These books are very different in content from the books of Maccabees in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, but they are sometimes called Ethiopic Maccabees or Ethiopian Maccabees. The Maccabees described in these books are not those of the Hasmonean dynasty, and the "Five Holy Maccabean Martyrs" here do not match "Woman with seven sons", who were also called "Maccabees" and are revered throughout Orthodoxy as the "Holy Maccabean Martyrs".
These books were only written in Ethiopic for a long time, but have recently been translated into English.
Book one[change | change source]
- The Book of First Meqabyan has 36 chapters. It starts: "In the days of the Moabites and Medes". It says that there was an idol-worshiping king of Media and Midian, named "Tsirutsaydan". This was an actual nickname of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes According to this book, a Benjamite called Meqabis (Maccabeus) taught that men should worship the true God. His five sons, as well as other people, were burnt to death by the king.
- The historical Maccabees are referred to again in Chapter 15, which describes the three brothers Judas, Meqabis (Simon Maccabaeus) and Mebikyas (Jonathan Maccabee) as leading a successful overthrowing against the evil king Akrandis of Midian, who was oppressing Israel. Here, Mebikyas enters Akrandis' camp and cuts his head off at his dinnertable, food still in his mouth, while Judas and Meqabis defeat the king's armies in the field.
Book two[change | change source]
- The Book of Second Meqabyan has 21 chapters. It starts: "After he found the Jews in Syrian Mesopotamia". The story says that a king of Moab named Meqabis made war against Israel as a punishment on them. Later he felt bad for his sins and taught the people living in Israel God's law. After his death, Tsirutsaydan introduced idolatry and burnt the sons of Meqabis.
Book three[change | change source]
- The Book of Third Meqabyan has 10 chapters. It starts: "And the islands of Egypt shall rejoice". It tells about salvation and punishment, as seen in the lives of Adam, Job, David and others.
References[change | change source]
- Mertens' Encyclopedia
- John Mason Harden, An Introduction to Ethiopic Christian Literature, 1926, p. 38; Ernst Hammerschmidt, Äthiopien: Christliches Reich zwischen gestern und morgen, 1967, p. 105.
Other websites[change | change source]
- The Biblical Canon Of The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Today, by R. W. Cowley - specific info on Meqabyan 1-3 found at footnote #9
- The Book of First Meqabyan in Iyaric