JUDAS: My kinsman, it will be necessary for thee to undertake a dangerous journey through the enemy's country to the camp of our brethren, where thou wilt learn what will be required of thee. Wilt thou proceed? Candidate answers. Thou must go alone. Thy path will be full of pitfalls and snares. Unknown perils will surround thee. The safer route lies to the right. Be brave, be true, and all may be well. Remember thy assurances to Mattathias. He then causes candidate to pass into enclosure, immediately closing curtains behind him. GO!
GENERAL, addressing soldiers: An alarm at the outpost. Ascertain the cause.
SENTINEL, AS GUARD: An enemy! There he goes toward the foot hills!
SOLDIER: Well, if we haven't another of the rebels! And in disguise too!
SOLDIER: Shall we kill him or take him to the General?
SOLDIER: Why take him to the General? Of course, he may be a spy!
SOLDIER: General, the foraging band you dispatched up the valley, came upon three miserable looking peasants and proceeded to capture them. They offered resistance. One was slain on the spot. One defended himself in a most remarkable manner. One undertook to run away. We caught and have him before you.
GENERAL, eyeing the candidate fiercely: He is a Maccabee; one of the rebels under Judas. Let him stand aside and wait his doom.
SOLDIER: General, the squad you sent to forage the valley came upon three peasants. One was killed. The other escaped. One of them seems to have the strength of a lion and the skill of David of old; Reinforcements came to our aid else we could not have taken him. He is covered with wounds and almost ready to die from the loss of blood. We bound up his wounds. Thinking he might be of more value to you alive than dead, we refrained from killing him. In his delirium he continually called for a friend. This we do not understand. Question him yourself. Here is his sword stained with the blood of our comrades.
GENERAL, examining sword carefully, in tones of surprise says: This is the sword of Judas, the leader of this rebellious horde. Throws sword on floor to the right of and near center of enclosure, then turning to Judas and eyeing him fiercely. And thou art the arch rebel, under whose leadership this small land of rebellious Maccabees hath so long harassed the Syrian armies and spread death, desolation and dismay throughout the realms of Antiochus. Thus far thou hast eluded our pursuit; but now we have thee within our power. Nothing less than thy life will avenge the death of those whose blood hath moistened this blade. This hour thou shalt pay the penalty. Guards, chain him to the block and bare his neck for the sword.
SOLDIER: General, your orders have been obeyed.
GENERAL: No, but thou, fruit of this rebellious spirit, mast perform this execution or suffer the fate of those who refuse to obey the commands of Antiochas. Take this blade and with it slay this arch rebel, and thus end this rebellion.
GENERAL: Take it!
GENERAL: Take it, I say!
GENERAL, if sword is refused: What, thou refuseth to obey my commands? Guards, turning to Guards away with him, let him be destroyed!
GENERAL, if sword is accepted: Ah, I Thou art not only a rebel but a traitor as well, who would raise his hand against a kinsman and friend without cause. Thy boasted fidelity to friends and kinsmen is but a myth. So soon hast thou forgotten thy assurances to Mattathias. Thine shall be the fate of a traitor. Guards, away with him. Let him be destroyed!
SOLDIERS, shouting in concert: Away with him!
Let us bind him to the post, and make a target of his body for our spears.
GENERAL: He is not brave enough to meet death with his eyes open. Blindfold him.
SOLDIER then shouts: Take that, thou rebel! And stamps his foot as in the act of throwing a spear.
GENERAL then says: You threw too high. Let me place a mark over his heart and see who will be the first to pierce it. He does so.
SOLDIER: This, for thy cowardly heart!
And stamps his foot as in the act of throwing a spear.
GENERAL: Shorten the distance and make your aim sure. When Guard at foot of enclosure sounds trumpet.
GENERAL: An alarm at the out post! Go and learn the cause.
JUDAS: Still alive! Fortunate indeed are we to have escaped with our lives from those cruel barbarians.
JUDAS: Hark! The battle rages fiercely over the hills, whither our enemies have gone. The destiny of Judea and the liberty of its people hang in the balance. Taking candidate's right arm and advancing toward point where sword lays on floor. Come, let us hasten to join the forces of the Maccabees that we may aid in the cause of humanity, and share in the glory of their triumph!
JUDAS: Ah! Here is my trusty blade again.
Turning to candidate and holding it aloft in his right hand, says: This day thou shalt listen to a proclamation of Judea's freedom, for unto the just belongeth the victory.
Ancient initiation rite
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An ancient order reborn
The Fraternal Order of the Knights of the Maccabees rises again, one eye to our storied history and one eye toward our glorious future.
These pages represent a glimpse into the formal business and rites of the Order.
They should be seen as ceremonies that connect the Order to the past, yet rites that do not bind the Order to the past.
We are a modern Order unashamed and unchained by our long and glorious history. Our history is ever before us as example and beacon, yet our future like our present is that of contemporary service and reflection.
The Maccabees conferred three degrees: Degree of Protection, Degree of Friendship, and Degree of Loyalty.
In the Degree of Protection, the candidate was introduced to the demands of Honor, Courage, and Obedience. The candidate learned the history of Maccabee household and how it protected Judea from King Antiochus during the war of independence. To prove themselves fit to "join in the cause of humanity," the tyros had to undergo an ordeal.
In the Degree of Friendship, the Commander takes the part of Mattathias, the Lt. Commander that of Judas, the Past Commander that of John (son of Mattathias), and the Chaplain that of Eleazar (son of Mattathias). The candidate received instruction in the nature of friendship.
In the Degree of Loyalty, the dramatic work revolved around the following characters: Apelles, Mattathias, Matthathias's four sons, Judas, Soldiers, while the candidate, Sentinel, and a Knight took the parts of Jewish peasants. In keeping with the Maccabee legend of the revolt at Modin the patriarch Mattathias remained steadfast to the Jewish religion when ordered to make sacrifice to Roman gods and at great personal risk stops an apostate Jew from offering sacrifice to false gods. The lesson derived from his example was that of genuine patriotism and inculcated the duty to uphold and defend the rights of liberty and conscience when they are threatened by irresponsible power in any form. Additionally, the candidate was reintroduced to the ghost of Eleazar and finally sees the end of the rebellion.