1 Maccabees - 14


1In the year 172, King Demetrius assembled his forces and marched into Media to raise help for thefight against Trypho.
2When Arsaces king of Persia and Media heard that Demetrius had entered his territory, he sent one ofhis generals to capture him alive.
3The general defeated the army of Demetrius, seized him and brought him to Arsaces, who imprisonedhim.
4The country was at peace throughout the days of Simon. He sought the good of his nation and theywere wel pleased with his authority, as with his magnificence, throughout his life.
5To crown his titles to glory, he took Joppa and made it a harbour, gaining access to the MediterraneanIsles.
6He enlarged the frontiers of his nation, keeping his mastery over the homeland,
7resettling a host of captives. He conquered Gezer, Beth-Zur and the Citadel, ridding them of everyimpurity, and no one could resist him.
8The people farmed their land in peace; the land gave its produce, the trees of the plain their fruit.
9The elders sat at ease in the squares, all their talk was of their prosperity; the young men woresplendid armour.
10He kept the towns supplied with provisions and furnished with fortifications, until his fame resoundedto the ends of the earth.
11He established peace in the land, and Israel knew great joy.
12Each man sat under his own vine and his own fig tree, and there was no one to make them afraid.
13No enemy was left in the land to fight them, the very kings of those times had been crushed.
14He encouraged the afflicted members of his people, suppressing every wicked man and renegade.He strove to observe the Law,
15and gave new splendour to the Temple, enriching it with many sacred vessels.
16When it became known in Rome and as far as Sparta that Jonathan was dead, people were deeplygrieved.
17But as soon as they heard that his brother Simon had succeeded him as high priest and was masterof the country and the cities in it,
18they wrote to him on bronze tablets to renew the treaty of friendship and al iance which they hadmade with his brothers, Judas and Jonathan,
19and the document was read out before the assembly in Jerusalem.
20This is the copy of the letter sent by the Spartans: 'The rulers and the city of Sparta, to Simon thehigh priest and to the elders and priests and the rest of the people of the Jews, greetings.
21'The ambassadors whom you sent to our people have informed us of your glory and prosperity, andwe are delighted with their visit.
22We have recorded their declarations in the minutes of our public assemblies, as fol ows, "Numeniusson of Antiochus, and Antipater son of Jason, ambassadors of the Jews, came to us to renew their friendshipwith us.
23And it was the people's pleasure to receive these personages with honour and to deposit a copy oftheir statements in the public archives, so that the people of Sparta might preserve a record of them. A copy wasalso made for Simon the high priest." '
24After this, Simon sent Numenius to Rome as the bearer of a large golden shield weighing a thousandmina, to confirm the alliance with them.
25When these events were reported to our people, they said, 'What mark of appreciation shal we giveto Simon and his sons?
26He stood firm, he and his brothers and his father's house: he fought off the enemies of Israel andsecured its freedom.' So they recorded an inscription on bronze tablets and set it up on pil ars on Mount Zion.
27This is a copy of the text: 'The eighteenth of Elul, in the year 172, being the third year of Simon,eminent high priest:
28'In Asaramel, in the Grand Assembly of priests and people, of princes of the nation and of elders ofthe country: 'We are acquainted with the matters fol owing:
29'When there was almost incessant fighting in the country Simon, son of Mattathias, a priest of theline of Joarib, and his brothers courted danger and withstood their nation's enemies to safeguard the integrity oftheir sanctuary and of the Law, and so brought their nation great glory;
30'For when, Jonathan having ral ied his nation and become its high priest and having then beengathered to his ancestors,
31the enemy planned to invade the country, intending to devastate their territory and to lay hands ontheir sanctuary,
32Simon next came forward to fight for his nation: spending much of his personal wealth on arming hisnation's fighting men and on providing their pay;
33fortifying the towns of Judaea, as wel as Beth-Zur on the Judaean frontier where the enemy arsenalhad formerly been, and stationing in it a garrison of Jewish soldiers;
34fortifying Joppa on the coast, and Gezer on the borders of Azotus, a place formerly inhabited by theenemy, founding a Jewish colony there, and providing the settlers with everything they needed to set them ontheir feet;
35'In consequence of which, the people, aware of Simon's loyalty and of the glory which he wasdetermined to win for his nation, have made him their ethnarch and high priest, for all his services and for theintegrity and loyalty which he has shown towards his nation, and for having by every means sought to enhancehis people's power;
36'It has fal en to him in his time to expel the foreigners from his country, including those in the City ofDavid in Jerusalem, who had converted it into a citadel for their own use, from which they would sal y out todefile the surroundings of the sanctuary and to violate its sacred character;
37to station Jewish soldiers there instead for the security of the country and the city; and to heightenthe wal s of Jerusalem;
38'And since King Demetrius has heard that the Romans call the Jews their friends, al ies and brothers,
39and that they have given an honourable reception to Simon's ambassadors, and, furthermore,
40that the Jews and priests are happy that Simon should, pending the advent of a genuine prophet, betheir ethnarch and high priest for life
41therefore he has confirmed him in the high-priestly office, has raised him to the rank of Friend andhas showered great honours on him, also confirming him as their commander-in-chief,
42with the right to appoint officials to oversee the fabric of the sanctuary and to administer the country,munitions and fortresses;
43he is to have personal charge of the sanctuary, and to be obeyed by al ; al official documents in thecountry must be drawn up in his name; and he may assume the purple and may wear golden ornaments;
44'Furthermore, it is against the law for any member of the public or of the priesthood to contraveneany of these enactments or to contest his decisions, or to convene a meeting anywhere in the country without hispermission, or to assume the purple or wear the golden brooch;
45and anyone acting contrary to, or rejecting any article of, these enactments is liable to punishment;
46'And since the people have unanimously agreed to grant Simon the right to act as aforesaid, and
47since Simon, for his part, has given his assent, and has consented to assume the high-priestly officeand to be commander-in-chief and ethnarch of the Jews and their priests, and to preside over al :
48'So, be it now enacted: that this record be inscribed on bronze tablets and be erected at someconspicuous place within the precincts of the Temple,
49and that copies be deposited in the Treasury for Simon and his descendants.'
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