By: Kaufmann Kohler
The mysterious name of "the man of the tribe of Levi" who, under a Roman governor in the time of Herod, according to the Assumptio Mosis, ix. 1-7, underwent martyrdom with his seven sons amidst the cruel persecution of the Zealots (vi-viii.). He exhorted his sons thus: "Let us die rather than transgress the commands of the Lord of Lords, the God of our Fathers, for if we do this and die our blood will be avenged before the Lord." Here the story breaks off abruptly. It appears, however, that Josephus ("Ant." xiv. 15, § 5) refers to this martyrdom of Taxo during Herod's cruel onslaught against the Zealots, when he states that "one old man was caught within one of these caves with seven children and a wife, and rather than permit any of these to surrender he killed them all and finally himself, preferring, as he said, death to slavery, and reproaching Herod with the meanness of his family although he was king." Charles, in the "Assumptio Mosis" (1897), thinks that "Taxo" () is a corruption of the word ("the Zealot"), and that the Samaritan legend of Moses in Heidenheim's "Vierteljahrschrift" (1871, iv. 210), in speaking of a "Levite" who would be a zealous battler for the congregation "and die and after three days rise again," refers to the same Taxo mentioned in the "Assumptio Mosis." According to Gen. R. lvii. end, "Taḥbash" ("Taḥshon") signifies a rebel.