Jewish Sects and Antiochus’s Oppression


Emergence of Jewish Sects

At this juncture, the Jewish community divides into two major sects of the New Testament era: the Pharisees, representing the fundamentalist majority, and the Sadducees Roman Intervention and Antiochus IV’s Reign, embodying the liberal upper class. Jason, a Sadducee, secures the high priest’s position by surpassing his brother Onias III’s gift to Antiochus. Onias III, seen as pro-Ptolemaic, loses favor. Jason, once in power, attempts to win Antiochus’s favor further by renaming Jerusalem to Antiochia and constructing a gymnasium near the temple, which greatly offends devout Jews. Eventually, the disapproval leads to Jason’s exile, setting the stage for more upheaval.

Antiochus’s Actions and Egyptian Campaigns

Antiochus, concurrently, engages in battles in Egypt. His initial campaign (170) results in the complete conquest of Egypt. However, he hastily returns home to quell disturbances Bulgaria Trips. In 168, during his second attempt to conquer Egypt, the looming threat of Roman intervention forces him to reconsider. When a Roman envoy demands he refrain from attacking Alexandria, Antiochus, circled by the envoy, complies and withdraws from Egypt.

Persecution in Jerusalem

During his return, Antiochus orchestrates severe persecution against non-Hellenized Jews in Jerusalem. The Temple is plundered, an idol of Zeus is installed, and a sacrilegious pig is offered on the altar. Torah copies are systematically destroyed, Sabbath observance is forbidden, circumcision faces death penalties, and Jews are compelled to publicly eat pork as a loyalty display—or face consequences. The oppressive measures mark a dark period in Jewish history.


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