ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES
(an tie' uh kuhs uh pif' uh neez) GREEK
"opposer"; "illustrious" or "(god) manifest"
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The eigth member of the Seleucid dynasty that ruled Syria between 281 and 64 B.C., Antiochus IV is blamed in the book of Daniel for profaning the temple in Jerusalem with "the abomination that makes desolate" (Dan. 11:31). His attempt to destroy Judaism is reported in 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees of the Apocrypha.

Early in his rule (175-164 B.C.), Antiochus intervened in a dispute over the Jewish high priesthood, siding with a hellenizer named Jason against his more orthodox brother Onias. Then he accepted a bribe from one Menelaus to replace Jason as high priest. When an army under Jason attempted to recapture Jerusalem, Antiochus happened to be on the way home from a successful campaign in Egypt. He stopped by Jerusalem to plunder the temple treasures and butcher the inhabitants.

In 167 B.C. Antiochus sent a new force to sach the city and destroy its walls and then issued his infamous edict of religious and cultural conformity, decreeing that "all should be one people, and that each should give up his customs" (1 Macc. 1:41). New rules forbade worship on the sabbath, circumcision, and the observance of dietary regulations. The temple was stripped of all objects associated with ancient worship and a new altar to Zeus was installed.

The religious repression brought about the revolt of a priest named Mattathias, whose son Judas Maccabeus succeeded in routing Antiochus' armies and restoring temple worship. Preoccupied with other revolts to the north and thus powerless to retaliate, Antiochus withdrew to Persia where he became insane and died.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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