A Widow with Seven Sons and the Resurrection

240px-Ciseri,_Antonio_-_Das_Martyrium_der_sieben_Makkabäer_-_1863
The Mother with Seven Sons from II Maccabees, depicted in Antonio Cisiri’s Martyrdom of the Seven Maccabees (1863) from Wikipedia.com

During the war against the Greek King Antiochus Epiphanes, Judas son of Matthias Hasmon and his priest militia developed a strict code of purity and called themselves “Hasid” meaning “separated” [i] as in ritually pure, as a way to prepare to fight their Holy War against the Greeks. Judas was seen as the nation’s only hope to defeat Antiochus. Judas also attacked the high priests in Jerusalem as collaborators at the same time he drew his supporters from the lower priests.  II Maccabees, whichever faction wrote it, saw Judas as the nation’s “Savior” and called upon the prophet Jeremiah to hand him a golden sword to “strike down your adversaries.” (II Maccabees 15:9)

But Judas also seems to have begun or at least made popular, the belief in a bodily resurrection and rewards in heaven for those who died in the Holy War. Such a doctrine was helpful because the warriors knew they were on a suicide mission, and most would die. II Maccabees adds a new dimension to the war…resurrection.  Continue reading “A Widow with Seven Sons and the Resurrection”