Reading 154/341, 1 Maccabees 14.35-16.24

...1 Maccabees

The people therefore sang the acts of Simon, and unto what glory he thought to bring his nation, made him their governor and chief priest, because he had done all these things, and for the justice and faith which he kept to his nation, and for that he sought by all means to exalt his people. For in his time things prospered in his hands, so that the heathen were taken out of their country, and they also that were in the city of David in Jerusalem, who had made themselves a tower, out of which they issued, and polluted all about the sanctuary, and did much hurt in the holy place, But he placed Jews therein, and fortified it for the safety of the country and the city, and raised up the walls of Jerusalem. King Demetrius also confirmed him in the high priesthood according to those things, And made him one of his friends, and honoured him with great honour. For he had heard say, that the Romans had called the Jews their friends and confederates and brethren, and that they had entertained the ambassadors of Simon honourably; Also that the Jews and priests were well pleased that Simon should be their governor and high priest for ever, until there should arise a faithful prophet; Moreover that he should be their captain, and should take charge of the sanctuary, to set them over their works, and over the country, and over the armour, and over the fortresses, that, I say, he should take charge of the sanctuary; Beside this, that he should be obeyed of every man, and that all the writings in the country should be made in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple, and wear gold, Also that it should be lawful for none of the people or priests to break any of these things, or to gainsay his words, or to gather an assembly in the country without him, or to be clothed in purple, or wear a buckle of gold; And whosoever should do otherwise, or break any of these things, he should be punished. Thus it liked all the people to deal with Simon, and to do as hath been said. Then Simon accepted hereof, and was well pleased to be high priest, and captain and governor of the Jews and priests, and to defend them all. So they commanded that this writing should be put in tables of bronze, and that they should be set up within the compass of the sanctuary in a conspicuous place; Also that the copies thereof should be laid up in the treasury, to the end that Simon and his sons might have them. Moreover Antiochus son of Demetrius the king sent letters from the isles of the sea unto Simon the priest and prince of the Jews, and to all the people; The contents whereof were these, King Antiochus to Simon the high priest and prince of his nation, and to the people of the Jews, greeting, Forasmuch as certain pestilent men have usurped the kingdom of our fathers, and my purpose is to challenge it again, that I may restore it to the old estate, and to that end have gathered a multitude of foreign soldiers together, and prepared ships of war; My meaning also being to go through the country, that I may be avenged of them that have destroyed it, and made many cities in the kingdom desolate, Now therefore I confirm unto you all the oblations which the kings before me granted you, and whatsoever gifts besides they granted. I give you leave also to coin money for your country with your own stamp. And as concerning Jerusalem and the sanctuary, let them be free, and all the armour that thou hast made, and fortresses that thou hast built, and keepest in your hands, let them remain unto you. And if anything be, or shall be, owing to the king, let it be forgiven you from this time forth for evermore. Furthermore, when we have obtained our kingdom, we will honour you, and your nation, and your temple, with great honour, so that your honour shall be known throughout the world. In the hundred threescore and fourteenth year went Antiochus into the land of his fathers, at which time all the forces came together unto him, so that few were left with Tryphon. Wherefore being pursued by king Antiochus, he fled unto Dora, which lieth by the sea side, For he saw that troubles came upon him all at once, and that his forces had forsaken him. Then camped Antiochus against Dora, having with him an hundred and twenty thousand men of war, and eight thousand horsemen. And when he had compassed the city round about, and joined ships close to the town on the sea side, he vexed the city by land and by sea, nor suffered he any to go out or in. In the mean season came Numenius and his company from Rome, having letters to the kings and countries; wherein were written these things, Lucius, consul of the Romans unto king Ptolemee, greeting, The Jews' ambassadors, our friends and confederates, came unto us to renew the old friendship and league, being sent from Simon the high priest, and from the people of the Jews, And they brought a shield of gold of a thousand pound. We thought it good therefore to write unto the kings and countries, that they should do them no harm, nor fight against them, their cities, or countries, nor yet aid their enemies against them. It seemed also good to us to receive the shield of them. If therefore there be any pestilent fellows, that have fled from their country unto you, deliver them unto Simon the high priest, that he may punish them according to their own law. The same things wrote he likewise unto Demetrius the king, and Attalus, to Ariarathes, and Arsaces, And to all the countries and to Sampsames, and the Lacedemonians, and to Delus, and Myndus, and Sicyon, and Caria, and Samos, and Pamphylia, and Lycia, and Halicarnassus, and Rhodus, and Aradus, and Cos, and Side, and Aradus, and Gortyna, and Cnidus, and Cyprus, and Cyrene. And the copy hereof they wrote to Simon the high priest. So Antiochus the king camped against Dora the second day, assaulting it continually, and making engines, by which means he shut up Tryphon, that he could nor go out nor in. At that time Simon sent him two thousand chosen men to aid him; silver also, and gold, and much armour. Nevertheless he would not receive them, but brake all the covenants which he had made with him afore, and became strange unto him. Furthermore he sent unto him Athenobius, one of his friends, to commune with him, and say, You withhold Joppa and Gazera; with the tower that is in Jerusalem, which are cities of my realm. The borders thereof you have wasted, and done great hurt in the land, and got the dominion of many places within my kingdom. Now therefore deliver the cities which you have taken, and the tributes of the places, whereof you have gotten dominion without the borders of Judea, Or else give me for them five hundred talents of silver, and for the harm that you have done, and the tributes of the cities, other five hundred talents, if not, we will come and fight against you So Athenobius the king's friend came to Jerusalem, and when he saw the glory of Simon, and the cupboard of gold and silver plate, and his great attendance, he was astonished, and told him the king's message. Then answered Simon, and said unto him, We have nor taken other men's land, nor holden what appertaineth to others, but the inheritance of our fathers, which our enemies had wrongfully in possession a certain time. Wherefore we, having opportunity, hold the inheritance of our fathers. And whereas thou demandest Joppa and Gazera, albeit they did great harm unto the people in our country, yet will we give you an hundred talents for them. Hereunto Athenobius answered him not a word; But returned in a rage to the king, and made report unto him of these speeches, and of the glory of Simon, and of all that he had seen, whereupon the king was exceeding wroth. In the mean time fled Tryphon by ship unto Orthosias. Then the king made Cendebeus captain of the sea coast, and gave him an host of footmen and horsemen, And commanded him to remove his host toward Judea; also he commanded him to build up Cedron, and to fortify the gates, and to war against the people; but as for the king himself, he pursued Tryphon. So Cendebeus came to Jamnia and began to provoke the people and to invade Judea, and to take the people prisoners, and slay them. And when he had built up Cedrou, he set horsemen there, and an host of footmen, to the end that issuing out they might make outroads upon the ways of Judea, as the king had commanded him. Then came up John from Gazera, and told Simon his father what Cendebeus had done. Wherefore Simon called his two eldest sons, Judas and John, and said unto them, I, and my brethren, and my father's house, have ever from my youth unto this day fought against the enemies of Israel, and things have prospered so well in our hands, that we have delivered Israel oftentimes. But now I am old, and you, by God's mercy, are of a sufficient age, be you instead of me and my brother, and go and fight for our nation, and the help from heaven be with you. So he chose out of the country twenty thousand men of war with horsemen, who went out against Cendebeus, and rested that night at Modin. And when as they rose in the morning, and went into the plain, behold, a mighty great host both of footmen and horsemen came against them, howbeit there was a water brook betwixt them. So he and his people pitched over against them, and when he saw that the people were afraid to go over the water brook, he went first over himself, and then the men seeing him passed through after him. That done, he divided his men, and set the horsemen in the midst of the footmen, for the enemies' horsemen were very many. Then sounded they with the holy trumpets, whereupon Cendebeus and his host were put to flight, so that many of them were slain, and the remnant gat them to the strong hold. At that time was Judas John's brother wounded; but John still followed after them, until he came to Cedron, which Cendebeus had built. So they fled unto the towers in the fields of Azotus; wherefore he burned it with fire, so that there were slain of them about two thousand men. Afterward he returned into the land of Judea in peace. Moreover in the plain of Jericho was Ptolemeus the son of Abubus made captain, and he had abundance of silver and gold, For he was the high priest's son in law. Wherefore his heart being lifted up, he thought to get the country to himself, and thereupon consulted deceitfully against Simon and his sons to destroy them. Now Simon was visiting the cities that were in the country, and taking care for the good ordering of them; at which time he came down himself to Jericho with his sons, Mattathias and Judas, in the hundred threescore and seventeenth year, in the eleventh month, called Sabat, Where the son of Abubus receiving them deceitfully into a little hold, called Docus, which he had built, made them a great banquet, howbeit he had hid men there. So when Simon and his sons had drunk largely, Ptolemee and his men rose up, and took their weapons, and came upon Simon into the banqueting place, and slew him, and his two sons, and certain of his servants. In which doing he committed a great treachery, and recompensed evil for good. Then Ptolemee wrote these things, and sent to the king, that he should send him an host to aid him, and he would deliver him the country and cities. He sent others also to Gazera to kill John, and unto the tribunes he sent letters to come unto him, that he might give them silver, and gold, and rewards. And others he sent to take Jerusalem, and the mountain of the temple. Now one had run afore to Gazera and told John that his father and brethren were slain, and, quoth he, Ptolemee hath sent to slay you also. Hereof when he heard, he was sore astonished, so he laid hands on them that were come to destroy him, and slew them; for he knew that they sought to make him away. As concerning the rest of the acts of John, and his wars, and woryour deeds which he did, and the building of the walls which he made, and his doings, Behold, these are written in the chronicles of his priesthood, from the time he was made high priest after his father.

Reading 153/341, 1 Maccabees 13-14.34

...1 Maccabees...

Now when Simon heard that Tryphon had gathered together a great host to invade the land of Judea, and destroy it, And saw that the people was in great trembling and fear, he went up to Jerusalem, and gathered the people together, And gave them exhortation, saying, You yourselves know what great things I, and my brethren, and my father's house, have done for the laws and the sanctuary, the battles also and troubles which we have seen. By reason whereof all my brethren are slain for Israel's sake, and I am left alone. Now therefore be it far from me, that I should spare mine own life in any time of trouble, for I am no better than my brethren. Doubtless I will avenge my nation, and the sanctuary, and our wives, and our children, for all the heathen are gathered to destroy us of very malice. Now as soon as the people heard these words, their spirit revived. And they answered with a loud voice, saying, Thou shalt be our leader instead of Judas and Jonathan your brother. Fight thou our battles, and whatsoever, thou commandest us, that will we do. So then he gathered together all the men of war, and made haste to finish the walls of Jerusalem, and he fortified it round about. Also he sent Jonathan the son of Absolom, and with him a great power, to Joppa, who casting out them that were therein remained there in it. So Tryphon removed from Ptolemaus with a great power to invade the land of Judea, and Jonathan was with him in ward. But Simon pitched his tents at Adida, over against the plain. Now when Tryphon knew that Simon was risen up instead of his brother Jonathan, and meant to join battle with him, he sent messengers unto him, saying, Whereas we have Jonathan your brother in hold, it is for money that he is owing unto the king's treasure, concerning the business that was committed unto him. Wherefore now send an hundred talents of silver, and two of his sons for hostages, that when he is at liberty he may not revolt from us, and we will let him go. Hereupon Simon, albeit he perceived that they spake deceitfully unto him yet sent he the money and the children, lest peradventure he should procure to himself great hatred of the people, Who might have said, Because I sent him not the money and the children, therefore is Jonathan dead. So he sent them the children and the hundred talents, howbeit Tryphon dissembled nor would he let Jonathan go. And after this came Tryphon to invade the land, and destroy it, going round about by the way that leadeth unto Adora, but Simon and his host marched against him in every place, wheresoever he went. Now they that were in the tower sent messengers unto Tryphon, to the end that he should hasten his coming unto them by the desert, and send them victuals. Wherefore Tryphon made ready all his horsemen to come that night, but there fell a very great snow, by reason whereof he came not. So he departed, and came into the country of Galaad. And when he came near to Bascama he slew Jonathan, who was buried there. Afterward Tryphon returned and went into his own land. Then sent Simon, and took the bones of Jonathan his brother, and buried them in Modin, the city of his fathers. And all Israel made great lamentation for him, and bewailed him many days. Simon also built a monument upon the sepulchre of his father and his brethren, and raised it aloft to the sight, with hewn stone behind and before. Moreover he set up seven pyramids, one against another, for his father, and his mother, and his four brethren. And in these he made cunning devices, about the which he set great pillars, and upon the pillars he made all their armour for a perpetual memory, and by the armour ships carved, that they might be seen of all that sail on the sea. This is the sepulchre which he made at Modin, and it standeth yet unto this day. Now Tryphon dealt deceitfully with the young king Antiochus, and slew him. And he reigned in his stead, and crowned himself king of Asia, and brought a great calamity upon the land. Then Simon built up the strong holds in Judea, and fenced them about with high towers, and great walls, and gates, and bars, and laid up victuals therein. Moreover Simon chose men, and sent to king Demetrius, to the end he should give the land an immunity, because all that Tryphon did was to spoil. Unto whom king Demetrius answered and wrote after this manner, King Demetrius unto Simon the high priest, and friend of kings, as also unto the elders and nation of the Jews, sendeth greeting, The golden crown, and the scarlet robe, which you sent unto us, we have received, and we are ready to make a stedfast peace with you, yea, and to write unto our officers, to confirm the immunities which we have granted. And whatsoever covenants we have made with you shall stand, and the strong holds, which you have builded, shall be your own. As for any oversight or fault committed unto this day, we forgive it, and the crown tax also, which you owe us, and if there were any other tribute paid in Jerusalem, it shall no more be paid. And look who are meet among you to be in our court, let then be enrolled, and let there be peace betwixt us. Thus the yoke of the heathen was taken away from Israel in the hundred and seventieth year. Then the people of Israel began to write in their instruments and contracts, In the first year of Simon the high priest, the governor and leader of the Jews. In those days Simon camped against Gaza and besieged it round about; he made also an engine of war, and set it by the city, and battered a certain tower, and took it. And they that were in the engine leaped into the city; whereupon there was a great uproar in the city, Insomuch as the people of the city rent their clothes, and climbed upon the walls with their wives and children, and cried with a loud voice, beseeching Simon to grant them peace. And they said, Deal not with us according to our wickedness, but according to your mercy. So Simon was appeased toward them, and fought no more against them, but put them out of the city, and cleansed the houses wherein the idols were, and so entered into it with songs and thanksgiving. Yea, he put all uncleanness out of it, and placed such men there as would keep the law, and made it stronger than it was before, and built therein a dwellingplace for himself. They also of the tower in Jerusalem were kept so strait, that they could nor come forth, nor go into the country, nor buy, nor sell, wherefore they were in great distress for want of victuals, and a great number of them perished through famine. Then cried they to Simon, beseeching him to be at one with them, which thing he granted them, and when he had put them out from thence, he cleansed the tower from pollutions, And entered into it the three and twentieth day of the second month in the hundred seventy and first year, with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and with harps, and cymbals, and with viols, and hymns, and songs, because there was destroyed a great enemy out of Israel. He ordained also that that day should be kept every year with gladness. Moreover the hill of the temple that was by the tower he made stronger than it was, and there he dwelt himself with his company. And when Simon saw that John his son was a valiant man, he made him captain of all the hosts, and he dwelt in Gazera. Now in the hundred threescore and twelfth year king Demetrius gathered his forces together, and went into Media to get him help to fight against Tryphone. But when Arsaces, the king of Persia and Media, heard that Demetrius was entered within his borders, he sent one of his princes to take him alive, Who went and smote the host of Demetrius, and took him, and brought him to Arsaces, by whom he was put in ward. As for the land of Judea, that was quiet all the days of Simon; for he sought the good of his nation in such wise, as that evermore his authority and honour pleased them well. And as he was honourable in all his acts, so in this, that he took Joppa for an haven, and made an entrance to the isles of the sea, And enlarged the bounds of his nation, and recovered the country, And gathered together a great number of captives, and had the dominion of Gazera, and Bethsura, and the tower, out of the which he took all uncleaness, nor was there any that resisted him. Then did they till their ground in peace, and the earth gave her increase, and the trees of the field their fruit. The ancient men sat all in the streets, communing together of good things, and the young men put on glorious and warlike apparel. He provided victuals for the cities, and set in them all manner of munition, so that his honourable name was renowned unto the end of the world. He made peace in the land, and Israel rejoiced with great joy, For every man sat under his vine and his fig tree, and there was none to fray them, Nor was there any left in the land to fight against them, yea, the kings themselves were overthrown in those days. Moreover he strengthened all those of his people that were brought low, the law he searched out, and every contemner of the law and wicked person he took away. He beautified the sanctuary, and multiplied vessels of the temple. Now when it was heard at Rome, and as far as Sparta, that Jonathan was dead, they were very sorry. But as soon as they heard that his brother Simon was made high priest in his stead, and ruled the country, and the cities therein, They wrote unto him in tables of bronze, to renew the friendship and league which they had made with Judas and Jonathan his brethren, Which writings were read before the congregation at Jerusalem. And this is the copy of the letters that the Lacedemonians sent; The rulers of the Lacedemonians, with the city, unto Simon the high priest, and the elders, and priests, and residue of the people of the Jews, our brethren, send greeting, The ambassadors that were sent unto our people certified us of your glory and honour, wherefore we were glad of their coming, And did register the things that they spake in the council of the people in this manner; Numenius son of Antiochus, and Antipater son of Jason, the Jews' ambassadors, came unto us to renew the friendship they had with us. And it pleased the people to entertain the men honourably, and to put the copy of their ambassage in publick records, to the end the people of the Lacedemonians might have a memorial thereof, furthermore we have written a copy thereof unto Simon the high priest. After this Simon sent Numenius to Rome with a great shield of gold of a thousand pound weight to confirm the league with them. Whereof when the people heard, they said, What thanks shall we give to Simon and his sons? For he and his brethren and the house of his father have established Israel, and chased away in fight their enemies from them, and confirmed their liberty. So then they wrote it in tables of bronze, which they set upon pillars in mount Sion, and this is the copy of the writing; The eighteenth day of the month Elul, in the hundred threescore and twelfth year, being the third year of Simon the high priest, At Saramel in the great congregation of the priests, and people, and rulers of the nation, and elders of the country, were these things notified unto us. Forasmuch as oftentimes there have been wars in the country, wherein for the maintenance of their sanctuary, and the law, Simon the son of Mattathias, of the posterity of Jarib, together with his brethren, put themselves in jeopardy, and resisting the enemies of their nation did their nation great honour, (For after that Jonathan, having gathered his nation together, and been their high priest, was added to his people, Their enemies prepared to invade their country, that they might destroy it, and lay hands on the sanctuary, At which time Simon rose up, and fought for his nation, and spent much of his own substance, and armed the valiant men of his nation and gave them wages, And fortified the cities of Judea, together with Bethsura, that lieth upon the borders of Judea, where the armour of the enemies had been before; but he set a garrison of Jews there, Moreover he fortified Joppa, which lieth upon the sea, and Gazera, that bordereth upon Azotus, where the enemies had dwelt before, but he placed Jews there, and furnished them with all things convenient for the reparation thereof.)