10In the one hundred and sixtieth year* Alexander Epiphanes, son of Antiochus, landed and occupied Ptolemais. They welcomed him, and there he began to reign. 2When King Demetrius heard of it, he assembled a very large army and marched out to meet him in battle. 3Demetrius sent Jonathan a letter in peaceable words to honour him; 4for he said to himself, Let us act first to make peace with him* before he makes peace with Alexander against us, 5for he will remember all the wrongs that we did to him and to his brothers and his nation. 6So Demetrius* gave him authority to recruit troops, to equip them with arms, and to become his ally; and he commanded that the hostages in the citadel should be released to him.
7 Then Jonathan came to Jerusalem and read the letter in the hearing of all the people and of those in the citadel. 8They were greatly alarmed when they heard that the king had given him authority to recruit troops. 9But those in the citadel released the hostages to Jonathan, and he returned them to their parents.
10 And Jonathan took up residence in Jerusalem and began to rebuild and restore the city. 11He directed those who were doing the work to build the walls and encircle Mount Zion with squared stones, for better fortification; and they did so.
12 Then the foreigners who were in the strongholds that Bacchides had built fled; 13all of them left their places and went back to their own lands. 14Only in Beth-zur did some remain who had forsaken the law and the commandments, for it served as a place of refuge.
15 Now King Alexander heard of all the promises that Demetrius had sent to Jonathan, and he heard of the battles that Jonathan* and his brothers had fought, of the brave deeds that they had done, and of the troubles that they had endured. 16So he said, Shall we find another such man? Come now, we will make him our friend and ally. 17And he wrote a letter and sent it to him, in the following words:
18 King Alexander to his brother Jonathan, greetings. 19We have heard about you, that you are a mighty warrior and worthy to be our friend. 20And so we have appointed you today to be the high priest of your nation; you are to be called the kings Friend and you are to take our side and keep friendship with us. He also sent him a purple robe and a golden crown.
21 So Jonathan put on the sacred vestments in the seventh month of the one hundred and sixtieth year,* at the festival of booths,* and he recruited troops and equipped them with arms in abundance. 22When Demetrius heard of these things he was distressed and said, 23What is this that we have done? Alexander has overtaken us in forming a friendship with the Jews to strengthen himself. 24I also will write them words of encouragement and promise them honour and gifts, so that I may have their help. 25So he sent a message to them in the following words:
King Demetrius to the nation of the Jews, greetings. 26Since you have kept your agreement with us and have continued your friendship with us, and have not sided with our enemies, we have heard of it and rejoiced. 27Now continue still to keep faith with us, and we will repay you with good for what you do for us. 28We will grant you many immunities and give you gifts.
29 I now free you and exempt all the Jews from payment of tribute and salt tax and crown levies, 30and instead of collecting the third of the grain and the half of the fruit of the trees that I should receive, I release them from this day and henceforth. I will not collect them from the land of Judah or from the three districts added to it from Samaria and Galilee, from this day and for all time. 31Jerusalem and its environs, its tithes and its revenues, shall be holy and free from tax. 32I release also my control of the citadel in Jerusalem and give it to the high priest, so that he may station in it men of his own choice to guard it. 33And everyone of the Jews taken as a captive from the land of Judah into any part of my kingdom, I set free without payment; and let all officials cancel also the taxes on their livestock.
34 All the festivals and sabbaths and new moons and appointed days, and the three days before a festival and the three after a festivallet them all be days of immunity and release for all the Jews who are in my kingdom. 35No one shall have authority to exact anything from them or annoy any of them about any matter.
36 Let Jews be enrolled in the kings forces to the number of thirty thousand men, and let the maintenance be given them that is due to all the forces of the king. 37Let some of them be stationed in the great strongholds of the king, and let some of them be put in positions of trust in the kingdom. Let their officers and leaders be of their own number, and let them live by their own laws, just as the king has commanded in the land of Judah.
38 As for the three districts that have been added to Judea from the country of Samaria, let them be annexed to Judea so that they may be considered to be under one ruler and obey no other authority than the high priest. 39Ptolemais and the land adjoining it I have given as a gift to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, to meet the necessary expenses of the sanctuary. 40I also grant fifteen thousand shekels of silver yearly out of the kings revenues from appropriate places. 41And all the additional funds that the government officials have not paid as they did in the first years,* they shall give from now on for the service of the temple.* 42Moreover, the five thousand shekels of silver that my officials* have received every year from the income of the services of the temple, this too is cancelled, because it belongs to the priests who minister there. 43And all who take refuge at the temple in Jerusalem, or in any of its precincts, because they owe money to the king or are in debt, let them be released and receive back all their property in my kingdom.
44 Let the cost of rebuilding and restoring the structures of the sanctuary be paid from the revenues of the king. 45And let the cost of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and fortifying it all round, and the cost of rebuilding the walls in Judea, also be paid from the revenues of the king.
46 When Jonathan and the people heard these words, they did not believe or accept them, because they remembered the great wrongs that Demetrius* had done in Israel and how much he had oppressed them.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011