Today I was preparing a class on Revelation 13:11-18, and I found the apocrypha to be quite helpful in understanding why the inhabitants of the earth will need either a mark on their right hands or their foreheads.
He proposed to inflict public disgrace on the Jewish community, and he set a stone on the tower in the courtyard with this inscription: “None of those who do not sacrifice shall enter their sanctuaries, and all Jews shall be subjected to a registration involving poll tax and to the status of slaves. Those who object to this are to be taken by force and put to death; those who are registered are also to be branded on their bodies by fire with the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysus, and they shall also be reduced to their former limited status.” (3 Macc. 27-29, NRSV)
This was decreed by the Egyptian ruler, Ptolemy Philopator, a devotee of the Greek god Dionysus and who himself received a brand on his body, which was associated with the worship of Dionysus.
My New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, 3rd ed., NSRV, proved quite helpful today.