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2002 11 11
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Chapter 13


When Simon heard that Trypho was gathering a large army to invade and ravage the land of Judah,


and saw that the people were in dread and terror, he went up to Jerusalem. There he assembled the people


and exhorted them in these words: "You know what I, my brothers, and my father's house have done for the laws and the sanctuary; what battles and disasters we have been through.


It was for the sake of these, for the sake of Israel, that all my brothers have perished, and I alone am left.


Far be it from me, then, to save my own life in any time of distress, for I am not better than my brothers.


Rather will I avenge my nation and the sanctuary, as well as your wives and children, for all the nations out of hatred have united to destroy us."


As the people heard these words, their spirit was rekindled.


They shouted in reply: "You are our leader in place of your brothers Judas and Jonathan.


Fight our battles, and we will do everything that you tell us."


So Simon mustered all the men able to fight, and quickly completing the walls of Jerusalem, fortified it on every side.


He sent Jonathan, son of Absalom, to Joppa with a large force; Jonathan drove out the occupants and remained there.


Then Trypho moved from Ptolemais with a large army to invade the land of Judah, bringing Jonathan with him as a prisoner.


But Simon pitched his camp at Adida, facing the plain.


When Trypho learned that Simon had succeeded his brother Jonathan, and that he intended to fight him, he sent envoys to him with this message:


"We have detained your brother Jonathan on account of the money that he owed the royal treasury in connection with the offices that he held.


Therefore, if you send us a hundred talents of silver, and two of his sons as hostages to guarantee that when he is set free he will not revolt against us, we will release him."


Although Simon knew that they were speaking deceitfully to him, he gave orders to get the money and the boys, for fear of provoking much hostility among the people, who might say


that Jonathan perished because Simon would not send Trypho the money and the boys.


So he sent the boys and the hundred talents; but Trypho broke his promise and would not let Jonathan go.


1 Next he began to invade and ravage the country. His troops went around by the road that leads to Adora, but Simon and his army moved along opposite him everywhere he went.


The men in the citadel sent messengers to Trypho, urging him to come to them by way of the desert, and to send them provisions.


Although Trypho got all his cavalry ready to go, there was a heavy fall of snow that night, and he could not go. So he left for Gilead.


2 When he was approaching Baskama, he had Jonathan killed and buried there.


Then Trypho returned to his own country.


Simon sent for the remains of his brother Jonathan, and buried him in Modein, the city of his fathers.


All Israel bewailed him with solemn lamentation, mourning over him for many days.


Then Simon erected over the tomb of his father and his brothers a monument of stones, polished front and back, and raised high enough to be seen at a distance.


He set up seven pyramids facing one another for his father and his mother and his four brothers.


For the pyramids he devised a setting of big columns, on which he carved suits of armor as a perpetual memorial, and next to the armor he placed carved ships, which could be seen by all who sailed the sea.


This tomb which he built at Modein is there to the present day.


Trypho dealt treacherously with the young King Antiochus. He killed him


and assumed the kingship in his place, putting on the crown of Asia. Thus he brought much evil on the land.


Simon, on his part, built up the strongholds of Judea, strengthening their fortifications with high towers, thick walls, and gates with bars, and he stored up provisions in the fortresses.


Simon also sent chosen men to King Demetrius with the request that he grant the land a release from taxation, for all that Trypho did was to plunder the land.


In reply, King Demetrius sent him the following letter:


"King Demetrius sends greetings to Simon the high priest, the friend of kings, and to the elders and the Jewish people.


We have received the gold crown and the palm branch that you sent. We are willing to be on most peaceful terms with you and to write to our official to grant you release from tribute.


Whatever we have guaranteed to you remains in force, and the strongholds that you have built shall remain yours.


We remit any oversights and defaults incurred up to now, as well as the crown tax that you owe. Any other tax that may have been collected in Jerusalem shall no longer be collected there.


If any of you are qualified for enrollment in our service, let them be enrolled. Let there be peace between us."


3 Thus in the year one hundred and seventy, the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel,


and the people began to write in their records and contracts, "In the first year of Simon, high priest, governor, and leader of the Jews."


4 In those days Simon besieged Gazara and surrounded it with troops. He made a siege machine, pushed it up against the city, and attacked and captured one of the towers.


The men who had been on the siege machine jumped down into the city and caused a great tumult there.


The men of the city, joined by their wives and children, went up on the wall, with their garments rent, and cried out in loud voices, begging Simon to grant them peace.


"Do not treat us according to our evil deeds," they said, "but according to your mercy."


So Simon came to terms with them and did not destroy them. He made them leave the city, however, and he purified the houses in which there were idols. Then he entered the city with hymns and songs of praise.


After removing from it everything that was impure, he settled there men who observed the law. He improved its fortifications and built himself a residence.


The men in the citadel in Jerusalem were prevented from going out into the country and back for the purchase of food; they suffered greatly from hunger, and many of them died of starvation.


They finally cried out to Simon for peace, and he gave them peace. He expelled them from the citadel and cleansed it of impurities.


5 On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the year one hundred and seventy-one, the Jews entered the citadel with shouts of jubilation, waving of palm branches, the music of harps and cymbals and lyres, and the singing of hymns and canticles, because a great enemy of Israel had been destroyed.


Simon decreed that this day should be celebrated every year with rejoicing. He also strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel, and he and his companions dwelt there.


6 Seeing that his son John was now a grown man, Simon made him commander of all his soldiers, with his residence in Gazara.



1 [20-21] The invaders made a wide flanking; movement to invade Judea from the south. Adora was a few miles southwest of Beth-zur. They would avoid Beth-zur itself and other strongholds of the Maccabees by following the way of the desert.

2 [23] Bashama: northeast of the Sea of Galilee.

3 [41] The year one hundred and seventy: March, 142, to April, 141 B.C., by the temple calendar.

4 [43] Gazara: a key position in the Shephelah, fortified by Bacchides in 160 B.C.; cf 9,52.

5 [51] The twenty-third day of the second month: June 3, 141 B.C.

6 [53] John: John Hyrcanus, who was to succeed his father as ruler and high priest; cf 1 Macc 16:23-24.

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