An outline of the First Book of Maccabees
The remarkable story of the Maccabees, as recorded in the book of I Maccabees, can still provide inspiration for us today. Relying on God and drawing strength from the scriptures, Mattathias and his sons prevailed against a powerful empire. The Maccabees and their followers show us what it means to ``walk by faith, not by sight'' (2 Cor. 5:7). They demonstrate that faith can indeed move mountains and make all things possible (Matt. 17:20; 21:21-22).
The book of I Maccabees is also important background reading for students of the New Testament. With a knowledge of Maccabean history, one can better understand the tense political climate that surrounded the earthly ministry of Jesus. Many Jews in Jesus' day, remembering the success of Judas and his brothers, longed for a political and military messiah who would overthrow the Romans. Others, like the wealthy Sadducees and Herodians, hoped to preserve the status quo and did not want another revolution to occur. In light of this background, the drama behind incidents like the question about Caesar's coin (Luke 20:20-26)
or Jesus' Hanukkah confrontation in the temple (John 10:22-42) can be more fully appreciated.
Finally, what can the example of the Maccabees tell us about the nature and extent of our involvement in ``this present evil world''? On one hand, the events of the Maccabean revolution indicate that much good can be accomplished through the ``activist'' approach of Judas and his brothers. On the other hand, events from the aftermath of that revolution show that action divorced from divine guidance can lead to failure and even disaster. To be effective, our actions must be directed by the true Messiah and light of the world.
1:1-1:9 Alexander the Great 1:10-1:15 Antiochus Epiphanes and Renegade Jews 1:16-1:19 Antiochus in Egypt 1:20-1:28 Persecution of the Jews 1:29-1:40 The Occupation of Jerusalem 1:41-1:64 Installation of Gentile Cults 2:1-2:14 Mattathias and His Sons 2:15-2:41 Pagan Worship Refused 2:42-2:48 Counter Attack 2:49-2:70 The Last Words of Mattathias 3:1-3:26 The Early Victories of Judas 3:27-3:37 The Policy of Antiochus 3:38-3:60 Preparations for Battle 4:1-4:25 The Battle at Emmaus 4:26-4:35 First Campaign of Lysias 4:36-4:61 Cleansing and Dedication of the Temple 5:1-5:8 Wars with Neighboring Peoples 5:9-5:23 Liberation of Galilean Jews 5:24-5:44 Judas and Jonathan in Gilead 5:45-5:64 The Return of Jerusalem 5:65-5:67 Success at Hebron and Philistia 6:1-6:17 The Last Days of Antiochus Epiphanes 6:18-6:31 Renewed Attacks from Syria 6:32-6:47 The Battle at Bethzechariah 6:48-6:54 The Siege of the Temple 6:55-6:63 Syria Offers Termss 7:1-7:25 Expedition of Bacchides and Alcimus 7:26-7:32 Nicanor in Judea 7:33-7:50 Nicanor Threatens the Temple 8:1-8:16 A Eulogy of the Romans 8:17-8:32 An Alliance with Rome 9:1-9:10 Bacchides Returns to Judea 9:11-9:22 The Last Battle of Judas 9:23-9:31 Jonathan Succeeds Judas 9:32-9:49 The Campaigns of Jonathan 9:50-9:57 Bacchides Builds Fortification 9:58-9:73 The End of the War 10:1-10:17 Revolt of Alexander Epiphanes 10:18-10:25 Jonathan Becomes High Priest 10:26-10:45 A Letter from Demetrius to Jonathan 10:46-10:50 Death of Demetrius 10:51-10:66 Treaty of Ptolemny and Alexander 10:67-10:89 Appollonius Is Defeated by Jonathan 11:1-11:19 Ptolemny Invades Syria 11:20-11:37 Jonathan's Diplomacy 11:38-11:53 The Intrigue of Trypho 11:54-11:59 Trypho Seizes Power 11:60-11:74 Campaigns of Jonathan and Simon 12:1-12:23 Alliances with Rome and Sparta 12:24-12:38 Further Campaigns of Jonathan and Simon 12:39-12:53 Trypho Captures Jonathan 13:1-13:11 Simon Takes Command 13:12-13:24 Deceit and Treachery of Trypho 13:25-13:30 Jonathan's Tomb 13:31-13:42 Judea Gains Independence 13:43-13:48 The Capture of Gazara by Simon 13:49-13:53 Simon Regains the Citadel at Jerusalem 14:1-14:3 Capture of Demetrius 14:4-14:15 Eulogy of Simon 14:16-14:24 Diplomacy with Rome and Sparta 14:15-14:49 Official Honors for Simon 15:1-15:14 Letter of Antiochus VII 15:15-15:24 Rome Supports the Jews 15:25-15:36 Antiochus VII Threatens Simon 15:37-16:10 Victory over Cendebeus 16:11-16:17 Murder of Simon and His Sons 16:18-16:24 John Succeeds Simon