Previously I covered the event of Maccabee revolt which was precipitated by Antiochus’ attempt to prohibit observant Jews to practice their religion and at the same time compelling them to participate in pagan ritual and to sacrifice pigs to pagan gods following the defilement of the Temple.
The revolt was also brought about by the civil war between the traditionalists headed by Mattityahu (Mattathias) and the Hellenized Jews when the latter attempted to revamp the tradition of Judaism towards the Greek culture.
After Mattathias passed away Judah Maccabeus led the revolt on several battles that eventually defeated the Seleucid forces. When Antiochus unexpectedly passed away during a military campaign against the Parthians his son King Antiochus (V) Eupator reluctantly made peace with Judah and his men during the siege of the Temple in Jerusalem and permitted them to live according to the laws of their fathers so that he could return to Antioch to take care of the state affair against Philip.
Even though there would be more battles to come but meantime the Maccabees had regained control over Jerusalem and the surrounding with freedom to practice the laws and customs of their fathers. Jonathon Maccabee subsequently was installed as the high priest.
The Hasmonean Dynasty
The Hasmonean dynasty had its root from Mattityahu (Mattathias) the Hasmonean who started the Maccabee revolt during Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ effort to eradicate Judaism. The kingdom was establish later down the line.
Having obtained many military successes against the Seleucids, the Maccabees became very ambitious. Their original purpose of revolt to end religious oppression had now turned into a desire to continue the battle for gaining other nearby lands and engaging in forceful religious conversion. The latter action, which was a departure from Jewish custom, would soon come back to haunt the Jews dearly when one of the descendants of the Idumeans, who were forcefully converted to Judaism, became a ruthless and schizophrenic ruler of the Jews known as Herod the Great almost a century later.
Following Judah’s death in a battle in 160 BC and numerous battles and raids following thereafter, including the alliance with the Romans, Jonathan, who now also took command of the Maccabee force, was killed by Diodotus Tryphon in 142 BC while being held captive as a result of Diodotus’ entrapment. The last remaining son of Mattathias, Shimon (Simon) Maccabee, succeeded him in their ongoing battles against the gentiles and the Hellenized Jews.
To be continued…
Note: 1/31/1015 edited for brevity.