Ancient Sources

Mountain of Judah and Shephelah


66. Modeim, today Moditha,
the place of origin of the Maccabeans -
(al-Midiyah)

ORIGINAL TEXTS


Modeim vicus iuxta Diospolim, unde fuerunt Maccabaei, quorum hodieque ibidem sepulcra monstrantur. Satis itaque miror quomodo Antiochiae eorum reliquias ostendant, aut quo hoc certo auctore sit creditum.
(Jerome 133:17-19)


ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Eusebius, Onomasticon 132:16-17 (ca. 295 A.D.); Jerome 133:17-19 (ca. 390 A.D.)
Modeim (1 Mac 2:1), village near Diospolis, whence the Maccabeans came, whose tombs are shown there to this very day. Therefore I wonder not a little how their relics can be shown in Antioch, and on whose authority this (tradition) has come to be credited.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND

1Mac 2:1-28 Mattathias and his sons
In those days Mattathias son of John son of Simeon, a priest of the family of Joarib, moved from Jerusalem and settled in Modein. 2 He had five sons, John surnamed Gaddi, 3 Simon called Thassi, 4 Judas called Maccabeus, 5 Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus. 6 He saw the blasphemies being committed in Judah and Jerusalem, 7 and said, Alas! Why was I born to see this, the ruin of my people, the ruin of the holy city, and to live there when it was given over to the enemy, the sanctuary given over to aliens? 8 Her temple has become like a person without honor; 9 her glorious vessels have been carried into exile. Her infants have been killed in her streets, her youths by the sword of the foe. 10 What nation has not inherited her palaces and has not seized her spoils? 11 All her adornment has been taken away; no longer free, she has become a slave. 12 And see, our holy place, our beauty, and our glory have been laid waste; the Gentiles have profaned them. 13 Why should we live any longer?"
14 Then Mattathias and his sons tore their clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned greatly.
15 The king's officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them offer sacrifice. 16 Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons were assembled. 17 Then the king's officers spoke to Mattathias as follows: "You are a leader, honored and great in this town, and supported by sons and brothers. 18 Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the people of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the Friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts."
19 But Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: "Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to obey his commandments, everyone of them abandoning the religion of their ancestors, 20 I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. 21 Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. 22 We will not obey the king's words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left."
23 When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein, according to the king's command. 24 When Mattathias saw it, he burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him on the altar. 25 At the same time he killed the king's officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. 26 Thus he burned with zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did against Zimri son of Salu.
27 Then Mattathias cried out in the town with a loud voice, saying: "Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!" 28 Then he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the town.

1Mac 13:25-30 The mausolean built by Simon at Modein
Simon sent and took the bones of his brother Jonathan, and buried him in Modein, the city of his ancestors. 26 All Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and mourned for him many days. 27 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. 28 He also erected seven pyramids, opposite one another, for his father and mother and four brothers. 29 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. 30 This is the tomb that he built in Modein; it remains to this day.


Map Section 5 Place Discussion

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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 13:09:51
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000