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1 Maccabees 13:12–30:12

Deceit and Treachery of Trypho

12 Then Trypho left Ptolemais with a large army to invade the land of Judah, and Jonathan was with him under guard. 13Simon encamped in Adida, facing the plain. 14Trypho learned that Simon had risen up in place of his brother Jonathan, and that he was about to join battle with him, so he sent envoys to him and said, 15‘It is for the money that your brother Jonathan owed the royal treasury, in connection with the offices he held, that we are detaining him. 16Send now one hundred talents of silver and two of his sons as hostages, so that when released he will not revolt against us, and we will release him.’

17 Simon knew that they were speaking deceitfully to him, but he sent to get the money and the sons, so that he would not arouse great hostility among the people, who might say, 18‘It was because Simon* did not send him the money and the sons, that Jonathan* perished.’ 19So he sent the sons and the hundred talents, but Trypho* broke his word and did not release Jonathan.

20 After this Trypho came to invade the country and destroy it, and he circled around by the way to Adora. But Simon and his army kept marching along opposite him to every place he went. 21Now the men in the citadel kept sending envoys to Trypho urging him to come to them by way of the wilderness and to send them food. 22So Trypho got all his cavalry ready to go, but that night a very heavy snow fell, and he did not go because of the snow. He marched off and went into the land of Gilead. 23When he approached Baskama, he killed Jonathan, and he was buried there. 24Then Trypho turned and went back to his own land.

Jonathan’s Tomb

25 Simon sent and took the bones of his brother Jonathan, and buried him in Modein, the city of his ancestors. 26All Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and mourned for him for many days. 27And Simon built a monument over the tomb of his father and his brothers; he made it high so that it might be seen, with polished stone at the front and back. 28He also erected seven pyramids, opposite one another, for his father and mother and four brothers. 29For the pyramids* he devised an elaborate setting, erecting about them great columns, and on the columns he put suits of armour for a permanent memorial, and beside the suits of armour he carved ships, so that they could be seen by all who sail the sea. 30This is the tomb that he built in Modein; it remains to this day.

Judea Gains Independence

31 Trypho dealt treacherously with the young King Antiochus; he killed him 32and became king in his place, putting on the crown of Asia; and he brought great calamity on the land. 33But Simon built up the strongholds of Judea and walled them all round, with high towers and great walls and gates and bolts, and he stored food in the strongholds. 34Simon also chose emissaries and sent them to King Demetrius with a request to grant relief to the country, for all that Trypho did was to plunder. 35King Demetrius sent him a favourable reply to this request, and wrote him a letter as follows, 36‘King Demetrius to Simon, the high priest and friend of kings, and to the elders and nation of the Jews, greetings. 37We have received the gold crown and the palm branch that you* sent, and we are ready to make a general peace with you and to write to our officials to grant you release from tribute. 38All the grants that we have made to you remain valid, and let the strongholds that you have built be your possession. 39We pardon any errors and offences committed to this day, and cancel the crown tax that you owe; and whatever other tax has been collected in Jerusalem shall be collected no longer. 40And if any of you are qualified to be enrolled in our bodyguard,* let them be enrolled, and let there be peace between us.’

41 In the one hundred and seventieth year* the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel, 42and the people began to write in their documents and contracts, ‘In the first year of Simon the great high priest and commander and leader of the Jews.’

The Capture of Gazara by Simon

43 In those days Simon* encamped against Gazara* and surrounded it with troops. He made a siege-engine, brought it up to the city, and battered and captured one tower. 44The men in the siege-engine leapt out into the city, and a great tumult arose in the city. 45The men in the city, with their wives and children, went up on the wall with their clothes torn, and they cried out with a loud voice, asking Simon to make peace with them; 46they said, ‘Do not treat us according to our wicked acts but according to your mercy.’ 47So Simon reached an agreement with them and stopped fighting against them. But he expelled them from the city and cleansed the houses in which the idols were located, and then entered it with hymns and praise. 48He removed all uncleanness from it, and settled in it those who observed the law. He also strengthened its fortifications and built in it a house for himself.

Simon Regains the Citadel at Jerusalem

49 Those who were in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from going in and out to buy and sell in the country. So they were very hungry, and many of them perished from famine. 50Then they cried to Simon to make peace with them, and he did so. But he expelled them from there and cleansed the citadel from its pollutions. 51On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred and seventy-first year,* the Jews* entered it with praise and palm branches, and with harps and cymbals and stringed instruments, and with hymns and songs, because a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. 52Simon* decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel, and he and his men lived there. 53Simon saw that his son John had reached manhood, and so he made him commander of all the forces; and he lived at Gazara.

Capture of Demetrius

14In the one hundred and seventy-second year* King Demetrius assembled his forces and marched into Media to obtain help, so that he could make war against Trypho. 2When King Arsaces of Persia and Media heard that Demetrius had invaded his territory, he sent one of his generals to take him alive. 3The general* went and defeated the army of Demetrius, and seized him and took him to Arsaces, who put him under guard.

Eulogy of Simon

4 The land* had rest all the days of Simon.
   He sought the good of his nation;
his rule was pleasing to them,
   as was the honour shown him, all his days.
5 To crown all his honours he took Joppa for a harbour,
   and opened a way to the isles of the sea.
6 He extended the borders of his nation,
   and gained full control of the country.
7 He gathered a host of captives;
   he ruled over Gazara and Beth-zur and the citadel,
and he removed its uncleanness from it;
   and there was none to oppose him.
8 They tilled their land in peace;
   the ground gave its increase,
   and the trees of the plains their fruit.
9 Old men sat in the streets;
   they all talked together of good things,
   and the youths put on splendid military attire.
10 He supplied the towns with food,
   and furnished them with the means of defence,
   until his renown spread to the ends of the earth.
11 He established peace in the land,
   and Israel rejoiced with great joy.
12 All the people sat under their own vines and fig trees,
   and there was none to make them afraid.
13 No one was left in the land to fight them,
   and the kings were crushed in those days.
14 He gave help to all the humble among his people;
   he sought out the law,
   and did away with all the renegades and outlaws.
15 He made the sanctuary glorious,
   and added to the vessels of the sanctuary.

Diplomacy with Rome and Sparta

16 It was heard in Rome, and as far away as Sparta, that Jonathan had died, and they were deeply grieved. 17When they heard that his brother Simon had become high priest in his stead, and that he was ruling over the country and the towns in it, 18they wrote to him on bronze tablets to renew with him the friendship and alliance that they had established with his brothers Judas and Jonathan. 19And these were read before the assembly in Jerusalem.

20 This is a copy of the letter that the Spartans sent:

‘The rulers and the city of the Spartans to the high priest Simon and to the elders and the priests and the rest of the Jewish people, our brothers, greetings. 21The envoys who were sent to our people have told us about your glory and honour, and we rejoiced at their coming. 22We have recorded what they said in our public decrees, as follows, “Numenius son of Antiochus and Antipater son of Jason, envoys of the Jews, have come to us to renew their friendship with us. 23It has pleased our people to receive these men with honour and to put a copy of their words in the public archives, so that the people of the Spartans may have a record of them. And they have sent a copy of this to the high priest Simon.”

24 After this Simon sent Numenius to Rome with a large gold shield weighing one thousand minas, to confirm the alliance with the Romans.*

Official Honours for Simon

25 When the people heard these things they said, ‘How shall we thank Simon and his sons? 26For he and his brothers and the house of his father have stood firm; they have fought and repulsed Israel’s enemies and established its freedom.’ 27So they made a record on bronze tablets and put it on pillars on Mount Zion.

This is a copy of what they wrote: ‘On the eighteenth day of Elul, in the one hundred and seventy-second year,* which is the third year of the great high priest Simon, 28in Asaramel,* in the great assembly of the priests and the people and the rulers of the nation and the elders of the country, the following was proclaimed to us:

29 ‘Since wars often occurred in the country, Simon son of Mattathias, a priest of the sons* of Joarib, and his brothers, exposed themselves to danger and resisted the enemies of their nation, in order that their sanctuary and the law might be preserved; and they brought great glory to their nation. 30Jonathan rallied the* nation, became their high priest, and was gathered to his people. 31When their enemies decided to invade their country and lay hands on their sanctuary, 32then Simon rose up and fought for his nation. He spent great sums of his own money; he armed the soldiers of his nation and paid them wages. 33He fortified the towns of Judea, and Beth-zur on the borders of Judea, where formerly the arms of the enemy had been stored, and he placed there a garrison of Jews. 34He also fortified Joppa, which is by the sea, and Gazara, which is on the borders of Azotus, where the enemy formerly lived. He settled Jews there, and provided in those towns* whatever was necessary for their restoration.

35 ‘The people saw Simon’s faithfulness* and the glory that he had resolved to win for his nation, and they made him their leader and high priest, because he had done all these things and because of the justice and loyalty that he had maintained towards his nation. He sought in every way to exalt his people. 36In his days things prospered in his hands, so that the Gentiles were put out of the* country, as were also those in the city of David in Jerusalem, who had built themselves a citadel from which they used to sally forth and defile the environs of the sanctuary, doing great damage to its purity. 37He settled Jews in it and fortified it for the safety of the country and of the city, and built the walls of Jerusalem higher.

38 ‘In view of these things King Demetrius confirmed him in the high-priesthood, 39made him one of his Friends, and paid him high honours. 40For he had heard that the Jews were addressed by the Romans as friends and allies and brothers, and that the Romans* had received the envoys of Simon with honour.

41 ‘The Jews and their priests have resolved that Simon should be their leader and high priest for ever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise, 42and that he should be governor over them and that he should take charge of the sanctuary and appoint officials over its tasks and over the country and the weapons and the strongholds, and that he should take charge of the sanctuary, 43and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all contracts in the country should be written in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple and wear gold.

44 ‘None of the people or priests shall be permitted to nullify any of these decisions or to oppose what he says, or to convene an assembly in the country without his permission, or to be clothed in purple or put on a gold buckle. 45Whoever acts contrary to these decisions or rejects any of them shall be liable to punishment.’

46 All the people agreed to grant Simon the right to act in accordance with these decisions. 47So Simon accepted and agreed to be high priest, to be commander and ethnarch of the Jews and priests, and to be protector of them all.* 48And they gave orders to inscribe this decree on bronze tablets, to put them up in a conspicuous place in the precincts of the sanctuary, 49and to deposit copies of them in the treasury, so that Simon and his sons might have them.

Letter of Antiochus VII

15Antiochus, son of King Demetrius, sent a letter from the islands of the sea to Simon, the priest and ethnarch of the Jews, and to all the nation; 2its contents were as follows: ‘King Antiochus to Simon the high priest and ethnarch and to the nation of the Jews, greetings. 3Whereas certain scoundrels have gained control of the kingdom of our ancestors, and I intend to lay claim to the kingdom so that I may restore it as it formerly was, and have recruited a host of mercenary troops and have equipped warships, 4and intend to make a landing in the country so that I may proceed against those who have destroyed our country and those who have devastated many cities in my kingdom, 5now therefore I confirm to you all the tax remissions that the kings before me have granted you, and a release from all the other payments from which they have released you. 6I permit you to mint your own coinage as money for your country, 7and I grant freedom to Jerusalem and the sanctuary. All the weapons that you have prepared and the strongholds that you have built and now hold shall remain yours. 8Every debt you owe to the royal treasury and any such future debts shall be cancelled for you from henceforth and for all time. 9When we gain control of our kingdom, we will bestow great honour on you and your nation and the temple, so that your glory will become manifest in all the earth.’

10 In the one hundred and seventy-fourth year* Antiochus set out and invaded the land of his ancestors. All the troops rallied to him, so that there were only a few with Trypho. 11Antiochus pursued him, and Trypho* came in his flight to Dor, which is by the sea; 12for he knew that troubles had converged on him, and his troops had deserted him. 13So Antiochus encamped against Dor, and with him were one hundred and twenty thousand warriors and eight thousand cavalry. 14He surrounded the town, and the ships joined battle from the sea; he pressed the town hard from land and sea, and permitted no one to leave or enter it.

Rome Supports the Jews

15 Then Numenius and his companions arrived from Rome, with letters to the kings and countries, in which the following was written: 16‘Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, greetings. 17The envoys of the Jews have come to us as our friends and allies to renew our ancient friendship and alliance. They had been sent by the high priest Simon and by the Jewish people 18and have brought a gold shield weighing one thousand minas. 19We therefore have decided to write to the kings and countries that they should not seek their harm or make war against them and their cities and their country, or make alliance with those who war against them. 20And it has seemed good to us to accept the shield from them. 21Therefore if any scoundrels have fled to you from their country, hand them over to the high priest Simon, so that he may punish them according to their law.’

22 The consul* wrote the same thing to King Demetrius and to Attalus and Ariarathes and Arsaces, 23and to all the countries, and to Sampsames,* and to the Spartans, and to Delos, and to Myndos, and to Sicyon, and to Caria, and to Samos, and to Pamphylia, and to Lycia, and to Halicarnassus, and to Rhodes, and to Phaselis, and to Cos, and to Side, and to Aradus and Gortyna and Cnidus and Cyprus and Cyrene. 24They also sent a copy of these things to the high priest Simon.

Antiochus VII Threatens Simon

25 King Antiochus besieged Dor for the second time, continually throwing his forces against it and making engines of war; and he shut Trypho up and kept him from going out or in. 26And Simon sent to Antiochus* two thousand picked troops, to fight for him, and silver and gold and a large amount of military equipment. 27But he refused to receive them, and broke all the agreements he formerly had made with Simon, and became estranged from him. 28He sent to him Athenobius, one of his Friends, to confer with him, saying, ‘You hold control of Joppa and Gazara and the citadel in Jerusalem; they are cities of my kingdom. 29You have devastated their territory, you have done great damage in the land, and you have taken possession of many places in my kingdom. 30Now then, hand over the cities that you have seized and the tribute money of the places that you have conquered outside the borders of Judea; 31or else pay me five hundred talents of silver for the destruction that you have caused and five hundred talents more for the tribute money of the cities. Otherwise we will come and make war on you.’

32 So Athenobius, the king’s Friend, came to Jerusalem, and when he saw the splendour of Simon, and the sideboard with its gold and silver plate, and his great magnificence, he was amazed. When he reported to him the king’s message, 33Simon said to him in reply: ‘We have neither taken foreign land nor seized foreign property, but only the inheritance of our ancestors, which at one time had been unjustly taken by our enemies. 34Now that we have the opportunity, we are firmly holding the inheritance of our ancestors. 35As for Joppa and Gazara, which you demand, they were causing great damage among the people and to our land; for them we will give you one hundred talents.’

Athenobius* did not answer him a word, 36but returned in wrath to the king and reported to him these words, and also the splendour of Simon and all that he had seen. And the king was very angry.

Victory over Cendebeus

37 Meanwhile Trypho embarked on a ship and escaped to Orthosia. 38Then the king made Cendebeus commander-in-chief of the coastal country, and gave him troops of infantry and cavalry. 39He commanded him to encamp against Judea, to build up Kedron and fortify its gates, and to make war on the people; but the king pursued Trypho. 40So Cendebeus came to Jamnia and began to provoke the people and invade Judea and take the people captive and kill them. 41He built up Kedron and stationed horsemen and troops there, so that they might go out and make raids along the highways of Judea, as the king had ordered him.

16John went up from Gazara and reported to his father Simon what Cendebeus had done. 2And Simon called in his two eldest sons Judas and John, and said to them: ‘My brothers and I and my father’s house have fought the wars of Israel from our youth until this day, and things have prospered in our hands so that we have delivered Israel many times. 3But now I have grown old, and you by Heaven’s* mercy are mature in years. Take my place and my brother’s, and go out and fight for our nation, and may the help that comes from Heaven be with you.’

4 So John* chose out of the country twenty thousand warriors and cavalry, and they marched against Cendebeus and camped for the night in Modein. 5Early in the morning they started out and marched into the plain, where a large force of infantry and cavalry was coming to meet them; and a stream lay between them. 6Then he and his army lined up against them. He saw that the soldiers were afraid to cross the stream, so he crossed over first; and when his troops saw him, they crossed over after him. 7Then he divided the army and placed the cavalry in the centre of the infantry, for the cavalry of the enemy were very numerous. 8They sounded the trumpets, and Cendebeus and his army were put to flight; many of them fell wounded and the rest fled into the stronghold. 9At that time Judas the brother of John was wounded, but John pursued them until Cendebeus* reached Kedron, which he had built. 10They also fled into the towers that were in the fields of Azotus, and John* burned it with fire, and about two thousand of them fell. He then returned to Judea safely.

Murder of Simon and His Sons

11 Now Ptolemy son of Abubus had been appointed governor over the plain of Jericho; he had a large store of silver and gold, 12for he was son-in-law of the high priest. 13His heart was lifted up; he determined to get control of the country, and made treacherous plans against Simon and his sons, to do away with them. 14Now Simon was visiting the towns of the country and attending to their needs, and he went down to Jericho with his sons Mattathias and Judas, in the one hundred and seventy-seventh year,* in the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat. 15The son of Abubus received them treacherously in the little stronghold called Dok, which he had built; he gave them a great banquet, and hid men there. 16When Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy and his men rose up, took their weapons, rushed in against Simon in the banqueting-hall and killed him and his two sons, as well as some of his servants. 17So he committed an act of great treachery and returned evil for good.

John Succeeds Simon

18 Then Ptolemy wrote a report about these things and sent it to the king, asking him to send troops to aid him and to turn over to him the towns and the country. 19He sent other troops to Gazara to do away with John; he sent letters to the captains asking them to come to him so that he might give them silver and gold and gifts; 20and he sent other troops to take possession of Jerusalem and the temple hill. 21But someone ran ahead and reported to John at Gazara that his father and brothers had perished, and that ‘he has sent men to kill you also.’ 22When he heard this, he was greatly shocked; he seized the men who came to destroy him and killed them, for he had found out that they were seeking to destroy him.

23 The rest of the acts of John and his wars, and the brave deeds that he did, and the building of the walls that he completed, and his achievements, 24are written in the annals of his high-priesthood, from the time that he became high priest after his father.


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v 2.2.8
14 July 2018

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.8 14 July 2018.