Day 290: Judas Maccabeus Dies

1 Maccabees 9:1-22 Judas was willing to die for the cause of freedom, but many of his soldiers were not, and they began to desert him. Perhaps the absence of any mention of recourse to God is an indication of the loss of hope. Nevertheless, Judas Maccabeus, in his total dedication to save the people of Israel, is a type of Christ (TYPOLOGY!!), who gave his life to save all of the people.

Ch 9:54-57 The Temple featured a wall that separated the inner court, where the Jews worshiped, from the outer court, where Gentiles gathered. In a continuing but misguided effort to force political, cultural, and religious unity throughout the Syrian empire, Alcimus ordered the separation wall torn down. Work had just begun when Alcimus suffered what might have been a stroke and died shortly thereafter.

Ch 9:54: He tore down the work of the prophets: Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets were key in establishing the people of Israel as distinct from the pagans and Gentiles. Due to the Redemption of Christ, everyone may receive the gift of faith and, thus, have access to eternal life (cf. Eph 2:11-14).

Sirach 24:1-34 Wisdom is sometimes personified in Scripture in feminine terms; in fact, the Greek Sophia means “wisdom.” “Begotten Wisdom” is a term that refers to God the Son, who took on human nature. The beginning of John’s Gospel stresses through the Word all creation came into existence (cf. Jn 1:1-5). It was fitting, therefore, that the Redemption, i.e., the recreation, should occur through the Word made flesh. Because the “Begotten Wisdom” became flesh in Mary’s womb, one of her titles is Seat of Wisdom. Appropriately, the First Reading at Mass on the Second Sunday after the Nativity (Christmas) is excerpted from this chapter. (CCC 721-722)

Ch 24:10 I ministered before him: The Israelites believed that God was especially present in the Tabernacle in the Holy of Holies of the Temple. In Catholic churches, the tabernacle is the place where Christ is truly and fully present under the appearances of bread and wine. The Eucharistic species are reserved to share with those unable to attend Mass and for the purpose of adoration. (CCC 1183, 1379-1381)

Ch 24:17 Other ancient authorities add verse 18: “I am the mother of beautiful love, of fear, of knowledge, and of holy hope; being eternal, I therefore am given to all my children, to those who are named by him.”

Ch 24:23 Other ancient authorities add verse 24: “Do not cease to be strong in the Lord, cleave to him so that he may strengthen you; the Lord Almighty alone is God, and besides him there is no savior.”

Ch 25:1-11 In addition to associating wisdom with true happiness, it is intimately united to the fear of the Lord, which consists in an eagerness to please God and to avoid sin. Another theme addressed in these verses is the cultivation of friendship: our inclination to socialize and form relationships reflects the Trinitarian life of the three divine Persons of the Trinity. (CCC 1878-1882, 1890-1891)

Ch 25:11 Other ancient authorities add verse 12: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of love for him, and faith is the beginning of clinging to him.”

Ch 25:13-26 The negative comments about women in these verses reflect a biased view that women are inferior. Their exalted dignity and equality with men would begin to emerge in the Mosaic Law and culminate in the advent of Christ. Mistreatment of women, especially in ancient times, stems from the entrance of sin into the world. The redemption of Christ restored the original meaning of equality and complementarity between men and women. (CCC 372, 1610)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • After the sudden death of Judas Maccabeus in battle on Mount Azotus, Jonathan assumed leadership in difficult times (1 Mc 9:23-31).

  • Some Jews defected from the resistance movement, and many who remained loyal were executed by Bacchides, the Seleucid governor of the province beyond the River.

  • Despite this, Jonathan waged successful guerilla warfare against the Syrian forces from his headquarters in Tekoa, in the Judean wilderness.

  • His accomplishments soon wore down the Syrians, and he was able to make peace with the enemy, though the Seleucids remained in possession of the citadel in Jerusalem and other strongholds in Judea.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

  • It’s Day 290 and Fr. Mike has never mentioned Marisa Beyer

  • She’s the one who wrote the Introduction for the podcast

  • Lindsey Rudegeair is the one who reworked Jeff Cavins’ Great Adventure Bible Timeline for the podcast

  • Elizabeth Boyd has edited the episodes

  • They all do thousands of other things as well

  • So pray for them and Fr. Mike and everyone else who is involved in the podcast

  • In 1 Maccabees Ch 9 we have the death of Judas

  • So let’s go back

  • The Hebrew names are a piece of cake

  • When it comes to the Greek names, we can only do our best

  • There are different ways to say Antiochus Epiphanes

  • So it goes with Bacchides

  • We are doing our best

  • GOSH!!

  • The death of Judas The Hammer Maccabeus

  • He fought for the people of Israel against the lawless ones

  • One of the things that happened is not only Judas and his brother Jonathan, who succeeded him, fought against Bacchides and the Greeks, specifically the Seleucids

  • BUT…

  • They have to fight the LAWLESS MEN

  • Who are those lawless men?

  • Those are POTENTIALLY brothers (not blood brothers)





  • The people who were living in the same land in that region

  • These people were introduced by the Babylonians to water down and ultimately destroy the faith of the people who are left in the land of Jerusalem and Judah

  • So these people don’t care about the Law or the Covenant that God had made with them

  • For so many of us, when there is an external enemy that is one thing

  • BUT…

  • When the enemy is on the INSIDE

  • When the enemy is SUPPOSED TO BE A FRIEND


  • When the enemy is SUPPOSED TO BE someone who actually loves you, you agree, and you are on the same side…


  • It is one of the reasons Dante put THOSE WHO BETRAY in the DEEPEST CIRCLE OF HELL in his opus, INFERNO

  • Those who were counted on

  • Those who said, “You can count on me.”



  • BRUTUS who killed Julius Caesar

  • Now at the same time, it is NOT ALWAYS BETRAYAL

  • To not get along with brothers, sisters, friends, or family IS NOT ALWAYS BETRAYAL

  • Sometimes it can just be HEARTBREAK

  • That’s a reality FOR ALL OF US

  • We talked about this before

  • Here are my brothers

  • Here are my sisters

  • Here is my family

  • Here are the people who SHOULD BELONG TO THE LORD GOD

  • BUT…

  • They have turned to live like Greeks

  • They have turned to live like Samaritans

  • They have turned to live like the PEOPLE AROUND THEM


  • Living the way we were CALLED TO LIVE

  • Living the way we were TOLD TO LIVE

  • Living the way we were INVITED TO LIVE

  • Living the way we were BROUGHT INTO A COVENANT TO LIVE

  • Go back to the beginning of 1 Maccabees and we had the men who were covering up the mark of their circumcision (ouch) because they wanted to fit in with the Greek culture

  • That isn’t necessarily them deciding they wanted to be DIRECT ENEMIES against Judas and his brothers

  • BUT…

  • It is a sense of, “Wait, I thought we were supposed to be united and we are not.”

  • This happens so often in families where you try to raise your kids or help your grandkids or help your siblings to follow after the Lord and they just decide not to

  • It’s not like they are MAKING THEMSELVES YOUR ENEMIES

  • BUT…


  • It’s not like they are BETRAYING YOU

  • BUT…


  • So here are Judas and Jonathan who are taking up arms against this because they have to be the enforcers here

  • They are kind of the government now, they are the law

  • So those who are outlaws need to be tracked down and stopped

  • Judas and Jonathan need to put an end to their outlaw ways and their running amok among the people of Israel

  • So tomorrow we will meet Alexander Epiphanes

  • So more of the Seleucids and the Greek culture

  • We are going to see as the people of Israel continue to try to figure out how to do this

  • Judas is dead

  • Jonathan succeeds him

  • The question is, “Ok so if we have been reestablished as a sovereign nation, how do we live? The king is supposed to be from the Tribe of Judah. The Maccabee brothers, Judas and Jonathan, are not from the Tribe of Judah. So what happens now?”

  • There is not someone from the Tribe of Judah

  • There is not a descendant and heir from King David on the throne

  • It’s a sovereign nation

  • BUT…

  • It is not the one that GOD PROMISED

  • So we will see what happens there

  • This is a GIFT

  • Walking through Maccabees can be a challenge because it is a lot of history

  • One of the things we realize is that the Sacred Author is just telling us the story in 1 Maccabees




  • He is not attempting to make any lessons about this

  • He is just reporting the news

  • In 2 Maccabees, that is where we have the sermons and what it all means and the call to those people and the call to US to say, “Ok, now live like this because of the example of the Maccabees.”

  • “Live like this as a result of the example of the faithful Jewish people at the time.”

  • But 1 Maccabees is kind of dry (Not to me!! Eleazar killed a frickin ELEPHANT!! That was EPIC!! Also I bet the elephant could have fed many hungry soldiers and was therefore delicious 😉)

  • It’s kind of just facts, data, and the story

  • So hopefully you are learning some of the facts, data, and story with us as we journey through Maccabees here on Day 290




Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and thank you. Thank you for this day. And thank you for this gift of being able to walk with your people, walk with your people in darkness, walk with your people in times of uncertainty, in times of violence, and in times of valiant living. But also, gosh Lord, we continue to see the ways in which wisdom wins and folly loses. So we ask you to please help us to be wise. Help us to be wise not only with what we do but also with what we don’t do. Help us be wise in how we act as well as how we don’t act, with what we say and what we do not say. We ask you to please bless us this day as you have and please receive our praise this day as you do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”