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
Mattathias (priest of Modin) revolts against Antiochus (ch. 2)
and his sons the Maccabees boys: Judas, Simon, John, Johannan,
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
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.
defeats both Gorgias and Lysias.
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
the Macs. Demetrius will send Nicanor to fight the Jews is killed then
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
Antiochus Epiphanes IV (king of
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
Tryphon: treacherous Syrian fighting against Demetrius II supporting the
traitor Alexander Balas for the Syrian throne.