4. A general and minister of Antiochus Epiphanes, who enjoyed so high a place in the confidence of that monarch, that when Antiochus set out for the upper provinces of his empire in B. C. 166, he not only entrusted Lysias with the care of his son Antiochus, but gave him the sole command of the provinces from the Euphrates to the sea. Lysias was especially charged to prosecute the war against the Jews, and accordingly hastened to send an army into Judaea, under the command of Ptolemy, the son of Dorymenes, Nicanor, and Gorgias; but these generals were totally defeated near Emmaus by Judas Maccabaeus.
The next year Lysias in person took the field, with a very large army, but effected nothing of importance. News soon after arrived of the death of Antiochus at Tabae, in Persia (B. C. 164), on which Lysias immediately caused the young prince under his charge to be proclaimed king, by the title of Antiochus Eupator, and himself assumed the sovereign power as his guardian, although that office had been conferred by Antiochus Epiphanes on his death-bed upon another of his ministers named Philip.
A new expedition against the Jews was now undertaken by Lysias, accompanied by the young king: they made themselves masters of the strong fortress of Bethsura, and compelled Judas to fall back upon Jerusalem, where they besieged him in the temple, and reduced him to such straits for provisions, that the fortress must have quickly fallen had not the news of the approach of Philip induced Lysias to grant a peace to the Jews on fayourable terms, in order that he might hasten to oppose his rival. Philip was quickly defeated, and put to death. (J. AJ 12.7.2
Maccab. 126.96.36.199-35, 6.2 Macc. x. xi. xiii.)
Lysias now possessed undisputed authority in the kingdom; and the Romans, the only power whom he had cause to fear, were disposed to favour Antiochus on account of his youth, and the advantages they might hope to derive from his weakness. They, however, despatched ambassadors to Syria, to enforce the execution of the treaty formerly concluded with Antiochus the Great; and Lysias did not venture openly to oppose the arbitrary proceedings of these deputies, but was supposed to have connived at, if he did not command, the murder of Octavius, the chief of the embassy. [LEPTINES.] He indeed immediately sent ambassadors to Rome to disclaim all participation in the deed, but did not offer to give up or punish the assassin. Meanwhile, the young prince, Demetrius, made his escape from Rome, where he had been detained as a hostage and landed at Tripolis in Syria.
The people immediately declared in his favour ; and Lysias, as well as the young Antiochus, was seized by the populace, and given up to Demetrius, who ordered them both to be put to death, B. C. 162. (J. AJ 12.10
. § I; 1 Mace. vii.; 2 Macc. 14.1, 2; Appian. Syr.
46, 47; Plb. 31.15
; Liv. Epit.
xlvi; Euseb. Arm.
p. 166, fol. edit.)