[killed 160 BCE]
Second leader of the Judean revolt against
the Greco-Syrian empire (166 BCE).
Westerners have traditionally referred to the third son
of Modein by the Latinate form of his name: Judas Maccabeus.
A Judean priest, he assumed command of Judean resistance to Greek
forces after his father's death (165 BCE).
His defeat of the Greek governor of Samaria
led to even more stunning victories over larger Greek armies at
Beth-horon & Emmaus. After this, Judah captured Mt. Zion, purged
the temple of Hellenistic cult paraphernalia, reconstructed the
sanctuary according to Torah
prescriptions & reconsecrated it to the worship of YHWH (Dec.
The festival of cHannukah was later instituted
to commemorate this triumph. Judah was repelled, however, in his
attempt to drive the Syrian garrison from the rest of Jerusalem
& was defeated near the village of Beth Zechariah, southwest of
Jerusalem (162 BCE).
He died in the battle of Elasa [north of Jerusalem].
Though Judah himself never held an official political position
other than ad hoc general of the Jewish rebellion, he had a
major influence on the direction of later history by initiating an
alliance with the republic of Rome against the Greek Syrian empire.
He was succeeded by his youngest brother, Jonathan
who, like him left no male heirs. But the descendents of his older
brother Simon became the Hasmonean
dynasty of Judean rulers.
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