Alcimus

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ALCIMUS

ALCIMUS (Hellenized form of the Hebrew name Jakim or Eliakim ), high priest 162–160 (or 159) b.c.e. Alcimus was a member of a high-priestly family and was the nephew of *Yose b. Joezer of Zeredah. When Demetrius i Soter ascended the Seleucid throne, Alcimus came to him to complain of the persecution of the Hellenists by Judah Maccabee and his followers, and he suggested that the king appoint him high priest, promising to be faithful to the Seleucids and to oppose Judah and his faction. Demetrius appointed him and sent him back to Judea, accompanied by Syrian troops under the command of Bacchides. At first, the *Hassideans supported him because he was of high-priestly stock, while Judah's faction opposed him because he had arrived with foreign troops. Alcimus had barely secured his position in Judea, when he arrested 60 Hassideans and put them to death. This act aroused popular indignation, and when Bacchides and his soldiers left Judea, Alcimus was driven from Jerusalem by Judah and his supporters. He returned to Demetrius, and once more asked for military support. The king sent a new army against Judah Maccabee, this time under the command of *Nicanor. Judah defeated Nicanor in battle twice, Nicanor being killed in the second battle. Demetrius again sent Bacchides against Judah, and this time the Jewish leader was defeated and killed. Alcimus returned to Judea and ruled with Syrian help. He broke into the soreg (one of the approaches to the Temple) in order to remove the wall which non-Jews were forbidden to pass. The soreg was breached in 13 places, and the Hassideans were infuriated. Alcimus' sudden death was interpreted by the people as an act of divine retribution.

bibliography:

i Macc. 7:5–25; 9:1–2, 54–57; Jos., Ant., 12:385–6, 391–7, 413; 20:235; Middot, 2:3; Gen R. 55:22; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, index, s.v.Yakim; Graetz, Hist, 1 (1949), 482–508; Schuerer, Hist, 39 ff., 44 ff.

[Abraham Schalit]

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