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An Insight on the Chronology of the Channukah Story


An Insight on the Chronology


The Channukah Story


James Scott Trimm


I’d like to share an insight about the chronology of the Maccabean events.

2Maccabees recounts the death of Antiochus Epiphanies (9:1-29) just before it recounts the purification of the Temple (10:1-9).

This appears to contradict 1Maccabees which places his death (6:1-17) after the cleaning of the Temple (4:36-61) in agreement with the account of Josephus.

Having examined it, I believe that the historical chronology is to be found in 1Maccabees and Josephus.

The account in 2Maccabees is not intended to relay the chronology (which was already well known) but to cover one subject at a time. 2Maccabees 9:1 begins with “About that time came Antiochus out of the country of Persia.” Which is the event that took place shortly before the cleaning of the Temple in chapter 10. But in the next verse the book backtracks to an event which had occurred while he was in Persia, and in recounting that event, he follows through to the death of Antiochus before returning to the “present” in 2Maccabees 10:1 with “Now Maccabee and his company, YHWH guiding them, recovered the Temple and the city…”. 2Maccabees 9:2-29 is a parenthetical which is not intended to be placed in chronological order.

This helps us to place the book of Judith in context.


The Apocryphal book of Judith is about a beautiful and devout Jewish widow who saves her city from an invading army. The Elders of her city decide to surrender unless help arrives within five days. Judith leaves and enters the camp of the opposing general. She beguiles him by her beauty but ultimately returns to her city with his head in a bag. This inspires her city to route the invading army. In the end the High Priest comes to her city an honors Judith for her valor.

Many modern critics have accused the Book of Judith of anachronisms and historical inaccuracies. On the surface the book claims to be set “In the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh, in the days of Arphaxad who ruled over the Medes in Ecbatana”. In fact Nebuchadnezzar was
actually the King of Babylon, not the King of Assyria. In actuality these are all Euphemisms and the book is actually set in the Maccabean era. For example the book of Judith uses Nebuchadnezzar as a euphemism for Antiochus Epiphanies, because both names have a gematria (numerical value) of 423.


In reality the book takes place during the rule of Antiochus Epiphanies over the Selucid Empire of Syria and of Ptolemy VI over Egypt. The story appears in several Midrashim in Jewish literature in which it is set in the Maccabean era. It is commonly recognized in Judaism as a Channukah story.


Judith takes place shortly after the purification of the Temple (Judith 4:3) and before the death of Antiochus Epiphanies (i.e. “Nebuchadeznar”) during the gap between 1Macc. 4:36-61 and 1Macc. 6:1-17.



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Views: 240

Comment by Bob Barton on November 21, 2011 at 9:02pm

I would like to know what you mean by this comment.  I do not really understand the theory of Channukah.  Thanks Bob  email if you can

Comment by Barbara Gordon-Lantto on November 22, 2011 at 12:02am
As a Cherokee Researcher I have discovered many things. One is that the chronology is wrong. The Cheroeke say they have been ion this continent thirteen thousand years, brought here by the Phoenicians.

Comment by James Trimm on November 22, 2011 at 12:23am



What has that got to do with Channukah?




Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.

(1Macc. 4:59 KJV)


5  Now upon the same day that the strangers profaned the temple, on the very same day it was cleansed again, even the five and twentieth day of the same month, which is Casleu.

6  And they kept the eight days with gladness, as in the feast of the tabernacles, remembering that not long afore they had held the feast of the tabernacles, when as they wandered in the mountains and dens like beasts.

7  Therefore they bare branches, and fair boughs, and palms also, and sang psalms unto him that had given them good success in cleansing his place.

8  They ordained also by a common statute and decree, That every year those days should be kept of the whole nation of the Jews.

(2Macc. 10:5-8 KJV)


And as we also read in the Talmud:


What is the reason for Channukah? For our Rabbis taught: On
the 25th of Kislev begin the days of Channukah, which are
eight, during which lamentation for the dead and fasting are
forbidden. For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they
defiled all the oils in it, and when the Hasmonean dynasty
prevailed against and defeated them, they [the Maccabees]
searched and found only one cruse of oil which possessed the
seal of the High Priest, but which contained sufficient oil for
only one day's lighting; yet a miracle occurred there and they
lit [the lamp] for eight days. The following year these days
were appointed a Festival with the recitation of Hallel and
(b.Shabbat 21b)

It was also recounted in the Megillat Antiochus (c. 200 CE):

The Hasmoneans entered the Sanctuary, rebuilt the gates,
closed the breaches, and cleansed the Temple court from the
slain and the impurities. They looked for pure olive oil to light
the Menorah, and found only one bottle with the seal of the
Kohen Gadol so that they were sure of its purity. Though its
quantity seemed sufficient only for one day’s lighting, it lasted
for eight days owing to the blessing of the Elohim of heaven
who had established His Name there. Hence, the Hasmoneans
and all the Jews alike instituted these eight days as a time of
feasting and rejoicing, like any festival prescribed in the Torah,
and of kindling lights to commemorate the victories Elohim
had given them.
(Megillat Antiochus)

Comment by James Trimm on November 22, 2011 at 12:44am

You are misunderstanding.

Comment by James Trimm on November 22, 2011 at 12:50am

Perhaps you should cite the passages you speak of, then I can respond to something specific.

Comment by James Trimm on November 22, 2011 at 1:04am

Looks to me like it only tells us what Razis preferred. 

Comment by James Trimm on November 22, 2011 at 1:06am

Baptism is a ritual representing the death, burial and resurrection of Messiah.

The Sin Offering is a ritual representing the death of Messiah.

If you can have a "baptism for the dead" because of the resurrection in 1Cor.15:29, then you can have a "Sin Offering for the dead" because of the resurrection in 2Maccabees 12:43-34.

Comment by James Trimm on November 22, 2011 at 1:20am

And if not, what will those who are immersed do for the dead, if the dead do not rise?
Why are they immersed for the dead?
(1Cor. 15:29 HRV)

Many Christians do not know, but in Judaism we have a ritual in which a body is washed (baptized/immersed) for ritual purity after death, because even the dead are entitled to ritual purity. The ritual only makes sense in light of the doctrine of the resurrection, which is why Paul poses his rhetorical question above.

Now we know that “baptism” (T’villa) represents the death burial and resurrection of Messiah. We know also that the sin offering represents the death of Messiah. Just as the “baptism for the dead” is wholly appropriate because the dead will be resurrected, so also is the sin offering for the dead also appropriate because the dead will be resurrected. This has nothing to do with purgatory, only the resurrection.


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