I Maccabees


I Maccabees reports the reign of the Hasmonean dynasty. This began with the first appointment of Mattathaias and his five sons who were to become leaders in the resistance against the Seleucid oppression. This brings about the enthronement of the dynasty and the establishment of the state of Judah.

The book begins with the death of Alexander the Great and the rise in power by the Seleuid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanies, who attacks the Jews and destroys the temple. Judas Maccabeus then rallied the Jews, urging them to recover and purify the temple, thus establishing himself as a powerful leader.

The Hasmoneans were skilled diplomats and also skilled in war, thereby benefiting from the instability of the Seleucid kings. Following the death of Judas his brother Jonathan was chosen to be the leader of the Jews, having been appointed as the high priest by the Seleucid king Demetrius II. This was an important move on the part of Demetrius II since he needed help in opposing his rival, Antiochus Epiphanies. Upon the death of Jonathan his brother Simon was installed to be the leader as the leader and high priest, and the state of Judea was granted independence by Demetrius II. It was in this manner that, following the accession of Simon’s son John Hyrcanus, that the Hasmonean dynasty came into being. This results in the two cultures being at odds and one sees these two cultures each trying to be dominant. One can also see that the writer is more enthused about some events than others, and spends time in writing those events he enjoys with graphic description, and almost omitting others that do not suit his interest.

The manuscripts are basically found in Greek or Latin. Assuming that there was an original Hebrew text it was most certainly lost not too long after it had been written. The book, it is assumed, was written shortly after the death of the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus in 104 B.C.E. Scholars seem to agree that it surely was written by 70 B.C.E. There are also some Syriac manuscripts, but the Syriac appears in two recensions and thus is not particularly helpful. There is no indication as to where the book was written but scholars assume it was written in Palestine by someone who had a very high regard for the priesthood, who also was tolerant and loyal to the Law as it was being interpreted by the Hasmonean leadership.

Prior to the time of the Maccabees the Jews generally tried to live in a cooperative and peaceful manner toward the other cultures, even though these other cultures might have ruled over them. They looked upon foreign rulers as a means God used to chasten them and to redeem Israel. To live under submission was looked upon as God’s way of directing people who had been obstinate and independent.

With the rise of the Hasmonean dynasty and an armed revolt against the Seleucid kingdom, people were called upon to obey the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, also called the Law). They were called to join in the revolt, though there were those who felt martyrdom would be what God would want, rather than engaging in war.

The account does not always correspond to the history recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus. I Maccabees however is thought to be an accurate historical book which corresponds with the histories of Polybius and other Greek historians.

The book is written in a style much like that of the biblical books of Samuel and Kings. There are some poetic fragments which seem to be an attempt to provide a historical framework to the narration of the book.

A brief outline might be:


1. The revolt of Matthias 1:1 – 2:10

2. The Leadership of Judas Maccabeus 3::1 - 9:22

3. The Leadership of Jonathan 9”23 – 12:53

4. The Leadership of Simon 13:1 – 16:24



Alexander the Great

1 After [1] Alexander [2] son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came from the land of Kittim, [3] had defeated [4] King Darius of the Persians and the Medes, he succeeded him as king. (He had previously become king of Greece.) 2 He waged many battles, conquered strongholds, and slaughtered the kings of the earth. 3 He advanced to the ends of the earth, and plundered many nations. After the earth became quiet because he had been such a great conqueror, he was filled with pride, and he became arrogant. 4 He gathered a very powerful army and ruled over countries, nations, and princes, and they were forced to pay him tribute.

5 After this he became ill [5] and perceived that he was dying. 6 So he summoned his most loyal and honored officers, who had been brought up with him from youth, and divided his kingdom among them while he was still living. 7 After Alexander had reigned twelve years, he died.

Antiochus Epiphanies and the Renegade Jews

8 Then his officers succeed him, each in his own domain. 9 They all put on crowns after his death, and so did their descendants after them for many years; and they caused much evil on the earth.

10 From them came forth an impious ruler, Antiochus Epiphanies, [6] son of King Antiochus; who had been a hostage in Rome before he began to reign in the one hundred thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. [7]

11 In those days certain renegades came out from Israel and misled many, saying; “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles around us, for since we separated from them many disasters have come upon us.” [8] 12 This proposal was widely accepted, 13 and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to initiate the ordinances of the Gentiles into their way of life. 14 So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, 15 and removed the marks of circumcision, and repudiated the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.

Antiochus Attacks Egypt

16 When Antiochus saw that his kingdom was firmly established, he determined to become king of the land of Egypt, in order that he might reign over both kingdoms. 17 So he invaded Egypt with a powerful force, [9] with chariots and elephants and cavalry and with a large fleet. 18 He engaged King Ptolemy [10] of Egypt in battle, and Ptolemy turned and fled before him, and many were wounded and fell. 19 They captured the fortified cites in the land of Egypt and he plundered the land of Egypt.

Antiochus Persecutes Jews

20 After subduing Egypt, Antiochus returned in the one hundred forty-third year. [11] He went up against Israel with a powerful force and came to Jerusalem. 21 In his arrogance entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lamp-stand for the light, and all its utensils. 22 He also took the table for the Bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decorations on the front of the temple; stripping it all off. 23 He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels; he also took the hidden treasures that he found, 24 taking them all, he went into his own land. He shed much blood, and boasted arrogantly of what he had done.

25 Israel mourned deeply in every community,

26 rulers and elders groaned,

young women and young men became faint,.

the beauty of the women disappeared..

28 Every bridegroom took up the lament;

she who sat in the bridal chamber was mourning.

29 Even the land trembled for its inhabitants,

and all the house of Jacob was wrapped in shame.

29 Two years [12] later the king sent a chief officer responsible for the collection of tribute from the cities of Judah came to Jerusalem with a large force. 30 Deceitfully he spoke peaceable words to them, and they believed him, but he suddenly launched a severe attack upon the city, dealing it a severe blow, and slaughtered many people in Israel. 31 He sacked the city, burned it with fire and tore down its houses and surrounding walls. 32 They took the women and children captive and seized the livestock. 33 Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers, and it became a citadel. 34 They stationed sinful people there: men who were renegades. These strengthened their position, 35 for they stored up arms and food, and collected the spoils of Jerusalem which they stored there, and became a great menace, (or, a place of ambush.) 36 for the citadel [13] became an ambush against the sanctuary, an evil adversity of Israel at all times.

37 On every side of the sanctuary they shed innocent blood,

they even defiled the sanctuary.

38 Because of them the residents of Jerusalem fled,

she became a dwelling of aliens,

she, herself, was a stranger to her offspring,

and her children forsook her.

39 Her sanctuary became as desolate as a desert,

her feasts were turned into mourning,

her Sabbaths into a reproach,

her honor into contempt.

40 Her dishonor now grew as great as her glory,

her exaltation was turned into mourning.

41 Then the king wrote and edict to be sent to his entire kingdom that all should be one nation, 42 and that all should give up their particular customs. 43 All the Gentiles consented to the command of the king. Even many from Israel gladly accepted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath. 44 The king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, 45 to halt all burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane Sabbaths and festivals, 46 to defile the sanctuary and the priests, 47 to build pagan altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice hogs and other unclean cattle, 48 and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to defile themselves by everything unclean and profane, 49 so that they would forget the law and change all the ordinances. 50 He added, [14] “And whoever does not obey the command or the king will die.”

51 In such words he wrote to his entire kingdom. He appointed inspectors over all the people and commanded the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice, town by town. 52 Many of the people who forsook the law, joined them and they did evil in the land’ 53 they caused the people of Israel to go into hiding in every place of refuge they had.

54 Now on the fifteenth day [15] of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year, [16] they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offerings. They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah, 55 and offered incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.[17] 56The books of the law that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire. 57 Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death by decree of the king. 58 They kept using violence against Israel, against those who were found month after month in the towns. 59 On the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offering. 60 According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised, 61 and their families and those who circumcised them, and they hung the infants from their mothers; necks. [18]

62 But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. 63 They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food orto profane the holy covenant; and they did die. 64 Very great wrath came on Israel.


The Faithfulness of Mattathias

1 In those days Mattathias son of John son of Simeon a priest from the family of Joarib, [19] moved from Jerusalem and settled in Modein [20] 2 He had five sons, John surnamed Gaddi, 3 Simon called Thassi, 4 Judas called Maccabeus, 5 Eleazar called Avaran,and Jonathan called Apphus. 6 Mattathias saw the blasphemies (or, sacrelige) being committed in Judah and Jerusalem, 7 and said,

“Alas! Why was I born to see the ruin of my people,

the ruin of the holy city,

to live there (or, sit by) when it was given over to the enemy,

and the sanctuary given over to foreigners?

8 Her temple has become like a person robbed of honor, [21].

9 Her glorious vessels have been carried into exile.

Her infants have been slain in her streets,

and her youths by the sword of the foe.

10 What nation has not inherited her palaces, [22] [has been usurped of her authority]

and has not seized her spoils? [23]

11 All [24] her adornment has been taken away;

no longer free, she has become a slave.

12 And see, our holy place, our beauty,

and our glory has been laid waste,

the Gentiles have profaned them.

13 Why should we live any longer?”

14 Then Mattathias and his sons tore their clothes, [25] put on sackcloth, and mourned greatly.

15 The king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them offer sacrifice. 16 Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons stood apart. 17 Then the king’s officers spoke but Mattathias as follows: “You are a great and influential leader, honored in this town, and supported by your sons and brothers. 18 Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the people of Judah and those who are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be counted among the Friends of the King, [26] and you will be highly honored with silver and gold and many gifts.”

19 But Mattathias replied in a loud voice: “Even if all the nations that live under the king’s domain have chosen to obey his commandments, everyone of them abandoning the religion of our ancestors; 20 I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. 21 Far be it from us to abandon the law and the ordinances. 22 We will not obey the king’s commands, by turning aside from our religion: to the right hand or to the left.”

23 Just as he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of everyone to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein, according to the king’s command. 24 When Mattathias saw it he burned with zeal [27] and his heart [28] was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger, he ran and killed him on the altar. 25 At the same time he killed the king’s officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he demolished the pagan altar. 26 Thus he burned with zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did against Zimri son of Salu.

The Geurrilla Warfare of Mattathias

27 Then Mattathias shouted in the town with a loud voice, saying, “Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant follow me.” 28 Then he and his sons fled to the hills and left al that they had in the town.

29 At that time many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to live there, 30 they, their children, their wives, and their livestock, because troubles pressed heavily upon them. 31 It was reported to the king officers, and to the troops in Jerusalem the city of David, that those who had rejected the king’s command had gone down to the hiding places in the wilderness. 32 Many pursued them, and overtook them, they encamped opposite them and prepared for battle against them on the Sabbath day. .33 They said to them, “Enough of this! Come out and do what the king commands, and you will live.” 34 But they replied, ”We will not come out, nor will we do what the king commands and so profane the Sabbath day.” 35 Then the enemy [29] quickly attacked them. 36 They did not answer then nor throw a stone at then, [30] nor would they block up their hiding places, 37 for they said, “Let us all die in our innocence 9oe integrity); heaven and earth testify for us that you are killing us unjustly.” 38 So they attacked them on the Sabbath and they died, with their wives and children and livestock, to the number of a thousand persons. [31]

39 When Mattathias and his friends learned of it, they mourned for them deeply. 40 All said to their neighbors, “If we all do as our relatives did and refuse to fight with the Gentiles for our lives and for our ordinances, they will quickly destroy us from the earth. “ 41 So they made the decision that day “Let us fight against anyone who comes to attack us on the sabbath day, let us not all die as our relatives died in their hiding places.” [We will fight back if attacked.]

42 Then a company of Hasideans, [32] mighty warring Israelites, all who offered themselves willingly for the law united with the Maccabeeans. 43 All who became fugitives to escape their troubles joined them and reinforced them. 44 They organized an army, and struck down sinners in their anger and renegades in their wrath, the survivors fled to the Gentiles for safety. 45 Mattathias and his friends went around and tore down the altars; 46 they forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised boys that they found within the borders of Israel. 46 They hunted down the arrogant, [33] and the cause prospered in their hands. 48 They rescued the law out of the hands of the Gentiles and kings, and they never let the sinner gain the upper hand.

The Death of Mattathias

49 Now the days drew near for Mattathias to die, and he said to his sons, “Arrogance and scorn have now become strong; it is a time for ruin and furious anger. 50

Now, my children, show zeal for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of our ancestors.

51 “Keep in mind the deeds of the ancestors, which they did in their generations, and you will receive great honor and an everlasting name. 52 Was not Abraham found faithful and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? 53 Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. 54 Phinehas our ancestor, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood. 55 Joshua, because he fulfilled the command, became a judge in Israel. 56 Caleb, because he testified in the assembly, received an inheritance in the land. 57 David, because he was merciful, inheited the throne of the kingdom forever. 58 Elijah, because of great zeal for the law, was taken up into heaven. 59 Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame. 60 Daniel, because of his innocence was delivered from the mouthof thelion.

61 Also keep in mind, from generation to generation, that none of those who oput their trust in him will lacked strength. 82 Do not fear the words of sinners , for their splendor will turn into dung and worms. 63 Today they will be exalted, but tomorrow they will not be found because they will have returned to the dust, and their plans will have perished. 64 But you, my children, be courageous and grow strong in the law, for by it you will gain honor.

65 “Here is your brother Simeon who I know, is wise in counsel, always listen to him; he will be your father. 66 Judas Maccabeus has been a mighty warrior from his youth, he will command the army for you and fight the battle against the peoples (or, of the people). 67 You will rally around you all who observe the law, and avenge the wrong done to your people. 68 Repay the Gentiles in full and obey the commands of the law.”

69 Then he blessed them, and was gathered to his ancestors. 70 He died in the one hundred forty-sixth year [34] and was buried in the tomb of his ancestors at Modein, All Israel mourned for him with great lamentation.


The Early Victories of Judas

1 Then his son Judas, who was called Maccabeus, took command in his father’s place. 2 All his brothers and all who had joined his father supported him;

3 He extended the glory of his people.

Like a giant he put on his breastplate,

and bound on his armor of war and waged battles,

protecting the camp by his sword.

4 He was like a lion in his deeds,

like a lion’s cub roaring for prey.

5 He tracked down, and pursued those who broke the law,

he burned [35] those who troubled his people with fire.

6 Lawbreakers cowered in fear of him;

all the evildoers were totally confounded,

and deliverance prospered by his hand.

7 He embittered many kings, but he made Jacob glad by his deeds,

and his memory is blessed forever.

8 He passed through the cities of Judah,

he destroyed the ungodly out of the land, [36]

thus he turned away wrath from Israel.

9 He was renowned to the ends of the earth,

he rallied those who were on the verge of perishing.

10 Apollonius now assembled the Gentiles and a large force from Samaria to fight against Israel. 11 When Judas was informed of it, he went out to meet him and defeated and killed him. Many enemies were wounded and died, and the rest fled. 12 Then they seized their spoils, and Judas took the sword of Apollonius, and used it in campaigns the rest of his life.

13 Then Seron, the commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had mustered a large army, including a body of faithful soldiers who stayed with him and went out to battle. 14 He said, “I will make a name for myself and win honor in the kingdom. I will make war against Judas and his companions who scorn the king’s command.” 15 Once again Seron had a strong army of godless men marched with him to help him, to wreak vengeance on the Israelites.

16 When he approached the ascent of Beth-horon, [37] Judas advanced to meet him with a small company. 17 But when they saw the army coming out against them, they said to Judas, “How can we, few as we are, fight against so great and so strong a multitude? And we are faint, for we have eaten nothing today.” 18 Judas replied, “It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few. 19 It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, bur strength comes from Heaven alone. 20 Our enemies come against us in great insolence and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us, 21 but we fight for our lives and our laws. 22 He, himself, will crush them before us, as for you, do not be afraid of them.

23 When he finished speaking, he launched a surprise against Seron, overpowering his army, and they were utterly crushed before him. 24 They pursued then [38] down the descent of Beth-horon to the plain, eight hundred of them fell, and the rest fled into the land of the Gentiles all around them. 25 Then Judas and his brothers became highly regarded, and instilled terror as their fame spread among the Gentiles in the region. 26 His fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked of the battles of Judas.

The King Appoints Lysias as Governor

27 When King Antiochus heard these reports, he was greatly angered, and he sent and mustered all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army; 28 He opened his treasury and gave a year’s pay to his forces, and ordered them to be ready for any need. 29 Then he saw that the money in the treasury was exhausted, and that the revenues from the country were small because of the dissension and disaster that he had caused in the land by abolishing the laws that had existed from the earliest days. 30 He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts that he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings. [39] 31 He was greatly perplexed in mind; then he determined to go to Persia [40] and collect the tribute from those regions and raise a large fund to be used in further warfare..

32 He left Lysias, a distinguished man of royal lineage, in charge of the king’s affairs from the river Euphrates to the borders of Egypt. 33 Lysias was also to take care of his son Antiochus until he returned. 34 He also transferred half of his forces and the elephants to Lysias and gave him orders about all that he wanted him to accomplish.. As for the residents of Judea and Jerusalem: 35 Lysias was to dispatch a force against them to crush and destroy the strength of Israel and those remaining in Jerusalem; he was to blot out the memory of them from the place. 36 and settle foreigners in all their territory, and distribute their land by lot. 37 Then the king took the remaining half of his forces and left Antioch [41] his capital in the one hundred and forty-seventh year, [42] He crossed the Euphrates river and went through the upper provinces.

The Victories of Judas

38 Lysias chose Ptolemy son of Dorymenes, and Nicanor and Gorgias, able men among the Friends of the king, 39 and sent with them forty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry to go into the land of Judah and devastate it, as the king had commanded. 40 So they set out with their entire force, and when they arrived they encamped near Emmaus in the plain. 41 When the traders of the region heard what was said to them, they took silver and gold in immense amounts, and fetters, [43] and went to the camp to get the Israelites for slaves. Forces from Syria and the land of the Philistines joined with them.

42 Now Judas and his brothers saw that misfortunes had increased and that the forces were encamped at their frontier. They also learned what the king had commanded to do to the people to cause their final destruction. 43 They said to one another, “Let us restore the shattered lives of our people, and fight for our people and the sanctuary.” 44 So the congregation assembled to be ready for battle, and to pray and ask for mercy and compassion.

45 Jerusalem was as deserted as a wilderness

not one of her children went in or out.

The sanctuary was trampled down,

and aliens held the citadel;

it was a lodging place for Gentiles.

Joy was banished from Jacob;

The flute and the harp ceased to play.

46 Then they gathered together and went to Mizpah, opposite Jerusalem, because Israel formerly had a place of prayer in Mizpah. 47 They fasted that day, put on sackcloth and sprinkled ashes on their heads, and tore their clothes. 48 They opened the book of the law to inquire into those matters about which the Gentiles consulted the likeness of their gods. 49 They also brought the vestments of the priesthood and the first fruits and the tithes, and they stirred up the Nazirites [44] who had completed their days; 50 and theycried aloud to heaven, saying:

“What will we do with these?

Where are we to take them?

51 Your sanctuary is trampled down and profaned,

and your priests mourn in humiliation.

52 Here the Gentiles are assembled against us to destroy us,

you know what they plot against us.

53 How will we be able to withstand them,

if you do not help us?”

54 Then they sounded the trumpets and gave a loud shout. 55 After that Judas appointed officers of the people, in charge of thousands and hundreds and fifties, and tens. 56 Those who were building homes or were about to be married, or were planting a vineyard, or were fainthearted, he told to go home again, according to the law. 57 Then the army marched out and encamped to the south of Emmaus.

58 Judas said, “Arm yourselves and be courageous. Be ready early in the morning to fight with these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. 59 It is better for us to die in battle than to see the misfortunes of our nation and of the sanctuary. 60 But it will be as Heaven wishes..” [45]


1 Now Gorgias took a detachment of five thousand infantry and one thousand of the most experienced cavalry, and they moved out by night 2 to fall upon the camp of the Jews and attack them suddenly, using men from the citadel as their guides. 3 Judas learned of it, and he and his warriors moved out to attack the king’s force in Emmaus 4 while the division led by Gorgias was still absent from the camp. 5 When Gorgias entered the camp of Judas by night, he found no one there, so he looked for them in the hills, because he said, “These men are running away from us.”

6 At daybreak Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men, though they did not have quality armor and swords as they desired. 7 They saw the camp of the Gentiles, strong and fortified [with breastworks surrounding the camp,] and with cavalry all around it, and these men were trained in war. 8 Judas said to those who were with him, ”Do not fear these numbers or panic when they charge. 9 Remember how our ancestors were saved at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh with his forces pursued them. 10 Now, let us call on Heaven, to see whether he will favor our cause, and remember his covenant with our ancestors and crush this army before us today. 11 Then all the Gentiles will know that there is one who redeems (or, liberates) and saves Israel.”

12 When the Gentiles looked up and saw them attacking, 13 they went out from their camp to battle. Then the men of Judas blew their trumpets 14 and engaged in battle. The Gentiles were crushed, and fled into the plain, 15 and all those in the rear were slain by the swords of their pursuers.. 15 They pursued them to Gazara, [46] and to the plains of Idumea, and to Azotus [47] and Jamnia; [48] an three thousand Gentiles were killed. 16 Then Judas and his force stopped pursuing them, 17 and Judas said to the people, “Do not be greedy for plunder, for there is a battle before us, 18 Gorgias and his force are near us in the hills. But stand now against our enemies and fight them, and after we win you can seize the plunder boldly.”

19 Just as Judas was finishing this speech, a detachment appeared, coming out of the hills. 20 They saw that the army [49] had been put to flight, and that the Jews were burning the camp, for the smoke that was seen showed what had happened. 21 When the perceived this, they were panic stricken, and when they also saw the army of Judas drawn up in the plain for battle, 22 they all fled into the land of the Philistines. 23 Then Judas, and his army returned to plunder the camp, and they seized a great quantity of gold and silver, and cloth dyed blue and sea purple, and great riches. 24 On their return they sang hymns and praises to heaven – “For he is good, for his mercy endures forever.” 25 Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

Victory over Lysias

26 Those of the Gentiles who escaped went and reported to Lysias all that had happened. 27 When he heard it, he was perplexed and discouraged, for things had not happened to Israel as he had intended, nor had they turned out as the king had ordered. 28 But the next year he mustered sixty thousand picked infantry and five thousand cavalry to subdue them. 29 They came into Idumea and encamped at Beth-zur, [50] and Judas met them with ten thousand men.

30 When he saw that their army was strong, he prayed, saying, “Blessed are you, O Savior of Israel, who crushed the attack of the mighty warrior by the hand of your servant David, and gave the camp of the Philistines into the hands of Jonathan son of Saul, and of the man who carried his armor. 31 Hem in this army by the hand of your people Israel, and let them be ashamed of their troops and their cavalry. 32 Fill them with cowardice. Melt the boldness of their strength; let them tremble in their destruction. 33 Strike them down with the sword of those who love you, and let all who know your name praise you with hymns.”

34 Then both sides attacked, and of the army of Lysias five thousand men were killed in action [and some died on the opposite side].35 When Lysias saw the rout of his troops and observed the boldness that inspired those of Judas, and how ready they were either to live or to die nobly, he withdrew to Antioch and enlisted a force of mercenaries in order to invade Judea again with an even larger army.

The Purification of the Temple

36 Then Judas and his brothers said, “See, our enemies are crushed, let us go up and cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.” 37 So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion. 38 There they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes had sprung up like a thicket on a hillside. or on one of the mountains. They also saw the chambers of the priests in ruins. 39 Then they tore their clothes and mourned with great lamentation, they sprinkled themselves with ashes 40 and fell face down on the ground. When the signal was given with the ceremonial trumpets, they cried out to Heaven.

41 Then Judas detailed men to subdue those in the citadel until the sanctuary had been cleansed. 42 He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, 43 and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. 44 They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been desecrated. 45 They thought it best to demolish it, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, 46 and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell them what to do with them. 47 Then they took un-hewn [51] stones, as the law directed, and built a new altar like the former one. 48 They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. 49 They made new holy vessels and brought the lamp-stand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. 50 They offered incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lamp-stand, and these gave light to the temple. 51 They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.

52 Early in the morning on the twent-fifth day of the ninth month which is the month of Chislev ,in the one hundred forty-eighth year, [52] 53 they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built. 54 At the very season and the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. 55 All the people fell, prostrate, on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. 56 So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days and joyfully offered burnt offerings, they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. 57 They decorated the front of the temple with golden wreaths and ornate shields, [53] They restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and fitted them with doors. 58 There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed.

59 Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.

60 At that time they fortified Mount Zion with high walls and erected strong towers that surrounded the city, to keep the Gentiles from coming and trampling them down as they had done before. 61 Judas [54]stationed a garrison there to guard it, he also fortified Beth-zur to guard it, so that the people might have a stronghold that faced Idumea.


Wars with Neighboring Nations

1 When the Gentiles all around heard [55] that the altar had been rebuilt and the sanctuary dedicated as it was before, they became greatly incensed, 2 and they determined to destroy the descendants of Jacob who lived among them. So they began to exterminate and destroy Jacob’s descendants who lived among the them. 3 Judas made war on the descendants of Esau in Idumea, at Akrabattene, because they kept lying in wait for Israel. He dealt them a heavy blow and humbled them and stripped their corpses and took their armor. 4 He also remembered the wickedness of the sons of Baean, [56] who were a trap and a roadblock to the people and ambushed them on the highways. 5 They were shut up by him in their [57] towers; and he encamped against them, vowed their complete destruction, and burned their towers and all who were in them with fire. 6 Then he crossed over to attack the Ammonites, [58] where he found a strong band and many people with Timothy as their leader. 7 He engaged in many battles with them, and they were crushed before him, he struck them down. 8 He also took Jazer and its villages,[59] then he returned to Judea.

9 Now the Gentiles in Gilead gathered together against the Israelites who lived in their territory, and planned to destroy them. But they fled to the stronghold of Dathema,[60] 10 and sent a letter to Judas and his brothers that said, “The Gentiles around us have gathered together to destroy us. 11 They are preparing to come and capture the stronghold to which we have fled, and Timothy is leading their forces. 12 Now then, come and rescue us from their hands, for many of us have been slain, 13 and all our relatives who were in the land of Tob have been manicured; the enemy [61] have captured their wives and children and goods, and have destroyed about a thousand persons there.

14 When the letter was still being read, other messengers came from Galilee, with their garments torn, and made a similar report; 15 they said that the people of Ptollemais and Tyre and Sidon, and all Galilee of the Gentiles [62] had gathered together against the Jews. “to annihilate us.” 16 When Judas and the people heard these messages, a great assembly was called to determine what they should do for their relatives who were in distress and were being attacked by enemies. [63] 17 Then Judas said to his brother Simon, “Choose your men and go and rescue your relatives in Galilee, my brother Jonathan and I will go to Gilead.” 18 But he left Joseph, son of Zechariah, and Azariah, a leader (or, citizen) of the people, with the rest of the forces, in Judea to guard it; 19 and he gave them this command, “Take charge of these people, but do not engage in battle with the Gentiles until we return.” 20 Then three thousand men were assigned to Simon to go to Galilee, and eight thousand to Judas for Gilead.

21 So Simon went to Galilee and fought many battles against the Gentiles, and the Gentiles were crushed before him. 22 He pursued them to the gate of Ptolemais; as man as three thousand of the Gentiles were slain, and he despoiled them. 23 Then he took the Jews [64] of Galilee and Arbatta; [65] with their wives and children, and all they possessed, and led them o Judea with great rejoicing.

24 Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the Jordan and made a threee day march into the wilderness. 25 They encountered the Nabateans, [66] who met them peaceably and told them all that had happened to their relatives in Gilead: 26 Many of them have been shut up in Bozrah and Bosor, in Alema and Chasplio, Maked [67] and Carnaim” – all these towns were strong and large -- 27 “and some have been shut up in the other towns of Gilead; the enemy [68] are getting ready to attack the strongholds tomorrow and capture and destroy all these people in a single day.”

28 Then Judas and his army quickly turned back by the wilderness road to Bozrah, and he took the town, and killed every male with the edge of the sword, then he seized all its spoils and burned it with fire. 29 He left the place at night, and they went all the way to the stronghold Dathema: [69] 30 At dawn they looked out and saw a large company, which could not be counted, carrying ladders and engines of war to capture the stronghold, attacking the Jews within. 31 Judas saw that the battle had begun, and that the cry of the town went up to Heaven, with trumpets and loud shouts; 32 and he said to the men of his forces, ”Fight today for your relatives!” 33 Then he came up behind them in three companies, who sounded their trumpets and cried aloud in prayer as a battle cry. 34 When the army of Timothy realized that it was Maccabeus, they fled before him, and he dealt them a heavy blow. As many as eight thousand of them were killed on that day.

35 Next he turned aside to Maapha battling against it and winning. He killed every man in it, plundered it, and burned it with fire. 36 From there he marched on and took Chaspho, Maked, and Bosor, and the other towns of Gilead.

37 After these things Timothy gathered another army, and encamped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream. 38 Judas sent men to spy out the camp, and they reported to him, ”All the Gentiles around us have gathered to him; it is a very large force. 39 They also have hired Arabs to help them, and they are encamped across the stream, ready to come and fight against you.” Judas went to meet them.

40 Now as Judas and his army drew near to the stream of water, Timothy said to the officers of his forces, “If he crosses over to us first, we will not be able to resist him for he will surely defeat us. 41 But if he shows fear and camps on the other side of the river, we will cross over to him and defeat him.” 42 When Judas approached the stream of water, he stationed the officers (or, scribes) of the army at the stream and gave them this command, “Permit no one to encamp, but make them all enter the battle.” 43 Then he crossed over against them first, and the entire army followed him. All the Gentiles were defeated before him, and they threw away their arms and fled into the sacred precincts at Carnaim. 44 He took the town and burned the sacred precincts with fire, together with all who were in them. Thus Carnaim was conquered they could stand before Judas no longer.

45 Then Judas gathered together all the Israelites in Gilead, the small and the great, with their wives, children and goods, a very large company, to go to the land of Judah. 46 So they came to Ephron. [70] This was a large and very strong town on the road, and they could not go around it to the right or to the left, they had to go through it. 47 But the people of the town shut them out and blocked up the gates with boulderss.

48 Judas sent them this friendly message, “Let us pass through your land to get to our land. No one will do you harm; we will simply pass by on foot.” But they refused to open to him. 49 Then Judas ordered a proclamation to be made to the army that all should encamp where they were. 50 So the men of the forces encamped, and he fought against the town all that day and all the night, and the town was delivered into his hands. 51 He destroyed every male with the edge of the sword, and razed and plundered the town. Then he passed through the town over the bodies of the dead.

52 Then they crossed the Jordan into the large plain before Beth-shan [71]. 53 Judas kept rallying the stragglers and encouraging the people all the way until he came to the land of Judah. 54 So they went up to Moung Zion with joy and gladness, and offered burnt offerings, because they had returned in safety; not one of them had died.

55 Now while Judas and Jonathan were in Gilead and their [72] brother Simon was in Galilee before Ptolemais, 56 Joseph son of Zechariah, an Azariah, the commanders of the forces, heard of their brave deeds and of the heroic war they had fought. 57 so they said, “Let us also make a name for ourselves, let us go and make war on the Gentiles around us.” 58 They issued ouders to the men of the forces that were with them and marched against Jamnia. 59 Gorgias and his men came out of the town to meet them in battle. 60 Then Joseph and Azariah were routed, and were pursued to the borders of Judea, as many as two thousand of the people of Israel were killed that day. 61 Thus the people suffered a great rout because, thinking to do a brave deed, they did not listen to Judas and his brothers. 62 But they did not belong to the family of those men through whom deliverance was given to Israel.

63 The man Judas and his brothers were greatly honored in all Israel and among all the Gentiles, wherever their name was heard. 64 People gathered to them and praised them.

63 Then valiant Judas and his brothers went out and fought the descendants of Esau in the land to the south. He attacked Hebron and its villages and tore down is strongholds and burned its towers on all sides. 66 Then he marched off to go into the land of the Philistines, and passed through Marisa.[73] 67 On that day some priests who wished to distinguish himself through bravery, fell in battle, for they went out to battle unwisely. 69 But Judas turned aside to Azotus in the land of the Philistines; he tore down their altars, and burned carved images of their gods with fire, and plundered the towns and returned to the land of Judah.


The Death of Antiochus the Fourth

1 King Antiochus was going through the upper provinces when he heard that Elymais [74] in Persia was a city famed for its wealth in silver and gold. 2 Its temple was very rich, containing golden shields, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian king who first reigned over the Greeks. 3 So he came and tried to take the city and plunder it, but he could not because his plan had become known to the citizens 4 and they withstood him in battle. So he fled, filled with frustration, leaving there to return to Babylon.

5 Then someone came to him in Persia and reported that the armies that had gone into the land of Judah had been routed, 6 that Lysias had gone first with an outstanding military force, but had turned back and fled before the Jews, [75] for the Jews had grown strong from the arms, supplies, and abundant spoils that they had taken from the armies they had vanquished, 7 and had torn down the abomination that he had erected on the altar in Jerusalem, and that they had surrounded the sanctuary with high walls as before, and also Beth-zur, his city.

8 When the king heard the news, he was astounded and exceedingly upset. He took to his bed in a fit of depression, becamimg sick from disappointment, because things had not turned out for him as he had planned. 9 He lay there for many days, because deep disappointment continually grasped him, and he realized that he was dying. 10 So he called all his Friends and said to them, “Sleep has departed from my eyes and I am downhearted with worry. 11 I said to myself, ‘What is this great distress I have? What ia this great flood of despair in which I am now plunged? I was kind and beloved when I was in power.‘ 12 But now I only remember all the wrong I did in Jerusalem. I seized all the vessels of silver and gold, and I gave the order to destroy the inhabitants of Judah without good reason. 13 I am aware that it is because of this that these misfortunes have come upon me, here I am, perishing of bitter disappointment in a strange land.”

14 Then he called for Phillip, one of his loyal Friends, and made him regent over all his empire. 15 He gave him the crown and his royal robe and the signet, so that Philip might guide his son Antiochus and bring him up to be king. 16 These were the circumstances under which King Antiochus died in the one hundred forty-ninth year [76] 17 When Lysias learned that the king was dead, he set up Antiochus, the king’s [77] son, to reign. Lysias [78] had been as a father to him from boyhood. He had named him Eupator. [79]

The Campaign of Antiochus the Fifth and Lysias

18 Meanwhile the garrison in the citadel kept confining Israel around the sanctuary. They were trying in every way to harm the faithful Jews, and empower the Gentiles. 19 Judas therefore resolved to destroy them, and assembled all the people to besiege them. 20 They gathered together and besieged the citadel [80] in the one hundred fiftieth year; [81] and he built siege towers and other engines of war. 21 Some of the beleagered garrison escaped from the siege and some of the ungodly Israelites joined them. 22 They went to the king, and said, “How long will you fail to do justice and to avenge our relatives? 23 We were happy to serve your father, to live according to his orders, and to follow his commands. 24 For this reason the sons of our people besieged the citadel. [82] They then became hostile to us; moreover, they have put as many of us as they have caught, to death,. They have seized our inheritances. 25 It is not against us alone that they have extended their power; for they have also attacked all the lands on their borders. 26 And see, today they have encamped against the citadel in Jerusalem to take it, they have fortified both the sanctuary and Beth-zur. 27 Unless you quickly prevent them, they will do still greater things, and there will be no stopping them.”

28 The king was furious when he heard this. He assembled all his Friends, the commanders of his forces and those in authority. [83] 29 Mercenary forces also were enlisted by him from other kingdoms and from islands of the sea. 30 The number of his forces was one hundred thousand infantry, twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two [84] elephants accustomed to war. 31 They advamced through Idumea and encamped against Beth-qur, and for many days they fought and built engines of war; but the Jews [85] sallied out and burned these with fire, and fought courageously.

32 Then Judas marched away from the citadel and encamped at Beth-zechariah, [86]opposite the royal encampment. 33 Early in the morning the king set out along the road to Beth-zechariah, and his troops readied themselves for battle and they sounded their trumpets. 34 They offered the elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries, to arouse them for battle. 35 They distributed animals among the phalanxes, with each elephant they stationed a thousand men armed with coats of chain mail, and with brass helmets on their heads, and five hundred picked horsemen were assigned with each animal. 36 These took their positions beforehand wherever the animal was; wherever it went, they went with it, and they never left its side.37 On the elephants were wooden towers, strong and covered; they were fastened on each animal by special harness, and on each were four [87] armed men who fought from there, and also its Indian driver. [88] 38 The rest of the cavalry were stationed on either side, on the two flanks of the army to harass the enemy while being themselves protected by the phalanxes. 39 When the sun shone on the shields of gold and brass, the hills were ablaze with them and gleamed like flaming torches.

40 Now a part of the king’s army was deployed on the heights, and some troops were on the low ground and they advanced steadily and in good order. 41 All who heard the din made by their multitude, by the marching of the multitude and the clanking of their arms trembled, for the army was very large and strong. 42 But Judas and his army advanced to the battle, and six hundred of the king’s army were slain. 43 Now Eleazar, called Avaran, saw that one of the animals was equipped with royal armor. It was taller than all the others, and he supposed that the king was on it. 44 So he gave his life to save his people and to win for himself an everlasting name. 45 He courageously ran into the midst of the phalanx to reach it, he killed men right and left, and they parted before him on both sides. [89] 46 He got under the elephant, stabbed it from beneath and killed it, but it sagged to the ground upon him and he died. 47 When the Jews saw the royal might and the fierce attack of the forces, they turned away in flight.

48 The soldiers of the king’s army went up to Jerusalem against them, and the king encamped in Judea and at Mount Zion. 49 He came to terms of peace with the people of Beth-zur, and they evacuated the town because thy had no provisions there to withstand aa siege, since it was a sabbatical year for the land. 50 So the king’s army occupied Beth-zur and stationed a garrison there to hold it. 51 Then he encamped before the sanctuary for many days. He set up siege towers, engines of war to throw [90] fire and stones, machines to shoot arrows and catapults. 52 The Jews also made engines of war to match those of the enemy and fought for many days. 53 But they had no food in storage, [91] because it was the seventh year; those who had found safety in Judea from the Gentiles had consumed the last of the stores. 54 Only a few men were left in the sanctuary; the rest scattered to their own homes for the famine proved too much for them.

55 Then Lysis heard that Phillip, whom King Antiochus while still living, had appointed to bring up his son Antiochus to be king, 56 had returned from Persia and Media with the forces that had gone with the king, and that he was trying to seize control of the government. 57 So he quickly gave orders to withdraw, and said to the king, to the commanders of the forces, and to the troops, “Daily we grow weaker, our food supply is scant, the place against which we are fighting is strong, and the affairs of the kingdom press urgently on us. 58 Now then let us come to terms with these people, and make peae with them and all their nation. 59 Let us agree that they can live, by their laws as they did before; for it was on account of their laws that we abolished that they became angry and did all these things.”

60 The speech pleased the king and the commanders, and he sent the Jews [92] an offer of peace; and they accepted it. 61 So the king and the commanders gave them their oath. On these conditions the Jews emerged from the stronghold. 62 But when the king entered Mount Zion and saw what a strong fortress the place was, he went back on the oath he had sworn to keep, and gave orders to demolish the wall all around. 63 Then he set off in haste and returned to Antioch. He found Philip in control of the city, but he fought against him and took the city by force.


The High Priest Alcimus and the Campaign of Nicanor

1 In the one hundred fifty-first year [93] Demetrius [94] son of Seleucus set out from Rome, sailed with a few men to a town [95] by the sea, and there began his reign. 2 As he was entering the royal palace of his ancestors, the army seized Antiochus V and Lysias to bring them to him. 3 But when this act became known to him, he said, ”Do not let me set eyes on you again!” 4 So the army killed them, and Demetrius took his seat on the throne of his kingdom.

5 Then all the renegade and godless men of Israel came to him; being led by Alcimus, [96] who aspired to be high priest. 6 They brought the king this accusation against the people. ”Judas and his brothers have wiped out all your Friends, and have driven those who remain out of our land. 7 Now then send a man whom you trust; let him go and see all the ruin that Judas has brought on us and on the land of the king, and let hm punish them and all who help them.”

8 So the king chose Bacchides, one of the king’s Friends, governor of the province Beyond the River. He was a great man in the kingdom and was faithful to the king. 9 He sent him, and with him he sent the ungodly Aleimus, whom he made high priest and he commanded him to take vengeance on the Israelites. 10 So they marched away and came with a large force into the land of Judah, and he sent messengers to Judas and his brothers with peaceable but treacherous words. [97] 11 But they paid no attention to their words, for they saw that they had come with a large force.

12 Then a group of scribes appeared in a body before Alcimus and Bacchides to ask for just terms. 13 The Hasideans were first among the Israelites to seek peace with them, 14 for they said, “A priest of the line of Aaron has come with the army, and he will not harm us.” 15 Alcimus [98] spoke to them in a conciliatory manner, and swore this oath to them, “We will not seek to injure you or your friends,” 16 So they trusted him; but he arrested sixty of them and killed them in one day, in accordance with the word that was written,

17 “The flesh of your faithful ones and their blood

they poured out all around Jerusalem,

and there was no one to bury them.” Psalm 79:2-3:

18 Then the fear and dread of them fell on all the people, for they said, “Thee is neither truth nor justice in them, for they have violated the agreement and the oath that they swore.”

19 Then Bacchides withdrew from Jerusalem and encamped in Beth-zaith. He sent and arrested many of the men who had deserted him, [99] and some of the people, had killed them and threw them into a great pit. [100] 20 He placed Alcimus in charge of the country and left him a force to help him; then Bacchides went back to the king.

21 Alcimus struggled to maintain his high priesthood, 22 and all who were troubling their people joined him. They gained control of the land of Judah and did great damage to Israel. 23 Judas saw all the wrongs that Alcimus and those with him had done among the Israelites; it was more than the Gentiles had done. 24 So Judas went out into all the surrounding parts of Judea, taking vengeance on those who had deserted and preventing those in the city from going out into the country.25 When Alcimus saw that Judas and those with him had grown strong, and realized that he could not withstand them, the returned to the king and brought malicious charges against them.

26 Then the king sent Nicanor, [101] one of his honored princes, who hated and detested Israel, and he commanded him to destroy the people. 27 So Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a large force, and treacherously sent to Judas and his brothers this peaceable message, 28 ”Let there be no fighting between you and me, I will come with a few men to see you face to face in peace.”

29 So he came to Judas, and they greeted one another peaceably; but the enemy were preparing to kidnap Judas. 30 It became know to Judas that Nicanor had come to him with treacherous intent, and he was afraid of him, and would not meet with him. 31 When Nicanor learned that his plan had been disclosed, he went out to meet Judas in battle near Caphar-salama. [102] 32 About five hundred of he army of Nicanor fell and the rest fled into the city of David.

33 After these events Nicanor went to Mount Zion. Some of the priests from the sanctuary and some of the elders of the people came out to greet him peaceably and to show him the burnt offering that was being offered for the king. 34 He mocked them and derided them and defiled them [by spitting on them.] and spoke arrogantly, 35 and in anger he swore this oath, “Unless Judas and his army are delivered into my hands this time, then if I will return safely I will burn up this house.” He then left in great anger. 37 At this the priests went in and stood before the altar and the temple, and weeping they said,

37 “You chose this house to be called by your name,

and to be for your people a house of prayer and supplication.

38 Take vengeance on this man and on his army,

and let them fall by the sword,

remember their blasphemes, and let them live no longer.” II Kings 19:35

39 Now Nicanor went out from Jerusalem and encamped in Beth-horon, and the Syrian army joined him. 40 Judas encamped in Adasa [103] with three thousand men. Then Judas prayed and said, 41 “When the messengers from the king spoke blasphemy, your angel went out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand [Assyrians]. [104] 42 So also crush this army before us today, let the rest learn that Nicanor has spoken wickedly against the sanctuary, and judge him according to this wickedness.”

43 So the armies met in battle on the thirteenth day of the month Adar. The army of Nicanor was crushed, and he, himself, was the first to be killed in the battle. 44 When his army saw that Nicanor had fallen, they threw down their arms and fled. 45 The Jews pursued them a day’s journey, from Adasa as far as Gazara, [105] and as they followed they kept sounding the battle call on the trumpets. [106] 46 People came out of all the surrounding villages of Judea, and they outflanked the enemy and drove them back to their pursuers, so that they all fell by the sword, not even one of them was left. 47 Then the Jews seized the spoils and the plunder, they cut off Nicanor’s head and the right hand that he had so arrogantly stretched out, and brought them and displayed them just outside Jerusalem. 48 The people rejoiced greatly and celebrated that day a a day of great gladness. [107] 49 They decreed that this day should be celebrated each year [108] on the thirteenth day of Adar. 50 So the land of Judah had rest for a few days.

<CHAPTER 8> [109]

The Treaty with the Romans

1 Now Judas heard of the fame of the Romans, that they were very strong and were well-disposed toward all who made an alliance with them, that they pledged friendship to those who came to them, 2 and that they were militarily strong. He had been told of their wars and of the brave deeds that they were doing among the Gauls, [110] how they had defeated them and forced them to pay tribute (or, annual taxes), 43 and what they had done successfully in the land of Spain to get control of the silver and gold mines there, [111] 4 and how they had gained control of the entire region by their planning and persistence, even thought the place was extremely distant from them. They also subdued the kings who came against them from the ends of the earth, until they crushed them and inflicted great disaster on them; the rest paid them tribute every year.5 They had crushed in battle and conquered Philip, [112] and King Perseus [113] of the Macedonians, and the others who rose up against them. 6 They also had defeated Antiochus the Great, [114] king of Asia, who went to fight against them with one hundred twenty elephants and with cavalry and chariots and a very large army. Their king was crushed by them; 7 they took him alive and decreed that he and those who would reign after him should pay a heavy tribute and give hostages and surrender some of their best provinces, 8 the countries of India, Media,, and Lydia. These they took from him and gave them to King Eumenes.[115] 9 The Greeks planned to come and destroy them, 10 but this came to be known to them, and they sent a general against the Greeks and attacked them. Many of them were wounded and fell, and the Romans took their wives and children captive; and they plundered them, conquered the land, tore down their strongholds, and enslaved them to this day. 11 The remaining kingdoms and islands, [116] as many as ever opposed them, they destroyed and enslaved; 12 but with their friends and those who rely on them they have kept friendship. They have subdued kings, far and near, and as many as have heard of their fame have feared them. 13 Those who they wish to help and to make kings, they make kings, and those whom they wish they depose, and they have been greatly exalted. 14 Yet for all this not one of them has put on a crown or worn purple as a mark of magnificence, 15 but they have built for themselves a senate chamber, and every day three hundred twenty senators constantly deliberate concerning the people, to govern them well. 16 They trust one man each year to rule over them and to control all their land, they all heed that one man, and there is no envy or jealousy among them. [117]

17 So Judas chose Eupolemus son of John son of Accos, and Jason son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome to establish friendship and alliance, 18 and to free themselves from the yoke, for they saw that the kingdom of the Greeks was enslaving Israel completely. 19 They went to Rome, a very long journey, and they entered the senate chamber and spoke as follows: 20 “Judas, who is also called Maccabeus and his brothers and the people of the Jews have sent us to you to establish an alliance and peace with you, so that we may be enrolled as your allies and friends.” 21 The proposal pleased them, 22 and this is a copy of the letter that they wrote in reply, on bronze tablets, and sent to Jerusalem to remain with them there as a memorial of peace and alliance.

23 “May all go well with the Romans and with the nation of the Jews at sea and on land forever, and may sword and enemy be far from them. 24 If war comes first to Rome or to any of their allies in all their dominion, 25 the nation of the Jews shall act as their allies wholeheartedly, as the occasion may indicate to them, 26 To the enemy that makes war they shall not give or supply grain, arms, money or ships, just as Rome has decreed; and they shall keep their obligations without receiving any return. 27 In the same way if war comes first to the nation of the Jews, the Romans shall willingly act as their allies, as the occasion may indicate to them. 28 And to their enemies there shall not be given grain, arms, money, or ships, just as Rome has decided, and they will keep these obligations and do so without deceit. 29 Thus on these terms the Romans are making a treaty with the Jewish people. 30 If after these terms are in effect both parties shall determine to add or delete anything, they shall do so at their discretion, and any additions or deletions that they may make shall be valid.

31 “Concerning the wrongs that King Demetrius is doing to them, we have written to him as follows, ‘Why have you made your yoke heavy on our friends and allies the Jews? 32 If now they appeal again for help against you, we will defend their righs and fight you on sea or on land.”


The Death of Judas

1 When Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his army had fallen in battle, he sent Bacchides and Alcimus into the land of Judah a second time, with them the right wing of his army. 2 They went by the road that leads to Gilgal [118] and encamped against Mesaloth in Arbela, and they lalid siege to it, and killing many people. 3 In the first month [119] of the one hundred fifty-second year [120] They encamped against Jerusalem, 4 then they marched off and went to Berea with twenty thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry.

5 Now Judas was encamped in Elasa, and with him were three thousand seasoned warriors. 6 When they saw the huge number of the enemy forces, they were filled with panic, and many deserted the camp, until no more than eight hundred warriors were left.

7 When Judas became aware that his army had been deserting, and the battle was imminent, he was disheartened, for he had no time to reassemble them. 8 He became despondent, and said to those who were left, “Let us get up and take the offensive against our enemies. We may have the strength to defeat them.” 9 But they tried to dissuade him, saying, “We do not have adequate strength. Let us rather save our own lives now, and let us come back with our relatives and attack them, we are too few, making this impossible.” 10 Judas replied, “Far be it from us to do such a thing as to flee from them. If our time has come, let us die bravely for our relatives, and leave no cause to question our honor.”

11 Then the army of Bacchides [121] marched out in front of the camp and took its position for the encounter. The cavalry was divided into two squadrens, and the slingers and the archers went ahead of the army, as did the shock troops. 12 Bachides was on the right wing,. Flanked by two companies, the phalanx advanced to the sound of the trumpets, and the men with Judas also blew their trumpets. 13 The earth was shaken by the noise of the armies, and the battle raged from morning until evening.

14 Judas saw that Bacchides and the strength of his army were on the right, then all the stourhearted men went with him, 15 and they crushed the right wing, and he pursued them as far as Mount Azotus. [122] 16 When those on the left wing saw that the right wing was crushed, they turned and followed close behind Judas and his men. 17 The battle became desperate, and many on both sides were wounded and fell. 18 Judas also fell and the rest fled.

19 Then Jonathan and Simon took their brother Judas and buried him in the tomb of their ancestors at Modein, 20 and wept for him. All Israel made great lamentation for him; they mourned many days and said,

21 “How is the champion has fallen,

the savior of Israel!”

22 Now the rest of the history of Judas, and his wars and the brave deeds that he did, and his greatness, have not been recorded, for there were too many


Jonathan Succeeds Judas

23 After the death of Judas, the renegades emerged in all parts of Israel; all the evildoers reappeared. 24 In those days a very great famine occurred and the country went over to their side. 25 Bacchides chose the godless and put them in charge of the country. 26 They made inquiry and searched for the friends of Judas, and brought them to Bacchides, who took vengeance on them, subjecting them to torture and humiliation. 27 So there was great oppression in Israel, such as had not been since the time when the prophets had ceased to appear among them. [123]

28 Then all the friends of Judas assembled and said to Jonathan, 29 “Since the death of your brothr Judas there has been no one like him to go against our enemies and Bacchides, and to deal with those of our nation who brought this on us. 30 Now therefore we have chosen you today to take his place as our ruler and leader, to fight our battle.” 31 So Jonathan accepted the leadership, at the time, in place of his brother Judas.

The Campaigns of Jonathan

32 When Bacchides learned of this, he wanted to kill him. 33 Jonathan and his brother Simon and all who were with him learned of this, and they took refuge in the wilderness of Tekoa [124] and camped by the water of the pool of Asphar. [125] 34 Bacchides discovered them on the Sabbath day, and he, with his entire army crossed the Jordan.

35 So Jonathan [126] sent his brother as leader of the multitude and begged the Nabateans, who were his friends, for permission to have them protect their supplies, which was a great amount of baggage that they had, 36 The family of Jambri from Medeba [127] came out and seized John and all that he had, and left with all the baggage.

37 After these events it was reported to Jonathan and his brother Simon, “The family of Jambri are celebrating an important wedding and were conducting the bride, a daughter of Nadabata with a large retinue.” 39 Remembering how their brother John had been killed they went up and hid under cover of the mountain. 39 They looked out and saw a tumultuous procession with a great amount of baggage; and the bridegroom came out with his friends and brothers to meet them with tambourines and musicians and many weapons. 40 Then they rushed on them from the ambush, and began killing them. Many were wounded and fell, and the rest fled to the mountain; and the Jews [128] took all their goods. 41 So the wedding was turned into mourning, and the voice of their musicians into a funeral dirge. 42 After they had fully avenged the blood of their brother, they returned to the marshes of the Jordan.

43 When Baccheides heard of this he came with a large force on the Sabbath day to the banks of the river Jordan, 44 Jonathan said to those with him, “Let us get up now and fight for our lives; for today things are not as they were before. 44 Look! The battle is before us as well as behind us; the water of the Jordan is on this side and on that, with marsh and thicket; there is no way to escape. 46 Cry out now to Heaven, that you may be delivered from the hands of our enemies. 47 So the battle began, and Jonathan stretched out his hand to strike Baccheides, but he eluded him and went to the rear. [129] 48 Then Jonathan and the men with him leaped into the Jordan and swam across to the other side and the enemy [130] did not cross the Jordan to attack them. 49 About one thousand of Bacchides; army were killed that day.

50 Then Bacchides returned to Jerusalem and built strong cities in Judea; the fortress in Jericho, and Emmaus, and Beth-horon, and Bethel, and Timnath, [131] and Pharathon, and Tephon, with high walls and gates and bars. 51 He placed garrisons in them to harass Israel. 52 He also fortified the town of Beth-zur, and Gazara, and the citadel, and in them he put troops and stores of food. 53 He also took the sons of the leading men of the land as hostages and put them under guard in the citadel at Jerusalem.

54 In the one hundred and fifty-third year, [132] in the second month, Alcimus gave orders to tear down the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary. He tore down the work of the prophets! 55 But he only began to tear it down for at that time Alcimus was stricken and his work was hindered; his mouth was stopped and he was paralyzed, so that he could no longer say a word or give commands concerning his house. 56 Alcimus died at that time in great agony. 57 When Bacchides saw that Alcimus was dead, he returned to the king, and the land of Judah had rest for two years.

58 Then all the lawless plotted and said, “See! Jonathan and his men are living in quiet and confidence. So now let us bring Bacchides back, and he will capture them all in one night.” 59 They went and consulted with him. 60 Hr started to come with a large force, and secretly sent letters to all his allies in Judea, telling them to seize Jonathan and his men; but they were unable to do it, because their plan became known. 61 Jonathan’s men, seized about fifty of the men of the country who were ring-leaders in this treachery, and killed them.

62 Then Jonathan with his men and Simon withdrew to Bethbasi [133] in the wilderness. He rebuilt the parts of it that had been demolished, and they fortified it. 63 When Bacchides learned of this, he assembled all his forces, and sent orders to the men of Judea, 64 Then he came and encamped against Bethbasi; he fought against it for many days and made machines of war.

65 But Jonathan left his brother Simon in the town, while he went out into the country, and he went with only a few men. 66 He struck down Odomera [134] and his kindred and the people of Phasiron in their tents. 67 Then he began to attack and went into battle with his forces; and Simon and his men sallied out from the town and set fire to the machines of war. 68 They fought with Bacchides, and he was crushed by them. They pressed him very hard, for his plan and his expedition had been in vain. 69 So he was very angry at the renegades who had counseled him to come into the country, and he killed many of them. Then he decided to go back to his own land.

70 When Jonathan learned of this, he sent ambassadors to him to make peace with him and obtain release of the captives. 71 He agreed, and did as he said, and he swore to Jonathan that he would not try to harm him as long as he lived. 72 He restored to him the captives whom he had taken previously from the land of Judah; then he turned and went back to his own land, and did not come into their territory again. 73 Thus the sword ceased from Israel. Jonathan settled in Michmash [135] and began to judge the people, and he destroyed the godless of Israel.


Alexander Epiphanes Makes Jonathan High Priest

1 In the one hundred sixteenth year [136]Alexander Epiphanes, [137] son of Antiochus, landed and occupied Ptolemais. They welcomed him, and he began to reign there. 2 When King Demetrius heard of it, he assembled a very large army and marched out to meet him in battle. 3 Demetrius sent Jonathan a letter in friendly, flattering words to honor him; 4 for he said to himself, “Let us act first to make peace with him before he makes peace against us with Alexander, 5 for he will remember all the wrongs that we did to him and to his brothers and his nation. 6 So Demetrius gave him authority to recruit troops, to equip them with arms, and to become his ally; and he commanded that the hostages in the citadel should be released to him.

7 Then Jonathan came to Jerusalem and read the letter in the hearing of all the people and those in the citadel. 8 They were filled with apprehension when they heard that the king had given him authority to recruit an army. 9 But those in the citadel released the hostages to Jonathan, and he returned them to their parents.

19 Jonathan took up residence in Jerusalem and began to rebuild and renovate the city. 11 He directed those who were doing the work to build the walls and encircle Mount Zion with squared stones, for better fortification, and they did so.

12 Then the foreigners who were in the strongholds that Bacchides had built fled; 13 all of them left their places and returned to their own lands. 14 Only in Beth-zur did some remain who had forsaken the law and the commandments, for it served as a place of refuge.

15 When King Alexander heard of all the promises that Demetrius had made, sending them to Jonathan, and he heard of the battles that Jonathan and his brothers had fought, of the heroic deeds that they had done, and of the hardships that they had endured. 16 So he said, “Shall we find another such man? Come now, we will make him our friend and ally.” 17 He therefore wrote a letter and sent it to Jonathan, containing the following words:

18 “King Alexander: to his brother Jonathan, greetings. 19 We have heard about you, that you are a valiant warrior and worthy to be our Friend. 20 We have appointed you today to be the high priest [138] of your nation; you are to be called the king’s Friend and you are to take our side and remain in friendship with us.” He also sent him purple robe and a golden crown.

21 So Jonathan put on the holy garments in the seventh month of the one hundred sixtieth year, [139] at the festival of booths (or, Tabernacles) and he recruited troops and equipped them with arms in abundance.

Jonathan Supports Alexander Epiphanes

22 When Demetrius heard of these things he was distressed and said, “What is this that we have done? Alexander has gotten ahead of us in forming a friendship with the Jews to strengthen himself. 24 I also will write them words of encouragement and offer them a promise of honor and gifts, so that I may have their help.” 25 So he sent a message to them in the following words:

“King Demetrius to the nation of the Jews: greetings. 26 Since you have kept your agreement with us and have continued your friendship with us, and have not sided with our enemies, we have heard of it and rejoiced. 27 Continue to maintain faith with us, and we will reward you with good for what you do for us. 28 We will grant you many immunities and give you gifts.

29 “I now grant you an exemption for all the Jews from payment of tribute and salt tax [140] and crown levies, 30 and instead of collecting the third of the grain and the half of the fruit of the trees that I should receive, I release them from this day and henceforth. I will not collect them from the land of Judah or from the three districts added to it from Samaria and Galilee, from this day and for all time. 31 Jerusalem and its environs, its tithes and its revenues, will be holy and free from tax. 32 I will also end my control of the citadel in Jerusalem and give it to the high priest, so that he may station men of his own choice there to guard it. 33 And everyone of the Jews taken as a captive from the land of Judah into any part of my kingdom, I set free without payment; and let all officials cancel also the taxes on their livestock.

34 “All the festivals and Sabbaths and new moons and appointed days, and the three days before a festival and the three after a festival—let them all be days of being exempt and released for all the Jews who are in my kingdom. 35 No one shall have authority to exact anything from them or annoy any of them about any matter.

36 “Let Jews be enlisted in the king’s military forces to the number of thirty thousand men, and the those who are in the military are to be given the same that is due to all the armed forces of the king. 37 Let some of them be stationed in the great strongholds of the king, and let some of them be put in positions of trust in the kingdom. Let their officers and leaders be of their own race, and let them live by their own laws, just as the king has commanded in the land of Judah.

38 “As for the three districts that have been added to Judea from the country of Samaria, let them be annexed to Judea so that they may be considered to be under one control (or, the same law) and obey no other authority than the high priest. 39 Ptolemais and the land adjoining it I have given as a gift to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, to meet the necessary expenses of the sanctuary. 40 I also grant fifteen thousand shekels of silver yearly out of the king’s revenues from appropriate places. 41 And all the additional funds that the government officials have not paid as they did in the first years, [141] are to be given, from now on, for the service of the temple. [142] 42 Moreover, the five thousand shekels of silver that my officials have received every year from the income of the services of the temple, this too is canceled, because it belongs to the priests who minister there. 43 And all who take refuge at the temple in Jerusalem, or in any of its precincts, because they owe money to the king or are in debt, let them be released and received back all their property in my kingdom.

44 “The entire cost of rebuilding and restoring the structures of the sanctuary are to be paid from the revenues of the king. 45 Let the cost of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and fortifying it all around and the cost of rebuilding the walls in Judea, also be paid from the revenues of the king.”

46When Jonathan and the people heard these words, they did not believe or accept them, because they remembered the great harm that Demetrius had done in Israel and how much he had oppressed them. 47 They favored Alexander, because he had been the first to make peaceful offers to them, and they remained his allies all his days.

48 Now King Alexander mustered large forces and encamped opposite Demetrius. 49 The two kings met in battle, and the army of Demetrius fled, and Alexander pursued him and defeated them. 50 He pressed the battle strongly until the sun set, and on that day Demetrius fell. [143]

51 Then Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemy (VI), king of Egypt with the following message: 52 “Since I have returned to my kingdom and have taken my seat on the throne of my ancestors, and established my rule—for I crushed Demetrius, and gained control of our country; 54 I met him in battle, and he and his army were crushed by us, and we have taken our seat on the throne of his kingdom—54 now therefore let us establish friendship with one another; give me now your daughter as my wife, and I will become your son-in-law, and will make gifts to you and to her that are appropriate for persons with your royal position.”

55 Ptolemy (VI), the king, replied and said, ”Happy was the day on which you returned to the land of your ancestors, and took your seat on the throne of their kingdom. 56 Now I will do for you as you wrote, but meet me at Ptolemais, so that we may see one another, and I will become our father-in-law, as you have proposed.”

57 So Ptolemy set out from Egypt, he and his daughter Cleopatra, [144] and came to Ptolemais in the one hundred sixty second year. [145] 58 King Alexander met him, and Ptolemy gave him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage, and celebrated her wedding at Ptolemais with great pomp, as kings do.

59 Then King Alexander wrote to Jonathan to come and meet him, 60 So he went with pomp to Ptolemais and met the two kings, he gave them and their Friends silver and gold and many gifts, and found favor with them. 62 A group of renegades and malcontents from Israel, gathered together against him to accuse him; but the king paid no attention to them. 62 The king gave orders to have Jonathan’s garments removed, and to clothe him in purple, and they did so. 63 The king also seated him at his side; and he said to his officers,
“Go out with him into the middle of the city and proclaim that no one is to bring charges against him about any matter, and let no one complain about him (or, deter him) for any reason.” 64 When his accusers saw the honor that was paid him, in accord with the proclamation, and saw him clothed in purple, they all fled. 65 Thus the king honored him, and enrolled him among his chief (or, first) Friends, and appointed him to be the general and governor of the province. 66 Jonathan returned to Jerusalem in peace and gladness.

Jonathan’s Victory over Apollonius

67 In the one hundred sixty-fifth year [146] Demetrius V son of Demetrius IV came from Crete to the land of his ancestors. 68 When King Alexander heard of it, he was greatly distressed and returned to Antioch. 69 Demetrius appointed Apollonius the governor of Coele-syria, and he assembled a large force and encamped against Jamnia. Then he sent the following message to the high priest Jonathan.

70 “You are the only one to offer any resistance toward us, and I have fallen to ridicule and disgrace because of you. Why do you assume authority against us in the hill country? 71 If you now have confidence in your forces, come down to the plain to meet us, and let us compare our strength with each other, for I have with me the power of the cities. 72 Ask and learn who I am and who the others are that are helping us. People will tell you that you cannot stand before us, for your ancestors were twice put to flight in their own land. 73 Now you will not be able to withstand my cavalry and such an army I the plain, where there is no stone or pebble, [147] or place to flee.”

74 When Jonathan heard the words of Apollonius, his spirit was aroused, (or, he was provoked).. He chose ten thousand men and marched out from Jerusalem, and his brother Simon met him to help. 75 He encamped before Joppa, but the people of the city closed its gates, for Apollonius had a garrison in Joppa. [148] 76 So they fought against it, and the people of the city became afraid and opened the gates, and Jonathan gained possession of Joppa.

77 When Apollonius head of it, he mustered three thousand cavalry and a large army, and went to Azotus as though he were going farther. At the same time he advanced into the plain, for he had a large troop of cavalry and put confidence in it. 78 Jonathan pursued him to Azotus, and the armies engaged in battle. 79 Now Apollonius had secretly left a thousand cavalry behind them. 80 Jonathan learned that there was an ambush behind him, for they surrounded his army and shot arrows at his men from early morning until late afternoon. 81 But his men stood fast, as Jonathan had commanded, and the enemy’s horses grew tired.

82 Then Simon brought forward his force and engaged the phalanx in battle (for the cavalry was exhausted); they were overwhelmed by him and fled, 83 and the cavalry was dispersed in the plain. They fled to Azotus and entered Beth-dagon, the temple of their idol, for safety. 84 Jonathan however, burned Azotus and the surrounding towns and plundered them, and the temple of Dagon, [149] and those who had taken refuge in it, he burned with fire. 85 The number of those who fell by the sword, with those burned alive, came to eight thousand.

86 Then Jonathan left there and encamped against Askalon, nd the people f the city came out to meet them with great pomp.

87 He and those with him then returned to Jerusalem with a large amount of booty. 88 When King Alexander heard of these things, he honored Jonathan still more, 89 and he sent to him a golden buckle, such as is the custom to give to the King;s Kinsmen. He also gave him Ekron [150] and all its environs as his possession.


The Fall of Alexander Epiphanes

1 Ptolemy [151] the king of Egypt gathered huge army, beyond count, like the sand by the seashore, and a fleet of ships and he tried to get possession of Alexander’s kingdom by subterfuge [152] and gain it as an addition to his own kingdom. 3 He set out for Syria with peaceable words, and the people of the towns opened their gates to him and went to meet him, for King Alexander had commanded them to meet him, since he was Alexander’s father-in-law. 3 But when Ptolemy entered the towns he stationed forces as a garrison in each town.

4 When he [153] approached Azotus they showed him the burnt-out temple of Dagon, and Azotus and its burned out suburbs destroyed, and the corpses strewn about and the charred bodies of those whom Jonathan had burned in the war, for they had piled them in heaps along his route, 5 They also told the king that this had been done by Jonathan, to throw blame on him, but the king kept silent. 6 Jonathan met the king at Joppa with stately ceremony, and they greeted one another and spent the night there. 7 Jonathan went with the king as far as the river called Eleutherus, [154] then he returned to Jerusalem.

8 So King Ptolemy gained control of the coastal cities as far as Seleucia [155] by the sea, and he kept devising wicked plots against Alexander. 9 He sent envoys to King Demetrius, saying, “Come, let us make a covenant with each other, and I will give you my daughter who was the wife of Alexander as your wife, and you will reign over your father’s kingdom. 10 I now regret that I gave him my daughter, for he has tried to kill me.[156] 11 He maligned Alexander because he coveted the kingdom. 12 So he took bacl his daughter from Alexander and gave her to Demetrius. He was estranged from Alexander and their enmity became evident.

13 Then Ptolemy entered Antioch and put on the crown of Asia. [157] Then he put two crowns on his head, the crown of Egypt and that of Asia. 14 Now King Alexander was in Cilicia at that time because the people of that region were in revolt. 15 When Alexander heard of it he came against him in battle. Ptolemy marched out and met hm with a strong force, and put him in flight. 16 So Alexander fled to Arabia to find protection there, and King Ptolemy won a decisive victory. 17 Zabdiel [158] the Arab cut off the head of Alexander and sent it to Ptolemy. 18 King Ptolemy died three days later, [159] and his troops in the strongholds were destroyed by the inhabitants in the strongholds. 19 So Demetrius became king in the one hundred sixty-seventh year. [160]

Jonathan Wins the Favor of Demetrius the Second

20 In those days Jonathan mustered the Judeans in order to attack the citadel in Jerusalem, and he constructed many engines of war to use against it. 21 But certain renegades, who hated their nation went to the king and reported to him that Jonathan was besieging the citadel. 22 When he heard this he was angry, and as soon as he heard it he set out and came to Ptolemais; and he wrote Jonathan not to continue the siege, but to meet him for a conference at Ptolemais as quickly as possible.

23 When Jonathan heard this, he gave orders to continue the siege. He chose some of the elders of Israel and some of the priests, and put himself in danger, 24 for he went to the king at Ptolemais, taking silver and gold and clothing and numerous other gifts. He won the king’s favor. 25 Although certain renegades of Judaism kept making complaints against him, 26 the king treated him as his predecessors had treated him, he exalted him in the presence of all his Fends. 27 He confirmed him in the high priesthood and in as many other honors as he formerly had, and caused him to be reckoned among his chief Friends. 28 Then Jonathan requested the king to free Judea and the three districts of Samaria from tribute, and promised him three hundred talents. [161] 29 The king consented, and wrote a letter to Jonathan about all these thing; its contents were as follows:

30 “King Demetrius to his brother Jonathan and to the Jewish nation: greetings. 31 This copy of the letter that we wrote concerning you to our kinsman Lasthenes [162] we have written to you also, so that you may know what it says. 32 ‘King Demetrius to his father, Lasthenes greetings:. 33 We have determined to do good to the nation of the Jews, who are our friends, and fulfill their obligations to us, because of the good will they show toward us. 34 We have confirmed as their possession both the territory of Judea and the three districts of Aphairema [163] and Lydda [164] and Rathamin; [165] the latter, with all the region bordering them, were added to Judea from Samaria. To all those who offer sacrifice in Jerusalem we have granted release from [166] the royal taxes that the king formerly received from them each year, from the crops of the land and the fruit of the trees. 35 And the other payments, henceforth, due to us of the tithes, and the taxes due to us, and the salt pits and the crown taxes due to us---from all those we will grant them release. 36 These grants will be irrevocable from this time on forever. 37 Now therefore take care to make a copy of this, and let it be given to Jonathan and put up ina conspicuous place on the holy mountain,’”

Jonathan Helps Demetrius the Second

38 When King Demetrius saw that the land was quiet before him and that there was no resistance to him, he dismissed all his people, to their own homes, except the foreign troops that he had recruited from the islands of Gentiles. All the troops who had served under his predecessors turned against him. 39 A certain Trypho had formerly been one of Alexander’s supporters saw that all the troops were grumbling against Demetrius. [167]So he went to Imalkue the Arab, who was bringing up Antiochus, the young son of Alexander, 40 and insistently urged him to hand Antiochus over to him, to become king in place of his father. He also reported to Imalkue what Demetrius had done and told of the hatred that the troops of Demetrius had for him, and he stayed there many days.

41 Now Jonathan sent the request to King Demetrius that he withdraw the troops of the citadel from Jerusalem, and the troops in the strongholds, for they kept harassing Israel. 42 Demetrius sent this message back to Jonathan: “Not only will I do these things for you and your nation, but I will confer huge honors on you and your nation, if I find the opportunity. 43 Now then you will do well to send me men who will help me, for all my troops have defected.” 44 So Jonathan sent three thousand stalwart men to him at Antioch, and when the came to the kig, the king rejoiced at their arrival.

45 Then the people of the city assembled within the city, to the number of a hundred and twenty thousand, [168] and they waned to kill the king. 46 But the king fled the palace. Then the people of the city seized the main streets of the city and began to fight. 47 The King called the Jews to his aid, and they all rallied around him and then spread out through the city; and they killed about one hundred thousand on that day. 48 They set fire to the city, [169] and seized a large among of spoils on that day, and saved the king. 49 When the people of the city saw that the Jews had gained control of the city as they pleased, their courage failed and they cried out to the king with this entreaty: 50 “Grant us peace, and make the Jews stop fighting against us and our city.” 51 They threw down their weapons, and made peace. So the Jews gained glory in the sight of the king and of the people in his kingdom, and they returned to Jerusalem with a large amount of spoil

52 The king Demetrius sat on the throne of his kingdom, and the land was quiet before him. 53 He broke his promise, however, about all that he had promised, he became estranged from Jonathan and did not repay the favors that Jonathan had done him, but treated him very harshly.

Jonathan Supports Antiochus the Sixth

54 After this Trypho returned and with him the young boy Antiochus who began to reign and putt on the crown. 55 All the troops that Demetrius had temporarily discharged gathered around him, and fought against Demetrius, and he fled and was routed. 56 Trypho captured the elephants [170] and gained control of Antioch. 57 Then the young Antiochus wrote to Jonathan, saying, “I confirm you in the high priesthood and set you over the four districts and make you one of the king’s Friends.” 58 He also sent him gold plate and a table service, and conferred on him the right to drink from gold cups and dress in purple and wear a gold buckle. 59 He appointed Jonathan’s brother Simon governor from the Ladder of Tyre [171] to the borders of Egypt.

60 Then Jonathan set out and traveled beyond the river and among the towns, and all the army of Syria gathered to him as allies. When he came to Askalon, the people of the city met him and paid him honor. 61 From there he went to Gaza, but the inhabitants of Gaza shut him out. So he besieged it and burned its suburbs with fire and plundered them. 92 Then the people of Gaza pleaded with Jonathan, and he made peace with them, and took the sons of their rulers as hostages and sent them to Jerusalem. He passed through the country as far as Damascus

63 Then Jonathan heard that the officers of Demetrius had come to Kadesh-in- Galilee with a large army, intending to remove him from office. 64 He went to meet them, but left his brother Simon in the country. 65 Simon encamped before Beth-zur and fought against it for many days and hemmed it in. 66 Then they asked him to gramt them terms of peace and he did so. He moved from there and took possession of the town, and set a garrison over it.

67 Jonathan and his army encamped by the lake of Gennesaret. Early in the morning they marched to the plain of Hazor, [172] 68 and there in the plain the army of the Gentiles met him; they had set an ambush against him in the mountains but they themselves met him face to face. 69 Then the men in ambush emerged from their places and joined battle. 70 All the men with Jonathan fled; not one of the men was left except Mattathias son of Absalom and Judas son of Chalphi, commanders of the forces of the army. 71 Jonathan tore his clothes, put dust on his head, and prayed. 72 Then he turned back to the battle against the enemy and routed them, and they fled. 73 When the men who were fleeing saw this, they returned to him and joined him in pursuit as far as Kadesh, to their camp, and there they encamped. 74 As many as three thousand [173] of the Gentiles fell that day. Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.


Alliances with Rome and Sparta

1 Now when Jonathan saw that the time that there was no opposition toward him;’ he selected men [174] to be ambassadors, and sent them on a mission to Rome to confirm and renew the friendship treaty with them. 2 He also sent letters to the same effect to the Spartans and to other places. 3 They went to Rome and entered the senate chamber and said, “The high priest Jonathan and the Jewish nation have sent us to renew the former pact of friendship and alliance with them.” 4 The Romans gave them letters to the people in every place, asking them to provide safe conduct for their envoys to the land of Judah.

5 This is a transcript of the letter that Jonathan wrote to the Spartans: 6 “The high priest Jonathan, the senate of the nation of he Jews, the priests, and the rest of the Jewish people to their brothers the Spartans, greetings: [175] 7 Already in time past a letter was sent to the high priest Onias [176] from Arius [177] who was king among you, stating that you are our brothers, as the appended copy shows. 8 Onias welcomed the envoy with honor, and received the letter, which contained a clear declaration of alliance and friendship. 9 Therefore, though we have no need of these things, since we have as encouragement the holy books that are in our hands, 10 we have not felt it necessary, to send a message to renew our family ties and friendship with you, yet we do not want become estranged from you, for considerable time has passed since you sent your letter to us. 11 We therefore remember you constantly on ever occasion, both at our festivals and on other appropriate days, at the sacrifices that we offer and in our prayers as it is right and proper to remember brothers. 12 We rejoice in your fame,. 13 but as for ourselves, many pressures and many wars that have surrounded us. The kings around us have waged war against us. 14 We were unwilling to trouble you and our other allies and friends with these wars, 15 for we have the help that comes from Heaven for our aid, and so we were delivered from our enemies, and our enemies were humbled. 16 We therefore have chosen Numenius son of Antiochus and Antipater son of Jason, and have sent them to Rome to renew our former friendship and alliance with them. 17 We have also commanded them to go to you and greet you and deliver this letter from us to you concerning renewal of our family ties. 18 Now please send us a reply to this.”

19 This is the copy of the letter they sent to Onias, greetings. 21 It has been found in writing concerning the Spartans and the Jews (see footnote 175) that they are brothers and are of the family of Abraham. 22 Now that we have learned this, please write us concerning your welfare, 23 we on our part write to you that your livestock and your property belong to us, and ours belongs to you. We therefore command that our envoys [178] report to you accordingly.”

Campaigns of Nathan and Simon

24 Now Jonathan heard that the commanders of Demetrius had returned, with a larger force than before, to wage war against him. 25 So he marched away from Jerusalem and met them in the region of Hamath, (or, Haman) for he gave them no opportunity to invade his own country. 26 He sent spies to their camp, and they returned and reported to him that the enemy were being drawn up in formation to attack the Jews by night. 27 So when the sun had set, Jonathan commanded his troops to be alert and to keep their arms at hand so as to be ready all night for battle, and he stationed outposts around the camp. 28 When the enemy heard that Jonathan and his troops were prepared for battle, they lost their courage, and were terrified at heart, so they kindled fires in their camp and withdrew.[179] Jonathan and his troops did not know it until morning, for they saw the fires burning. 30 Then Jonathan pursued them, but he did not overtake them for they had crossed the Eleutherus river. 31 So Jonathan turned aside against the Arabs who were called Zabadeans, [180] and he crushed. 32 Then he moved on, going to Damascus, and marched through all that region.

33 Simon also went out and marched through the corner as far as Askalon [181] and the neighboring strongholds when he turned aside to Joppa and took it by surprise,34 for he had heard that they were ready to hand over the stronghold to those whom Demetrius had sent, so he stationed a garrison there to guard it.

35 When Jonathan returned he convened the elders of the people and planned with them to build strongholds in Judea, 36 to build the walls of Jerusalem still higher, and to erect a high barrier between the citadel and the city to separate it from the city, in order to isolate it so that its garrison could neither buy nor sell. 37 They gathered together to rebuild the city; part of the wall on the valley to the east (I,e. the Kidron Valley) had fallen, and he repaired the section called Chaphenatha. [182] 38 Simon also built Adida (or, Lydda) in the Shephelah, he fortified it and installed gates with bolts.

Trypho Captures Jonathan

39 Then Trypho aspired to become the ruler in Asia and put on the crown, and to launch an offensive against King Antiochus, 40 but he was fearful that Jonathan might not permit him to do so, but might make war on him, so he kept seeking to seize and kill him, and he marched out and came to Beth-shan. 41 Jonathan went out to confront him with foury thousand hand picked warriors, for he also came to Beth-shan. 42 When Trypho saw that he had come with a large army, he was afraid to move offensively against him. 43 So he received him with honor and commended him to all his Friends, and he gave him gifts and commanded his Friends and his troops to obey him as they would himself. 44 Then he said to Jonathan, “Why have you put all these people to so much trouble when we are not at war? 45 Dismiss then now to their homes and you chose for yourself a few men to stay with you, and come with me to Ptolemanis. I will hand it over to you as well as the other strongholds and the remaining troops and all the officials, and will turn around and go home. For that is why I am here (or, I came for a reason.)

46 Jonathan trusted him and did as he said, he sent away the troops, and they returned to the land of Judah. 47 He kept with himself three thousand men, two thousand of whom he left in Galilee, while one thousand accompanied him. 48 When Jonathan entered Ptolemais, the people of Ptolemais closed the gate and seized him, and they killed all who had entered with him with their swords..

49 Then Trypho sent troops and cavalry to Galilee and the Great Plain to destroy all of Jonathan’s soldiers. 50 They, however, realized that Jonathan had been seized and had perished along with his men, and they encouraged one another and kept marching in close formation, ready for battle. 51 When their pursuers saw thaty they would fight for their lives, they turned back. 52 So they all reached the land of Judah safely, and they mourned for Jonathan and his companions and were in great fear; and all Israel mourned deeply. 53 All the nations around them tried to destroy them, for they said, “They have no leader or helper. Now therefore let us make war on them and blot out the memory of them from humankind.” [183]


Simon Leads the Jews

1 Simon [184] heard that Trypho had assembled a large army to invade the land of Judah and destroy it, 2 and he saw that the people were reduced to a state of panic. So he went up to Jerusalem, and gathered the people together 3 he encouraged them, saying to them, ”You yourselves have experienced what great things my brothers and I and the house of my father have done for the laws and the sanctuary; you know also the wars and the difficulties that my brothers and I have seen. 4 By reason of this all my brothers have perished for the sake of Israel, and I alone am left. 5 Now, far be it from me to spare my life in any time of distress, for I am not better than my brothers. 6 But I will avenge my nation and the sanctuary and your wives and children, for all the nations have gathered together out of hatred to destroy us.

7 The spirit of the people was revived when they heard these words, 8 and they answered in a loud voice, “You are to be our leader in place of Judas ang your brother Jonathan/ 9 Fight our battles, and all that you say to us we will do.” 10 So he assembled all the warriors and hurried to complete the walls of Jerusalem, and he fortified it on every side. 11 He sent Jonathan son of Absalom to Joppa, and with him a considerable army. He drove out its occupants and remained there.

12 Then Trypho left Ptolemais with a large army to invade the land of Judah, and Jonathan was with him under guard. 13 Simon encamped in Adida., facing the plain. 14 Tryho learned that Simon had risen up in place of his brother Jonathan, and that he was about to join battle with him, so he sent envoys to him and said, 15 “It is for the money that your brother Jonathan owed the royal treasury, in connection with the office he held, that we are detaining him. 16 Send now one hundred talents of silver [185] and two of his sons as hostages, so that when released he will not revolt against us, and we will release him.”

17 Simon knew that they were speaking deceitfully to him, but he sent to get money and the sons, so that he would not arouse great hostility among the people, who might say, 18 “It was because Simon did not send him the money and the sons, that Jonathan perished.” 19 So he sent the sons and the hundred talents, but Trypho went back on his word and did not release Jonathan.

20 After this Trypho came to invade and ravish the country and destroy it, and he circled around by the way to Adora. [186] But Simon and his army kept marching along opposite him [187] to every place he went. 31 Now the men of the citadel kept sending envoys to Tryphe urging him to come to them by way of the wilderness and to send them food. 22 So Trypho got all his cavalry ready to go, but that night a very heavy snow fell, [188] and he did not move his troops because of the snow. Thereafter he marched on, withdrawing to the land of Gilead. 23 When he approached Baskama, [189] he killed Jonathan, and he was buried there. 24 Then Trypho turned and went back to his own land.

25 Simon sent and took the bones of his brother Jonathan and buried him in Modein, the city of his ancestors. 26 All Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and mourned for him many days. 27 Simon built a monument over the tomb, of his father and his brothers; he made it high so it might be seen, with polished stone on the front and back. 28 He also erected seven pyramids, opposite one another, for his father and mother and four brothers. 29 For the pyramids [190] he developed an elaborate setting erecting about them great columns, and on the columns he put suits of armor for a permanent memorial to, and beside the suits of armor he carved ships, so that they could be seen by all who sail the sea. 30 This is the tomb that he built in Modein, it remains to the time of this writing.

31 Trypho dealt treacherously with the young King Antiochus, killing him, 32 and became king in his place, putting on the crown of Asia, and he brought great calamity on the land. 34 But Simon built up the strongholds of Judea and walled them all around, with high towers and great walls and gates and bolts, and he stored provisions in the strongholds. [191] 34 Simon also chose emissaries and sent them to King Demetrius with a request to grant relief to the country, for all that Trypho did was to plunder. 35 King Demetrius sent him a favorable reply to his request, and wrote him a letter as follows, “King Demetrius to Simon, the high priest and friend of kings, and to the elders and nation of the Jews, greetings: 37 We have received the gold crown and the palm branch [192] that you sent, and we are ready to make a general peace with you and to write to our officials to grand you release from tribute. 38 All the grants that we have made to you remain valid, and let the strongholds that you have built be your possession. 39 We pardon any violations and offenses committed to the present day, and cancel the crown tax that you owe, and whatever other tax has been collected in Jerusalem shall be collected no longer. 40 If any of you are qualified to be enrolled in our bodyguard, let them be enrolled, and let there be peace between us.”

41 In the one hundred seventieth year [193] the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel, 42 and the people began to write in their documents and contracts, “In the first year of Simon the great high priest and General (or, commander) and leader of the Jews.”

43 In those days Simon encamped against Gazara [194] and surrounded it with troops. He made a siege engine, brought it up to the city, and battered and captured the city, and battered and captured one tower. 44 The men in the siege engine leaped out into the city [causing great confusion]. 45 The men in the city, with their wives and children, went up on the wall with their clothes torn, and they cried out with a loud voice, asking Simon to make peace with them; 46 they said, Do not treat us according to our wicked acts but according to your mercy.” 47 So Simon reached an agreement with them and stopped fighting against them. But he expelled them from the city and cleaned the houses in which the idols were located, and then entered with hymns and praise. 48 He removed all uncleanness from it, and settled in it those who observed the law. He strengthened its fortifications and built in it a house for himself.

49 Those who were in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from going in and out to buy and sell in the community. So they were very hungry, and many of them had perished from famine. 50 Then they cried to Simon to make peace with them, and he did so. But he expelled them from there and cleaned the citadel from its pollutions. 51 On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred seventy-first year, [195] The Jews entered it with praise and palm branches, and with harps and cymbals and stringed instruments, and with hymns and songs, because the great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. 52 Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. [196] He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel, and his men lived there. 53 Simon saw that his son John [197] had reached manhood, and he made him commander of all the forces, and he lived in Gazara.


In Praise of Simon

1 In the one hundred seventy-second year [198] King Demetrius assembled his forces and marched into Media to obtain help, so that he could make war against. Trypho

2 When King Arsaces of Persia and Media heard that Demetrius had invaded his territory he sent one of his generals to take him alive. 3 The general attacled and defeated the army of Demetrius and seized him and took him to Arsaces, who put him under guard.

4 The land had rest all the days of Simon.

He sought the good of his nation;

[or, He used his position and power to influence

and do whatever was good for the people.]

his rule was pleasing to them,

as was the honor shown him, all his days.

5 To crown all his honors he took Joppa for a harbor,

and opened a way to the isle of the sea.

6 He extended the borders of his nation,

and gained full control of the country.

7 He gathered a host of captives [who were relocated],

he ruled over Gazara and Beth-zur and the citadel,

and he removed its uncleanness from it,

and there was none to oppose him.

8 They tilled their land in peace;

the ground gave its increase,

and the trees of the plains their fruit.

9 Old men sat in the streets,

they all talked together of good things,

and the youths put on splendid military uniforms.

10 He supplied the towns with food,

and furnished them with the means of defense,

until his renown spread to the ends of the earth.

11 He established peace in the land,

and Israel rejoiced with great joy.

12 All the people sat under their own vines and fig trees,

and there was none to make them afraid.

13 No one was left in the land to fight them,

and the kings were crushed in those days.

14 He gave help to all the humble among his people,

he sought out the law,

and did away with all the renegades and outlaws.

15 He made the sanctuary glorious

and added to the vessels of the sanctuary.

16 It was heard in Rome, and as far away as Sparta, that Jonathan had died, and they were deeply grieved. 17 When they heard that his brother Simon had become high priest in his stead, and that he was ruling over the country, and the towns in it, 18 they wrote to him on bronze tablets to renew with him the friendship and alliance that they had established with his brothers Judas and Jonathan. 19 These were read before the assembly in Jerusalem.

20 This is a transcript of the letter that the Spartans sent:

“The magistrates [199] and the city of the Spartans to the high priest Simon and to the elders and the priests and the rest of the Jewish people, our brothers, greetings. 21 The envoys who were sent to our people have told us about your glory and honor, and we rejoiced at their coming. 22 We have recorded what they said in our public decrees, as follows: ‘Numenius son of Antiochus and Antipater son of Jason, envoys of the Jews, have come to us to renew their friendship with us. 23 It has pleased our people to receive these men with honor and to put a copy of their words in the public archives (or, records), so that the people of the Spartans may have a record of them. And they have sent a transcript of this to the high priest Simon,’”

24 After this Simon sent Numenius to Rome, with a large gold shield weighing one thousand minas, [200] to confirm their alliance with the Romans.

25 When the people heard these things they said, “How shall we thank Simon and his sons? 26 He and his brothers and the house of his father have stood firm; they have fought and repulsed Israel’s enemies and established its freedom.” 27 So they made a record on bronze tablets and put in on pillars on Mount Zion.

This is a transcript of what they wrote: “On the eighteenth day of Elul, in the one hundred seventy-second year, [201] which is the third year of the great high priest Simon, 28 in Asaramel [202] in the great assembly of the princes and the people and the rulers of the nation and the elders of the country, the following was proclaimed to us:

29 “Since wars often occurred in the country, Simon son of Mattathias, a priest of the sons [203] of Joarib, and his brothers, exposed themselves to danger and resisted the enemies of their nation in order that their sanctuary and the law might be preserved, and they brought great glory to their nation. 30 Jonathan rallied the nation, became their high priest, and was gathered to his people. [204] 31When their enemies decided to invade their country and lay hands on their sanctuary. 32 Simon rose up and fought for his nation. He spent great sums of his own money; he armed the soldiers of his nation and paid them wages. 33 He fortified the towns of Judea, and Beth-zur on the borders of Judea, where formerly the arms of the enemy had been stored, and he placed a garrison of Jews there. 34 He also fortified Joppa, which is by the sea, and Gazara, where the enemy formerly lived, which is on the borders of Azotus. [205] He settled Jews there, and provided in those towns whatever was necessary for their restoration.

35 “The people saw Simon’s faithfulness, [206] and the glory that he had and his resolve to win for his nation, and they made him their leader and high priest, because he had done all these things and because of the justice and loyalty that he had maintained toward his nation. He sought in every way to exalt his people. 36 In his days things prospered in his hands, so that the Gentiles were exiled, [207] and so also those in the city of David in Jerusalem, who had built themselves a citadel from which they used to sally forth and defile the environs of the sanctuary, doing great damage to its purity. 37 He settled Jews in it and fortified it for the safety of the country and of the city, and built the walls of Jerusalem higher.

38 “In view of these things King Demetrius confirmed him in the high priesthood, 39 made him one of his Friends, and paid him high honors. 39 For he had heard that the Jews were addressed by the Romans as friends and allies and brothers, [208] and that the Romans had received the envoys with honor.

41 “The Jews and their priests have resolved that Simon should be their leader and high priest forever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise, 42 and that he should be governor over them, and that he should take charge of the sanctuary and appoint officials over its tasks and over the country and the weapons and the strongholds, and that he should take charge of the sanctuary, 43 and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all contracts in the country should be written in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple and wear gold.

44 “None of the people or priests shall be permitted to nullify any of these decisions or to oppose what he says, or to convene an assembly in the country without his permission, or to be clothed in purple or put on a gold buckle.45 Whoever contravenes these decisions or rejects any of them shall be liable for punishment.”

46 All the people unanimously agreed to grant Simon the right to act in accordance with these decisions. 47 So Simon accepted and agreed to be high priest, to be commander and ethnarch [209] of the Jews and priests, and to be protector of them all. (or, to preside over them all). 48 They gave orders to inscribe this decree on bronze tablets, to put them up in a conspicuous place in the precinct of the sanctuary, 49 and to deposit copies of them in the treasury, so that Simon and his sons might have them.


Antiochus the Seventh Asks for Simon’s Support

1 Antiochus, [210] son of King Demetrius, sent a letter from the islands of the sea (or, overseas) to Simon, the priest and ethnarch of the Jews, and to all the nation, 2 Its contents were as follows: “King Antiochus to Simon the high priest and ethnarch and to the nation of the Jews greetings. 3 Whereas certain scoundrels have gained control of m ancestral kingdom, and I intend to lay claim to the kingdom so that I may restore it as it formerly was, and have recruited a host of mercenary troops and have equipped warships, 4 and intend to land in the country so that I may proceed against those who have destroyed our country and those who have devastated many cities in my kingdom, 5 now therefore I confirm to you all the tax remissions that the kings before me have granted you, and a release you from all the payments from which they have released you, 6 I authorize you to mint your own coinage as money for your country, 7 and I grant freedom to Jerusalem and the sanctuary. All the weapons that you have prepared and the strongholds that you have built and now occupy shall remain in your hands. 8 Every debt you owe to the royal treasury and any such future debts shall be cancelled for you from now on and in the future. 9 When we gain control of our kingdom, we will bestow great honor on you and your nation and the temple, so that your glory will become apparent in the entire earth.”

10 In the one hundred seventy-fourth year [211] Antiochus set out and invaded the land of his ancestors. All the troops rallied to him, so that there were only few weee loyal to Trypho. 11 Antiochus pursued him, and Trypho came to Dor in his flight, which is by the sea; 12 for he knew that troubles had converged on him, and his troops had deserted him. 13 So Antiochus encamped against Dor, and with him were one hundred twenty thousand warriors and eight thousand cavalry. 14 He surrounded the town, and the ships joined in a bombardment from the sea; he pressed the town hard from land and sea, and permitted no one to leave or enter it.

Rome Supports the Jews

15 Then Numenius and his companions arrived from Rome, with letters to the various kings and countries, in which the following was written: 16 Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, [212] greetings: 17 The envoys of the Jews have come to us as our friends and allies to renew our ancient friendship and alliance. They had been sent by the high priest Simon and by the Jewish people 18 and have brought a gold shield weighing one thousand minas. 19 We therefore have decided that it would be good for us to keep the shield, and to write to the kings and countries that they should not seek their harm or make war against them and their cities, and their country, or make alliance with those who war against them. 20 It has seemed good to us to accept the shield from them. 21 Therefore if any scoundrels have fled to you from their country, hand them over to the high priest Simon, so that he may punish them according to their law.”

22 The consul wrote the same thing to King Demetrius and to Attalus [213] and Ariarathes [214] and Arsaces [215], 23 and to all the countries, and to Sampsames, [216] and to the Spartans, and to Delos, [217] and to Myndos, [218] and to Sicyon, [219] and to Caria, and to Samos, [220] and to Pamphylia, [221] and to Lycia and to Halicarnassus, and to Rhodes, [222] and to Phaselis, [223] and to Cos, [224] and to Side, and to Aradus, [225] and Gortyna [226] and Cnidus and Cyprus and Cyrene.[227] 24 They also sent a copy of these things to the high priest Simon.

Antiochus the Seventh Breaks with Simon

25 King Antiochus besieged Dor for the second time (or, the next day_, continually having his forces carry out a crushing attack against it and making engines of war; and he shut Trypho up and kept him from going out or in. 26 Simon sent two thousand picked troops to Antiochus, to fight for him, and silver and gold and a large amount of military equipment. 27 Antiochus refused to receive the offer, and this repudiataead all the agreements he had made in the past with Simon, and became estranged from him. 28 He sent to him Athenobius, one of his Friends, to confer with him, saying, “You hold control of Joppa and Gazara and the citadel in Jerusalem; these are cities of my kingdom. 29 You have devastated their territory, you have done great damage in the land, and you have taken possession of many places in my kingdom. 30 Now then, hand over the cities that you have seized them and the tribute money of the places that you have conquered outside the borders of Judea. 31 The only other option is that you pay me five hundred talents of silver for the destruction that you have caused and five hundred talents more for the tribute money of the cities. If ou fail to meet my demand we will declare war on you.”

32 So Athenobius, the king’s Friend came to Jerusalem, and when he saw the splendor of Simon, and the sideboard with its gold and silver vessels, and his great magnificence, he was amazed. When he reported the king’s message to Simon,, 33 Simon replied, “We have neither taken foreign land nor confiscated any foreign property, but only taken back the inheritance of our ancestors, which in the past had been unjustly taken by our enemies. 34 We are only making use of this opportunity to recover our natural heritage, 35 As for Joppa and Gazara, which you demand, they were causing great damage among the people and to our land, for them we will give you one hundred talents.”

Athenobius did not answer him a word, 36 but returned in wrath to the king and reported to him these words and also about the splendor of Simon and all that he had seen. And the king was very angry.

John’s Victory over Cendebeus

37 Meanwhile Trypho boarded a ship and came to Orthosia. [228] 38 Then the king made Cendebeus commander–in-chief of the costal country, and gave him troops of infantry and cavalry. 39 He commanded him to encamp against Judea, to build up Kedron and fortify its gates, and to make war on the people but the king pursued Trypho. 40 So Cendebeus came to Jamnia and began to provoke the people and invade Judea and take the people captive and kill them. 41 He built up Kedron [229] and stationed horsemen and troops there, so that they might go out and make raids along the highways of Judea, as the king had ordered him.


1 John went up from Gazara and reported to his father Simon what Cendebeus had done. 2 Simon called his two eldest sons Judas and John, and said to them, “My brothers and I and my father’s house have fought the wars of Israel from our youth until this day and the things have prospered in our hands so that we have delivered Israel many times. 3 But now I have grown old, and you by Heaven’s mercy are mature in years. [230] Take my place and my brother’s and go out and fight for the nation, and may the help that comes from Heaven be with you.”

4 So John chose out of the country twenty thousand warriors and cavalry and they marched against Cendebeus and camped for the night at Modein. 5 Early in the morning they started out and marched into the plain, where a large force of infantry and cavalry was coming to meet them; and a stream lay between them. 6 Then he and his army lined up against them. He saw that the soldiers were afraid to cross the stream, so he crossed over first; and when his troops saw him, they crossed over after him. 7 Then he divided the army and placed the cavalry in the center of the infantry, for the cavalry [231] of the enemy were very numerous. 8 They sounded the trumpets, and Cendebeus and his army were put to flight, many of them fell wounded and the rest fled into the stronghold. 9 At that time Judas the brother of John was wounded, but john pursued them until Cendebeus reached Kedron, which he had built. 10 They also fled into the towers that were in the open country near Azotus, and John burned it with fire, and about two thousand of them fell. He then returned to Judea safely.

The Murder of Simon and Two of His Sons

11 Now Ptolemy [232] son of Abubus had been appointed governor over the plain of Jericho; he had a large store of silver and gold, 12 for he was son-in-law of the high priest. 13 He became over ambitious and he determined to get control of the country, and made treacherous plans against Simon and his sons, to do away with them. 14 Now Simon was visiting the towns of the country and attending to their needs, when he went down to Jericho with his sons Mattathias and Judas, in the one hundred seventy-seventh year, [233] in the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat. [234] 15 The son of Abubus received them treacherously in the little stronghold called Dok, [235] which he had built; he gave them a great banquet, and hid men there. 16 When Simon and his sons were intoxicated, Ptolemy and his accomplices rose up and took their weapons, rushed in against Simon in the banquet hall and killed him and his two sons, as well as some of his servants. 17 So he committed an act of great treachery and returned evil for good.

18 Then Ptolemy wrote a report about these things and sent it to the king, asking him to send troops to aid him and to turn over to him the town and the country. 19 He sent other troops to Gazaraa to do away with John; he sent letters to the captains asking them to come to him so that he might give them silver and gold and gifts; 20 and he sent other troops to take possession of Jerusalem and the temple hill. 21 But someone ran ahead and reported to John at Gazara that his father and brothers had perished, and that ”he has sent men to kill you also.” 22 When he heard this, he was horrified, he seized the men who came to destroy him and killed them, for he had found out that they were seeking to destroy him.

23 The rest of the acts [236] of John and his wars and the courageous deeds that he did, and the building of the walls [of Jerusalem] that he completed and his achievements, 24 are written in the annals of his high priesthood, from the time that he became high priest after his father.

[1] Literally: “And it came to pass.” Verse 1 in Greek is not clear in its meaning.

[2] 356 – 323 B.C.E.

[3] The word is Phoenician for the main city of Macedonia.

[4] Greek: “and he defeated.”

[5] He became ill on 3/1323. He died 11 days later.

[6] The name he gave himself, Epiphanies, means “Illustrious.” In mockery people called him “Epimane” which meant “Mad Man.

[7] 175 B.C.E.

[8] Literally: “Many evils have found us.”

[9] Literally: “a heavy force.”

[10] This was the sixth ruler named Ptolemy. 181 – 146 B.C.E/

[11] 160 B.C.E.

[12] Literally: “After two years (or, days).

[13] Greek: “it.”

[14] “He added” is omitted in Greek.

[15] Syriac manuscripts have “twenty five days.” Chislev was the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar, roughly – December.

[16] 167 B.C.E.

[17] This might be translated more correctly so we can understand it: “on the porches of the houses.”

[18] The precise meaning is unclear. Some manuscripts seem to hint that they were “hanged by their neck.”

[19] Josephus reports the family name to be “Hasmonean” It is also found that way in the Midrash and Genura.

[20] The present day city of El Medijai.

[21] The meaning of the Greek is uncertain.

[22] Other manuscripts read: “has not had a part in her kingdom.”

[23] “Every nation of the world has occupied the city, and ruled over her possessions” is perhaps a good translation.

[24] Some scholars feel verses 11 – 13 are prose.

[25] This was a usual sign of mourning.

[26] This as one of two royal orders that were favored by the go-Syrian kings.

[27] Possibly: “he shouted with rage.”

[28] Literally: “kidneys.”

[29] Literally: “they.”

[30] i.e. not even a semblance of resistance.

[31] Josephus reported that they burned them in their caves without resistance and without so much as stopping up the entrance to the caves in which they were hiding.

[32] These were Israelites who seemed to hate everything and everyone. While they were not orthodox Jews they hated the Hellenistic Spirit, and joined forces with the Maccabeeans. Cf. Psalms 30:5; 31:223; 37:28.

[33] Literally: “sons of pride.”

[34] 166 B.C.E.

[35] “Exterminated” might state this more clearly.

[36] Literally: “it.”

[37] Beth-horon was about a five hour journey north-west of Jerusalem and an important military outpost.

[38] Literally: “him.”

[39] Polybus writes that King Antiochus was not careful with his distribution of money and other gifts. He might give a soldier bone dice, or a gold coin, or, upon meeting someone for the first time might give that individual a piece of gold.

[40] Literally: “to the east of the Euphrates.”

[41] There were several cities named Antioch. Scholars are not in complete agreement as to which city named Antioch is mentioned here.

[42] 165 B.C.E.

[43] So: Syriac & Greek manuscripts. Vulgate: “slaves.” These were caravans of traders who hoped to purchase, inexpensively, Hebrew slaves to be resold elsewhere.

[44] i.e. “those separated or those consecrated.”

[45] Or: “But as his will in heaven may be, so he will do.”

[46] It is called “Gezer” in Joshua.

[47] In other references it is called “Ashdod.”

[48] This location also went by the names “Jabneel & Jamneh.”

[49] Literally: “they.”

[50] Meaning: “house of rock.”

[51] Greek: “full.”

[52] 154 B.C.E.

[53] These, scholars assume wee temporary decorations for the time of dedication.

[54] Greek: “they,”

[55] The location is uncertain but scholars feel it is a reference to the southern boundary of Judea.

[56] The name is only found here in the Bible.

[57] Greek: “her.”

[58] The Ammonites were traditional enemies.

[59] Literally: “and the daughters of…”

[60] Location unknown.

[61] Literally: “they.”

[62] Literally: “aliens.”

[63] Literally: “them.”

[64] Literally: “those.”

[65] A valley of the Dead Sea.

[66] An Ishmaelite tribe who were friendly and loyal to the Jews.

[67] The last three locations are unknown.

[68] Literally: “they.”

[69] In Greek “Dathema” is omitted.

[70] Location uncertain.

[71] In Judges another name is used.

[72] Greek: “his.”

[73] Some manuscripts have “Samaria.”

[74] The spelling varies in the manuscripts. Codices Aleph and V spell it one way, Codex A a different way. This was perhaps a provincial capitol rather than just a city

[75] Literally: “them.”

[76] 163 B.C.E.

[77] Literally: “his.”

[78] Literally: “He.”

[79] In Hisory he was called “Appion.” Polybus says he was under the strong rule and guidance of Lysias and taught to plunder the temple and the people.

[80] Literally: “it.”

[81] 162 B.C.E.

[82] The meaning of the Greek is uncertain.

[83] Greek literally: “those over the rein.”

[84] Thirty-two sounds like a huge amount. Many scholars feel the number is three or two, assuming that it was a copyist’s error. The Greek manuscripts have “thirty-two.” Just the feeding of that many elephants seems to make the number improbable. Historians report that elephants were give some form of liquor so they would be more violent and trample people who were (hopefully) enemies.

[85] Literally: “they.”

[86] Beth-zechariah was a one hour walk south of Bethlehem.

[87] Some manuscripts read “thirty” and others “thirty-two.”:

[88] Apparently in that day, if you were responsible for driving an elephant, no matter what your background was you were considered to be “an Indian Driver.”

[89] i.e. they would not withstand the onslaught.

[90] Literally: “scorpion.” Possibly the arm that threw the stones and flames looked somewhat like a scorpion’s tail.

[91] Some manuscripts read: “in the sanctuary.”

[92] Literally: “them.”

[93] 161 B.C.E.

[94] Demetrius escaped from Rome, having been sent there as as a hostage in place of Antiochus Epiphanies V He had been in Rome since he was a boy. This is what Polybus the historian recorded.

[95] According to Polybus it was from the sea and a small town. In II Maccabees it is described as a large city.

[96] Josephus says he was a friend of Antiochus Epiphanies.

[97] False offers of friendship.

[98] Literally: “he.”

[99] Or: “many of the men who had deserted.”

[100] A cistern or well.

[101] Josephus says: “he was the most kind and the most faithful of Demetrius’ friends.”

[102] Josephus reports that it was Saluma located about a one hour walk north of Jaffa.

[103] One and one half hours walk from Beth-horon.

[104] Literally: “of them.” Some manuscripts include the word “Assyrians” with a reference toSenacharib.

[105] A distance of about fifteen miles.

[106] Literally: “trumpet signals.”

[107] There is a word play in this sentence in the original.

[108] Originally the day was called “Nicanor Day” but later it was changed to “The Fast of Esther.” Cf. Esther 9:32.

[109] Scholars question the reliability of the facts in this chapter.

[110] These people were not from France. There was a group of people in central Turkey who were also called Gauls.

[111] Spain was conquered by the Romans in 201 B.C.E.

[112] This was Philip V, king of Macedonia.179 B.C.E.

[113] Peseus was the illegitimate son of Philip who followed his father on the throne. He was defeated in 168 B.C.E.

[114] Antiochus the Great was also called Antiochus III. 223 – 187 B.C.E/

[115] He was king from 192 – 158. He never was king over India, as is claimed here. His rule over Media and Lydia is questionable.

[116] The Islands would be Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica.

[117] This comment forsakes the thoughts of other ancient writers.

[118] The exact route is unknown.

[119] Nisan. April.

[120] 159 B.C.E.

[121] The name is omitted in Greek.

[122] Josephus called this location “Eza.”

[123] Some scholars feel his is a reference to the time following the Prophet Malachi.

[124] A community six miles south of Bethlehem.

[125] Possibly modern “Bir-selhab.”

[126] Literally: “he.”

[127] This location is mentioned on “The Moabite Stone.”

[128] Literally: “they.”

[129] The meaning is unclear.

[130] Literally: “they.”

[131] There were several places called Timnath. This location was perhaps fifteen miles west of Jerusalem.

[132] 159 B.C.E.

[133] Possibly “Wadi-el=Bassah.

[134] This was perhaps the head of a Bedouin clan. Josephus says there was an exchange of prisoners at this time.

[135] Nine miles north of Jerusalem.

[136] 152 B.C.E.

[137] Alexander Epiphanes was a low born native of Smyrna who, who, because of his resemblance to Antichos Epiphanes presented himself as being the son of Antiochus Epiphanes. He real name was Alexander Balas. He was received by the king of Pergamum, Attalus II. He was recognized by the Roman Senate largely because Demetrius was hated by his own people due to ‘insolence and difficulty of access’ and ‘slothful negligence about public affairs.’ Alexander, with the support of the kingdom of Syria was more successful than Demetrius.

[138] Wit all the unrest there had not been a high priest for seven years, following the death of Alcimus.

[139] 152 B.C.E.

[140] In spring water would overflow the Dead Sea and as the season became dry the salt was gathered. A tax was placed on all the salt that was gathered since salt was a rather rare produce. With that rather crude way of gathering salt one can understand the words of Jesus a bit more clearly: “if the salt has lost its flavor.”

[141] The meaning is uncertain.

[142] Literally: “house.”

[143] Demetrius fought bravely but when his horse fell he was left behind. He tried to retrieve and remount his horse but he was unable due to the deep bog which made remounting difficult. He could not escape and was killed by the opposition.

[144] This was Cleopatra III, not Cleopatra V: 69 – 30 B.C.E. who was involved with Caesar and Mark Anthony. Cleopatra V was the result of an incestuous union between Ptolemy and his sister, Cleopatra

[145] 159 B,C,E,

[146] 147 B.C.E.

[147] Literally: “no stone or flint.”

[148] 3 ½ miles north of Jamnia. The harbor was the best along the Mediterranean shore but not idea.

[149] Dagon was a god brought from Crete when the Philistines settled along the shore of the Mediterranean. It was thought for centuries that this was a ‘Fish” god. More recent scholarship denies that but a final understanding of Dagon is yet to be understood.

[150] Ekron was the farthest north of the traditional Philistine cities.

[151] This is Ptolemy V who is also called Philoneter.

[152] Josephus reports that Ptolemy came in good faith but changed his attitude when he saw how week his armed forces were.

[153] Some manuscripts use the word “they.”

[154] Present day Nahr-al-Kebir.

[155] The location is five miles north of where the river Orantes meets the sea. It was one of the four important cities of northern Syria at this time in history.

[156] There is no evidence of this in History. Josephus does not even hint at this. Scholars assume that since his military force was a weakling compared to that of his son-in-law, that he conceived of this idea.

[157] This should not be considered as the continent of Asia. There were two times when areas of north0easter Asia were called “Asia.” 285 B.C.E the coastal area, and 244 B… a Roman provicnce waas called Asia.

[158] Josephus writes of an Arabian prince with that name.

[159] History reports that he was thrown from his horse, and in the battle had wounded his head. He went into a coma for three days and partially recovered but died shortly after that.

[160] 145 B.C.E.

[161] i.e.22,000 pounds of silver.

[162] Josephus says that Lasthenes brought a great number of mercenary troops to Demetrius.

[163] i.e. Ephraim. Cf. II SamUel 13:23.

[164] Present day Lod.

[165] Present day Boit-Rima.

[166] Or: Samaria, for all those who offer sacrifice in Jerusalem, in place of …”

[167] The troops had not been paid their wages, according to Josephus.

[168] This amount appears to be exaggerated.

[169] Josephus reports that the houses were close together and all built of wood.

[170] Greek: “animals.”

[171] Josephus describes this as a high hill 100 stadia north of Ptolemais. A stadia was 600 feet.

[172] Hazor is located in the N.E. portion of Galilee Remarkable archaeological work has been done there for many years.

[173] Josephus reports “2000.”

[174] Numenius and Antipater Cf. 14:22, 32.

[175] Josephus calls his ruler Demoleies. That the Jews and the Spartans are related is based on a tale that says the Spartans came from Phoenicia and were of Semitic origin. Most scholars do not accept this though there are a few who still hold to this tradition.

[176] Josephus adds: “son of Judas” but that is unclear. He reigned either 321-303 B.C.E. or twenty years earlier. The record of his ruling is not certain.

[177] The Vulgate compares with verse 20. Greek: “Darius.” It is thought that he reigned from 309 – 265 B.C.E.

[178] Literally: “they.”

[179] Some manuscripts omit “and withdrew.”

[180] Some manuscripts have “Gubuddeans.” This is a small tract of land about eight miles northof Damascus.

[181] Possibly Joppa. Cf. 10:75, 86.

[182] A hapax legomenon.

[183] Both rebel kings are now enemies of the Jews.

[184] Simon was the last surviving of the five Maccabaean brothers. Through him the people of he Jews became completely independent.

[185] 6,000 pounds of silver.

[186] He porously made a detour by going by way of Adora. Adora was fortified by Rehoboam. (931 – 914) It is located five miles north of Hebron.

[187] i.e. parallel with him.

[188] It rarely snows south of Hebron though it has occurred, but it is rare. A very heavy snow is almost unheard of.

[189] The location is unknown and the name only appears here.

[190] In the 4th Century B.C.E. Artemuis, widow of Mausolus, King of Cariai built a monument for her husband. Such monuments have come to be called mausoleums, in honor of the first such structure.

[191] This was a means of strengthening his position as a leader.

[192] The text saying “palm branch: is in question. It is possibly an error in reading an earlier Hebrew version, which said embassy or ambassador.” Those who hold to “palm branch” think it was a scepter, the top of which was shaped in the form of a palm branch.

[193] 142 B.C.E.

[194] Greek: Gaza.”

[195] 141 B.C.E. The date was the 23rd day of Iyyar, also called Ziv in Hebrew.

[196] The Megillath Taanith in a section called The Great Fasting, states that at this celebration there is not to be any fasting. It is a time of great joy and celebration.

[197] i.e. John Hyrcanis

[198] 140 B.C.E.

[199] These were the Ephors, who remained in control of Sparta beginning in 192 B.C.E.

[200] 60 minas equaled one talent.

[201] 140 B.C.E.

[202] The word is Hebrew for “the court of the people of God” or “the prince of the people of God.”

[203] The meaning of the Greek is uncertain.

[204] i.e. “he died.”

[205] Scholars feel there is a mistake in this sentence since Azotus and Gaza are not close, being 17 miles apart.

[206] Some manuscripts read: “conduct.”

[207] The meaning is uncertain.

[208] An unusual Greek word is used here for brothers.”

[209] i.e. the ruler of the province of the Jews, which was at that time a part of the Roman empire.

[210] He was also called :Sidetes the Pious.”

[211] 138 B.C.E.

[212] This was Ptolemy V.

[213] The king of Persia.

[214] The fifth king of Cappadocia having that name. 162 – 130 B.C.E.

[215] Also called Mithridates I, king of Parthia.

[216] The name is uncertain. It might be a region on the Black Sea which had a harbor.

[217] Delos and Samos are islands in the Archipelago.

[218] A country along the south-west coast of Asia Minor (Turkey).

[219] A country on the north coast of the Peloponnesus, west of Corinth.

[220] See foot note 217.

[221] A country on the coast of Asia Minor between Lucia and Cilicia.

[222] An island off the coast of Caria.

[223] A city on the coast of Lycia.

[224] An island off the coast of Caria.

[225] An island off the coast of Phoenicia

[226] A town on the island of Crete.

[227] The capital of Libya, the country lying west of Egypt. The fact that these geographic locations are not listed in an orderly fashion hints that the writer’s knowledge of geography was meager.

[228] A town on the Phoenician coast.

[229] Present day Katra, west of Ekron.

[230] Literally: “sufficient in years.

[231] Literally: “horsemen.”

[232] Ptolemy was the son-in-law of Simon.

[233] 134 B.C.E.

[234] February. Since the Hebrew people had a lunar calendar it would not be exactly as our February.

[235] Dok was thought to be north of Jericho.

[236] Literally: “words.”