1 Maccabees - 10


1In the year 160, Alexander, son of Antiochus Epiphanes, raised an army and occupied Ptolemais. Hewas wel received, and there inaugurated his reign. 2On hearing this, King Demetrius assembled a very large army and marched off to do battle with him. 3Demetrius furthermore sent Jonathan a most conciliatory letter, promising to promote him in rank, 4for, as he said, 'We had better move first to come to terms with these people before he makescommon cause with Alexander against us; 5he wil not have forgotten al the wrongs we inflicted on him and his brothers, and on his nation.' 6He even authorised him to raise an army, to manufacture arms, and to describe himself as his al y,and ordered the hostages in the Citadel to be surrendered to him. 7Jonathan went straight to Jerusalem and read the letter in the hearing of the whole people and of themen in the Citadel. 8They were terrified when they heard that the king had given him authority to raise an army. 9The men in the Citadel surrendered the hostages to Jonathan, who handed them back to theirparents. 10Jonathan then took up residence in Jerusalem and began the rebuilding and restoration of the city. 11He ordered those responsible for the work to build the wal s and the defences round Mount Zion ofsquared stone blocks to make them stronger, and this was done. 12The foreigners in the fortresses built by Bacchides abandoned them, 13one after another leaving his post to go back to his own country. 14Only at Beth-Zur were a few left of those who had forsaken the Law and the precepts, since this wastheir refuge. 15King Alexander heard of al the promises Demetrius had sent to Jonathan, and he was also given anaccount of the battles and exploits of this man and his brothers and of the hardships they had endured. 16'Shal we ever find another man like him?' he exclaimed. 'We must make him our friend and al y!' 17He therefore wrote him a letter, addressing him in these terms: 18'King Alexander to his brother Jonathan, greetings. 19'You have been brought to our notice as a strong man of action and as someone who deserves to beour friend. 20Accordingly, we have today appointed you high priest of your nation, with the title of "Friend of theKing" ' -- he also sent him a purple robe and a golden crown-'and you are to study our interests and maintainfriendly relations with us.' 21Jonathan put on the sacred vestments in the seventh month of the year 160, on the feast of Shelters;he then set about raising troops and manufacturing arms in quantity. 22Demetrius was displeased when he heard what had happened. 23'What have we been doing,' he said, 'for Alexander to forestal us in winning the friendship of theJews and so improving his own position? 24I too shall address an appeal to them, offering them advancement and riches as an inducement tosupport me.' 25And he wrote to them as fol ows: 'King Demetrius to the Jewish nation, greetings. 26'We have heard how you have kept your agreement with us and have maintained friendly relationswith us and have not gone over to our enemies, and it has given us great satisfaction. 27If you now continue to keep faith with us, we shal make you a handsome return for what you do onour behalf. 28We shal accord you many exemptions and grant you privileges. 29'Henceforth I release you and exempt al the Jews from the tribute, the salt dues and the crownlevies, 30and whereas I am entitled to one-third of the grain and one-half of the fruit of the trees, I release fromthis levy, from today and for the future, Judaea and the three districts annexed to it from Samaria-Galilee, fromthis day henceforth in perpetuity. 31Jerusalem wil be sacred and exempt, with its territory, from tithes and dues. 32I relinquish control of the Citadel in Jerusalem and make it over to the high priest, so that he mayman it with a garrison of his own choosing. 33Every Jewish person taken from Judaea into captivity in any part of my kingdom I set free withoutransom, and decree that al wil be exempt from taxes, even on their livestock. 34Al festivals, Sabbaths, New Moons and days of special observance, and the three days before andthree days after a festival, wil be days of exemption and quittance for al the Jews in my kingdom, 35and no one wil have the right to exact payment from, or to molest, any of them for any matterwhatsoever. 36'Jews will be enrol ed in the king's forces to the number of thirty thousand men and receivemaintenance on the same scale as the rest of the king's forces. 37Some of them wil be stationed in the king's major fortresses, and from among others appointmentswil be made to positions of trust in the kingdom. Their officers and commanders will be appointed from their ownnumber and wil live under their own laws, as the king has prescribed for Judaea. 38'As regards the three districts annexed to Judaea from the province of Samaria, these wil beintegrated into Judaea and considered as coming under one governor, obeying the high priest's authority and noother. 39Ptolemais and the land thereto pertaining I present to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, to meet thenecessary expenses of public worship. 40And I make a personal grant of fifteen thousand silver shekels annual y chargeable to the royalrevenue from appropriate places. 41And the entire surplus, which has not been paid in by the officials as in previous years, wilhenceforth be paid over by them for work on the Temple. 42In addition, the sum of five thousand silver shekels, levied annual y on the profits of the sanctuary, asshown in the annual accounts, is also relinquished as the perquisite of the priests who perform the liturgy. 43Anyone who takes refuge in the Temple in Jerusalem or any of its precincts, when in debt to theroyal exchequer or otherwise, wil be discharged in ful possession of al the goods he owns in my kingdom. 44As regards the building and restoration of the sanctuary, the expense of the work wil be met fromthe royal exchequer. 45The reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem and the fortification of the perimeter will also be acharge on the royal exchequer, as also the reconstruction of other city wal s in Judaea.' 46When Jonathan and the people heard these proposals, they put no faith in them and refused toaccept them, remembering what great wrongs Demetrius had done to Israel and how cruel y he had oppressedthem. 47They decided in favour of Alexander, since he seemed to offer the better inducements of the two,and they became his constant al ies. 48King Alexander now mustered large forces and advanced against Demetrius. 49The two kings met in battle. Alexander's army was routed, and Demetrius pursued him and defeatedhis troops. 50He continued the battle with vigour until sunset. Demetrius himself, however, was kil ed the sameday. 51Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemy king of Egypt, with this message: 52'Since I have returned to my kingdom, have ascended the throne of my ancestors, have gainedcontrol by crushing Demetrius, and so recovered our country- 53for I fought him and we crushed both him and his army, and I now occupy his royal throne- 54let us now make a treaty of friendship. Give me your daughter in marriage: as your son-in-law, I shalgive you, and her, presents which are worthy of you.' 55King Ptolemy replied as follows: 'Happy the day when you returned to the land of your ancestors andascended their royal throne! 56I shal at once do for you what your letter proposes; but meet me at Ptolemais, so that we can seeone another, and I shall become your father-in-law, as you have asked.' 57Ptolemy left Egypt with his daughter Cleopatra and reached Ptolemais in the year 162. 58King Alexander went to meet him, and Ptolemy gave him the hand of his daughter Cleopatra andcelebrated her wedding in Ptolemais with great magnificence, as kings do. 59King Alexander then wrote to Jonathan to come and meet him. 60Jonathan made his way in state to Ptolemais and met the two kings; he gave them and their friendssilver and gold, and many gifts, and made a favourable impression on them. 61A number of scoundrels, the pest of Israel, combined to denounce him, but the king paid no attentionto them. 62In fact, the king commanded that Jonathan should be divested of his own garments and clothed inthe purple, which was done. 63The king then seated him by his side and said to his officers, 'Escort him into the centre of the cityand proclaim that no one is to bring charges against him on any count; no one is to molest him for any reason.' 64And so, when his accusers saw the honour done him by this proclamation, and Jonathan himselfinvested in the purple, they all fled. 65The king did him the honour of enrol ing him among the First Friends, and appointed himcommander-in-chief and governor-general. 66Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem in peace and gladness. 67In the year 165, Demetrius son of Demetrius came from Crete to the land of his ancestors. 68When King Alexander heard of it he was plunged into gloom, and retired to Antioch. 69Demetrius confirmed Apol onius as governor of Coele-Syria; the latter assembled a large force,encamped at Jamnia and sent the fol owing message to Jonathan the high priest: 70'You are entirely alone in rising against us, and now I find myself ridiculed and reproached on youraccount. Why do you use your authority to our disadvantage in the mountains? 71If you are so confident in your forces, come down now to meet us on the plain and let us take eachother's measure there; on my side I have the strength of the towns. 72Ask and learn who I am and who the others supporting us are. You will hear that you cannot standup to us, since your ancestors were twice routed on their own ground, 73nor wil you now be able to withstand the cavalry or so great an army on the plain, where there isneither rock, nor stone, nor refuge of any kind.' 74On hearing Apollonius' words, Jonathan's spirit was roused; he picked ten thousand men and leftJerusalem, and his brother Simon joined him with reinforcements. 75He drew up his forces outside Joppa, the citizens having shut him out, since Apol onius had agarrison in Joppa. When they began the attack, 76the citizens took fright and opened the gates, and Jonathan occupied Joppa. 77Hearing this, Apol onius marshal ed three thousand cavalry and a large army and made his way toAzotus as though intending to march through, while in fact pressing on into the plain, since he had a greatnumber of cavalry on which he was relying. 78Jonathan pursued him as far as Azotus, where the armies joined battle. 79Now, Apol onius had left a thousand horsemen in concealment behind them. 80Jonathan knew of this enemy position behind him; the horsemen surrounded his army, firing theirarrows into his men from morning til evening. 81But the troops stood firm, as Jonathan had ordered. Once the cavalry was exhausted, 82Simon sent his own troops into attack against the phalanx, which he cut to pieces and routed. 83The cavalry scattered over the plain and fled to Azotus, where they took sanctuary in Beth-Dagon,the temple of their idol. 84Jonathan, however, set fire to Azotus and the surrounding towns, plundered them, and burned downthe temple of Dagon, with al the fugitives who had crowded into it. 85The enemy losses, counting those who fell by the sword and those burnt to death, total ed abouteight thousand men. 86Jonathan then left and pitched camp outside Ascalon, where the citizens came out to meet him withgreat ceremony. 87Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem with his fol owers, laden with booty. 88In the event, when King Alexander heard what had happened, he awarded Jonathan furtherhonours: 89he sent him the golden brooch, of the kind customarily presented to the King's Cousins, and gavehim proprietary rights over Ekron and the land adjoining it.
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