Let’s look at the historical background for today’s’ opening sentence:
“From the descendants of Alexander’s officers there sprang a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes.”
Alexander, coming out of Macedonia in 333 b.c., conquered all of the Middle East before dying in 322. At his death his General Seleucus had himself crowned as king of Syria, establishing his capitol at Antioch, eighty miles north of Jesusalem, founding a stabile dynasty.
Then, in 169 b.c. the tenth descendent of Seleucus, King Antiochus IV, set out to replace the Religion of the Jews with worship of the Greek gods. He erected an the idol of Zeus on the altar of the temple in Jerusalem, and he forced the youn men to break kosher by eating pork.
That sparked the rebellion of the Jewish priest Mattathias and of his four sons. One of them, nicknamed Maccabeus (the hammer) gave the name to the rebellion that overthrew the dynasty of Antiochus IV.