I, II, and III Meqabyan (Ge'ez: መቃብያን, sometimes spelled Makabian) are three books in the Ethiopian Orthodox Old Testament Biblical canon. Although these books are completely different in content from the books of Maccabees in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, they are sometimes referred to as Ethiopic Maccabees or Ethiopian Maccabees. The "Maccabees" described in these books are not those of the Hasmonean dynasty, and the "Five Holy Maccabean Martyrs" here do not correspond to the martyred "woman with seven sons", who were also referred to as "Maccabees" and are revered throughout Orthodoxy as the "Holy Maccabean Martyrs".[1]

These three books long existed only in Ge'ez, but have recently been translated into standard English by Feqade Selassie.

The historical Maccabees are referred to again in Chapter 15, which describes the three brothers Judas, Meqabis (Simon Maccabaeus) and Mebikyas (Jonathan Maccabee) as leading a successful revolt against the evil king Akrandis of Midian, who was oppressing Israel. Here, Mebikyas enters Akrandis' camp and decapitates him at his dinnertable, food still in his mouth, while Judas and Meqabis defeat the king's armies in the field.


  1. Mertens' Encyclopedia
  2. John Mason Harden, An Introduction to Ethiopic Christian Literature, 1926, p. 38; Ernst Hammerschmidt, Äthiopien: Christliches Reich zwischen gestern und morgen, 1967, p. 105.


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