صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Ptolemy in 218 for their recovery was defeated by Antiochus near Lebanon. Antiochus now occupied Palestine; but advancing with a large army to meet Ptolemy, was defeated by him with great loss at Raphia, on the border of Egypt, and obliged to retire to Antioch (217; cf. Dan. xi. 11-12). Philopator, in consequence, recovered Coele-Syria and Palestine; and Antiochus, being engaged in wars elsewhere, made no attempt for the time to retrieve his disaster. In 205, however, Philopator died, leaving the throne to his son Ptolemy Epiphanes (205-182), a child four or five years old. Antiochus now formed a league with Philip, king of Macedonia, for the partition of the dominions of Egypt between them (Dan. xi. 13 -14). In 202 he occupied Coele-Syria and Palestine, and took possession of Jerusalem. An Egyptian army was sent under Scopas, an Aetolian condottiere, to recover these provinces; but though successful at first he was in 198 defeated at Paneion (Bâniâs), near the sources of the Jordan, and afterwards, when he had withdrawn to Sidon, obliged to surrender (Dan. xi. 15, 16). From this time onwards, until the Romans interfered, Palestine remained in the undisturbed possession of the kings of Syria. The sufferings of the Jews during these years were considerable: as Josephus says (Ant. XII. iii. 3), whichever side prevailed for the time, their country was burdened by the presence in it of an invading army; and many in addition were either carried off as slaves, or took refuge in flight. In the end, however, the Jews gave their support to Antiochus, welcomed his troops into Jerusalem, and assisted in the ejection of the Egyptian garrison which had been left in the citadel by Scopas. In return for this support, Antiochus, in a letter written to his general Ptolemy, directed many privileges to be granted to them: contributions were to be made, on a liberal scale, towards defraying the expenses both of the regular sacrifices, and of the repair of the Temple, till the country should have recovered its losses (cf. on Dan. xi. 14).

In 193 Antiochus gave the taxes of Coele-Syria and Palestine as a dowry to his daughter, Cleopatra, on her marriage to Ptolemy Epiphanes (Dan. xi. 17). This grant of Antiochus

became before long the occasion of serious disputes between Egypt and Syria, but it made no difference in the position of the two subject provinces: they continued to be held by Syria. Three years afterwards, in 190, Antiochus was utterly defeated at Magnesia by the Romans (Dan. xi. 18): humiliating conditions of peace were imposed; and Antiochus was bound to pay for 12 years an annual fine of 1000 talents, his son Antiochus and other hostages being sent to Rome as security for his observance of the terms of the treaty. In 187 Antiochus was succeeded by his son Seleucus (IV) Philopator (187-175). The reign of this prince was uneventful; the only incident in it which need be here mentioned is the attempt made by him to replenish his empty treasuries by sending his chief minister, Heliodorus, on an abortive mission to pillage the Temple (see on Dan. xi. 20).

Seleucus Philopator was murdered in 175 in consequence of a conspiracy headed by Heliodorus, who aspired to the throne. Heliodorus did not, however, attain his ambition: Antiochus, the brother of Seleucus, after having been for 14 years a hostage in Rome, had just been exchanged for Seleucus' son, Demetrius, and was at Athens on his way home when he heard of his brother's fate: hastening back at once to Antioch, he succeeded, with the help of Eumenes, King of Pergamum, and his brother Attalus, in expelling Heliodorus and securing the throne for himself (cf. Dan. xi. 21, and p. 207 f.).

Antiochus, who afterwards assumed the title Epiphanes1, is, in the later chapters of the Book of Daniel, the principal figure. He was a strange character,-a man of ability, though with a taint of folly and madness in his veins. On the one hand he was ambitious, arbitrary, and determined. He laid deep designs, and had a remarkable power of concealing them. During the years spent by him as hostage at Rome, he was well received2, and

1 This title does not mean 'illustrious,' but 'manifest'; and implies that the bearer of it claimed to be a visible god. There was a Ptolemy 'Epiphanes' in Egypt (205-182 B.C.), who was also called Oeds eipavns (Mahaffy, pp. 290, 315, 316, 317, &c.). See below (p. 193) the titles of Antiochus, as borne by him on his coins. 2 Cf. p. 177, note.

moved in the best circles of Roman society; the consequence was that he contracted a taste for Western habits and ideas, and also for Western luxuries. He was munificent, and even lavish: he shewed, in Livy's words, a truly 'regal mind' in the gifts made by him to Greek cities and temples1: he also greatly improved his capital, Antioch: he added a new quarter to it; he adorned it with numerous copies of the principal masterpieces of Greek sculpture: he erected magnificent temples both in Antioch, and in its suburb Daphne; and even introduced gladiatorial shows (Livy xli. 20). But he courted popularity to an excessive degree. Polybius, in a well-known passage2, describes how, putting off his royal robes, he would wander alone through the streets of Antioch, now discussing questions of art in the goldsmiths' shops, now offering himself as a candidate for some public office, and entreating people to vote for him, while at other times, again, he might be seen making unexpected presents to utter strangers, startling a party of boon companions by rushing in upon them with a band of music, or bathing with the townspeople in the public bath. His behaviour was at times so undignified and extraordinary that men doubted even whether he was altogether sane, and instead of 'Epiphanes' he was called 'Epimanes' (Madcap). To the Jews, on account of the determined effort made by him to denationalize them and heathenize their religion, he appeared simply as a persecuting tyrant and monster of iniquity; and though other features of his character are alluded to (Dan. viii. 23; xi. 21-30 a, 39), it is this aspect of it which is chiefly delineated in the Book of Daniel (vii. 8, 21, 25; viii. 9—12, 23—25; ix. 26, 27; xi. 28, 306-38; xii. 76, 11).

The principal public events in Antiochus's reign referred to in Daniel are (1) his expeditions against Egypt; and (2) his treatment of the Jews. The former may be dealt with briefly here: fuller particulars will be found in the note on xi. 21.

1 Cf. p. 183, note.

2 XXVI. x. 3 ff. (preserved in Athen. v. 21, p. 193 f.); cf. Athen. x. 52, Diod. xxix. 32. It is translated in Montefiore's Bible for Home Reading, ii. 660 f.

Ptolemy Epiphanes had died in 182, and his widow, Cleopatra (Antiochus's sister), in 173, leaving as heir to the throne Ptolemy Philometor, a boy 14 or 15 years old, who was, of course, nephew to Antiochus Epiphanes. The youthful king having been induced by his ministers to take steps for the recovery of Coele-Syria, Antiochus determined to forestall him: in 170 he led an army into Egypt, defeated Ptolemy's forces at Pelusium, and obtaining possession of his nephew's person, occupied the country, ostensibly, on his nephew's behalf, in reality with the view of securing it for himself. In spite, however, of the presence in Egypt of Antiochus's troops, Philometor's younger brother, Ptolemy Physcon (afterwards Ptolemy Euergetes II), was proclaimed king in Alexandria. This gave Antiochus an excuse for resuming military operations1, under the pretence of restoring Philometor to his lawful rights: he accordingly laid siege to Alexandria, but finding himself unable to take it, returned home to Syria, leaving Philometor nominal king at Memphis, and stationing a large garrison at Pelusium (cf. Dan. xi. 25-28). The garrison left at Pelusium opened Philometor's eyes: a reconciliation between the two brothers was soon effected, and Philometor was received into Alexandria. This led to Antiochus's 'third' campaign in Egypt (168), which was brought to an abrupt termination by the intervention of the Romans; Antiochus, when within four miles of Alexandria, being met by the Roman legate, Q. Popilius Laenas, and peremptorily commanded to leave the country (Dan. xi. 29— 30a).

The policy of Antiochus towards the Jews was not, at least in its origin, the outcome of any particular hostility towards their religion: it was simply a corollary of the plan which he had conceived of unifying the various peoples of his empire by bringing them all under the influence of Hellenic civilization. 'His reign, his political rôle, and even the types of his coins, cannot be properly understood, unless account is taken of the fact that this prince was profoundly Hellenized, and that he

1 On the question whether or not this was a second invasion of Egypt, see the note on xi. 27 (p. 185).

exerted himself, without intermission and without scruple, to transplant Hellenic culture into Syria 1. His plan was not entirely out of harmony with feeling in Judah. For some time past, probably indeed from the peaceful years of the earlier Ptolemies, Greek influences had been making their way into Judah, and had found a home among the educated classes. Alexander himself, in furtherance of his scheme alluded to above, of creating a Hellenic world-empire, had founded Greek cities in several of the countries conquered by him; and under his successors Greek colonies were established in Palestine, and Greek colonists found their way thither. Many Jews also, as we have seen (p. xxxv), settled in Egypt; and the intercourse which was kept up in consequence between the two countries formed another channel by which Western influences would find entrance into Judah. Under Ptolemy Philadelphus (285— 247) parts of the O. T. were (in Egypt) translated into Greek: the Greek language became known in Judah-the grandson of Ben-Sira, who translated his grandfather's gnomic work into Greek, was a native of Palestine; and Greek ideas and Greek customs were no longer unfamiliar in Jewish circles2.

The effect of this influx of new ideas into Judah was to emphasize parties there. On the one hand, since the return from Babylon, attention had more and more been concentrated by the Jews on their sacred books, especially on the Law, which had been made into an absolute rule of conduct, and the principles of which had been,—or at least, were being,—gradually systematized into a code governing every department of life. Though this devotion to the Law had its dangers, and in fact (as allusions in the N. T., and the Mishna, shew) degenerated ultimately into a barren ceremonialism, this was not its effect upon the more spiritually-minded Israelites; and the Psalms, many of which (especially those in the later books) certainly date from this period, shew what a real and profound piety prevailed among the religious section of the people. On the other hand, among the more worldly-minded, it became a

1 Babelon, Les Rois de Syrie, p. xcii.
2 Cf. Ewald, Hist. v. 244-267.

« السابقةمتابعة »