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MATTATHIAS măt’ a thī as (LXX Ματταθίας, G3478, gift of the Lord). 1. An attendant on Ezra at the law-reading (1 Esdras 9:43) prob. the same as Mattithiah of Nehemiah 8:4.

2. A son of Asom, who divorced his foreign wife (1 Esd 9:33 KJV MATTHIAS).

Mattathias defied the king, the climax coming when Gr. officers under Apelles set up an altar at Modein, demanding sacrifice to heathen gods. Mattathias, refusing, killed the Jew who volunteered, and also the Gr. officer, destroyed the altar and fled to the hills with his followers. He conducted a guerilla campaign, reversing his early refusal to fight on the Sabbath. At the end of one year, he died, c. 168, age 146. In special Hanukkah prayers this patriot is remembered as the spearhead of the warfare for religious freedom.

4. A son of Absalom who was captain of Maccabean forces warring against Demetrius (successor to Antiochus) after he killed Eupator. In the plain of Hazor, his loyal support enabled Jonathan to convert threatened defeat into victory (1 Macc 11:70).

5. One of three envoys from Nicanor, a general of Antiochus, regarding a treaty with Judas Maccabeus in 161 b.c. (2 Macc 14:17-19).

6. The third (or youngest) son of Simon the Maccabee was named Mattathias II (1 Macc 16:2). With his father and brothers, he was murdered by his brother-in-law Ptolemy at Jericho c. 135 b.c. (1 Macc 16:14-16).

7. The last of the notable Maccabeans, Antigonus, took this name. Thus the war for freedom began and ended with a Mattathias. (Fairweather: From Exile to Advent, pp. 182-184.)

8 and 9. The name of two ancestors of the Lord according to Luke 3:25, 26.


R. H. Pfeiffer, History of OT Times (1949), 14, 80; Grant, Between the Testaments (undated), 93; N. H. Snaith, The Jews from Cyrus to Herod (undated), 37f.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(Mattathias). The persons of this name in the Apocrypha are:

(1) Mattathias the father of the Maccabees.

See Asmoneans; Maccabees.

(2) One of the 7 who stood on Ezra’s right hand as he read the law (1 Esdras 9:43) = "Mattithiah" of Ne 8:4.

(3) The son--probably the youngest (compare 1 Macc 16:2)--of Simon the Maccabean, treacherously murdered along with his father and his brother Judas by his brother-in-law Ptolemy, son of Abubus in the stronghold of Dok near Jericho in the 177th Seleucid--136-135 BC (1 Macc 16:14).

(4) Son of Absalom, one of the two "captains of the forces" who in the campaign against Demetrius in the plain of Hazor gallantly supported Judas, enabling the latter to turn an impending defeat into a great victory (1 Macc 11:70).

(5) One of the three envoys sent by Nicanor to treat with Judas in 161 BC (2 Macc 14:19). No names of envoys are given in the account of 1 Macc 7:27 ff.

(6) One of the sons of Asom who put away his "strange wife" (1 Esdras 9:33) = the King James Version "Matthias" = "Mattattah" of Ezr 10:33.

In addition to these two of this name are mentioned in the New Testament:

(7) Lu 3:25, "son of Amos."

(8) Lu 3:26, "son of Semein."