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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

XC. (1) The king then went on his way to Macedon, and commanded Phillip and the captains whom he had left in the land of Judah, saying, 'Blot out the very memory of Judah from the face of the earth, and let him who but mentions the name "Jew" be slain; but let all those live who are willing to be assimilated with our people, and be called "Javan."' (2) Accordingly Phillip and the captains with him destroyed all whom he discovered observing the Torah, with the exception of those who fled with Mattathiah, the son of Jochanan to Mod‘aith. For Mattathiah would not bear the reproach of the uncircumcised, but was zealous for his God, and, weeping, he said, 'Woe unto me, O my mother, that thou didst give me birth to behold the breach of my people.'

(3) Then he sent his son Judah secretly to say to the Jews, 'Whoever of you are on the side of the Lord, come to me.' There gathered unto him a large assembly of

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[paragraph continues] Hassidim, and Mattathiah addressed them in the following words, 'Why multiply words? The only thing that remains for us to do is to pray and to fight. Let us strengthen ourselves and die in battle, but not as sheep led to slaughter.' When they heard these words they all of them took courage (braced themselves up), and said each one to his neighbour, 'To thy tent, O Judah. Rule again over thine own land. It is enough, King Antiochus. Now sharpen thy sword, O people of Judah, and beware of thy life, O nation of Macedon.' From that day the Macedonian yoke was broken asunder from the shoulders of Judah.

(4) When Phillip and the chiefs of the king heard these words they went against them with a large army. When they were going against them, they found on the way men, women, and children of Judah in a cave all observing the Sabbath. Coming to the entrance of the cave, they said to them, 'Come out and profane the Sabbath, and perform the command of the king and live, and do not allow yourselves to die.' But they said, 'We shall not come out nor shall we profane the Sabbath day. Let the heavens and the earth be witness that we die in our integrity.' Phillip then commanded fire to be brought and placed at the mouth of the cave. Then, placing some wood upon it, he filled the cave with smoke, so that they were all suffocated.

(5) The chiefs of the king then marched upon Mattathiah, to the mount of Mod‘aith, and found him, his sons, his brothers, and a few of his people of the assembly of the Ḥassidim fully armed for war, for they had brought their wives and children to that mountain. The chiefs of the king approached Mattathiah with words of peace, saying, 'O honoured among thy people, perform the command of the king and live and do not die.' (6) But Mattathiah answered very proudly, saying, 'I obey the command of my King; do you obey the command of yours.' At this the chiefs were confused, and, being silent, did not say another word; for they wondered at Mattathiah, and were thinking how they could capture and slay him as they had

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slain the other pious men. (7) But suddenly one of the renegade Jews among the chiefs of the king said, 'I am astonished at the chiefs of the king and his army. How long will ye hold your peace and not perform the command of the king by rising up against Mattathiah, who was insolent enough to refuse to obey the king's command?' And after he had spoken thus he unsheathed his sword, and, cutting off the head of a swine, he took it in his hand and carried it to the altar which they had built to sacrifice to the king's vanities. Then, placing the head of the swine upon the altar, he offered it with frankincense to the idols of Antiochus. (8) When Mattathiah beheld this he was exceedingly wroth, and his fury burnt within him. Then, drawing his sword, he leaped upon the sacrificing Jew, and, severing his head from his body, he held it up on high before the chief of the king who approached Mattathiah, while the body fell down from the altar upon which he stood. He also killed the king's chief, and put the rest of them to flight, levelling to the ground a number of the crowd. Then, sounding the Shofar, he gave the signal for war. (9) He was the first one to raise his hand against the Macedonian kingdom. He also commanded us to fight on the Sabbath, and he will stand by us to defend us in this matter. It is written in the book of Joseph ben Gorion the priest. (10) Mattathiah with his sons and brothers then marched forth, and with them a large band of the Ḥassidim. They pursued those who had hidden themselves, and smote and discomfited them, until there did not remain one in the whole land of Judah. They then circumcised their sons. Thus, great salvation was brought about by the Lord through Mattathiah.

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