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Chapter 11


The king of Egypt gathered his forces, as numerous as the sands of the seashore, and many ships; and he sought by deceit to take Alexander's kingdom and add it to his own.


He entered Syria with peaceful words, and the people in the cities opened their gates to welcome him, as King Alexander had ordered them to do, since Ptolemy was his father-in-law.


But when Ptolemy entered the cities, he stationed garrison troops in each one.


When he reached Azotus, he was shown the temple of Dagon destroyed by fire, Azotus and its suburbs demolished, corpses lying about, and the charred bodies of those burned by Jonathan in the war and stacked up along his route.


To prejudice the king against Jonathan, he was told what the latter had done; but the king said nothing.


Jonathan met the king with pomp at Joppa, and they greeted each other and spent the night there.


1 Jonathan accompanied the king as far as the river called Eleutherus and then returned to Jerusalem.


2 Plotting evil against Alexander, King Ptolemy took possession of the cities along the seacoast as far as Seleucia-by-the-Sea.


He sent ambassadors to King Demetrius, saying: "Come, let us make a pact with each other; I will give you my daughter whom Alexander has married, and you shall reign over your father's kingdom.


3 I regret that I gave him my daughter, for he has sought to kill me."


His real reason for accusing Alexander, however, was that he coveted Alexander's kingdom.


After taking his daughter away and giving her to Demetrius, Ptolemy broke with Alexander; their enmity became open.


Then Ptolemy entered Antioch and assumed the crown of Asia; he thus wore two crowns on his head, that of Egypt and that of Asia.


King Alexander was in Cilicia at that time, because the people of that region had revolted.


When Alexander heard the news, he came to challenge Ptolemy in battle. Ptolemy marched out and met him with a strong force and put him to flight.


Alexander fled to Arabia to seek protection. King Ptolemy's triumph was complete


when the Arab Zabdiel cut off Alexander's head and sent it to Ptolemy.


But three days later King Ptolemy himself died, and his men in the fortified cities were killed by the inhabitants of the strongholds.


4 Thus Demetrius became king in the year one hundred and sixty-seven.


At that time Jonathan gathered together the men of Judea to attack the citadel in Jerusalem, and they set up many machines against it.


Some transgressors of the law, enemies of their own nation, went to the king and informed him that Jonathan was besieging the citadel.


When Demetrius heard this, he was furious, and set out immediately for Ptolemais. He wrote to Jonathan to discontinue the siege and to meet him for a conference at Ptolemais as soon as possible.


On hearing this, Jonathan ordered the siege to continue. He selected some elders and priests of Israel and exposed himself to danger


by going to the king at Ptolemais. He brought with him silver, gold apparel, and many other presents, and found favor with the king.


Although some impious men of his own nation brought charges against him,


the king treated him just as his predecessors had done and showed him great honor in the presence of all his Friends.


He confirmed him in the high priesthood and in all the honors he had previously held, and had him enrolled among his Chief Friends.


Jonathan asked the king to exempt Judea and the three districts of Samaria from tribute, promising him in return three hundred talents.


The king agreed and wrote the following letter to Jonathan about all these matters: Pact with Demetrius


5 "King Demetrius sends greetings to his brother Jonathan and to the Jewish nation.


6 We are sending you, for your information, a copy of the letter that we wrote to Lasthenes our kinsman concerning you.


"'King Demetrius sends greetings to his father Lasthenes.


Because of the good will they show us, we have decided to bestow benefits on the Jewish nation, who are our friends and who observe their obligations to us.


7 Therefore we confirm their possession, not only of the territory of Judea, but also of the three districts of Aphairema, Lydda, and Ramathaim. These districts, together with all their dependencies, were transferred from Samaria to Judea in favor of all those who offer sacrifices for us in Jerusalem instead of paying the royal taxes that formerly the king received from them each year from the produce of the soil and the fruit of the trees.


From this day on we grant them release from payment of all other things that would henceforth be due to us, that is, of tithes and tribute and of the tax on the salt pans and the crown tax.


Henceforth none of these provisions shall ever be revoked.


Be sure, therefore, to have a copy of these instructions made and given to Jonathan, that it may be displayed in a conspicuous place on the holy hill.'"


When King Demetrius saw that the land was peaceful under his rule and that he had no opposition, he dismissed his entire army, every man to his home, except the foreign troops which he had hired from the islands of the nations. So all the soldiers who had served under his predecessors hated him.


When a certain Trypho, who had previously belonged to Alexander's party, saw that all the troops were grumbling at Demetrius, he went to Imalkue the Arab, who was bringing up Alexander's young son Antiochus.


Trypho kept urging Imalkue to hand over the boy to him, that he might make him king in his father's place. During his stay there of many days, he told him of all that Demetrius had done and of the hatred that his soldiers had for him.


Meanwhile Jonathan sent the request to King Demetrius to withdraw his troops from the citadel of Jerusalem and from the other strongholds, for they were constantly hostile to Israel.


Demetrius, in turn, sent this word to Jonathan: "I will not only do this for you and your nation, but I will greatly honor you and your nation when I find the opportunity.


Do me the favor, therefore, of sending men to fight for me, because all my troops have revolted."


So Jonathan sent three thousand good fighting men to him at Antioch. When they came to the king, he was delighted over their arrival,


for the populace, one hundred and twenty thousand strong, had massed in the center of the city in an attempt to kill him.


But he took refuge in the palace, while the populace gained control of the main streets and began to fight.


So the king called the Jews to his aid. They all rallied around him and spread out through the city. On that day they killed about a hundred thousand men in the city,


which, at the same time, they set on fire and plundered on a large scale. Thus they saved the king's life.


When the populace saw that the Jews held the city at their mercy, they lost courage and cried out to the king in supplication,


"Give us your terms and let the Jews stop attacking us and our city." So they threw down their arms and made peace.


The Jews thus gained glory in the eyes of the king and all his subjects, and they became renowned throughout his kingdom. Finally they returned to Jerusalem with much spoil.


But when King Demetrius was sure of his royal throne, and the land was peaceful under his rule,


he broke all his promises and became estranged from Jonathan. Instead of rewarding Jonathan for all the favors he had received from him, he caused him much trouble.


After this, Trypho returned and brought with him the young boy Antiochus, who became king and wore the royal crown.


All the soldiers whom Demetrius had discharged rallied around Antiochus and fought against Demetrius, who was routed and fled.


Trypho captured the elephants and occupied Antioch.


Then young Antiochus wrote to Jonathan: "I confirm you in the high priesthood and appoint you ruler over the four districts and wish you to be one of the King's Friends."


He also sent him gold dishes and a dinner service, gave him the right to drink from gold cups, to dress in royal purple, and to wear a gold buckle.


8 Likewise, he made Jonathan's brother Simon governor of the region from the Ladder of Tyre to the frontier of Egypt.


9 Jonathan set out and traveled through West-of-Euphrates and its cities, and all the forces of Syria espoused his cause as allies. When he arrived at Ashkalon, the citizens welcomed him with pomp.


But when he set out for Gaza, the people of Gaza locked their gates against him. So he besieged it and burned and plundered its suburbs.


Then the people of Gaza appealed to him for mercy, and he granted them peace. He took the sons of their chief men as hostages and sent them to Jerusalem. He then traveled on through the province as far as Damascus.


Jonathan heard that the generals of Demetrius had come with a strong force to Kadesh in Galilee, intending to remove him from office.


So he went to meet them, leaving his brother Simon in the province.


Simon besieged Beth-zur, attacked it for many days, and blockaded the inhabitants.


When they sued for peace, he granted it to them. He expelled them from the city, took possession of it, and put a garrison there.


10 Meanwhile, Jonathan and his army pitched their camp near the waters of Gennesaret, and at daybreak they went to the plain of Hazor.


There, in front of him on the plain, was the army of the foreigners. This army attacked him in the open, having first detached an ambush against him in the mountains.


Then the men in ambush rose out of their places and joined in the battle.


All of Jonathan's men fled; no one stayed except the army commanders Mattathias, son of Absalom, and Judas, son of Chalphi.


Jonathan tore his clothes, threw earth on his head, and prayed.


Then he went back to the combat and so overwhelmed the enemy that they took to flight.


Those of his men who were running away saw it and returned to him; and with him they pursued the enemy as far as their camp in Kadesh, where they pitched their own camp.


Three thousand of the foreign troops fell on that day. Then Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.



1 [7] Eleutherus: modern Nahr el-Kebir, the northern border of modern Lebanon; in the second century B.C. the northern limit of Coelesyria.

2 [8] Seleucia-by-the-Sea: at the mouth of the Orontes, the port city of Antioch.

3 [10] I regret . . . to kill me: according to Josephus, Ammonius, a friend of Alexander, had tried to assassinate Ptolemy, and the latter claimed that Alexander was the instigator, thus calumniating him to gain his kingdom ( 1 Macc 11:11).

4 [19] The year one hundred and sixty-seven: 146/145 B.C. The two deaths ( 1 Macc 11:17-18) occurred in the summer of 145 B.C.

5 [30] Brother: this title and father in 1 Macc 11:32 are honorific titles used of the Kinsmen.

6 [31] Lasthenes: leader of the mercenary troops who had come with Demetrius from Crete. He was now the young king's chief minister and was apparently responsible for the disastrous policy ( 1 Macc 11:38) of disbanding the national army.

7 [34] Aphairema: the Ophrah of Joshua 18:23; 1 Sam 23:6; the Ephron of 2 Chron 13:19; and the Ephraim of John 11:54 - modern et-Taiyibeh, five miles northeast of Bethel. Lydda: the Lod of the postexilic Jews ( Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 11:35) and the hometown of Aeneas, who was cured by Peter ( Acts 9:32-34). It is ten miles southeast of Joppa. Ramathaim: the Ramathaim-zophim of 1 Sm 1,1, and the Arimathea of Matthew 27:57 modern Rentis, nine miles northeast of Lydda.

8 [59] Ladder of Tyre: modern Ras en-Naquurah, on the border between Lebanon and Israel, where the mountains reach the sea, so that the coastal road must ascend in a series of steps.

9 [60] West-of-Euphrates: refers here to the territory of Palestine and Coelesyria, but not Upper Syria; cf 1 Macc 11:3, 32; 7:8.

10 [67] Plain of Hazor: the site of the ancient Canaanite city ( Joshua 11:10), ten miles north of the Lake of Gennesaret.

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