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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Demetrius

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DEMETRIUS . 1. Soter , the son of Seleucus Philopator . In his boyhood he was sent (b.c. 175) to Rome as a hostage, but made his escape after the death of his uncie, Antiochus Epiphanes. Landing at Tripolis, he was joined by large bodies of the people, and even by the bodyguard of his cousin, Antiochus Eupator. Eupator was soon defeated and put to death, and in b.c. 162, Demetrius was proclaimed king ( 1Ma 7:1-4 , 2Ma 14:1-2; Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XII. x. 1). After seven years, Alexander Balas (wh. see) was set up as a claimant to the crown of Syria (b.c. 153); and he and Demetrius competed for the support of Jonathan ( 1Ma 10:1-21; Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. ii. 1 3). Balas prevailed in spite of the attempts of his rival to outbid him ( 1Ma 10:25-45 ). In b.c. 150 a decisive engagement took place, in which Demetrius was defeated and slain ( 1Ma 10:48-50; Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. ii. 4).

2. Nikator , sent by his father, D. Soter , for safety to Chidus after the success of Balas seemed probable. After several years of exile he landed (b.c. 147) with an army of Cretan mercenaries on the Cilician coast, and finally inflicted a fatal defeat upon Balas (b.c. 145) on the banks of the Œnoparas, from which event Demetrius derived his surname ( 1Ma 11:14-19; Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. iv. 8). He bought off the opposition of Jonathan by the addition of three Samaritan provinces to Judæa, and the exemption from tribute of the country thus enlarged ( 1Ma 11:20-37; Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. iv. 9). After varying fortunes in the war with Tryphon (wh. see), Demetrius invaded the dominions of the king of Parthia, by whom, in b.c. 138, he was taken prisoner ( 1Ma 14:1-3 ). Upon regaining his liberty at the end of ten years, he undertook a war against Ptolemy Physkon of Egypt. Having been defeated by Zabinas at Damascus, he fled to Ptolemais, and thence to Tyre, where in b.c. 125 he was murdered (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. ix. 3), possibly at the instigation of his wife Cleopatra (App. Syr . 68; Liv. Epit . lx.).

3. Eukairos , grandson of D. Nikator . On the death of his father he established himself in Cœle-Syria, with Damascus as his capital (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. xiii. 4). When civil war broke out between Alexander Jannæus and his Pharisee subjects, the latter invited the assistance of Demetrius (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. xiii. 5, BJ I. iv. 4), who defeated Jannæus in a pitched battle near Shecbem (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. xiv. 1, BJ I. iv. 5). After a chequered career, Demetrius fell into the hands of the Parthians, by whom he was detained in captivity until his death (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIII. xiv. 3).

4, 5. Two persons of the name are mentioned in NT the ringleader in the riot at Ephesus ( Acts 19:24 ), and a disciple commended by St. John ( 3 John 1:12 ). Probably the same name occurs in a contracted form as Demas .

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Demetrius'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/d/demetrius.html. 1909.

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