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The meaning of Antiochus Iv; Antiochus Epiphanes in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

(Epiphanes, e-pif'-a-naz, "Illustrious"): Son of Antiochus III who became king after his brother, Seleucus IV, had been murdered by Heliodorus. As a boy Antiochus lived at Rome as a hostage. The Pergamene monarchs, Eumenes and Attalus, succeeded in placing upon the throne the brother of Seleucus, although Heliodorus had wished to ascend the throne himself. The young king was even more enterprising than his father. He was called in to settle a quarrel between Onias III and his brother, Jason, the leader of the Hellenizing faction in Jerusalem, and Onias was driven out (2 Macc 4:4-6). Jason became high priest in his stead (2 Macc 4:9-16; 1 Macc 1:10-15; Ant, XII, v, 1). Antiochus himself afterward visited Jerusalem and was signally honored (2 Macc 4:22). On the death of Ptolemy VI in 173, Antiochus laid claim to Coelesyria, Palestine and Phoenicia; whereupon war broke out between Syria and Egypt. In this war Antiochus was victorious. Ptolemy Philometor was taken prisoner, and Antiochus had himself crowned king of Egypt (171-167 BC) at Memphis; whereupon Alexandria revolted and chose Ptolemy's brother as their king. The Roman ambassador, Popilius Laenas, demanded the surrender of Egypt and the immediate withdrawal of its self-constituted king. Antiochus yielded; gave up Pelusium and withdrew his fleet from Cyprus, but retained Coelesyria, Palestine and Phoenicia.

While Antiochus was on a second campaign in Egypt, he heard of the siege of Jerusalem. He returned immediately, slew many thousands of the inhabitants and robbed the temple of its treasures (1 Macc 1:20-24; 2 Macc 5:11-21). By his prohibition of the Jewish worship and his introduction or substitution of the worship of the Olympian Zeus (1 Macc 1:54; 2 Macc 6:2; Ant, XII, v, 4) he brought about the insurrection of the Jews, under the Maccabees, upon whom he made an unsuccessful war in 167-164 BC. After this war Antiochus retired to the eastern provinces and died, after having failed in an attack on the temple of the Sun in Elymais, in Persia.

See also ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION; ANTIOCHIANS.

J. E. Harry


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