Reading 157/341, 2 Maccabees 5-7.19

The story of the Jewish martyrs that begins in this reading and continues tomorrow is probably the most memorable part of this book and perhaps among the most in the Old Testament.

...2 Maccabees...

About the same time, Antiochus prepared his second expedition into Egypt, and then it happened, that through all the city, for the space of almost forty days, there were seen horsemen running in the air, in cloth of gold, and armed with lances, like a band of soldiers, and troops of horsemen in array, encountering and running one against another, with shaking of shields, and multitude of pikes, and drawing of swords, and casting of darts, and glittering of golden ornaments, and harness of all sorts. Therefore everyone prayed that this apparition might turn to good. Now when a false rumor had gone forth that Antiochus was dead, Jason took at least a thousand men, and suddenly made an assault upon the city, and those who were upon the walls were pushed back, and the city at length taken, Menelaus fled into the tower, but Jason killed his own citizens without mercy, not considering that to triumph over his own nation would be a calamity for him, but thinking they had been his enemies, and not his countrymen, whom he conquered. For all this, he did not obtain the office, but at last received shame as a reward for his treason, and fled again into the country of the Ammonites. He had an unhappy end therefore, being accused before Aretas the king of the Arabians, fleeing from city to city, pursued by all men, hated as a forsaker of the laws, and being held in abomination as an open enemy of his country and countrymen, he was cast out into Egypt. Thus he who had driven so many from their country, perished in a strange land, retiring to the Lacedaemonians, and thinking there to find help by reason of his kindred. He who had cast out many unburied, had no one to mourn for him, nor any solemn funerals at all, nor sepulcher with his fathers.

Now when what was done came to the king's ear, he thought that Judah had revolted, so, leaving Egypt with a furious mind, he took the city by force of arms, and commanded his men of war not to spare anyone they met, and to slay those who went into houses. Thus there was killing of young and old, a taking away of men, women, and children, slaying of virgins and infants. And there were destroyed within the space of three whole days 80,000, of which forty thousand were slain in the conflict, and no fewer sold than slain. Yet was he not content with this, but presumed to go into the Most Holy Temple of all the world. Menelaus, that traitor to the laws, and to his own country, was his guide, and he took the holy vessels with polluted hands, and with profane hands pulled down the things that were dedicated by other kings to the augmentation and glory and honor of the place. And so haughty was Antiochus in mind that he did not understand that the Lord was angry for a while because of the sins of those who dwelt in the city, and therefore his eye was not upon the place. For had they not been formerly covered in many sins, this man, as soon as he had come, would have been quickly scourged and put back from his presumption, as Heliodorus was, whom Seleucus the king sent to view the treasury. Nevertheless, God did not choose the people for the place's sake, but the place for the people's sake, and therefore the place itself was partaker with them of the adversity that happened to the nation, and did afterward share in the benefits sent from the Lord, and as it was forsaken in the wrath of the Almighty, so again, the great Lord being reconciled, it was set up with all glory.

So when Antiochus had carried out of the temple 1800 talents, he departed in all haste to Antioch, plotting in his pride to make the land navigable by ship, and the sea passable by foot, such was the haughtiness of his mind. And he left governors to vex the nation, at Jerusalem: Philip, by country a Phrygian, and by manners more barbarous than the one who set him there, and at Garizim, Andronicus, and besides them, Menelaus, who, worse than all the rest, bore a heavy hand over the citizens, having a malicious mind against his countrymen the Jews. He also sent that detestable ringleader Apollonius with an army of 22,000, commanding him to slay all those who were in their best age, and to sell the women and the younger sort. Coming to Jerusalem, and pretending peace, he waited until the holy day of the Sabbath, when with the Jews keeping the holy day, he commanded his men to arm themselves. And so he killed all those that had come to watch, and running through the city with weapons, they killed great crowds. But Judas Maccabeus with nine others, or thereabout, withdrew himself into the desert, and lived in the mountains after the manner of beasts, with his group, who fed on herbs continually, lest they should be partakers of the pollution.

Not long after this the king sent an old man of Athens to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers, and not to live after the laws of God, and to pollute the temple in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Zeus of Olympus, and that in Garizim, after Zeus the Host of Strangers, as those who dwelt there were. This evil was grievous and intolerable to the people, for the temple was filled with riot and reveling by the Gentiles, who dallied with harlots, and joined with women within the walls of the holy places, and besides that brought in things that were not lawful. The altar also was filled with profane things, which the law forbids. Nor was it lawful for a man to keep Sabbath days or ancient fasts, or to profess himself at all to be a Jew. And in the day of the king's birth every month they were brought by bitter constraint to eat of the sacrifices, and when the fast of Dionysius was kept, the Jews were compelled to go in procession to Dionysius, carrying ivy. Moreover there went out a decree to the neighbor cities of the heathen, by the suggestion of those of Ptolemais, against the Jews, that they should observe the same fashions, and be partakers of their sacrifices, And whoever would not conform themselves to the manners of the Gentiles would be put to death.

Then a person could have seen the obvious misery. For two women were brought, who had circumcised their sons. When they had openly paraded them around the city, with the babies hanging at their breasts, they cast them down headlong from the wall. And others, who had run together into caves nearby, to keep the Sabbath day secretly, being discovered by Philip, were all burnt together, because they decided in conscience to not defend themselves against the honor of the most sacred day. Now I beseech those that read this book, lest they be discouraged for these calamities, lest they judge those punishments to be for destruction, rather than a chastening of our nation. For it is a token of his great goodness, when wicked doers are not put up with for a long time, but quickly punished. For not as with other nations, whom the Lord patiently forbears to punish, until they have come to the fullness of their sins, so deals he with us, lest, having come to the height of sin, afterwards he should take vengeance upon us. And therefore he never withdraws his mercy from us, and though he punishes us with adversity, yet he never forsakes his people. But let what we have said be a warning for us. And now we will come to the telling of the matter in a few words.

Eleazar, one of the principal scribes, an aged man, and of a favored appearance, was constrained to open his mouth, and to eat swine's flesh. But he, choosing rather to die gloriously, than to live stained with such an abomination, spit it out, and came of his own accord to the torment, as it behooved them to come, who are resolute to stand against such things, which are not lawful for love of life to be tasted. But those who had the charge of that wicked feast, for the old acquaintance they had with the man, taking him aside, besought him to bring flesh of his own provision, such as was lawful for him to eat, and make as if he did eat of the flesh taken from the sacrifice commanded by the king; that in so doing he might be delivered from death, and for the old friendship with them find favor. But he began to consider carefully, and as became his age, and the excellence of his ancient years, and the honor of his gray head, and his most honest education from childhood, and above this the holy law made and given by God, he answered accordingly, and willed them send him straight to the grave. “For it becomes not our age”, said he, “in any way to lie, whereby many young people might think that Eleazar, being 90 years old, had now gone to a strange religion, and so they through my hypocrisy and desire to live a little time and a moment longer, should be deceived by me, and I receive a stain on my old age, and make it abominable. For though for the present time I should be delivered from the punishment of men, yet I would not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive, nor dead. Therefore now, manfully changing this life, I will show myself such a one as my age requires, and leave a notable example to the young to die willingly and courageously for the honorable and holy laws.” And when he had said these words, immediately he went to the torment. Those who led him changing the goodwill they bore him a little before into hatred, because of the speeches which proceeded, as they thought, from a desperate mind. But when he was ready to die with stripes, he groaned, and said, “It is manifest to the Lord, who has the holy knowledge, that whereas I might have been delivered from death, I now endure horrible pains in body by being beaten, but in soul am well content to suffer these things, because I fear him.” And thus this man died, leaving his death for an example of noble courage, and a memorial of virtue, not only for young men, but to all his nation.

It came to pass also, that seven brothers with their mother were taken, and compelled by the king against the law to taste pork, and were tormented with scourges and whips. But one of those who spoke first said, “What would you ask or learn of us? We are ready to die rather than to transgress the laws of our fathers.” Then the king, being in a rage, commanded pans and caldrons be made hot. While they were being heated, he commanded them to cut out the tongue of him who spoke first, and to cut off the extremities of his body, the rest of his brothers and his mother looking on. Now when he was thus maimed in all his members, he commanded him being yet alive to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan, and as the smoke of the pan was for a good space dispersed, they exhorted one another with the mother to die manfully, saying thus, “The Lord God looks upon us, and in truth has compassion on us, as Moses in his song, who openly bore witness, declared, saying, ‘And he shall have compassion on his servants.’” So when the first was dead after this manner, they brought the second to mock him, and when they had pulled the skin off of his head with the hair, they asked him, “Will you eat, before you are punished throughout every member of your body?” But he answered in his own language, and said, “No.” Wherefore he also received the next torment in order, as the former did. And when he was at the last gasp, he said, “You like a fury take us out of this present life, but the King of the world shall raise us up, who have died for his laws, unto everlasting life.” After him was the third was mocked, and when he was required, he put out his tongue, right away, holding forth his hands manfully, and said courageously, “These I have from heaven, and for his laws I despise them, and from him I hope to receive them again.” Insomuch that the king, and those who were with him, marveled at the young man's courage, that he regarded the pains in no way. Now when this man was dead also, they tormented and mangled the fourth in like manner. So when he was ready to die he said thus, “It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God to be raised up again by him. As for you, you shall have no resurrection to life.” Afterward they brought the fifth also, and mangled him. Then looked he to the king, and said, “You have power over men. You are mortal. You do what you will, yet think not that our nation is forsaken by God, but abide awhile, and behold his great power, how he will torment you and your seed.” After him also they brought the sixth, who being ready to die said, “Be not deceived without cause, for we suffer these things for ourselves, having sinned against our God. Therefore marvelous things are done unto us. But think not you, who takes it in hand to strive against God, shall escape unpunished.”

Reading 156/341, 2 Maccabees 3.19-4.50

[A] We see what role money played in politics in those days. Each man promises a certain amount of money in order to be the leader, and then, to get the money he taxes the poor and steals from the temple.

...2 Maccabees...

Women, girded with sackcloth under their breasts, filled the streets, and the virgins who were kept inside ran out, some to the gates, and some to the walls, and others looked out of the windows. And all, holding their hands toward heaven, made supplication. Then it would have made anyone have pity to see the falling down of the varied crowd, and the high priest being in such fear and agony. They then called upon the Almighty Lord to keep the things committed in trust safe and secure for those that had committed them. Nevertheless, Heliodorus did what was decreed. Now as he himself arrived with his guard near the treasury, the Lord of spirits, and the Prince of all power, caused a great apparition, so that all that presumed to come in with him were astonished at the power of God, and fainted, and were very afraid. For there appeared to them a horse with a terrible rider upon it, and adorned with a very fair covering, and he ran fiercely and attacked Heliodorus with his forehooves, and it seemed that he who sat upon the horse wore armor of gold. Moreover, two other young men appeared before him, notable in strength, excellent in beauty, and beautifully clothed, who stood by him on either side, and scourged him continually, and gave him many sore stripes. And Heliodorus fell suddenly to the ground, and was compassed with great darkness, but those who were with him took him up, and put him on a stretcher. Thus he who had just come with a great company and with all his guard into the treasury, they carried out, being unable to help himself with his weapons, and manifestly they acknowledged the power of God. For he by the hand of God was cast down, and lay speechless without any hope of life.

But they praised the Lord who had miraculously honored his own place, for the temple, which a shortly before had been full of fear and trouble, when the Almighty Lord appeared, was filled with joy and gladness. Then quickly some of Heliodorus' friends begged Onias, that he would call upon the most High to grant him his life, who lay ready to give up breathing. So the high priest, concerned that the king should misunderstand that some treachery had been done to Heliodorus by the Jews, offered a sacrifice for the health of the man. Now as the high priest was making an atonement, the same young men in the same clothing appeared and stood beside Heliodorus, saying, “Give Onias the high priest great thanks, insomuch as for his sake the Lord has granted you life, seeing that you have been scourged from heaven, declare unto all men the mighty power of God.” And when they had spoken these words, they appeared no more. So Heliodorus, after he had offered sacrifice unto the Lord, and made great vows to him who had saved his life, and saluted Onias, returned with his host to the king. Then he testified to all men the works of the great God, which he had seen with his eyes. And when the king asked Heliodorus who might be a fit man to send once again to Jerusalem, he said, “If you have any enemy or traitor, send him there, and you shall receive him well scourged, if he escapes with his life, for in that place, let there be no doubt, there is a special power of God. For he that dwells in heaven has his eye on that place, and defends it, and he beats and destroys those who come to hurt it. And the things concerning Heliodorus, and the keeping of the treasury, happened in that way.

This Simon now, of whom we spoke before, having been the informer about the money against his country, slandered Onias, as if he had terrified Heliodorus and been the worker of these evils. Thus he was bold enough to call him a traitor, who had benefited the city, and protected his own nation, and was so zealous of the laws. But when their hatred went so far, that murders were committed by one of Simon's faction, Onias seeing the danger of this contention, and that Apollonius, son of Menestheus, governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, increased Simon's malice, went to the king, not to be an accuser of his countrymen, but seeking the good of all, both public and private, for he saw that it was impossible that the state should continue quiet, and Simon leave his folly, unless the king noticed. But after the death of Seleucus, Antiochus, called Epiphanes, took the kingdom. Jason, the brother of Onias, labored underhandedly to be high priest, promising the king in a meeting, 360 talents of silver and from other revenue 80 talents. Beside this, he promised to send 150 more, if he might have permission to set up a gymnasium for the training of youth in the fashions of the heathens, and to enroll the people of Jerusalem as belonging to Antioch. When the king had granted this, and he had received the approval in his own hand, he brought his own nation into the Greek fashion. And the royal privileges granted by special favor to the Jews by means of John the father of Eupolemus, who went to Rome as an ambassador for amity and aid, he took away, and putting down the governments which were according to the law, he brought up new customs against the law, for he gladly built a gymnasium under the tower itself, and brought the chief young men under his subjection, and made them wear a hat. Now such was the height of Greek fashion and increase of heathenish manners, through the exceeding profaneness of Jason, that ungodly wretch, and no high priest, that the priests had no courage to serve at the altar any longer, but, despising the temple, and neglecting the sacrifices, hastened to be partakers of the unlawful activities in the gymnasium, after the signal for the games called them. Not considering what were honors to their fathers, they like the glory of the Greeks best of all. For this reason, serious calamity came upon them, for they had as their enemies and oppressors, those whose custom they followed so earnestly, and to whom they desired to be like in all things, for it is not a light thing to do wickedly against the laws of God, but the following events shall demonstrate this.

Now when the quinquennial games were kept at Tyre, the king being present, this ungracious Jason sent special messengers from Jerusalem, who were Antiochians, to carry three hundred drachmas of silver to the sacrifice of Hercules. The bearers of it decided not to bestow it upon the sacrifice, because it was not right, but saved it for other things. This money then, intended by the sender to be appointed to Hercules' sacrifice, because of the bearers, was used to make ships. Now when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for the coronation of king Ptolemy Philometor, Antiochus, understanding him to be opposed to his affairs, provided for his own safety: after he came to Joppa, he went then to Jerusalem, where he was honorably received by Jason, and by the city, and was brought in with torch alight, and with great shouts, and so afterward went with his host to Phoenicia. Three years later Jason sent Menelaus, the aforementioned Simon's brother, to bear money to the king, and to put him in mind of certain necessary matters. But he, being brought to the presence of the king, when he had magnified him for the glorious appearance of his power, got the priesthood for himself, offering 300 more talents of silver than Jason. So he came with the king's mandate, bringing nothing worthy of the high priesthood, but having the fury of a cruel tyrant, and the rage of a savage beast. Then Jason, who had undermined his own brother, being undermined by another, was compelled to flee into the country of the Ammonites. So Menelaus got the office, but as for the money that he had promised to the king, he was not good for it, although Sostratus the ruler of the tower required it, for it was his responsibility to collect taxes. Therefore, they were both called before the king. Now Menelaus left his brother Lysimachus in his stead in the priesthood, and Sostratus left Crates, who was governor of the Cyprians.

While those things were happening, the people of Tarsus and Mallus started a rebellion, because they were given as a gift to the king's concubine, called Antiochis. Then the king came in all haste to appease matters, leaving Andronicus, a man in authority, as his deputy. Now Menelaus, supposing that he had gotten a convenient time, stole certain vessels of gold out of the temple, and gave some of them to Andronicus, and some he sold in Tyre and the cities round about. When Onias knew this for certain, he reproved him, and withdrew himself into a sanctuary at Daphne, that lies near Antioch. Therefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus apart, begged him to get Onias into his hands. He was persuaded to do it, and coming to Onias in deceit, gave him his right hand with oaths, and though he was suspected by him, yet persuaded him to come forth from the sanctuary, and then killed him without regard for justice. Therefore, not only the Jews, but many also of other nations, took great indignation, and were very grieved for the unjust murder of the man. And when the king had come again from the places around Cilicia, the Jews that were in the city, and certain of the Greeks that abhorred the crime also, complained because Onias was slain without cause. Therefore Antiochus was heartily sorry, and moved to pity, and wept, because of the sober and modest behavior of him who was dead. And being kindled with anger, he took away his purple from Andronicus, and tore off his clothes, and led him through the whole city unto that very place, where he had committed the outrage against Onias, and there slew the cursed murderer. Thus the Lord rewarded him his punishment, as he had deserved.

Now when many sacrileges had been committed in the city by Lysimachus with the consent of Menelaus, and the talk of it had spread abroad, the crowds gathered themselves together against Lysimachus, many vessels of gold being already carried away. At the rising of the common people, and being filled with rage, Lysimachus armed about three thousand men, and began first to offer violence, one Auranus being the leader, a man far gone in years, and no less in folly. Then, seeing the attempt of Lysimachus, some of them got stones, some clubs, others taking handfuls of dust, whatever was at hand, and they cast them all together upon Lysimachus, and those that attacked them. Thus many of them they wounded, and some they struck to the ground, and all of them they forced to flee, but as for the temple-robber himself, they killed him beside the treasury. Of these matters there was an accusation laid against Menelaus. Now when the king came to Tyre, three men who were sent from the senate pleaded the cause before him, but Menelaus, having been convicted, promised Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes, a lot of money, if he would pacify the king toward him. Whereupon Ptolemy, taking the king aside into a certain colonnade, as if to get some air, brought him to be of another mind, so much so that he discharged Menelaus from the accusation though he was cause of all the mischief, and those poor men, who, if they had pled their case, even before the Scythians, should have been judged innocent, he condemned to death. Thus those who prosecuted the matter for the city, and for the people, and for the holy vessels, soon suffered unjust punishment. But the people of Tyre, moved with hatred of that wicked deed, caused them to be honorably buried. And so through the covetousness of those who were in power, Menelaus remained in authority, increasing in malice, and being a great traitor to the citizens.

Reading 155/341, 2 Maccabees 1-3.18

2 Maccabees...

The brethren, the Jews who are in Jerusalem and in the land of Judea, wish to the brethren, the Jews who are throughout Egypt, health and peace. God be gracious unto you and remember his covenant which he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his faithful servants. May he give you all a heart to serve him, and to do his will, with good courage and a willing mind; and open your hearts to his law and commandments, and send you peace, and hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in time of trouble. Now, we here are praying for you. At the time when Demetrius reigned, in the year 169 [143 BC], we Jews wrote to you in the extremity of trouble that came upon us in those years, when Jason and his company revolted from the holy land and kingdom, and burned the gatehouse, and shed innocent blood. Then we prayed to the Lord, and were heard. We also offered sacrifices and fine flour, and lit the lamps, and set out the loaves. See to it that you keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the month of Kislev. In the year 188 [124 BC].

The people that were at Jerusalem and in Judea, and the council, and Judas, sent greeting and health to Aristobulus, teacher of King Ptolemy, and member of the family of the anointed priests, and to the Jews in Egypt. Insomuch as God has delivered us from great perils, we thank him greatly, as having been in battle against a king. For he cast out those who fought within the holy city. For when the leader had come into Persia, and the army with him that seemed invincible, they were slain in the temple of Nanea by the deceit of Nanea's priests. For Antiochus, as though he would marry the goddess, came into the place, and his friends that were with him, to receive money as a dowry. Which when the priests of Nanea had set out, and he had entered with a small company into the precincts of the temple, they shut the temple as soon as he went in. Opening a secret door on the roof, they threw stones like thunderbolts, and struck down the captain, hewed them in pieces, smote off their heads and cast them to those who were outside. Blessed be our God in all things, who has delivered up the ungodly.

Therefore, whereas we are now purposed to keep the purification of the temple upon the 25th day of the month of Kislev, we thought it necessary to inform you, that you also might keep the Feast of the Tabernacles, and of the fire, which was given us when Nehemiah offered sacrifice, after he had built the temple and the altar. For when our fathers were led into Persia, the priests that were then devout took the fire of the altar secretly, and hid it in the hollow place of a pit without water, where they kept it going, so that the place was unknown to all men. Now after many years, when it pleased God, Nehemiah, being sent by the king of Persia, sent the posterity of those priests who had hid the fire to look for it, but when they told us that they found no fire, but only thick liquid, he then commanded them to draw it up, and to bring it, and when the sacrifices were laid on, Nehemiah commanded the priests to sprinkle the wood and the things laid thereupon with the liquid. When this was done, and the time came that the sun shone, which before was hidden by a cloud, a great fire was kindled, so that every man marveled. And the priests made a prayer while the sacrifice was being consumed, both the priests, and all the rest, Jonathan beginning, and the rest answering him, as Nehemiah did. And the prayer went like this: O Lord, Lord God, Creator of all things, who are fearful and strong, and righteous, and merciful, and the only and gracious King, the only giver of all things, the only just, almighty, and everlasting, you who delivers Israel from all trouble, and did choose their fathers, and sanctify them, receive the sacrifice for your whole people Israel, and preserve your own portion, and sanctify it. Gather those together who are scattered from us, deliver those who serve among the heathens, look upon them who are despised and abhorred, and let the heathen know that you are our God. Punish those who oppress us and with pride do us wrong. Plant your people again in your holy place, as Moses has spoken.” And the priests sung psalms of thanksgiving. Now when the sacrifice was consumed, Nehemiah commanded the liquid that was left to be poured on the great stones. When this was done, a flame was kindled, but it was consumed by the light that shone from the altar. So when this matter was known, it was told to the king of Persia, that in the place, where the priests that were led away had hid the fire, there appeared liquid, and that Nehemiah had purified the sacrifices with it. Then the king, enclosing the place, made it sacred, after he had verified the matter. And the king took many gifts, and bestowed them on those whom he pleased. And Nehemiah called this liquid “nephthar”, which is to say, “a cleansing”, but many men call it naphtha.

It is also found in the records, that Jeremiah the prophet commanded those who were carried away to take from the fire, as has been signified, and that that the prophet, having given them the law, charged them not to forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds when they see images of silver and gold, with their adornments. With other such speeches, he exhorted them, that the law should not depart from their hearts. It was also contained in the same writing, that the prophet, being warned by God, commanded the tabernacle and the ark to go with him, as he went forth onto the mountain, where Moses climbed up and saw the heritage of God. And when Jeremiah came there, he found a hollow cave, in which he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and then sealed the door. And some of those who followed him came to mark the path, but they could not find it. When Jeremiah perceived this, he reproved them, saying, “As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time when God gather his people together again, and shows them mercy. Then the Lord shal show them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shown under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honorably sanctified. It was also declared that Solomon, being wise, offered the sacrifice of dedication and of the completion of the temple. As when Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the sacrifices, so Solomon prayed also, and the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offerings. Moses said, “Because the sin offering was not to be eaten, it was consumed by fire.” So Solomon kept those eight days. The same things also were reported in the writings and commentaries of Nehemiah, and how he founding a library gathered together of the acts of the kings, and the prophets, and of David, and the epistles of the kings concerning the votive offerings. In like manner also, Judas gathered together all those things that were lost by reason of the war we had, and they remain with us. Therefore, if you have need of them, send someone to fetch them for you. As we then are about to celebrate the purification, we have written to you, and you shall do well, if you keep the same days. We hope also that the God who delivered all his people and gave them all a heritage, and the kingdom, and the priesthood, and the sanctuary, as he promised in the law, will shortly have mercy upon us, and gather us together out of every land under heaven into the holy place, for he has delivered us out of great troubles, and has purified the place.

Now as concerns Judas Maccabeus, and his brethren, and the purification of the great temple, and the dedication of the altar, and the wars against Antiochus Epiphanes, and Eupator his son, and the manifestations from heaven to those who acted manfully to their honor for Judaism, so that, being but a few, they overcame the whole country, and chased barbarian hordes, and recovered again the temple renowned all the world over, and freed the city, and upheld the laws which were falling down, the Lord being gracious unto them with all favor. All these things being declared by Jason of Cyrene in five books, we will attempt to abridge in one volume. For considering the infinite number, and the difficulties encountered by those who desire to look into the narrations of the story, for the variety of the matter, We have been careful, that those who read may have delight, and that those who desire to commit to memory might have ease, and that all into whose hands it comes might have profit. For us who have taken upon ourselves this painful labor of abridging, it was not easy, but a matter of sweat and late nights, as it is no ease to him who prepares a banquet and seeks the benefit of others, yet for the pleasure of many, we will undertake gladly these great pains, leaving to the historian the exact handling of every detail, and laboring to follow the rules of a summary. For as the master builder of a new house must care for the whole building, but he that undertakes to decorate and paint it, must seek out fitting things for the adornment thereof, so I think it is with us. To stand upon every point, and go over things at length, and to be curious about details, belongs to the historian, but to use brevity, and avoid much laboring of the work is granted to those who will make an abridgment. Here then we will begin the story, only adding this much to what has been said: that it is a foolish thing to make a long prologue, and to be short in the story itself.

Now when the holy city was inhabited with all peace, and the laws were kept very well, because of the godliness of Onias the high priest, and his hatred of wickedness, it came to pass that the kings themselves honored the place, and magnified the temple with their best gifts, inasmuch as Seleucus of Asia, of his own revenues bore the whole cost of the service of the sacrifices. But a certain Simon of the tribe of Benjamin, who was made governor of the temple, fell out with the high priest about the order of the city. And when he could not overcome Onias, he went to Apollonius of Tarsus, who was then governor of Celosyria and Phoenicia, and told him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of untold sums of money, so that the multitude of their riches, which did not pertain to the account of the sacrifices, was innumerable, and that it was possible to bring all into the king's hand. Now when Apollonius came to the king, and had told him of the money of which he had been told, the king chose Heliodorus his treasurer and sent him with a commandment to bring him the aforementioned money. So Heliodorus set out on his journey, under pretense of visiting the cities of Celosyria and Phoenicia, but in actuality to fulfill the king's purpose. When he had come to Jerusalem, and had been courteously received by the high priest of the city, he told him what was understood of the money, and declared why he came, and asked if these things were so indeed. Then the high priest told him that there was money laid up for the relief of widows and fatherless children, And that some of it belonged to Hircanus, son of Tobias, a man of great dignity, and not as that wicked Simon had misinformed, the sum of it was in all four hundred talents of silver, and two hundred of gold,and that it was altogether impossible that such wrongs should be done to those who had committed it to the holiness of the place, and to the majesty and inviolable sanctity of the temple, honored over all the world. But Heliodorus, because of the king's commandment given to him, said that, regardless, it must be brought into the king's treasury. So on the day which he appointed he entered in to count the money, there was no small anxiety throughout the whole city. But the priests, prostrating themselves before the altar in their priests' vestments, called to heaven upon him who made a law concerning things given to be kept, that they should safely be preserved for those who had deposited them. Then whoever had looked the high priest in the face, would have wounded his heart, for his countenance and the changing of his color declared the inward agony of his mind. For the man was so compassed with fear and trembling of the body, that it was manifest to those who looked upon him what sorrow he had now in his heart. Others ran out of their houses to a common supplication, because the place was in danger of being profaned.

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.)

Reading 152/341, 1 Maccabees 11.39-12.53

...1 Maccabees...

Moreover there was one Trypho, who had been a supporter of Alexander, who, seeing that all the troops murmured against Demetrius, went to Imalkue the Arab (who was bringing up Antiochus the young son of Alexander), and insistently urged him to hand over Antiochus to him, that he might reign in his father's stead. He told Imalkue therefore all that Demetrius had done, and how his soldiers were at enmity with him, and he remained there a long while.

In the meantime, Jonathan sent to King Demetrius, that he would remove the guard from the citadel of Jerusalem, and also those in the fortresses, for they fought against Israel. So Demetrius sent to Jonathan, saying, “I will not only do this for you and your people, but I will greatly honor you and your nation, if I find an opportunity. Now therefore you shall do well, if you send me men to help me; for all my forces are gone from me.” So Jonathan sent him three thousand strong men at Antioch, and when they came to the king, the king was very glad of their coming.

Then the people of the city gathered themselves together in the middle of the city, to the number of a hundred and twenty thousand men, and would have slain the king. So the king fled into the palace, but the people of the city held the streets of the city, and began to fight. Then the king called to the Jews for help, who came to him all at once, and dispersing themselves through the city slew that day in the city unto the number of a hundred thousand. Also they set fire on the city, and got many spoils that day, and freed the king. So when the people of the city saw that the Jews had control the city as they pleased, their courage was abated, and they made supplication to the king, and cried, saying, “Grant us peace, and let the Jews cease from assaulting us and the city.” With that they cast away their weapons, and made peace, and the Jews were honored in the sight of the king, and in the sight of all who were in his realm, and they returned to Jerusalem, having great spoils. So King Demetrius sat on the throne of his kingdom, and the land was quiet before him. Nevertheless he broke his word in all that ever he spoke, and estranged himself from Jonathan, nor did he reward him according to the benefits which he had received from him, but troubled him greatly.

After this Trypho returned, and with him the young boy Antiochus, who reigned, and was crowned. Then there gathered unto him all the men of war, whom Demetrius had put away, and they fought against Demetrius, who turned his back and fled. Moreover, Trypho took the elephants, and won Antioch. At that time young Antiochus wrote to Jonathan, saying, “I confirm you in the high priesthood, and appoint you ruler over the four governments, and to be one of the king's Friends.” Upon this he sent him golden vessels to be served in, and gave him leave to drink in gold, and to be clothed in purple, and to wear a golden buckle. His brother Simon also he made governor from the place called The Ladder of Tyrus to the borders of Egypt.

Then Jonathan went forth and passed through the cities beyond the water, and all the forces of Syria gathered themselves to him to help him, and when he came to Askalon, the people of the city met him honorably. From there he went to Gaza, but the people of Gaza shut him out; so he laid siege to it, and burned its suburbs with fire, and spoiled them. Afterward, when the people of Gaza made supplication to Jonathan, he made peace with them, and took the sons of their chief men for hostages, and sent them to Jerusalem, and passed through the country to Damascus. Now when Jonathan heard that Demetrius' princes had come to Kadesh, which is in Galilee, with a great power, intending to remove him from office, he went to meet them, and left Simon his brother in the country. Then Simon encamped against Beth-zur and fought against it a long season, and enclosed it, but they desired to have peace with him, which he granted them. He put them out from there, and took the city, and set a garrison in it.

As for Jonathan and his army, they encamped at the waters of Gennesaret. From there, in the morning, they went to the plain of Hazor, and, behold, the army of the foreigners met them in the plain. They had laid men in ambush for him in the mountains, but came themselves against him. So when the people who lay in ambush rose out of their places and joined battle, all who were of Jonathan's side fled, there was not one of them left, except Mattathias the son of Absalom, and Judas the son of Calphi, captains of the host. Then Jonathan rent his clothes, and cast earth upon his head, and prayed. Then, turning again to battle, he put them to flight, and so they ran away. Now when his own men who had fled saw this, they returned to him, and with him pursued them to Kadesh, to their tents, and there they camped. So there were slain of the heathen that day about three thousand men, and Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.

Now when Jonathan saw that time served him, he chose certain men, and sent them to Rome, to confirm and renew the friendship that they had with them. He also sent letters for the same purpose to the Spartans and other places. So they went to Rome, and entered into the senate, and said, “Jonathan the high priest, and the people of the Jews, sent us to you, with the purpose that you should renew the friendship which you had with them, and the alliance as in former times.” Upon this the Romans gave them letters to the governors of every place, that the letters should bring them to the land of Judea peaceably.

And this is a copy of the letters which Jonathan wrote to the Spartans, “Jonathan the high priest, and the elders of the nation, and the priests, and the rest of the Jews, send greetings to their brethren the Spartans: There were letters sent in times past to Onias the high priest from Arius, who reigned then among you, to signify that you are our brethren, as the copy here underwritten specifies. At which time Onias entreated the ambassador that was sent honorably, and received the letters, wherein declaration was made of the league and friendship. Therefore we also, though we need none of these things, since we have the holy books in our hands to comfort us, have nevertheless attempted to send to you for the renewing of brotherhood and friendship, lest we should become strangers to you altogether, for a long time has passed since you sent to us. We therefore at all times without ceasing, both in our feasts and other convenient days, remember you in the sacrifices which we offer, and in our prayers, as is right and just to remember our brethren, and we rejoice at your honor. As for ourselves, we have had great troubles and wars on every side, inasmuch as the kings that are round about us have fought against us. But we would not be troublesome to you, nor to others of our confederates and friends, in these wars, for we have help from heaven that aids us, so as we are delivered from our enemies, and our enemies are brought under foot. Therefore we chose Numenius the son of Antiochus, and Antipater the son of Jason, and sent them to Rome, to renew the friendship that we had with them, and the former alliance. We commanded them also to go to you, and to salute and to deliver you our letters concerning the renewing of our brotherhood. Therefore now you shall do well to give us an answer.”

And this is a copy of the letters sent to Onias. “Arius king of the Spartans to Onias the high priest, Greetings. It is found in writing that the Spartans and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham, Now therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, you shall do well to write to us of your prosperity. For our part, we write to you that your cattle and goods are ours, and ours are yours. We do command therefore our ambassadors to make report to you about this.”

Now when Jonathan heard that Demetrius' princes had come to fight against him with a greater army than before, he left Jerusalem, and met them in the land of Hamath, for he gave them no opportunity to enter his country. He sent spies also to their camp, who came back and told him that they were planning to come upon them in the nighttime. Therefore, as soon as the sun was down, Jonathan commanded his men to watch, and to be in arms, that all the night long they might be ready to fight, he also sent forth sentinels round about the army. But when the adversaries heard that Jonathan and his men were ready for battle, they were afraid, and trembled in their hearts, and they kindled fires in their camp and then retreated. But Jonathan and his company did not know it until the morning, for they saw the lights burning. Then Jonathan pursued after them, but did not overtake them, for they had gone over the river Eleutherus. Therefore Jonathan turned to the Arabians, who were called Zabadeans, and smote them, and took their spoils. And leaving, he came to Damascus, and so passed through all the country.

Simon also went forth, and passed through the country to Askalon, and the strongholds adjoining, from there he turned aside to Joppa, and won it, for he had heard that they were going to deliver the stronghold to Demetrius' men; therefore he set a garrison there to keep it. After this Jonathan came home again, and calling the elders of the people together, he consulted with them about building strongholds in Judea, and making the walls of Jerusalem higher, and raising a great mound between the citadel and the city, to separate it from the city, that it might be alone, that they could neither sell nor buy. So they came together to build up the city, inasmuch as part of the wall toward the brook on the east side had fallen down, and they repaired what was called Caphenatha. Simon also set up Adida in Sephela, and made it strong with gates and bars.

Now Trypho went about to get the kingdom of Asia, and to kill Antiochus the king, that he might set the crown upon his own head. But he was afraid that Jonathan would not permit him, and that he would fight against him; therefore he sought a way how to take Jonathan, that he might kill him. So he left, and came to Beth-shan. Then Jonathan went out to meet him with forty thousand men chosen for the battle, and came to Beth-shan. Now when Trypho saw Jonathan came with so great a force, he dared not stretch his hand against him, but received him honorably, and commended him to all his friends, and gave him gifts, and commanded his men of war to be as obedient to him as to himself. Then to Jonathan he said, “Why have you brought all this people to such great trouble, seeing there is no war between us? Therefore send them now home again, and choose a few men to wait on you, and come with me to Ptolemais, for I will give it you, and the rest of the strongholds and forces, and all those in charge. As for me, I will return and depart, for this is the purpose of my coming.” So Jonathan trusted him, and did as he told him, and sent away his army, who went into the land of Judah. And with himself he retained only three thousand men, of whom he sent two thousand into Galilee, and one thousand went with him. But as soon as Jonathan entered into Ptolemais, the people of Ptolemais shut the gates and took him, and all them that came with him they slew with the sword.

Then Trypho sent a host of footmen and horsemen into Galilee, and into the great plain, to destroy all Jonathan's company. But when they knew that Jonathan and those who were with him were taken and slain, they encouraged one another, and went close together, prepared to fight. So when they who had pursued them perceived that they were ready to fight for their lives, they turned back. So they all came into the land of Judah safely, and there they mourned for Jonathan, and those who were with him, and they were very afraid; therefore all Israel made great lamentation. Then all the heathens that were round about them sought to destroy them, for said they, “They have no captain, nor any to help them. Now therefore let us make war upon them, and blot out the memory of them from among men.”

Reading 151/341, 1 Maccabees 10.37-11.38

...1 Maccabees...

Mac 10, And concerning the three governments that are added to Judea from the country of Samaria, let them be joined with Judea, that they may be reckoned to be under one, nor bound to obey other authority than the high priest's. As for Ptolemais, and the land pertaining thereto, I give it as a free gift to the sanctuary at Jerusalem for the necessary expences of the sanctuary. Moreover I give every year fifteen thousand shekels of silver out of the king's accounts from the places appertaining. And all the overplus, which the officers payed not in as in former time, from henceforth shall be given toward the works of the temple. And beside this, the five thousand shekels of silver, which they took from the uses of the temple out of the accounts year by year, those things shall be released, because they appertain to the priests that minister. And whosoever they be that flee unto the temple at Jerusalem, or be within the liberties hereof, being indebted unto the king, or for any other matter, let them be at liberty, and all that they have in my realm. For the building also and repairing of the works of the sanctuary expences shall be given of the king's accounts. Yea, and for the building of the walls of Jerusalem, and the fortifying thereof round about, expences shall be given out of the king's accounts, as also for the building of the walls in Judea. Now when Jonathan and the people heard these words, they gave no credit unto them, nor received them, because they remembered the great evil that he had done in Israel; for he had afflicted them very sore. But with Alexander they were well pleased, because he was the first that entreated of true peace with them, and they were confederate with him always. Then gathered king Alexander great forces, and camped over against Demetrius. And after the two kings had joined battle, Demetrius' host fled, but Alexander followed after him, and prevailed against them. And he continued the battle very sore until the sun went down, and that day was Demetrius slain. Afterward Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemee king of Egypt with a message to this effect, Forasmuch as I am come again to my realm, and am set in the throne of my progenitors, and have gotten the dominion, and overthrown Demetrius, and recovered our country; For after I had joined battle with him, both he and his host was discomfited by us, so that we sit in the throne of his kingdom, Now therefore let us make a league of amity together, and give me now your daughter to wife, and I will be your son in law, and will give both you and her as according to your dignity. Then Ptolemee the king gave answer, saying, Happy be the day wherein thou didst return into the land of your fathers, and satest in the throne of their kingdom. And now will I do to you, as thou hast written, meet me therefore at Ptolemais, that we may see one another; for I will marry my daughter to you according to your desire. So Ptolemee went out of Egypt with his daughter Cleopatra, and they came unto Ptolemais in the hundred threescore and second year, Where king Alexander meeting him, he gave unto him his daughter Cleopatra, and celebrated her marriage at Ptolemais with great glory, as the manner of kings is. Now king Alexander had written unto Jonathan, that he should come and meet him. Who thereupon went honourably to Ptolemais, where he met the two kings, and gave them and their friends silver and gold, and many presents, and found favour in their sight. At that time certain pestilent fellows of Israel, men of a wicked life, assembled themselves against him, to accuse him, but the king would not hear them. Yea more than that, the king commanded to take off his garments, and clothe him in purple, and they did so. And he made him sit by himself, and said into his princes, Go with him into the midst of the city, and make proclamation, that no man complain against him of any matter, and that no man trouble him for any manner of cause. Now when his accusers saw that he was honored according to the proclamation, and clothed in purple, they fled all away. So the king honoured him, and wrote him among his chief friends, and made him a duke, and partaker of his dominion. Afterward Jonathan returned to Jerusalem with peace and gladness. Furthermore in the hundred threescore and fifth year came Demetrius son of Demetrius out of Crete into the land of his fathers, Whereof when king Alexander heard tell, he was right sorry, and returned into Antioch. Then Demetrius made Apollonius the governor of Celosyria his general, who gathered together a great host, and camped in Jamnia, and sent unto Jonathan the high priest, saying, Thou alone liftest up yourself against us, and I am laughed to scorn for your sake, and reproached, and why dost thou vaunt your power against us in the mountains? Now therefore, if thou trustest in your own strength, come down to us into the plain field, and there let us try the matter together, for with me is the power of the cities. Ask and learn who I am, and the rest that take our part, and they shall tell you that your foot is not able to to flight in their own land. Wherefore now thou shalt not be able to abide the horsemen and so great a power in the plain, where is nor stone nor flint, nor place to flee unto. So when Jonathan heard these words of Apollonius, he was moved in his mind, and choosing ten thousand men he went out of Jerusalem, where Simon his brother met him for to help him. And he pitched his tents against Joppa, but; they of Joppa shut him out of the city, because Apollonius had a garrison there. Then Jonathan laid siege unto it, whereupon they of the city let him in for fear, and so Jonathan won Joppa. Whereof when Apollonius heard, he took three thousand horsemen, with a great host of footmen, and went to Azotus as one that journeyed, and therewithal drew him forth into the plain, because he had a great number of horsemen, in whom he put his trust. Then Jonathan followed after him to Azotus, where the armies joined battle. Now Apollonius had left a thousand horsemen in ambush. And Jonathan knew that there was an ambushment behind him; for they had compassed in his host, and cast darts at the people, from morning till evening. But the people stood still, as Jonathan had commanded them, and so the enemies' horses were tired. Then brought Simon forth his host, and set them against the footmen, (for the horsemen were spent) who were discomfited by him, and fled. The horsemen also, being scattered in the field, fled to Azotus, and went into Bethdagon, their idol's temple, for safety. But Jonathan set fire on Azotus, and the cities round about it, and took their spoils, and the temple of Dagon, with them that were fled into it, he burned with fire. Thus there were burned and slain with the sword well nigh eight thousand men. And from thence Jonathan removed his host, and camped against Ascalon, where the men of the city came forth, and met him with great pomp. After this returned Jonathan and his host unto Jerusalem, having any spoils. Now when king ALexander heard these things, he honoured Jonathan yet more. And sent him a buckle of gold, as the use is to be given to such as are of the king's blood, he gave him also Accaron with the borders thereof in possession. And the king of Egypt gathered together a great host, like the sand that lieth upon the sea shore, and many ships, and went about through deceit to get Alexander's kingdom, and join it to his own. Whereupon he took his journey into Spain in peaceable manner, so as they of the cities opened unto him, and met him, for king Alexander had commanded them so to do, because he was his brother in law. Now as Ptolemee entered into the cities, he set in every one of them a garrison of soldiers to keep it. And when he came near to Azotus, they shewed him the temple of Dagon that was burnt, and Azotus and the suburbs thereof that were destroyed, and the bodies that were cast abroad and them that he had burnt in the battle; for they had made heaps of them by the way where he should pass. Also they told the king whatsoever Jonathan had done, to the intent he might blame him, but the king held his peace. Then Jonathan met the king with great pomp at Joppa, where they saluted one another, and lodged. Afterward Jonathan, when he had gone with the king to the river called Eleutherus, returned again to Jerusalem. King Ptolemee therefore, having gotten the dominion of the cities by the sea unto Seleucia upon the sea coast, imagined wicked counsels against Alexander. Whereupon he sent ambasadors unto king Demetrius, saying, Come, let us make a league betwixt us, and I will give you my daughter whom Alexander hath, and thou shalt reign in your father's kingdom, For I repent that I gave my daughter unto him, for he sought to slay me. Thus did he slander him, because he was desirous of his kingdom. Wherefore he took his daughter from him, and gave her to Demetrius, and forsook Alexander, so that their hatred was openly known. Then Ptolemee entered into Antioch, where he set two crowns upon his head, the crown of Asia, and of Egypt. In the mean season was king Alexander in Cilicia, because those that dwelt in those parts had revolted from him. But when Alexander heard of this, he came to war against him, whereupon king Ptolemee brought forth his host, and met him with a mighty power, and put him to flight. So Alexander fled into Arabia there to be defended; but king Ptolemee was exalted, For Zabdiel the Arabian took off Alexander's head, and sent it unto Ptolemee. King Ptolemee also died the third day after, and they that were in the strong holds were slain one of another. By this means Demetrius reigned in the hundred threescore and seventh year. At the same time Jonathan gathered together them that were in Judea to take the tower that was in Jerusalem, and he made many engines of war against it. Then came ungodly persons, who hated their own people, went unto the king, and told him that Jonathan besieged the tower, Whereof when he heard, he was angry, and immediately removing, he came to Ptolemais, and wrote unto Jonathan, that he should not lay siege to the tower, but come and speak with him at Ptolemais in great haste. Nevertheless Jonathan, when he heard this, commanded to besiege it still, and he chose certain of the elders of Israel and the priests, and put himself in peril; And took silver and gold, and raiment, and divers presents besides, and went to Ptolemais unto the king, where he found favour in his sight. And though certain ungodly men of the people had made complaints against him, Yet the king entreated him as his predecessors had done before, and promoted him in the sight of all his friends, And confirmed him in the high priesthood, and in all the honours that he had before, and gave him preeminence among his chief friends. Then Jonathan desired the king, that he would make Judea free from tribute, as also the three governments, with the country of Samaria, and he promised him three hundred talents. So the king consented, and wrote letters unto Jonathan of all these things after this manner, King Demetrius unto his brother Jonathan, and unto the nation of the Jews, sendeth greeting, We send you here a copy of the letter which we did write unto our cousin Lasthenes concerning you, that you might see it. King Demetrius unto his father Lasthenes sendeth greeting, We are determined to do good to the people of the Jews, who are our friends, and keep covenants with us, because of their good will toward us. Wherefore we have ratified unto them the borders of Judea, with the three governments of Apherema and Lydda and Ramathem, that are added unto Judea from the country of Samaria, and all things appertaining unto them, for all such as do sacrifice in Jerusalem, instead of the payments which the king received of them yearly aforetime out of the fruits of the earth and of trees. And as for other things that belong unto us, of the tithes and customs pertaining unto us, as also the saltpits, and the crown taxes, which are due unto us, we discharge them of them all for their relief. And nothing hereof shall be revoked from this time forth for ever. Now therefore see that thou make a copy of these things, and let it be delivered unto Jonathan, and set upon the holy mount in a conspicuous place. After this, when king Demetrius saw that the land was quiet before him, and that no resistance was made against him, he sent away all his forces, every one to his own place, except certain bands of strangers, whom he had gathered from the isles of the heathen, wherefore all the forces of his fathers hated him.

Reading 150/341, 1 Maccabees 9.19-10.37

...1 Maccabees...

THen Jonathan and Simon took Judas their brother, and buried him in the sepulchre of his fathers in Modin. Moreover they bewailed him, and all Israel made great lamentation for him, and mourned many days, saying, How is the valiant man fallen, that delivered Israel! As for the other things concerning Judas and his wars, and the noble acts which he did, and his greatness, they are not written, for they were very many. Now after the death of Judas the wicked began to put forth their heads in all the coasts of Israel, and there arose up all such as wrought iniquity. In those days also was there a very great famine, by reason whereof the country revolted, and went with them. Then Bacchides chose the wicked men, and made them lords of the country. And they made enquiry and search for Judas' friends, and brought them unto Bacchides, who took vengeance of them, and used them despitefully. So was there a great affliction in Israel, the like whereof was not since the time that a prophet was not seen among them. For this cause all Judas' friends came together, and said unto Jonathan, Since your brother Judas died, we have no man like him to go forth against our enemies, and Bacchides, and against them of our nation that are adversaries to us. Now therefore we have chosen you this day to be our prince and captain in his stead, that thou mayest fight our battles. Upon this Jonathan took the governance upon him at that time, and rose up instead of his brother Judas. But when Bacchides gat knowledge thereof, he sought for to slay him Then Jonathan, and Simon his brother, and all that were with him, perceiving that, fled into the desert of Thecoe, and pitched their tents by the water of the pool Asphar. Which when Bacchides understood, he came near to Jordan with all his host upon the sabbath day. Now Jonathan had sent his brother John, a captain of the people, to pray his friends the Nabathites, that they might leave with them their carriage, which was much. But the children of Jambri came out of Medaba, and took John, and all that he had, and went their way with it. After this came word to Jonathan and Simon his brother, that the children of Jambri made a great marriage, and were bringing the bride from Nadabatha with a great train, as being the daughter of one of the great princes of Chanaan. Therefore they remembered John their brother, and went up, and hid themselves under the covert of the mountain, Where they lifted up their eyes, and looked, and, behold, there was much ado and great carriage, and the bridegroom came forth, and his friends and brethren, to meet them with drums, and instruments of musick, and many weapons. Then Jonathan and they that were with him rose up against them from the place where they lay in ambush, and made a slaughter of them in such sort, as many fell down dead, and the remnant fled into the mountain, and they took all their spoils. Thus was the marriage turned into mourning, and the noise of their melody into lamentation. So when they had avenged fully the blood of their brother, they turned again to the marsh of Jordan. Now when Bacchides heard hereof, he came on the sabbath day unto the banks of Jordan with a great power. Then Jonathan said to his company, Let us go up now and fight for our lives, for it standeth not with us to day, as in time past, For, behold, the battle is before us and behind us, and the water of Jordan on this side and that side, the marsh likewise and wood, nor is there place for us to turn aside. Wherefore cry you now unto heaven, that you may be delivered from the hand of your enemies. With that they joined battle, and Jonathan stretched forth his hand to smite Bacchides, but he turned back from him. Then Jonathan and they that were with him leapt into Jordan, and swam over unto the other bank, howbeit the other passed not over Jordan unto them. So there were slain of Bacchides' side that day about a thousand men. Afterward returned Bacchides to Jerusalem and repaired the strong cites in Judea; the fort in Jericho, and Emmaus, and Bethhoron, and Bethel, and Thamnatha, Pharathoni, and Taphon, these did he strengthen with high walls, with gates and with bars. And in them he set a garrison, that they might work malice upon Israel. He fortified also the city Bethsura, and Gazera, and the tower, and put forces in them, and provision of victuals. Besides, he took the chief men's sons in the country for hostages, and put them into the tower at Jerusalem to be kept. Moreover in the hundred fifty and third year, in the second month, Alcimus commanded that the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary should be pulled down; he pulled down also the works of the prophets And as he began to pull down, at that time was Alcimus diseased, and his enterprizes hindered, for his mouth was stopped, and he was taken with a palsy, so that he could no more speak any thing, nor give order concerning his house. So Alcimus died at that time with great torment. Now when Bacchides saw that Alcimus was dead, he returned to the king, whereupon the land of Judea was in rest two years. Then all the ungodly men held a council, saying, Behold, Jonathan and his company are at ease, and dwell without care, now therefore we will bring Bacchides hither, who shall take them all in one night. So they went and consulted with him. Then removed he, and came with a great host, and sent letters privily to his adherents in Judea, that they should take Jonathan and those that were with him, howbeit they could not, because their counsel was known unto them. Wherefore they took of the men of the country, that were authors of that mischief, about fifty persons, and slew them. Afterward Jonathan, and Simon, and they that were with him, got them away to Bethbasi, which is in the desert, and they repaired the decays thereof, and made it strong. Which thing when Bacchides knew, he gathered together all his host, and sent word to them that were of Judea. Then went he and laid siege against Bethbasi, and they fought against it a long season and made engines of war. But Jonathan left his brother Simon in the city, and went forth himself into the country, and with a certain number went he forth. And he smote Odonarkes and his brethren, and the children of Phasiron in their tent. And when he began to smite them, and came up with his forces, Simon and his company went out of the city, and burned up the engines of war, And fought against Bacchides, who was discomfited by them, and they afflicted him sore, for his counsel and travail was in vain. Wherefore he was very wroth at the wicked men that gave him counsel to come into the country, inasmuch as he slew many of them, and purposed to return into his own country. Whereof when Jonathan had knowledge, he sent ambassadors unto him, to the end he should make peace with him, and deliver them the prisoners. Which thing he accepted, and did according to his demands, and sware unto him that he would never do him harm all the days of his life. When therefore he had restored unto him the prisoners that he had taken aforetime out of the land of Judea, he returned and went his way into his own land, nor came he any more into their borders. Thus the sword ceased from Israel, but Jonathan dwelt at Machmas, and began to govern the people, and he destroyed the ungodly men out of Israel. In the hundred and sixtieth year Alexander, the son of Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, went up and took Ptolemais, for the people had received him, by means whereof he reigned there, Now when king Demetrius heard thereof, he gathered together an exceeding great host, and went forth against him to fight. Moreover Demetrius sent letters unto Jonathan with loving words, so as he magnified him. For said he, Let us first make peace with him, before he join with Alexander against us, Else he will remember all the evils that we have done against him, and against his brethren and his people. Wherefore he gave him authority to gather together an host, and to provide weapons, that he might aid him in battle, he commanded also that the hostages that were in the tower should be delivered him. Then came Jonathan to Jerusalem, and read the letters in the audience of all the people, and of them that were in the tower, Who were sore afraid, when they heard that the king had given him authority to gather together an host. Whereupon they of the tower delivered their hostages unto Jonathan, and he delivered them unto their parents. This done, Jonathan settled himself in Jerusalem, and began to build and repair the city. And he commanded the workmen to build the walls and the mount Sion and about with square stones for fortification, and they did so. Then the strangers, that were in the fortresses which Bacchides had built, fled away; Insomuch as every man left his place, and went into his own country. Only at Bethsura certain of those that had forsaken the law and the commandments remained still, for it was their place of refuge. Now when king Alexander had heard what promises Demetrius had sent unto Jonathan, when also it was told him of the battles and noble acts which he and his brethren had done, and of the pains that they had endured, He said, Shall we find such another man? now therefore we will make him our friend and confederate. Upon this he wrote a letter, and sent it unto him, according to these words, saying, King Alexander to his brother Jonathan sendeth greeting, We have heard of you, that thou art a man of great power, and meet to be our friend. Wherefore now this day we ordain you to be the high priest of your nation, and to be called the king's friend; (and therewithal he sent him a purple robe and a crown of gold,) and require you to take our part, and keep friendship with us. So in the seventh month of the hundred and sixtieth year, at the feast of the tabernacles, Jonathan put on the holy robe, and gathered together forces, and provided much armour. Whereof when Demetrius heard, he was very sorry, and said, What have we done, that Alexander hath prevented us in making amity with the Jews to strengthen himself? I also will write unto them words of encouragement, and promise them dignities and gifts, that I may have their aid. He sent unto them therefore to this effect, King Demetrius unto the people of the Jews sendeth greeting, Whereas you have kept covenants with us, and continued in our friendship, not joining yourselves with our enemies, we have heard hereof, and are glad. Wherefore now continue you still to be faithful unto us, and we will well recompense you for the things you do in our behalf, And will grant you many immunities, and give you rewards. And now do I free you, and for your sake I release all the Jews, from tributes, and from the customs of salt, and from crown taxes, And from what appertaineth unto me to receive for the third part or the seed, and the half of the fruit of the trees, I release it from this day forth, so that they shall not be taken of the land of Judea, nor of the three governments which are added thereunto out of the country of Samaria and Galilee, from this day forth for evermore. Let Jerusalem also be holy and free, with the borders thereof, both from tenths and tributes. And as for the tower which is at Jerusalem, I yield up authority over it, and give the high priest, that he may set in it such men as he shall choose to keep it. Moreover I freely set at liberty every one of the Jews, that were carried captives out of the land of Judea into any part of my kingdom, and I will that all my officers remit the tributes of their cattle. Furthermore I will that all the feasts, and sabbaths, and new moons, and solemn days, and the three days before the feast, and the three days after the feast shall be all of immunity and freedom for all the Jews in my realm. Also no man shall have authority to meddle with or to molest any of them in any matter. I will further, that there be enrolled among the king's forces about thirty thousand men of the Jews, unto whom pay shall be given, as belongeth to all king's forces. And of them some shall be placed in the king's strong holds, of whom also some shall be set over the affairs of the kingdom, which are of trust, and I will that their overseers and governors be of themselves, and that they live after their own laws, as the king hath commanded in the land of Judea.

Reading 149/341, 1 Maccabees 7-9.14

...1 Maccabees...

In the hundred and one and fiftieth year Demetrius the son of Seleucus departed from Rome, and came up with a few men unto a city of the sea coast, and reigned there. And as he entered into the palace of his ancestors, so it was, that his forces had taken Antiochus and Lysias, to bring them unto him. Wherefore, when he knew it, he said, Let me not see their faces. So his host slew them. Now when Demetrius was set upon the throne of his kingdom, There came unto him all the wicked and ungodly men of Israel, having Alcimus, who was desirous to be high priest, for their captain, And they accused the people to the king, saying, Judas and his brethren have slain all your friends, and driven us out of our own land. Now therefore send some man whom thou trustest, and let him go and see what havock he hath made among us, and in the king's land, and let him punish them with all them that aid them. Then the king chose Bacchides, a friend of the king, who ruled beyond the flood, and was a great man in the kingdom, and faithful to the king, And him he sent with that wicked Alcimus, whom he made high priest, and commanded that he should take vengeance of the children of Israel. So they departed, and came with a great power into the land of Judea, where they sent messengers to Judas and his brethren with peaceable words deceitfully. But they gave no heed to their words; for they saw that they were come with a great power. Then did there assemble unto Alcimus and Bacchides a company of scribes, to require justice. Now the Assideans were the first among the children of Israel that sought peace of them, For said they, One that is a priest of the seed of Aaron is come with this army, and he will do us no wrong. So he spake unto them, peaceably, and sware unto them, saying, we will procure the harm nor of you nor your friends. Whereupon they believed him, howbeit he took of them threescore men, and slew them in one day, according to the words which he wrote, The flesh of your saints have they cast out, and their blood have they shed round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them. Wherefore the fear and dread of them fell upon all the people, who said, There is nor truth nor righteousness in them; for they have broken the covenant and oath that they made. After this, removed Bacchides from Jerusalem, and pitched his tents in Bezeth, where he sent and took many of the men that had forsaken him, and certain of the people also, and when he had slain them, he cast them into the great pit. Then committed he the country to Alcimus, and left with him a power to aid him, so Bacchides went to the king. But Alcimus contended for the high priesthood. And unto him resorted all such as troubled the people, who, after they had gotten the land of Juda into their power, did much hurt in Israel. Now when Judas saw all the mischief that Alcimus and his company had done among the Israelites, above the heathen, He went out into all the coasts of Judea round about, and took vengeance of them that had revolted from him, so that they durst no more go forth into the country. On the other side, when Alcimus saw that Judas and his company had gotten the upper hand, and knew that he was not able to abide their force, he went again to the king, and said all the worst of them that he could. Then the king sent Nicanor, one of his honourable princes, a man that bare deadly hate unto Israel, with commandment to destroy the people. So Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a great force, and sent unto Judas and his brethren deceitfully with friendly words, saying, Let there be no battle between me and you; I will come with a few men, that I may see you in peace. He came therefore to Judas, and they saluted one another peaceably. Howbeit the enemies were prepared to take away Judas by violence. Which thing after it was known to Judas, to wit, that he came unto him with deceit, he was sore afraid of him, and would see his face no more. Nicanor also, when he saw that his counsel was discovered, went out to fight against Judas beside Capharsalama, Where there were slain of Nicanor's side about five thousand men, and the rest fled into the city of David. After this went Nicanor up to mount Sion, and there came out of the sanctuary certain of the priests and certain of the elders of the people, to salute him peaceably, and to shew him the burnt sacrifice that was offered for the king. But he mocked them, and laughed at them, and abused them shamefully, and spake proudly, And sware in his wrath, saying, Unless Judas and his host be now delivered into my hands, if ever I come again in safety, I will burn up this house, and with that he went out in a great rage. Then the priests entered in, and stood before the altar and the temple, weeping, and saying, Thou, O Lord, didst choose this house to be called by your name, and to be a house of prayer and petition for your people, Be avenged of this man and his host, and let them fall by the sword, remember their blasphemies, and suffer them not to continue any longer. So Nicanor went out of Jerusalem, and pitched his tents in Bethhoron, where an host out of Syria met him. But Judas pitched in Adasa with three thousand men, and there he prayed, saying, O Lord, when they that were sent from the king of the Assyrians blasphemed, your angel went out, and smote an hundred fourscore and five thousand of them. so destroy thou this host before us this day, that the rest may know that he hath spoken blasphemously against your sanctuary, and judge thou him according to his wickedness. So the thirteenth day of the month Adar the hosts joined battle, but Nicanor's host was discomfited, and he himself was first slain in the battle. Now when Nicanor's host saw that he was slain, they cast away their weapons, and fled. Then they pursued after them a day's journey, from Adasa unto Gazera, sounding an alarm after them with their trumpets. Whereupon they came forth out of all the towns of Judea round about, and closed them in; so that they, turning back upon them that pursued them, were all slain with the sword, and not one of them was left. Afterwards they took the spoils, and the prey, and smote off Nicanors head, and his right hand, which he stretched out so proudly, and brought them away, and hanged them up toward Jerusalem. For this cause the people rejoiced greatly, and they kept that day a day of great gladness. Moreover they ordained to keep yearly this day, being the thirteenth of Adar. Thus the land of Juda was in rest a little while. Now Judas had heard of the the Romans, that they were mighty and valiant men, and such as would lovingly accept all that joined themselves unto them, and make a league of amity with all that came unto them; And that they were men of great valour. It was told him also of their wars and noble acts which they had done among the Galatians, and how they had conquered them, and brought them under tribute; And what they had done in the country of Spain, for the winning of the mines of the silver and gold which is there; And that by their policy and patience they had conquered all the place, though it were very far from them, and the kings also that came against them from the uttermost part of the earth, till they had discomfited them, and given them a great overthrow, so that the rest did give them tribute every year, Beside this, how they had discomfited in battle Philip, and Perseus, king of the Citims, with others that lifted up themselves against them, and had overcome them, How also Antiochus the great king of Asia, that came against them in battle, having an hundred and twenty elephants, with horsemen, and chariots, and a very great army, was discomfited by them; And how they took him alive, and covenanted that he and such as reigned after him should pay a great tribute, and give hostages, and what was agreed upon, And the country of India, and Media and Lydia and of the goodliest countries, which they took of him, and gave to king Eumenes, Moreover how the Grecians had determined to come and destroy them; And that they, having knowledge thereof sent against them a certain captain, and fighting with them slew many of them, and carried away captives their wives and their children, and spoiled them, and took possession of their lands, and pulled down their strong holds, and brought them to be their servants unto this day, It was told him besides, how they destroyed and brought under their dominion all other kingdoms and isles that at any time resisted them; But with their friends and such as relied upon them they kept amity, and that they had conquered kingdoms both far and nigh, insomuch as all that heard of their name were afraid of them, Also that, whom they would help to a kingdom, those reign, and whom again they would, they displace, finally, that they were greatly exalted, Yet for all this none of them wore a crown or was clothed in purple, to be magnified thereby, Moreover how they had made for themselves a senate house, wherein three hundred and twenty men sat in council daily, consulting alway for the people, to the end they might be well ordered, And that they committed their government to one man every year, who ruled over all their country, and that all were obedient to that one, and that there was nor envy nor emmulation among them. In consideration of these things, Judas chose Eupolemus the son of John, the son of Accos, and Jason the son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome, to make a league of amity and confederacy with them, And to intreat them that they would take the yoke from them; for they saw that the kingdom of the Grecians did oppress Israel with servitude. They went therefore to Rome, which was a very great journey, and came into the senate, where they spake and said. Judas Maccabeus with his brethren, and the people of the Jews, have sent us unto you, to make a confederacy and peace with you, and that we might be registered your confederates and friends. So that matter pleased the Romans well. And this is the copy of the epistle which the senate wrote back again in tables of bronze, and sent to Jerusalem, that there they might have by them a memorial of peace and confederacy, Good success be to the Romans, and to the people of the Jews, by sea and by land for ever, the sword also and enemy be far from them, If there come first any war upon the Romans or any of their confederates throughout all their dominion, The people of the Jews shall help them, as the time shall be appointed, with all their heart, Nor shall they give any thing unto them that make war upon them, or aid them with victuals, weapons, money, or ships, as it hath seemed good unto the Romans; but they shall keep their covenants without taking any thing therefore. In the same manner also, if war come first upon the nation of the Jews, the Romans shall help them with all their heart, according as the time shall be appointed them, Nor shall victuals be given to them that take part against them, or weapons, or money, or ships, as it hath seemed good to the Romans; but they shall keep their covenants, and that without deceit. According to these articles did the Romans make a covenant with the people of the Jews. Howbeit if hereafter the one party or the other shall think to meet to add or diminish any thing, they may do it at their pleasures, and whatsoever they shall add or take away shall be ratified. And as touching the evils that Demetrius doeth to the Jews, we have written unto him, saying, Wherefore thou made your yoke heavy upon our friends and confederates the Jews? If therefore they complain any more against you, we will do them justice, and fight with you by sea and by land. Furthermore, when Demetrius heard the Nicanor and his host were slain in battle, he sent Bacchides and Alcimus into the land of Judea the second time, and with them the chief strength of his host, Who went forth by the way that leadeth to Galgala, and pitched their tents before Masaloth, which is in Arbela, and after they had won it, they slew much people. Also the first month of the hundred fifty and second year they encamped before Jerusalem, From whence they removed, and went to Berea, with twenty thousand footmen and two thousand horsemen. Now Judas had pitched his tents at Eleasa, and three thousand chosen men with him, Who seeing the multitude of the other army to be so great were sore afraid; whereupon many conveyed themselves out of the host, insomuch as abode of them no more but eight hundred men. When Judas therefore saw that his host slipt away, and that the battle pressed upon him, he was sore troubled in mind, and much distressed, for that he had no time to gather them together. Nevertheless unto them that remained he said, Let us arise and go up against our enemies, if peradventure we may be able to fight with them. But they dehorted him, saying, We shall never be able, let us now rather save our lives, and hereafter we will return with our brethren, and fight against them, for we are but few. Then Judas said, God forbid that I should do this thing, and flee away from them, if our time be come, let us die manfully for our brethren, and let us not stain our honour. With that the host of Bacchides removed out of their tents, and stood over against them, their horsemen being divided into two troops, and their slingers and archers going before the host and they that marched in the foreward were all mighty men. As for Bacchides, he was in the right wing, so the host drew near on the two parts, and sounded their trumpets. They also of Judas' side, they sounded their trumpets also, so that the earth shook at the noise of the armies, and the battle continued from morning till night. Now when Judas perceived that Bacchides and the strength of his army were on the right side, he took with him all the hardy men, Who discomfited the right wing, and pursued them unto the mount Azotus. But when they of the left wing saw that they of the right wing were discomfited, they followed upon Judas and those that were with him hard at the heels from behind, Whereupon there was a sore battle, insomuch as many were slain on both parts. Judas also was killed, and the remnant fled.