Israel: Archaeologists uncover ancient silver coins they say prove Book of Maccabees happened
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Archaeologists digging near the Dead Sea in Israel have unearthed a box of 2,200-year-old silver coins which they believe offer the first physical proof of a story told in the apocryphal Book of 1 Maccabees, that Jews did indeed flee to the Judean Desert to escape persecution from Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Times of Israel (TOI) reports.
Announcing the find on Tuesday, Eitan Klein of the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement that the stash of 15 tetradrachm coins was discovered in a cave in the Darageh Stream Nature Reserve, TOI reports. Minted by Ptolemy VI, king of Egypt, the coins date up to 170 BCE, right before Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes began persecuting Jews.
According to I Maccabees 2:29, during this period, righteous men were told to flee to the desert: “At that time, many who sought righteousness and justice went to live in the desert.”
Researchers believe the coins belonged to a Jew fleeing to the desert but killed by the king’s forces in the build-up to the Maccabean revolt, TOI said.
“Here, we have good proof that people were fleeing,” Klein said about discovering the coins. “In general, when we find a cache of coins, they tell us a story of war. Otherwise, people don’t run off and leave their life savings. You don’t just go off and leave NIS 30,000 ($8,800) in a cave,” Klein added.
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