151From the Greek islands Antiochus son of King Demetrius wrote the following letter to Simon the High Priest and governor of the Jews and to the whole nation:
2“King Antiochus to Simon, the High Priest and governor, and to the Jewish nation, greetings. 3As you know, the kingdom of my ancestors has been seized by traitors. I have decided to reclaim it and restore its former greatness. I have raised a large army of mercenary troops and have fitted out warships. 4I plan to invade the land and to attack those who have destroyed many of the towns and ruined the country.
5“Now therefore, I confirm all exemptions from taxes and payments granted to you by former kings. 6I authorize you to mint your own coins as legal currency in your own country. 7Jerusalem and the Temple shall be free of taxation. All the weapons that you have manufactured and the defences you have built and now occupy shall remain yours. 8In addition, all debts now owed to the royal treasury, or which may in the future fall due, are permanently cancelled. 9As soon as I have regained control of my kingdom, I will confer upon you, your nation, and the Temple such great honours that the glory of your country will be evident to the whole world.”
10In the year 17415.10 the year 174: This corresponds to 138 bc. Antiochus invaded the land of his ancestors. Most of the soldiers came over to his side, so that there were very few left with Trypho. 11Trypho, pursued by Antiochus, fled to the coastal city of Dor, 12realizing that he was in a desperate situation, now that all his troops had deserted him. 13Then Antiochus laid siege to Dor with 120,000 well-trained soldiers and 8,000 cavalry. 14With his ships joining the attack, he completely surrounded the town and brought such pressure on it that no one was able to enter or leave.
Meanwhile, Numenius and those with him arrived in Jerusalem from Rome with the following letter addressed to various kings and countries:
16“From Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, greetings. 17A delegation from our friends and allies the Jews has come to us to renew the earlier treaty of friendship and alliance. They were sent by the High Priest Simon and the Jewish people, 18and they have brought as a gift a gold shield weighing 500 kilogrammes. 19So we have decided to write to various kings and countries urging them not to harm the Jews, their towns, or their country in any way. They must not make war against the Jews or give support to those who attack them. 20We have decided to accept the shield and grant them protection. 21Therefore if any traitors escape from Judea and seek refuge in your land, hand them over to Simon the High Priest, so that he may punish them according to Jewish law.”
22Lucius wrote the same letter to King Demetrius, to Attalus, Ariarathes, and Arsaces, 23and to all the following countries: Sampsames, Sparta, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus, and Cyrene. 24A copy of the letter was also sent to Simon the High Priest.
25King Antiochus laid siege to Dor for the second time, keeping it under constant attack. He built siege-platforms, and his blockade kept Trypho and his men from going in or out. 26Simon sent 2,000 well-trained soldiers to help Antiochus, as well as silver and gold and a great deal of equipment. 27But Antiochus refused to accept them, cancelled all the previous arrangements that he had made with Simon, and became his enemy. 28Then Antiochus sent his trusted official Athenobius to negotiate with Simon. He said to Simon, “You are occupying Joppa, Gezer, and the fort in Jerusalem, cities that belong to my kingdom. 29You have devastated those regions and brought great trouble to the country. You have seized control of many places in my kingdom. 30Now you must hand back the cities that you have captured, and you must give me the tax money that you have taken from places that you occupied outside the territory of Judea. 31If you are unwilling to do this, then you must pay me seventeen tonnes of silver, and seventeen additional tonnes of silver to compensate me for damages and for lost taxes. If you refuse to do either of these, we will go to war against you.”
32When Athenobius came to Jerusalem and saw the splendour of Simon's court, the gold and silver dishes in his banqueting-hall, and the rest of the display of great wealth, he was amazed. He delivered the king's message to Simon, 33and Simon answered, “We have never taken land away from other nations or confiscated anything that belonged to other people. On the contrary, we have simply taken back property that we inherited from our ancestors, land that had been unjustly taken away from us by our enemies at one time or another. 34We are now only making use of this opportunity to recover our ancestral heritage. 35As for Joppa and Gezer, which you claim, we will give you 3.4 tonnes of silver, in spite of the fact that the people of those cities have done great harm to our nation.”
Athenobius made no reply, 36but he returned to the king in a rage. When he told the king what Simon had said, and reported on the splendour of Simon's court and all that he had seen, the king became violently angry.
37In the meantime, Trypho had boarded a ship and escaped to the town of Orthosia. 38King Antiochus appointed Cendebeus as commander of the coastal area, provided him with infantry and cavalry, 39and gave him orders to move against Judea. He also ordered him to rebuild the town of Kedron and fortify its gates, so that he could fight against the Jewish people. The king himself continued to pursue Trypho.
40Cendebeus then came to Jamnia and began to harass the Jews by invading Judea, capturing people, and murdering them. 41He rebuilt Kedron and stationed some cavalry and infantry units there, so that they could make attacks and patrol the roads of Judea, as the king had ordered.
161Simon's son John left Gezer and went to report to his father what Cendebeus had done. 2Simon said to John and Judas, his two eldest sons, “All my father's family, my brothers, and I have fought Israel's battles all our lives, and many times we have been successful in saving Israel. 3I am old now, but you, thanks to God, are in the prime of life. You must take my place and that of my brother in fighting for our nation. And may God himself be with you.”
4Then John raised an Israelite army of 20,000 trained soldiers and cavalry and marched out against Cendebeus. They spent the night in Modein, 5and then early the next morning they moved into the plain. There a large army of infantry and cavalry moved to meet them, but there was a river between the two armies. 6John and his army took up battle positions facing the enemy, but when John saw that his soldiers were afraid to cross the river, he crossed ahead of them, and his men saw him and followed. 7John divided his army and placed his cavalry in the middle of the infantry, because there was a large number of enemy cavalry. 8The trumpets sounded the attack, and Cendebeus and his army were defeated, and many of them were killed. The rest ran back to their fortress at Kedron. 9Judas was wounded in the battle, but his brother John continued to pursue the enemy as far as Kedron, which Cendebeus had rebuilt. 10The escaping soldiers fled to the towers in the fields at Azotus, and John set fire to the city. On that day, 2,000 enemy soldiers were killed, and John returned safely to Judea.
11Simon the High Priest had appointed Ptolemy son of Abubus commander for the Plain of Jericho. Ptolemy was very rich, 12because he was Simon's son-in-law. 13But he became too ambitious and wanted to take over the country. So he devised a plan to assassinate Simon and his sons. 14Simon, together with his sons Mattathias and Judas, was visiting the towns in the area, in order to see to their needs. They arrived in Jericho in the month of Shebat, the eleventh month, in the year 177.16.14 the year 177: This corresponds to 134 bc. 15Ptolemy, still plotting to murder Simon and his two sons, received them in a small fortress called Dok, which he had built. He gave a great banquet for them, but he had men hidden within the fortress. 16When Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy and his men came out of hiding and with swords in their hands rushed into the banqueting-hall, where they killed Simon, his two sons, and some of the servants. 17By this horrible act of treachery, Ptolemy returned evil for good.
18Then Ptolemy wrote a report of what he had done and sent it to the king. In the letter he requested that troops be sent to help him and that the country and the cities be handed over to him. 19He wrote a letter to the army officers inviting them to join him and promising them silver, gold, and gifts. Then he sent some of his men to Gezer to kill John, 20and others to take control of Jerusalem and the Temple hill. 21But someone ran to Gezer ahead of Ptolemy's men and reported to John that his father and brothers had been killed and that Ptolemy was sending his soldiers to kill him. 22John was horrified at this news, but, because he had been warned in advance, he was able to capture and put to death the men who had been sent to kill him.
23Now the rest of what John did from the time he succeeded his father: his wars, his deeds of courage, his rebuilding of walls, and his other achievements, 24are all written in the chronicles of his reign as High Priest.