(Hebrew: makeb, hammer)
Son of the priest Mathathias (1 Machabees 2) and leader of the Jewish army, who waged a war of independence against Syria and delivered his people from the Syrian yoke.
He sent messengers to Rome to secure protection against the oppression of the Syrians, but before their success became known in the East, he was defeated and slain, 161 BC, on the battlefield at Laisa (1 Machabees 4-9; 2 Machabees 10-15).
His deeds are the subject of an oratorio by Handel.
The books of Machabees are so called because they contain the history of the Jews. under Judas Machabeus and his brethren.
New Catholic Dictionary