King Demetrius I (2 Macc 14:1-14:2)

“Three years later, word came to Judas Maccabeus and his men that Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, had sailed into the harbor of Tripolis with a strong army and a fleet. He had taken possession of the country, having made away with Antiochus and his guardian Lysias.”

This is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. About 161 BCE, King Demetrius I, who ruled the Seleucid Empire from 162-150 BCE, came with a strong army and navy fleet into the sea town of Tripolis. He was the son of King Seleucus IV and brother to King Antiochus IV. He had killed King Antiochus V, his nephew, and his guardian Lysias, who had run the government.

Trypho returns to unseat King Demetrius II (1 Macc 11:54-11:56)

“After this happened, Trypho returned. He had with him the young boy Antiochus who began to reign and put on the crown. All the troops that Demetrius had discharged gathered around him. They fought against Demetrius until he fled and was routed. Trypho captured the elephants. He gained control of Antioch.”

Trypho showed up earlier in this chapter. He was a supporter and friend of King Alexander I, who King Demetrius II had defeated. He had with him the son of King Alexander I, Antiochus, who he then made King Antiochus VI. All the troops that King Demetrius II had let go, now went and fought with Trypho so that King Demetrius II fled. Never leave the troops sit idle. Trypho took his elephants and control of Antioch, the capital of the Syrian empire with the new young king. This King Antiochus VI may have been only 3 or 4 years old.  His mother would have been Cleopatra III, the wife of deposed King Demetrius II also.

King Demetrius II and the growing opposition to him (1 Macc 11:38-11:40)

“When King Demetrius saw that the land was quiet before him since there was no opposition to him, he dismissed all his troops. All of them went to their own houses, except the foreign troops which he had recruited from the islands of the nations. Thus all the troops who had served his predecessors hated him. A certain Trypho had formerly been one of King Alexander’s supporters. He saw that all the troops were grumbling against King Demetrius. So he went to Imalkue the Arab, who was bringing up Antiochus, the young son of Alexander. He insistently urged him to hand Antiochus over to him, to make him king in place of his father. He also reported to Imalkue what King Demetrius had done. He told him of the hatred that the troops of King Demetrius had for him. He stayed there many days.”

King Demetrius II was quite content that he had achieved peace with no opposition. Therefore, he released all his local army troops and sent them hone, probably to save money. However, he kept the foreign troops that he had recruited. Thus there was a little dissension as the former Syrian troops grumbled against King Demetrius II. Now we see Trypho, a former supporter of King Alexander I, trying to get King Alexander’s son Antiochus to become king. Somehow Imalkue an Arab was taking care of him. Trypho tried to get Imalkue to give him Antiochus so that he could make him king of Syria. He stayed many days with Imalkue.

King Demetrius I seeks peace with Jonathan (1 Macc 10:1-10:6)

“In the one hundred and sixtieth year Alexander Epiphanes, son of Antiochus, landed and occupied Ptolemais. They welcomed him. He then began to reign there. When King Demetrius heard of it, he assembled a very large army. He marched out to meet him in battle. King Demetrius sent Jonathan a letter in peaceable words to honor him. He said to himself.

‘Let us act first to make peace with him

Before he makes peace with Alexander against us.

He will remember all the wrongs which we did to him

And to his brothers and his nation.’

So Demetrius gave Jonathan authority to recruit troops, to equip them with arms, and to become his ally. He commanded that the hostages in the citadel should be released to him.”

About 7 years later, in 152 BCE, we see the struggle of the son of King Antiochus IV, Alexander versus Demetrius I, the son of King Seleucus IV.   Alexander was also the brother of King Antiochus V, who died in battle at a young age. Alexander occupied Ptolemais, which is the modern day 5,000 year old city of Acre, near Haifa, in northern Israel on the Mediterranean Sea. When King Demetrius I heard about this, he wanted to get Jonathan on his side against Alexander. He knew that he had done wrong to his family and nation. He gave Jonathan the authority to recruit troops and arm them as his ally. Somehow there was still some captives in the Jerusalem citadel that he released.

The death of King Antiochus IV (1 Macc 6:14-6:17)

“King Antiochus called for Philip, one of his friends. He made him ruler over his entire kingdom. He gave him the crown, his robe, and the signet, so that he might guide his son Antiochus, and bring him up to be king. Thus King Antiochus died there in the one hundred and forty-ninth year. When Lysias learned that the king was dead, he set up Antiochus, the king’s son to reign. Lysias had brought him up from boyhood. He had named him Eupator.”

King Antiochus IV called one of his friends, Philip. He made him the ruler of the entire kingdom. The king gave him all the symbols of royalty, the crown, the robe, and signature ring to his friend Philip. However, Philip was to guide the king’s son who was 9 at that time. He would become King Antiochus V. Thus King Antiochus IV died in the year 163 BCE at the age of 51, after ruling for 11 years. Nevertheless, Lysias, who was in charge in Syria had brought up the young pre-teen Antiochus. Lysias called him Eupator, which means good father. It looks like there might be a struggle between Philip and Lysias over who controlled the young King Antiochus V.