I know this post is a day later than promised, but hurling took precedence over posting yesterday, much to my (and Annie’s) chagrin. Without further ado: the Revolt and it’s aftermath (with all credit, again, going to the brilliant Seth Schwartz).
The historicity of Antiochus’s decrees are a matter of scholarly debate. Ofri Ilani’s article in Ha’Aretz presents the “there’s no way these events transpired in this way” side of the argument. The argument boils down to the fact that religious persecution was extremely unusual at the time and Antiochus’s father was famous for enacting protections for the Israelite religion. Unfortunately, the paucity of primary sources that survived from that period force historians to speculate. For example, one possible explanation for this sudden shift rests on the scarce evidence that exists for a religious rebellion the previous year. Alternatively, high powered Jews may have gained politically from such decrees and influenced Antiochus, particularly if they intended to become a polis (which, we established yesterday, precludes monotheism).
Open Jewish resistance to these prohibitions did not begin until 167 BCE. At this point, the Hasmonean family had yet to take charge of the revolt. Slowly, the Hasmoneans gained a stronghold over the guerilla fighters, when
Even after the Seleucid Empire conceded,
In response to
Back in the Seleucid Empire, Demetrius I, Antiochus IV’s nephew, and Antiochus’s bastard son (maybe), Alexander Balas are both vying for the throne. I Maccabees describes them also vying for Jonathan’s favor, attempting to outdo one another with promises. Jonathan backed Balas, who appoints him High Priest (NB: the King always appointed the High Priest of Judea, but usually chose the son of the previous priest); as well, he appoints him Governor of Judea (and gives his brother, Simon, the cushy position of General of the Palestinian Coast). Jonathan’s roles as High Priest and Governor combined created a ritual and religious problem for the priesthood. As a general, he constantly came into contact with corpses, rendering him ritually impure (as well, priests were prohibited from willfully coming into contact with corpses, except under strict conditions). For ten years, Jonathan simultaneously juggled the roles of countryside underdog and Seleucid favorite. In 142 BCE, the Seleucid pretender to the throne, Diodotos Tryphon, tricked him into a meeting (sans army) and killed him. Simon took over and threw his support behind Diodotos’s opposition, receiving a tax break and passing it onto the Jews as an indication that the Jews were now fully independent of the Seleucids. Simon engineered and assembly of the Jews (as in Ezra and Nehemiah) and they proclaimed him High Priest and ruler of the nation, establishing the Hasmoneans as the ruling family of
The rest of the history is that of a dynasty maintaining power and eventually crumbling under the weight of its own excess, but not before greatly expanding the Judean Empire and bringing wealth and glory to