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Maccabees research paper due and don't know how to start it? How about like this?

The "Maccabees" was the name given to a Jewish family in Israel who led a revolution and died heroically for the right to worship God, as opposed to the pagan gods, during a thirty year period before the birth of Christ.

The name literally means "the Hammerers," and refers to what those who fought in the revolution did to the opposing forces.

In 168 B.C. officials of King Antiochus IV, who ruled part of the fractured empire that had been formerly established by Alexander the Great, insisted that Mattathias, a venerable priest who lived in a small hamlet near Jerusalem sacrifice to Zeus and other Greek gods. Mattathias, however, rose up and refused, killing the King's men, offering a stirring speech to those looking on and utterly destroying the pagan altar. He, his five sons and others escaped to the countryside and armed themselves as best they could for the reprisals they feared would follow.

Valiently, Judas the son of Mattatias led a growing band of rebels against the King's forces in battle despite having little to fight with and being vastly outnumbered. They won a series of famous battles. They prayed fervently to God, and He won the day for Judas and the rebels against staggering odds.

Meanwhile, the Maccabean rebels were launching attacks of their own, in guerrilla warfare style, attempting to oust the King's forces from Israel. In 165 B.C. Judas took back Jerusalem and the Temple that had fallen into the hands of the oppressors and had been desecrated. The victors found only a tiny vessel of purified oil in the temple, enough to light the Menorah for but one day. In the Hebrew tradition however, God kept the flame burning by a miracle for eight days. This is memorialized and celebrated today in the Jewish religion as Hanukkah.

This was the high point of the revolt. In 160 B.C. Judas and many of his men were ambushed and slaughtered by the King's forces. Those who escaped were now led by Jonathan, Judas's brother. Mattathias had five sons in all. The last surviving brother, Simon, was finally able to achieve a diplomatic triumph by pledging his political support to the King in exchange for the religious freedom his family had given their all for during the thirty year period.

The story of the Maccabees has never been forgotten, and the story has come to symbolize the passion and the fervor of the Jewish people for God. The story stands for the proposition that they will fight and die to protect their right to worship their God as they see fit, no matter what the odds and no matter how great the sacrifice they are called upon to render.

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