Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Copper Scroll - Archaeological Evidence for the Jewish Priests being Kicked out of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus

Antiochus Robs the Temple (A First Fabricated Attack)

"On his return from the conquest of Egypt in the year 143 (that is 169 B.C.), Antiochus marched with a strong force against Israel and Jerusalem.  In his arrogance he entered the temple and carried off the golden altar, the lamp-stand with all its equipment, the table for the bread of the presence, the sacred cups and bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, and the crowns.  He stripped off all the gold plating from the temple front.  He seized the silver, gold and precious vessels, and whatever secret treasures he found, and took them all with him when he left for his own country.  He had caused much bloodshed, and he gloated over all he had done."  (I Mac. 1:20-24).

The parallel story in Antiquities 12:246 and 247 is revealing.  "King Antiochus returning out of Egypt for fear of the Romans, made an expedition against the city Jerusalem; and when he was there, in the hundred and forty-third year of his the kingdom of the Seleucids, he took the city without fighting, those of his own party party opening the gates to him.  And when he had got possession of Jerusalem, he killed many of the opposite party; and when he had plundered it of a great deal of money, he returned to Antioch."  

On page 25 of his commentary on Maccabees, Barclay contradicts the above passage in I Mac.  He says "there was NO bloodshed in Jerusalem on this occasion".  Perhaps he says this because the passage in Antiquities says that he took the city without fighting.   The short passage gives no reason for Antiochus's attack.  Also Antiochus has apparently attacked Jerusalem immediately after a supposed conquest of Egypt. (Ant.12.244).  In fact he had actually been driven out of Egypt after defeat by Ptolemy's forces at Alexandria.  His withdrawal because of a supposed declaration of the Romans (Ant.12.244) and out of fear of the Romans (Ant.12.246) was later anti-Greek Roman propaganda.  After a defeat, any attack on Jerusalem seems extremely unlikely. Then according I Mac.1.24, he simply left for his own country, and that without saying a word to the priests who were to later appeal for his help.  This passage absolutely smacks of fabrication.

According to Antiquities (12.248), two years later Antiochus is said to have come again. This was obviously the first time that Antiochus came to Jerusalem.  At the request of the priests he came to help them impose animal sacrifice on the prophets.  He was let into Jerusalem by the priests ('those of his own party' who believed in animal sacrifice).   No doubt, that was the time that Antoiochus killed many of the opposite party, the prophets.  This was also the time that the Maccabeans his sons rebelled.  

suggest that it was the priests who took all of these treasures referred to in the first paragraph, at a time when they knew that the Maccabeans (Mattathias, Judas and siblings) were coming to kick them out of the temple.  And it was the priests who wrote the copper scroll saying where they had buried the treasure.  Thus Josephus (a priest) and Roman historians created the story and blamed Antiochus for stealing the Temple treasure.  The priests were thus seen as innocent.