and green boughs and leaves of palm,
And pass into the inner courts. Alas!
I should be with them, should be one of them,
But in an evil hour, an hour of weakness,
That cometh unto all, I fell away
From the old faith, and did not clutch the new,
Only an outward semblance of belief;
For the new faith I cannot make mine own,
Not being born to it. It hath no root
Within me. I am neither Jew nor Greek,
But stand between them both, a renegade
To each in turn; having no longer faith
In gods or men. Then what mysterious charm,
What fascination is it chains my feet,
And keeps me gazing like a curious child
Into the holy places, where the priests
Have raised their altar?--Striking stones together,
They take fire out of them, and light the lamps
In the great candlestick. They spread the veils,
And set the loaves of showbread on the table.
The incense burns; the well-remembered odor
Comes wafted unto me, and takes me back
To other days. I see myself among them
As I was then; and the old superstition
Creeps over me again!--A childish fancy!--
And hark! they sing with citherns and with cymbals,
And all the people fall upon their faces,
Praying and worshipping!--I will away
Into the East, to meet Antiochus
Upon his homeward journey, crowned with triumph.
Alas! to-day I would give everything
To see a friend's face, or to hear a voice
That had the slightest tone of comfort in it!

ACT V. The Mountains of Ecbatana.


Here let us rest awhile. Where are we, Philip?
What place is this?

Ecbatana, my Lord;
And yonder mountain range is the Orontes.

The Orontes is my river at Antioch.
Why did I leave it? Why have I been tempted
By coverings of gold and shields and breastplates
To plunder Elymais, and be driven
From out its gates, as by a fiery blast
Out of a furnace?

These are fortune's changes.

What a defeat it was! The Persian horsemen
Came like a mighty wind, the wind Khamaseen,
And melted us away, and scattered us
As if we were dead leaves, or desert sand.

Be comforted, my Lord; for thou hast lost
But what thou hadst not.

I, who made the Jews
Skip like the grasshoppers, am made myself
To skip among these stones.

Be not discouraged.
Thy realm of Syria remains to thee;
That is not lost nor marred.

O, where are now
The splendors of my court, my baths and banquets?
Where are my players and my dancing women?
Where are my sweet musicians with their pipes,
That made me merry in the olden time?
I am a laughing-stock to man and brute.
The very camels, with their ugly faces,
Mock me and laugh at me.

Alas! my Lord,
It is not so. If thou wouldst sleep awhile,
All would be well.

Sleep from mine eyes is gone,
And my heart faileth me for very care.
Dost thou remember, Philip, the old fable
Told us when we were boys, in which the bear
Going for honey overturns the hive,
And is stung blind by bees? I am that beast,
Stung by the Persian swarms of Elymais.

When thou art come again to Antioch
These thoughts will be as covered and forgotten
As are the tracks of Pharaoh's chariot-wheels
In the Egyptian sands.

Ah! when I come
Again to Antioch! When will that be?
Alas! alas!


May the King live forever!

Who art thou, and whence comest thou?

My Lord,
I am a messenger from Antioch,
Sent here by Lysias.

A strange foreboding
Of something evil overshadows me.
I am no reader of the Jewish Scriptures;
I know not Hebrew; but my High-Priest Jason,
As I remember, told me of a Prophet
Who saw a little cloud rise from the sea
Like a man's hand and soon the heaven was black
With clouds and rain. Here, Philip, read; I cannot;
I see that cloud. It makes the letters dim
Before mine eyes.

PHILIP (reading).
"To King Antiochus,
The God, Epiphanes."

O mockery!
Even Lysias laughs at me!--Go on, go on.

PHILIP (reading).
"We pray thee hasten thy return. The realm
Is falling from thee. Since thou hast gone from us
The victories of Judas Maccabaeus
Form all our annals. First he overthrew
Thy forces at Beth-horon, and passed on,
And took Jerusalem, the Holy City.
And then Emmaus fell; and then Bethsura;
Ephron and all the towns of Galaad,
And Maccabaeus marched to Carnion."

Enough, enough! Go call my chariot-men;
We will drive forward, forward, without ceasing,
Until we come to Antioch. My captains,
My Lysias, Gorgias, Seron, and Nicanor,
Are babes in battle, and this dreadful Jew
Will rob me of my kingdom and my crown.
My elephants shall trample him to dust;
I will wipe out his nation, and will make
Jerusalem a common burying-place,
And every home within its walls a tomb!

(Throws up his hands, and sinks into the
arms of attendants, who lay him upon
a bank.)

Antiochus! Antiochus! Alas,
The King is ill! What is it, O my Lord?

Nothing. A sudden and sharp spasm of pain,
As if the lightning struck me, or the knife
Of an assassin smote me to the heart.
'T is passed, even as it came. Let us set forward.

See that the chariots be in readiness
We will depart forthwith.

A moment more.
I cannot stand. I am become at once
Weak as an infant. Ye will have to lead me.
Jove, or Jehovah, or whatever name
Thou wouldst be named,--it is alike to me,--
If I knew how to pray, I would entreat
To live a little longer.

O my Lord,
Thou shalt not die; we will not let thee die!

How canst thou help it, Philip? O the pain!
Stab after stab. Thou hast no shield against
This unseen weapon. God of Israel,
Since all the other gods abandon me,
Help me. I will release the Holy City.
Garnish with goodly gifts the Holy Temple.
Thy people, whom I judged to be unworthy
To be so much as buried, shall be equal
Unto the citizens of Antioch.
I will become a Jew, and will declare
Through all the world that is inhabited
The power of God!

He faints. It is like death.
Bring here the royal litter. We will bear him
In to the camp, while yet he lives.

O Philip,
Into what tribulation am I come!
Alas! I now remember all the evil
That I have done the Jews; and for this cause
These troubles are upon me, and behold
I perish through great grief in a strange land.

Antiochus! my King!

Nay, King no longer.
Take thou my royal robes, my signet-ring,
My crown and sceptre, and deliver them
Unto my son, Antiochus Eupator;
And unto the good Jews, my citizens,
In all my towns, say that their dying monarch
Wisheth them joy, prosperity, and health.
I who, puffed up with pride and arrogance,
Thought all the kingdoms of the earth mine own,
If I would but outstretch my hand and take them,
Meet face to face a greater potentate,
King Death--Epiphanes--the Illustrious!

SOURCE: Judas Maccabaeus, The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Defining the Maccabees - המכבים

馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比
مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים マカバイ- مكابيين

Definitions of the Maccabees

Maccabees \Mac'ca*bees\
(n. pl.) The name given later times to the Asmonaeans, a family of Jewish patriots, who headed a religious revolt in the reign of Antiochus IV., 168-161 B. C., which led to a period of freedom for Israel.
(n. pl.) The name of two ancient historical books, which give accounts of Jewish affairs in or about the time of the Maccabean princes, and which are received as canonical books in the Roman Catholic Church, but are included in the Apocrypha by Protestants. Also applied to three books, two of which are found in some MSS. [manuscripts] of the Septuagint.

- Webster's Dictionary 1913

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים -

Mac·ca·bees (mak′ə bēz′) noun
1. family of Jewish patriots who, under Judas Maccabaeus, headed a successful revolt against the Syrians (175-164 ) & ruled Palestine until 37
2. Bible two books of the Old Testament Apocrypha that tell of this revolt: abbrev. M, Macc, or Mc

Origin: LL(Ec) Machabaei, pl. of Machabaeus, surname of Judas <>- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים

Mac·ca·bees 1 (măk-ə-bēz)
A family of Jewish patriots of the second and first centuries B.C., active in the liberation of Judea from Syrian rule.
Mac·ca·bees 2 (măkə-bēz)
plural noun Abbr. M or Mc or Mac. or Macc.

Related Forms: Maccabean, Macca·be, an adjective

- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 -המכבים

late 14c., from L.L. Maccabæus, surname given to Judas, third son of Mattathias the Hasmonean, leader of the religious revolt against Antiochus IV, 175-166 B.C.E., usually connected with Heb. maqqabh "hammer," but Klein thinks it an inexact transliteration of Heb. matzbi "general, commander of an army."

- Online Etymology Dictionary

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 המכבים -

Mac·ca·bees: noun pl \ma-kə-bēz\
Definition of MACCABEES
1: a priestly family leading a Jewish revolt begun in 168 b.c. against Hellenism and Syrian rule and reigning over Palestine from 142 b.c. to 63 b.c.
2: singular in construction : either of two narrative and historical books included in the Roman Catholic canon of the Old Testament and in the Protestant Apocrypha - see bible table
- Mac·ca·be·an\ma-kə-bē-ən\ adjective

Greek Makkabaioi, from plural of Makkabaios, surname of Judas Maccabaeus 2d century b.c. Jewish patriot
First Known Use: 1587

- Miriam-Webster On-line Dictionary

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים -

Mac·ca·bees, pronunciation: mae kə biz
part of speech: plural noun
definition: the members of a ruling Jewish family who defeated the Syrians in 167 B.C. and rededicated the temple in Jerusalem, these events being commemorated in the festival of Hanukkah.

- Wordsmyth Dictionary

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 המכבים -


MAC'CABEES, n. The name of two apocryphal books in the Bible.

- Webster's Dictionary, 1828 Edition

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 המכבים -


1. A family of Jewish patriots of the second and first centuries B.C., active in the liberation of Judea from Syrian rule.

- American Heritage Dictionary

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 המכבים -

1. A book of the Old Testament Apocrypha.
2. A Jewish liberation movement who fought for, and established independence in the Land of Israel during the second and first centuries BC.

- Wiktionary

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים -

Mac·ca·bees [ mákə beez ] plural noun
1. followers of Judas Maccabeus: the followers of Judas Maccabeus, who led the revolt of the Jews against Syria in 168 bc
2. books of Jewish history: four books of Jewish history, the first two of which are included in the Roman Catholic Bible and Protestant Apocrypha

[14th century. Via Latin Maccabaeus< Greek Makkabaios, epithet of Judas] Mac·ca·be·an [ màkə ba ən ] adjective

- Encarta World English Dictionary

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 המכבים -


(fl. 2nd century BC) Priestly family of Jews who organized a successful rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes in Palestine and reconsecrated the defiled Temple of Jerusalem. The rebellion began under the leadership of the Jewish priest Mattathias after Antiochus sought to stamp out Judaism by forbidding all Jewish practices and desecrating the temple (167 BC). When Mattathias died (c. 166 BC), his son Judas Maccabaeus recaptured Jerusalem and reconsecrated the temple, an event celebrated in the holiday Hanukkah. After Judas's death, the war continued intermittently under his brothers Jonathan and Simon. The Maccabees formed the Hasmonean dynasty.

- Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים -

This word does not occur in Scripture. It was the name given to the leaders of the national party among the Jews who suffered in the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, who succeeded to the Syrian throne B.C. 175. It is supposed to have been derived from the Hebrew word (makkabah) meaning "hammer," as suggestive of the heroism and power of this Jewish family, who are, however, more properly called Asmoneans or Hasmonaeans, the origin of which is much disputed.

After the expulsion of Antiochus Epiphanes from Egypt by the Romans, he gave vent to his indignation on the Jews, great numbers of whom he mercilessly put to death in Jerusalem. He oppressed them in every way, and tried to abolish altogether the Jewish worship. Mattathias, an aged priest, then residing at Modin, a city to the west of Jerusalem, became now the courageous leader of the national party; and having fled to the mountains, rallied round him a large band of men prepared to fight and die for their country and for their religion, which was now violently suppressed. In 1 Macc. 2:60 is recorded his dying counsels to his sons with reference to the war they were now to carry on. His son Judas, "the Maccabee," succeeded him (B.C. 166) as the leader in directing the war of independence, which was carried on with great heroism on the part of the Jews, and was terminated in the defeat of the Syrians.

- Easton's Bible Dictionary 1897

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 המכבים -

(a hammer ), This title, which was originally the surname of Judas, one of the sons of Mattathias, was afterward extended to the heroic family of which he was one of the noblest representatives. Asmonaeans or Hasmonaeans is the Proper name of the family, which is derived from Cashmon, great grandfather of Mattathias. The Maccabees were a family of Jews who resisted the authority of Antiochus Epiphanes king of Syria and his successors who had usurped authority over the Jews, conquered Jerusalem, and strove to introduce idolatrous worship. The standard of independence was first raised by Mattathias, a priest of the course of Joiarih. He seems, however, to have been already advanced in years when the rising was made, and he did not long survive the fatigues of active service. He died B.C. 166, having named Judas --apparently his third son--as his successor in directing the war of independence. After gaining several victories over the other generals of Antiochus, Judas was able to occupy Jerusalem except the "tower," and purified the temple exactly three years after its profanation. Nicanor was defeated, first at Capharsalama, and again in a decisive battle at Adasa B.C. 161, where he was slain. This victory was the greatest of Judas successes, and practically decided the question of Jewish independence; but shortly after Judas fell at Eleasa, fighting at desperate odds against the invaders. After the death of Judas, Jonathan his brother succeeded to the command, and later assumed the high-priestly office. He died B.C. 144, and was succeeded by Simon the last remaining brother of the Maccabaean family, who died B.C. 135. The efforts of both brothers were crowned with success. On the death of Simon, Johannes Hyrcanus, one of his sons, at once assumed the government, B.C. 135, and met with a peaceful death B.C. 105. His eldest son, Aristobulus I., who succeeded him B.C. 105-101, was the first who assumed the kingly title, though Simon had enjoyed the fullness of the kingly power. Alexander Jannaeus was the next successor B.C. 104-78. Aristobulus II. and Hyrcanus III. engaged in a civil war On the death of their mother, Alexandra, B.C. 78-69, resulting in the dethronement of Aristobulus II., B.C. 69-69, and the succession of Hyrcanus under Roman rule but without his kingly title, B.C. 63-40. From B.C. 40 to B.C. 37 Antigonus, a son of Aristobulus II., ruled, and with his two grandchildren, Aristobulus and Mariurnne, the Asmonaean dynasty ended.

- Smith's Bible Dictionary 1901

- マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים -

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

馬加比 - המכבים - マカバイ- مكابيين - 馬加比
مكابيين - 馬加比 - המכבים マカバイ- مكابيين

SOURCE(S) (1) Webster's New World College Dictionary. © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. (
(2) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.(
(3) 1913 Webster's Dictionary, (
(4) Online Etymology Dictionary,
(5) Miriam-Webster On-line Dictionary, (
(6) Wordsmyth Dictionary, Advanced Dictionary. (
(7) Webster's Dictionary, 1828 Edition. (
(8) Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary. at Free, a On-line Dictionary. (
(9) American Heritage Dictionary & Wiktionary, at, (Maccabees Definition,
(10) Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2009 Microsoft Corporation. (
(11) For more information on Maccabees, visit Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Copyright © 1994-2008 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. - The Free, an on-line Dictioary, (
(12) Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Maccabees'". 1901. Smith's Bible Dictionary, (

Friday, September 17, 2010

Maccabee Hanukkah Brief Facts

Maccabee Facts of Hanukkah

NAME: Hanukkah, which means 'Dedication', 'Establishing', or 'Consecration' in Hebrew.
HEBREW NAME: חֲנֻכָּה or חנוכה.
TITLE: Festival of Lights, Festival of Dedication.
DEFINITION: An eight-day Jewish Holiday celebrated every year during the winter.
RELIGION: Ancient Holiday of Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism.
HOLIDAY: A joyous, family-centered Jewish religious festival pre-dating Christianity by nearly 200 years.
Judas Maccabaeus and his fellow Maccabee brothers.
RECOGNITION: A perpetual, yearly celebration marking the retaking, purification, and rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by the rebel Jewish forces of the Maccabees who defeated the Pagan Greeks.
BEGINNING: First established and celebrated in Jerusalem on the 25th of Kislev, 165 BC.
DATES: Always begins on the 25th of Kislev and ends on the 2nd or 3rd of Tevet (Hebrew Calendar).
DURATION: Lasts for eight days with an additional candle being lit after sunset for each passing day.
LONGEVITY: Annually observed by Jews from around the world for the past 2,175 years.
TRADITIONS: Ritual candle lighting, religious singing, specific prayers, gifts of money and games.
MEANING: Religious freedom must sometimes be defended by violent, military revolution.
MIRACLE: When it came time to light the Temple Menorah, there was only enough holy oil left for a single day, yet somehow God was able to cause the oil to last and burn for a miraculous eight entire days.
RECITALS: Hallel, Al-ha-Nissim, Hanukkah addition (Prayers), Brachot (Blessing), Ma'oz Tzur, Hanerot Halalu (Hymns), and Psalms 30, 67, 91, Numbers 6:22 through 8:4, Zechariah 2:14-4:7, I Kings 7:40-50 (Readings).
SIGNIFICANCE: Represents one of the most miraculous, statistically impossible, and highly implausible series of military victories in the history of the world.
BIBLE: First Book ot the Maccabees 4:36-59, Second Book of the Maccabees 10:1-8
TALMUD: The Babylonian Talmud, Sabbath 21-24a, 45, and 118
REFERENCE: 1) Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, Ch. 5-11, by Flavius Josephus,
2) Scroll of Antiochus, (Megillat Antiochus), 3) The Gospel of John, mentioned in John 10:22

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

SOURCE: Hanukkah, Wikipedia. (

Ikons from the Book of the Maccabees, by Gustave Dore'

The Book of the Maccabees I & II Illuminated

Source: Ikons taken from the English Bible, Illustrated by Paul Gustave Dore' (1865)

Mattathias and the Apostate (I Maccabees 2:1-25)

BIBLE: In those days Mattathias the son of John, son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, moved from Jerusalem and settled in Modein. He had five sons, John surnamed Gaddi, Simon called Thassi, Judas called Maccabeus, Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus.

He saw the blasphemies being committed in Judah and Jerusalem, and said, 'Alas! Why was I ever born to see this, the ruin of my people, the ruin of the holy city, and to dwell there when it was given over to the enemy, the sanctuary given over to aliens? Her temple has become like a man without honor, while her glorious vessels have been carried into captivity. Her babes have been killed in her streets, her youths by the sword of the foe. What nation has not inherited her palaces and has not seized her spoils? All her adornment has been taken away; no longer free, she has become a slave. And behold, our holy place, our beauty, and our glory have been laid waste; the Gentiles have profaned it. Why should we live any longer?' And Mattathias and his sons tore their clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned greatly. Then the king's officers who were enforcing the corruption came to the city of Modein to make them offer sacrifice. Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons were assembled.

Then the king's officers spoke to Mattathias as follows: 'You are a leader, honored and great in this city, and supported by sons and brothers. Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts.'

Unmoved, Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: 'Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to do his commandments, departing each one from the religion of his fathers, yet I and my sons and my brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. We will not obey the king's words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.' When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice upon the altar in Modein, according to the king's command. When Mattathias saw it, he burned with zealous rage and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar. At the same time he killed the king's officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar.

- I Maccabees 2:1-25

Mattathias Appeals to the Jewish Refugees (I Maccabees 2:42-70)

BIBLE: Then a company of Hasideans joined with them, mighty warriors of Israel, every one who offered himself willingly for the law. Therefore all who became fugitives to escape their troubles joined them and reinforced their numbers. They organized an army, and struck down sinners in their anger and lawless men in their wrath, the survivors fled to the Gentiles for safety. And Mattathias and his friends went about and tore down the altars, they forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised boys that they found within the borders of Israel. They hunted down the arrogant men, and the work prospered in their hands. They rescued the law out of the hands of the Gentiles and kings, and they never let the sinner gain the upper hand.

Now the days drew near for Mattathias to finally die, so he said to his sons: 'Arrogance and reproach have now become strong; it is a time of ruin and furious anger. Now, my children, show zeal for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers. Remember the deeds of the fathers, which they did in their generations; and receive great honor and an everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. Phinehas our father, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood. Joshua, because he fulfilled the command, became a judge in Israel. Caleb, because he testified in the assembly, received an inheritance in the land. David, because he was merciful, inherited the throne of the kingdom for ever. Elijah because of great zeal for the law was taken up into heaven. Hannaniah, Azariah, and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame. Daniel because of his innocence was delivered from the mouth of the lions. And so observe, from generation to generation, that none who put their trust in him will lack strength. Do not fear the words of a sinner, for his splendor will turn into dung and worms. Today he will be exalted, but tomorrow he will not be found, because he has returned to the dust, and his plans have perished with him.'

''My children, be courageous and grow strong in the law, for by it you will gain honor. Now behold, I know that Simeon your brother is wise in counsel; therefore always listen to him; he shall be as your father. Judas Maccabeus has been a mighty warrior from his youth; he shall command the army for you and fight the battle against the peoples. You shall rally about you all who observe the law, and avenge the wrong done to your people. Pay back the Gentiles in full, and heed what the law commands.' Then he blessed them, and was gathered to his fathers. Mattathias died in the one hundred, forty-sixth year and was buried in the tomb of his fathers at Modein. And all Israel mourned for him with great lamentation and sorrow.

- I Maccabees 2:42-70

Judas Maccabeus Pursues Timotheus (I Maccabees 5:28-44)

BIBLE: Then Judas and his army quickly turned back by the wilderness road to Bozrah; and he took the city, and killed every male by the edge of the sword; then he seized all its spoils and burned it with fire. He departed from there at night, and they went all the way to the stronghold of Dathema. At dawn they looked up and beheld a large company, that could not be counted, carrying ladders and engines of war to capture the stronghold, while attacking the Jews within.

So Judas saw that the battle had begun and that the cry of the city went up to Heaven with trumpets and loud shouts, and he said to the men of his forces, 'Fight today for your brethren!' Then he came up behind them in three companies, who sounded their trumpets and cried aloud in prayer. And when the army of Timothy realized that it was Maccabeus, they fled before him, and he dealt them a heavy blow. As many as eight thousand of them fell that day. Next he turned aside to Alema, and fought against it and took it; and he killed every male in it, plundered it, and burned it with fire. From there he marched on and took Chaspho, Maked, and Bosor, and the other cities of Gilead. After these things Timothy gathered another army and encamped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream.

Judas sent men to spy out the camp, and they reported to him, 'All the Gentiles around us have gathered to him; it is a very large force. They also have hired Arabs to help them, and they are encamped across the stream, ready to come and fight against you.' And Judas went to meet them. Now as Judas and his army drew near to the stream of water, Timothy said to the officers of his forces, 'If he crosses over to us first, we will not be able to resist him, for he will surely defeat us. But if he shows fear and camps on the other side of the river, we will cross over to him and defeat him.'

When Judas approached the stream of water, he stationed the scribes of the people at the stream and gave them this command, 'Permit no man to encamp, but make them all enter the battle.' Then he crossed over against them first, and the whole army followed him. All the Gentiles were defeated before him, and they threw away their weapons away and fled into the sacred precincts at Carnaim. Judas then took the city and burned the sacred precincts with fire, together with all who were still in them. Thus Carnaim was conquered; for they could stand before Judas no longer.

- I Maccabees 5:28-44

The Death of Eleazar (1 Maccabees 6:33-46)

BIBLE: Early in the morning the king rose and took his army by a forced march along the road to Beth-zechariah, and his troops made ready for battle and sounded their trumpets. They showed the elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries, to arouse them for battle. And they distributed the beasts among the phalanxes; with each elephant they stationed a thousand men armed with coats of mail, and with brass helmets on their heads; and five hundred picked horsemen were assigned to each beast. These took their position beforehand wherever the beast was; wherever it went they went with it, and they never left it. And upon the elephants were wooden towers, strong and covered; they were fastened upon each beast by special harness, and upon each were four armed men who fought from there, and also its Indian driver. The rest of the horsemen were stationed on either side, on the two flanks of the army, to harass the enemy while being themselves protected by the phalanxes. When the sun shone upon the shields of gold and brass, the hills were ablaze with them and gleamed like flaming torches. Now a part of the king's army was spread out on the high hills, and some troops were on the plain, and they advanced steadily and in good order. All who heard the noise made by their multitude, by the marching of the multitude and the clanking of their arms, trembled, for the army was very large and strong. But Judas and his army advanced to the battle, and six hundred men of the king's army fell.

And Eleazar, called Avaran, saw that one of the beasts was equipped with royal armor. It was taller than all the others, and he supposed that the king was upon it. So he gave his life to save his people and to win for himself an everlasting name. He courageously ran into the midst of the phalanx to reach it; he killed men right and left, and they parted before him on both sides. He got under the elephant, stabbed it from beneath, and killed it; but it fell to the ground upon him and he died.

- 1 Maccabees 6:33-46

Judas Maccabeus before the Army of Nicanor (1I Maccabees 15:15-29)

BIBLE: Jeremiah stretched out his right hand and gave to Judas a golden sword, and as he gave it he addressed him thus: 'Take this holy sword, a gift from God, with which you will strike down your adversaries.'

Encouraged by the words of Judas, so noble and so effective in arousing valor and awaking manliness in the souls of the young, they determined not to carry on a campaign but to attack bravely and to decide the matter once and for all, by fighting hand to hand with all courage, because the city and the sanctuary and the temple were all in danger. Their concern for their wives and children, and also for brothers and other family members, lay upon them less heavily; their greatest and first fear was for the consecrated sanctuary. And those who had to remain in the city were in no little distress, being anxious over the encounter in the open country.

When all were now looking forward to the coming decision, and the enemy was already close at hand with their army drawn up for battle, the elephants strategically stationed and the cavalry deployed on the flanks, Maccabeus, perceiving the hosts that were before him and the varied supply of arms and the savagery of the elephants, stretched out his hands toward heaven and called upon the Lord who works wonders; for he knew that it is not by arms, but as the Lord decides, that he gains the victory for those who deserve it. And he called upon him in these words: 'O LORD, you did send your angel in the time of Hezekiah king of Judea, and he killed nearly a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of Sennacherib. So now, O Sovereign of the heavens, send a good angel to carry terror and trembling before us. By the might of thy arm may these blasphemers who come against thy holy people be struck down.'

With these words he ended his prayer. Nicanor and his men advanced with trumpets and battle songs; and Judas and his men met the enemy in battle with invocation to God and prayers. So, fighting with their hands and praying to God in their hearts, they laid low no less than thirty-five thousand men, and were greatly gladdened by God's manifestation. When the action was over and they were returning with joy, they recognized Nicanor, lying dead, in full armor. Then there was shouting and tumult, and they blessed the Sovereign LORD in the language of their fathers.

- 1I Maccabees 15:15-29

Jonathan Destroys the Temple of Dagon (I Maccabees 10:60-85)

BIBLE: So Jonathan went with pomp to Ptolemais and met the two kings, he gave them and their friends silver and gold as well as many other gifts and found favor with them. A group of degenerate men from Israel, lawless men, gathered together against him to accuse him, but the king paid no attention to them. The king gave orders to take off Jonathan's garments and to clothe him in purple and they did so. The king also seated him at his side then he said to his officers, 'Go forth with him into the middle of the city and proclaim that no one is to bring charges against him about any matter and let no one annoy him for any reason.'

So when his accusers saw the honor that was paid him, in accordance with the proclamation, and saw him clothed in purple, they all fled. Thus the king honored him and enrolled him among his chief friends and made him general and governor of the province. Thus Jonathan returned to Jerusalem in peace and gladness. In the one hundred and sixty-fifth year Demetrius the son of Demetrius came from Crete to the land of his fathers. When Alexander the king heard of it, he was greatly sorrowed and returned to Antioch. Demetrius then appointed Apollonius the governor of Coelesyria and assembled a large force in order to threaten Jamnia.

Then he sent the following message to Jonathan the high priest: 'You are the only one to rise up against us, and I have become a laughingstock and reproach because of you. Why do you assume authority against us in the hill country? If you now have confidence in your forces, come down to the plain to meet us, and let us match strength with each other there, for I have with me the power of the cities. Ask and learn who I am and who the others are that are helping us. Men will tell you that you cannot stand before us, for your fathers were twice put to flight in their own land. And now you will not be able to withstand my cavalry and such an army in the plain, where there is no stone or pebble, or place to flee.'

When Jonathan heard the words of Apollonius, his spirit was aroused. He chose ten thousand men and set out from Jerusalem, while Simon his brother arrived to help him. He encamped before Joppa, but the men of the city closed its gates, for Apollonius had a garrison in Joppa. So they fought against it, causing the men of the city to become afraid and open the gates, resulting in Jonathan gaining possession of Joppa. When Apollonius heard of it, he mustered three thousand cavalry and a large army, and went to Azotus as though he were going farther. At the same time he advanced into the plain, for he had a large troop of cavalry and put confidence in it. Jonathan pursued him to Azotus and the armies engaged in battle. Now Apollonius had secretly left a thousand cavalry behind them. Jonathan learned that there was an ambush behind him, for they surrounded his army and shot arrows at his men from early morning till late afternoon. Nonetheless, his men stood fast, as Jonathan commanded and the enemy's horses grew tired. Then Simon brought forward his force and engaged the phalanx in battle (for the cavalry was exhausted); they were overwhelmed by him and fled, while the cavalry was dispersed in the plain. They fled to Azotus and entered Beth-dagon, the temple of their idol, for safety. But Jonathan burned Azotus along with the surrounding towns and plundered them, as well as the temple of Dagon, causing those who had taken refuge in it to be burned with fire. The number of those who fell by the sword, with those burned alive, came to eight thousand men.

- I Maccabees 10:60-85

Heliodorus Is Cast Down (II Maccabees 3:23-40)

BIBLE: Heliodorus went on with what had been decided. However, when he arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, right then and there the Sovereign of spirits and endowed of all authority caused so great a manifestation that all who had been so bold as to accompany him were now astounded by the power of God, and became faint with terror. For there appeared to them a magnificently caparisoned horse, with a rider of frightening mien, and it rushed furiously at Heliodorus and struck at him with its front hoofs. Its rider was seen to have armor and weapons of gold. Two young men also appeared to him, remarkably strong, gloriously beautiful and splendidly dressed, who stood on each side of him and scourged him continuously, inflicting many blows on him. When he suddenly fell to the ground and deep darkness came over him, his men took him up and put him on a stretcher and carried him away, this man who had just entered the aforesaid treasury with a great retinue and all his bodyguard but was now unable to help himself; and they recognized clearly the sovereign power of God. While he lay prostrate, speechless because of the divine intervention and deprived of any hope of recovery, they praised the Lord who had acted marvelously for his own place. And the temple, which a little while before was full of fear and disturbance, was filled with joy and gladness, now that the Almighty Lord had appeared.

Quickly some of Heliodorus' friends asked Onias to call upon the Most High and to grant life to someone who was lying there nearly at his last breath. And the high priest, fearing that the king might get the notion that some foul play had been perpetrated by the Jews with regard to Heliodorus, offered sacrifice for the man's recovery. While the high priest was making the offering of atonement, the same young men appeared again to Heliodorus dressed in the same clothing and they stood saying, 'Be very grateful to Onias the high priest, since for his sake the Lord has granted you your life. And see that you, who have been scourged by heaven, report to all men the majestic power of God.' Having said this they vanished. Then Heliodorus offered sacrifice to the Lord and made very great vows to the Savior of his life, and having bidden Onias farewell, he marched off with his forces to the king. And he bore testimony to all men of the deeds of the supreme God, which he had seen with his own eyes.

When the king asked Heliodorus what sort of person would be suitable to send on another mission to Jerusalem, he replied, 'If you have any enemy or plotter against your government, send him there, for you will get him back thoroughly scourged, if he escapes at all, for there most certainly is about the place some miraculous power of God. For he who has his dwelling in Heaven watches over that place himself and brings it aid and he strikes and destroys those who come to do it injury.' This was the outcome of the episode of Heliodorus and the protection of the treasury.

- II Maccabees 3:23-40

The Army Appears in the Heavens (II Maccabees 5:1-4)

BIBLE: About this time Antiochus made his second invasion of Egypt. And it happened that over all the city, for almost forty days, there appeared golden-clad horsemen charging through the air, in companies fully armed with lances and drawn swords, with troops of horsemen drawn up, attacks and counterattacks made on this side and on that, brandishing of shields, massing of spears, hurling of missiles, the flash of golden trappings, and armor of all sorts. Therefore all men prayed that the apparition might prove to have been a good omen.

- II Maccabees 5:1-4

The Martyrdom of Eleazar the Scribe (II Массabees 6:18-31)

BIBLE: Eleazar, one of the scribes in high position, a man now advanced in age and of noble presence, was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine's flesh. But he, welcoming death with honor rather than life with pollution, went up to the the rack of his own accord, spitting out the flesh, as men ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life. Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside, because of their long acquaintance with him, and privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use, and pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal which had been commanded by the king, so that by doing this he might be saved from death, and be treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them. But making a high resolve, worthy of his years and the dignity of his old age and the gray hairs which he had reached with distinction and his excellent life even from childhood, and moreover according to the holy God-given law, he declared himself quickly, telling them to send him to Hades.

'Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life,' he said, 'Unfortunately, the young might suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year had gone over to an alien religion and through my hesitation for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they might be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age. For even if for the present I should avoid the punishment of men, yet whether I live or die I shall not escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old age and leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws.'

When he had said this, he went at once to the rack. And those who a little before had acted toward him with good will now changed to ill will, because the words he had uttered were in their opinion sheer madness. When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned aloud and said: 'It is clear to the Lord in his holy knowledge that, though I might have been saved from death, I am enduring terrible sufferings in my body under this beating, but in my soul I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him.' So in this way he died, leaving in his death an example of nobility and a memorial of courage, not only to the young but to the great body of his nation.

- II Массabees 6:18-31

The Courage of a Mother (II Maccabees 7:20-42)

BIBLE: The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she retorted using her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 'I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws.'

Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: "My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, nursed you for three years. I have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life and have taken care of you. I implore you, my child, to look at the Heaven and the Earth and see everything that is in them and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind came into being. Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers.'

While she was still speaking, the young man said, 'What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king's command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God. For we are suffering because of our own sins. And even if our living Lord is angry for a little while, in order to rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants. But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all men, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God's covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God, and through me and my brothers to bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has justly fallen on our whole nation.'

The king then fell into a rage and punished him worse than the others, being exasperated at his scorn. So he died in his integrity, putting his whole trust in the Lord. Last of all, the mother died, after her sons. Let this be enough then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures.

- II Maccabees 7:20-42

The Punishment of Antiochus (II Мaccabees 9:1-9)

BIBLE: About that time, as it happened, Antiochus had retreated in disorder from the region of Persia. For he had entered the city called Persepolis, and attempted to rob the temples and control the city. Therefore the people rushed to the rescue with arms, and Antiochus and his men were defeated, with the result that Antiochus was put to flight by the inhabitants and beat a shameful retreat. While he was in Ecbatana, news came to him of what had happened to Nicanor and the forces of Timothy. Transfixed with rage, he conceived the idea of turning upon the Jews the injury done by those who had put him to flight; so he ordered his charioteer to drive without stopping until he completed the journey. But the judgment of heaven rode with him! For in his arrogance he said, 'When I get there I will make Jerusalem a graveyard of Jews.'

However, the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him an incurable and unseen blow. As soon as he ceased speaking he was seized with a pain in his bowels for which there was no relief and with sharp internal tortures -- and that very justly, for he had tortured the bowels of others with many and strange inflictions. Yet he did not in any way stop his insolence, but was even more filled with arrogance, breathing fire in his rage against the Jews, and giving orders to hasten the journey. And so it came about that he fell out of his chariot as it was rushing along, and the fall was so hard as to torture every limb of his body.Thus he who had just been thinking that he could command the waves of the sea, in his superhuman arrogance, and imagining that he could weigh the high mountains in a balance, was brought down to earth and carried in a litter, making the power of God manifest to all. And so the ungodly man's body swarmed with worms, while he was still living in anguish and pain, his flesh rotted away, and because of his stench the whole army felt repulsed at his decay.

- II Мaccabees 9:1-9

The Angel Is Sent to Deliver Israel (II Maccabees 11:6-13)

BIBLE: When Maccabeus and his men got word that Lysias was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people, with lamentations and tears, pleaded with the LORD to send a good angel to save Israel. Maccabeus himself was the first to take up arms and he urged the others to risk their lives with him to aid their brethren. Then they eagerly rushed off together. Once there, while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white and brandishing weapons of gold. So they all praised the merciful God together as one, and were strengthened in heart, ready to assault not only men but the wildest beasts or walls of iron. They advanced in battle order, having their heavenly ally, for the LORD had bestowed mercy upon them. They hurled themselves like lions against the enemy, killing eleven thousand of them and sixteen hundred horsemen, forcing all the rest to flee. Most of them got away stripped and wounded, and Lysias himself escaped by cowardly, disgraceful flight. Because he was not without intelligence, he pondered over the defeat which had befallen him, and soon realized that the Hebrews were invincible because the mighty God fought on their side.

- II Maccabees 11:6-13

Brief Biography of the Artist
Paul Gustave Dore was born in Strausborg, France in 1832 and by age five was considered a child prodigy, destined for future fame and success. He began his adult career in Paris as a literary illustrator whose drawings were then commissioned by such historical greats as Rabelais, Balzac, Milton, and Dante. By 1853, Gustave then began to illustrate the works of Lord Byron. Other opportunities among British publishers soon followed which included a new illustrated English Bible. In 1863, Doré illustrated a French edition of Cervantes's Spanish Classic Comedy, Don Quixote. In fact, his specific drawings of the knight Quixote and his squire Sancho have become the standard by which many readers understand and visualize the story. By 1883, Doré was then chosen to illustrate an oversized edition of Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven.' Gustave Doré's English Bible published in 1866 also became a great success so that by 1867, Doré had a major exhibition of his works in London, which then led to the opening of the Dore Gallery soon after. While known primarily for his illustrations, Gustave Dore's wood carvings are world-renowned and are seen by most art historians as more representative of his artistic genius. Although a Frenchman, his fame grew mostly from an English audience, but he did manage to illustrate at least once for nearly all his French literary contemporaries. These particular portraits of the Maccabees are all taken from his Biblical wood-cut illustrations published first in 1865 and again in the late 1860s.