2 Maccabees

Second Maccabees is about the temple in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of Israel, who is at work in angelic figures and especially in Judas Maccabeus.

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize



2 Maccabees is named for Judas Maccabeus, who is the hero of the book.


The author is not named.

Second Maccabees is the condensation of a five-volume work by Jason of Cyrene. That five-volume work is not extant.


The author of 2 Maccabees relies on Jason of Cyrene for the facts and proposes to give a pleasurable and memorable account.

It was composed in Koine Greek. It may have been completed by 124 BC, the date of the the First Letter to Jewish people in Egypt (see 2 Maccabees 1:1–9).


The second book of Maccabees supplies important information about the events leading up to the revolt under Judas Maccabeus.

It recounts the subsequent exploits of Judas up to 161 BC (his defeat of Nicanor).

It describes the political intrigues surrounding the Jewish high priesthood.

It portrays Judas Maccabeus as the ideal Jewish warrior—one who prays before battles and gives thanks afterward, one who is careful to observe the Sabbath and other Jewish rituals.

Second Maccabees is noteworthy for its teachings about suffering and its portrayals of martyrs.



Letters to Jewish people in Egypt

2 Maccabees 1:1-9. The First Letter to Jewish people in Egypt

2 Maccabees 1:10-36. The Second Letter to Jewish people in Egypt

2 Maccabees 2:1-18. The Second Letter to Jewish people in Egypt, continued

The Author’s Preface

2 Maccabees 2:19-32. Preface

Heliodorus tries to confiscate the temple’s money

2 Maccabees 3:1-6. The treason of Simon

2 Maccabees 3:7-13. Heliodorus will confiscate the temple’s money

2 Maccabees 3:14-21. The people are in anguish

2 Maccabees 3:22-34. The Almighty Lord intervenes

2 Maccabees 3:35-40. Testimony of Heliodorus

Profanation and Persecution

2 Maccabees 4:1-6. Simon accuses Onias of treason

2 Maccabees 4:7-22. Jason leads the nation into apostasy

2 Maccabees 4:23-29. Menelaus buys the high priesthood

2 Maccabees 4:30-38. Menelaus murders Onias

2 Maccabees 4:39-50. Menelaus remains in power

2 Maccabees 5:1-10. Sedition and death of Jason

2 Maccabees 5:11-27. Jerusalem is ravaged

2 Maccabees 6:1-5. Athens desecrates the temple

2 Maccabees 6:6-11. Athens makes Judaism illegal

2 Maccabees 6:12-17. Why do these bad things happen?

2 Maccabees 6:18-31. Eleazar is martyred

2 Maccabees 7:1-42. A Jewish woman and her seven sons are martyred

Victories of Judas Maccabeus and the Purification of the Temple

2 Maccabees 8:1-7. Judas Maccabaeus builds an army

2 Maccabees 8:8-29. Victory over Nicanor

2 Maccabees 8:30-33. Victory over Timotheus and Bacchides

2 Maccabees 8:34-36. Another victory over Nicanor

2 Maccabees 9:1-29. Antiochus becomes a Jewish believer

2 Maccabees 10:1-8. They offer sacrifices

Renewed Persecution

2 Maccabees 10:9-13. The reign of Antiochus Eupator

2 Maccabees 10:14-38. Victory over the Idumaeans

2 Maccabees 11:1-12. Victory over Lysias

2 Maccabees 11:13-38. They make a treaty with Lysias

2 Maccabees 12:1-4. A new wave of antisemitism

2 Maccabees 12:5-37. Judas Maccabeus responds

2 Maccabees 12:38-45. Judas Maccabeus prays for the dead

2 Maccabees 13:1-2. Antiochus Eupator invades Judea

2 Maccabees 13:3-8. Menelaus is executed

2 Maccabees 13:9-17. Judas Maccabeus responds

2 Maccabees 13:18-26. Antiochus Eupator ceases his attack

2 Maccabees 14:1-11. Alcimus falsely accuses Judas Maccabaeus

2 Maccabees 14:12-25. Nicanor is appointed governor of Judea

2 Maccabees 14:26-36. Alcimus makes trouble for Judas Maccabaeus

2 Maccabees 14:37-46. Razis the Elder

2 Maccabees 15:1-5. Nicanor’s blasphemy

2 Maccabees 15:6-16. Judas Maccabaeus stirs up hope

2 Maccabees 15:17-36. They defeat Nicanor


2 Maccabees 15:37-39. Epilogue



2 Maccabees 8:18. “They trust in weapons and acts of daring,” he said, “but we trust in almighty God, who can by a mere nod destroy not only those who attack us, but the whole world.” (NAB translation)

Great verses to memorize from the entire Bible



CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

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