The Book of Daniel was written at about this time as a way of assuring the faithful that they would be rewarded and that their efforts would not be wasted. The book consists of six stories and four dream-visions set in earlier times, stories that illustrated the act that Jews who remained faithful and preserved their beliefs and culture defeated their enemies in time. This was, of course, a major tenet of the Diaspora, and keeping the beliefs alive was an important act on the part of the scattered peoples of Israel. The stories show that the writer has a serious purpose and is trying to teach the faithful the value of their beliefs and of resistance to foreign persecution. He is also trying to show the people that they might be far from their homeland, but they can still achieve much and be victorious in spite of the seemingly great odds facing them.
Rivkin, Ellis. The Shaping of Jewish History: A Radical New Interpretation. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971.
Because of this persecution, Mattathias and his five sons took to the hills where they were joined by other zealots and started a guerilla campaign against Antiochus. This was the beginning of the heroic Maccabean Revolt, so named after Mattathias' son Judas Maccabus, who took over when his father died. Their success was considerable, and they managed to defeat the professional troops of Antiochus and to retake Jerusalem in a relatively short time (Dimont 87-88). The Feast of Lights of Hanukkah (rededication) celebrates the rededication of the Temple.
V, also called Epiphanes. A power struggle over who should be the high priest in Jerusalem convinced Antiochus that peace would be achieved by the rigorous enforcement of Hellenism on the people and an equally rigorous attack on what in his eyes was an unimportant local sect, that of the Jews (Rivkin 49-50). He allowed his troops to plunder and kill in Jerusalem, and the city walls were pulled down. The Books of the Law were destroyed