Word 15: החשמונאים (ul)

Hebrew for "princes shall come out of Egypt" (Psa 68:31); rich nobles, whence the Maccabees took their name Asmonaeans. The Egyptian civil name of Hermopolis Magna was Hashmen. The idol of wisdom, Hermes, Thoth, gave his name to the city; thus the derived term Hashmannim means "wisest Egyptian princes".

ISBE Bible Dictionary:

A remarkable priestly family of Modin, in Judea, also called Hasmoneans or Maccabees. They belonged to that portion of the Jewish nation which under all trials and temptations remained loyal to Yahweh, even when the national life and religion seemed at their lowest ebb, and they succeeded, for a while at least, in restoring the name and fame of Israel. All in all they were an extremely warlike family. But the entire Asmonean history affords abundant proof of the bitter partisanships which, even more than the persecutions of their enemies, sapped the national strength and divided the nation into bitterly hostile factions. The Asmoneans never, in all their history, or at any given period in it, had a united people behind their backs. They had to fight disloyalty at home, as well as deadly enmity abroad. A considerable portion of the people was unable to withstand the paganizing influence of the Macedonian and Syrian periods, and in this direction the thousands of Hebrew soldiers, who fought under the Greek banners, must have exerted an inestimable influence. The Asmonean struggle is therefore, in all its phases, a three-sided one, and it makes the ascendancy of the family all the more remarkable. The sources of our knowledge of this period are mainly found in the Books of the Macc, in the Josephus, Antiquities and Josephus, Jewish Wars of Josephus, and in occasional references of Strabo, Livy and other classic historians. The contents of Josephus, Antiquities plainly prove that Josephus used the Books of the Macc as far as possible, but that besides he was possessed of sources of information now wholly lost. The name "Asmonean" is derived from the Hebrew Heb: Chashman, "wealthy." Chashman was a priest of the family Joarib (Ant., XII, vi, 1; 1 Mac).

The name "Maccabee," from the surname of Judas, the son of Mattathias, may be derived from the Hebrew Heb: maqqdbhah, "a hammer"; Heb: makhbi, "an extinguisher"; or from the first letters of the Hebrew sentence, Heb: Mi Khamokhah Ba-'elim YHWH? "Who among the gods, O Lord, can be likened unto thee," inscribed on the Maccabean banner in the word Heb: Makhbiy.

bl