1 Maccabees - 15

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1Antiochus son of King Demetrius addressed a letter from the Mediterranean Isles to Simon, priest andethnarch of the Jews, and to the whole nation; 2this was how it read: 'King Antiochus to Simon, high priest and ethnarch, and to the Jewish nation,greetings. 3'Whereas certain scoundrels have seized control of the kingdom of our fathers, and I propose to claimback the kingdom so that I may re-establish it as it was before, and whereas I have accordingly recruited verylarge forces and fitted out warships, 4intending to make a landing in the country and to hunt down the men who have ruined it and laidwaste many towns in my kingdom; 5'I now, therefore, confirm in your favour al remissions of taxes granted to you by the kings mypredecessors, as wel as the waiving of whatever presents they may have conceded. 6I hereby authorise you to mint your own coinage as legal tender for your own country. 7I declare Jerusalem and the sanctuary to be free; all the arms you have manufactured and thefortresses you have built and now occupy may remain yours. 8Al debts to the royal treasury, present or future, are cancel ed henceforth in perpetuity. 9Furthermore, when we have won back our kingdom, we shall bestow such great honour on yourself,your nation and the sanctuary as wil make your glory known throughout the world.' 10Antiochus invaded the land of his ancestors in the year 174 and, since the troops all rallied to him,Trypho was left with few supporters. 11Antiochus pursued the usurper, who took refuge in Dora on the coast, 12knowing that misfortunes were piling up on him and that his troops had deserted him. 13Antiochus pitched camp outside Dora with a hundred and twenty thousand fighting men and eightthousand cavalry. 14He laid siege to the city while the ships closed in from the sea, so that he had the city under attackfrom land and sea, and al owed no one to go in or come out. 15Numenius and his companions, meanwhile, arrived from Rome, bringing letters addressed to variouskings and states, in the fol owing terms: 16'Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, greetings. 17'The Jewish ambassadors have come to us as our friends and al ies to renew our original friendshipand alliance in the name of the high priest Simon and the Jewish people. 18They have brought a golden shield worth a thousand mina. 19Accordingly, we have seen fit to write to various kings and states, warning them neither to molest theJewish people nor to attack either them or their towns or their country, nor to al y themselves with any suchaggressors. 20We have seen fit to accept the shield from them. 21If, therefore, any scoundrels have fled their country to take refuge with you, hand them over to Simonthe high priest, to be punished by him according to their law.' 22The consul sent the same letter to King Demetrius, to Attalus, Ariarathes and Arsaces, 23and to all states, including Sampsames, the Spartans, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos,Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Arados, Gortyn, Cyprus and Cyrene. 24They also drew up a copy for Simon the high priest. 25Antiochus, meanwhile, from his positions on the outskirts of Dora, was continual y throwingdetachments against the town. He constructed siege-engines, and blockaded Trypho, preventing movement inor out. 26Simon sent him two thousand picked men to support him in the fight, with silver and gold and plentyof equipment. 27But Antiochus would not accept them; instead, he repudiated al his previous agreements with Simonand completely changed his attitude to him. 28He sent him Athenobius, one of his Friends, to confer with him and say, 'You are now occupyingJoppa and Gezer and the Citadel in Jerusalem, which are towns in my kingdom. 29You have laid waste their territory and done immense harm to the country; and you have seizedcontrol of many places properly in my kingdom. 30Either now surrender the towns you have taken and the taxes from the places you have seizedoutside the frontiers of Judaea, 31or else pay me five hundred talents of silver in compensation for them and for the destruction youhave done, and another five hundred talents for the taxes from the towns; otherwise we shall come and makewar on you.' 32When the King's Friend, Athenobius, reached Jerusalem and saw Simon's magnificence, his cabinetof gold and silver plate and the state he kept, he was dumbfounded. He delivered the king's message, 33but Simon gave him this answer, 'We have not taken foreign territory or any alien property but haveoccupied our ancestral heritage, for some time unjustly wrested from us by our enemies; 34now that we have a favourable opportunity, we are merely recovering our ancestral heritage. 35As regards Joppa and Gezer, which you claim, these were towns that did great harm to our peopleand laid waste our country; we are prepared to give a hundred talents for them.' Without so much as a word inanswer, 36the 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 fel into a fury. 37Trypho now boarded a ship and escaped to Orthosia. 38The king appointed Cendebaeus military governor of the coastal region and al otted him a force ofinfantry and cavalry. 39He ordered him to deploy his men facing Judaea, and instructed him to rebuild Kedron and fortify itsgates, and to make war on our people, while the king himself went in pursuit of Trypho. 40Cendebaeus arrived at Jamnia and began to provoke our people forthwith, invading Judaea, takingprisoners, and massacring. 41Having rebuilt Kedron, he stationed cavalry and troops there to make sorties and patrol the roads ofJudaea, as the king had ordered.
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