Illustration from the Roda Bible, c.1050-1100AD
Mattathias kills the apostate who is sacrificing a pig
44 And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, 45 to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane sabbaths and festivals, 46 to defile the sanctuary and the priests, 47 to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals, 48 and to leave their sons uncircumcised.
They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane, 49 so that they would forget the law and change all the ordinances.
50 “And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die."
(I Maccabees 1:44-50)
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, honoured 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, every one 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.
(I Maccabees 2:15-26)
Biblia Sancti Petri Rodensis. Ms Latin 6 (3) folio 144r
Mattathias kills the apostate/
Massacre on the Sabbath day
A larger image of 'Massacre on the Sabbath day' in Biblia Sancti Petri Rodensis (Roda Bible). BnF Ms Latin 6 (3) folio 144r. Spain, c.1050-1100AD.
Massacre on the Sabbath day
29 At that time many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to live there, 30 they, their sons, their wives, and their livestock, because troubles pressed heavily upon them.
31 And it was reported to the king’s officers, and to the troops in Jerusalem the city of David, that those who had rejected the king’s command had gone down to the hiding places in the wilderness.
32 Many pursued them, and overtook them; they encamped opposite them and prepared for battle against them on the sabbath day.
33 They said to them, “Enough of this! Come out and do what the king commands, and you will live.
34 But they said, “We will not come out, nor will we do what the king commands and so profane the sabbath day.”
35 Then the enemy quickly attacked them.
36 But they did not answer them or hurl a stone at them or block up their hiding places, 37 for they said, “Let us all die in our innocence; heaven and earth testify for us that you are killing us unjustly.”
38 So they attacked them on the sabbath, and they died, with their wives and children and livestock, to the number of a thousand persons.
(1 Maccabees 2:29-38)
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