Who’s who in 1 Maccabees:  Major Character List


Antiochus Epiphanes IV (King of Syria; takes Ptolemy in Egypt, then fights against Israel, defiles Jerusalem, steals temple vessels, says Jewish mothers must not circumcise their children, Jewish laws must be violated. (ch.1)

(priest of Modin) revolts against Antiochus (ch. 2)

and his sons the Maccabees boys:  Judas, Simon, John, Johannan, Eleazar)
Refuses to offer sacrifice that was ordered by Antiochus’ official.  A scared Jew
attempts to offer sacrifice and Matthias, like Phineas (OT), kills him and the king’s commissioner.  Then he and his sons flee to the mountains. Decide them need to fight on the Sabbath or they’d all be killed. Matthias gives a summary of OT history before his death and designates Simon as the thinker, and Judas as the warrior captain.    

Ch. 3 Judas has some initial victories against Apollonius and Seron and then Antiochus get furious and leads his army out to Emmaus in Israel to do battle with Judas. 
Ch. 4 Gorgias, Antiochus’ general, tries a sneak attack at night but Judas was
gone to engage Antiochus at Emmaus.  Judas defeats Antiochus and Gorgias comes after the defeat at flees.  Next year Gorgias comes back to battle at Bethsura and is defeated again.  Judas now rallies his guys and they take Sion/ Jerusalem, rebuild the altar, restore the temple sacrifices and the profaned temple is rededicated. 
Ch. 5.  The children of Esau Idumea/Edomites are disturbed that Judas had rebuilt the altar and rededicated the temple so Timotheus their captain goes against them.  It’s a two pronged attack.  Judas sends Simon his brother to Galilee for a battle there while he and Jonthan cross the Jordan River to attack Gilead/Galaad against Timotheus and the Idumeans/Edomites.  Both win.  Gorgias the Syrian General reengages against Joseph and Azaras (non-Maccabean Jews) and defeats them because they didn’t follow Judas’ orders.
Ch. 6.  Antiochus hears about Elymais a Persian city had gold so he attacks and is defeated.  Returns to Babylon.  Lysias, his general had attacked Jerusalem. Antiochus despondent, admits taking the vessels of the temple was wrong then he dies.  Lysias, the general, sets up Antiochus’ son (Eupator).  Then Lysias goes back after the Jews attacking Bethsura with elephants.  Eleazar gets under the biggest elephant of the king and kills it but it falls on him and he dies.  There is a plot back at Antioch in Syria so Lysias must withdraw making peace with the Jews as he returns to fight Philip who had taken control of Antioch while he, Lysias was gone (Philip had been the young Antiochus’ tutor).

            Lysias is Antiochus’ general that actually does the fighting against the Macs.

            Lysias commissions Ptolemy, Nicanor and Gorgias to attack Judas Mac.

            Judas defeats both Gorgias and Lysias. Retakes Jerusalem, cleanses temple

Antiochus dies and Lysias appoints Antiochus Eupator king but Philip tries also

            to become king in light of the vacuum left by Antiochus at his death.

Demetrius I finally becomes king of Syria and his general Bacchides will go after

            the Macs.   Demetrius will send Nicanor to fight the Jews is killed then

            Bacchides fights against Judea. 

Alkimus (head Jewish highpriest that adopts Hellenism betrays his own Jewish family).



Good guys:   Matthias (father of the Macs)

                        Judas, Simon, Jonathan, Johannan, Eleazar (5 Maccabee boys)

                        Ptolemy of Egypt fights Syrians and helps Jews

                        Judas (Mac.) first major fighter

                        Jonathan (Mac) diplomat/fighter takes over after Judas dies

                        Simon (last Mac. starts the Hasmonean dynasty) wise


Bad Guys:

            Antiochus Epiphanes IV (king of Syria)

                        Lysias, his general (Ptolemy, Nicanor and Gorgias under Lysias)

            Demetrius I (King of Syria) after Antiochus dies

                        Nicanor (fights and dies) and Bacchides new major general fighting

                                    against Macs

            Tryphon: treacherous Syrian fighting against Demetrius II supporting the

                        traitor Alexander Balas for the Syrian throne.