How many Maccabees were there and what were their names?

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    – mevaqesh
    Aug 9, 2016 at 3:09

2 Answers 2


Megillas Antiochus lists five sons of Matisyahu: Yehudah, Shimon, Yochanan, Yonasan, and Elazar.

I Maccabees has the same names, but in rearranged order: Yochanan, Shimon, Yehudah, Elazar, and Yonasan. (It also gives their respective nicknames or cognomens: respectively, Gaddi, Thassi, Maccabeus, Avaran and Apphus.)

Rashi (to Deut. 33:11) mentions "twelve sons of Chashmonai and Elazar," but doesn't give names.

  • 1
    see page 6 of this pdf, that quotes the Midrash Chanukah that says there were 12 chashmanaim. (I'm not sure what Midrash Chanukah is): torahlab.org/download/chanuka_chasmonaim.pdf
    – Menachem
    Jan 8, 2012 at 2:04
  • @Menachem: it's also called Midrash Maaseh Chanukah, and it's in Eisenstein's Otzar Midrashim (here). Specifically (next page, second column) it has Chashmonai telling Matisyahu (apparently according to this source they were two different people): "I with my seven sons, and you with your three, will make twelve, corresponding to the 12 tribes."
    – Alex
    Jan 8, 2012 at 4:06
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    @Alex - First Maccabees gives their Hebrew names next to their Greek names. Feb 12, 2012 at 16:37
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    Just edited the answer to include Greek names, hopefully someone will approve the edit soon. Feb 12, 2012 at 16:42
  • @Adam: thanks. No need for the Greek equivalents of the Hebrew names (as msh210 pointed out in his edit), but their nicknames are good information to have.
    – Alex
    Feb 12, 2012 at 19:53

According to Maccabees I, they had a fighting force of about 10,000 soldiers.

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    Where exactly does it say that? The numbers listed fluxuate widely over the course of the many battles, and at the decisive moment that we commemorate on Chanuka it would appear that they had 10,000. See 4:29.
    – WAF
    Dec 23, 2011 at 3:54
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    @WAF there is a point where he sends 3,000 to Gilead, 2,000 to the Galil and keeps 3,000 at home to guard Jerusalem. But that is after the chanukah story.
    – avi
    Dec 23, 2011 at 7:25

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