Israel under the Maccabees

As the Seleucid Empire continued to lose land to rival powers and internal revolts, Antiochus IV Epiphanes sought to unify his diverse domain by forcing Greek religious and political practices upon all his subjects (1 Maccabees 1; 2 Maccabees 6-7). Eventually his harsh policies fomented open rebellion by faithful Jews under the leadership of Mattathias Maccabeus and his sons (1 Maccabees 2; 2 Maccabees 8). Beginning in Judea in 167 B.C., the Maccabean leaders established an independent kingdom and gradually accumulated more and more land until their domain roughly equalled the territory allotted to the twelve tribes of Israel (1 Maccabees 3-16; 2 Maccabees 9-15).

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