Judas Makkabäus

Judas Makkabäus († 160 v. Chr.) (hebr. יהודההמכבי Jehuda haMakabi) was a Jewish freedom fighter 2. Century v. Chr.

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Judas originates from the family of the Hasmonäer, to a aaronitischen priest family (department of Jojarib). Its father Mattathias was initiator of the rebellion against the rule of the Seleukidenkönigs Antiochos IV. Epiphanes and the high priest Menelaos.

liberation struggle

starting pointthe rebellion of the Jews was against the religion edict of Antiochos IV., of the Jews under menace of strict punishments a demonstrative waste of the faith required: they should be forced to carry out a heidnisches victim. Judas' father Mattathias refused the victim, killed the royal envoyand thereby the signal for the beginning of a rebellion, the 167 v. set according to for the excessive quantity. Chr. as guerilla warfare began and 165 v. Chr. with conquest Jerusalems ended.

After the death of its father Mattathias 166 v. Chr.Judas appears the insurgent one as leaders. Firstin open field battle against the seleukidische army achieved military successes with Emmaus and Beth Sur arrange the seleukidischen realm Weser Lysias to take up with the insurgent negotiations and agree upon an armistice.

Result of the negotiations is an offer of Antiochos IV.. It contains (2. Makkabäer, 11.27-33):

  • Abolition of the religion edict
  • amnesty for the insurgent

victory and Tempelweihe

of the high priests Menelaos should remain however in the office, a condition those to the insurgent one appeared not acceptable, since Menelaos for it was the embodiment of waste and Frevel. In addition they hadfear after resignation of the weapons of more moderate groups to a certain extent than terrorists to be sacrificed.

Judas seized therefore surprisingly the initiative and conquered Jerusalem in the hand caper. Only a seleukidische garrison still held itself in the David city. It let the heidnischen altar stone in the temple destroy and to25. Kislew in December 164 v. Chr. the temple weihen solemnly again. This event is celebrated from the Jews to today at Chanukka, the light celebration.

War courses in the areas of the Idumäer and Ammoniter as well as in Galiläa and Peräa, those followed the income Jerusalemspartly, partly the protection that resident Jewish population served the area safety device there. Part these measures were resettlement actions of Jews from Galiläa and the east Jordan country in the Jewish heartland. The resettling thereby the country of expropriated trailers of the Seleukiden and the Menelaos was assigned.

defeatand death

after the death of Antiochos IV. in November 164 v. Chr. tried Lysias, the seleukidische realm Weser and guardian of the still minor Antiochos V.again to arrive at a peace with the insurgent ones. Again Judas had to fear that with a communication between thatJewish pious ones, which Chassidim, and which Seleukiden would be pushed its trailers and in particular the leaders and activists of the liberty fight to the edge and pursued possibly later. It decided to proceed against the seleukidische garrison remained in Jerusalem and began a FE storage of the David city.

The seleukidische side came thereupon to the conviction that a reliable peace and a return to the status did not ante quo (inclusive of regular treasury rate from Judäa) are possible and looked for the military decision. In the year 163 v. Chr. the Jewish armed force under Judas suffered guidance Beth Sacharja a destroying defeat. Also the Beth Sur fastened by Judas fell into the hands of the Seleukiden. Only on the temple mountain still some the insurgent FE storage withstood.

Actually the end of the rebellion would have come here, would have itself Lysias not by internal difficulties to a fastAgreement with the Jews in a forced manner seen. It closed Menelaos with the Chassidim peace, a new high priest acceptable for both sides named Alkimos was used and executed. However the seleukidische crew remained in Jerusalem and the attachments of the temple mountain was geschleift.

Judas, its brothers andthe leaders of the rebellion had to flee. Again a guerilla warfare with terror and Gegenterror followed. In particular on the flat country actual and alleged trailers of the Alkimos the partisans of the Judas fell to the victim. Around this encroachment an end to make became a seleukidische armed force underthe field gentleman Nikanor against Judas sent. In the battle with Beth Horon in March 161 v. Chr. Nikanor lost however both battle and life. The day of the victory, the 13. Adar, was received as Nikanortag into the Jewish calendar .

More heavily than the victory against onerelatively small armed force weighed the validity providing power of Rome ever stronger in the east. In 2. Makkabäerbuch (11,34-38) delivered letter of one at that time (164 v. Chr.) in Antiochien because-end Roman legation to the leaders of the Jews places an impudent interference into internal affairsthe Seleukidenreiches and an implicit acknowledgment of the Jewish insurgent ones. Judas took the opportunity and sent in the summer 161 v. Chr. a legation to Rome. One of these envoys was Eupolemos, son of the Jochanan and author of a Jewish history in Greek language. Result of the negotiationsin Rome a contract was over mutual weapon assistance. The present Treaty, at short notice politically intelligently, formed on a long-term basis one of several starting points for Roman interference in Judäa.

In view of this situation the seleukidische king Demetrios I. decided. to the military release impact. It sent a large army under the field gentleman Bakchides after Judäa. In March 160 v. Chr. Judas in the battle fell with Elasa, after its army had dissolved already to a large extent in view of the hostile supremacy. Rome did not see a Veranlassung to more than verbal actions.


Makkabäus is ofGreek Makkabaios derived form, which is derived again from the aramäischen Makkaba (hammer). One has the underlying Hebrew letters M-K-B also as Akrostichon for the initial letters of the words mi kamoka ba'elim JHWH in exodus 15.11 (who resembles you under the Gods, GENTLEMAN?) interprets. MKBthen for example password of the Jewish freedom fighters could have been, who became the surname of their leader.



  • bar Kochva, Bezalel: Judas Maccabaeus, Cambridge and. A.1989.
  • Klaus bringing man, history of the Jews in the antiquity, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-608-94138-X, S. 113ff.
  • Heinrich Graetz, history of the Jews, Bd. 2.2, chapters. 10 and. 11.

see also


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