These names create a link between Judea, Parthia, and Arabia.
Isaac is the most familiar one. Isaac endured a mock sacrifice, and as such was linked in the Bible to the god Osiris (Issachar and Eleazar types). As the son of Isis (Sarah) he was also a Horus (Judah, Benjamin, David and Joshua types). We have seen that the Horus and Osiris Messianic traditions became intermingled. Also, Isaac-David, historically speaking was Thutmose III, the most renowned king of ancient times and the one most closely associated with the Messianic line.
In the Book of 1 Maccabees (6:43), one of the five sons of Mattathias, Eleazar Auran/Avaran, performs a self-sacrifice in battle (ala the Roman devotio).
The name Issachar/Zacchur/Jozachar is linked in the Bible to the name Zabad/Zabdi/Zabdi-el. By the way, Zabdiel, "gift of God" is in turn synonymous with Matthaniah/Matthew.
The Hebrew zak/zakar means "pure, innocent", as the sacrificial lamb, or the murdered Osiris, if you will. A varient of Zakar is Zaccai, alternatively spelled Zabbai. The form Zabbai connects back to Zabad/Zabdiel and a peculiar Old Testament kingly name Zeeb (of Assyria). This king Zeeb (also called Arioch) combined the roles of Judah, Benjamin and Issachar in his time. Zeeb may be remembered in the modern Arabic name Seeb.
In 1 Maccabees (5;24), Judas Maccabeus and Jonathan establish communication with Nabateans of the Trans-Jordan. Later (9:35) Jonathan sent his brother John Gaddis to the Nabateans but an interloper from Medaba (Medeba of Moab) named Jambri/Ambri abducted John and killed him. The Maccabees later attacked Medaba during a celebration of intermarriage between Jambri's son with a leading Arabian princess.
Another Arab group of the times around Damascus in Syria was called the Zabad-eans. (12:31). The common substitution of "d" with "t" would suggest that Zabadeans and Nabateans were related. The Nabateans in Herod's time claimed Damascus of Syria as their own traditional territory.
The Seleucid king Alexander fled to "Zabdiel the Arab", who Josephus calls a prince. Zabdiel beheaded Alexander. (11:16-18)
Another Arab named Malchus/Imalkue had been entrusted with the care of a young Seleucid prince Antiochus son of Alexander. (11:39-40) (Note the importance of the Arabic word iml, "knowledge", in the Koran.)
Arsaces "king of Persia" (14:1-3) captured the Seleucid king Demetrius. Interesting that the Book of 1 Maccabbes considers Arsaces a Persian rather than Parthian. The name Arsaces is known to have been applied to Parthian kings Artabanus and Phraates, and probably was a title of Parthian kings in general. So, the reference to Arsaces in 1 Maccabees isn't as helpful as it might otherwise be.
Simon Matthes/Thassi son of Matthathias is acknowledged as the most senior of his "brothers". He was to be a "father" to the Jews. This implies ruler or overlord. However, he is not recognized in Judea as a legitimate ruler until all four of his brothers are spent. Only then, and it seems with some resignment, Simon was asked to take the lead. Perhaps he was the most "Parthian" of the five? For some reason Judeans were more favorably disposed to the other four, perhaps because they were more "Arabian"?
See my other post titled "Mec(ca)-kaba-eans".
When two of the junior officers took initiative against the Seleucids they were reproved, because, "They did not belong to the family of those who were permitted to save Israel with their hands" (5:62). These five "brothers" of the same "family" appear to have had both Parthian and Arabian roots. Two of the brothers have essentially the same name, John (Gaddis) and Jonathan (Apphus).
As a side not in 1 Maccabees, we find the Hamonean princes using the tactic of Alexander the Great. That is, when faced with an overwhelming military force, they make a preemptive strike on the position of the opposing king/general.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.