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Johanan the Hasmonean

JOHANAN THE HASMONEAN (d. 161 B.C.E.), son of *Mattathias the Hasmonean and brother of Judah Maccabee, Jonathan, Simeon, and Eleazar. If their names in I Maccabees 2:2–5 are given in the order of their ages, he was the oldest son of Mattathias. His cognomen was "Gaddi" (alternate form "Gaddis" or "Gaddim"), the exact meaning of which is uncertain. The name Gaddi occurs in the Bible (Num. 13:11); some connect it with gad, "fortune," and others with "grain" (or "produce"). Johanan did not play an important role in the Hasmonean wars. He appears only in the difficult period following the death of Judah (160 B.C.E.), when he and his brothers were pursued by *Bacchides. He is referred to as "a leader of the multitude" (I Macc. 9:35), an office whose meaning is unknown. He was sent by his brother Jonathan to the Nabateans to deposit a large quantity of baggage with them. On the way he was attacked by the sons of Ambri (in Jos., Ant. 13:11 Amaraios) who dwelt in Madeba on the eastern bank of the Jordan but whose identity is not clear. They plundered the goods and killed Johanan and his men (I Macc. 9:36ff.; Jos., ibid., 11ff.). Subsequently, Jonathan and Simeon made a surprise attack on the sons of Ambri while they were celebrating a wedding and avenged the blood of their brother by a mass slaughter (I Macc. 9:37–42.).


Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (1901), 223–4.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.