The Maccabees

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Name of a noted Jewish family not mentioned in scripture. When Antiochus (Epiphanes) was expelled from Egypt by the Romans, he vented his anger on the Jews, and sought to abolish their worship at Jerusalem, putting multitudes to death (B.C. 168). Mattathias the Asmonean, an aged priest, rallied together the national party, and his son JUDAS, surnamed MACCABEUS, succeeded in defeating their enemies; and for a time a degree of national freedom was enjoyed. He was succeeded by his brother; but the country soon after became subject to Rome. Their history is given in Josephus and in the Apocryphal Books of the Maccabees. See ANTIOCHUS.