2,200-year-old coin hoard gives hard proof of Book of Maccabees, say archaeologists - Maccabee Task Force

Archaeologists have uncovered a cache of 2,200-year-old silver coins near the Dead Sea, which they say is the first physical proof that Jews fled to the Judean Desert during the upheaval and persecution under Hanukkah villain Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

As told in I Maccabees 2:29, in the period prior to the Maccabean Revolt, righteous men were exhorted to leave everything and flee to the desert. “At that time, many who sought righteousness and justice went to live in the desert.” Subsequently, while upholding the laws of Shabbat, they were slaughtered by the king’s forces.

During rescue excavations in May, a small, incredibly preserved wooden box holding 15 silver tetradrachma coins was discovered in a cave in the Darageh Stream Nature Reserve. The coins were minted by Ptolemy VI, king of Egypt, and date to up to 170 BCE, which is just before Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes began handing down harsh measures against Jews’ freedom of worship.