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Modin

MODIN

mo'-din (Modeein, Modein, Modeeim, and other forms; in the Talmud it is called modhi`im, and modhi`ith (Neubauer, Geographie du Talmud, 99)):

This place owes its interest to the part it played in the history of the Maccabees. It was the ancestral home of their family (1 Macc 2:17,70). Hither Mattathias, a priest of the sons of Joarib, retired when he had seen with a burning heart "the blasphemies that were committed in Judah and in Jerus" under the orders of Antiochus Epiphanes. But the king's officer followed him, and by offers of the king's friendship and great rewards sought to seduce the people into idolatry. This only fed the indignation of Mattathias, and when a Jew went forward to sacrifice, Mattathias slew him on the altar together with the king's officer. From such a step there could be no going back. Thus began the patriotic enterprise which, led by the old priest's heroic sons, was destined to make illustrious the closing days of the nation's life (1 Macc 2:1; Ant, VI, i, 2; BJ, I, i, 3). Mattathias, his wife and sons were all buried in Modin (1 Macc 2:70; 9:19; 13:25-30; Ant, XII, xi, 2; XIII, vi, 6). Near Modin Judas pitched his camp, whence issuing by night with the watchword "Victory is God's," he and a chosen band of warriors overwhelmed the army of Antiochus Eupator (2 Macc 13:14). In Modin Judas and John, the sons of Simon, slept before the battle in which they defeated Cendebaeus (1 Macc 16:4).

Of the impressive monument erected by Simon over the tombs of his parents and brethren Stanley (History of the Jewish Church, III, 318) gives the following account:

"It was a square structure surrounded by colonnades of monolith pillars, of which the front and back were of white polished stone. Seven pyramids were erected by Simon on the summit, for the father and mother and four brothers who now lay there, with the seventh for himself when his time should come. On the faces of the monuments were bas-reliefs, representing the accouterments of sword and spear and shield `for an eternal memorial' of their many battles. There were also sculptures of ships--no doubt to record their interest in that long seaboard of the Philistine coast, which they were the first to use for their country's good. A monument at once so Jewish in idea and so Gentilein execution was worthy of the combination of patriotic fervor and high philosophic enlargement of soul which raised the Maccabean heroes so high above their age." Guerin (La Samarie, II, 401; Galilee, I, 47) thought he had discovered the remains of this monument at Khirbet el-Gharbawi near Medyeh, in 1870. In this, however, he was mistaken, the remains being of Christian origin.

Various identifications have been proposed. Coba, about 6 miles West of Jerusalem, was for a time generally accepted. Robinson (BR, III, 151 f) suggested LaTrun. There is now a consensus of opinion in favor of el-Medyeh, a village to the East of Wady Mulaki, 13 miles West of Bethel. It occupies a strong position in the hills 6 miles East of Lydda, thus meeting the condition of Eusebius, Onomasticon, which places it near Lydda. The identification was suggested by Dr. Sandreczki of Jerusalem in 1869. From el-Medyeh itself the sea is not visible; but to the South rises a rocky height, er-Ras, which commands a wide view, including the plain and the sea. The latter is 16 miles distant. If the monument of Simon stood on er-Ras, which from the rock cuttings seems not improbable, it would be seen very clearly by overlooking from the sea, especially toward sunset (1 Macc 13:29). About 1/4 mile West of el-Medyeh are tombs known as Qubur el-Yehud, one bearing the name of Sheikh el-Gharbawi, whose name attaches to the ruins. This is the tomb referred to above.

W. Ewing


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'MODIN'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.