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Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 13

Sections 1 - 130

Translated by William Whiston (1737). A few spellings have been changed. See key to translations for an explanation of the format.


Whiston divided this book into 16 chapters, as follows:

Chapter 1. How Jonathan took the government after his brother Judas; and how he, together with his brother Simon, waged war against Bacchides.
Chapter 2. How Alexander [Balas] in his war with Demetrius, granted Jonathan many advantages and appointed him to be high priest and persuaded him to assist him although Demetrius promised him greater advantages on the other side. Concerning the death of Demetrius.
Chapter 3. The friendship that was between Onias and Ptolemaeus Philometor; and how Onias built a temple in Egypt like to that at Jerusalem.
Chapter 4. How Alexander honoured Jonathan after an extraordinary manner; and how Demetrius, the son of Demetrius, overcame Alexander and made a league of friendship with Jonathan.
Chapter 5. How Tryphon after he had beaten Demetrius delivered the kingdom to Antiochus the son of Alexander, and gained Jonathan for his assistant; and concerning the actions and embassies of Jonathan.
Chapter 6. How Jonathan was slain by treachery; and how thereupon the Jews made Simon their general and high priest: what courageous actions he also performed especially against Tryphon.
Chapter 7. How Simon confederated himself with Antiochus Eusebes, and made war against Tryphon, and a little afterward, against Cendebaeus, the general of Antiochus's army; as also how Simon was murdered by his son-in-law Ptolemaeus, and that by treachery.
Chapter 8. Hyrcanus receives the high priesthood, and ejects Ptolemaeus out of the country. Antiochus makes war against Hyrcanus and afterwards makes a league with him.
Chapter 9. How, after the death of Antiochus, Hyrcanus made an expedition against Syria, and made a league with the Romans. Concerning the death of king Demetrius and Alexander.
Chapter 10. How upon the quarrel between Antiochus Grypus and Antiochus Cyzicenus about the kingdom Hyrcanus took Samaria, and utterly demolished it; and how Hyrcaus joined himself to the sect of the Sadducees, and left that of the Pharisees.
Chapter 11. How Aristobulus, when he had taken the government first of all put a diadem on his head, and was most barbarously cruel to his mother and his brethren; and how, after he had slain Antigonus, he himself died.
Chapter 12. How Alexander when he had taken the government made an expedition against Ptolemais, and then raised the siege out of fear of Ptolemaeus Lathyrus; and how Ptolemaeus made war against him, because he had sent to Cleopatra to persuade her to make war against Ptolemaeus, and yet pretended to be in friendship with him, when he beat the Jews in the battle.
Chapter 13. How Alexander, upon the league of mutual defence which Cleopatra had agreed with him, made an expedition against Coele Syria, and utterly overthrew the city of Gaza; and how he slew many ten thousands of Jews that rebelled against him. Also concerning Antiochus Grypus, Seleucus, Antiochus Cyzicenus, and Antiochus Eusebes, and others.
Chapter 14. How Demetrius Eucaerus overcame Alexander and yet in a little time retired out of the country for fear; as also how Alexander slew many of the Jews and thereby got clear of his troubles. Concerning the death of Demetrius.
Chapter 15. How Antiochus, who was called Dionysus, and after him Aretas made expeditions into Judaea; as also how Alexander took many cities and then returned to Jerusalem, and after a sickness of three years died; and what counsel he gave to Alexandra.
Chapter 16. How Alexandra by gaining the good-will of the Pharisees, retained the kingdom nine years, and then, having done many glorious actions died.


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[1.]   [1] By what means the nation of the Jews recovered their freedom when they had been brought into slavery by the Macedonians, and what struggles, and how great battles, Judas, the general of their army, ran through, till he was slain as he was fighting for them, hath been related in the foregoing book; [2] G   but after he was dead, all the wicked, and those that transgressed the laws of their forefathers, sprang up again in Judaea, and grew upon them, and distressed them on every side. [3] A famine also assisted their wickedness, and afflicted the country, till not a few, who by reason of their want of necessaries, and because they were not able to bear up against the miseries that both the famine and their enemies brought upon them, deserted their country, and went to the Macedonians. [4] G   And now Bacchides gathered those Jews together who had apostatised from the accustomed way of living of their forefathers, and chose to live like their neighbours, and committed the care of the country to them, who also caught the friends of Judas, and those of his party, and delivered them up to Bacchides, who when he had, in the first place, tortured and tormented them at his pleasure, he, by that means, at length killed them. [5] And when this calamity of the Jews was become so great, as they had never had experience of the like since their return out of Babylon, those that remained of the companions of Judas, seeing that the nation was ready to be destroyed after a miserable manner, came to his brother Jonathan, and desired him that he would imitate his brother, and that care which he took of his countrymen, for whose liberty in general he died also; and that he would not permit the nation to be without a governor, especially in those destructive circumstances wherein it now was. [6] G   And where Jonathan said that he was ready to die for them, and esteemed no inferior to his brother, he was appointed to be the general of the Jewish army.

[7] When Bacchides heard this, and was afraid that Jonathan might be very troublesome to the king and the Macedonians, as Judas had been before him, he sought how he might slay him by treachery. [8] G   But this intention of his was not unknown to Jonathan, nor to his brother Simon; but when these two were apprised of it, they took all their companions, and presently fled into that wilderness which was nearest to the city; and when they were come to a lake called Asphar, they abode there. [9] But when Bacchides was sensible that they were in a low state, and were in that place, he hastened to fall upon them with all his forces, and pitching his camp beyond Jordan, he recruited his army. [10] G   But when Jonathan knew that Bacchides was coming upon him, he sent his brother John, who was also called Gaddis, to the Nabataean Arabs, that he might lodge his baggage with them until the battle with Bacchides should be over, for they were the Jews' friends. [11] And the sons of Ambri laid an ambush for John from the city Medaba, and seized upon him, and upon those that were with him, and plundered all that they had with them. They also slew John, and all his companions. However, they were sufficiently punished for what they now did by John's brethren, as we shall relate presently.

[12] G   But when Bacchides knew that Jonathan had pitched his camp among the lakes of Jordan, he observed when their sabbath day came, and then assaulted him, [as supposing that he would not fight because of the law for resting on that day]: [13] but he exhorted his companions [to fight]; and told them that their lives were at stake, since they were encompassed by the river, and by their enemies, and had no way to escape, for that their enemies pressed upon them from before, and the river was behind them. So after he had prayed to God to give them the victory, he joined battle with the enemy, [14] G   of whom he overthrew many; and as he saw Bacchides coming up boldly to him, he stretched out his right hand to smite him; but the other foreseeing and avoiding the stroke, Jonathan with his companions leaped into the river, and swam over it, and by that means escaped beyond Jordan while the enemies did not pass over that river; but Bacchides returned presently to the citadel at Jerusalem, having lost about two thousand of his army. [15] He also fortified many cities of Judaea, whose walls had been demolished; Jericho, and Emmaus, and Bethhoron, and Bethel, and Tinma, and Pharatho, and Tecoa, and Gazara, [16] G   and built towers in every one of these cities, and encompassed them with strong walls, that were very large also, and put garrisons into them, that they might issue out of them, and do mischief to the Jews. [17] He also fortified the citadel at Jerusalem more than all the rest. Moreover, he took the sons of the principal Jews as pledges, and hut them up in the citadel, and in that manner guarded it.

[18] G   About the same time one came to Jonathan, and to his brother Simon, and told them that the sons of Ambri were celebrating a marriage, and bringing the bride from the city Gabatha, who was the daughter of one of the illustrious men among the Arabians, and that the damsel was to be conducted with pomp, and splendour, and much riches: [19] so Jonathan and Simon thinking this appeared to be the fittest time for them to avenge the death of their brother, and that they had forces sufficient for receiving satisfaction from them for his death, they made haste to Medaba, and lay in wait among the mountains for the coming of their enemies; [20] G   and as soon as they saw them conducting the virgin, and her bridegroom, and such a great company of their friends with them as was to be expected at this wedding, they sallied out of their ambush, and slew them all, and took their ornaments, and all the prey that then followed them, and so returned, [21] and received this satisfaction for their brother John from the sons of Ambri; for as well those sons themselves, as their friends, and wives, and children that followed them, perished, being in number about four hundred.

[22] G   However, Simon and Jonathan returned to the lakes of the river, and abode there. But Bacchides, when he had secured all Judaea with his garrisons, returned to the king; and then it was that the affairs of Judaea were quiet for two years. [23] But when the deserters and the wicked saw that Jonathan and those that were with him lived in the country very quietly, by reason of the peace, they sent to king Demetrius, and excited him to send Bacchides to seize upon Jonathan, which they said was to be done without any trouble, and in one night's time; and that if they fell upon them before they were aware, they might slay them all. [24] G   So the king sent Bacchides, who, when he was come into Judaea, wrote to all his friends, both Jews and auxiliaries, that they should seize upon Jonathan, and bring him to him; [25] and when, upon all their endeavours, they were not able to seize upon Jonathan, for he was sensible of the snares they laid for him, and very carefully guarded against them, Bacchides was angry at these deserters, as having imposed upon him, and upon the king, and slew fifty of their leaders: [26] G   whereupon Jonathan, with his brother, and those that were with him, retired to Bethagla, a village that lay in the wilderness, out of his fear of Bacchides. He also built towers in it, and encompassed it with walls, and took care that it should be safely guarded. [27] Upon the hearing of which Bacchides led his own army along with him, and besides took his Jewish auxiliaries, and came against Jonathan, and made an assault upon his fortifications, and besieged him many days; [28] G   but Jonathan did not abate of his courage at the zeal Bacchides used in the siege, but courageously opposed him. And while he left his brother Simon in the city to fight with Bacchides, he went privately out himself into the country, and got a great body of men together of his own party, and fell upon Bacchides's camp in the night time, and destroyed a great many of them. [29] His brother Simon knew also of this his falling upon them, because he perceived that the enemies were slain by him; so he sallied out upon them, and burnt the engines which the Macedonians used, and made a great slaughter of them. [30] G   And when Bacchides saw himself encompassed with enemies, and some of them before and some behind him, he fell into despair and trouble of mind, as confounded at the unexpected ill success of this siege. [31] However, he vented his displeasure at these misfortunes upon those deserters who sent for him from the king, as having deluded him. So he had a mind to finish this siege after a decent manner, if it were possible for him so to do, and then to return home.

[32] G   When Jonathan understood these his intentions, he sent ambassadors to him about a league of friendship and mutual assistance, and that they might restore those they had taken captive on both sides. [33] So Bacchides thought this a pretty decent way of retiring home, and made a league of friendship with Jonathan, when they swore that they would not any more make war one against another. Accordingly, he restored the captives, and took his own men with him, and returned to the king at Antioch; and after this his departure, he never came into Judaea again. [34] G   Then did Jonathan take the opportunity of this quiet state of things, and went and lived in the city Machma; and there governed the multitude, and punished the wicked and ungodly, and by that means purged the nation of them.

[2.]   [35] Now in the hundred and sixtieth year, it fell out that Alexander, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, came up into Syria, and took Ptolemais the soldiers within having betrayed it to him; for they were at enmity with Demetrius, on account of his insolence and difficulty of access; [36] G   for he shut himself up in a palace of his that had four towers which he had built himself, not far from Antioch and admitted nobody. He was withal slothful and negligent about the public affairs, whereby the hatred of his subjects was the more kindled against him, as we have elsewhere already related. [37] When therefore Demetrius heard that Alexander was in Ptolemais, he took his whole army, and led it against him; he also sent ambassadors to Jonathan about a league of mutual assistance and friendship, for he resolved to be beforehand with Alexander, lest the other should treat with him first, and gain assistance from him; [38] G   and this he did out of the fear he had lest Jonathan should remember how ill Demetrius had formerly treated him, and should join with him in this war against him. He therefore gave orders that Jonathan should be allowed to raise an army, and should get armour made, and should receive back those hostages of the Jewish nation whom Bacchides had shut up in the citadel of Jerusalem. [39] When this good fortune had befallen Jonathan, by the concession of Demetrius, he came to Jerusalem, and read the king's letter in the audience of the people, and of those that kept the citadel. [40] G   When these were read, these wicked men and deserters, who were in the citadel, were greatly afraid, upon the king's permission to Jonathan to raise an army, and to receive back the hostages. So he delivered every one of them to his own parents. [41] And thus did Jonathan make his abode at Jerusalem, renewing the city to a better state, and reforming the buildings as he pleased; for he gave orders that the walls of the city should be rebuilt with square stones, that it might be more secure from their enemies. [42] G   And when those that kept the garrisons that were in Judaea saw this, they all left them, and fled to Antioch, excepting those that were in the city Bethsura, and those that were in the citadel of Jerusalem, for the greater part of these was of the wicked Jews and deserters, and on that account these did not deliver up their garrisons.

[43] When Alexander knew what promises Demetrius had made Jonathan, and withal knew his courage, and what great things he had done when he fought the Macedonians, and besides what hardships he had undergone by the means of Demetrius, and of Bacchides, the general of Demetrius's army, he told his friends that he could not at present find any one else that might afford him better assistance than Jonathan, who was both courageous against his enemies, and had a particular hatred against Demetrius, as having both suffered many hard things from him, and acted many hard things against him. [44] G   If therefore they were of opinion that they should make him their friend against Demetrius, it was more for their advantage to invite him to assist them now than at another time. It being therefore determined by him and his friends to send to Jonathan, he wrote to him this epistle: [45] "King Alexander to his brother Jonathan, sendeth greeting. We have long ago heard of thy courage and thy fidelity, and for that reason have sent to thee, to make with thee a league of friendship and mutual assistance. We therefore do ordain thee this day the high priest of the Jews, and that thou beest called my friend. I have also sent thee, as presents, a purple robe and a golden crown, and desire that, now thou art by us honoured, thou wilt in like manner respect us also."

[46] G   When Jonathan had received this letter, he put on the pontifical robe at the time of the feast of tabernacles, four years after the death of his brother Judas, for at that time no high priest had been made. So he raised great forces, and had abundance of armour got ready. [47] This greatly grieved Demetrius when he heard of it, and made him blame himself for his slowness, that he had not prevented Alexander, and got the good-will of Jonathan, but had given him time so to do. However, he also himself wrote a letter to Jonathan, and to the people, the contents whereof are these: [48] G   "King Demetrius to Jonathan, and to the nation of the Jews, sendeth greeting. Since you have preserved your friendship for us, and when you have been tempted by our enemies, you have not joined yourselves to them, I both commend you for this your fidelity, and exhort you to continue in the same disposition, for which you shall be repaid, and receive rewards from us; [49] for I will free you from the greatest part of the tributes and taxes which you formerly paid to the kings my predecessors, and to myself; and I do now set you free from those tributes which you have ever paid; and besides, I forgive you the tax upon salt, and the value of the crowns which you used to offer to me and instead of the third part of the fruits [of the field], and the half of the fruits of the trees, I relinquish my part of them from this day: [50] G   and as to the poll-money, which ought to be given me for every head of the inhabitants of Judaea, and of the three toparchies that adjoin to Judaea, Samaria, and Galilee, and Peraea, that I relinquish to you for this time, and for all time to come. [51] I will also that the city of Jerusalem be holy and inviolable, and free from the tithe, and from the taxes, unto its utmost bounds. And I so far recede from my title to the citadel, as to permit Jonathan your high priest to possess it, that he may place such a garrison in it as he approves of for fidelity and good-will to himself, that they may keep it for us. [52] G   I also make free all those Jews who have been made captives and slaves in my kingdom. I also give order that the beasts of the Jews be not pressed for our service; and let their sabbaths, and all their festivals, and three days before each of them, be free from any imposition. [53] In the same manner, I set free the Jews that are inhabitants of my kingdom, and order that no injury be done them. I also give leave to such of them as are willing to list themselves in my army, that they may do it, and those as far as thirty thousand; which Jewish soldiers, wheresoever they go, shall have the same pay that my own army hath; and some of them I will place in my garrisons, and some as guards about mine own body, and as rulers over those that are in my court. [54] G   I give them leave also to use the laws of their forefathers, and to observe them; and I will that they have power over the three toparchies that are added to Judaea; and it shall be in the power of the high priest to take care that no one Jew shall have any other temple for worship but only that at Jerusalem. [55] I bequeath also, out of my own revenues, yearly, for the expenses about the sacrifices, one hundred and fifty thousand [drachmae]; and what money is to spare, I will that it shall be your own. I also release to you those ten thousand drachmae which the kings received from the temple, because they appertain to the priests that minister in that temple. [56] G   And whosoever shall fly to the temple at Jerusalem, or to the places thereto belonging, or who owe the king money, or are there on any other account, let them be set free, and let their goods be in safety. [57] I also give you leave to repair and rebuild your temple, and that all be done at my expenses. I also allow you to build the walls of your city, and to erect high towers, and that they be erected at my charge. And if there be any fortified town that would be convenient for the Jewish country to have very strong, let it be so built at my expenses."

[58] G   This was what Demetrius promised and granted to the Jews by this letter. But king Alexander raised a great army of mercenary soldiers, and of those that deserted to him out of Syria, and made an expedition against Demetrius. [59] And when it was come to a battle, the left wing of Demetrius put those who opposed them to flight, and pursued them a great way, and slew many of them, and spoiled their camp; but the right wing, where Demetrius happened to be, was beaten; [60] G   and as for all the rest, they ran away. But Demetrius fought courageously, and slew a great many of the enemy; but as he was in the pursuit of the rest, his horse carried him into a deep bog, where it was hard to get out, and there it happened, that upon his horse's falling down, he could not escape being killed; [61] for when his enemies saw what had befallen him, they returned back, and encompassed Demetrius round, and they all threw their darts at him; but he, being now on foot, fought bravely. But at length he received so many wounds, that he was not able to bear up any longer, but fell. And this is the end that Demetrius came to, when he had reigned eleven years, as we have elsewhere related.

[3.]   [62] G   But then the son of Onias the high priest, who was of the same name with his father, and who fled to king Ptolemaeus, who was called Philometor, lived now at Alexandria, as we have said already. When this Onias saw that Judaea was oppressed by the Macedonians and their kings, [63] out of a desire to purchase to himself a memorial and eternal fame he resolved to send to king Ptolemaeus and queen Cleopatra, to ask leave of them that he might build a temple in Egypt like to that at Jerusalem, and might ordain Levites and priests out of their own stock. [64] G   The chief reason why he was desirous so to do, was, that he relied upon the prophet Isaiah, who lived above six hundred years before, and foretold that there certainly was to be a temple built to Almighty God in Egypt by a man that was a Jew. Onias was elevated with this prediction, and wrote the following epistle to Ptolemaeus and Cleopatra: [65] "Having done many and great things for you in the affairs of the war, by the assistance of God, and that in Coele Syria and Phoenicia, I came at length with the Jews to Leontopolis, and to other places of your nation, [66] G   where I found that the greatest part of your people had temples in an improper manner, and that on this account they bare ill-will one against another, which happens to the Egyptians by reason of the multitude of their temples, and the difference of opinions about Divine worship. Now I found a very fit place in a castle that hath its name from the country Bubastis; this place is full of materials of several sorts, and replenished with sacred animals; [67] I desire therefore that you will grant me leave to purge this holy place, which belongs to no master, and is fallen down, and to build there a temple to Almighty God, after the pattern of that in Jerusalem, and of the same dimensions, that may be for the benefit of thyself, and thy wife and children, that those Jews which dwell in Egypt may have a place whither they may come and meet together in mutual harmony one with another, and he subservient to thy advantages; [68] G   for the prophet Isaiah foretold that "there should be an altar in Egypt to the Lord God; and many other such things did he prophesy relating to that place."

[69] And this was what Onias wrote to king Ptolemaeus. Now any one may observe his piety, and that of his sister and wife Cleopatra, by that epistle which they wrote in answer to it; for they laid the blame and the transgression of the law upon the head of Onias. And this was their reply: [70] G   "King Ptolemaeus and queen Cleopatra to Onias, send greeting. We have read thy petition, wherein thou desirest leave to be given thee to purge that temple which is fallen down at Leontopolis, in the nome of Heliopolis, and which is named from the country Bubastis; on which account we cannot but wonder that it should be pleasing to God to have a temple erected in a place so unclean, and so full of sacred animals. [71] But since thou sayest that Isaiah the prophet foretold this long ago, we give thee leave to do it, if it may be done according to your law, and so that we may not appear to have at all offended God herein."

[72] G   So Onias took the place, and built a temple, and an altar to God, like indeed to that in Jerusalem, but smaller and poorer. I do not think it proper for me now to describe its dimensions or its vessels, which have been already described in my seventh book of the Wars of the Jews. [73] However, Onias found other Jews like to himself, together with priests and Levites, that there performed Divine service. But we have said enough about this temple.

[74] G   Now it came to pass that the Alexandrian Jews, and those Samaritans who paid their worship to the temple that was built in the days of Alexander at Mount Gerizzim, did now make a sedition one against another, and disputed about their temples before Ptolemaeus himself; the Jews saying that, according to the laws of Moses, the temple was to be built at Jerusalem; and the Samaritans saying that it was to be built at Gerizzim. [75] They desired therefore the king to sit with his friends, and hear the debates about these matters, and punish those with death who were baffled. Now Sabbaeus and Theodosius managed the argument for the Samaritans, and Andronicus, the son of Messalamus, for the people of Jerusalem; [76] G   and they took an oath by God and the king to make their demonstrations according to the law; and they desired of Ptolemaeus, that whomsoever he should find that transgressed what they had sworn to, he would put him to death. Accordingly, the king took several of his friends into the council, and sat down, in order to hear what the pleaders said. [77] Now the Jews that were at Alexandria were in great concern for those men, whose lot it was to contend for the temple at Jerusalem; for they took it very ill that any should take away the reputation of that temple, which was so ancient and so celebrated all over the habitable earth. [78] G   Now when Sabbaeus and Theodosius had given leave to Andronicus to speak first, he began to demonstrate out of the law, and out of the successions of the high priests, how they every one in succession from his father had received that dignity, and ruled over the temple; and how all the kings of Asia had honoured that temple with their donations, and with the most splendid gifts dedicated thereto. But as for that at Gerizzim, he made no account of it, and regarded it as if it had never had a being. [79] By this speech, and other arguments, Andronicus persuaded the king to determine that the temple at Jerusalem was built according to the laws of Moses, and to put Sabbaeus and Theodosius to death. And these were the events that befell the Jews at Alexandria in the days of Ptolemaeus Philometor.

[4.]   [80] G   Demetrius being thus slain in battle, as we have above related, Alexander took the kingdom of Syria; and wrote to Ptolemaeus Philometor, and desired his daughter in marriage; and said it was but just that he should be joined an affinity to one that had now received the principality of his forefathers, and had been promoted to it by God's providence, and had conquered Demetrius, and that was on other accounts not unworthy of being related to him. [81] Ptolemaeus received this proposal of marriage gladly; and wrote him an answer, saluting him on account of his having received the principality of his forefathers; and promising him that he would give him his daughter in marriage; and assured him that he was coming to meet him at Ptolemais, and desired that he would there meet him, for that he would accompany her from Egypt so far, and would there marry his child to him. [82] G   When Ptolemaeus had written thus, he came suddenly to Ptolemais, and brought his daughter Cleopatra along with him; and as he found Alexander there before him, as he desired him to come, he gave him his child in marriage, and for her portion gave her as much silver and gold as became such a king to give.

[83] When the wedding was over, Alexander wrote to Jonathan the high priest, and desired him to come to Ptolemais. So when he came to these kings, and had made them magnificent presents, he was honoured by them both. [84] G   Alexander compelled him also to put off his own garment, and to take a purple garment, and made him sit with him in his throne; and commanded his captains that they should go with him into the middle of the city, and proclaim, that it was not permitted to any one to speak against him, or to give him any disturbance. [85] And when the captains had thus done, those that were prepared to accuse Jonathan, and who bore him ill-will, when they saw the honour that was done him by proclamation, and that by the king's order, ran away, and were afraid lest some mischief should befall them. Nay, king Alexander was so very kind to Jonathan, that he set him down as the principal of his friends.

[86] G   But then, upon the hundred and sixty-fifth year, Demetrius, the son of Demetrius, came from Crete with a great number of mercenary soldiers, which Lasthenes, the Cretan, brought him, and sailed to Cilicia. [87] This thing cast Alexander into great concern and disorder when he heard it; so he made haste immediately out of Phoenicia, and came to Antioch, that he might put matters in a safe posture there before Demetrius should come. [88] G   He also left Apollonius Daus governor of Coele Syria, who coming to Jamneia with a great army, sent to Jonathan the high priest, and told him that it was not right that he alone should live at rest, and with authority, and not be subject to the king; that this thing had made him a reproach among all men, that he had not yet made him subject to the king. [89] "Do not thou therefore deceive thyself, and sit still among the mountains, and pretend to have forces with thee; but if thou hast any dependence on thy strength, come down into the plain, and let our armies be compared together, and the event of the battle will demonstrate which of us is the most courageous. [90] G   However, take notice, that the most valiant men of every city are in my army, and that these are the very men who have always beaten thy progenitors; but let us have the battle in such a place of the country where we may fight with weapons, and not with stones, and where there may be no place whither those that are beaten may fly."

[91] With this Jonathan was irritated; and choosing himself out ten thousand of his soldiers, he went out of Jerusalem in haste, with his brother Simon, and came to Joppa, and pitched his camp on the outside of the city, because the people of Joppa had shut their gates against him, for they had a garrison in the city put there by Apollonius. [92] G   But when Jonathan was preparing to besiege them, they were afraid he would take them by force, and so they opened the gates to him. But Apollonius, when he heard that Joppa was taken by Jonathan, took three thousand horsemen, and eight thousand footmen and came to Azotus; and removing thence, he made his journey silently and slowly, and going up to Joppa, he made as if he was retiring from the place, and so drew Jonathan into the plain, as valuing himself highly upon his horsemen, and having his hopes of victory principally in them. [93] However, Jonathan sallied out, and pursued Apollonius to Azotus; but as soon as Apollonius perceived that his enemy was in the plain, he came back and gave him battle. [94] G   But Apollonius had laid a thousand horsemen in ambush in a valley, that they might be seen by their enemies as behind them; which when Jonathan perceived, he was under no consternation, but ordering his army to stand in a square battle-array, he gave them a charge to fall on the enemy on both sides, and set them to face those that attacked them both before and behind; [95] and while the fight lasted till the evening, he gave part of his forces to his brother Simon, and ordered him to attack the enemies; but for himself, he charged those that were with him to cover themselves with their armour, and receive the darts of the horsemen, [96] G   who did as they were commanded; so that the enemy's horsemen, while they threw their darts till they had no more left, did them no harm, for the darts that were thrown did not enter into their bodies, being thrown upon the shields that were united and conjoined together, the closeness of which easily overcame the force of the darts, and they flew about without any effect. [97] But when the enemy grew remiss in throwing their darts from morning till late at night, Simon perceived their weariness, and fell upon the body of men before him; and because his soldiers showed great alacrity, he put the enemy to flight. [98] G   And when the horsemen saw that the footmen ran away, neither did they stay themselves, but they being very weary, by the duration of the fight till the evening, and their hope from the footmen being quite gone, they basely ran away, and in great confusion also, till they were separated one from another, and scattered over all the plain. [99] Upon which Jonathan pursued them as far as Azotus, and slew a great many of them, and compelled the rest, in despair of escaping, to fly to the temple of Dagon, which was at Azotus; but Jonathan took the city on the first onset, and burnt it, and the villages about it; [100] G   nor did he abstain from the temple of Dagon itself, but burnt it also, and destroyed those that had fled to it. Now the entire multitude of the enemies that fell in the battle, and were consumed in the temple, were eight thousand. [101] When Jonathan therefore had overcome so great an army, he removed from Azotus, and came to Ascalon; and when he had pitched his camp without the city, the people of Ascalon came out and met him, bringing him hospitable presents, and honouring him; so he accepted of their kind intentions, and returned thence to Jerusalem with a great deal of prey, which he brought thence when he conquered his enemies. [102] G   But when Alexander heard that Apollonius, the general of his army, was beaten, he pretended to be glad of it, because he had fought with Jonathan his friend and ally against his directions. Accordingly, he sent to Jonathan, and gave testimony to his worth; and gave him honorary rewards, as a golden button, which it is the custom to give the king's kinsmen, and allowed him Accaron and its toparchy for his own inheritance.

[103] About this time it was that king Ptolemaeus, who was called Philometor, led an army, part by the sea, and part by land, and came to Syria, to the assistance of Alexander, who was his son-in-law; [104] G   and accordingly all the cities received him willingly, as Alexander had commanded them to do, and conducted him as far as Azotus; where they all made loud complaints about the temple of Dagon, which was burnt, and accused Jonathan of having laid it waste, and destroyed the country adjoining with fire, and slain a great number of them. [105] Ptolemaeus heard these accusations, but said nothing. Jonathan also went to meet Ptolemaeus as far as Joppa, and obtained from him hospitable presents, and those glorious in their kinds, with all the marks of honour; and when he had conducted him as far as the river called Eleutherus, he returned again to Jerusalem.

[106] G   But as Ptolemaeus was at Ptolemais, he was very near to a most unexpected destruction; for a treacherous design was laid for his life by Alexander, by the means of Ammonius, who was his friend; [107] and as the treachery was very plain, Ptolemaeus wrote to Alexander, and required of him that he should bring Ammonius to condign punishment, informing him what snares had been laid for him by Ammonius, and desiring that he might he accordingly punished for it. But when Alexander did not comply with his demands, he perceived that it was he himself who laid the design, and was very angry at him. [108] G   Alexander had also formerly been on very ill terms with the people of Antioch, for they had suffered very much by his means; yet did Ammonius at length undergo the punishment his insolent crimes had deserved, for he was killed in an opprobrious manner, like a woman, while he endeavoured to conceal himself in a feminine habit, as we have elsewhere related.

[109] Hereupon Ptolemaeus blamed himself for having given his daughter in marriage to Alexander, and for the league he had made with him to assist him against Demetrius; so he dissolved his relation to him, [110] G   and took his daughter away from him, and immediately sent to Demetrius, and offered to make a league of mutual assistance and friendship with him, and agreed with him to give him his daughter in marriage, and to restore him to the principality of his fathers. Demetrius was well pleased with this embassy, and accepted of his assistance, and of the marriage of his daughter. [111] But Ptolemaeus had still one more hard task to do, and that was to persuade the people of Antioch to receive Demetrius, because they were greatly displeased at him, on account of the injuries his father Demetrius had done them; [112] G   yet did he bring this about; for as the people of Antioch hated Alexander on Ammonius's account, as we have shown already, they were easily prevailed with to cast him out of Antioch; who, thus expelled out of Antioch, came into Cilicia. [113] Ptolemaeus came then to Antioch, and was made king by its inhabitants, and by the army; so that he was forced to put on two diadems, the one of Asia, the other of Egypt: [114] G   but being naturally a good and a righteous man, and not desirous of what belonged to others, and besides these dispositions, being also a wise man in reasoning about futurities, he determined to avoid the envy of the Romans; so he called the people of Antioch together to an assembly, and persuaded them to receive Demetrius; [115] and assured them that he would not be mindful of what they did to his father in case he should he now obliged by them; and he undertook that he would himself be a good monitor and governor to him, and promised that he would not permit him to attempt any bad actions; but that, for his own part, he was contented with the kingdom of Egypt. By which discourse he persuaded the people of Antioch to receive Demetrius.

[116] G   But now Alexander made haste with a numerous and great army, and came out of Cilicia into Syria, and burnt the country belonging to Antioch, and pillaged it; whereupon Ptolemaeus, and his son-in-law Demetrius, brought their army against him, (for he had already given him his daughter in marriage,) and beat Alexander, and put him to flight; [117] and accordingly he fled into Arabia. Now it happened in the time of the battle that Ptolemaeus' horse, upon hearing the noise of an elephant, cast him off his back, and threw him on the ground; upon the sight of which accident, his enemies fell upon him, and gave him many wounds upon his head, and brought him into danger of death; for when his guards caught him up, he was so very ill, that for four days' time he was not able either to understand or to speak. [118] G   However, Zabdiel, a prince among the Arabians, cut off Alexander's head, and sent it to Ptolemaeus, who recovering of his wounds, and returning to his understanding, on the fifth day, heard at once a most agreeable hearing, and saw a most agreeable sight, which were the death and the head of Alexander; [119] yet a little after this his joy for the death of Alexander, with which he was so greatly satisfied, he also departed this life. Now Alexander, who was called Balas, reigned over Asia five years, as we have elsewhere related.

[120] G   But when Demetrius, who was styled Nicator, had taken the kingdom, he was so wicked as to treat Ptolemaeus's soldiers very hardly, neither remembering the league of mutual assistance that was between them, nor that he was his son-in-law and kinsman, by Cleopatra's marriage to him; so the soldiers fled from his wicked treatment to Alexandria; but Demetrius kept his elephants. [121] But Jonathan the high priest levied an army out of all Judaea, and attacked the citadel at Jerusalem, and besieged it. It was held by a garrison of Macedonians, and by some of those wicked men who had deserted the customs of their forefathers. [122] G   These men at first despised the attempts of Jonathan for taking the place, as depending on its strength; but some of those wicked men went out by night, and came to Demetrius, and informed him that the citadel was besieged; [123] who was irritated with what he heard, and took his army, and came from Antioch, against Jonathan. And when he was at Antioch, he wrote to him, and commanded him to come to him quickly to Ptolemais: [124] G   upon which Jonathan did not intermit the siege of the citadel, but took with him the elders of the people, and the priests, and carried with him gold, and silver, and garments, and a great number of presents of friendship, and came to Demetrius, and presented him with them, and thereby pacified the king's anger. So he was honoured by him, and received from him the confirmation of his high priesthood, as he had possessed it by the grants of the kings his predecessors. [125] And when the Jewish deserters accused him, Demetrius was so far from giving credit to them, that when he petitioned him that he would demand no more than three hundred talents for the tribute of all Judaea, and the three toparchies of Samaria, and Peraea, and Galilee, he complied with the proposal, and gave him a letter confirming all those grants; whose contents were as follows: [126] G   "King Demetrius to Jonathan his brother, and to the nation of the Jews, sendeth greeting. We have sent you a copy of that epistle which we have written to Lasthenes our kinsman, that you may know its contents. [127] "King Demetrius to Lasthenes our father, sendeth greeting. I have determined to return thanks, and to show favour to the nation of the Jews, which hath observed the rules of justice in our concerns. Accordingly, I remit to them the three prefectures, Aphaerima, and Lydda, and Ramatha, which have been added to Judaea out of Samaria, with their appurtenances; [128] G   as also what the kings my predecessors received from those that offered sacrifices in Jerusalem, and what are due from the fruits of the earth, and of the trees, and what else belongs to us; with the salt-pits, and the crowns that used to be presented to us. Nor shall they be compelled to pay any of those taxes from this time to all futurity. Take care therefore that a copy of this epistle be taken, and given to Jonathan, and be set up in an eminent place of their holy temple.'" [129] And these were the contents of this writing. And now when Demetrius saw that there was peace every where, and that there was no danger, nor fear of war, he disbanded the greatest part of his army, and diminished their pay, and even retained in pay no others than such foreigners as came up with him from Crete, and from the other islands. [130] G   However, this procured him ill-will and hatred from the soldiers; on whom he bestowed nothing from this time, while the kings before him used to pay them in time of peace as they did before, that they might have their good-will, and that they might be very ready to undergo the difficulties of war, if any occasion should require it.

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