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.)

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