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The Maccabees provided the instigators of the Jewish rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes.
After Alexander the Great died his territory was divided into four sub-kingdoms. The area containing the modern state of Israel was under control the family Antiochus. Antiochus IV (self styled Epiphanes, or 'the great') wanted to Hellenize the Jews. He prohibited circumcision, put idols to Greek gods in the Temple in Jerusalem, and banned the study of Torah.
A rebellion started, at first led by the priest Mattathias and later by his sons, especially Judah. After a protracted, seven year guerrilla struggle the Maccabees finally prevailed, and purged the Temple of the idols. When they arrived at the Temple, they found that there was enough holy oil to keep it lit for one day, and replacements would not arrive for more than a week. According to tradition, God made the oil for one day last for eight days, hence the length of the holiday of Hanukkah.
First Maccabees or 1 Maccabees is most famous for being the source of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Despite this fact, it is not included as canon in the Tanakh. It is a deuterocanonical work in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition, and apocryphal in Protestant tradition. Unlike most of the Books of the Maccabees, 1 Maccabees was written in Hebrew and translated into Greek as part of the Septuagint. The Hebrew version no longer survives.
This book was probably not included in the Bible, not because of objectionable content, but because, from the perspective of the compilers of the Bible, it was "too recent" or because it was written in Greek (rather than Hebrew or Aramaic). Also, the Maccabees created the Hasmonean dynasty, of which the unpopular king Herod was a descendant, so politics could have had something to do with it too. Protestants may have disliked some of the "proof texts" used by Catholics taken from the work.
|Guide to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures edit|
|Torah: Genesis - Exodus - Leviticus - Numbers - Deuteronomy Old Testament History: Book of Joshua - Book of Judges - Ruth - Samuel (1 & 2) - Kings (1 and 2 Kings) - Chronicles - Ezra and Nehemiah - Book of Esther Old Testament Wisdom: Book of Job - Psalms - Book of Proverbs - Ecclesiastes - Song of Solomon Major Prophets: Isaiah - Book of Jeremiah - Lamentations - Book of Ezekiel - Book of Daniel Minor Prophets: Minor Prophets
Deuterocanon (Catholic and Orthodox): - Tobit - Judith - 1 Maccabees - 2 Maccabees - Book of Wisdom - Sirach - Baruch - Letter of Jeremiah Deuterocanon (Orthodox): 1 Esdras - 3 Maccabees - Prayer of Manasseh - Psalm 151 Deuterocanon (Georgian Orthodox): 4 Maccabees - 2 Esdras Ethiopian Orthodox ("narrow" canon): Jubilees - Enoch - Rest of the Words of Baruch - 1-3 Meqabyan Syriac Peshitta: 2 Baruch Psalms 152-155
The Gospels: Gospel of Matthew - Gospel of Mark - Gospel of Luke - Gospel of John Acts: Acts of the Apostles Pauline Epistles: Romans - 1 & 2 Corinthians - Galatians - Ephesians - Philippians - Colossians - First Thessalonians - Second Thessalonians - First Timothy - Second Timothy - Titus - Epistle to Philemon General Epistles: Epistle to the Hebrews - Epistle of James - First Peter - Second Peter - 1 John - 2 John - 3 John - Epistle of Jude Revelation: Book of Revelation