1 Maccabees - 11


1The king of Egypt then assembled an army as numerous as the sands of the seashore, with manyships, and set out to take possession of Alexander's kingdom by a ruse and add it to his own kingdom. 2He set off for Syria with protestations of peace, and the people of the towns opened their gates to himand came out to meet him, since King Alexander's orders were to welcome him, Ptolemy being his father-in-law. 3On entering the towns, however, Ptolemy quartered troops as a garrison in each one. 4When he reached Azotus he was shown the burnt-out temple of Dagon, with Azotus and its suburbsin ruins, corpses scattered here and there, and the charred remains of those whom Jonathan had burnt to deathin the battle, piled into heaps along his route. 5They explained to the king what Jonathan had done, hoping for his disapproval; but the king saidnothing. 6Jonathan went in state to meet the king at Joppa, where they greeted each other and spent the night. 7Jonathan accompanied the king as far as the river called Eleutherus, and then returned to Jerusalem. 8King Ptolemy for his part occupied the coastal towns as far as Seleucia on the coast, al the whilematuring his wicked designs against Alexander. 9He sent envoys to King Demetrius to say, 'Come and let us make a treaty; I shall give you mydaughter, whom Alexander now has, and you shal rule your father's kingdom. 10I regret having given my daughter to that man, since he has tried to kil me.' 11He made this accusation because he coveted his kingdom. 12Having carried off his daughter and bestowed her on Demetrius, he broke with Alexander, and theirenmity became open. 13Ptolemy next entered Antioch and assumed the crown of Asia; he now wore on his head the twocrowns of Egypt and Asia. 14King Alexander was in Cilicia at the time, since the people of those parts had risen in revolt, 15but when he heard the news, he advanced on his rival to give battle, while Ptolemy for his part alsotook the field, met him with a strong force and routed him. 16Alexander fled to Arabia for refuge, and King Ptolemy reigned supreme. 17Zabdiel the Arab cut off Alexander's head and sent it to Ptolemy. 18Three days later King Ptolemy died, and the Egyptian garrisons in the strongholds were kil ed by thelocal inhabitants. 19So Demetrius became king in the year 167. 20At the same time, Jonathan mustered the men of Judaea for an assault on the Citadel of Jerusalem,and they set up numerous siege-engines against it. 21But some renegades who hated their nation made their way to the king and told him that Jonathanwas besieging the Citadel. 22The king was angered by the news. No sooner had he been informed than he set out and came toPtolemais. He wrote to Jonathan, tel ing him to raise the siege and to meet him for a conference in Ptolemais assoon as possible. 23When Jonathan heard this, he gave orders for the siege to continue; he then selected a deputationfrom the elders of Israel and the priests, and took the deliberate risk 24of himself taking silver and gold, clothing and numerous other presents, and going to Ptolemais toface the king, whose favour he succeeded in winning; 25and although one or two renegades of his nation brought charges against him, 26the king treated him as his predecessors had treated him, and promoted him in the presence of alhis friends. 27He confirmed him in the high-priesthood and whatever other distinctions he already held, and hadhim ranked among the First Friends. 28Jonathan asked the king to exempt Judaea and the three Samaritan districts from taxation,promising him three hundred talents in return. 29The king consented, and wrote Jonathan a rescript covering the whole matter, in these terms: 30'King Demetrius to Jonathan his brother, and to the Jewish nation, greetings. 31'We have written to Lasthenes our cousin concerning you, and now send you this copy of ourrescript for your own information: 32"King Demetrius to his father Lasthenes, greetings. 33"The nation of the Jews is our al y; they fulfil their obligations to us, and in view of their goodwilltowards us we have decided to show them our bounty. 34We confirm them in their possession of the territory of Judaea and the three districts of Aphairema,Lydda and Ramathaim; these were annexed to Judaea from Samaritan territory, with al their dependencies, infavour of al who offer sacrifice in Jerusalem, instead of the royal dues which the king formerly received fromthem every year, from the yield of the soil and the fruit crops. 35As regards our other rights over the tithes and taxes due to us, over the salt marshes, and the crowntaxes due to us, as from today we release them from them al . 36None of these grants will be revoked henceforth or anywhere. 37You wil make yourself responsible for having a copy of this made, to be given to Jonathan anddisplayed on the holy mountain in a conspicuous place." ' 38When King Demetrius saw that the country was at peace under his rule and that no resistance wasoffered him, he dismissed his forces, and sent al the men home, except for the foreign troops that he hadrecruited in the foreign island, thus incurring the enmity of the veterans who had served his ancestors. 39Now Trypho, one of Alexander's former supporters, noting that al the troops were muttering againstDemetrius, went to see Iamleku, the Arab who was bringing up Antiochus, Alexander's young son, 40and repeatedly urged him to let him have the boy, so that he might succeed his father as king; hetold him of Demetrius' decision and of the resentment it had aroused among his troops. He spent a long timethere. 41Jonathan, meanwhile, sent to ask King Demetrius to withdraw the garrisons from the Citadel inJerusalem and from the other fortresses, since they were constantly fighting Israel. 42Demetrius sent word back to Jonathan, 'Not only wil I do this for you and for your nation, but I shalheap honours on you and your nation if I find a favourable opportunity. 43For the present, you would do wel to send me reinforcements, since al my troops have deserted.' 44Jonathan sent three thousand experienced soldiers to him in Antioch; when they reached the king,he was delighted at their arrival. 45The citizens crowded together in the centre of the city, to the number of some hundred and twentythousand, intending to kil the king. 46The king took refuge in the palace, while the citizens occupied the thoroughfares of the city andbegan to attack. 47The king then cal ed on the Jews for help; and these al ral ied round him, then fanned out throughthe city, and that day kil ed about a hundred thousand of its inhabitants. 48They fired the city, seizing a great deal of plunder at the same time, and secured the king's safety. 49When the citizens saw that the Jews had the city at their mercy, their courage failed them, and theymade an abject appeal to the king, 50'Give us the right hand of peace, and let the Jews stop their fight against us and the city.' 51They threw down their arms and made peace. The Jews were covered in glory, in the eyes of theking and of everyone else in his kingdom. Having won renown in his kingdom, they returned to Jerusalem ladenwith booty. 52Thus, King Demetrius sat al the more securely on his royal throne, and the country was quiet underhis government. 53But he gave the lie to all the promises he had made, and changed his attitude to Jonathan, givingnothing in return for the services Jonathan had rendered him, but thwarting him at every turn. 54After this, Trypho came back with the little boy Antiochus, who became king and was crowned. 55Al the troops that Demetrius had summarily dismissed rallied to Antiochus, and made war onDemetrius, who turned tail and fled. 56Trypho captured the elephants and seized Antioch. 57Young Antiochus then wrote as fol ows to Jonathan: 'I confirm you in the high-priesthood and set youover the four districts and appoint you one of the Friends of the King.' 58He sent him a service of gold plate, and granted him the right to drink from gold vessels, and to wearthe purple and the golden brooch. 59He appointed his brother Simon commander-in-chief of the region from the Ladder of Tyre to thefrontiers of Egypt. 60Jonathan then set out and made a progress through Transeuphrates and its towns, and the entireSyrian army rallied to his support. He came to Ascalon and was received in state by the inhabitants. 61From 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. 62The people of Gaza then pleaded with Jonathan, and he made peace with them; but he took thesons of their chief men as hostages and sent them away to Jerusalem. He then travel ed through the country asfar as Damascus. 63Jonathan now learned that Demetrius' generals had arrived at Kadesh in Galilee with a large army,intending to remove him from office, 64and went to engage them, leaving his brother Simon inside the country. 65Simon laid siege to Beth-Zur, attacking it day after day, and blockading the inhabitants 66til they sued for peace, which he granted them, though he expel ed them from the town andoccupied it, stationing a garrison there. 67Jonathan and his army, meanwhile, having pitched camp by the Lake of Gennesar, rose early, andby morning were already in the plain of Hazor. 68The foreigners' army advanced to fight them on the plain, having first positioned an ambush for himin the mountains. While the main body was advancing directly towards the Jews, 69the troops in ambush broke cover and attacked first. 70Al the men with Jonathan fled; no one was left, except Mattathias son of Absalom and Judas son ofChalphi, the generals of his army. 71At this, Jonathan tore his garments, put dust on his head, and prayed. 72Then he returned to the fight and routed the enemy, who fled. 73When the fugitives from his own forces saw this, they came back to him and joined in the pursuit asfar as Kadesh where the enemy encampment was, and there they themselves pitched camp. 74About three thousand of the foreign troops fel that day. Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem.
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