Maaziah Strength or consolation of Jehovah. (1.) The head of the twenty-fourth priestly course (Ch1 24:18) in David's reign. (2.) A priest (Neh 10:8).
Maccabees This word does not occur in Scripture. It was the name given to the leaders of the national party among the Jews who suffered in the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, who succeeded to the Syrian throne 175 B.C.. It is supposed to have been derived from the Hebrew word (makkabah) meaning "hammer," as suggestive of the heroism and power of this Jewish family, who are, however, more properly called Asmoneans or Hasmonaeans, the origin of which is much disputed. After the expulsion of Antiochus Epiphanes from Egypt by the Romans, he gave vent to his indignation on the Jews, great numbers of whom he mercilessly put to death in Jerusalem. He oppressed them in every way, and tried to abolish altogether the Jewish worship. Mattathias, and aged priest, then residing at Modin, a city to the west of Jerusalem, became now the courageous leader of the national party; and having fled to the mountains, rallied round him a large band of men prepared to fight and die for their country and for their religion, which was now violently suppressed. In 1 Macc. 2:60 is recorded his dying counsels to his sons with reference to the war they were now to carry on. His son Judas, "the Maccabee," succeeded him (166 B.C.) as the leader in directing the war of independence, which was carried on with great heroism on the part of the Jews, and was terminated in the defeat of the Syrians.
Maccabees, Books of the There were originally five books of the Maccabees. The first contains a history of the war of independence, commencing (175 B.C.) in a series of patriotic struggles against the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, and terminating 135 B.C.. It became part of the Vulgate Version of the Bible, and was thus retained among the Apocrypha. The second gives a history of the Maccabees' struggle from 176 to 161 B.C.. Its object is to encourage and admonish the Jews to be faithful to the religion of their fathers. The third does not hold a place in the Apocrypha, but is read in the Greek Church. Its design is to comfort the Alexandrian Jews in their persecution. Its writer was evidently an Alexandrian Jew. The fourth was found in the Library of Lyons, but was afterwards burned. The fifth contains a history of the Jews from 184 to 86 B.C.. It is a compilation made by a Jew after the destruction of Jerusalem, from ancient memoirs, to which he had access. It need scarcely be added that none of these books has any divine authority.
Macedonia In New Testament times, was a Roman province lying north of Greece. It was governed by a propraetor with the title of proconsul. Paul was summoned by the vision of the "man of Macedonia" to preach the gospel there (Act 16:9). Frequent allusion is made to this event (Act 18:5; Act 19:21; Rom 15:26; Co2 1:16; Co2 11:9; Phi 4:15). The history of Paul's first journey through Macedonia is given in detail in Acts 16:10 - 17:15. At the close of this journey he returned from Corinth to Syria. He again passed through this country (Act 20:1), although the details of the route are not given. After many years he probably visited it for a third time (Phi 2:24; Ti1 1:3). The first convert made by Paul in Europe was (Act 16:13) Lydia (q.v.), a "seller of purple," residing in Philippi, the chief city of the eastern division of Macedonia.
Machaerus The Black Fortress, was built by Herod the Great in the gorge of Callirhoe, one of the wadies 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, as a frontier rampart against Arab marauders. John the Baptist was probably cast into the prison connected with this castle by Herod Antipas, whom he had reproved for his adulterous marriage with Herodias. Here Herod "made a supper" on his birthday. He was at this time marching against Aretas, king of Perea, to whose daughter he had been married. During the revelry of the banquet held in the border fortress, to please Salome, who danced before him, he sent an executioner, who beheaded John, and "brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel" (Mark 6:14-29). This castle stood "starkly bold and clear" 3,860 feet above the Dead Sea, and 2,546 above the Mediterranean. Its ruins, now called MEkhaur, are still visible on the northern end of Jebel Attarus.
Machbanai Clad with a mantle, or bond of the Lord, one of the Gadite heroes who joined David in the wilderness (Ch1 12:13).
Machir Sold. (1.) Manasseh's oldest son (Jos 17:1), or probably his only son (see Ch1 7:14, Ch1 7:15; compare Num 26:29; Jos 13:31). His descendants are referred to under the name of Machirites, being the offspring of Gilead (Num 26:29). They settled in land taken from the Amorites (Num 32:39, Num 32:40; Deu 3:15) by a special enactment (Num 36:1; Jos 17:3, Jos 17:4). He is once mentioned as the representative of the tribe of Manasseh east of Jordan (Jdg 5:14). (2.) A descendant of the preceding, residing at Lo-debar, where he maintained Jonathan's son Mephibosheth till he was taken under the care of David (Sa2 9:4), and where he afterwards gave shelter to David himself when he was a fugitive (Sa2 17:27).
Machpelah Portion; double cave, the cave which Abraham bought, together with the field in which it stood, from Ephron the Hittite, for a family burying-place (Gen. 23). It is one of those Bible localities about the identification of which there can be no doubt. It was on the slope of a hill on the east of Hebron, "before Mamre." Here were laid the bodies of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah (Gen 23:19; Gen 25:9; Gen 49:31; Gen 50:13). Over the cave an ancient Christian church was erected, probably in the time of Justinian, the Roman emperor. This church has been converted into a Mohammedan mosque. The whole is surrounded by the el-Haram i.e., "the sacred enclosure," about 200 feet long, 115 broad, and of an average height of about 50. This building, from the immense size of some of its stones, and the manner in which they are fitted together, is supposed by some to have been erected in the days of David or of Solomon, while others ascribe it to the time of Herod. It is looked upon as the most ancient and finest relic of Jewish architecture. On the floor of the mosque are erected six large cenotaphs as monuments to the dead who are buried in the cave beneath. Between the cenotaphs of Isaac and Rebekah there is a circular opening in the floor into the cavern below, the cave of Machpelah. Here it may be that the body of Jacob, which was embalmed in Egypt, is still preserved (much older embalmed bodies have recently been found in the cave of Deir elBahari in Egypt, see PHARAOH), though those of the others there buried may have long ago mouldered into dust. The interior of the mosque was visited by the Prince of Wales in 1862 by a special favour of the Mohammedan authorities. An interesting account of this visit is given in Dean Stanley's Lectures on the Jewish Church. It was also visited in 1866 by the Marquis of Bute, and in 1869 by the late Emperor (Frederick) of Germany, then the Crown Prince of Prussia. In 1881 it was visited by the two sons of the Prince of Wales, accompanied by Sir C. Wilson and others. (See Palestine Quarterly Statement, October 1882).
Madai Middle land, the third "son" of Japheth (Gen 10:2), the name by which the Medes are known on the Assyrian monuments.
Madmannah Dunghill, the modern el-Minyay, 15 miles south-south-west of Gaza (Jos 15:31; Ch1 2:49), in the south of Judah. The Pal. Mem., however, suggest Umm Deimneh, 12 miles north-east of Beersheba, as the site.