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HEZEKIAH (the Zealot):

A martyr whom some scholars identify with Hezekiah ben Garon of the Talmud (Shab. 12a, 13b, 98b, 99a). He fought for Jewish freedom and the supremacy of the Jewish law at the time when Herod was governor of Galilee (47 B.C.). When King Aristobulus, taken prisoner by the Romans, had been poisoned by the followers of Pompey, Hezekiah ("Ezekias" in Josephus, "Ant." xiv. 9, §§ 2 et seq) gathered together the remnants of that king's army in the mountains of Galilee and carried on a successful guerrilla war against the Romans and Syrians, while awaiting the opportunity for a general uprising against Rome. The pious men of the country looked upon him as the avenger of their honor and liberty. Antipater, the governor of the country, and his sons, however, who were Rome's agents in Palestine, viewed this patriotic band differently. In order to curry favor with the Romans, Herod, unauthorized by the king Hyrcanus, advanced against Hezekiah, took him prisoner, and beheaded him, without the formality of a trial; and he also slew many of his followers. This deed excited the indignation of all the patriots. Hezekiah and his band were enrolled among the martyrs of the nation.

Bibliography:
  • Schürer, Gesch. i. 348;
  • Mittheilungen der Oesterreichisch-Israelitischen Union, vii. (1895), No. 67, pp. 4 et seq.
E. C. J. Ta.
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