The Lost Tombs of the Maccabees


Israeli archeologists have spent many years looking for the lost tombs of the Maccabees. Judas Maccabeus and his family led a Jewish revolt against the Seleucids in the second century BCE. Although the picture above marks the site where the Maccabean grave is located, the site is probably Christian, not Jewish.

The Book of Maccabees presents an elaborate description of the Maccabean tombs:

“And Simon built a monument over the tomb of his father and his brothers; he made it high so that it might be seen, with polished stone at the front and back. He also erected seven pyramids, opposite one another, for his father and mother and four brothers. For the pyramids he devised an elaborate setting, erecting about them great columns, and on the columns he put suits of armor for a permanent memorial, and beside the suits of armor he carved ships, so that they could be seen by all who sail the sea. This is the tomb that he built in Modein; it remains to this day”
(1 Macc. 13:27-30 NRS).

Simon was a brother of Judas Maccabeus and one of the five sons of Mattathias. Mattathias was a member of the priestly family of Joarib. Mattathias moved from Jerusalem and settled in Modein  (1 Macc 2:1).

The real site where the Maccabees were buried has never been found. Now archaeologists have found a site where they believe the Maccabees were buried.

The Times of Israel has an interesting article that describes the history for the lost tombs of the Maccabees and the place where they believe the Maccabees were buried.  You can read the article here.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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1 Response to The Lost Tombs of the Maccabees

  1. Pingback: July 2012 Biblical Studies Carnival « Reading Acts

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