In the 2nd century BC a “mad king” threatened to extinguish the Jewish religion and obliterate the Jew’s unique identity. A champion arose, David-like, to challenge the Seleucid Goliath and defend his people: Judah Maccabee: “The Hammer”! His struggle freed the Jewish people and gave us a lasting legacy, celebrated by the Festival of Light: Hanukkah.
HUMILIATION IN EGYPT
In 168 BC, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ruler of the Seleucid Empire, was on the verge of accomplishing something no king of the House of Seleucus had ever come close to: the total defeat of their hereditary enemy, the House of Ptolemy and the conquest of Egypt. Where even the great Diadochi Perdiccas (general of and Regent for Alexander the Great), and Demetrius the Besieger had failed; Antiochus, whose Army was camped at the River Eleusis on the outskirts of Alexandria, was poised to achieve. More, his fleet and another army had landed in Ptolemaic Cyprus, and was swiftly seizing control of the island. The Ptolemaic Kingdom seemed on the verge of annexation to the Seleucid Empire. All this Antiochus had done against the will of the Rome, the arrogant arbiter of affairs throughout the Mediterranean; asserting Seleucid independence from Roman dominance in foreign affairs for the first time since his father’s defeat at Magnesia in 190 BC.
His army was now camped outside Alexandria, prepared to enter the Ptolemaic capital in triumph….