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Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees (The Silent Years)

by Angela Hunt

Series: The Silent Years (2)

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749319,007 (4.18)None
Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses. Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight--or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision--what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long? The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.… (more)
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The second book of the Silent Years series is the story of Judah Maccabaeus and his brothers’ battles to reclaim the Temple in Jerusalem for the Jewish people — told through the eyes of Judah’s wife.

Leah has grown up in a home full of violence. When she gets the chance to escape her father’s rage by marrying into a new family, she prays that the man she has chosen will treat her better than her father did her mother. Judah is kind and gentle, and Leah has only known him to fight in defense of those who can’t protect themselves. But everything changes when the king passes new laws that forbid the Jews from living according to God’s Law, and Judah finds himself at the center of a rebellion. Leah struggles between her desire for peace and safety and her calling to support and love her husband. Above all, she strives to understand God’s will for her, her husband, and her people.

Angela Hunt’s retelling of history through the perspective of Leah, with her background of abuse, adds layers of depth to the narrative that really brought the characters to life and made their struggles more vivid for me. I don’t know much about this period of history, and I know Hunt didn’t include every detail of all the battles, but I felt that she portrayed the how and why of the most significant events in a way that was captivating and informative. It is a story that once again shows that God is never silent when our hearts are willing to listen. ( )
  vvbooklady | May 10, 2021 |
Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt was my book club’s selection this month. We have read a number of Hunt’s books — all genres — before and have always enjoyed great discussions from them. This novel was no exception. Even though it was not a favorite of a couple of our members (they are not big historical fiction fans), the majority liked the book. For most of us the events depicted were new, and the author did a good job of making us think about the years between the Testaments of the Bible.

Judah’s Wife begins in 168 BC, a time when the Hellenistic influences of the era were undermining the culture and worship of Israel. The novel introduces the reader to Judah Maccabeus and his family. The author drew from the history recorded in the Apocrypha. That and the historical details she included gave an authenticity to the book. The story is told through the first person POV of Judah and his wife, Leah. The two were at odds for most of the book, a fact that my book club felt was more a product of a 21st century understanding than would have been true during their own time period. That and a couple of odd scenes (you’ll know them when you read them) were the only negatives we found. The story was heroic, the characters complex, and the history enlightening and interesting. We did wish for a happier ending, but that would have been untrue to the essence of the story. The main characters learn to trust God with their problems and doubts, even as they struggle to adjust to His will over their own.

Judah’s Wife is the second book in Hunt’s Silent Years series. Each novel is a standalone and can be read independently of each other. They do progress chronologically, so reading them in order may help with historical context. My group is going to read book 1, Egypt’s Sister, next year. I look forward to another great story from Hunt.

Recommended.

Audience: adults. ( )
  vintagebeckie | Oct 28, 2019 |
"A safe and sheltered life . . . was a boring life"

I've been interested in learning more about the Maccabees and the origins of the Hanukkah festival, and I feel this book did the job brilliantly.

This is historical fiction telling the story of the Maccabean Revolt, mostly through the eyes of Judah Maccabee (and based on historical record), and also through the eyes of his wife "Leah" (a fictional character, Judah was most probably married but nothing is known of his wife)

I found it well-written and engaging, the characters were likable and the military tactics of the Maccabees were easy to visualise.

Recommended to anyone with interest in the period, and safe for teens (contains romance but no graphic sexual content)

This book is part of "The Silent Years" series which deals with events happening between the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible. It is pre-Christian and not at all "preachy", though the characters are people of faith.

"‘Two are better than one,’ wrote Solomon, ‘in that their cooperative efforts yield this advantage: if one of them falls, the other will help his partner up—woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to help him up. Again, if two people sleep together, they keep each other warm; but how can one person be warm by himself?’” ( )
  freelunch | May 29, 2019 |
Leah, daughter of the cheesemaker has had a hard life living with a violent father. Leah marries Judah and finds protection and care. But the land is controlled by Antiochus IV, who is descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals. When he issues a decree that all Jews are to comply with Syrian laws, the devout Jews chance it all to follow the law of Moses.

Judah's father Mattathias decides to move his family from Jerusalem Modein to flee the punishment for defying the decree. By defying the decree, it begins a war that will cost many their lives. Before his death, Mattathias commands Judah to continue the war, otherwise, the Jewish lineage and their lands would be annihilated. Leah wants peace and wrestles with her husband's decision to be the commander of the army. Will there ever be peace?
This is the incredible chronicle of the Maccabees, told through the wife of Judah, who learns what courage and sacrifice are all about.

The author Angela Hunt has done an incredible amount of research and has produced a powerful history lesson entwined with her own creative writing. The author has a way of captivating the reader's attention while teaching us historical content. I like the way the author writes her novels through the eyes of people that were actually there, teaching us history through their eyes.

This is an excellent read, especially for those who love history.


I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
( )
  MaryAnnB1964 | Mar 1, 2019 |
If you have ever wanted to know more about the Maccabees, this is a fascinating read. This story occurred during the silent years between Malachi and Matthew. In the narrative of I, after Antiochus IV issued his decrees forbidding Jewish religious practice, a rural Jewish priest from Modiin, sparked the revolt with rebel Jewish warriors against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods.

I remember the first time I heard this story and I can see now that it was quite slanted. AS I read the story and studied the history, some things had been omitted and some details had been added. For instance, I had no idea how brutal these Jewish warriors were. They were beheading people and slaughtering people who oppressed Jewish worshippers. I had no idea how many battles this revolt entailed and how gruesome they were. The small Jewish army defeated large opposing forces with superior weapons repeatedly.

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple following Judah Maccabee's victory over the Seleucids. According to Rabbinic tradition, the victorious Maccabees could only find a small jug of oil that had remained uncontaminated by virtue of a seal, and although it only contained enough oil to sustain the Menorah for one day, it miraculously lasted for eight days, by which time further oil could be procured. According to our author, there is no historical evidence for this and may have been added for drama at a later date.

Reading about the how harsh Antiochus IV (remember him from Daniel?) was made me praise God all the more for religious freedom. He was having everyone who practiced Jewish law killed. If you circumcised your son, you were all killed. Jews were turning on Jews for fear of being killed by the government. Some of those in the priesthood were also corrupt. It is always disparaging to see the people who are supposed to be shepherding God's children killing them.

I thought the book was fascinating. Of course, there are added portions to make it a work of fiction, but all of the battles and events are true. I highly recommend it. It made the story remarkably real to my mind's eye.
( )
  StephCherry | Sep 22, 2018 |
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Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses. Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight--or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision--what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long? The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.

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