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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 16


John then went up from Gazara and told his father Simon what Cendebeus was doing.


Simon called his two oldest sons, Judas and John, and said to them: "I and my brothers and my father's house have fought the battles of Israel from our youth until today, and many times we succeeded in saving Israel.


I have now grown old, but you, by the mercy of Heaven, have come to man's estate. Take my place and my brother's, and go out and fight for our nation; and may the help of Heaven be with you!"


John then mustered in the land twenty thousand warriors and horsemen. Setting out against Cendebeus, they spent the night at Modein,


rose early, and marched into the plain. There, facing them, was an immense army of foot soldiers and horsemen, and between the two armies was a stream.


John and his men took their position against the enemy. Seeing that his men were afraid to cross the stream, John crossed first. When his men saw this, they crossed over after him.


Then he divided his infantry into two corps and put his cavalry between them, for the enemy's horsemen were very numerous.


They blew the trumpets, and Cendebeus and his army were put to flight; many of them fell wounded, and the rest fled toward the stronghold.


It was then that John's brother Judas fell wounded; but John pursued them until Cendebeus reached Kedron, which he had fortified.


Some took refuge in the towers on the plain of Azotus, but John set fire to these, and about two thousand of the enemy perished. He then returned to Judea in peace.


Ptolemy, son of Abubus, had been appointed governor of the plain of Jericho, and he had much silver and gold,


being the son-in-law of the high priest.


But he became ambitious and sought to get control of the country. So he made treacherous plans to do away with Simon and his sons.


1 As Simon was inspecting the cities of the country and providing for their needs, he and his sons Mattathias and Judas went down to Jericho in the year one hundred and seventy-seven, in the eleventh month (that is, the month Shebat).


2 The son of Abubus gave them a deceitful welcome in the little stronghold called Dok which he had built. While serving them a sumptuous banquet, he had his men hidden there.


Then, when Simon and his sons had drunk freely, Ptolemy and his men sprang up, weapons in hand, rushed upon Simon in the banquet hall, and killed him, his two sons, and some of his servants.


By this vicious act of treason he repaid good with evil.


Then Ptolemy wrote an account of this and sent it to the king, asking that troops be sent to help him and that the country be turned over to him.


He sent other men to Gazara to do away with John. To the army officers he sent letters inviting them to come to him so that he might present them with silver, gold, and gifts.


He also sent others to seize Jerusalem and the mount of the temple.


But someone ran ahead and brought word to John at Gazara that his father and his brothers had perished, and that Ptolemy had sent men to kill him also.


On hearing this, John was utterly astounded. When the men came to kill him, he had them arrested and put to death, for he knew what they meant to do.


3 Now the rest of the history of John, his wars and the brave deeds he performed, his rebuilding of the walls, and his other achievements -


these things are recorded in the chronicle of his pontificate, from the time that he succeeded his father as high priest.


1 [14] In the year one hundred and seventy-seven, in the eleventh month: January-February, 134 B.C., by the temple calendar.

2 [15] Dok: a fortress built on a cliff three miles northwest of Jericho, near modern Ain Duq.

3 [23-24] John Hyrcanus was ruler and high priest from 134 B.C. till his death in 104 B.C. These verses suggest that the book was written, or at least completed, only after he died.

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