Dedication, Festival of

Dedication, Festival of

Or Hanukkah (hahn´uh-kuh), a Jewish festival celebrating the purification of the Temple in the time of the Maccabean revolt. On the 25th of Chislev (November/December), 167 BCE, during the religious persecution of the Jews by the Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes, the altar of the Temple was polluted with pagan sacrifices. Observant Jews, under the leadership of Mattathias (a priest) and his five sons, rebelled against the Seleucids, won several victories over the Seleucid army, and reconquered Jerusalem. Then, on the 25th of Chislev, 164 BCE, three years to the day after the pollution of the altar, the new altar was dedicated with sacrifices, song, music, and joyous worship for eight days (1Macc 4:52-58). Judas Maccabee (Mattathias’s son) and the people determined that those eight days of dedication should be celebrated annually (v. 59); Hanukkah thus became the only Jewish festival not ordained in the Hebrew Bible.

1Macc 4:52-58

52Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year,53they rose and offered s ... View more

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