JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 1


Alexander and the Diadochoi

1:1 Alexander of Macedon, son of Philip, had come from the land of Kittim[*a] and defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, whom he succeeded as ruler, at first of Hellas.

1:2 He undertook many campaigns, gained possession of many fortresses, and put the local kings to death.

1:3 So he advanced to the ends of the earth, plundering nation after nation; the earth grew silent before him, and his ambitious heart swelled with pride.

1:4 He assembled very powerful forces and subdued provinces, nations and princes, and they became his tributaries.

1:5 But the time came when Alexander took to his bed, in the knowledge that he was dying.

1:6 He summoned his comrades, noblemen who had been brought up with him from his youth, and divided his kingdom among them while he was still alive.

1:7 Alexander had reigned twelve years when he died.[*b]

1:8 Each of his comrades established himself in his own region.

1:9 All assumed crowns after his death, they and their heirs after them for many years, bringing increasing evils on the world.

Antiochus Epiphanes: Israel infected with hellenism

1:10 From these there grew a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus; once a hostage in Rome,[*c] he became king in the one hundred and thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.[*d]

1:11 It was then that there emerged from Israel a set of renegades who led many people astray. ‘Come,’ they said ‘let us reach an understanding with the pagans surrounding us, for since we separated ourselves from them many misfortunes have overtaken us.’

1:12 This proposal proved acceptable,

1:13 and a number of the people eagerly approached the king, who authorised them to practise the pagan observances.

1:14 So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, such as the pagans have,

1:15 disguised their circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant, submitting to the heathen rule as willing slaves of impiety.

Antiochus Epiphanes despoils the Temple, and persecutes Jews remaining faithful to the Law

1:16 Once Antiochus had seen his authority established, he determined to make himself king of Egypt, and the ruler of both kingdoms.

1:17 He invaded Egypt in massive strength, with chariots and elephants and a great fleet.

1:18 He engaged Ptolemy, king of Egypt, in battle, and Ptolemy turned back and fled before his advance, leaving many casualties.

1:19 The fortified cities of the land of Egypt were captured, and Antiochus plundered the country.

1:20 After his conquest of Egypt, in the year one hundred and forty-three, Antiochus turned about and advanced on Israel and Jerusalem in massive strength.

1:21 insolently breaking into the sanctuary, he removed the golden altar and the lamp-stand for the light with all its fittings,

1:22 together with the table for the loaves of offering, the libation vessels, the cups, the golden censers, the veil, the crowns, and the golden decoration on the front of the Temple, which he stripped of everything.

1:23 He made off with the silver and gold and precious vessels, he discovered the secret treasures and seized them,

1:24 and removing all of these, he went back to his own country, leaving the place a shambles and uttering words of extreme arrogance.

1:25 Then there was deep mourning for Israel throughout the country:

1:26 Rulers and elders groaned; girls and young men wasted away; the women’s beauty suffered a change;

1:27 every bridegroom took up a dirge, the bride sat grief-stricken on her marriage-bed.

1:28 The very land quaked for its inhabitants and the whole House of Jacob was clothed with shame.

1:29 The days passed, and after two years the king sent the mysarch[*e] through the cities of Judah. He came to Jerusalem with an impressive force,

1:30 and addressing them with what appeared to be peaceful words, he gained their confidence; <32 then suddenly he fell on the city dealing it a terrible blow, and destroying many of the people of Israel.

1:31 He pillaged the city and set it on fire, tore down its houses and encircling wall,

1:32 took the women and children captive and commandeered the cattle.

1:33 Then they fortified the City of David with a great strong wall and strong towers, and made this their Citadel.

1:34 There they installed an army of sinful men, renegades, who fortified themselves inside it,

1:35 storing arms and provisions, and depositing there the loot they had collected from Jerusalem; they were to prove a great trouble.

1:36 It became an ambush for the sanctuary, an evil adversary for Israel at all times.

1:37 They shed innocent blood all round the sanctuary and defiled the sanctuary itself.

1:38 The citizens of Jerusalem fled because of them, she became a dwelling place of strangers; estranged from her own offspring, her children forsook her.

1:39 Her sanctuary became as deserted as a wilderness, her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into a mockery, her honour into reproach.

1:40 Her dishonour now fully matched her former glory, her greatness was turned into grief.

1:41 Then the king issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people, each renouncing his particular customs.

1:42 All the pagans conformed to the king’s decree,

1:43 and many Israelites chose to accept his religion, sacrificing to idols and profaning the sabbath.

1:44 The king also sent instructions by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country,

1:45 banning holocausts, sacrifices and <48 libations from the sanctuary, profaning sabbaths and feasts,

1:46 defiling the sanctuary and the sacred ministers,

1:47 building altars, precincts and shrines for idols, sacrificing pigs and unclean beasts,

1:48 leaving their sons uncircumcised, and prostituting themselves to all kinds of impurity and abomination,

1:49 that they should forget the Law and revoke all observance of it.

1:50 Anyone not obeying the king’s command was to be put to death.

1:51 Writing in such terms to every part of his kingdom, the king appointed inspectors for the whole people, <54 and directed all the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice one after another.

1:52 Many of the people-that is, every apostate from the Law-rallied to them, and so committed evil in the country,

1:53 forcing Israel into hiding in all their places of refuge.

1:54 On the fifteenth day of Chislev in the year one hundred and forty-five[*f] the king erected the abomination of desolation[*g] above the altar; and altars were built in the surrounding towns of Judah

1:55 and incense offered at the doors of houses and in the streets.

1:56 Any books of the Law that came to light were torn up and burned.

1:57 Whenever anyone was discovered possessing a copy of the covenant or practising the Law, the king’s decree sentenced him to death.

1:58 Having might on their side they took action month after month against any offenders they discovered in the towns of Israel.

1:59 On the twenty-fifth day of the month sacrifice was offered on the altar erected over the altar of holocaust.

1:60 Women who had had their children circumcised were put to death according to the edict.

1:61 with their babies hung round their necks, and the members of their household and those who had performed the circumcision were executed with them.

1:62 Yet there were many in Israel who stood firm and found the courage to refuse unclean food.

1:63 They chose death rather than contamination by such fare or profanation of the holy covenant, and they were executed.

1:64 It was a dreadful wrath that visited Israel.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 2


Mattathias and his sons

2:1 In those days Mattathias son of John, son of Simeon, a priest of the line of Joarib, left Jerusalem and settled in Modein.

2:2 He had five sons, John known as Gaddi,

2:3 Simon called Thassi,

2:4 Judas called Maccabaeus,

2:5 Eleazar, called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus.

2:6 When he saw the blasphemies being committed in Judah and Jerusalem,

2:7 he said, ‘Alas that I should have been born to witness the overthrow of my people, and the overthrow of the Holy City, and to sit by while she is delivered over to her enemies, and the sanctuary into the hand of foreigners.

2:8 ‘Her Temple has become like a man of no repute,

2:9 the vessels that were her glory have been carried off as booty, her babies have been slaughtered in her streets, her young men by the enemy’s sword.

2:10 Is there a nation that has not claimed a share of her royal prerogatives, that has not taken some of her spoils?

2:11 All her ornaments have been snatched from her, her former freedom has become slavery.

2:12 See how our Holy Place, our beauty, our glory, is now laid waste,, profaned by the pagans.

2:13 What have we left to live for?’

2:14 Mattathias and his sons tore their garments, put on sackcloth, and observed deep mourning.

The ordeal of the sacrifice at Modein

2:15 The king’s commissioners who were enforcing the apostasy came to the is town of Modem to make them sacrifice.

2:16 Many Israelites gathered round them, but Mattathias and his sons drew apart.

2:17 The king’s commissioners then addressed Mattathias as follows, ‘You are a respected leader, a great man in this town; you have sons and brothers to support you.

2:18 Be the first to step forward and conform to the king’s decree, as all the nations have done, and the leaders of Judah and the survivors in Jerusalem; you and your sons shall be reckoned among the Friends of the King, you and your sons shall be honoured with gold and silver and many presents.’

2:19 Raising his voice, Mattathias retorted, ‘Even if every nation living in the king’s dominions obeys him, each forsaking its ancestral religion to conform to his decrees,

2:20 I, my sons and my brothers will still follow the covenant of our ancestors.

2:21 Heaven preserve us from forsaking the Law and its observances.

2:22 As for the king’s orders, we will not follow them: we will not swerve from our own religion either to right or to left.’

2:23 As he finished speaking, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein as the royal edict required.

2:24 When Mattathias saw this, he was fired with zeal; stirred to the depth of his being, he gave vent to his legitimate anger, threw himself on the man and slaughtered him on the altar.

2:25 At the same time he killed the king’s commissioner who was there to enforce the sacrifice, and tore down the altar.

2:26 In his zeal for the Law he acted as Phinehas did against Zimri son of Salu.

2:27 Then Mattathias went through the town, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘Let everyone who has a fervour for the Law and takes his stand on the covenant come out and follow me’.

2:28 Then he fled with his sons into the hills, leaving all their possessions behind in the town.

The ordeal of the Sabbath in the desert

2:29 At this many who were concerned for virtue and justice went down to the desert and stayed there,

2:30 taking with them their sons, their wives and their cattle, for the burden of their wrongs had become unendurable.

2:31 But word was brought to the king’s men and the garrison in Jerusalem, in the City of David, that the men who had repudiated the king’s edict had gone down to hiding places in the desert.

2:32 A strong detachment went after them, and when it came up with them ranged itself against them in battle formation, preparing to attack them on the sabbath day.

2:33 But first they challenged them, ‘Enough of this! Come out and do as the king orders and you shall be spared’.

2:34 But they answered, ‘We refuse to come out, and we are not going to obey the king’s orders and so profane the sabbath day’.

2:35 The others at once went into action,

2:36 but they offered no opposition; not a stone was thrown, there was no barricading of the hiding places.

2:37 They only said, ‘Let us all die innocent; let heaven and earth bear witness that you are massacring us with no pretence of justice’.

2:38 The attack was pressed home on the sabbath itself, and they were slaughtered, with their wives and children and cattle, to the number of one thousand persons.

The activity of Mattathias and his associates

2:39 When the news reached Mattathias and his friends, they mourned bitterly for the victims,

2:40 and said to one another, ‘If we all do as our brothers have done, and refuse to fight the pagans for our lives and institutions, they will only destroy us the sooner from the earth’.

2:41 So then and there they came to this decision, ‘If anyone attacks us on the sabbath day, whoever he may be, we will resist him; we must not all be killed, as our brothers were in the hiding. places’.

2:42 Soon they were joined by a community of Hasidaeans,[*a] stout fighting men of Israel, each one a volunteer on the side of the Law.

2:43 All the refugees from the persecution rallied to them, giving them added support.

2:44 They organised themselves into an armed force, striking down the sinners in their anger, and the renegades in their fury, and those who escaped them fled to the pagans for safety.

2:45 Mattathias and his friends made a tour, overthrowing the altars

2:46 and forcibly circumcising all the boys they found uncircumcised in the territories of Israel.

2:47 They hunted down the upstarts, and managed their campaign to good effect.

2:48 They wrested the Law out of the control of the pagans and the kings, and robbed sinful men of their advantage.

The testament and death of Mattathias

2:49 As the days of Mattathias were drawing to a close, he said to his sons, ‘Arrogance and outrage are now in the ascendant; it is a period of turmoil and bitter hatred.

2:50 This is the time, my children, for you to have a burning fervour for the Law and to give your lives for the covenant of our ancestors.

2:51 ‘Remember the deeds performed by our ancestors, each in his generation, and you shall win great honour and everlasting renown.

2:52 Was not Abraham tried and found faithful, was that not counted as making him just?

2:53 Joseph in the time of his distress maintained the Law, and so became lord of Egypt.

2:54 Phinehas, our father, in return for his burning fervour received a covenant of everlasting priesthood.

2:55 Joshua, for carrying out his task, became judge of Israel.

2:56 Caleb, for his testimony before the assembled people, received an inheritance in the land.

2:57 David for his generous heart inherited the throne of an everlasting kingdom.

2:58 Elijah for his consuming fervour for the Law was caught up to heaven itself.

2:59 Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, for their fidelity, were saved from the flame.

2:60 Daniel for his singleness of heart was rescued from the lion’s jaw.

2:61 Consider, then, how in generation after generation all who hope in him will not be found to falter.

2:62 Do not fear the threats of the sinner, all his brave show must come to the dunghill and the worms.

2:63 Exalted today, tomorrow he is nowhere to be found, for he has returned to the dust he came from and his scheming is brought to nothing.

2:64 Ye my sons, be valiant, and show yourselves men in the behalf of the law; for by it ye shall obtain glory.

2:65 ‘Here is your brother Simeon, I know he is a man of sound judgement. Listen to him all your lives; let him take your father’s place.

2:66 Judas Maccabaeus, strong and brave from his youth, let him be your general and conduct the war against the pagans.

2:67 The rest of you are to enrol in your ranks all those who keep the Law, and to exact vengeance for your people.

2:68 Pay back the pagans to the full, and hold fast to the ordinance of the Law.’

2:69 Then he blessed them and was laid with his ancestors.

2:70 He died in the year one hundred and forty-six and was buried in his ancestral tomb at Modein, and all Israel mourned him deeply.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 3


The eulogy of Judas Maccabaeus

3:1 Then his son Judas, called Maccabaeus, took over his command.

3:2 All his brothers, and all who had attached themselves to his father, supported him, and they fought for Israel with a will.

3:3 He extended the fame of his people. He put on the breastplate like a giant and girded on his war harness; he engaged in battle after battle, protecting the ranks with his sword.

3:4 He was like a lion in his exploits, like a lion’s whelp roaring over its prey.

3:5 He pursued and tracked down the renegades, he consigned those who troubled his people to the flames.

3:6 Renegades were abashed for terror of him, all evil-doers were utterly confounded, and deliverance went forward under his leadership.

3:7 He brought bitterness to many a king and rejoicing to Jacob by his deeds, his memory is blessed for ever and ever.

3:8 He went through the towns of Judah and utterly destroyed the infidels in them, turning wrath away from Israel.

3:9 His name resounded to the ends of the earth and he rallied those who were on the point of perishing.

The first successes of Judas

3:10 But Apollonius[*a] mustered the pagans and a large force from Samaria to fight against Israel.

3:11 When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him and routed and killed him. Many fell wounded, and the survivors took to flight.

3:12 Their spoils were seized and the sword of Apollonius was taken by Judas, who used it to fight with throughout his life.

3:13 On hearing that Judas had raised a mixed force of believers and seasoned fighters,

3:14 Seron, commander of the Syrian troops, said, ‘I will make a name for myself and gain honour in the kingdom if I fight Judas and those supporters of his who are so contemptuous of the king’s orders’.

3:15 He therefore launched another expedition, with a strong army of infidels to support him in taking revenge on the Israelites.

3:16 He had nearly reached the descent of Beth-horon when Judas went out to confront him with a handful of men.

3:17 But as soon as these saw the force advancing to meet them they said to Judas, ‘How can we, few as we are, engage such overwhelming numbers? We are exhausted as it is, not having had anything to eat today.’

3:18 ‘It is easy’ Judas answered ‘for a great number to be routed by a few; indeed in the sight of heaven deliverance, whether by many or by few, is all one;

3:19 for victory in war does not depend on the size of the fighting force; it is from heaven that strength comes.

3:20 They are coming against us in full-blown insolence and lawlessness to destroy us, our wives and our children, and to plunder us;

3:21 but we are fighting for our lives and our laws,

3:22 and he will crush them before our eyes; do not be afraid of them.’

3:23 When he had finished speaking, he made a sudden sally against Seron and his force and overwhelmed them.

3:24 Judas pursued him down from Beth-horon as far as the plain. About eight hundred of their men fell, and the rest took refuge in the country of the Philistines.

3:25 Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and alarm seized the surrounding peoples.

3:26 His name even reached the king’s ears, and in every nation there was talk of Judas and his battles.

Preparations for expeditions in Persia and Judaea. The regency of Lysias

3:27 The news of these events infuriated Antiochus, and he ordered mobilisation of all the forces in his kingdom, a very powerful army.

3:28 Opening his treasury, he distributed a year’s pay to his troops, telling them to be prepared for any eventuality.

3:29 He then found that the money in his coffers had run short and that the tribute of the province had decreased, as a result of the dissension and disaster brought upon the country by his own abrogation of laws that had been in force from antiquity.

3:30 He began to fear that, as had happened more than once, he would not have enough to cover the expenses and the lavish bounties he had previously been accustomed to make on a larger scale than his predecessors on the throne.

3:31 In this grave quandary he resolved to visit Persia, in order to levy tribute on the provinces and so accumulate substantial funds.

3:32 Lysias, a nobleman belonging to the royal family, was left in charge of the king’s affairs from the river Euphrates to the Egyptian frontier,

3:33 and was to be responsible for the education of his son Antiochus until his return.

3:34 Antiochus made over to him half his forces, with the elephants, and gave him instructions about all his policies, particularly about the inhabitants of Judaea and Jerusalem,

3:35 against whom he was to send a force, to crush and destroy the power of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem, to wipe out their very memory from the place,

3:36 to settle the sons of foreigners in all parts of their territory and to distribute their land by lot.

3:37 The king took with him the remaining half of his forces and set out from Antioch, the capital of his kingdom, in the year one hundred and forty-seven;[*b] he crossed the river Euphrates and made his way along the upper provinces.

Gorgias and Nicanor lead the Syrian army into Judaea

3:38 Lysias chose Ptolemy son of Dorymenes, with Nicanor and Gorgias, influential men from among the Friends of the King,

3:39 and despatched under their command forty thousand foot and seven thousand horse to invade the land of Judah and devastate it, as the king had ordered.

3:40 The entire force set out and reached the neighbourhood of Emmaus in the Lowlands, where they pitched camp.

3:41 When the merchants of the province heard who they were, they came to the camp, bringing with them a large amount of gold and silver, and fetters as well, proposing to buy the Israelites as slaves; they were accompanied by a contingent from Idumaea and the Philistine country.

3:42 Judas and his brothers saw that the situation was going from bad to worse and that armies were camping in their territory; they were also well aware that the king had ordered the people’s total destruction.

3:43 So they said to each other, ‘Let us restore the ruins of our people and fight for our people and our sanctuary.’

3:44 They mustered their people to prepare for war, and to offer prayer and implore compassion and mercy.

3:45 Jerusalem was left uninhabited like a desert, there was none left to go in or out, of all her children. The sanctuary was trodden underfoot, with men of an alien race in the Citadel, now a lodging place for pagans.There was no more rejoicing for Jacob, flute and zither were mute.

The Jews muster at Mizpah

3:46 After mustering, they made their way to Mizpah, opposite Jerusalem, since Mizpah was traditionally a place of prayer for Israel.

3:47 That day they fasted and put on sackcloth, covering their heads with ashes and tearing their garments.

3:48 For the guidance that the heathen would have sought from the images of their false gods, they opened the Book of the Law.

3:49 They also brought out the priestly vestments, with first-fruits and tithes, and marshalled the nazirites who had completed the period of their vow.

3:50 Then, raising their voices to heaven, they cried, ‘What shall we do with these people, and where are we to take them?[*c]

3:51 Your sacred precincts have been trampled underfoot and defiled, your priests mourn in their humiliation,

3:52 and now the pagans are allied together to destroy us: you know what they have in mind for us.

3:53 How can we stand up and face them if you do not come to our aid?’

3:54 Then they sounded the trumpets and made a great outcry.

3:55 Next Judas appointed leaders for the people, to command a thousand, a hundred, fifty or ten men.

3:56 He told those who were building houses, or about to be married, or planting vineyards, or who were simply afraid, to go home every one of them, as the Law allowed.

3:57 Then the formation marched off and took up a position south of Emmaus.

3:58 ‘Stand to your arms,’ Judas told them ‘acquit yourselves bravely, be ready to fight in the morning against these pagans massed against us to destroy us and our sanctuary.

3:59 Better for us to die in battle than to watch the ruin of our nation and our holy place.

3:60 Whatever be the will of heaven, he will perform it.’

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 4

The battle of Emmaus

4:1 Gorgias took with him five thousand foot and a thousand picked cavalry, and the force moved off by night

4:2 with the object of attacking the Jewish position and dealing them an unexpected blow; the men from the Citadel were there to guide him.

4:3 Judas got wind of it and himself moved off with his fighters to strike at the king’s forces in Emmaus,

4:4 while their fighting troops had been moved away from the encampment.

4:5 And so, when Gorgias reached the camp of Judas, he found nobody and he began to search for the Jews in the mountains, exclaiming ‘They are running away from us’.

4:6 First light found Judas in the plain with three thousand men, although these lacked the armour and swords they could have wished.

4:7 They could now see the heathen encampment with its strong fortifications and cavalry surrounding it, clearly people who understood warfare.

4:8 Judas said to his men, ‘Do not be afraid of their numbers, and do not flinch at their attack.

4:9 Remember how our ancestors were delivered at the Red Sea when Pharaoh was pursuing them in force.

4:10 And now let us implore heaven to be kind to us and to remember his covenant with our ancestors and to destroy this army confronting us today;

4:11 then all the nations will know for certain that there is one who saves and delivers Israel.’

4:12 The foreigners looked up and, seeing the Jews advancing against them,

4:13 came out of the camp to join battle. Judas’ men sounded the trumpet

4:14 and engaged them. The pagans were routed and fled towards the plain

4:15 and all the stragglers fell by the sword. The pursuit continued as far as Gezer and the plains of Idumaea, Azotus and Jamnia, and the enemy lost about three thousand men.

4:16 Breaking off the pursuit, Judas returned with his men

4:17 and said to the people, ‘Never mind the booty, for we have another battle ahead of us.

4:18 Gorgias and his forces are still in the mountains not far from us. First stand up to our enemies and fight them, and then you can collect as much booty as you like.’

4:19 The words were hardly out of Judas’ mouth when an enemy patrol appeared on the mountainside.

4:20 This patrol, observing that their own troops had been routed and that the camp had been fired, for the smoke, which was clearly visible, told them what had happened,

4:21 were panic-stricken at the sight; and when they also saw the forces of Judas drawn up on the plain in battle formation,

4:22 they all fled into Philistine territory.

4:23 Judas now turned back to plunder the camp, and they carried off a large sum in gold and silver, with violet and sea-purple stuffs, and many other valuables.

4:24 On their return, the Jews chanted praises to heaven, ‘For he is good, and his mercy is everlasting’.

4:25 That day had seen a remarkable deliverance in Israel.

The first campaign of Lysias

4:26 Those of the foreigners who had escaped came and gave Lysias an account of all that had happened.

4:27 The news shocked and dismayed him, for affairs in Israel had not gone as he intended, and the results were very different from the instructions given him by the king.

4:28 The next year he mobilised sixty thousand picked troops and five thousand cavalry with the intention of putting the Jews out of action.

4:29 They advanced into Idumaea and made their base at Bethzur,[*a] where Judas met them with ten thousand men.

4:30 When he saw their military strength he offered this prayer, ‘Blessed are you, saviour of Israel, who shattered the might of the Philistine champion by the hand of your servant David, and delivered their camp into the hands of Jonathan son of Saul, and his armour-bearer.

4:31 Crush this expedition in the same way at the hands of your people Israel; make them ashamed of their forces and their cavalry.

4:32 Make cowards of them, undermine their confidence in their own strength, and may they reel at their defeat.

4:33 Overthrow them by the sword of those who love you, and all who acknowledge your name will sing your praises.’

4:34 The two forces engaged, and five thousand men of Lysias’ troops fell in hand-to-hand fighting.

4:35 Seeing the rout of his army and the courage of Judas’ troops and their readiness to live or die as soldiers should, Lysias withdrew to Antioch, where he recruited mercenaries for a further invasion of Judaea in even greater strength.

The purification of the Temple and its dedication

4:36 Then Judas and his brothers said, ‘Now that our enemies have been defeated, let us go up to purify the sanctuary and dedicate it’.

4:37 So they marshalled the whole army, and went up to Mount Zion.

4:38 There they found the sanctuary a wilderness, the altar desecrated, the gates burnt down, and vegetation growing in the courts as it might in a wood or on some mountain, while the storerooms were in ruins.

4:39 They tore their garments and mourned bitterly, putting dust on their heads.

4:40 They prostrated themselves on the ground, and when the trumpets gave the signal they cried aloud to heaven.

4:41 Then Judas ordered his men to engage the garrison in the Citadel until he had purified the sanctuary.

4:42 Next, he selected priests who were blameless in observance of the Law

4:43 to purify the sanctuary and remove the stones of the abomination to an unclean place.

4:44 They discussed what should be done about the altar of holocausts which had been profaned,

4:45 and very properly decided to pull it down, that it might never become a reproach to them, from its defilement by the pagans. They therefore demolished it

4:46 and deposited the stones in a suitable place on the Temple hill to await the appearance of a prophet who should give a ruling about them.

4:47 They took unhewn stones, as the Law prescribed, and built a new altar on the lines of the old one.

4:48 They restored the Holy Place and the interior of the house, and purified the courts.

4:49 They made new sacred vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the Temple.

4:50 They burned incense so on the altar and lit the lamps on the lamp-stand, and these shone inside the Temple.

4:51 They set out the loaves on the table and hung the curtains and completed all the tasks they had undertaken.

4:52 On the twenty-fifth of the ninth month, Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight, they rose at dawn

4:53 and offered a lawful sacrifice on the new altar of holocausts which they had made.

4:54 The altar was dedicated, to the sound of zithers, harps and cymbals, at the same time of year and on the same day on which the pagans had originally profaned it.

4:55 The whole people fell prostrate in adoration, praising to the skies him who had made them so successful.

4:56 For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar, joyfully offering holocausts, communion sacrifices and thanksgivings.

4:57 They ornamented the front of the Temple with crowns and bosses of gold, repaired the gates and the storerooms and fitted them with doors.

4:58 There was no end to the rejoicing among the people, and the reproach of the pagans was lifted from them.

4:59 Judas, with his brothers and the whole assembly of Israel, made it a law that the days of the dedication of the altar should be celebrated yearly at the proper season, for eight days beginning on the twenty-fifth of the month Chislev, with rejoicing and gladness.

4:60 They then proceeded to build high walls with strong towers round Mount Zion, to prevent the pagans from coming and riding roughshod over it as in the past.

4:61 Judas stationed a garrison there to guard the mount; he also fortified Bethiur, to give the people a fortress against Idumaea.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 5

The expedition against the Idumaeans and Ammonites

5:1 When the surrounding nations heard that the altar had been rebuilt and the sanctuary restored to what it had been before, they became very angry,

5:2 and determined to destroy the whole race of Jacob living among them; they began murdering and evicting Jewish citizens.

5:3 Judas made war on the sons of Esau in Idumaea,[*a] in the region of Akrabattene where they held the Israelites under siege. He inflicted a crushing defeat on them, and plundered them.

5:4 He also remembered the wickedness of the sons of Baean who were a menace and a trap for the people with their ambushes on the roads.

5:5 Having blockaded them in their towers and besieged them, he vowed them to the ban; then he set fire to their towers and burned them down with everyone inside.

5:6 Next, he crossed over to the Ammonites where he found a strong fighting force and a numerous people with Timotheus for their leader.

5:7 He engaged them in many encounters, routed them and cut them to pieces.

5:8 After capturing Jazer and its outlying villages, he retired to Judaea.

The opening of campaigns in Galilee and Gilead

5:9 The pagans in Gilead now banded together against the Israelites living on their territory, to destroy them. But they took refuge in the fortress of Dathema,

5:10 and sent the following letter to Judas and his brothers, ‘The pagans round us have banded themselves together against us to wipe us out,

5:11 and they are preparing to storm the fortress in which we have taken refuge; Timotheus is in command of their forces.

5:12 Come at once and rescue us from their clutches, for we have already suffered great losses.

5:13 All our countrymen living among the Tubians have been put to death, their women and children have been taken into captivity, their property has been seized, and a force about a thousand strong has been wiped out there.’

5:14 While the letter was being read, other messengers arrived is from Galilee with their garments torn bearing similar news,

5:15 ‘The people of Ptolemais,[*b] Tyre and Sidon have joined forces with the whole of heathen Galilee to destroy us!’

5:16 When Judas and the people heard this, a great assembly was held to decide what should be done for their oppressed countrymen who were under attack from their enemies.

5:17 Judas said to his brother Simon, ‘Pick your men and go and relieve your countrymen in Galilee, while my brother Jonathan and I make our way into Gilead’.

5:18 He left Joseph son of Zechariah and the people’s leader Azariah with the remainder of the army in Judaea to guard it,

5:19 and gave them these orders: ‘Take charge of this people, and do not engage the pagans until we return’.

5:20 Simon was allotted three thousand men for the expedition into Galilee, Judas eight thousand for Gilead.

The expeditions in Galilee and Gilead

5:21 Simon advanced into Galilee, engaged the pagans in several battles and drove them off in disorder;

5:22 he pursued them to the gate of Ptolemais, and they lost about three thousand men, whose spoils he collected.

5:23 He took away with him the Jews of Galilee and Arbatta,[*c] with their wives and children and all their possessions, and brought them into Judaea with great rejoicing.

5:24 Meanwhile Judas Maccabaeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the Jordan and made a three days’ march through the desert,

5:25 where they encountered the Nabataeans,[*d] who came to an understanding with them and gave them an account of all that had happened to their brothers in Gilead.

5:26 Many of them, they said, were shut up in Bozrah and Bosor, Alema, Chaspho, Maked and Carnaim, all large fortified towns.

5:27 Others were blockaded in the other towns of Gilead, and the enemy planned to attack and capture these strongholds the very next day, and wipe out all the people inside them in a single day.

5:28 Judas and his army at once turned off by the desert road to Bozrah; having captured the town, he put the entire male population to the sword, plundered the town and set it on fire.

5:29 When night came, he left the place, and they continued their march until they reached the fortress.[*e]

5:30 In the light of dawn they saw an innumerable horde, setting up ladders and engines to capture the fortress; the assault was just beginning.

5:31 When Judas saw that the attack had begun and that the war cry was rising to heaven, mingled with trumpet calls and a great clamour,

5:32 he said to the men of his army, ‘You must fight today, fight for your countrymen’.

5:33 Dividing them into three commands, he advanced on the enemy’s rear, with trumpets sounding and prayers shouted aloud.

5:34 The troops of Timotheus, recognising that this was Maccabaeus, fled before his advance; Maccabaeus dealt them a crushing defeat; about eight thousand of their men fell that day.

5:35 Then, wheeling on Alema, he attacked and captured it, put its male population to death, plundered it and burned the place down.

5:36 From there he moved on and took Chaspho, Maked, Bosor and the remaining towns of Gilead.

5:37 After these events, Timotheus mustered another force and pitched camp opposite Raphon, on the far side of the wadi.

5:38 Judas sent men to reconnoitre the camp, and these reported back as follows, ‘With him are massed all the pagans surrounding us, making a very numerous army,

5:39 with Arab mercenaries as auxiliaries; they are encamped on the far side of the wadi, and ready to launch an attack on you.’ Judas then advanced to engage them,

5:40 and was approaching the watercourse with his troops when Timotheus told the commanders of his army, ‘If he crosses first we shall not be able to resist him, because he will have the advantage of us.

5:41 But if he is afraid and camps on the other side of the stream we will cross over to him and the advantage will then be ours.’

5:42 As soon as he reached the watercourse Judas posted the scribes of the people along the wadi, giving them this order: ‘Do not let anyone pitch his tent; all are to go into battle!’

5:43 He was himself the first across to the enemy side, with all the people following. Driven before them, the pagans all tore off their armour and ran for refuge in the sacred precinct of Carnaim.

5:44 The Jews first captured the town, and then burned down the precinct with everyone inside. And so Carnaim was overthrown, and the enemy could offer no further resistance to Judas.

5:45 Next, Judas assembled all the Israelites living in Gilead, from the least to the greatest, with their wives, children and belongings, an enormous muster, to take them into the land of Judah.

5:46 They reached Ephron, a large town straddling the road and strongly fortified. As it was impossible to by-pass it on the right or the left, there was nothing for it but to march straight through.

5:47 But the people of the town denied them passage and barricaded the gates with stones.

5:48 Judas sent them a conciliatory message in these terms, ‘Let us go through your territory to reach our own; no one will do you any harm, we only want to march through’. But they would not open up for him.

5:49 So Judas sent an order down the column for everyone to halt where he stood.

5:50 The fighting men took up their positions; Judas attacked the town all day and night, and it was delivered into his hands.

5:51 He put all the male inhabitants to the sword, razed it to the ground, plundered it and marched through the town over the bodies of the dead.

5:52 The Jews now crossed the Jordan into the great plain, opposite Bethshan,

5:53 Judas all the time rallying the stragglers and encouraging the people the whole way until they reached the land of Judah.

5:54 They climbed Mount Zion in joy and gladness, and offered holocausts because they had returned safe and sound without having lost a single man.

A setback at Jamnia

5:55 While Judas and Jonathan were in the land of Gilead and Simon his brother in Galilee before Ptolemais,

5:56 Joseph son of Zechariah, and Azariah, who were in command of the army, heard of their exploits and how well they had done in battle,

5:57 and said, ‘Let us make a name for ourselves too and go and fight the nations around us’.

5:58 So they issued orders to the men of the forces under them and marched on Jamnia.

5:59 But Gorgias came out from the town with his men to engage them.

5:60 Joseph and Azariah were routed and pursued as far as the frontiers of Judaea. That day about two thousand Israelites lost their lives.

5:61 And so the people met with a great reverse, because they had not listened to Judas and his brothers, but had relied on their own prowess.

5:62 These were not of the same mould as those to whom the deliverance of Israel had been entrusted.

Successes in Idumaea and Philistia

5:63 But that hero Judas and his brothers were held in high honour throughout Israel and among all the nations wherever their name was heard,

5:64 and men gathered round them to acclaim them.

5:65 Judas marched out with his brothers to fight the Edomites in the country towards the south; he stormed Hebron and its outlying villages, threw down its fortifications and burned its circle of towers.

5:66 Leaving there, he made for the country of the Philistines and passed through Marisa.[*f]

5:67 Among the fallen in that day’s fighting were some priests who sought to prove their courage there by joining in the battle, a foolhardy venture.

5:68 Judas next turned towards Azotus, a Philistine district; he overthrew their altars, burned down the carved images of their gods, and withdrew to the land of Judah, leaving their towns utterly despoiled.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 6

The last days of Antiochus Epiphanes

6:1 Meanwhile King Antiochus was making his way across the upper provinces; he had heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais, renowned for its riches, its silver and gold,

6:2 and its very wealthy temple containing golden armour, breastplates and weapons, left there by Alexander son of Philip, the king of Macedon, the first to reign over the Greeks.

6:3 He therefore went and attempted to take the city and pillage it, but without success, since the citizens learnt of his intention,

6:4 and offered him a stiff resistance, whereupon he turned about and retreated, disconsolate, in the direction of Babylon.

6:5 But while he was still in Persia news reached him that the armies that had invaded the land of Judah had been defeated,

6:6 and that Lysias in particular had advanced in massive strength, only to be forced to turn and flee before the Jews; these had been strengthened by the acquisition of arms, supplies and abundant spoils from the armies they had cut to pieces;

6:7 they had overthrown the abomination he had erected over the altar in Jerusalem, and had encircled the sanctuary with high walls as in the past, and had fortified Bethzur, one of his cities.

6:8 When the king heard this news he was amazed and profoundly shaken; he threw himself on his bed and fell into a lethargy from acute disappointment, because things had not turned out for him as he had planned.

6:9 And there he remained for many days, subject to deep and recurrent fits of melancholy, until he understood that he was dying.

6:10 Then summoning all his Friends, he said to them, ‘Sleep evades my eyes, and my heart is cowed by anxiety.

6:11 I have been asking myself how I could have come to such a pitch of distress, so great a flood as that which now engulfs me-I who was so generous and well-loved in my heyday. 12 But now I remember the wrong I did in Jerusalem when I seized all the vessels of silver and gold there, and ordered the extermination of the inhabitants of Judah for no reason at all.

6:13 This, I am convinced, is why these misfortunes have over-taken me, and why I am dying of melancholy in a foreign land.’

The accession of Antiochus V

6:14 He summoned Philip, one of his Friends, and made him regent of his whole kingdom.

6:15 He entrusted him with his diadem, his robe and his signet, om the understanding that he was to educate his son Antiochus and train him for the throne.

6:16 Then King Antiochus died, in the year one hundred and forty-nine.[*a]

6:17 Lysias, learning that the king was dead, established his son Antiochus on the throne in succession to him, having brought him up from childhood-and styled him Eupator.

The siege of the Citadel of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabaeus

6:18 The men from the Citadel were a threat to Israel in the neighbourhood of the sanctuary, seeking every opportunity of harming them, and proving a strong support to the pagans.

6:19 Judas decided that they must be destroyed, and he mobilised the whole people to besiege them.

6:20 They assembled, and laid siege to the Citadel in the year one hundred and fifty, building firing platforms and siege-engines.

6:21 But some of the besieged broke through the blockade, and to these a number of renegades from Israel attached themselves.

6:22 They made their way to the king and said, ‘How much longer are you going to wait before you see justice done and avenge our fellows?

6:23 We were content to serve your father, to comply with his orders, and to obey his edicts.

6:24 As a result our own people will have nothing to do with us; what is more, they have killed all those of us they could catch, and have plundered our heritages.

6:25 Nor is it on us alone that their blows have fallen, but on all your dominions.

6:26 At this moment they are laying siege to the Citadel of jerusalem, to capture it, and they have fortified the sanctuary and Bethzur.

6:27 Unless you forestall them at once, they will go on to even bigger things, and then you will never be able to control them.’

The expedition of Antiochus V and Lysias. The battle of Bethzechariab

6:28 The king was furious when he heard this, and summoned all his Friends, the generals of his forces and the cavalry commanders.

6:29 He recruited mercenaries from other kingdoms and the islands of the seas.

6:30 His forces numbered a hundred thousand foot soldiers, twenty thousand cavalry and thirty-two elephants with experience of battle conditions.

6:31 They advanced through Idumaea and besieged Bethzur, pressing the attack for days on end; they also constructed siege-engines, but the defenders made a sortie and set these on fire, putting up a brave resistance.

6:32 At this Judas raised the siege of the Citadel and pitched camp at Bethzechariah[*b] opposite the royal encampment.

6:33 The king rose at daybreak and marched his army at top speed down the road to Bethzechariah, where his forces took up their battle formations and sounded the trumpets.

6:34 The elephants were shown a syrup of grapes and mulberries to prepare them for the battle.

6:35 They distributed these animals among the phalanxes, allocating to each elephant a thousand men dressed in coats of mail with bronze helmets on their heads; five hundred picked horsemen were also assigned to each beast.

6:36 The horsemen anticipated every move their elephant made; wherever it went they went with it, and never separated from it.

6:37 On each elephant, to protect it, was a stout wooden tower, kept in position by girths, each with its team fighting from their mounted position, as well as its driver.

6:38 The remainder of the cavalry was stationed on one or other of the two flanks of the army, to harass the enemy and cover the phalanxes.

6:39 When the sun glinted on the bronze and golden shields the mountains caught the glint and gleamed like fiery torches.

6:40 One part of the king’s army was deployed high up in the mountains and others on the valley floor, all advancing confidently and in good order.

6:41 Everyone trembled at the noise made by this vast multitude, the thunder of the troops on the march and the clanking of their armour, for it was an immense and mighty army.

6:42 Judas and his army advanced to give battle, and six hundred of the king’s army were killed.

6:43 Eleazar, called Avaran, noticing that one of the elephants was royally caparisoned and was also taller than all the others, and supposing that the king was mounted on it,

6:44 sacrificed himself to save his people and win an imperishable name.

6:45 Boldly charging towards the creature through the thick of the phalanx, dealing death to right and left, so that the enemy scattered on either side at his onslaught,

6:46 he darted in under the elephant, ran his sword into it and killed it. The beast collapsed on top of him, and he died on the spot.

6:47 The Jews saw how strong the king was, and the ferocity of the royal troops, and retired before them.

The capture of Betlizur and siege of Mount Zion by the Syrians

6:48 The royal army moved up to encounter them before Jerusalem, and the king began to blockade Judaea and Mount Zion.

6:49 He granted peace terms to the people of Bethzur, who evacuated the town; it lacked store of provisions to withstand a siege, since the land was enjoying a sabbatical year.

6:50 Having occupied Bethzur, the king stationed a garrison there to hold it.

6:51 He besieged the sanctuary for a long time, erecting firing platforms and siege-engines, fire-throwers and ballistas, scorpions to discharge arrows, and catapults.

6:52 The defenders countered these by constructing their own engines, and were thus able to prolong their resistance.

6:53 But they had no stocks of provisions, because it was the seventh year, and those who had taken refuge in Judaea from the pagans had eaten up the last of their reserves.

6:54 Only a few men were left in the Holy Place, owing to the severity of the famine; the rest had dispersed and gone home.

The king grants the Jews religious freedom

6:55 Meanwhile Philip, whom King Antiochus before his death had appointed to train his son Antiochus for the throne,

6:56 had returned from Persia and Media with the forces that had accompanied the king, and was planning to seize control of affairs.

6:57 On hearing this, Lysias at once decided to leave, and said to the king, the generals of the army and the men, ‘We are growing weaker every day, we are short of food, and the place we are besieging is well fortified moreover the affairs of the kingdom demand our attention. 58 Let us offer the hand of friendship to these men and make peace with them and with their whole nation.

6:59 Let us grant them permission to follow their own customs as before, since it is our abolition of these customs that provoked them into acting like this.’

6:60 The king and his commanders approved this argument, and he sent the Jews an offer of peace, which they accepted.

6:61 The king and the generals ratified the treaty by oath, and the besieged accordingly left the fortress.

6:62 The king then entered Mount Zion, but on seeing how impregnable the place was, he broke the oath he had sworn and gave orders for the encircling wall to be demolished.

6:63 He then hurriedly struck camp and retired to Antioch, where he found Philip already master of the city. Antiochus fought him and took the city by storm.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 7

Demetrius I becomes king, and sends Bacchidus and Alcimus to Judaea

7:1 In the year one hundred and fifty Demetrius, son of Seleucus, escaped from Rome to hold court.

7:2 As he was entering the crown lands of his ancestors his army arrested Antiochus and Lysias, intending to bring them before him.

7:3 But when he heard of this he said, ‘Keep them out of my sight’.

7:4 So the army killed them and Demetrius ascended the throne of his kingdom.

7:5 Then there came to him all the renegades and godless men in Israel, led by Alcimus, whose ambition it was to become high priest.

7:6 They denounced the people before the king. ‘Judas and his brothers’ they said ‘have killed all your friends, and he has driven us out of our country.

7:7 Send someone now whom you can trust; let him go and see the wholesale ruin Judas has brought on us and on the king’s dominions, and let him punish the wretches and all who assist them.’

7:8 The king chose Bacchides, one of the Friends of the King, governor of the country beyond the river,[*a] a great man in the kingdom and loyal to the king.

7:9 He sent him with the godless Alcimus, whom he established as high priest, with orders to exact retribution from the Israelites.

7:10 So they set out with a large force, and on reaching the land of Judah they sent messengers to Judas and his brothers with treacherous proposals of peace.

7:11 But these did not trust them, seeing that they had come with a large force.

7:12 Nevertheless a commission of scribes presented themselves before Alcimus and Bacchides, to sue for just terms.

7:13 The first among the Israelites to ask them for peace-terms were the Hasidaeans,

7:14 who reasoned like this, ‘This is a priest of Aaron’s line who has come with the armed forces; he will not wrong us’.

7:15 He did in fact discuss is peace-terms with them and gave them his oath, ‘We will not attempt to injure you or your friends’.

7:16 They believed him, but he arrested sixty of them and put them to death in one day, fulfilling the words of scripture:

7:17 They have scattered the flesh of your devout, and shed their blood all round Jerusalem, and no one to dig a grave!

7:18 At this, fear and dread gripped the whole people. ‘There is no truth or virtue in them;’ they said ‘they have broken their agreement and their sworn oath.’

7:19 Bacchides then left Jerusalem and encamped at Bethzaith,[*b] and from there sent and arrested many of the men who had deserted him, and some of the people, and killed them, throwing them into the great cistern.

7:20 Then he put Alcimus in charge of the province, leaving an army with him to support him; Bacchides himself returned to the king.

7:21 Alcimus continued his struggle to become high priest,

7:22 and all who were disturbing the peace of their own people rallied to him; gaining control of the land of Judah, they worked great havoc in Israel.

7:23 Seeing that all the wrongs done to the Israelites by Alcimus and his supporters exceeded what the pagans had done,

7:24 Judas went right round the whole territory of Judaea to take vengeance on those who had deserted him and prevent their free movement about the country.

7:25 When Alcimus saw how strong Judas and his supporters had grown, he realised that he had not the strength to resist them, and returned to the king where he laid criminal charges against them.

Nicanor in Judaea. The battle of Capharsalama

7:26 The king sent Nicanor, one of his generals ranking as Illustrious and a bitter enemy of Israel, with orders to exterminate the people.

7:27 Reaching Jerusalem with a large force, Nicanor sent envoys to Judas and his brothers with treacherous proposals of peace:

7:28 ‘Let us have no fighting’ he said ‘between me and you; I will come with a small escort and meet you face to face in peace.’

7:29 And he came to Judas and they greeted each other peaceably enough; however, the enemy had made preparations to abduct Judas.

7:30 When Judas became aware of Nicanor’s treacherous purpose in coming to see him, he took fright and refused any further meeting.

7:31 Nicanor then realised that his plan had been discovered, and went out to meet Judas in battle near Capharsalama.

7:32 About five hundred of Nicanor’s men fell; the rest took refuge in the City of David.

Threats against the Temple

7:33 After these events Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests came out from the Holy Place with some elders, to welcome him peacefully and to show him the holocaust that was being offered for the king.

7:34 But he mocked them and laughed in their faces, defiled them and used insolent language,

7:35 swearing in his rage, ‘Unless Judas is handed over to me this time with his army, as soon as I am safely back, I promise you, I will burn this building down!’ Then he went off in a fury.

7:36 At this the priests went in again, and stood in tears before the altar and the sanctuary, saying,

7:37 ‘You chose this house to be called by your name, to be a house of prayer and petition for your people.

7:38 Take vengeance on this man and on his army, and let them fall by the sword; remember their blasphemies and give them no respite.’

The ‘Day of Nicanor’ at Adasa

7:39 Nicanor left Jerusalem and encamped at Beth-horon, where he was joined by an army from Syria.

7:40 Meanwhile Judas camped at Adasa[*c] with three thousand men, and offered this prayer,

7:41 When the Assyrian king’s envoys blasphemed, your angel went out and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand of his men.

7:42 ‘In the same way let us see you crush this army today, so that the rest may know that this man has spoken blasphemously against your sanctuary: judge him according to his wickedness.’

7:43 The armies met in battle on the thirteenth of the month Adar, and Nicanor’s army was crushed, he himself being the first to fall in the battle.

7:44 When his troops saw that Nicanor had fallen, they threw down their arms and fled.

7:45 The Jews pursued them a day’s journey, from Adasa to the approaches of Gezer; they sounded their trumpets in warning as they followed them,

7:46 and people came out from all the surrounding villages of Judaea and blocked their flight, so that they turned back on their own men, and all fell by the sword, not one being left alive.

7:47 Collecting the spoils and booty, they cut off Nicanor’s head and the right hand he had stretched out in a display of insolence; these were taken and displayed within sight of Jerusalem.

7:48 The people were overjoyed, and kept that day as a great holiday:

7:49 indeed they decided to celebrate it annually on the thirteenth of Adar.

7:50 The land of Judah was at peace for a short time.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 8

A eulogy of the Romans

8:1 Judas had heard of the reputation of the Romans, their military strength and their benevolence towards all who made common cause with them; they wanted to establish friendly relations with anyone who approached them,

8:2 because of their military strength. He was told of their wars and of their prowess among the Gauls,[*a] whom they had conquered and put under tribute;

8:3 and of all they had done in the province of Spain to gain possession of the silver and gold mines there,

8:4 making themselves masters of the whole country by their determination and perseverance, despite its great distance from their own; of the kings who came from the ends of the earth to attack them, only to be crushed by them and overwhelmed with disaster, and of others who paid them annual tribute;

8:5 Philip, Perseus king of the Kittim, and others who had dared to make war on them, had been defeated and reduced to subjection,

8:6 while Antiochus the Great, king of Asia, who had advanced to attack them with a hundred and twenty elephants, cavalry, chariots and a very large army, had also suffered defeat at their hands;

8:7 they had taken him alive and imposed on him and his successors the payment of an enormous tribute, the surrender of hostages, and the cession

8:8 of the Indian territory, with Media, Lydia, and some of their best provinces, which they took from him and gave to King Eumenes.

8:9 Judas was also told how, when the Greeks planned an expedition to destroy them,

8:10 the Romans got wind of it and sent against them a single general, fought a campaign in which they inflicted heavy casualties, carried off their women and children into captivity, pillaged their goods, subdued their country, tore down their fortresses and reduced them to a slavery lasting to this very day;

8:11 and how all other kingdoms and islands that had ever resisted them were also destroyed and enslaved.

8:12 But where their friends and those who relied on them were concerned, they had always stood by their friendship. They had subdued kings far and near, and all who heard their name went in terror of them.

8:13 One man, if they determined to help him and advance him to a throne, would certainly occupy it, while another, if they so determined, would find himself deposed; their influence was paramount.

8:14 In spite of all this not one of them had assumed a crown or put on the purple for his own aggrandisement.

8:15 They had set up a senate, where is three hundred and twenty councilors deliberated daily, constantly debating how best to regulate public affairs.

8:16 They entrusted their government to one man for a year at a time, with absolute power over their whole empire, and this man was obeyed by all without any envy or jealousy.

The alliance between the Jews and Romans

8:17 Having chosen Eupolemus son of John, of the family of Accos, and Jason son of Eleazar, Judas sent them to Rome to make a treaty of friendship and alliance with these people,

8:18 who would surely lift the yoke from their shoulders once they understood that the kingdom of the Greeks was reducing Israel to slavery.

8:19 The envoys made the lengthy journey to Rome and presented themselves before the Senate with their formal proposal,

8:20 ‘Judas Maccabaeus and his brothers, with the Jewish people, have sent us to you to conclude a treaty of alliance and peace with you, and to enrol ourselves as your allies and friends’.

8:21 The proposal met with the approval of the senators,

8:22 and this is a copy of the rescript which they engraved on bronze tablets and sent to Jerusalem to be kept there by the Jews as a record of peace and alliance:

8:23 ‘Good fortune attend the Romans and the Jewish nation by sea and land for ever; may sword or enemy be far from them!

8:24 If war comes first to Rome or any of her allies throughout her dominions,

8:25 the Jewish nation is to take action as her ally, as occasion may require, and do it wholeheartedly.

8:26 They are not to give or supply to the aggressor any grain, arms, money or ships; this is the Roman decision, and they are to honour their obligations without recompense.

8:27 In the same way, if war comes first to the Jewish nation the Romans are to support them energetically as occasion may offer,

8:28 and the aggressor shall not be furnished with grain, arms, money or ships; this is the Roman decision, and they will honour these obligations unreservedly.

8:29 These are the terms laid down by the Romans for the Jewish people.

8:30 If when they have come into force either party should wish to make any addition or deletion, they shall be free to do so, and any such addition or deletion shall be binding.[*b]

8:31 As regards the wrongs done to them by King Demetrius, we have written to him in these terms: Why have you made your yoke lie heavy on our friends and allies the Jews?

8:32 If they appeal against you again we will uphold their rightsand make war on you by sea and land.’

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 9

The battle of Beerzeth and death of Judas Maccabaeus

9:1 Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his army had fallen in battle, and he sent Bacchides and Alcimus a second time into the land of Judah, and with them the right wing of his army.

9:2 They took the road to Galilee and besieged Mesaloth in Arbela,[*a] and captured it, putting many people to death.

9:3 In the first month of the year one hundred and fifty-two they set up camp before Jerusalem;

9:4 they then moved on, making their way to Beerzeth[*b] with twenty thousand foot and two thousand horse.

9:5 Judas lay in camp at Elasa, with three thousand picked men.

9:6 When they saw the huge size of the enemy forces they were terrified, and many slipped out of the camp, until no more than eight hundred of the force were left.

9:7 When Judas saw that his army had melted away and that attack was imminent, he was aghast, for he had no time to rally them.

9:8 Yet, dismayed as he was, he said to those who were left, ‘Up! Let us face the enemy; we may yet have the strength to fight them.’

9:9 His men tried to dissuade him, declaring, ‘We have no strength for anything but to escape with our lives this time; then we can come back with our brothers to fight them; by ourselves we are too few’.

9:10 ‘God forbid’ Judas retorted ‘that I should do such a thing as run away from them! If our time has come, at least let us die like men for our countrymen, and leave nothing to tarnish our reputation.’

9:11 The enemy forces then marched out of the camp, and the Jews took up their position in readiness to engage them. The cavalry was ordered into two squadrons; the slingers and archers marched in the van of the army with the shock-troops, all stout fighters;

9:12 Bacchides was on the right wing. The phalanx advanced from between the two squadrons, sounding the trumpets; the men on Judas’ side blew their trumpets also,

9:13 and the earth shook with the noise of the armies. The engagement lasted from morning until evening.

9:14 Judas saw that Bacchides and the main strength of his army lay on the right; all the stout-hearted rallied to him,

9:15 and they broke the right wing and pursued them to the furthest foothills of the range.

9:16 But when the Syrians on the left wing saw that the right had been broken, they turned and followed hot on the heels of Judas and his men to take them in the rear.

9:17 The fight became desperate, and there were many casualties on both sides.

9:18 Judas himself fell, and the remnant fled.

The funeral of Judas Maccabaeus

9:19 Jonathan and Simon took up their brother Judas and buried him in his ancestral tomb at Modein.

9:20 All Israel wept and mourned him deeply and for many days they repeated this dirge,

9:21 ‘What a downfall for the strong man, the man who saved Israel single-handed!’

9:22 The other deeds of Judas, the battles he fought, the exploits he performed, and all his titles to greatness have not been recorded; but they were very many.


The triumph of the Greek party. Jonathan leads the resistance

9:23 After the death of Judas the renegades came out of hiding throughout Israel and all the evil-doers reappeared.

9:24 At that time there was a severe famine, and the country went over to their side.

9:25 Bacchides deliberately chose the enemies of religion and set them up as governors of the country.

9:26 These traced and searched out the friends of Judas and brought them before Bacchides, who took revenge on them and humiliated them.

9:27 A terrible oppression began in Israel; there had been nothing like it since the disappearance of prophecy among them.

9:28 Then all the friends of Judas came together and said to Jonathan,

9:29 ‘Since your brother Judas died, there has been no one like him to head the resistance to the enemy, Bacchides and those who hate our nation.

9:30 Accordingly, we have today chosen you to take his place as our ruler and leader and to fight our campaigns.’

9:31 From that day Jonathan accepted the leadership and took over the command from his brother Judas.

Jonathan in the desert of Tekoa. Bloody encounters round Medeba

9:32 Bacchides, when he heard the news, made plans to kill Jonathan.

9:33 But this became known to Jonathan, his brother Simon and all his supporters, and they took refuge in the desert of Tekoa, camping by the water of the cistern at Asphar.

9:34 (Bacchides came to know of this on the sabbath day, and he too crossed the Jordan with his entire army.)

9:35 Jonathan sent his brother, who was in charge of the convoy, to request his friends the Nabataeans to store their considerable baggage for them.

9:36 But the sons of Jambri from Medeba[*c] raided them, captured John and everything he had and made off with their prize.

9:37 After this had happened it was reported to Jonathan and his brother Simon that the sons of Jambri were celebrating a great wedding, and were escorting the bride, a daughter of one of the great notables of Canaan, from Nadabath with a large retinue.

9:38 Remembering the bloody end of their brother John, they went up and hid under cover of the mountain.

9:39 As they were keeping watch, there came into sight a noisy procession with a great deal of baggage, and the bridegroom, with his groomsmen and his family, came out to meet it with tambourines and a band, and military display.

9:40 The Jews rushed down on them from their ambush and killed them, inflicting heavy casualties; the survivors escaped to the mountain, leaving their entire baggage train to be captured.

9:41 And so the wedding was turned into mourning and the music of their band into a dirge.

9:42 Having in this way avenged in full the blood of their brother they returned to the marshes of the Jordan.

Crossing the Jordan

9:43 As soon as Bacchides heard this, he came on the Sabbath day with a considerable force to the steep banks of the Jordan.

9:44 Jonathan said to his men, ‘Up! Let us fight for our lives, for today is not like yesterday and the day before.

9:45 You can see, we shall have to fight on our front and to our rear, we have the waters of the Jordan on one side, the marsh and scrub on the other, and we have no line of withdrawal.

9:46 This is the moment to call on heaven for your deliverance from the hand of our enemies.’

9:47 The engagement was begun by Jonathan, who aimed a blow at Bacchides, but the Syrian disengaged himself and withdrew,

9:48 whereupon Jonathan and his men leapt into the Jordan and swam to the other bank, but the enemy did not cross the Jordan in pursuit.

9:49 That day Bacchides lost about a thousand men.

Bacchides builds fortifications. The death of Alcimus

9:50 Bacchides returned to Jerusalem and built strongholds in Judaea, the fortress in Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon and Tephon, with high walls and barred gates,

9:51 and stationed a garrison in each of them to harass Israel.

9:52 He also fortified the town of Bethzur, Gezer and the Citadel, and placed troops in them with supplies of provisions.

9:53 He took the sons of the leading men of the country as hostages, and had them placed under guard in the Citadel of Jerusalem.

9:54 In the year one hundred and fifty-three, in the second month, Alcimus ordered the demolition of the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary, destroying the work of the prophets.[*d] Alcimus had just begun the demolition

9:55 when he suffered a stroke, and his work was interrupted. His mouth became obstructed, and his paralysis made him incapable of speaking at all or giving directions to his household;

9:56 it was not long before he died in great agony.

9:57 When Bacchides saw that Alcimus was dead he returned to the king; and the land of Judah was left in peace for two years.

The siege of Bethbasi

9:58 All the renegades then agreed on a plan. ‘Now is the time,’ they said ‘while Jonathan and his supporters are living in peace and are full of confidence, for us to bring back Bacchides; he can arrest them all in one night.’

9:59 So they went to him and reached an understanding.

9:60 Bacchides at once set out with a large force, and sent secret instructions to all his allies in Judaea to seize Jonathan and his supporters. But they were unable to do this because their plan became known,

9:61 and Jonathan and his men arrested some fifty of the men of the country who were ringleaders in the plot, and put them to death.

9:62 Jonathan and Simon then retired with their partisans into the wilderness to Bethbasi; they rebuilt the ruinous parts of the place and fortified it.

9:63 When Bacchides heard this, he mustered his whole force and notified his adherents in Judaea.

9:64 He then proceeded to lay siege to Bethbasi, attacking it for many days and constructing siege-engines.

9:65 But Jonathan, leaving his brother Simon in the town, broke out into the countryside with a handful of men.

9:66 He attacked Odomera and his brothers, and the sons of Phasiron in their tents; and these went over to the attack, joining forces with him.

9:67 Meanwhile Simon and his people made a sortie from the town and set fire to the siege-engines.

9:68 Taking the offensive against Bacchides, they routed him. He was greatly disconcerted to find that his plan and his assault had come to nothing,

9:69 and vented his anger on those renegades who had induced him to enter the country, putting many of them to death; then he decided to return to his own country.

9:70 Discovering this, Jonathan sent envoys to negotiate peace-terms and the release of prisoners with him.

9:71 Bacchides agreed to this, accepting his proposals and swearing never to seek occasion to harm him all the days of his life.

9:72 After surrendering to Jonathan the prisoners he had earlier taken in the land of Judah, he turned about and withdrew to his own country, and never again came near their frontiers.

9:73 The sword no longer hung over Israel, and Jonathan settled in Michmash, where he began to judge the people and to rid Israel of the godless.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 10

Alexander Balas competes for Jonathan’s support, and appoints him high priest

10:1 In the year one hundred and sixty Alexander styled Epiphanes, son of Antiochus, landed at Ptolemais and occupied it. He was well received, and held court there.

10:2 On hearing this, King Demetrius assembled a very large army and marched out to meet him in battle.

10:3 Demetrius furthermore sent Jonathan a conciliatory letter designed to enhance his dignity,

10:4 for, as he said, ‘We had better move first to come to terms with these people before he makes common cause with Alexander against us;

10:5 he will not have forgotten all the wrongs we inflicted on him and his brothers, and on his nation’.

10:6 He therefore authorised him to raise an army and manufacture arms, and to describe himself as his ally, and ordered the hostages in the Citadel to be surrendered to him.

10:7 Jonathan went straight to Jerusalem and read the letter in the hearing of the whole people and of the men in the Citadel.

10:8 Everyone was awestruck when they heard that the king had given him authority to raise an army.

10:9 The men in the Citadel surrendered the hostages to Jonathan, who handed them back to their parents.

10:10 Jonathan then took up residence in Jerusalem and began the rebuilding and restoration of the city.

10:11 He ordered those responsible for the work to build the walls and the defences round Mount Zion in square hewn stones to make them stronger, and this was done.

10:12 The foreigners in the fortresses built by Bacchides abandoned them,

10:13 one after another leaving his post to go back to his own country.

10:14 Only at Bethzur were a few left of those who had forsaken the Law and the commandments, since this served them as a place of refuge.

10:15 King Alexander heard of all the promises Demetrius had sent to Jonathan, and he was also given an account of the battles and exploits of this man and his brothers and the trials they had endured.

10:16 ‘Shall we ever find another man like him?’ he exclaimed. ‘Let us be quick to make a friend and ally of him!’

10:17 He therefore wrote him a letter, addressing him in these terms,

10:18 ‘King Alexander to his brother Jonathan, greetings.

10:19 You have been brought to our notice as a strong man of action, and one disposed to be our friend.

10:20 Accordingly we have today appointed you high priest of your nation, with the title of Friend of the King’-he also sent him a purple robe and a golden crown-‘and you are to study our interests and maintain friendly relations with us.’

10:21 Jonathan put on the sacred vestments in the seventh month of the year one hundred and sixty, on the feast of Tabernacles; he then set about raising troops and manufacturing arms in quantity.

A letter from Demetrius I to Jonathan

10:22 Demetrius was displeased when he heard what had happened.

10:23 ‘What have we done’ he said ‘that Alexander should have forestalled us in gaining the friendship of the Jews to strengthen his position?

10:24 I will address an appeal to them too offering them advancement and riches as an inducement to support me.’

10:25 And he wrote to them as follows: ‘King Demetrius to the Jewish nation, greetings.

10:26 We have heard how you have kept your agreement with us and have maintained friendly relations with us and have not gone over to our enemies, and it has given us great satisfaction.

10:27 If you now continue to keep faith with us, we will make you a handsome return for what you do on our behalf.

10:28 We will accord you many exemptions and grant you privileges.

10:29 Henceforth I release you and exempt all the Jews from the tribute, the salt dues and the crown levies,

10:30 and whereas I am entitled to levy the equivalent of one third of the sowing and one half of the fruit of the trees, I release from this levy, from today and for the future, the land of Judah and the three districts annexed to it from Samaria-Galilee, from this day in perpetuity.

10:31 Jerusalem shall be sacred and exempt, with its territory, tithes and dues.

10:32 I relinquish control of the Citadel in Jerusalem and make it over to the high priest, so that he may man it with a garrison of his own choosing.

10:33 Every Jewish person taken from the land of Judah into captivity in any part of my kingdom I set free without ransom, and decree that all shall be exempt from taxes, even on their livestock.

10:34 All festivals, sabbaths, new moons and days of special observance, and the three days before and three days after a festival, shall all be days of exemption and quittance for all the Jews in my kingdom,

10:35 and no one shall have the right to pursue or molest any of them for any matter whatsoever.

10:36 Jews shall be enrolled in the king’s forces to the number of thirty thousand men, and receive maintenance on the same scale as the rest of the king’s forces.

10:37 Some of them shall be stationed in the king’s major fortresses, and from among others appointments shall be made to positions of trust in the kingdom. Their officers and commanders shall be appointed from their own number, and shall live under their own laws, as the king has prescribed for the land of Judah.

10:38 As regards the three districts annexed to Judaea from the province of Samaria, they shall be integrated into Judaea and considered as coming under one governor, obeying the high priest’s authority and no other.

10:39 I have made over Ptolemais and its environs as a free gift to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, to meet the necessary expenses of public worship.

10:40 And I make a personal grant of fifteen thousand silver shekels annually chargeable to the royal revenue from appropriate places.

10:41 And the entire surplus, which has not been paid in by the officials as in previous years, shall henceforth be paid over by them for work on the Temple.

10:42 In addition, the sum of five thousand silver shekels, levied annually on the profits of the sanctuary, as shown in the annual accounts, is also relinquished as the perquisite of the priests who perform the liturgy.

10:43 Anyone who takes refuge in the Temple in Jerusalem or any of its precincts, when in debt to the royal exchequer or otherwise, shall be discharged in full possession of all the goods he owns in my kingdom.

10:44 As regards the building and restoration of the sanctuary, the expense of the work shall be met from the royal exchequer.

10:45 The reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem and the fortification of the perimeter shall also be a charge on the royal exchequer, and so also the reconstruction of other city walls in Judaea.’

Jonathan rejects Demetrius’ offers

10:46 When Jonathan and the people heard these proposals they put no faith in them and refused to accept them, because they remembered the great wrongs Demetrius had done in Israel and how cruelly he had oppressed them.

10:47 They decided in favour of Alexander, since they regarded him as their outstanding benefactor, and they became his constant allies.

10:48 King Alexander now mustered large forces and took up a position confronting Demetrius,

10:49 and the two kings met in battle. Alexander’s army was routed, and Demetrius pursued him and defeated his troops.

10:50 He continued the battle with vigour until sunset, but Demetrius himself was killed that day.

Alexander’s marriage with Cleopatra. Jonathan as military commissioner and governor-general

10:51 Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemy king of Egypt, with this message,

10:52 ‘Now that I have returned to my kingdom and ascended the throne of my ancestors, and have established my authority by crushing Demetrius, so gaining control of our country-

10:53 for I fought him and we destroyed both him and his army and now occupy the throne of his kingdom-

10:54 now, therefore, let us make a treaty of mutual friendship. Give me your daughter in marriage, and I will become your son-in-law and give you, and her, presents which are worthy of you.’

10:55 King Ptolemy replied as follows, ‘Happy the day when you returned to the land of your ancestors and ascended their royal throne!

10:56 I will do at once for you what your letter proposes; but meet me at Ptolemais, so that we can see one another, and I will become your father-in-law, as you have asked.’

10:57 Ptolemy[*a] left Egypt with his daughter Cleopatra, and reached Ptolemais in the year one hundred and sixty-two.

10:58 King Alexander went to meet him, and Ptolemy gave him the hand of his daughter Cleopatra and celebrated her wedding in Ptolemais with great magnificence, as kings do.

10:59 King Alexander then wrote to Jonathan to come and meet him.

10:60 Jonathan made his way in state to Ptolemais, and met the two kings; he gave them and their friends silver and gold, and many gifts, and made a favourable impression on them.

10:61 A number of scoundrels from Israel[*b] combined to denounce him, but the king paid no attention to them.

10:62 In fact the king commanded that Jonathan should be divested of his own garments and clothed in the purple, which was done.

10:63 The king then seated him by his side and said to his officers, ‘Escort him into the centre of the city and proclaim that no one is to bring charges against him on any count; no one is to molest him for any reason.’

10:64 And so, when his accusers saw the honour done him by this proclamation, and Jonathan himself invested in the purple, they all fled.

10:65 The king did him the honour of enrolling him among the First Friends, and appointed him military commissioner and governor-general.

10:66 Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem in peace and gladness.

Demetrius II. Apollonius, governor of Coele-Syria, defeated by Jonathan

10:67 In the year one hundred and sixty-five,[*c] Demetrius son of Demetrius came from Crete to the land of his ancestors.

10:68 When King Alexander heard of it he was plunged in gloom and retired to Antioch.

10:69 Demetrius appointed Apollonius as governor of Coele-Syria; the latter assembled a large force, and from his camp at Jamnia sent the following message to Jonathan the high priest:

10:70 ‘You are entirely alone in rising against us, and now I find myself ridiculed and reproached on your account. Why do you use your authority to our disadvantage in the mountains?

10:71 If you are so confident in your forces, come down now to meet us on the plain and let us take each other’s measure there; on my side I have the strength of the towns.

10:72 Ask and learn who I am and who are the others supporting us. Men will tell you that you cannot stand up to us, because your ancestors were twice routed on their own ground,[*d]

10:73 nor will you now be able to withstand the cavalry or so great an army on the plain, where there is neither stone nor outcrop nor cover of any kind.’

10:74 When Jonathan heard the message of Apollonius his spirit was roused; he picked ten thousand men and left Jerusalem, and his brother Simon joined him with reinforcements.

10:75 He drew up his forces before Joppa; the citizens had shut him out as Apollonius had a garrison in Joppa. When they began the attack,

10:76 the citizens took fright and opened the gates, and Jonathan occupied Joppa.

10:77 Hearing this, Apollonius marshalled three thousand cavalry and a large army and made his way to Azotus as though intending to march through, while in fact pressing on into the plain, since he had a great number of cavalry on which he was relying.

10:78 Jonathan pursued him as far as Azotus, where the armies joined battle.

10:79 Now Apollonius had left a thousand horsemen in concealment behind them.

10:80 Jonathan knew of this ambush behind him; the horsemen surrounded his army and shot their arrows into the people from morning till evening.

10:81 But the people stood firm, as Jonathan had ordered, while the enemy’s horses tired.

10:82 So Simon was able to throw in his force and close with the phalanx, which he cut to pieces and routed.

10:83 The cavalry scattered over the plain and fled to Azotus, where they entered Beth-dagon, the temple of their idol, to take shelter there.

10:84 But Jonathan set fire to Azotus and the surrounding towns, plundered them, and burned down the temple of Dagon, with all the fugitives who had crowded into it.

10:85 The enemy losses, counting those who fell by the sword and those burnt to death, totalled about eight thousand men.

10:86 Then Jonathan left there and encamped opposite Askalon, whose citizens came out to meet him with great ceremony.

10:87 Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem with his followers, laden with booty.

10:88 In the event, when King Alexander heard what had happened, he awarded Jonathan fresh honours:

10:89 he sent him a golden brooch, of the kind customarily presented to the Cousins of the King, and gave him proprietary rights over Ekron with all its lands.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 11

Ptolemy VI supports Demetrius II but dies at the same time as Alexander Balas

11:1 The king of Egypt then assembled an army as numerous as the sands of the seashore, with many ships, and attempted to take possession of Alexander’s kingdom by a ruse and add it to his own kingdom.

11:2 He set off for Syria with protestations of peace, and the people of the towns opened their gates to him and came out to meet him, since King Alexander’s orders were to welcome him, Ptolemy being his father-in-law.

11:3 On entering the towns, however, Ptolemy quartered troops as a garrison in each one.

11:4 When he reached Azotus he was shown the burnt-out temple of Dagon, with Azotus and its suburbs in ruins, corpses scattered here and there, and the charred remains of those whom Jonathan had burnt to death in the battle, piled into heaps along his route.

11:5 They explained to the king what Jonathan had done, hoping for his disapproval; but the king said nothing.

11:6 Jonathan then went to receive the king in state at Joppa, where they greeted each other and spent the night.

11:7 Jonathan accompanied the king as far as the river called Eleutherus,[*a] and then returned to Jerusalem.

11:8 King Ptolemy for his part occupied the coastal towns as far as the maritime quarter of Seleucia,[*b] all the while maturing his wicked designs against Alexander.

11:9 He sent envoys to King Demetrius, saying, ‘Come, let us make a treaty with each other; I will give you my daughter, whom Alexander now has, and you shall rule your father’s kingdom.

11:10 I regret having given my daughter to that man, who has attempted to kill me.’

11:11 He made this accusation because he coveted his kingdom.

11:12 Having carried off his daughter and bestowed her on Demetrius, he broke with Alexander, and their enmity became open.

11:13 Ptolemy next entered Antioch and assumed the crown of Asia; he now wore on his head the two crowns of Egypt and Asia.

11:14 Meanwhile, King Alexander was in Cilicia, since the people of those parts had risen in revolt,

11:15 but when he heard the news, he advanced on his rival to give battle, while Ptolemy for his part also took the field, met him with a strong force and routed him.

11:16 Alexander fled to Arabia for refuge, and King Ptolemy held victory celebrations.

11:17 Zabdiel the Arab cut off Alexander’s head and sent it to Ptolemy.

11:18 Three days later King Ptolemy died, and the Egyptian garrisons in the strongholds were killed by the local inhabitants.

11:19 So Demetrius became king in the year one hundred and sixty-seven.

Early relations between Demetrius and Jonathan

11:20 At the same time Jonathan mustered the men of Judaea for an assault on the Citadel in Jerusalem, and they constructed many siege-engines for use against it.

11:21 But some renegades who hated their nation made their way to the king and told him that Jonathan was besieging the Citadel.

11:22 The king was angered by the news. No sooner had he been informed than he set out and came to Ptolemais. He wrote to Jonathan, telling him to raise the siege and to meet him for a conference in Ptolemais as soon as possible.

11:23 When Jonathan heard this he gave orders for the siege to continue; then he selected a deputation from the elders of Israel and the priests, and took the deliberate risk

11:24 of taking silver and gold, clothing and numerous other presents, and going to Ptolemais to face the king, whose favour he succeeded in winning;

11:25 and although one or two renegades of his nation brought charges against him,

11:26 the king treated him as his predecessors had treated him, and promoted him in the presence of all his friends.

11:27 He confirmed him in the high-priesthood and whatever other distinctions he already held, and had him ranked among the First Friends.

11:28 Jonathan claimed that the king should exempt Judaea from tribute, with the three Samaritan provinces, promising him three hundred talents in return.

11:29 The king consented, and wrote Jonathan a rescript covering the whole matter, in these terms:

A new charter favouring the Jews

11:30 ‘King Demetrius to Jonathan his brother, and to the Jewish nation, greeting.

11:31 We have written to Lasthenes our cousin concerning you, and now send you this copy of our rescript for your own information:

11:32 King Demetrius to his father Lasthenes, greeting.

11:33 The nation of the Jews are our friends and fulfil their obligations to us, and in view of their goodwill towards us we have decided to show them our bounty.

11:34 We confirm them in their possession of the territory of Judaea and the three districts of Aphairema, Lydda and Ramathaim;[*c] these were annexed to Judaea from Samaritan territory, with all their dependencies, in favour of all who offer sacrifice in Jerusalem, instead of the royal dues which the king formerly received from them every year, from the yield of the soil and the fruit crops.

11:35 As regards our other rights over the tithes and taxes due to us, over the salt marshes, and the crown taxes due to us, as from today we release them from them all.

11:36 No single one of these grants shall be set aside, from today in perpetuity.

11:37 It shall be your responsibility to have a copy of this made, to be given to Jonathan and displayed on the holy mountain in a conspicuous place.’

Demetrius II rescued by Jonathan’s troops at Antioch

11:38 When King Demetrius saw that the country was at peace under his rule and that no resistance was offered him, he dismissed his forces, and sent all the men home, except for the foreign troops that he had recruited in the islands of the nations, thus incurring the enmity of the veterans who had served his ancestors.

11:39 Now Trypho, one of Alexander’s former supporters, seeing that all the troops were muttering against Demetrius, approached Iamleku the Arab, who was bringing up Antiochus, Alexander’s young son,

11:40 and repeatedly urged him to let him have the boy, so that he might succeed his father as king; he told him of Demetrius’ decision and the resentment it had aroused among his troops. He spent a long time there.

11:41 Meanwhile Jonathan sent to ask King Demetrius to withdraw the troops in the Citadel from Jerusalem and to remove the garrisons from the strongholds, since they were constantly fighting Israel.

11:42 Demetrius sent back word to Jonathan, ‘Not only will I do this for you and for your nation, but I will heap honours on you and your nation if I find a favourable opportunity.

11:43 For the present, you would do well to send me reinforcements, for all my troops have deserted.’

11:44 Jonathan sent off three thousand experienced soldiers to him in Antioch; when they reached the king, he was delighted at their arrival.

11:45 The citizens crowded together in the centre of the city, to the number of some hundred and twenty thousand, intending to kill the king.

11:46 The king took refuge in the palace, while the citizens occupied the thoroughfares of the city and began to attack.

11:47 The king then called on the Jews for help; and these all rallied round him in a body, then spread out through the city, and that day killed about a hundred thousand of its inhabitants.

11:48 They fired the city, seizing a great deal of plunder at the same time, and secured the king’s safety.

11:49 When the citizens saw that the Jews had the city at their mercy their courage failed them, and they made an abject appeal to the king,

11:50 ‘Give us the right hand of peace, and let the Jews stop their fight against us and the city’.

11:51 They threw down their arms and made peace. The Jews were covered in glory, in the eyes of the king and of everyone else in his kingdom. Having won renown in his kingdom they returned to Jerusalem laden with booty.

11:52 King Demetrius continued to occupy the throne of his kingdom, and the country was quiet under his government.

11:53 But he gave the lie to all the promises he had made, and fell out with Jonathan, giving nothing in return for the services Jonathan had rendered him, but thwarting him at every turn.

Jonathan opposes Demetrius II. Simon retakes Bethzur. The Hazor affair

11:54 After this Trypho came back with the little boy Antiochus,[*d] who became king and was crowned.

11:55 All the troops that Demetrius had summarily dismissed rallied to Antiochus, and made war on Demetrius, and he turned tail and fled.

11:56 Trypho captured the elephants and seized Antioch.

11:57 Young Antiochus then wrote Jonathan the following letter, ‘I confirm you in the high-priesthood and set you over the four districts[*e] and appoint you one of the Friends of the King’.

11:58 He sent him a service of gold plate, and granted him the right to drink from gold vessels, and to wear the purple and the golden brooch.

11:59 He appointed his brother Simon as military commissioner of the region from the Ladder of Tyre to the frontiers of Egypt.

11:60 Jonathan then set out and made a progress through Transeuphrates and its towns, and the entire Syrian army rallied to his support. He came to Askalon and was received in state by the inhabitants.

11:61 From there he proceeded to Gaza, but the people of Gaza shut him out, so he laid siege to it, burning down its suburbs and plundering them.

11:62 The people of Gaza then pleaded with Jonathan, and he made peace with them; but he took the sons of their chief men as hostages and sent them away to Jerusalem. He then travelled through the country as far as Damascus.

11:63 Jonathan now learned that Demetrius’ generals had arrived at Kadesh in Galilee with a great army, with the object of diverting him from his mission,

11:64 and he went to meet them, leaving his brother Simon inside the country.

11:65 Simon laid siege to Bethzur, attacking it day after day, and blockading the inhabitants

11:66 till they sued for peace, which he granted them, though he expelled them from the town and occupied it, stationing a garrison there.

11:67 Meanwhile Jonathan and his army, having pitched camp by the Lake of Gennesaret, rose early, and by morning were already in the plain of Hazor.

11:68 The foreigners’ army advanced to fight them on the plain, after laying first an ambush for him in the mountains. While the main body was advancing directly towards the Jews,

11:69 the troops in ambush broke cover and attacked first.

11:70 All the men with Jonathan fled; no one was left, except Mattathias son of Absalom and Judas son of Chalphi, the generals of his army.

11:71 At this Jonathan tore his garments, put dust on his head, and prayed.

11:72 Then he returned to the fight and routed the enemy, who fled.

11:73 When the fugitives from his own forces saw this they came back to him and joined in the pursuit as far as Kadesh where the enemy encampment was, and there they themselves pitched camp.

11:74 About three thousand of the foreign troops fell that day. Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 12

Jonathan’s relations with the Spartans

12:1 When Jonathan saw that circumstances were working in his favour he sent a select mission to Rome to confirm and renew his treaty of friendship with the Romans.

12:2 He also sent letters to the same effect to the Spartans and to other places.[*a]

12:3 The envoys made their way to Rome and entered the Senate, where they made this announcement: ‘Jonathan the high priest and the Jewish nation have sent us to renew your treaty of friendship and alliance with them as before’.

12:4 The Romans gave them letters to the authorities of each place, to procure their safe conduct to the land of Judah.

12:5 The following is the copy of the letter Jonathan wrote to the Spartans:

12:6 ‘Jonathan the high priest, the senate of the nation, the priests and the rest of the Jewish people to the Spartans their brothers, greetings.

12:7 In the past, a letter was sent to Onias, the high priest, from Areios, one of your kings, stating that you are indeed our brothers, as the copy subjoined attests.

12:8 Onias received the envoy with honour, and accepted the letter, in which a clear reference was made to friendship and alliance.

12:9 For our part, though we have no need of these, having the consolation of the holy books in our possession,

12:10 we venture to send to renew our fraternal friendship with you, so that we may not become strangers to you, for a long time has elapsed since you sent us the letter.[*b]

12:11 We may say that constantly on every occasion, at our festivals and on other appointed days, we make a remembrance of you in the sacrifices we offer and in our prayers, as it is right and fitting to remember brothers.

12:12 We rejoice in your renown.

12:13 As for ourselves, we have been involved in many trials, many battles, and the surrounding kings have fought against us.

12:14 We were unwilling to trouble you or our other allies and friends during these wars.

12:15 But now, having the support of heaven to help us, we have been delivered from our enemies, and it is they who have been brought low,

12:16 and so we have chosen Numenius son of Antiochus, and Antipater son of Jason, and sent them to the Romans to renew our former treaty of friendship and alliance,

12:17 and we have ordered them to make their way to you also, to greet you, and deliver to you this letter of ours concerning the renewal of our brotherhood;

12:18 we shall be grateful for an answer to it.’

12:19 The following is the copy of the letter sent to Onias:

12:20 ‘Areios king of the Spartans, to Onias the high priest, greetings.

12:21 lt has been discovered in a document concerning the Spartans and Jews that they are brothers, and of the race of Abraham.

12:22 Now that this has come to our knowledge. we shall be obliged if you will send us news of your welfare.

12:23 Our own message to you is this: your flocks and your possessions are ours, and ours are yours, and we are instructing our envoys to give you a message to this effect.’

Jonathan in Coele-Syria. Simon in Philistia

12:24 Jonathan learned that Demetrius’ generals had returned with a larger army than before to make war on him.

12:25 For that reason he left Jerusalem and went to face them in the region of Hamath, giving them no respite in which to mount an invasion of his own country.

12:26 He sent spies into their camp, who told him on their return that the enemy were taking up positions for a night attack on the Jews.

12:27 At sunset Jonathan ordered his men to keep watch with their weapons at hand, in readiness to fight at any time during the night, and posted advance guards all round the camp.

12:28 When they knew that Jonathan and his men were ready to fight, the enemy became afraid, and with quaking hearts they kindled fires in their camp.

12:29 Jonathan and his men, watching the glow of the fires, were unaware of their withdrawal until morning,

12:30 and although Jonathan pursued them, he failed to overtake them, for they had already crossed the river Eleutherus.

12:31 So Jonathan wheeled round on the Arabs called Zabadaeans, defeated them and plundered them;

12:32 then, breaking camp, he went to Damascus, and travelled through the whole province. 33 Meanwhile Simon had also set out and had penetrated as far as Askalon and the neighbouring strongholds. He then turned on Joppa and moved quickly to occupy it,

12:34 for he had heard of their intention to hand over this strong point to the supporters of Demetrius; he stationed a garrison there to hold it.

Building work in Jerusalem

12:35 On Jonathan’s return he called a meeting of the elders of the people and decided with them to build fortresses in Judaea

12:36 and to heighten the walls of Jerusalem and erect a high barrier between the Citadel and the city, to separate it from the city and isolate it, to prevent the occupants from buying or selling.

12:37 They gathered together to rebuild the city. Part of the wall over the eastern ravine had fallen, and he restored the quarter called Chaphenatha.

12:38 Meanwhile Simon rebuilt Adida in the Lowlands, fortifying it, and erecting gates with bolts.

Jonathan falls into the hands of his enemies

12:39 Trypho’s ambition was to become king of Asia, assume the crown, and overpower King Antiochus.

12:40 He was apprehensive that Jonathan might not allow him to do so, and might even make war on him, so he set out and came to Bethshan, in the hopes of finding some pretext for his arrest and execution.

12:41 Jonathan went out to intercept him, with forty thousand picked men in battle order, and arrived at Bethshan.

12:42 When Trypho saw him there with a large force, he hesitated to make any move against him.

12:43 He even received him with honour, commended him to all his friends and presented gifts to him, and told his friends and his troops to obey him as they would himself.

12:44 He said to Jonathan, ‘Why have you made all these people so tired, when there is no threat of war between us?

12:45 Send them back home; pick yourself a few men as your bodyguard, and come with me to Ptolemais. I will hand it over to you, with the other fortresses and the remaining troops and all the officials; then I will take the road for home, for that was my purpose in coming here.’

12:46 Jonathan trusted him and did as he said; he dismissed his forces, who returned to the land of Judah.

12:47 With him he retained three thousand men, of whom he left two thousand in Galilee, while a thousand accompanied him.

12:48 But as soon as Jonathan had entered Ptolemais the people of Ptolemais closed the gates, seized him, and put all those who had entered with him to the sword.

12:49 Trypho sent troops and cavalry into Galilee and the Great Plain to wipe out all Jonathan’s supporters.

12:50 These, concluding that he had been taken, and had perished with his companions, encouraged one another, marching with closed ranks and ready to give battle,

12:51 and when their pursuers saw that they would fight for their lives, they turned back.

12:52 They all reached the land of Judah safe and sound, but lamenting Jonathan and his companions, and in a state of alarm; all Israel was plunged into mourning.

12:53 All the surrounding pagans were now looking for ways of destroying them: ‘They have no leader,’ they said ‘no ally; we have only to attack them now, and we shall blot out their very memory from mankind’.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 13


Simon takes command

13:1 Simon heard that Trypho had collected a large army to invade and devastate the land of Judah,

13:2 and when he saw how the people were quaking with fear, he went up to Jerusalem, called the people

13:3 and exhorted them thus, ‘You know yourselves how much I and my brothers and my father’s family have done for the laws and the sanctuary; you know what wars and hardships we have experienced.

13:4 That is why my brothers are all dead, for Israel’s sake, and I am the only one left.

13:5 Far be it from me, then, to be sparing of my own life in any time of oppression, for I am not worth more than my brothers.

13:6 Rather will I avenge my nation and the sanctuary and your wives and children, now that all the pagans have united in their malice to destroy us.’

13:7 The spirit of the people rekindled as they listened to his words,

13:8 and they shouted back at him, ‘You are our leader in place of Judas and your brother Jonathan.

13:9 Fight our battles for us, and we will do whatever you tell us.’

13:10 So he assembled all the fighting men and hurried on the completion of the walls of Jerusalem, fortifying the whole perimeter.

13:11 He sent a considerable force to Joppa under Jonathan, son of Absalom, who drove out the inhabitants and remained there in occupation.

Simon repels Trypho from Judaea

13:12 Trypho now left Ptolemais with a large army to invade the land of Judah, taking Jonathan with him under guard.

13:13 Simon pitched camp in Adida, facing the plain.

13:14 When Trypho learned that Simon had stepped into the place of his brother Jonathan, and that he intended to join battle with him, he sent envoys to him with this message,

13:15 ‘Your brother Jonathan was in debt to the royal exchequer for the offices he held; that is why we are detaining him.

13:16 If you send a hundred talents of silver and two of his sons as hostages, to make sure that on his release he does not revolt against us, we will release him.’

13:17 Although Simon was aware that the message was a ruse, he sent for the money and the boys for fear of incurring great hostility from the people,

13:18 who would have said that Jonathan died because Simon did not send Trypho the money and the boys.

13:19 He therefore sent both the boys and the hundred talents, but Trypho broke his word and did not release Jonathan.

13:20 Next, Trypho set about the invasion and devastation of the country; he made a detour along the Adora road, but Simon and his army confronted him wherever he attempted to go.

13:21 The men in the Citadel kept sending messengers to Trypho, urging him to get through to them by way of the wilderness and send them supplies.

13:22 Trypho organised his entire cavalry to go, but that night it snowed so heavily that he could not get through for the snow, so he struck camp and moved off into Gilead.

13:23 As he approached Baskama[*a] he killed Jonathan, and he was buried there.

13:24 Trypho turned back and regained his own country.

Jonathan is buried in the mausoleum built by Simon at Modein

13:25 Simon sent and recovered the bones of his brother Jonathan, and buried him in Modein, the town of his ancestors.

13:26 All Israel kept solemn mourning for him, bewailing him for many days.

13:27 Over the tomb of his father and brothers Simon raised a monument high enough to catch the eye, using dressed stone back and front.

13:28 He erected seven pyramids facing each other, for his father and mother and his four brothers,

13:29 raising them on plinths and surrounding them with tall columns on which he had trophies of arms carved to their everlasting memory and, beside the armour, sculptured ships to be seen by all who sailed the sea.

13:30 Such was the monument he constructed at Modein, and it is still there today.

The favours of Demetrius II to Simon

13:31 Trypho treated the young King Antiochus treacherously and put him to death.

13:32 He usurped his throne, assuming the crown of Asia, and brought great havoc on the country.

13:33 Simon built up the fortresses of Judaea, surrounding them with high towers, great walls and gates with bolts, and stocked these fortresses with food.

13:34 He also sent a delegation to King Demetrius to induce him to grant relief to the province, because all that Trypho did was to confiscate.

13:35 King Demetrius replied to his request in a letter framed as follows:

13:36 ‘King Demetrius to Simon, high priest and Friend of Kings, and to the elders and nation of the Jews, greetings.

13:37 It has pleased us to accept the golden crown and the palm you have sent us, and we are disposed to make a general peace with you, and to write to the officials to grant you remissions.

13:38 Everything that we have decreed concerning you remains in force, and the fortresses you have built are to remain in your hands.

13:39 We pardon all offences, unwitting or intentional, committed up to this day, as well as the crown tax which you owe, and any other duty that used to be paid in Jerusalem shall no longer be payable.

13:40 If any of you are suitable for enrolment in our bodyguard, let them be enrolled, and let there be peace between us.’

13:41 lt was in the year one hundred and seventy, that the rule of the pagans was lifted from Israel,

13:42 and the people began to engross their documents and contracts, ‘In the year one of Simon, great high priest, military commissioner, and leader of the Jews.’

The capture of Gezer by Simon

13:43 At that time Simon went to lay siege to Gezer and surrounded it with his troops. He constructed a mobile tower, brought it up to the city, opened a breach in one of the bastions and took it.

13:44 The men in the mobile tower sprang out into the city, where great confusion ensued.

13:45 The citizens, accompanied by their wives and children, mounted the ramparts with their garments torn and loudly implored Simon to make peace with them:

13:46 ‘Treat us’ they said ‘not as our wickedness deserves, but as your mercy prompts you’.

13:47 Simon came to terms with them and stopped the fighting; but he expelled them from the city, purified the houses which contained idols, and then made his entry with songs of praise.

13:48 He banished all uncleanness from it, settled men in it who observed the Law, and having fortified it, built a residence there for himself.

Simon occupies the Citadel in Jerusalem

13:49 The men in the Citadel in Jerusalem, prevented as they were from going out into the country and back to buy and sell, were in desperate want of food, and numbers of them were carried off by starvation.

13:50 They begged Simon to make peace with them, and he granted this, though he expelled them and purified the Citadel from its pollutions.

13:51 The Jews made their entry on the twenty-third day of the second month in the year one hundred and seventy-one, with acclamations and carrying palms, to the sound of harps, cymbals and zithers, chanting hymns and canticles, since a great enemy had been crushed and thrown out of Israel.

13:52 Simon made it a day of annual rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the Temple hill by the side of the Citadel, and took up residence there with his men.

13:53 Seeing that his son John had come to manhood, Simon appointed him commander of all the forces, with his residence in Gezer.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 14

A eulogy of Simon

14:1 In the year one hundred and seventy-two King Demetrius assembled his forces and marched into Media to muster help, in order to fight Trypho.

14:2 When Arsaces[*a] king of Persia and Media heard that Demetrius had entered his territory, he sent one of his generals to capture him alive.

14:3 The general went and defeated the army of Demetrius, seized him and brought him to Arsaces, who put him in prison.

14:4 The country was at peace throughout the days of Simon. He sought the good of his nation and they were well pleased with his authority, and his magnificence throughout his life.

14:5 And to crown all his magnificence he took Joppa and made it his harbour, gaining access to the islands of the sea.

14:6 He enlarged the frontiers of his nation, keeping his mastery over the homeland,

14:7 and resettled a host of the captives. He conquered Gezer, Bethzur, and the Citadel and cast out the unclean things from it; and no one could resist him.

14:8 They farmed their land in peace, the land gave its produce, the trees of the plain their fruit.

14:9 The elders sat at ease in the streets, all their talk was of their prosperity; the young men wore finery and armour.

14:10 He kept the towns supplied with provisions and furnished with fortifications; until his fame resounded to the ends of the earth.

14:11 He established peace in the land, and Israel knew great joy.

14:12 Each man sat under his own vine and his own fig tree, and there was no one to make them afraid.

14:13 No enemy was left in the land to fight them, and the kings in those days were crushed.

14:14 He gave strength to all the humble folk among his people and cleared away every renegade and wicked man. He strove to observe the Law,

14:15 and gave new splendour to the Temple, replenishing it with sacred vessels

Renewal of the alliances with Sparta and with Rome

14:16 When it became known in Rome and later in Sparta that Jonathan was dead, people were deeply grieved.

14:17 But as soon as they heard that his brother Simon had succeeded him as high priest and was master of the country and the cities in it,

14:18 they wrote to him on bronze tablets to renew the treaty of friendship and alliance which they had made with his brothers, Judas and Jonathan,

14:19 and the document was read out before the assembly in Jerusalem.

14:20 This is the copy of the letter sent by the Spartans: ‘The rulers and the city of Sparta to Simon the high priest and to the elders and priests and the rest of the people of the Jews, greetings.

14:21 The ambassadors whom you sent to our people informed us of your glory and honour, and we were delighted by their visit.

14:22 We recorded their declarations in the minutes of our public assemblies, as follows ,”Numenius son of Antiochus, and Antipater son of Jason, ambassadors of the Jews, came to us to renew their friendship with us.

14:23 And it was the people’s pleasure to receive these personages with honours and to deposit a copy of their statements in the public archives, so that the people of Sparta may preserve a record of them; they also made a copy for Simon the high priest.”‘

14:24 After this Simon sent Numenius to Rome as the bearer of a large gold shield weighing a thousand minas, to confirm the alliance with them.

Official honours decreed for Simon

14:25 When these events were reported to the people they said, ‘What mark of appreciation shall we give to Simon and his sons?

14:26 He stood firm, he and his brothers and his father’s House; he fought off the enemies of Israel and secured its freedom.’ So they recorded an inscription on bronze tablets and set it up on pillars on Mount Zion.

14:27 This is a copy of the text: ‘On the eighteenth of Elul in the year one hundred and seventy-two, which is the third year of Simon the great high priest, in Asaramel,

14:28 in the grand assembly of priests and people, leaders of the nation and elders of the country, we were notified as follows:

14:29 ‘When there was frequent fighting in the country, Simon, son of Mattathias, a scion of the line of Joarib, and his brothers courted danger and withstood the enemies of their nation to safeguard the integrity of their sanctuary and the Law, and so brought their nation great glory.

14:30 Jonathan rallied his nation and became their high priest, and was then gathered to his people.

14:31 Their enemies planned to invade their country in order to devastate their territory and lay hands on their sanctuary.

14:32 Simon then arose to fight for his nation. He spent much of his own wealth on arming the nation’s fighting men and providing their pay;

14:33 he fortified the cities of Judaea and Bethzur on the frontier of Judaea, where the enemy arsenal had formerly been, and stationed there a garrison of Jewish soldiers.

14:34 He also fortified Joppa on the coast and Gezeron the borders of Azotus, a place formerly inhabited by the enemy; he founded a Jewish settlement there, providing everything they needed to set them on their feet.

14:35 The people saw Simon’s faith and the glory he had resolved to win for his nation; they made him their leader and high priest because of all these achievements of his and the justice and faithfulness he had maintained towards his own nation, and because he sought every means to enhance the honour of his people.

14:36 In his day and under his guidance they succeeded in rooting out the pagans from their country, including those in the City of David in Jerusalem, who had converted it into a citadel for their own use from which they would sally out to defile the surroundings of the sanctuary and violate its sacred character.

14:37 He settled Jewish soldiers in it and fortified it as a protection for the country and city, and heightened the walls of Jerusalem.

14:38 In consequence of this, King Demetrius confirmed him in the high-priestly office,

14:39 made him one of his Friends and advanced him to high honours;

14:40 he had heard that the Romans named the Jews friends, allies and brothers, and that they had given Simon’s ambassadors an honourable reception;

14:41 and further, that the Jews and the priests had agreed that Simon should be their perpetual leader and high priest until a trustworthy prophet should arise;

14:42 he was also to be their commissioner and to be responsible for the sanctuary and for the appointment of officials to supervise the fabric, to administer the country, and to control the arsenal and fortresses;

14:43 he was to take charge of the sanctuary, and everyone had to obey him; all official documents in the country were to be drawn up in his name; he was to assume the purple and wear golden ornaments.

14:44 No member of the public or the priesthood was to be allowed to set aside any one of these articles or contest his decisions, or convene a meeting anywhere in the country without his leave, or assume the purple or wear the golden brooch.

14:45 Anyone contravening or rejecting any of these articles was to be liable at law.

14:46 All the people consented to grant Simon the right to act on these decisions.

14:47 And Simon accepted and consented to assume the high-priestly office and to act as military commissioner and ethnarch[*b] of the Jews and their priests, and to preside over all.’

14:48 They ordered that this decree should be inscribed on bronze tablets and set up in the Temple precinct in a prominent place,

14:49 and that copies should be deposited in the treasury, and made available to Simon and his sons.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 15

Antiochus VII recognises Simon’s titles, and besieges Trypho in Dor

15:1 Antiochus, son of King Demetrius, addressed a letter from the islands of the sea to Simon, priest and ethnarch of the Jews, and to the whole nation;

15:2 this was how it read: ‘King Antiochus to Simon, high priest and ethnarch, and to the Jewish nation, greetings.

15:3 Whereas certain scoundrels have seized control of the kingdom of our fathers, and I propose to claim back the kingdom so that I may re-establish it as it was before, and whereas I have accordingly recruited very large forces and fitted out warships,

15:4 intending to make a landing in the country and deal with the men who have ruined it and laid waste many towns in my kingdom,

15:5 now therefore I confirm in your favour all the remissions of tribute that my royal predecessors granted you, with any other concessions that they granted to you.

15:6 I hereby authorise you to mint your own coinage as legal tender for your own country.

15:7 I declare Jerusalem and the sanctuary exempt; all the arms you have manufactured and the fortresses you have built and now occupy are to remain yours.

15:8 All debts to the royal treasury, present or future, shall be cancelled from henceforth in perpetuity.

15:9 When we have gained possession of our kingdom we will bestow such great honour on yourself, your nation and the Temple as shall exhibit your glory to the whole world.’

15:10 In the year one hundred and seventy-four Antiochus mounted his expedition against the land of his ancestors, and all the troops rallied to him, so that few remained with Trypho.

15:11 Antiochus pursued the usurper, who took refuge in Dor on the coast,

15:12 knowing that misfortunes were piling up on him and that his troops had deserted him.

15:13 Antiochus pitched camp before Dor with a hundred and twenty thousand fighting men and eight thousand cavalry.

15:14 He laid siege to the city while the ships closed in from the sea, so that he had the city under attack from land and sea, and allowed no one to go in or come out.

The ambassadors return from Rome to Judaea; the alliance with Rome proclaimed

15:15 Meanwhile Numenius and his companions arrived from Rome carrying letters addressed to various kings and states, in the following terms:

15:16 ‘Lucius[*a], consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, greetings.

15:17 The Jewish ambassadors have come to us as our friends and allies to renew our original friendship and alliance in the name of the high priest Simon and the Jewish people.

15:18 They have brought a gold shield worth a thousand minas.

15:19 Accordingly we have decided to write to various kings and states, warning them not to molest them nor to attack them or their towns or their country, nor ally themselves with any such aggressors.

15:20 We have decided to accept the shield from them.

15:21 If then any scoundrels have fled their country to take refuge with you, hand them over to Simon the high priest to be punished by him according to their law.’

15:22 The consul sent the same letter to King Demetrius, to Attalus, Ariarathes and Arsaces,

15:23 and to all states, including Sampsames, the Spartans, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus and Cyrene.

15:24 They also drew up a copy for Simon the high priest.

Antiochus VII, besieging Dor, becomes hostile to Simon and sends him a reprimand

15:25 Meanwhile Antiochus, from his positions on the outskirts of Dor, was continually throwing detachments against the town. He constructed siege-engines, and blockaded Trypho, preventing movement in or out.

15:26 Simon sent him two thousand picked men to support him in the fight, with silver and gold and plenty of equipment.

15:27 But Antiochus would not accept them; instead, he repudiated all his previous agreements with Simon, and completely changed his attitude to him.

15:28 He sent him Athenobius, one of his friends, for an interview at which he was to say, ‘You are now occupying Joppa and Gezer and the Citadel in Jerusalem, which are towns in my kingdom.

15:29 You have laid waste their territory and done immense harm to the country; and you have seized many localities belonging to my kingdom.

15:30 Now either surrender the towns you have taken, with the revenue from the localities you have seized beyond the limits of Judaea,

15:31 or else pay me five hundred talents of silver in compensation for them and for the destruction you have done, and another five hundred talents for the revenues of the towns; otherwise we shall come and make war on you.’

15:32 When Athenobius, one of the Friends of the King, reached Jerusalem and saw Simon’s magnificence, his cabinet of gold and silver plate, and his large retinue, he was dumbfounded. He delivered the king’s message,

15:33 but Simon gave him this answer, ‘It is not any foreign land that we have taken, nor any foreign property that we have seized, but the inheritance of our ancestors, for some time unjustly wrested from us by our enemies;

15:34 now that we have a favourable opportunity, we are merely recovering the inheritance of our ancestors.

15:35 As for Joppa and Gezer, which you claim, these were towns that did great harm to the people and laid waste the countryside; we are prepared to give a hundred talents for them.’ Without so much as a word in answer,

15:36 the envoy went back to the king in a rage and reported on Simon’s answer and his magnificence, and on everything he had seen, at which the king fell into a fury.

Cendehaeus, governor of the Littoral, harasses Judaea

15:37 Trypho now boarded a ship and escaped to Orthosia.

15:38 The king appointed Cendebaeus commander-in-chief of the coastal region and allotted him a force of infantry and cavalry.

15:39 He ordered him to deploy his men facing Judaea, and instructed him to strengthen Kedron and fortify its gates, and to make war on the people, while the king himself went in pursuit of Trypho.

15:40 Cendebaeus arrived at Jamnia and began to harry the people forthwith, invading Judaea, imprisoning the people and massacring them.

15:41 He strengthened Kedron and stationed cavalry and troops there to make sorties and patrol the roads of Judaea, as the king had instructed him.

JB 1 MACCABEES Chapter 16

The victory of Simon’s sons over Cendebaeus

16:1 John then went up from Gezer and reported to his father Simon what Cendebaeus was busy doing.

16:2 At this, Simon summoned his two elder sons, Judas and John, and said to them, ‘I and my brothers and my father’s House have fought the enemies of Israel from our youth until today; the enterprises we directed have been successful, and many a time have we brought Israel deliverance.

16:3 But now I am an old man, while you, mercifully, are old enough; take my place and my brother’s, go out and fight for our nation, and may the support of heaven be with you.’

16:4 Then he selected from the country twenty thousand fighting men and cavalry, and these marched against Cendebaeus, spending the night at Modem.

16:5 Making an early start, they marched into the plain, to find a large army opposing them, both infantry and cavalry; there was, however, a wadi in between.

16:6 John drew up facing them, he and his people, and seeing that the men were afraid to cross the wadi he crossed over first himself. When his men saw this, they too crossed after him.

16:7 He divided his army into two bodies of foot, with the horse in the centre, the enemy’s cavalry being very numerous.

16:8 The trumpets rang out, and Cendebaeus was routed with his army; many of them fell mortally wounded, and the remainder took refuge in the fortress.

16:9 It was then that Judas, John’s brother, was wounded, but John pursued them until Cendebaeus reached Kedron, which he had strengthened.

16:10 Their flight took them as far as the towers in the countryside of Azotus, and John burnt these down. The enemy losses amounted to ten thousand men; John returned safely to Judaea.

Simon’s tragic death at Dok. His son John succeeds him

16:11 Ptolemy son of Abubus had been appointed military commissioner for the plain of Jericho; he owned much silver and gold,

16:12 and was the high priest’s son-in-law.

16:13 His ambition was fired; he hoped to make himself master of the whole country, and began to plot the ruin of Simon and his sons.

16:14 Simon, who was inspecting the towns up and down the country and attending to their administration, had come down to Jericho with his sons Mattathias and Judas, in the year one hundred and seventy-seven, in the eleventh month, the month of Shebat.

16:15 The son of Abubus lured them into a small fortress called Dok[*a], which he had built, where he offered them a great banquet, having men concealed about the place.

16:16 When Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy leapt to his feet with his men, and, grasping their weapons, they rushed on Simon in the banqueting hall and killed him with his two sons and some of his servants.

16:17 So he committed a great act of treachery, and rendered evil for good.

16:18 Ptolemy wrote a report of the affair and sent it to the king, in the expectation of being sent reinforcements and having the cities and the province made over to him.

16:19 He sent other men to Gezer to murder John, and sent written orders to the military commanders to come to him so that he could present them with silver and gold and gifts;

16:20 he also sent others to take possession of Jerusalem and the Temple hill.

16:21 But someone had been too quick for him and had already informed John in Gezer that his father and brothers had perished, adding, ‘He is also sending people to kill you too!’

16:22 Overcome as he was by the news, John arrested the men who had come to kill him and put them to death, since he already knew their murderous design.

16:23 The rest of John’s acts, the battles he fought and the exploits he performed, the city walls he built, and all his other achievements,

16:24 are to be found recorded in the Annals of his pontificate from the day he succeeded his father as high priest.

END OF JB 1 MACCABEES [16 Chapters].