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.”

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