Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 13

Sections 1 - 130

Translated by R. Marcus (1943). The section numbers in the Greek text are shown in red; the traditional chapter numbers (as in Whiston's translation) are shown in green.

 See key to translations for an explanation of the format. Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text of each section.

This part of Josephus' account is mostly derived from the 'First Book of Maccabees', chapters 9-11 .

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{1.}   [1] In what manner the Jewish nation regained its liberty after the Macedonians had subjugated it, and how many and how severe were the struggles through which their commander Judas went before he died fighting on their behalf, we have related in  the preceding book. [2] G   Now after the death of Judas all those who remained of the godless, and the transgressors against their country's manner of life once more rose up among the Jews, and flourishing on all sides, did them injury. [3] And their wickedness was accompanied by a famine which seized upon the country, so that through the lack of necessities and their inability to hold out against the afflictions caused both by the famine and by their foes, many deserted to the Macedonians. [4] G   Then Bacchides gathered together those of the Jews who had given up the customs of their country and had chosen the kind of life common to other nations, and entrusted to them the government of the country ; and these men seized the friends of Judas and those who sympathised with him, and delivered them to Bacchides, whereupon he first tortured and maltreated them at his pleasure, and then made an end of them in this way. [5] After this calamity had befallen the Jews, which was greater than any they had experienced since their return from Babylon, those of Judas' companions who survived, seeing their nation perish so miserably, went to his brother Jonathan and begged him to imitate his brother, who in his concern for his countrymen had died on behalf of the liberty of them all, and not suffer the nation to be without a defender or be destroyed by its present afflictions. [6] G   Thereupon Jonathan said that he was ready to die for them, and so, being considered in no way inferior to his brother, he was appointed commander of the Jews.     

[7] But Bacchides heard of this, and fearing that Jonathan might cause trouble to the king and the  Macedonians, as Judas had done before him, he sought to kill him by treachery. [8] G   That this was  intention, however, was not unknown to Jonathan and his brother Simon, and when they learned of it, they took all their companions and fled in haste to the wilderness which was nearest to the city, and on coming to the body of water called the Pool of Asphar, remained there. [9] But when Bacchides became aware that they had removed and were now in that place, he set out against them with his entire force and encamped across the Jordan and there rested his force. [10] G   Thereupon Jonathan, learning that Bacchides had come against him, sent his brother John, also called Gaddis, to the Nabataean Arabs to leave his equipment with them until they should fight against Bacchides, for they were friends of the Jews. [11] But as John was on his way to the Nabataeans, the sons of Amaraios lay in ambush for him outside the city of Medaba, and seized both him and his men, and after plundering all that they were carrying, killed John and all his companions. Nevertheless they suffered fitting punishment for this at the hands of his brothers, as we shall presently relate.   

[12] G   Now when Bacchides learned that Jonathan  had encamped in the marshes of the Jordan, he waited for the day of the Sabbath and then came against him, thinking that he would not fight on that day because of the Law. [13] But Jonathan exhorted his companions, telling them that their lives were in danger, since they were hemmed in between the river and the enemy and so were unable to escape - for the enemy was attacking them in front, and the river was behind them - , and after praying to God to grant them the victory, he joined battle with the enemy. [14] G   He had felled many of them when he saw Bacchides boldly advancing on him, and so he stretched out his right hand to strike him. But Bacchides saw the blow coming and evaded it, whereupon Jonathan leaped into the river with his companions and swam across, and in this manner they escaped to the other side of the Jordan, for the enemy no longer followed them across the river ; and Bacchides straightway returned to the citadel in Jerusalem, having lost about two thousand of his army. [15] Bacchides then occupied many cities of Judaea and fortified them, such as Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Thamnatha, Pharatho, Tochoa and Gazara ; [16] G   in each of these cities he built towers, and surrounded them with strong walls of exceeding height, and stationed forces in them in order that they might be able to issue from them and harass the Jews. [17] Above all he fortified the citadel in Jerusalem. He also took the sons of the chief men of Judaea as hostages and shut them up in the citadel and in this manner kept them under guard.   

[18] G   About this time someone came to Jonathan and his brother Simon with the report that the sons of Amaraios were celebrating a wedding and bringing the bride, who was the daughter of one of the distinguished men among the Arabs, from the city of Nabatha, and that the procession accompanying the girl would be a splendid and costly one. [19] Thereupon Jonathan and Simon, thinking that a most favourable opportunity had arisen for avenging their brother, and believing that they could exact satisfaction from them with the greatest ease for the killing of John, set out for Medaba and lay in wait for their foes in the mountains. [20] G   And when they saw them conducting the maid and her bridegroom and a great company of friends, as is usual at a wedding, they sprang out from their ambush and killed them all, and after taking as spoil the ornaments and the rest of the possessions that were then being taken along by these people, turned back. [21] Such, then, was the punishment which they inflicted on the sons of Amaraios for killing their brother John, for these men themselves and the friends who accompanied them, and their wives and children, perished to the number of about four hundred.   

[22] G   And so Simon and Jonathan returned to the marshes of the river and remained there, while Bacchides, after securing all Judaea with garrisons, returned to the king. And thereafter the affairs of the Jews were peaceful for two years. [23] But the renegades and godless men, seeing that Jonathan and his followers were living in the country in the greatest security because of the peace, sent to King Demetrius and urged him to send Bacchides to seize Jonathan, for this, they informed him, could be done without difficulty, and if his men fell upon them unexpectedly in one night they could kill them all. [24] G   The king therefore sent Bacchides, and when he came to Judaea, he wrote to his friends, both Jews and allies, to seize Jonathan for him. [25] And they all made an effort to do so, but were not able to get hold of Jonathan - for he had become aware of the plot and guarded himself closely -, whereupon Bacchides, being enraged at the renegades for having, as he thought, deceived him and the king, seized fifty of their leaders and killed them. [26] G   But Jonathan, in fear of Bacchides, withdrew with his brother and his companions to Bethalaga, a village in the wilderness, and building towers and surrounding it with walls, kept himself safely protected. [27] When Bacchides heard of this, he led out the army that was with him,  and taking along his Jewish allies, came against Jonathan and assaulted his fortifications and besieged him for many days. [28] G   Jonathan, however, did not yield before the severity of the siege, but after holding out stoutly, left his brother Simon in the city to carry on the fight with Bacchides, and himself secretly went out into the country ; then having gathered together a large force from among those who sympathised with him, he fell upon Bacchides' camp by night and slew a good many of them, thus making known to his brother Simon that he had fallen upon the foe. [29] When Simon became aware that the enemy were being killed by him, he too sallied out against them and burned the engines which the Macedonians had used in the siege, and caused the slaughter of a considerable number of their men. But [30] G   Bacchides, seeing himself hemmed in by his foes, some of them pressing him in front and others from behind, fell into a despondent and disturbed state of mind, for he was confounded at the unexpected outcome of the siege. [31] However he vented his anger at these reverses on the renegades who had sent for him to the king, for he believed they had deceived him. And he wished to end the siege and, if possible, return home without dishonour.   

[32] G   But Jonathan, learning what was in his mind, sent envoys to him to propose a friendly alliance and that each side might return to the other the prisoners they had taken. [33] Thereupon Bacchides, considering this the most dignified way of withdrawing, made a compact of friendship with Jonathan, and they swore not to make war against each other again ; and after returning the prisoners and getting back his own men, he returned to Antioch to the king, and after this withdrawal never again invaded Judaea. [34] G   On obtaining this freedom of action, Jonathan made his residence in the city of Machma, and there administered the affairs of the people and punished the wicked and godless, and so purged the nation of them.   

{2.}   [35] Now in the hundred and sixtieth year { 152 B.C. }Alexander, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, went up to Syria and succeeded in occupying Ptolemais  through the treason of the soldiers within, for they were hostile to Demetrius because of his arrogance  and unapproachableness. [36] G   For he had shut himself in a palace with four towers which he had built not far from Antioch, and admitted no one. but was lazy and careless about public affairs, for which reason the hatred of his subjects was still more inflamed against him, as we have already related else where. [37] But when Demetrius heard that Alexander had come to Ptolemais, he took his entire army and led it against him. He also sent envoys to Jonathan to propose a friendly alliance, for he had determined to anticipate Alexander lest he should be before him in treating with Jonathan and obtaining assistance from him. [38] G   This he did from fear that Jonathan might bear him a grudge for his former enmity, and therefore join in the attack on him. Accordingly he instructed him to collect a force and provide arms, and to recover the Jewish hostages whom Bacchides had shut up in the citadel of Jerusalem. [39] On receiving this message from Demetrius, Jonathan came to Jerusalem and read the king's letter in the hearing of the people and of those who guarded the citadel. [40] G   And when these instructions were read, the godless men and the renegades of the citadel were in great fear, now that the king had permitted Jonathan to raise an army and recover the hostages. But he restored every one of them to his parents. [41] So Jonathan took up his residence in Jerusalem, making various repairs in the city and arranging everything according to his own liking. Thus he ordered the walls of the city also to be built of square stones in order that they might be more secure against the enemy. [42] G   When the defenders of the garrisons in Judaea observed this, they all left their posts and fled to Antioch, with the exception of those in the city of Bethsur and those in the citadel of Jerusalem, for these consisted of the greater part of the godless and renegade Jews, and for that reason they did not abandon the garrisons.   

[43] But when Alexander learned of the promises which Demetrius had made to Jonathan, knowing  of his courage and what great things he had accomplished in the war with the Macedonians, and, on the  other hand, how greatly he had suffered at the hands  of Demetrius and Demetrius' general Bacchides, he told his Friends that at the present juncture he could find no better ally than Jonathan, who was courageous in battle and also had his own grounds for hating Demetrius, having suffered many injuries at his hands as well as having inflicted them on him. [44] G   "If, then, we decide to make him our friend against Demetrius, nothing would be of more advantage just now than to invite him to make an alliance with us." Accordingly when it was decided by himself and his Friends to send to Jonathan, he wrote the following Letter. [45] "King Alexander to his brother Jonathan, greeting. We have long heard of your courage and loyalty, and for this reason have sent to you to propose a friendly alliance. We therefore elect you this day high priest of the Jews with the title of my Friend. I have also sent you as gifts a robe of purple and a gold crown ; and I request you, who have been honoured by us, to act toward us in like manner."   

[46] G   On receiving this letter, Jonathan, at the time of the festival of Tabernacles, put on the high-priestly robe, this being four years after the death  of his brother Judas - for there had been no high  priest during this time -, and gathered together large force and forged a great number of arms. [47] But Demetrius was greatly grieved on learning these things, and they caused him to blame himself for his dilatoriness in not anticipating Alexander by himself extending privileges to Jonathan instead of leaving the other this opportunity. Accordingly he also wrote a letter to Jonathan and the people, which read as follows. 

[48] G   "King Demetrius to Jonathan and the Jewish nation, greeting. Since yon have preserved your friendship for us, and in spite of their tempting offers have not joined yourselves to my foes, I commend you for this loyalty on your part, and exhort you to continue in the same course, for which you shall receive a recompense from us and our favour. [49] For I shall release ihe greater part of vou from the tribute and imposts which you have paid to my royal predecessors and to me, and for the present I remit to you the tribute which you have always given. In addition I excuse you from payment of the salt-tax and crown-tax, a which you have made to us, and in place of the third part of the grain and the half of the fruits of trees I remit to you my share thereof from this day on. [50] G   And as for the poll-tax which was to be paid to me by the inhabitants of Judaea and the three toparchies adjoining it, Samaria, Galilee and Peraea, I exempt you from this now and for all time. [51] And it is my wish that the city of Jerusalem shall be sacred and inviolable and be free to its borders from the tithe and tolls. And the citadel I place in the hands of your high priest Jonathan, and such men as he shall judge to be faithful and friendly to him, he may place in it as a garrison to guard it for us. [52] G   And I also set free those Jews who have been taken captive and are in slavery in our realm. And I command that the Jews' beasts of burden shall not be requisitioned for our army, and that on the Sabbaths and all festivals and the three days preceding a festival the Jews shall be exempt from labour. [53] In the same manner do I set free the Jewish inhabitants of my realm and assure them of not being molested ; and to those who wish to serve in my army I give leave to do so, and this shall be permitted to as many as thirty thousand, and wherever they go they shall receive the same pay as my own army. Some of them I shall place in garrisons, and others in my bodyguard, and I shall make them officers at my court. [54] G   I also permit them to live in accordance with their country's laws and to observe them, and it is my will that those living in the three districts added to Judaea shall be subject to these laws, and that it shall be the concern of the high priest that not a single Jew shall have any temple for worship other than that at Jerusalem. [55] And I give out of my own revenue one hundred and fifty thousand drachmas yearly for the expenses of the sacrifices, and it is my wish that whatever is left over from this sum shall be yours. As for the ten thousand drachmas, which the kings used to receive from the temple, these I remit to you because they belong to the priests who minister in the temple. [56] G   And all those who take refuge in the temple at Jerusalem or in any place to which its name is attached, whether because they owe money to the king or for any other reason, shall be set free, and their possessions shall be left untouched. [57] I also permit you to repair and rebuild the temple, the expense of which shall come out of my revenue ; and I give you leave to build the walls of your city and to erect high towers and to restore all these at my expense. Moreover, if there is any garrison which is to the advantage of the country of the Jews to have strengthened, this too shall be done at my expense."   

[58] G   These, then, were the promises and favours which Demetrius offered when he wrote to the Jews.   Meanwhile King Alexander gathered together a large force of mercenaries and soldiers from Syria who joined him, and marched against Demetrius. [59] And  in the battle which took place the left wing of Demetrius put their adversaries to flight, and pursuing them for a great distance, killed a great many of them and plundered their camp ; but the right wing, where Demetrius happened to be, was defeated. [60] G   And though all the others fled, Demetrius fought valiantly and slew not a few of the enemy, but in pursuing the others, he rode his horse into a deep swamp from which it was difficult to get out, and as his horse fell just there, he was unable to escape, and was slain. [61] For the enemy, seeing what had happened to him, turned round, and encircling Demetrius, all threw their javelins at him. But though he was on foot, he valiantly fought them off, until finally, after receiving many wounds and no longer being able to hold out, he fell. Such was the fate that overtook Demetrius after a reign of eleven years, as we have related elsewhere.   

{3.} [62] G    Now the son of the high priest Onias, who had the same name as his father, having fled to King Ptolemy surnamed Philometor, was living in  Alexandria, as we have said before { 12.386 } ; and seeing that Judaea was being ravaged by the Macedonians and their kings, [63] and desiring to acquire for himself eternal fame and glory, he determined to send to King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra and request of them authority to build a temple in Egypt similar to that at Jerusalem, and to appoint Levites and priests of his own race. [64] G   In this desire he was encouraged chiefly by the words of the prophet Isaiah, who had lived more than six hundred years before and had foretold that a temple to the Most High God was surely to be built in Egypt by a Jew { Is. 19.19 }. Being, therefore, excited by these words, Onias wrote the following letter to Ptolemy and Cleopatra. [65] "Many and great are the services which I have rendered you in the course of the war, a with the help of God, when I was in Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, and when I came with the Jews to Leontopolis in the nome of Heliopolis and to other places where our nation is settled ; [66] G   and I found that most of them have temples, contrary to what is proper, and that for this reason they are ill-disposed toward one another, as is also the case with the Egyptians because of the multitude of their temples and their varying opinions about the forms of worship ; and I have found a most suitable place in the fortress called after Bubastis-of-the-Fields, which abounds in various kinds of trees and is full of sacred animals, [67] wherefore I beg you to permit me to cleanse this temple, which belongs to no one and is in ruins, and to build a temple to the Most High God in the likeness of that at Jerusalem and with the same dimensions, on behalf of you and your wife and children, in order that the Jewish inhabitants of Egypt may be able to come together there in mutual harmony and serve your interests. [68] G   For this indeed is what the prophet Isaiah foretold, 'There shall be an altar in Egypt to the Lord God,' and many other such things did he prophesy concerning this place."   

[69] This, then, is what Onias wrote to King Ptolemy. And one may get a notion of the king's piety and that of his sister and wife Cleopatra from the letter which they wrote in reply, for they placed the blame for the sin and transgression against the Law on the head of Onias, writing the following reply. [70] G   "King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra to Onias, greeting. We have read your petition asking that it be permitted you to cleanse the ruined temple in Leontopolis in the nome of Heliopolis, called Bubastis-of-the-Fields. We wonder, therefore, whether it will be pleasing to God that a temple be built in a place so wild and full of sacred animals. [71] But since you say that the prophet Isaiah foretold this long ago, we grant your request if this is to be in accordance with the Law, so that we may not seem to have sinned against God in any way."   

[72] G   And so Onias took over the place and built a  temple and an altar to God similar to that at Jerusalem, but smaller and poorer. But it has not seemed to me necessary to write about its dimensions and its vessels now, for they have already been described in the seventh book of my Jewish War { 7.426 }. [73] And Onias found some Jews of his own kind, and priests and Levites to minister there. Concerning this temple, however, we have already said enough.   

[74] G   Now there arose a quarrel between the Jews in Alexandria and the Samaritans who worshipped  at the temple on Mount Gerizim, which had been built in the time of Alexander, and they disputed about their respective temples in the presence of Ptolemy himself, the Jews asserting that it was the temple at Jerusalem which had been built in accordance with the laws of Moses, and the Samaritans that it was the temple on Gerizim. [75] And they requested the king to sit in council with his Friends and hear their arguments on these matters, and to punish with death those who were defeated. Accordingly, Sabbaeus and Theodosius made speeches on behalf of the Samaritans, while Andronicus, the son of Messalamus, spoke for the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judaea. [76] G   And they swore by God and the king that they would give their proofs in accordance with the Law, and requested Ptolemy to put to death anyone whom he might find violating these oaths. And so the king brought many of his Friends into his council and sat to hear the speakers. [77] And the Jews who were then in Alexandria were in great anxiety about the men whose task it was to express indignation on behalf of the temple at Jerusalem, for they were resentful that any should seek to destroy this temple which was so ancient and the most celebrated of all those in the world. [78] G   But as Sabbaeus and Theodosius permitted Andronicus to make the first speech, he began with proofs from the Law and the succession of the high priests, showing how each had become head of the temple by receiving that office from his father, and that all the kings of Asia had honoured the temple with dedicatory-offerings and most splendid gifts, while none had shown any respect or regard for that on Gerizim, as though it were not in existence. [79] By these and many similar arguments Andronicus persuaded the king to decide that the temple at Jerusalem had been built in accordance with the laws of Moses, and to put to death Sabbaeus and Theodosius and their party. These, then, were the things that befell the Jews in Alexandria in the reign of Ptolemy Philometor.   

{4.} [80] G   Now after Demetrius had died in battle,  as we have related above, Alexander took over th royal power in Syria, and wrote to Ptolemy Philometor to ask for the hand of his daughter in marriage ; for, he said, it was right that Ptolemy should form a connexion with one who had recovered his father's throne and had been restored to it by the providence of God, and had conquered Demetrius, and on other grounds as well would be not unworthy of such an alliance with him. [81] And Ptolemy, who gladly accepted his suit, wrote a reply, saying that he rejoiced at Alexander's recovery of his father's throne ; and he promised to give him his daughter, and told him to meet him at Ptolemais where he would bring his daughter, for, he said, he would himself escort her from Egypt as far as that city, and there he would give him his child in marriage. [82] G   And so, having written this, Ptolemy came in haste to Ptolemais, bringing his daughter Cleopatra. And finding Alexander waiting to meet him there, as he had instructed him, he gave him his daughter, and, for her dowry, as much silver and gold as a king was expected to give.   

[83] While the wedding ceremonies were being celebrated, Alexander wrote to the high priest Jonathan,  asking him to come to Ptolemais. Thereupon he came to the kings, and having made them splendid  gifts was rewarded with honours from both of them. [84]  G   And Alexander compelled him to take off his own garment and put on one of purple, and making him sit with him on the dais, ordered his officers to go with him into the midst of the city and proclaim that no one was permitted to speak against him or to cause him any trouble. [85] When the officers had done this, those men who had been prepared to accuse Jonathan and were hostile to him, seeing the honour that was done him by the king's proclamation, ran away for fear that they might receive some further harm. And so great was the friendly interest in Jonathan shown by King Alexander that he even inscribed him as his First Friend.   

[86]  G   But in the hundred and sixty-fifth year { 147 B.C. } Demetrius, the son of Demetrius, embarked from Crete  with many mercenaries, with whom Lasthenes the Cretan had furnished him, and sailed to Cilicia. [87] When Alexander heard of this he was thrown into a state of anxiety and confusion, and at once hastened from Phoenicia to Antioch in order to make his position there secure before Demetrius should arrive. [88] G   He also left as governor of Coele-Syria Apollonius Taos, who came to Jamneia with a great force and sent to the high priest Jonathan, saying it was unjust that he alone should live in security and with freedom to do as he liked, not being subject to the king ; it was, he said, bringing on him the reproach of all men that he did not make himself subject to the king. [89] "Do not, therefore, deceive yourself," he added, "sitting in the mountains and thinking that you are strong ; but if you have confidence in your force, come down to the plain and measure your force against my army, and the final victory will show which is the braver of the two. [90] G   You should know, however, that the best men of each city are in my army, and these are the very men who have always been victorious over your ancestors. And you shall have a contest with us on ground where one cannot fight with stones, but with arms, and where there is no place to which you can flee when defeated."   

[91] Greatly angered by these words, Jonathan collected ten thousand picked soldiers and set out from  Jerusalem with his brother Simon, and coming Joppa, encamped outside the city, for the inhabitants  closed their gates against him, having had a garrison stationed within the city by Apollonius. [92] G   But as Jonathan was preparing to besiege them, they were afraid that he might take their city by storm, and so they opened the gates to him. And when Apollonius heard that Joppa had been occupied by Jonathan, he took three thousand horsemen and eight thousand foot-soldiers and came to Azotus, and departing from there, made an easy and slow march until he came to Joppa ; there he retired and drew Jonathan into the plain, for he had sublime confidence in his horsemen, and placed his hopes of victory in them. [93] Thereupon Jonathan advanced and pursued Apollonius to Azotus, and the latter, when once the enemy was in the plain, turned back and engaged him in battle. [94] G   Now Apollonius had placed a thousand horsemen in ambush in a valley to surprise the enemy in the rear, but Jonathan became aware of this and was not dismayed ; he drew up his army in a square and prepared to fight the enemy on either line by opposing them whether they attacked his front or his rear. [95] And as the battle continued until the evening, he gave his brother Simon part of his force and commanded them to engage the main body of the foe, while he ordered his own men to make a fence of their shields, and so receive the javelins thrown by the horsemen. [96] G   Accordingly, they did as they were commanded, while the enemy's horsemen hurled javelins at them until they had no more left, without injuring them at all, for the missiles did not reach their bodies, but glanced off the shields that were joined in a fence and compactly united, and so they were easily turned aside and fell back harmless. [97] And as the enemy were fatigued from throwing javelins at them from early morning until late evening, Simon, who perceived that they were weary, engaged their main body, and through the great ardour which his soldiers showed put the foe to flight. [98] G   And when their horsemen saw the foot-soldiers fleeing, they no longer stayed, but being fatigued from fighting until evening, and having lost hope of aid from the foot-soldiers, they too fled in disorder and confusion, with the result that their lines were broken and they were scattered all over the plain. [99] And Jonathan pursued them as far as Azotus, slaying many of them, and forced those who despaired of being saved to take refuge in the temple of Dagon a which was in Azotus. But Jonathan took the city by a sudden attack, and burnt it and the surrounding villages as well. [100] G   Nor did he spare the temple of Dagon, but burnt this too and slew those who had taken refuge in it. And the total number of the enemy who fell in battle and were burnt to death in the temple was eight thousand. [101] Then, having conquered so great a force, he marched off from Azotus and came to Ascalon ; and as he was encamped outside the city, the inhabitants of Ascalon came out to meet him, bringing him presents to show he was welcome, and honouring him. He therefore expressed approval of their friendly intention, and returned from there to Jerusalem, taking along much booty which he had seized in the victory over his enemies. [102] G   Now when Alexander heard that his general Apollonius had been defeated, he pretended to be pleased, as if it had been against his will that Apollonius fought with Jonathan who was his friend and ally, and he wrote to Jonathan, testifying to his worth by giving him rewards and honours, including a gold brooch, such as are customarily given to kinsmen of kings, and he turned over to him Akkaron and its district as land for settlement.   

[103] It was also at about this time that King Ptolemy, surnamed Philometor, came to Syria with  a force of ships and foot-soldiers to fight as an ally  of Alexander, who was his son-in-law. [104] G   And all the cities, at Alexander's command, gladly welcomed him, and escorted him as far as the city of Azotus, where all the inhabitants clamorously demanded satisfaction from him for the burning of their temple of Dagon, and accused Jonathan of destroying it and wasting their territory with fire and killing many of their men. [105] And while Ptolemy heard these complaints in silence, Jonathan went to meet him at Joppa, and received from him splendid gifts and all kinds of honours ; he then escorted him as far as the river called Eleutherus, and again returned to Jerusalem.   

[106] G   But when he came to Ptolemais, Ptolemy, contrary to all expectation, came near being slain when a plot was formed against him by Alexander through Ammonius, who happened to be his friend. [107] And when the plot was discovered, Ptolemy wrote to Alexander and demanded that Ammonius be given up to him for punishment, saying that a plot had been formed against him by Ammonius, for which he expected him to pay the penalty. But when Alexander refused to give him up, he understood that it was Alexander who had plotted against him, and so he felt very bitter toward him. [108] G   Now Alexander had earlier offended the Antiochians because of Ammonius, for they had suffered many evils at his hands. Nevertheless Ammonius met with punishment for his reckless crimes, being cut down shamefully as a woman, for he had made an effort to conceal himself in a woman's dress, as we have related elsewhere.   

[109] Ptolemy, however, who blamed himself for having given his daughter in marriage to Alexander,  and for making an alliance with him against Demetrius, dissolved the connexion with him ; [110] G   and having taken his daughter from him, he promptly sent to Demetrius, proposing a friendly alliance, and  promising to give him his daughter to wife, and to restore to him his father's throne. Thereupon Demetrius, being pleased with the offer made through his envoys, accepted the alliance and the marriage. [111] But one difficult task still remained for Ptolemy, which was to persuade the Antiochians to accept Demetrius, toward whom they felt hostility because of the lawless acts committed against them by his father Demetrius. [112] G   But he accomplished this also, for the Antiochians hated Alexander on account of Ammonius, as we have related, and were ready to drive him out of Antioch. And so, being expelled from Antioch, he came to Cilicia. [113] And Ptolemy, on coming to the Antiochians, was proclaimed king by them and their armies, and was compelled to put on two diadems, one being that of Asia, and the other that of Egypt. [114] G   However, being a good and upright person by nature, and not being ambitious of dazzling fortune, and, in addition, being skilled in reading the future, he determined to refrain from appearing to give the Romans any reason for disliking him ; and bringing together the Antiochians in assembly, he sought to persuade them to accept Demetrius, [115] saying that if Demetrius were well received by them, he would not bear them any grudge on account of his father, and he agreed to be a counsellor of good and a guide to Demetrius, and promised that if Demetrius attempted any unworthy acts, he would not permit him to carry them out. For himself, he asserted, the throne of Egypt was enough. And with these words he persuaded the Antiochians to accept Demetrius.   

[116] G   Meanwhile Alexander, who had set out from Cilicia for Syria with a large army and a great supply of arms, burned and plundered the territory of the Antiochians, whereupon Ptolemy marched against him with his son-in-law Demetrius - for he had already given him his daughter in marriage - and they defeated Alexander and put him to flight. [117] And so he fled to Arabia. Now it happened that in the battle Ptolemy's horse was alarmed on hearing the trumpeting of an elephant, and unseating Ptolemy, threw him to the ground ; and when the enemy saw this, they rushed upon him and inflicted many wounds on him about the head, so as to bring him to the point of death ; and when his bodyguards snatched him from their hands, he was in so serious a condition that for four days he was unable either to understand anything or to utter a word. [118] G   Meanwhile the Arab chieftain Zabeilus cut off Alexander's head and sent it to Ptolemy, who recovered from his wounds on the fifth day and coming to his senses, at the same time heard the news of Alexander's death and saw his head - most pleasant things to hear and to see. [119] But soon afterwards having his fill of joy at Alexander's death, he himself passed away. Now Alexander, surnamed Balas, was king of Asia for five years, as we have related elsewhere.   

[120] G   But after assuming the royal power, Demetrius, surnamed Nicator, wickedly began to destroy the troops of Ptolemy, quite forgetting the  alliance with him and that Ptolemy was his father-in-law and related to him through his marriage with Cleopatra. Accordingly the soldiers fled from his attack to Alexandria, but Demetrius secured possession of the elephants. [121] Meanwhile the high priest Jonathan gathered together an army from all Judaea, and assaulted and besieged the citadel in Jerusalem which held a Macedonian garrison and some of the godless Jews who had abandoned their native customs. [122] G   These men at first made light of Jonathan's devices for capturing the citadel, for they had confidence in the strength of the place, but some of the worthless fellows in it went out by night and came to Demetrius to inform him of the siege of the citadel. [123] Being, therefore, greatly angered by this report, he took his force and came against Jonathan from Antioch. And when he reached Ptolemais, he wrote and commanded Jonathan to hasten to him there. [124] G   Thereupon Jonathan, although he did not stop the siege, took with him the elders of the people and the priests, and came to Demetrius, bringing gold and silver and garments and a multitude of presents ; and when he presented him with these, he softened the anger of the king ; and being honoured by him, he received confirmation of his tenure of the high-priesthood, just as he had obtained it from the kings before him. [125] Nor did Demetrius give credence to the renegades who brought accusations against Jonathan, but when Jonathan requested him to let him pay three hundred talents for all Judaea and the three toparchies of Samaria and Joppa and Galilee, he did so, and gave him a letter concerning all these matters, of which the contents were as follows. [126] G   "King Demetrius to his brother Jonathan and to the  Jewish nation, greeting. We have sent you a copy  of the letter which I have written to our Kinsman Lasthenes, in order that you may know what is in  it. [127] 'King Demetrius to his father Lasthenes, greeting. Inasmuch as the Jewish nation is friendly to us and justly observes its obligations toward us, I have decided to present to it, in return for its goodwill, the three districts, Aphairema, Lydda and Ramathain, which have been taken from Samaria and annexed to Judaea, together with what appertains to them. [128] G   And, in addition, whatever the kings before me received from those who offered sacrifice at Jerusalem, and whatever they received of the fruits of the earth and trees, and the other things due to us, as well as the salt marshes and the crowns that were brought to us - all these I remit to them/ and none of these things shall be wrongfully taken from them either now or for all time. See to it, therefore, that a copy of these instructions be made and given to Jonathan and set up in a conspicuous place in the holy temple.' " [129] Such were the contents of the letter. And when Demetrius saw that peace obtained and that there was no danger or fear of war, he dismissed his army and reduced their pay, and continued to give their pay only to the mercenaries who had come up with him from Crete and from the other islands. [130] G   Accordingly, he incurred the enmity and hatred of the soldiers to whom he no longer gave any money, whereas the kings before him had continued to give them the same pay even in time of peace, in order to keep them loyal and make them zealous to fight for them if there should ever be need. 

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