Archive for January 22nd, 2018

1 Maccabees 1: The Word Seemed Good

Monday, January 22, 2018

Wojciech Stattler: The Maccabees Rebellion

In today’s reading, we watch a people fall away from the principles, traditions and customs that brought them to success. The peace gained imperceptibly slips away as a people convince themselves that their new behaviors are modern. Because the people convince themselves that this new mode of living is fully legitimate, the relationship that protects them slowly vanishes. They believe the perception and not the reality.

And the word seemed good in their eyes. (DRA)

The slide begins with changes that benefit their pocketbooks rather than their hearts.

They built in Jerusalem a stadium like those in the Greek cities. They had surgery performed to hide their circumcision, abandoned the holy covenant, started associating with Gentiles, and did all sorts of other evil things. (GNT)

Too late, the consequences of their actions come into focus. The heady delight in profits and revelry becomes heartache and mourning.

And there was great mourning throughout all Israel. (CJB)

The place that before had brought them solace has disappeared. The old, familiar rituals that brought them comfort are replaced by empty promise.

[Jerusalem’s] sanctuary was desolate like a wilderness, her festival days were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach, her honours were brought to nothing. (DRA)

Yet despite the bleak circumstances, there are those who remain faithful. Regardless of the restrictions on their lives, those who maintain their relationship with God, keep the covenant in their hearts . . . and they choose to die rather than succumb to the illusion that the new authority brings life rather than death.

But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. Very great wrath came upon Israel. (NRSV)

This opening chapter of the story of the Maccabean revolt is a lesson we will want to take in. When we are called to accommodate to a way of thinking that demeans, excludes, and eliminates, we will want to consider the consequences of following the false god. And we will want to see if the word seems good in our eyes, or if we want to remain in the Word that brings life.

And the word seemed good in their eyes. (DRA)

For more on the Maccabean revolt, visit: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/maccabean-revolt/

When we read varying translations of this story, we reflect on the reality and illusion of what is good. 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: