Sacred Texts  Bible  Index  Previous  Next 

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

XCI. (1) Now, the days of Mattathiah were drawing to a close, so, calling his five sons to his bedside, he encouraged them and exhorted them, saying, 'I know that now fierce battles will be waged in the land of Judah, since we have been stirred up to fight for our people. Now, my sons, be zealous for your God, for His sanctuary, and for His people. Fight, and do not be afraid of death; if you die

p. 270

in battle, you will be received among your brethren, and their portion shall be shared with you, for to all our ancestors who have been zealous for God, God has given honour and favour. Did not our ancestor Pineḥas receive the everlasting covenant, and did not our other ancestors who were zealous for the Lord receive their reward from the Lord?' (2) Then, addressing Simeon his son, he said, 'I know the wisdom that God has put in thy heart; withhold not, then, thy counsel from this people, and be to thy brethren as a father, and they shall hearken to thee and to all thy counsels, since our God has given thee might and wisdom.' (3) Next Mattathiah called his son Judah, who came and stood before him; and he said, 'O my son Judah, who art called Maccabee (###) on account of thy power, I know, my son, that thou art a man of war, and that God has given thee strength and might, and a heart like a lion's that flees from nothing. Now, my son, honour the Lord with all the strength the Lord hath granted thee; fight His battles without stopping; do not be reluctant to travel the four corners of the land—east, west, south and north—to capture the country from the power of the uncircumcised; be to them the captain of their host and the anointed of battle.' Then, bringing out a horn of oil, he poured it upon his head, and thus anointed him for battle, while all the people raised a shout, and, blowing upon their trumpets, exclaimed, 'Long live the anointed!' (4) When he had finished his exhortation to his sons, he died and was gathered to his people, and Judah his son, surnamed Maccabee, arose in his place. He had the assistance of his brothers, his father's household, and all the assembly of the Ḥassidim. And Judah was glad to fight the battles of Israel. Having clothed himself in a coat of mail as a warrior, and equipped himself with the implements of war, he looked like one of the sons of Anak. He protected the camp of Israel with his sword, and, pursuing the enemy, he crushed out their life. He burnt the sinners with the fire of his mouth, confounded the wicked with terror, and confused all the evil-doers through fear of him, for he

p. 271

appeared to them just as a roaring lion seeking prey appears to cattle. Jacob rejoiced at his deeds and was glad at his actions, for he confounded great kings, so that his name rang from one end of the world to the other, and people continually spoke of the wars he waged. Blessed be his name among the people of Israel; peace and repose be upon his righteous couch, and blessing on his holy bed, for he has not withheld his soul from death to defend Israel, God's people, and has slain all the wicked of the people of Judah who led the Israelites astray.

Next: XCII