Tag Archives: Maccabees

4 Maccabees

The Book of 4 Maccabees in the BibleFourth Maccabees, written by an unknown author, is a philosophical treatise intertwined with graphic portrayals of persecution, torture, and death. The premise is that devout reason is superior to emotion and should therefore rule. The resolute suffering of the people profiled in 4 Maccabees shows how their reasoned faith in God allows them to overcome the threat of extreme, physical pain and imminent death.

Antiochus, set on annihilating the Jews, rounds them up and forces them to eat pork, an action abhorrent to their faith. Those who eat the forbidden food are freed. Those who don’t face extreme torture and death.

First martyred is Eleazar an elderly, respected priest. Though his persecutors beg him to eat the meat and save himself from pain and death, he refuses. The shorter account of his martyrdom is also found in 2 Maccabees 6:18-31.

Next is the eldest of seven sons. He is tortured and killed as his brothers and mother are forced to watch. In turn all seven brothers die a horrific death and finally their mother. All face their fate with resolute confidence. Their story is also told, in abbreviated form, in 2 Maccabees 7.

Fourth Maccabees is not found in all versions of the Bible or even all versions of the Apocrypha. However, the Eastern Orthodox and Ethiopian Bibles include 4 Maccabees. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, which was widely used in Jesus’s day, also contains 4 Maccabees, as does the various versions of the RSV (Revised Standard Version) and the CEB (Common English Bible).

Compare to 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, and 3 Maccabees.

For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”

First Maccabees

The Book of First Maccabees in the BibleFirst 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.

Also see 2 Maccabees, as well as 3 Maccabees and 4 Maccabees.

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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Second Maccabees

Second Maccabees, another historical book, is not a continuation of First Maccabees, but more appropriately a companion piece, as its timeline mostly overlaps First Maccabees and provides additional details.

The Book of Second Maccabees in the bibleMost importantly, Second Maccabees offers a different perspective of these events, showcasing signs, wonders, and miracles.

It also gives additional insight into what provoked the Maccabean rebellion and covers Judas Maccabeus and his recapture and rededication of the temple.

Also see 1 Maccabees, as well as 3 Maccabees and 4 Maccabees.

Second 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 Second Maccabees. Interestingly, the original Authorized King James Version (KJV) contains Second 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 Second Maccabees.

For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”

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