First Maccabees is labeled as an historical book, but it possesses both historical and literary value. It is a book of stoic faith.
First Maccabees gives details of the political scene and the military situation in the area of Israel circa the second century BCE. Though the initial focus is on the military leadership and bold exploits of Judas (Maccabeus), for whom the book is named, it also covers the feats of his four brothers: Eleazar, John, Jonathan, and Simon.
First Maccabees is an Apocrypha book and not included in all versions of the Bible. The New Jerusalem Bible, Revised Standard Version (RSV), New American Bible (NABRE), Wycliffe Bible (WYC), Common English Bible (CEB), Good News Translation (GNT), and Douay-Rheims (DRA) all include First Maccabees. Interestingly, the original Authorized King James Version (KJV) contains First Maccabees, but the text was removed almost two centuries later. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, which was widely used in Jesus’s day, also includes the book of First Maccabees.
For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”
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