of the Maccabean revolt and the formation of an independent Jewish
The Syrian ruler Antiochus
IV Epiphanes desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem, demanding that all people
in his kingdom adopt Gentile customs. A loyal Jew named Mattathais and his
sons refused to do so. One of the sons, Judas Maccabeus, led a military
revolt against the Syrians. He recaptured the Temple and dedicated it again
to the God of Israel. This event is commemorated by the Jewish festival
of Hanukkah. Judas was eventually killed in battle, and he was succeeded
by Jonathan, who was appointed high priest until his own untimely death.
Peace and Jewish independence were established by Simon (another member
of the family) through an alliance with the Romans in 142 B.C.