The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!

Like this page? Share it. MeWe Logo ParlerLogo WimKin Logo CloutHub Others:Bookmark and Share

Mobile Users: The page will display properly if you hold your device in “landscape”
position and use your touch gesture to resize the page to fit your screen.

Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

My short comments on the text are notated in “maroon pop-up text tipsMy comment is displayed like this.” which are accessed by “hovering” your mouse over the text or tapping your touch screen. [A few short comments look like this.] Longer comments are included in footnotes or links to other pages. Sometimes my paraphrase provides all the commentary needed to clarify the passage. I have added emphasis to some phrases simply to call them to your attention. Explanations of Greek and Hebrew words are from the NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries Copyright © 1981, 1998 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved In order to get the most from these pages, please follow all the hyperlinks, nearly all of which will open in a new tab or window.

Apocrypha Introductory Comments
Tobit  •  Judith  •  Esther (LXX)  •  Wisdom of Solomon  •  Sirach
Baruch  •  2 Baruch  •  1 Maccabees  •  2 Maccabees  •  1 Esdras
Prayer of Manassas   •  Psalm 151  •  3 Maccabees  •  2 Esdras  •  4 Maccabees  •  Daniel (LXX)

Introduction to the Maccabees
First Maccabees   Second Maccabees   Third Maccabees   Fourth Maccabees

The Books of the Maccabees
Introductory Notes and Comments

[Edited from the Wikipedia article]

Book of the Maccabees (Sefer Hamakabim) is a history of the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid dynasty.


The Book of the Maccabees refers to a series of deuterocanonical books contained in various canons of the Bible, only four of which are found on this website. The reason that the Maccabbees books are not in the Hebrew canon (the Tanakh) is simply that the sages who developed that canon decided to exclude anything written after the time of Ezra 480–440 BCE. According to Louis Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews, the twenty-four book canon of the Hebrew Bible was fixed by Ezra and the scribes in the Second Temple period. According to the Talmud, much of the Tanakh was compiled by the men of the Great Assembly (Anshei K'nesset HaGedolah), a task completed in 450 BCE, and it has remained unchanged ever since. The Maccabean Revolt occurred after the Hebrew canon was set. First, Second, and Third Maccabees were included in the Septuagint, the earliest Greek translation of the Tanakh compiled in the third century BCE.

First vs second books of Maccabees

The books of the First and Second Maccabees offer different accounts. The authors display notably different beliefs. The narratives do not match. Differences include the description of martyrdom. In First Maccabees, the author does not mention the value of martyrdom. The author insinuates that martyrdom was useless. In First Maccabees, pious Jews’ martyrdom does not stimulate God to act in the Maccabean revolt. Pious Jews, in the author’s eyes, had to obey the Hasmoneans, whom he believed were favored by God. Religious devotion was not sufficient to emancipate the Jews. In contrast, Jason of Cyrene, the author of the Second Book of Maccabees, believed that martyrs were heroes and had power.

Jason depicts Onias III and other martyrs alongside Judas Maccabaeus as champions; earning divine favor as a result. He bitterly denies that Pietist martyrs were less favored to the Hasmoneans by God. The tone of each record is in contrast. The author of First Maccabees presents an objective and sober account, taking influence from the recorders of the Tanakh. Second Maccabees is notably subjective and emotional. For instance, Jason of Cyrene has an emotional outburst in his narrative, where he powerfully supports the belief in resurrection, which is denied in First Maccabees. He continues, providing proof that Judas held the same belief. These two books are unlike in composition. First Maccabees begins with the rise and legitimacy of the Hasmonean dynasty, originating with a narrative of the Jewish priest Mattathias, a forefather to the Maccabean revolt. Second Maccabees begins with two letters, Epistle I and Epistle II. These letters are insubstantial aspects in relation to the narrative.

Originally posted on Thursday, 02 July 2020

Page last updated on Sunday, 11 July 2021 10:56 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return