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ANTIOCHUS VI.:

King of Syria, son of Alexander Balas; died 142 B.C. Like his predecessor, Antiochus VI. was king only in name. He was proclaimed king while still a minor, 146 B.C., by Diodotus, called Tryphon, former general of Alexander Balas. The Jews at first sided with Demetrius II., Nicator, his rival for the throne; but in view of the vacillation and the treacherous character of Demetrius, they held it advisable to give their allegiance to Antiochus VI. Like his father, Antiochus VI. was well disposed toward the Jews. He not only confirmed the Hasmonean Jonathan in possession of all that Demetrius had granted him, but he also appointed his brother Simon as military commander over the district reaching to the Egyptian frontier. Antiochus' confidence in these brothers was not in vain; Jonathan defeated Demetrius' military commander in the plain of Ḥazor, while Simon capturedthe fortress of Bethzur, which had declared for Demetrius. These and similar enterprises of the Hasmoneans were undertaken as much in the interest of the Jews themselves as of the king, for Demetrius was foe to both. The growth of Jewish military power, however, seemed to alarm Tryphon, Antiochus' guardian, for he justly apprehended the ultimate breaking away of the Jewish people from Seleucid rule. It appears, moreover, that Tryphon was just then (144-143) meditating the removal of his ward and the seizure of his throne; he feared, however, that Jonathan would oppose him in this plot on both moral and political grounds. He therefore gained possession of Jonathan's person by treachery, and murdered him (end of 143). One year afterward, Tryphon threw off the mask, murdered Antiochus VI., and seated himself upon the throne.

Bibliography:
  • Ewald, History, v. 331, 334;
  • Schürer, Gesch. i. 132, where further literature is quoted.
  • See also Willrich, Judaica, p. 73.
L. G.
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