Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Hebrew Name Matthew

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Matthew is another name whose popularity is based on Christianity but is actually the Greek form of a Hebrew name, Mattityahu. The name means “Gift of God.”

There is really only one famous Mattityahu in early Jewish tradition, and he is not in the Hebrew Bible. Rather, Mattityahu is the first hero in the story of Chanukah and the Maccabees. A High Priest, descended from the Hasmonean line, Mattityahu lived in the city of Modi’in with his five sons. Mattityahu started the rebellion against the Syrian-Greeks when he refused to sacrifice a pig to a Greek god and slew the Jew who volunteered to do so.

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