Jesus Christ Prison Ministry


The Jews Rebel

Verse 14 states, “in those times many will rise against the king of the South. The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success.” Did this happen? Did the Jews (your own people) rebel without success? Yes.

“The Maccabees led the Jewish people in their struggle for freedom from the kingdom of Syria. Their exploits and legends about them are recounted in the Old Testament books Maccabees (q.v., books). Prominent members of the family include the following.


“Mattathias, or Mattathiah (d. 166? bc ), priest of Modin, northwest of Jerusalem. In 168 bc the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes forbade the practice of Judaism and also decreed that altars to Greek gods be set up in the Temple at Jerusalem and in country towns. Mattathias, then an old man, refused to comply and killed a royal officer and a Jew who did comply. Subsequently (167 bc), with his five sons and many faithful Jews, Mattathias fled to the mountains and began a revolt against Antiochus. He died soon after, leaving his son Judas in command of the rebellion.


“Judas. or Judah (d. 161 bc), third son and successor of Mattathias. One of the great generals in Jewish history, Judas, with a few thousand followers, defeated several numerically superior Syrian armies in succession (166-165 bc). In December 165 bc, he led his insurgent army into Jerusalem, purified the Temple, which had been used for Greek rites during the preceding three years, and restored the Jewish rites. This purification and restoration is commemorated by the Jewish festival Hanukkah (q.v.). Judas next began extensive military campaigns against the enemies of the Jews in and around Judea. As a result, Syria recognized the religious liberty of the Jews (163 bc). Judas then began to work for political independence as well and to this end enlisted the aid of Rome. Dissensions among the Jews, however, weakened his position. Although Judas won a great victory over the Syrians at Bethhoron (just northwest of Jerusalem) in 161 bc, he was killed in a subsequent battle fought nearby at Elsa.


“Jonathan. (d. 142? bc), brother and successor of Judas, youngest son of Mattathias. After the death of Judas, Jonathan continued for three years to lead a small band of insurgents. In 157 bc, the Syrians, engaged in an internal struggle for political power, made peace with him. Five years later, profiting from the internal conflict in Syria, Jonathan became high priest in Jerusalem and administrator of Judea. Thereafter, he alternately supported the Syrian kings and pretenders, using them against one another, while increasing Jewish territory and power. In 143 bc Tryphon (d. 138 bc), pretender to the Syrian throne, decided to crush the power of the Jewish leader as a threat to his own influence. Jonathan was treacherously taken prisoner near Beth-shan (modern Beit Shean) by Tryphon, and he was ultimately killed.


“Simon. (d. 135 bc), successor and brother of Jonathan, second son of Mattathias. In 142 bc he negotiated a treaty with Syria by which Judea was recognized as politically independent. All Syrians were expelled from the citadel at Jerusalem. In 141 bc a great congregation of the Jewish people and priests chose Simon to be high priest and civil governor, and the two offices were made hereditary in Simon’s family. After six years of prosperous rule, Simon was assassinated by his son-in-law and chief rival for power.” Infopedia


The revolt did not succeed for long. Judea was soon to be ruled by the Romans.