The deposed high priest Jason leads an unsuccessful uprising (2 Macc 5:5-5:10)

“When a false rumor arose that King Antiochus was dead, Jason took no fewer than a thousand men. He suddenly made an assault on the city. When the troops upon the wall had been forced back, at last the city was taken. Menelaus took refuge in the citadel. Jason kept relentlessly slaughtering his compatriots, not realizing that success at the cost of one’s kindred is the greatest misfortune. He imagined that he was setting up trophies of victory over enemies and not over compatriots. He did not, however, gain control of the government. In the end he got only disgrace from his conspiracy. He fled again into the country of the Ammonites. Finally he met a miserable end. He was accused before Aretas the ruler of the Arabs. He had to flee from city to city, pursued by everyone, hated as a rebel against the laws, and abhorred as the executioner of his country and his compatriots. He was cast ashore in Egypt. There he who had driven many from their own country into exile died in exile. He embarked to go to the Lacedaemonians in hope of finding protection because of their kinship. He who had cast out many to lie unburied had no one to mourn for him. He had no funeral of any sort and no place in the tomb of his ancestors.”

Jason, the former high priest, thought that the Syrian King Antiochus IV had died. Since Jason was pro-Egypt, he wanted to take back Jerusalem for them. He attacked Jerusalem with 1,000 troops. He was initially successful as he forced the high priest Menelaus to flee to the Seleucid citadel in Jerusalem. However, like the late 18th century French revolutionaries, he started killing his fellow Israelites in Jerusalem. He thought that he was killing the enemy but it was his own Jewish compatriots. He was not successful. He was once again driven into the land of Ammonites, east of the Jordan River. However, the Arabs pursued him from country to country. He finally made his way to Egypt but he was not accepted there either. Finally, he died in Sparta where no one mourned for him since he had no funeral or ancestral tomb.

King Demetrius I says no more taxes (1 Macc 10:29-10:33)

“I now free you.

I exempt all the Jews from payment of tribute

And salt tax and crown levies.

Instead of collecting the third of the grain

And the half of the fruit of the trees that I should receive,

I release them from this day and henceforth.

I will not collect them from the land of Judah

Or from the three districts added to it from Samaria and Galilee,

From this day and for all time.

Let Jerusalem and her environs,

Her tithes and her revenues,

Shall be holy and free from tax.

I release also my control of the citadel in Jerusalem.

I give it to the high priest,

So that he may station in it men of his own choice to guard it.

Every one of the Jews taken as a captive

From the land of Judah into any part of my kingdom,

I set free without payment.

Let all officials cancel also the taxes on their livestock.”

The no taxes people would love this. All the Jews would not have to pay any more taxes. King Demetrius I was very specific. There was no more wealth tax (tribute), salt tax, or crown taxes. This applied not only to Judea but the 3 areas annexed to Judea under Alexander the Great, in Samaria and Galilee. These areas would also be tax free. They did not have to give 1/3 of their grain or half of the fruits from the trees. There would be no more taxes on the livestock either. Jerusalem would be tax free city. The citadel or prison in Jerusalem would be handed over to the high priest in Jerusalem.

King Antiochus attacks Jerusalem (1 Macc 1:29-1:35)

“Two years later, the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute. He came to Jerusalem with a large force. Deceitfully, he spoke peaceable words to them so that they believed him. However, he suddenly fell upon the city as he dealt it a severe blow. He destroyed many people of Israel. He plundered the city as he burned it with fire. He tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. They took captive the women and children. They seized the cattle. Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers as it became their citadel. They stationed there a sinful people, men who were renegades. These strengthened their position. They stored up arms and food. They collected the spoils of Jerusalem and stored them there. They became a great menace.”

Around 167 BCE, King Antiochus IV again attacked Jerusalem. This time he sent mercenaries with a leader who was to collect tribute for the king. Instead of just collecting the tribute, he and his men attacked the city of Jerusalem. They killed people and plundered the city. They destroyed the houses and walls. They took the women, children, and cattle. Somehow, then they rebuilt the wall around the city of David and made it a citadel or fortress.   Here they put those renegades, those terrible Jews who sided with Syria. They collected the spoils of Jerusalem and stored them there. This citadel will become the home of the army garrison for controlling Judea.