As it was written by a Pharisee, it could not have been composed after the breach arose between John Hyrcanus and the Pharisees towards the close of the 2nd century B.C. Thus the period of composition lies between 153, when Jonathan the Maccabee assumed the high-priesthood, and the year of the breach of John Hyrcanus with the Pharisees; some time, therefore, between 153 and 107.
Since this last collection includes a psalm (cx.) which can scarcely refer to any one earlier than Simon the Maccabee, and cannot well be later than his time, we are justified in assigning the compilation of this collection to about the year 140 B.C. But by this time a great change had taken place in the aims and aspirations of the Jews.
Its compilation can hardly have been finally completed before the 3rd century B.C.; if it is true, as many scholars think, that there are psalms dating from the time of the Maccabee struggle (Ps.
Their first appearance in history is in the time of Jonathan the Maccabee (161-144 B.e.).
If Maccabee (maggabi) is the original form of the name, the most probable derivation is from the Aramaic maggaba (Heb.