101In the year 160,10.1 the year 160: This corresponds to 152 bc. Alexander Epiphanes,10.1 alexander epiphanes: Alexander Epiphanes is more widely known as Alexander Balas. son of Antiochus the Fourth, landed at Ptolemais and captured it. The people welcomed him as their king. 2When King Demetrius heard of it, he gathered a large army and went out to meet him in battle. 3At that time Demetrius sent Jonathan a friendly letter full of flattery, 4in the hope of winning Jonathan over to his side and making peace with the Jews before Alexander made a treaty with them against him. 5Demetrius thought that Jonathan would certainly remember all the wrongs he had done to him, his brothers, and the entire Jewish nation. 6And so Demetrius made Jonathan his ally and gave him authority to raise an army and equip it. He also ordered that the hostages held in the fort at Jerusalem should be handed over to Jonathan. 7So Jonathan went to Jerusalem and read the letter to all the people and to the men in the fort. 8These men were terrified when they learnt that the king had given Jonathan authority to raise an army. 9They handed the hostages over to him, and he returned them to their parents.
10Jonathan set up his headquarters in Jerusalem and began to rebuild and restore the city. 11He ordered the builders to use squared stones for the city walls and for the protecting wall round Mount Zion. This was done. 12The foreigners deserted the fortresses that Bacchides had built; 13each man left his post and returned to his own country. 14But some of the Jews who had abandoned the Law of Moses and its commands were still left in Bethzur, which served as their last place of refuge.
15King Alexander learnt of the promises Demetrius had made to Jonathan and he also learnt about Jonathan himself, about the battles he had fought, his courageous deeds, and the troubles he and his brothers had endured. 16He was certain that he would never find another man like Jonathan and so decided to make him his friend and ally. 17He wrote Jonathan a letter:
18“King Alexander to his friend Jonathan, greetings. 19I have heard that you are a brave man who has earned the right to be a friend of the king. 20I have this day appointed you as High Priest of your nation and conferred upon you the title of ‘Friend of the King.’ You are to be our ally and give us your support.”He also sent him a royal robe and a gold crown. 21Jonathan put on the robes of the High Priest in the seventh month of the year 16010.21 the year 160: This corresponds to 152 bc. at the Festival of Shelters. He raised an army and stored up a large supply of weapons.
22When Demetrius heard this, he was distressed and said, 23“How did we manage to let Alexander get ahead of us? He has strengthened his position by making an alliance with the Jews. 24I also will write them a friendly letter offering high positions and gifts, so that they will support me.”
“King Demetrius to the nation of the Jews, greetings. 26We are delighted to learn that you have kept your obligations under our treaty, remained loyal to us, and have not gone over to the side of our enemies. 27Now if you continue to remain loyal to us, we will reward you well. 28We will grant you exemptions from many taxes and allow you other privileges. 29I hereby grant all the Jewish people release and exemption from payment of regular taxes, salt taxes, and other special taxes. 30
Furthermore, from this day I release you from your obligation to pay me one-third of the grain-harvest and half of the fruit-harvest. From now on I will not demand these payments from Judea or from the three districts that have been added to Judea from Samaria and Galilee. 31Jerusalem and its surrounding territory is to be recognized as a holy city and to be exempt from the payment of all taxes. 32I also give up my authority over the fort in Jerusalem and place it under the High Priest, who may station there anyone he wishes to guard it. 33I freely grant release to all Jews who are prisoners of war anywhere in my kingdom. All of them will be exempt from taxes, even on their livestock.10.33 This sentence in Greek is unclear. 34No taxes shall be collected from any Jew anywhere in my kingdom on Sabbaths, New Moon Festivals, and other holy days. Furthermore, no taxes shall be collected three days before or after the major holy days. 35No one has the right on any of these days to demand payment or to trouble you in any way.
36“Jews may be enlisted in the royal army up to a total of 30,000 men, and they will receive the same pay as other royal troops. 37Some of them may be stationed in the great royal fortresses, and others assigned to responsible positions in the government. They shall have Jews as their leaders and officers, and they shall be allowed to follow their own laws and customs, just as the king has permitted for the people of Judea.
38“The three districts added to Judea from the territory of Samaria will be completely incorporated into Judea and placed under the authority of the High Priest alone. 39I give to the Temple in Jerusalem for its operating expenses the revenues from the city of Ptolemais and the lands belonging to it. 40I also promise to make an annual gift of 15,000 silver coins from appropriate accounts within the royal treasury. 41The total accumulated state subsidy, which we have failed to pay in recent years, shall be paid, and the payments continued from now on for the work of the Temple. 42In addition to this, we will no longer require the 5,000 silver coins annually from the Temple income. This money belongs to the priests serving in the Temple. 43Whoever owes a debt to the king or any other debt and takes refuge in the Temple in Jerusalem or in any area that belongs to it may not be arrested, nor may his property anywhere in my kingdom be confiscated. 44The expenses for rebuilding and renovating the Temple shall be provided from the royal treasury. 45Likewise, the expenses for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and its surrounding fortifications, as well as the walls of designated towns in Judea, shall be provided from the royal treasury.”
46When Jonathan and the people heard the proposals made by King Demetrius, they refused to believe them or accept them, because they remembered how harshly he had treated them and what terrible troubles he had caused them. 47They preferred to give their allegiance to Alexander because he had been the first to open peace negotiations, and they remained his allies as long as he lived.
48King Alexander raised a large army and took up battle positions facing Demetrius. 49But when the armies of the two kings met in battle, the army of Alexander10.49; 10.50 Alexander; some manuscripts have Demetrius. turned and ran. Demetrius10.49 Demetrius; some manuscripts have Alexander. pursued them and won the battle. 50Alexander10.50; 10.49 Alexander; some manuscripts have Demetrius. fought bitterly until sundown, but Demetrius was killed that day.
51Then Alexander sent ambassadors to King Ptolemy the Sixth of Egypt with this message:
52“I have returned to my kingdom and taken my seat on the throne of my ancestors. I have taken over the government, and I am now in control of the country. 53I made war on Demetrius, defeated him and his army, and I have taken over his kingdom. 54Now I am ready to make an alliance. Give me your daughter in marriage, and I will give both of you such gifts as you deserve.”
55King Ptolemy replied, “It was a great day when you returned to your country and took the throne of your ancestors. 56I agree to your proposals, but first meet me at Ptolemais. We can get acquainted there, and I will give you my daughter in marriage.”
57So in the year 16210.57 the year 162: This corresponds to 150 bc. Ptolemy and his daughter Cleopatra10.57 Cleopatra: this was Cleopatra Thea, also known as Cleopatra the Third, and not to be confused with Cleopatra the Seventh (69–30 bc), who was involved in the history of Caesar and Mark Antony. left Egypt and arrived at Ptolemais. 58King Alexander met them, and Ptolemy gave him his daughter in marriage. The wedding was celebrated there in Ptolemais with royal splendour.
59King Alexander wrote asking Jonathan to come to meet him. 60So Jonathan, in a show of splendour, went to Ptolemais and met the two kings. He presented them with gifts of silver and gold, and he also gave many gifts to the high officials who had accompanied them. Everyone was favourably impressed with him. 61At the same time some traitorous Jews who wanted to make trouble for Jonathan made accusations against him, but King Alexander paid no attention to them. 62He gave orders that Jonathan should be given royal robes to wear, 63and he honoured him by letting him sit at his side. Alexander told his officers to take Jonathan into the centre of the city and to announce that no one was to bring charges against him for any reason and no one was to cause him any kind of trouble. 64When his accusers saw the honours given to him, heard the announcement, and saw him clothed in royal robes, they all fled. 65The king further honoured Jonathan by enrolling him in the First Order of the “Friends of the King” and by making him a general and governor of his province. 66Jonathan returned to Jerusalem pleased and successful.
67In the year 16510.67 the year 165: This corresponds to 147 bc. Demetrius the Second, the son of Demetrius the First, left Crete and arrived in Syria, the land of his ancestors. 68When King Alexander heard about this, he was worried and returned to Antioch, the capital of Syria. 69Demetrius reappointed Apollonius governor of Greater Syria. Apollonius raised a large army, set up camp near Jamnia, and sent the following message to Jonathan the High Priest:
70“Because of you I am being ridiculed, but why do you, there in your mountains, continue this rebellion when no one supports you? 71If you really have any confidence in your army, come down here on the plain and fight, where we can test each other's strength. Study the situation, and you will find that I have the support of the forces from the cities. 72You will learn who I am and who our allies are, and you will discover that you have no chance of standing against us. Your predecessors have already been beaten twice on their own ground; 73so how do you expect to defeat my cavalry and the kind of army I have here on the plain? Down here there is not so much as a pebble to hide behind and no way to escape.”
74When Jonathan received this message from Apollonius, he became angry. He took 10,000 picked troops from Jerusalem; his brother Simon also brought troops, and their two forces 75set up camp outside Joppa. The men of the city refused to let them in because there was a detachment of Apollonius' troops there, but Jonathan attacked, 76and the men in the city became so frightened that they opened the gates, allowing Jonathan to capture Joppa. 77When Apollonius heard what had happened, he took 3,000 cavalry and a large army of infantry and pretended to retreat south towards Azotus. However, relying upon the strength of his cavalry, he marched into the plain with his main force, 78-79positioning a thousand cavalry where they could attack Jonathan's forces from the rear. Jonathan continued his pursuit as far as Azotus, where the two armies met in battle. 80Not until then did Jonathan realize that he was caught in an ambush. His army was surrounded, and enemy arrows rained down on them from morning until evening. 81But Jonathan's men stood firm, as he had ordered, and the attacking cavalry grew tired. 82Then, when the cavalry was exhausted, Simon appeared on the scene with his forces and attacked and overwhelmed the enemy infantry, who broke ranks and fled. 83The cavalry, which by now was scattered all over the battlefield, fled to Azotus, where they took refuge in the temple of Dagon, their god. 84But Jonathan set fire to the city and to the temple of Dagon, burning to death all those who had taken refuge there. Then he set fire to the surrounding towns and looted them. 85That day about 8,000 were either killed in the battle or burnt to death. 86Jonathan left and set up camp at Ashkelon, where the people of the city came out to welcome him with great honours. 87Jonathan and his men returned to Jerusalem with large quantities of loot.
88When King Alexander heard what Jonathan had done, he gave him even greater honours. 89He sent him a gold shoulder buckle, which is given only to those honoured with the title “Relative of the King.” He also gave him the city of Ekron and its surrounding territory.
111King Ptolemy the Sixth of Egypt assembled an army of soldiers more numerous than the grains of sand along the seashore, and he also gathered a great fleet of ships. He intended to trap Alexander, take his kingdom, and add it to his own, 2so he went to Syria with promises of peace, and the citizens opened their gates to him and welcomed him. King Alexander had ordered them to do this because Ptolemy was his father-in-law. 3But as Ptolemy moved north, he stationed a detachment of troops in each town. 4When he reached Azotus, the people there showed him the burnt ruins of the temple of Dagon and all the destruction in the city and the surrounding towns. There were corpses everywhere. The bodies of the men Jonathan had burnt to death during the battle were now stacked up along Ptolemy's route. 5The people told him what Jonathan had done, hoping that he would hold him responsible, but Ptolemy said nothing. 6Jonathan, with all the proper ceremony, went to Joppa to meet him. They exchanged greetings and spent the night there. 7Jonathan accompanied him as far as the River Eleutherus before returning to Jerusalem. 8In this way King Ptolemy, in his plot against Alexander, took control of the towns along the coast as far north as Seleucia-by-the-sea.
9From there Ptolemy sent this message to King Demetrius: “Let's make a treaty. My daughter is now Alexander's wife, but I will take her back and give her to you and let you rule over your father's kingdom. 10I regret that I ever gave her to Alexander, because he has tried to kill me.” 11Ptolemy made this accusation against Alexander because he wanted to take over his kingdom. 12So he took his daughter away from Alexander and gave her to Demetrius; he broke off all relations with Alexander, and they became open enemies. 13Then Ptolemy entered Antioch and assumed the crown of Syria; so he wore both the crown of Egypt and the crown of Syria.
14King Alexander was in Cilicia at the time because the people of that region were in a state of rebellion. 15But when he heard what Ptolemy had done, he moved to attack him. Ptolemy met him with a large force and won a decisive victory. 16While Ptolemy reached the peak of his power, Alexander fled to Arabia to find protection, 17but an Arab named Zabdiel cut off his head and sent it to Ptolemy. 18Two days later Ptolemy himself died, and the troops he had left in the fortresses were then killed by the local citizens. 19So in the year 16711.19 the year 167: This corresponds to 145 bc. Demetrius the Second became king.
20About that time Jonathan gathered the men of Judea to attack the fort in Jerusalem. They built many siege-platforms to use in the attack. 21But some traitorous Jews who hated their own nation went to King Demetrius the Second and told him that Jonathan was laying siege to the fort in Jerusalem. 22When Demetrius heard this, he was furious and immediately moved his headquarters to Ptolemais. He wrote to Jonathan and ordered him to lift the siege and to meet him for a conference in Ptolemais without a moment's delay.
23When Jonathan received the message, he gave orders for the siege to continue, and then chose some Jewish leaders and some priests to go with him. At the risk of his life, 24he went to the king in Ptolemais, taking along robes, silver and gold, and many other gifts. He made a good impression on the king. 25Although some lawless traitors of his own nation had made accusations against Jonathan, 26the king still treated him just as his predecessors had done. He honoured him in the presence of all his advisers, 27and confirmed him as High Priest, restoring all his former honours and appointing him to the highest rank among the “Friends of the King.”
28Jonathan asked the king to release the territory of Judea and the three regions of Samaria11.28 Probable text three regions of Samaria; Greek three regions and Samaria. from the payment of taxes, promising that if Demetrius would do that, he would pay him a lump sum of ten tonnes of silver. 29The king agreed and wrote a letter to Jonathan to confirm all this:
30“King Demetrius to King Jonathan and to the Jewish nation, greetings.
31“For your information I am sending a copy of the letter I have written to the noble Lasthenes about you:
32“ ‘King Demetrius to the noble Lasthenes, greetings. 33I have decided to grant the Jewish nation certain benefits because they are our loyal allies and keep their treaty obligations. 34
I confirm their rights to the land of Judea and the three regions of Ephraim, Lydda, and Arimathea, which are hereby annexed to Judea from Samaria with all the lands belonging to them. This will be of benefit to everyone who goes to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice, since payments of the annual tax on produce and fruit from these lands will no longer be made to the king, but to the Temple. 35And I also grant them relief from the payment of revenues now due to me from tithes, tolls, salt taxes, and special taxes. 36None of the provisions mentioned in this letter shall ever be cancelled in the future.
37“ ‘You are required to see that a complete copy of this decree is made and given to Jonathan, to be posted in a prominent place on the Temple hill.’ ”
38When King Demetrius saw that the land was peaceful under his rule and there was no further resistance, he disbanded his whole army and sent everyone home, except the soldiers he had hired from the Greek islands. This made all the soldiers who had served under his predecessors hate him because they had lost their source of income. 39One of Alexander's former supporters, Trypho, saw that all the soldiers were complaining about Demetrius, so he went to Imalkue, the Arab who was responsible for bringing up Alexander's young son Antiochus. 40Trypho stayed there for a long time and kept urging Imalkue to hand the boy over to him, so that he could make him king in place of his father. He also told Imalkue about the decrees of Demetrius and how the soldiers hated him.
41Jonathan sent a message to King Demetrius asking him to remove his troops from the fort in Jerusalem and from the fortresses in Judea, since they kept harassing the Jews. 42Demetrius replied: “I will do what you request, and when the opportunity presents itself, I will bestow upon you and your nation the highest honours. 43But now you can help me by sending soldiers to fight for me, because all my troops have revolted.”
44So Jonathan sent 3,000 trained soldiers to Antioch. The king was delighted when they arrived, 45because a mob of 120,000 had gathered in the city determined to kill him. 46But he escaped to the palace while the mob took control of the streets and began to riot. 47Then the king called on the Jewish soldiers for help, and they all rushed to his aid. They went through the whole city and killed at least 100,000 people. 48They saved the king's life, but they plundered and burnt the city. 49When the people saw that the Jews had complete control of the city, they lost courage and appealed to the king, requesting 50him to arrange a truce and stop the Jewish attack. 51The rebels threw down their arms and surrendered. The king and everyone in his kingdom now had great respect for the Jews, who returned to Jerusalem with a great deal of loot. 52Demetrius was firmly established as king, and the country was at peace under his rule, 53but he broke all his promises and turned against Jonathan. He did not reward him for his loyal service, but instead continued to harass him.
54Some time later, Trypho returned with the young boy Antiochus and crowned him king. 55All the soldiers that Demetrius had dismissed then came to the support of the young king. They defeated Demetrius and he fled. 56Trypho captured the elephants and took control of Antioch. 57The young King Antiochus wrote to Jonathan and confirmed him as High Priest and as ruler over the four regions and gave him the title “Friend of the King.” 58He sent him a gold dinner-service and authorized him to drink from gold cups, to wear a royal robe, and to wear the gold shoulder buckle awarded to “Relatives of the King.” 59He also appointed Jonathan's brother Simon as governor of the territory from the Phoenician coast to the Egyptian border.
60Jonathan then marched with his army through the towns of Greater Syria, and all the Syrian forces joined him as allies. He went to Ashkelon, where the people welcomed him with great honours. 61Then he went to Gaza, but the people there barred their gates against him. So he laid siege to the city and burnt and looted the surrounding area. 62The people of Gaza then asked for peace, and Jonathan arranged a truce. He took the sons of the leaders and sent them to Jerusalem as hostages. After that he marched on as far as Damascus.
63Jonathan learnt that the officers of Demetrius had come to Kedesh in Galilee with a large army, intending to keep him from carrying out his plan. 64So he left his brother Simon in Judea and set out to meet them in battle. 65Then Simon laid siege to Bethzur and fought against it for a long time. 66The people asked for peace terms, and Simon agreed. He then took over the town, drove the people out, and stationed a detachment of troops there.
67Jonathan and his army set up camp by Lake Galilee. Early the next morning he marched his troops to the plain of Hazor, 68where the main force of the foreign army was advancing to meet him. Unknown to Jonathan, they had left a detachment of troops in ambush in the mountains, 69and when the men in ambush came out and attacked, 70Jonathan's entire army turned and ran. No one was left, except two officers, Mattathias son of Absalom and Judas son of Chalphi. 71Jonathan was humiliated, so he tore his clothes, threw dust on his head and prayed. 72Then he turned back to the battle, crushed the enemy, and put them to flight. 73When his own fleeing soldiers saw this, they turned back and joined him in pursuit. They chased the enemy all the way back to their camp at Kedesh and then took over the camp. 74At least 3,000 enemy soldiers were killed that day. Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem.
121When Jonathan saw that things were working out to his advantage, he chose ambassadors and sent them to Rome to confirm and renew friendship with the Romans. 2He also sent letters with a similar message to Sparta and other places. 3The ambassadors went to Rome, where they were admitted to the Senate chamber, and reported that the High Priest Jonathan and the Jewish nation had sent them to renew the earlier ties of friendship and alliance with Rome. 4The Romans provided them with letters to the authorities in each country through which they would pass, guaranteeing them safe conduct in their return to the land of Judea.
5This is a copy of the letter Jonathan wrote to the Spartans:
6“Jonathan the High Priest, the national council of leaders, the priests, and the rest of the people of Judea, to our brothers in Sparta, greetings. 7At an earlier time, your King Arius sent a letter to our High Priest Onias, stating that our two nations are related, as the attached copy shows. 8Onias received your ambassador with full honours and acknowledged receipt of your letter, which declared our alliance and friendship. 9And now, although we are not in need of such alliances, since we find our source of strength in the holy books we possess, 10we have written to renew our ties of brotherhood and friendship with you. We do not wish to become total strangers, and it has now been many years since your last communication. 11Throughout the years we have taken every opportunity, on our festival days and other suitable days, to remember you when we have offered our sacrifices and made our prayers, as it is fitting and proper for brothers to do. 12We are also pleased that fame has come to you. 13But we have had one series of troubles after another and have had to fight many wars, because we have been under constant attack by surrounding nations. 14During this time of war, we did not wish to trouble you or our other allies and friends, 15since we do have the help of the Lord, who has defeated our enemies and rescued us from them. 16So we have chosen Numenius son of Antiochus together with Antipater son of Jason and sent them as ambassadors to Rome to renew our ties of friendship and alliance with the Romans. 17We have also ordered them to go to you with our greetings and deliver this letter about the renewal of our ties of brotherhood. 18And now we request an answer to this letter.
19“The following is a copy of the earlier letter:
20“ ‘King Arius of Sparta to Onias the High Priest, greetings. 21We have found a document about the Spartans and the Jews indicating that we are related and that both our nations are descended from Abraham. 22Now that we have discovered this, please send us a report about your situation. 23In reply, we will send you a letter indicating that we are willing to share our possessions, including livestock and property, if you will do the same. We have given orders to our ambassadors to give you a full report about these matters.’ ”
24Jonathan learnt that the officers of Demetrius had returned to attack him with an even larger army than before. 25Jonathan did not want to give them an opportunity to penetrate his own territory, so he left Jerusalem and went to meet them in the region of Hamath. 26Jonathan sent spies into the enemy camp, who reported to him that the enemy forces were making plans to attack the Jews by night. 27At sunset Jonathan ordered all his soldiers to be on the alert and to have their weapons ready for a surprise attack any time during the night. He also stationed guards all round the camp. 28When the enemy soldiers learnt that Jonathan and his men were ready for battle, they were panic-stricken and fled, leaving their campfires burning. 29Jonathan and his men saw the campfires but did not realize what had happened until the next morning. 30Jonathan then set out after them, but he could not overtake them because they had already crossed the River Eleutherus. 31Then Jonathan turned aside and attacked a tribe of Arabs called Zabadeans. He defeated them and plundered their possessions. 32Then he broke camp and went to Damascus, inspecting the entire area along the way.
33Meanwhile, Simon had also set out on a campaign and had advanced as far as Ashkelon and the neighbouring fortresses. Then he turned aside to Joppa 34and stationed a detachment of soldiers there because he heard that the people were planning to hand over the fortress of Joppa to the soldiers of Demetrius.
35When Jonathan returned, he called the council of the leaders together and made plans with them to build fortresses in Judea, 36to increase the height of the walls of Jerusalem, and to build a high wall to separate the fort from the city. This would isolate the fort, making it impossible for the enemy to buy or sell anything. 37The people worked together to strengthen the city's defences because a part of the east wall along the valley of the Kidron had collapsed and the Chaphenatha section was in need of repair. 38Simon also rebuilt the town of Adida in the foothills. He fortified it and constructed barred gates for it.
39Then Trypho plotted a rebellion against King Antiochus so that he could make himself king of Syria. 40He was afraid, however, that Jonathan would not agree to this and would go to war against him to prevent it. So Trypho got his army ready and went to Beth Shan in the hope of capturing Jonathan and putting him to death. 41But Jonathan also came to Beth Shan with 40,000 well-trained soldiers. 42When Trypho saw how large an army Jonathan had brought with him, he was afraid to take action. 43So he received Jonathan with all honours, presented him to all his advisers, gave him gifts, and ordered his advisers and soldiers to obey Jonathan as they would obey him. 44He asked Jonathan, “Why have you put these soldiers to so much trouble when we are not at war? 45Why don't you send them home? Choose a few men to stay with you, and then accompany me to Ptolemais. I will hand the city over to you, as well as the rest of the fortresses, the troops, and all the officials. Then I will turn round and leave. In fact, that's why I am here.” 46Jonathan believed him, and following his advice, sent his soldiers back to Judea. 47He took 3,000 men with him, but left 2,000 of them in Galilee, while only a thousand accompanied him the rest of the way. 48But when Jonathan entered Ptolemais, the people of the city locked the gates, arrested him, and killed everyone who had come with him.
49Trypho sent infantry and cavalry units to Galilee and the Valley of Jezreel to kill the rest of Jonathan's soldiers. 50The Jewish troops thought that Jonathan had been captured and killed, along with all those who had accompanied him, so they encouraged one another and marched out in battle formation. 51When the approaching enemy forces saw that the Jews were ready to fight for their lives, they turned back. 52Then the Jewish soldiers returned to Judea safely, but terribly afraid. The whole nation was in deep mourning, assuming that Jonathan and all his men had been killed. 53All the surrounding nations now tried to destroy them. They thought that the Jews had no leaders or allies and that the time was ripe to annihilate them and put an end to their history.