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.

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