(Μωδεϊvν v.r. Μωδεείμ, Μωδιείμ, Μωδαείμ, and in chapter 2 Μωδεείν; Josephus, Μωδιείμ, and once Μωδεείν; Vulg. Modin: the Jewish form is, in the Mishna, המודיעים in Joseph ben-Gorion, chapter 20 המודעית; the Syriac version of Maccabees agrees with the Mishna, except in the absence of the article, and is the usual substitution of r for d, Mora'im), a place not mentioned in either the Old or New Testament, though rendered immortal by its connection with the history of the Jews in the interval between the two. It was the native city of the Maccabnean family (1 Macc. 13:25), and as a necessary consequence contained their ancestral sepulchre (τάφος) (2:70; 9:19). Hither Mattathias removed from Jerusalem, where up to that time he seems to have been residing, at the commencement of the Antiochian persecution (2:1). It was here that he struck the first blow of resistance, by slaying on the heathen altar which had been erected in the place both the commissioner of Antiochus and a recreant Jew whom he had induced to sacrifice, and then demolishing the altar. Mattathias himself, and subsequently his sons Judas and Jonathan, were buried in the family tomb, and over them Simon erected a structure which is minutely described in the book of Maccabees (13:25-30), and, with less detail, by Josephus (Ant. 13:6, 6), but the restoration of which has hitherto proved as difficult a puzzle as that of the mausoleum of Artemisia.
At Modin the Maccabsean armies encamped on the eves of two of their most memorable victories — that of Judas over Antiochus Eupator (2 Macc. 13:14), and that of Simon over Cendebaus (1 Macc. 14:4) — the last battle of the venerable chief before his assassination. The only indication of the position of the place to be gathered from the above notices is contained in the last, from which we may infer that it was near "the plain" (τὸ πεδίον), i.e., the great maritime lowland of Philistia (verse 5). By Eusebius and Jerome.(Onomast, Μηδεείμ, Modim) it is specified as near Diospolis, i.e., Lydda; while the notice in the Mishna (Pesachim, 9:2), and the comments of Bartenora and Maimonides, state that it was fifteen (Roman) miles from Jerusalem. At the same time the description of the monument seems to imply (though for this see below) that the spot was so lofty as to be visible from the sea, and so near that even the details of the sculpture were discernible therefrom. All these conditions, except the last, are tolerably fulfilled in either of the two sites called Latrin and Kubbab. The former of these is, by the shortest road — that through Wady All- exactly fifteen Roman miles from Jerusalem; it is about eight English miles from Lydd, fifteen from the Mediterranean, and nine or ten from the River Rubin, on which it is probable that Cedron — the position of Cendebbeus in Simon's battle-stood. Kubab is a couple of miles farther from Jerusalem, and therefore nearer to Lydd and to the sea, on the most westerly spur of the hills of Benjamin. Both are lofty, and both apparently — Latrun certainly — command a view of the Mediterranean. In favor of Latrun are the extensive ancient remains with which the top of the hill is said to be covered (Robinson, Bib. Res. 3:151; Tobler, Dritte Wand. page 186), though of their date and particulars we have at present no accurate information. The foundations of the fortress appear to be of the Roman age, or perhaps earlier, though the upper parts exhibit pointed arches and light architecture of a much later date. The view from the summit is commanding, and embraces the whole plain to Joppa and the Mediterranean beyond. The name Latron appears to have arisen in the 16th century, from the legend which made this the birthplace of the penitent thief —"Castrum boni Latronis" (Quaresmius, 2:12; Porter, Hand-book, page 285; Reland, page 901; Thomson, Land and Book, 2:308). Kubab appears to possess no ruins, but, on the other hand, its name may retain a trace of the monument. Ewald (Gesch. 4:350, note) suggests that the name Modin may be still surviving in Deir Ma'in. But this is questionable on philological grounds; and the position of Deir Ma'in is less in accordance with the facts than that of the two named in the text. The mediaeval and modern tradition (see Robinson, 2:7) places Modin at Soba, and eminence south of Kuriet el-Enab; but this being not more than seven miles from Jerusalem, while it is as much as twenty-five from Lydda and thirty from the sea, and also far removed from the plain of Philistia, is at variance with every one of the conditions implied in the records. It has found advocates in our own day in M. de Saulcy (L'Art Judaique, etc., page 377 sq.) and M. Salzmann (Jerusalem, Etude, etc., pages 37, 38; where the lively account would be more satisfactory if it were less encumbered with mistakes), the latter of whom explored chambers there which may have been tombs, though he admits that there was nothing to prove it. A suggestive fact, which Dr. Robinson first pointed out, is the want of unanimity in the accounts of the mediaeval travellers, some of whom, as William of Tyre (8:1), place Modin in a position near Emmaus — Nicopolis, Nob, and Lydda. M. Mislin also usually so vehement in favor of the traditional sites has recommended further investigation. If it should turn out that the expression of the book of Maccabees as to the monument being visible from the sea has been misinterpreted, then one impediment to the reception of Soba will be removed; but it is difficult to account for the origin of the tradition in the teeth of those which remain.
The descriptions of the tomb by the author of the book of Maccabees and Josephus, who had both apparently seen it, will be most conveniently compared by being printed together: 1 Macc. 23:27-30. Josephus, Ant. 13:6, 6. "And Simon made a build- "And Simon built a very ing over the sepulchre of his large monument to his father father and his brethren, and and his brethren of white raised it aloft to view with and polished stone. And he polished stone behind and be- raised it up to a great and fore. And he set up upon it conspicuous height, and seven pyramids, one against threw cloisters around, and another, for his father and set up pillars of a single his mother and his four breth- stone, a work wonderful to thren. And on these he made behold: and near to these engines of war, and set great he built seven pyramids to pillars round about, and on his parents and his broth- the pillars he made suits of ers, one for each, terrible to armor for a perpetual mem- behold both for size and ory; and by the suits of armor beauty. ships carved, so that they might be seen by all that sail on the sea.
This sepulchre he made at Modin, And these things are pre- and it stands unto this day." served even to this day."
The monuments are said by Eusebius (ut sup.) to have been still shown when he wrote — A.D. cir. 320. Any restoration of the structure from so imperfect an account as the above can never be anything more than conjecture. Something has been already attempted under SEE MACCABEES (q.v.). But in its absence one or two questions present themselves.
(1.) The "ships" (πλοῖα, naves). The sea and its pursuits were so alien to the ancient Jews, and the life of the Maccabaean heroes who preceded Simon was — if we except their casual relations with Joppa and Jamnia and the battle-field of the maritime plain — so unconnected therewith, that it is difficult not to suppose that the word is corrupted from what it originally was. This was the view of J.D. Michaelis, but he does not propose any satisfactory word in substitution for πλοῖα (see his suggestion in Grimm, ad loc.). True, Simon appears to, have been to a certain extent alive to the importance of commerce to his country, and he is especially commemorated for having acquired the harbor of Joppa, and thus opened an inlet for the isles of the sea (1 Macc. 14:5). But it is difficult to see the connection between this and the placing of ships on a monument to his father and brothers, whose memorable deeds had been of a different description. It is perhaps more feasible to suppose that the sculptures were intended to be symbolical of the departed heroes. In this case it seems not. improbable that during Simon's intercourse with the Romans he had seen and been struck with their war-galleys, no inapt symbols of the fierce and rapid career of Judas. How far such symbolical representation was likely to occur: to. a Jew of that period is another question..
(2.) The distance at which the "ships" were to be seen.. Here again, when the necessary distance of Modin from the sea — Latr'in, fifteen miles; Kubab, thirteen; Lydda itself, ten — and the limited size of the sculptures are considered, the doubt inevitably arises whether the Greek text of the book of Maccabees accurately represents the original. De Saulcy (L'Art Judaique, page 377) ingeniously suggests that the true meaning is, not that the sculptures could be discerned from the vessels in the Mediterranean. but that they were worthy to be inspected by those who were sailors by profession. Hitzig (Gesch. des Volkes. Israels, page 449) insists upon it (1869) that Modin is recognised in the modern little village el-Burjh (comp. Robinson, 3:272), but the exact location is by recent excavations determined to be in el-Mediyeh, two and a quarter hours. east of Lydda (Quar. Statement of "Palestine Exploration Fund," 1870, page 245 sq.; 1874, page 58 sq.).