1. In those days Mattathias, son of Simon, a priest of the family of Yoarib, left Jerusalem and went to settle in Modein.

2. He had five sons: John, known as Gaddi,

3. Simon called Thassi,

4. Judas called Maccabeus,

5. Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus.

6. Mattathias saw the blasphemies committed in Judah and Jerusalem,

7. so he said: "Alas! Was I born just to witness the ruin of my people and the destruction of the holy city? Shall I sit by while she is in the hands of her enemies and her sanctuary in the power of foreigners?

8. Her temple has become like a dishonored man,

9. the precious objects that were her glory have been carried off as booty, her babies have been murdered in the squares, and her young men killed by the sword of the enemy.

10. What nation has not received part of her treasures and taken possession of her spoils?

11. She has been stripped of all her adornments and from the freedom that was hers, she has gone into slavery.

12. Our beautiful sanctuary that was our pride has been laid waste and profaned by pagans.

13. What is there to live for?"

14. Mattathias and his sons tore their clothes, put on sackcloth and went into deep mourning.

15. In the meantime, the king's representatives, who were forcing the Jews to give up their religion came to Modein to organize a sacred gathering.

16. While many Israelites went to them, Mattathias and his sons drew apart.

17. The representatives of the king addressed Mattathias, and said to him: "You are one of the leaders of this city, an important and well-known man, and your many children and relatives follow you.

18. Come now and be the first to fulfill the king's order, as the men of Judah have already done, and the survivors in Jerusalem as well. You and your sons will be named Friends of the King and the king will send you gold, silver and many other gifts."

19. But Mattathias answered in a loud voice: "Even if all the nations included in the kingdom should abandon the religion of their fathers and submit to the order of King Antiochus,

20. I, my sons and my family will remain faithful to the Covenant of our fathers.

21. May God preserve us from abandoning the Law and its precepts.

22. We will not obey the orders of the king nor turn aside from our religion either to the right or to the left."

23. When he finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of everyone to offer incense on the altar that was built in Modein according to the king's decree.

24. When Mattathias saw him, he was fired with zeal, his heart was stirred, and giving vent to his righteous anger, he threw himself on the Jew and cut the man's throat on the altar.

25. At the same time, he killed the king's representative who was forcing the people to offer sacrifice, and then tore down the altar.

26. In doing this he showed his zeal for the Law, as Phinehas had done with Zimri, son of Salu.

27. Mattathias then began to proclaim loudly in the city: "Everyone who is zealous for the Law and supports the Covenant, come out and follow me!"

28. Immediately he and his sons fled to the mountains and left behind all they had in the city.

29. Many Jews who looked for justice and wanted to be faithful to the Law went into the desert;

30. they took with them their children, wives and livestock because life had become unbearable for them.

31. Then the king's representatives and the authority in the city of David, in Jerusalem, were informed that some men had disobeyed the king's order and had gone to hide in the caves in the desert.

32. A strong force of the king pursued and overtook them. They surrounded them and prepared themselves for an attack. It was the day of the Sabbath.

33. And they said to the Jews: "Enough of this! Come out and obey the king's order if you wish to save your lives."

34. But they answered: "We will neither come out nor obey the king's order to violate the day of the Sabbath."

35. So they attacked them at once,

36. but the Jews did not defend them-selves, nor did they try to close the entrance of their place of refuge.

37. They said: "We shall die with a clear conscience but heaven and earth will remember that we were murdered."

38. The king's men attacked them on that Sabbath, and they all died - men, women and children - a total of more than a thousand, not counting the livestock.

39. When Mattathias and his friends came to know what happened, they went into deep mourning.

40. They said to one another: "We cannot do as our brothers have done; we shall fight against the pagans to defend our life and our customs; otherwise, they will quickly destroy us."

41. On that day, they resolved to defend themselves against anyone who attacked them on the day of the Sabbath, and not let themselves be killed, as had happened with their people in the hiding place.

42. At that time, a group of Hasideans (the Devout), valiant Israelites who devoted themselves sincerely to the Law, joined them.

43. All those who wanted to escape from oppression joined them, and in this way they grew strong.

44. They succeeded in forming an army; then they began to pour their anger and indignation onto the sinners and renegades. These men had to flee to other lands for safety.

45. Mattathias and his friends made expeditions during which they destroyed the altars,

46. imposed by force the rite of circumcision on the children they found uncircumcised,

47. and pursued all the arrogant. The undertaking prospered in their hands.

48. They defended the Law against foreigners and their kings, and subdued the renegades.

49. When Mattathias neared his death, he said to his sons: "Now the insolent and the violent are in power; it is a time of upheaval in which God releases his anger.

50. So, my sons, be zealous for the Law and risk your lives defending the Covenant of our fathers.

51. Remember the deeds our fathers fulfilled in their time, that you too may have fame and glory.

52. Remember Abraham who proved himself faithful in the hour of trial, and how God held him to be a righteous man.

53. Joseph, at the time of his misfortune observed the commandment of God and so became the lord of Egypt.

54. Phinehas, our father, because of his great zeal received the priesthood for himself and for his sons forever.

55. Joshua became head of Israel because he carried out God's command.

56. Caleb received his inheritance in this land because he had proclaimed the truth before the assembly.

57. And David was given a lasting kingdom because of his devotion.

58. Elijah because of his zeal for the Law was taken up into heaven.

59. Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael were saved from the flames because of their faith.

60. Daniel was rescued from the lion's mouth because of his righteousness.

61. Consider, then, that in any generation those who trust in God are never defeated.

62. Do not fear the threats of an impious man, for his glory shall end in dung and worms.

63. Today he is exalted, but tomorrow he shall perish; he shall return to dust from where he came, and nothing shall remain of his plans.

64. Have courage, my sons, and remain steadfast in the Law for in this you will receive glory.

65. I know that among you, Simon is a man of sound judgment; listen to him and he shall take your father's place.

66. Judas Maccabeus has been valiant from his youth: let him be your general and conduct the war against foreigners.

67. Now, call all those who fulfill the Law to join you and defend our people.

68. Retaliate against the pagans and fulfill the ordinance of the Law."

69. Mattathias blessed them and then went to join his fathers.

70. He died in the year one hundred and forty-six and they buried him in the tomb of his fathers at Modein; and all Israel mourned him deeply.

Livros sugeridos

“A prática das bem-aventuranças não requer atos de heroísmo, mas a aceitação simples e humilde das várias provações pelas quais a pessoa passa.” São Padre Pio de Pietrelcina


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