Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 13

Sections 131 - 269

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.

Josephus' account, up to the death of Jonathan and the succession of Simon ( § 131-214 ), is mostly derived from the 'First Book of Maccabees', chapters 11-13.

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{5.}   [131] It was natural, therefore, that when this disaffection of the soldiers toward Demetrius was perceived by one of Alexander's generals Diodotus,  surnamed Tryphon, who was a native of Apamea,  he went to Malchus the Arab, who was bringing up  Alexander's son Antiochus, and after revealing to  him the army's dissatisfaction with Demetrius, persuaded him to give Antiochus over to him, saying that he would make him king and would restore to him his father's throne. [132] G   Now Malchus at first opposed this because of distrust, but finally, after Tryphon had pleaded with him a long while, he was won over to the plan which Tryphon was urging him to accept. Such, then, was the state of this man's affairs.   

[133] Meanwhile the high priest Jonathan, who wished the men in the citadel of Jerusalem to leave, as well as the Jewish renegades and godless men and the garrisons in the entire country, sent envoys with gifts to Demetrius, and requested him to expel those who were in the fortresses of Judaea. [134] G   Thereupon Demetrius promised not only to grant this request, but also to do more for him at the end of the war which he had on his hands ; for, he said, all his time was just now taken up with this. And he asked Jonathan to send him assistance, informing him that his force had revolted. And so Jonathan sent him three thousand picked soldiers.   

[135] But the Antiochians, who hated Demetrius  because of the ill-treatment they had received at his hands, and also were hostile to him on account of the many crimes which his father Demetrius had committed against them, were waiting for an opportunity which they might seize to fall upon him. [136] G   And so, becoming aware that assistance had come to Demetrius from Jonathan, and reflecting that unless they acted quickly to anticipate him, he would collect a great force, they hastily seized their arms, and surrounding his palace as if in a siege, blocked the exits and sought to get the king into their hands. [137] But when he saw that the populace of Antioch was ready to make war on him and was under arms, he took his mercenaries and the Jews sent by Jonathan, and engaged the Antiochians ; but he was overpowered by them - for many tens of thousands were there - and was beaten. [138] G   Now when the Jews saw the Antiochians getting the upper hand, they went up to the roofs of the palace buildings, and from there hurled missiles at the Antiochians ; and while they themselves, being high above their opponents, were too far away to be hurt by them, they could inflict much damage on them by fighting from above; [139] and so they drove them out of the adjoining houses, which they quickly set on fire ; and as the houses were close together and mostly built of wood, the flames spread over the whole city and entirely consumed it. [140] G   Thereupon the Antiochians, being unable to give help or to control the fire, turned to flight. But the Jews, leaping from roof to roof, pursued them in this manner, and a very strange manner of pursuit it was. [141] Now when the king saw that the Antiochians were striving to save their children and wives, and for that reason were no longer fighting, he set upon them from other narrow streets, and on encountering them, killed many of them, so that they were forced to throw down their full armour and surrender to Demetrius. [142] G   But he forgave them their acts of defiance, and so put an end to the uprising. He then presented the Jews with the spoils he had gained, and thanked them for having been chiefly responsible for his victory, after which he sent them back to Jerusalem to Jonathan with an acknowledgment of his assistance. [143] Later on, however, he behaved basely toward him and belied his promises, threatening him  with war unless he paid him all the kinds of tribute  which the Jewish nation was required to pay from the time of the first kings. And this threat he would have carried out, if Tryphon had not kept him from doing so and diverted his preparations against Jonathan into concern for his own interests. [144] G   For Tryphon had returned to Syria from Arabia with the young Antiochus - he was still a mere lad -, and placed the diadem on his head. And as the entire body of soldiers who had deserted Demetrius because they had not received their pay went over to him, he declared war against Demetrius, and engaging him in battle, overcame him and took possession both of the elephants and of the city of Antioch.   

[145] Demetrius, therefore, on being beaten, retired to Cilicia, while the young Antiochus sent envoys with letters to Jonathan, proposing to make him his friend and ally, to confirm him as high priest, and to yield to him the four districts which had been added to the territory of the Jews ; [146] G   moreover, he sent him vessels and cups of gold and purple garments, with permission to use them, and presented him with a gold brooch and the right to be called one of his First Friends. [147] He also appointed Jonathan's brother Simon commander of the army from the Ladder of Tyre to Egypt. Thereupon Jonathan, being pleased with the honours conferred upon him by Antiochus, sent envoys both to him and to Tryphon, professing to be his friend and ally, and agreeing to fight with him against Demetrius, for, he explained, Demetrius had shown him no gratitude for the many favours he had received from him in time of need, but had, on the contrary, done him further wrong in return for the kindnesses he had received.   

[148] G   Accordingly, when Antiochus gave him leave to gather together a large force from Syria and Phoenicia and fight against Demetrius' generals,  Jonathan at once set out for the cities thereof. But  these, while they received him splendidly, gave him no troops. [149] And so from there he went to the city of Ascalon, where the inhabitants met him with honours and gifts, whereupon he urged them and every one of the cities in Coele-Syria as well to abandon Demetrius and join Antiochus, and to fight together with him in an attempt to exact satisfaction of Demetrius for whatever wrongs he may have done them ; for, he said, there were many reasons why they should be willing to take his side. [150] G   And when he had persuaded the cities to agree to an alliance with Antiochus, he went to Gaza in order to gain for Antiochus their goodwill also. But he found the people of Gaza much more hostile than he had expected, and they shut their gates against him, and though they had deserted Demetrius, resolved not to go over to Antiochus. [151] This provoked Jonathan to besiege them and to ravage their territory, and investing Gaza with a part of his army, he himself with the rest of it overran their land, destroying and burning it. When the people of Gaza saw in what a plight they were, and that no help was coming to them from Demetrius, but that, on the contrary, distress was already upon them, while the likelihood of assistance was still remote and it was uncertain whether it would come at all, they decided that it would be wise to give up waiting for assistance, and to remedy their distress. [152] G   Accordingly, they sent to Jonathan and proposed a friendly alliance. For before they experience misfortune, human beings do not understand what is good for them ; only when they find themselves in some difficulty and after stubbornly resisting what they might better have done when they were quite unharmed, do they finally choose to do this when once they have been afflicted. [153] And so Jonathan made a friendly agreement with them and accepted their hostages, and sent these off to Jerusalem, while he himself marched through the whole country as far as Damascus.   

[154] G   But when news came to him that Demetrius' generals were advancing to Kedasa with a great army - this city lies between the land of Tyre and Galilee ; for they supposed that they could draw him off from Syria to Galilee as an ally of the latter country, and that he would not suffer the Galilaeans, who were of his own people, to be attacked by the enemy -, he went out to meet them, leaving his brother Simon in Judaea ; [155] and Simon also gathered together as considerable an army as was possible from this country, and encamped before Bethsur to besiege it, this being a very strong fortress in Judaea, which was held by a garrison of Demetrius. But of this we have spoken before { 13.42 }. [156] G   And when Simon raised earthworks and set up siege-engines and showed much vigour in besieging Bethsur, the garrison were afraid that the place might be taken by storm and they be destroyed ; and so they sent to Simon and requested that they might leave the place and go back to Demetrius, on receiving sworn assurances that they should suffer no harm at his hands. [157] He therefore gave them these pledges, and putting them out of the city, stationed his own garrison therein.   

[158] G   Meanwhile Jonathan set out from Galilee from  the waters of Gennesar, as they are called - for this was where he was then encamped -, and proceeded to the plain of Asor, not knowing that the enemy were there. [159] But as Demetrius' men had learned the day before that Jonathan was coming against them, they set an ambush of men to lie in wait for him in the mountains, while they with the main army went to meet him in the plain. And when Jonathan saw them ready for battle, he too prepared his own soldiers for the contest as well as he could. [160] G   Thereupon the men placed in ambush by Demetrius' generals appeared on the rear of the Jews, and they, fearing that they would be caught between two fires and be lost, made haste to flee. [161] And so they all abandoned Jonathan, except a few, some fifty in number, who stood their ground, among them Matthias, the son of Absalom, and Judas, the son of Chapsaios, who were the commanders of the entire force ; and these with recklessness and despair pushed back the enemy, and dismaying them by their courage and strength, made them turn and flee. [162] G   And when those of Jonathan's soldiers who had retreated saw the enemy in rout, they rallied after their flight and hastened to pursue them, which they did as far as Kedasa, where the enemy had their camp.   

[163] Having, therefore, won a brilliant victory, in which he killed two thousand of his foes, Jonathan returned to Jerusalem. And when he saw that by God's providence all his affairs were going to his liking, he sent envoys to the Romans, for he wished to renew the friendship which his nation had formerly had with them. [164] G   These same envoys he instructed to visit the Spartans on their return from Rome, and to remind them of the Jews' friendship and kinship with them. Accordingly, when they came to Rome, they appeared before the Senate and delivered the message of the high priest Jonathan, saying that he had sent them to confirm the alliance, [165] whereupon the Senate ratified its former decrees concerning friendship with the Jews, and gave them letters to take to all the kings of Asia and Europe and to the magistrates of the cities, in order that through them they might obtain safe-conduct to their own country ; and on their return they came to Sparta and delivered to them the letter which they had received from Jonathan, [166] G   of which the following is a copy. "Jonathan, high priest of the Jewish nation, and the senate and council of priests to their brothers, the ephors and senate and people of Lacedaemon, greeting. If you are well, and your public and private affairs are proceeding satisfactorily, it would be as we wish ; we are also well. [167] When in former times there was brought by Demoteles to Onias, who was our high priest, from Areius, your king, a letter, of which a copy is appended, concerning the kinship which exists between us and you, we gladly received the letter and showed ourselves kindly disposed toward both Demoteles and Areius, although we needed no such evidence since the kinship had been made certain through our sacred writings ; [168] G   nor did we see fit to be beforehand in recognising the relation, lest we might seem to be greedy in seeking the honour conferred by you ; and though a long time has passed since our kinship was first discussed, yet, when we offer sacrifices to God on the holy days and memorial days, we continue to entreat Him for your well-being and victory. [169] And though we have been involved in many wars through the covetousness of our neighbours, we resolved not to trouble you ur any other people connected with us. But having overcome our enemies, we have sent to the Romans Numenius, the son of Antiochus, and Antipater, the son of Jason, who belong to our senate and are held in honour by us, and have given them a letter to you also, in order that they may renew our ties with you. [170] G   You will do well, therefore, also to write us and instruct us concerning anything you may need, being assured that we shall be eager to carry out your wishes in all respects." And the Lacedaemonians received the envoys in a friendly manner, and after making a decree concerning a friendly alliance with the Jews, sent them on their way.   

[171] Now at this time there were three schools of thought among the Jews, which held different opinions concerning human affairs ; the first being that of the Pharisees, the second that of the Sadducees, and the third that of the Essenes. [172] G   As for the Pharisees, they say that certain events are the work of Fate, but not all ; as to other events, it depends upon ourselves whether they shall take place or not. The sect of Essenes, however, declares that Fate is mistress of all things, and that nothing befalls men unless it be in accordance with her decree. [173] But the Sadducees do away with Fate, holding that there is no such thing and that human actions are not achieved in accordance with her decree, but that all things lie within our own power, so that we ourselves are responsible for our well-being, while we suffer misfortune through our own thoughtlessness. Of these matters, however, I have given a more detailed account in the second book of the Jewish History { BJ 2.119 }.   

[174] G   Now Demetrius' generals, wishing to make  good the defeat they had sustained, gathered together a force larger than their former one, and came against Jonathan. But he had learned of their advance, and went quickly to meet them in the region of Hamath,  for he determined not to allow them time enough to invade Judaea. [175] And he encamped at a distance of fifty stades from the enemy, and sent men to spy on their camp and see how it was laid out. When the scouts had reported all these things to him, and by night had captured some men, who revealed to him that the enemy were about to set upon him, he, being forewarned, [176] G   took measures for his safety by placing outposts outside the camp and keeping his force under arms throughout the entire night ; and he exhorted them to keep their spirits high and their senses alert enough to fight even at night if necessary, that their enemy's plan might not take them unaware. [177] But when Demetrius' generals discovered that Jonathan knew their plan, they were no longer able to use sound judgment, and were disturbed at having been found out by their foes ; nor could they expect to overcome them by any other means, now that their stratagem had failed, for they did not consider themselves a match for Jonathan's men, if they were to fight in the open. [178] G   They therefore resolved on flight, and after lighting many fires in order that, when the enemy saw them, they might believe they were still there, they retreated. And when Jonathan came close to their camp at dawn and found it deserted, he realised that they had fled, and went in pursuit of them, [179] but was not quick enough to overtake them, for they had already crossed the Eleutherus river and were on safe grounds He therefore turned back from there to Arabia and made war on the Nabataeans, driving off many of their cattle and taking captives, and then went to Damascus, where he sold them all. [180] G   About the same time his brother Simon went through all Judaea and Palestine as far as Ascalon, making their fortresses secure and strengthening them with works and guards, and then went to Joppa, occupied it and introduced a large garrison into it ; for he had heard that the inhabitants of Joppa were ready to deliver up their city to Demetrius' generals.   

[181] And so, having regulated these matters, both Simon and Jonathan came to Jerusalem. Here  Jonathan gathered all the people together in the temple and advised them to repair the walls of Jerusalem, and to set up again the part of the wall round the temple which had been thrown down, and to fortify the temple precincts by high towers, [182] G   and, in addition, to build still another wall in the midst of the city to keep the garrison in the citadel from reaching the city, and in this way cut off their large supply of provisions ; he further advised them to make the fortresses throughout the country far stronger than they were in their present state of security. [183] And so, when this plan was approved by the people, Jonathan himself began the building in the city, and sent out Simon to make the fortresses in the country secure. [184] G   Meanwhile Demetrius crossed into Mesopotamia, wishing to occupy both  that country and Babylon, [185] and, by taking possession of the Upper Satrapies, to make these his base for an attempt to control the entire kingdom. For the Greeks and Macedonians living in this region were in fact continually sending envoys to him, promising to go over to him, if he would come to them, and to join him in making war on Arsaces, the king of the Parthians. [186] G   Elated by these hopes, he set out for their country, being determined that, if he should subdue the Parthians and acquire a force of his own, he would make war on Tryphon and drive him out of Syria. And as the people of the country received him gladly, he gathered a force together and made war on Arsaces, but lost his entire army and was himself taken alive, as has been related elsewhere.   

{6.}   [187] As for Tryphon, when he learned that Demetrius' undertaking had come to such an end, he ceased to support Antiochus, but, instead, plotted to kill him and seize the throne himself. There was, however, an obstacle to this plan, namely his fear of Jonathan, who was Antiochus' friend, and for that reason he determined first to get rid of Jonathan, and then make the attempt on Antiochus. [188] G   And deciding to make an end of him by deceit and treachery, he went from Antioch to Bethsan, called Scythopolis by the Greeks, where Jonathan met him with an army of forty thousand picked men, for he suspected that Tryphon had come to attack him. [189] Accordingly, when Tryphon discovered that Jonathan was ready for battle, he flattered him with presents and friendliness, and ordered his officers to obey Jonathan, for he hoped by these means to convince him of his goodwill and to remove all his suspicions, in order that Jonathan might make light of these and be taken off his guard, foreseeing nothing. [190] G   He also advised him to dismiss his army, for now, he said, there was no need to bring it with him, since there was no war, and peace reigned over all : he invited him, however, to keep a few men about him and go with him to Ptolemais, saying that he would deliver up that city to him and give into his power all the other strongholds that were in the country ; it was for this reason, he said, that he had come there.   

[191] And so, having no suspicion of these things, but believing that Tryphon had given him this advice out of goodwill and in sincerity, Jonathan dismissed his army and kept only three thousand men, of whom  he left two thousand in Galilee, while he himself  with a thousand went to Ptolemais with Tryphon. [192] G   But the inhabitants of Ptolemais shut their gates - this they had been ordered to do by Tryphon -, and he took Jonathan alive and killed all the men with him. He also sent troops against the two thousand men who had been left in Galilee, in order to destroy them as well, [193] but they, at the rumour of what had befallen Jonathan and his men, protected themselves with their arms and succeeded in getting out of the country before the arrival of the men dispatched by Tryphon : and when the troops sent against them by Tryphon saw that they were ready to fight for their lives, they returned to Tryphon without molesting them in any way.   

[194] G   But when the inhabitants of Jerusalem heard  of the capture of Jonathan and of the destruction of the soldiers with him, they lamented the fate that  had befallen him above all, and sorely did they all  miss the hero ; [195] at the same time, as was natural, a great fear fell upon them and troubled them that now, when they were deprived of both the courage and foresight of Jonathan, the surrounding nations, who were hostile to them and had remained quiet only because of Jonathan, might rise up against them, and that they might be forced to do battle and undergo the most extreme dangers. [196] G   And what they suspected did in fact befall them, for when the foreign nations heard of Jonathan's death, they began to make war on the Jews, thinking them to be without a leader. As for Tryphon, he too gathered a force together with the intention of going up to Judaea and making war on its inhabitants. [197] Thereupon Simon, seeing that the people of Jerusalem were dismayed at these happenings, and wishing by his words to make them more courageous and resolute  in opposing Tryphon who was advancing against  them, called the people together in the temple and there began to exhort them as follows. [198] G   "It was for your liberty, my countrymen, that I and my brothers together with our father have gladly dared death, as you cannot fail to know by now. And having such good examples before me, and believing (i that the men of my house were born to die on behalf of our laws and our religion, I know not any fear great enough to drive this thought from my mind or to introduce in its place a love of life and contempt for glory. [199] Wherefore, as you are not without a leader who is able to suffer and do the greatest things on your behalf, follow me eagerly against whomsoever I may lead you. For neither am I better than my brothers, that I should spare my own life, nor am I worse, that I should flee from or reject what seemed to them the noblest thing of all, that is, to die for the laws and the worship of your God. [200] G   But in whatever way I must show myself to be a true brother of theirs, in that way I will show it. For I am confident that I shall take vengeance on the enemy, and that I shall deliver you all with your wives and children from their violence, and that with God's help I shall preserve the temple inviolate ; for I see that the nations hold you in contempt as being without a leader, and are eager to make war."    

[201] By making this speech Simon restored courage  to the multitude, and from having been crushed in spirit through timidity they were now raised to a better spirit and good hope, so that all the people  cried out with one voice that Simon should be their leader and have authority over them, and so take the place of his brothers Judas and Jonathan, saying they would be obedient to whatever commands he would give them. [202] G   Thereupon he quickly collected all those of his own force who were able to fight, and made haste to rebuild the walls of the city ; and when he had made it secure with very high and strong towers, he sent one of his friends, Jonathan, the son of Absalom, with an army to Joppa, ordering him to drive out its inhabitants, for he was afraid that they might deliver up the city to Tryphon. He himself remained to guard Jerusalem.   

[203] Meanwhile Tryphon set out from Ptolemais with a great army and came to Judaea, bringing  also Jonathan as his prisoner. And Simon with his force met him at the city of Addida, which is situated on a hill, with the plains of Judaea lying below it. [204] G   But when Tryphon learned that Simon had been appointed by the Jews as their leader, he sent to him with the intention of getting the better of him by deceit and treachery, and told him, if he wished his brother Jonathan to be released, to send a hundred talents of silver and the two sons of Jonathan as hostages, to ensure that when he was set free, he would not cause Judaea to revolt from the king ; at the moment, he said, he was being kept in chains on account of the money which he had borrowed from the king and still owed him. [205] Now Simon was not unaware of Tryphon's artfulness, but clearly saw that he would lose any money he might give him, and still not free his brother, and along with him would be giving over his sons to the enemy : fearing however, that he might be denounced to the people as being the cause of his brother's death if he gave neither the money nor his sons for him, he gathered his army together and informed them of Tryphon's offer, [206] G   adding that it held a snare and a plot, but that, in spite of this, it was better to send him the money and Jonathan's sons than to refuse to listen to Tryphon's proposals, and so incur blame, as if he were unwilling to save his brother. Simon therefore sent off Jonathan's sons and the money as well. [207] But Tryphon, on receiving them, did not keep his pledge nor release Jonathan, but, instead, took his army and marched all through the country ; and deciding to go up to Jerusalem through Idumaea thereafter, he finally came to Adora, a city in Idumaea. Simon, however, with his army marched in the same direction, always encamping opposite him.   

[208] G   But when those in the citadel sent to Tryphon and urged him to hasten to them and send them provisions, he made ready his cavalry in the expectation of being in Jerusalem that very night. A heavy  snow, however, fell during the night, which covered the roads and lay so deep that it made the way impassable, especially for the feet of horses, and so prevented his coming to Jerusalem. [209] For this reason Tryphon set out from Adora, and reaching Coele-Syria, hurriedly invaded Galaaditis, where he killed Jonathan and ordered that he be buried, and then returned to Antioch. [210] G   But Simon sent to the city of Basca and brought back the bones of his brother, which he buried in Modeei, his birthplace, while all the people made great lamentation over him. [211] And Simon also built for his father and brothers a very great monument, of polished white marble, and raising it to a great and conspicuous height, made porticoes round it, and erected monolithic pillars, a wonderful thing to see. In addition to these he built for his parents and his brothers seven pyramids, one for each, so made as to excite wonder by their size and beauty ; [212] G   and these have been preserved to this day. Such was the zeal which we know to have been shown by Simon in burying Jonathan and building monuments to his family. Now when Jonathan died as high priest, he had been ruler of the nation for four years. These, then, were the circumstances of his death.   

[213] And Simon, after being chosen high priest by the populace, in the first year of his high-priesthood liberated the people from servitude to the Macedonians, so that they no longer had to pay tribute to them. This liberation and exemption from tribute  came to the Jews in the hundred and seventieth year of the Syrian kingdom { 142/1 B.C. }, reckoned from the time when Seleucus, surnamed Nicator, occupied Syria. [214] G   And so great was the respect of the people for Simon that in their contracts with one another, as well as in public documents, they dated them "from the first year of Simon, the benefactor and ethnarch of the Jews" ; for under his rule they prospered exceedingly and overcame the foes c that surrounded them. [215] For Simon subdued the city of Gazara and Joppa and Jamneia, and also took the citadel at Jerusalem by siege, razing it to the ground that it might not serve his foes as a base to occupy and do mischief from it, as they were then doing. Having done this, he thought it would be an excellent thing and to his advantage to level also the hill on which the citadel stood, in order that the temple might be higher than this. [216] G   Accordingly, he called the people to an assembly and sought to persuade them to have this done, reminding them how they had suffered at the hands of the garrison and the Jewish renegades, and also warning them of what they would suffer if a foreign ruler should again occupy their realm, and a garrison should be placed therein. [217] With these words he persuaded the people, since he was recommending what was to their advantage. And so they all set to and began to level the hill, and without stopping work night or day, after three whole years brought it down to the ground and the surface of the plain. And thereafter the temple stood high above everything else, once the citadel and the hill on which it stood had been demolished. Such was the nature of the things accomplished in the time of Simon.   

[218] G   {7.}   Not long after Demetrius had been taken captive, Tryphon, acting as the guardian of Alexander's son Antiochus, surnamed Theos, put him to death after he had reigned four years. And while he gave out that Antiochus had died under the hands of the surgeon, [219] he sent his friends and intimates to go among the soldiers, promising to give them large sums of money if they would elect him king, pointing out that Demetrius had been made captive by the Parthians, and that if his brother Antiochus came to the throne, he would make them suffer severely, in taking revenge for their revolt. [220] G   And so, hoping for an easy living if the throne were given to Tryphon, they made him their ruler. But on becoming the master of the state, Tryphon revealed his rascally nature ; for while he was a private person he had courted the multitude and assumed a character of mildness, thus leading them on to do as he wished, but once he had obtained the royal power, he threw off all pretence and became the Tryphon he really was. [221] Now by this course he strengthened his foes, for the army, which hated him, revolted and went over to Cleopatra, the wife of Demetrius, who with her children was at that time shut up in Seleucia. [222] G   And as Demetrius' brother Antiochus, surnamed Soter, was wandering about, for at Tryphon 's instance no city admitted him, Cleopatra sent to him, inviting him to come and marry her and take the throne. The reason why she invited Antiochus on these terms was partly that her friends persuaded her to do so, and partly that she feared that some of the people of Seleucia might deliver up the city to Tryphon.   

[223] Antiochus, therefore, came to Seleucia. and as his strength increased daily, he set out to make war on Tryphon; and having defeated him in battle, he  drove him out of Upper Syria into Phoenicia, where he pursued him, and when he took refuge in Dora,  a fortress difficult to take, besieged him there. He also sent envoys to Simon, the high priest of the Jews, to propose a friendly alliance. [224] G   And Simon gladly accepted his offer, and lavishly supplied the soldiers who were besieging Dora with great sums of money and provisions, which he sent to Antiochus, so that for a short while he was considered one of his closest friends. As for Tryphon, he fled from Dora to Apamea, and on being besieged and captured there, was put to death, after reigning three years.   

[225] Antiochus, however, through covetousness and dishonesty forgot the services which Simon had rendered him in his necessity, and giving a force of  soldiers to Cendebaeus, one of his Friends, sent him  off to plunder Judaea and seize Simon. [226] G   But Simon heard of Antiochus' lawless conduct, and though he was now an old man, nevertheless was aroused by the unjust treatment he had received from Antiochus, and being filled with a spirit stronger than his years, took command in the war like a young man. [227] And so he sent his sons on ahead with the soldiers who were the best fighters, while he himself advanced with his force in another direction, and posting many of his men in ambush in the defiles of the mountains came through without losing a single engagement ; and after defeating the enemy everywhere, he passed the rest of his life in peace. He also made an alliance with the Romans.    

  [228] G   Now he ruled over the Jews for eight years in all, and died while at a banquet, as a result of the plot formed against him by his son-in-law Ptolemaeus, who then seized and imprisoned his wife and two sons, and also sent men to put to death his third son John, also called Hyrcanus. [229] But the youth, being aware of their coming, escaped danger at their hands and hastened to the city, trusting in the people to help him because of his father's good deeds and the masses' hatred of Ptolemaeus. When, therefore, Ptolemaeus also made an effort to enter through another gate, the populace drove him away, for they had already admitted Hyrcanus.   

{8.}   [230] G   And so Ptolemaeus withdrew to one of the fortresses above Jericho, which was called Dagon.  But Hyrcanus, having assumed the high-priestly office of his father, first propitiated God with sacrifices, and then marched out against Ptolemaeus and attacked his stronghold ; and though in all other respects he was superior to him, in one thing he was at a disadvantage, that is, in feeling pity for his mother and brothers. [231] For Ptolemaeus had brought them up on to the wall and maltreated them in the sight of all, threatening to hurl them down headlong if Hyrcanus did not give up the siege. And so, reflecting that the more he slackened his efforts to capture the place, the greater was the kindness he would show those dearest to him by sparing them suffering, Hyrcanus relaxed his eagerness. [232] G   His mother, however, stretched out her hands, beseeching him not to weaken on her account, but to give way to his anger so much the more, and make every effort to take the place and get his foe into his power and avenge those dearest to him. For, she said, it would be pleasant for her to die in torment if the enemy, a who was doing these things to them, paid the penalty for his crimes against them. [233] Now when his mother said these things, Hyrcanus was seized with a powerful desire to capture the fortress, but when he saw her being beaten and torn apart, he became unnerved and was overcome with compilation at the way in which his mother was being treated. [234] G   But while the siege was being protracted in this manner, there came round the year in which the Jews are wont to remain inactive, for they observe this custom every seventh year, just as on the seventh day. [235] And Ptolemaeus, being relieved from the war for this reason, killed the brothers and mother of Hyrcanus, and after doing so, fled to Zenon, surnamed Cotylas, who was ruler of the city of Philadelphia.   

[236] G   But Antiochus, being resentful of the injuries he had received from Simon, invaded Judaea in the  fourth year of his reign and the first of Hyrcanus' rule, in the hundred and sixty-second Olympiad { 132 B.C. }. [237] And after ravaging the country, he shut Hyrcanus up in the city itself, which he surrounded with seven camps, but at first he accomplished nothing whatever because of the strength of the walls and the valour of the besieged, and also, indeed, because of the lack of water, although of this they were relieved by a great downpour of rain which came with the setting of the Pleiades. [238] G   Thereupon on the north side of the wall, where the ground happened to be level, he erected a hundred towers, each three stories high, on which he mounted companies of soldiers. [239] And every day he made an attack, and by cutting a deep double ditch of great width, shut the inhabitants up within the walls. They, however, contrived to make frequent sallies against the enemy, and whenever they took them off their guard, inflicted much damage on them, and if the enemy perceived them, they easily retired. [240] G   When, however, Hyrcanus observed that his great numbers were a disadvantage because of the rapid consumption of provisions by them, and that the work which was being accomplished in no way corresponded to the number of hands, he separated from the rest those who were useless, and drove them out, and retained only those who were in the prime of life and able to fight. [241] But Antiochus, on his side, prevented those who had been rejected from going out, and so, wandering about the walls between the lines, they were the first to be exhausted by their cruel sufferings and were on the point of perishing miserably. Just then, however, the festival of Tabernacles came round, and those within the city took pity on them and admitted them again. [242] G   And Hyrcanus sent to Antiochus, requesting a truce of seven days on account of the festival, which Antiochus, deferring to his piety toward the Deity, granted and moreover sent a magnificent sacrifice, consisting of bulls with gilded horns and cups of gold and silver filled with all kinds of spices. [243] And those who were at the gates received the sacrifice from the men who brought it, and took it to the sanctuary, while Antiochus feasted his army, being very different from Antiochus Epiphanes who, when he captured the city, sacrificed swine upon the altars and bespattered the temple with their grease, thus perverting the rites of the Jews and the piety of their fathers, by which acts the nation was driven to war and became his implacable enemy. [244] G   This Antiochus, on the other hand, because of his exaggerated devoutness was by all men called Eusebes {"the Pious"}.    

[245] Now Hyrcanus, being favourably impressed by his affability, and learning of his reverence for the  Deity, sent envoys to him with the request that he  restore to the Jews their native form of government. And Antiochus did not thrust his letter aside, nor did he take note of those who urged him to extirpate this nation because of the separateness of their way of life, [246] G   but, as he believed that in all things they had acted with piety, he replied to the envoys that the besieged should hand over their arms, pay tribute to him for Joppa and the other cities bordering on Judaea, and receive a garrison, and that on these terms they might be freed of the war. [247] But the Jews, while they were ready to accept the other terms, would not agree to the garrison, since they did not come into contact with other peoples because of their separateness. In place of the garrison, however, they offered hostages and five hundred talents of silver, three hundred of which and the hostages they gave at once among them being Hyrcanus' own brother ; and these the king accepted, and pulled down the walls encircling the city. [248] G   And so, on these conditions, Antiochus raised the siege and withdrew.   

[249] Hyrcanus also opened the tomb of David, who  surpassed all other kings in wealth, and took out three thousand talents of silver, and drawing on this sum, became the first Jewish king to support foreign  troops. [250] G   And he made a friendly alliance with  Antiochus, and admitting him into the city, lavishly and and generously supplied his army with all they  needed. And when Antiochus undertook an expedition against the Parthians, Hyrcanus set out with him. On this we have the testimony of Nicolas of Damascus, who writes as follows. [251] "After defeating Indates, the Parthian general, and setting up a trophy at the Lycus river, Antiochus remained there two days at the request of the Jew Hyrcanus because of a festival of his nation on which it was not customary for the Jews to march out." [252] G   Nor does he speak falsely in saying this ; for the festival of Pentecost had come round, following the Sabbath, and we are not permitted to march either on the Sabbath or on a festival. [253] But on engaging Arsaces the Parthian in battle, Antiochus lost a great part of his army and was himself slain ; thereupon his brother Demetrius succeeded to the throne of Syria, after Arsaces had released him from captivity at the time when Antiochus invaded Parthia, as has already been related elsewhere.   

[254] {9.}   G   So soon as he heard of the death of Antiochus, Hyrcanus marched out against the cities of  Syria, thinking to find them, as indeed they were,  empty of fighting men and of any able to deliver  them. [255] And he captured Medaba after six months, during which his army suffered great hardships ; next he captured Samoga and its environs, and, in addition to these, Shechem and Garizein and the Cuthaean nation, [256] G   which lives near the temple built after the model of the sanctuary at Jerusalem, which Alexander permitted their governor Sanaballetes to build for the sake of his son-in-law Manasses, the brother of the high priest Jaddua, as we have related before. Now it was two hundred years later that this temple was laid waste. [257] Hyrcanus also captured the Idumaean cities of Adora and Marisa, and after subduing all the Idumaeans, permitted them to remain in their country so long as they had themselves circumcised and were willing to observe the laws of the Jews. [258] G   And so, out of attachment to the land of their fathers, they submitted to circumcision and to making their manner of life conform in all other respects to that of the Jews. And from that time on they have continued to be Jews.   

[259] Now as the high priest Hyrcanus wished to renew the friendship with the Romans he sent an  embassy to them. And the Senate received his letter, and made an alliance of friendship with him in the following terms. [260] G   "Fannius, the son of Marcus, the praetor, convened the Senate on the eighth day before the Ides of February in the Comitium in the presence of Lucius Mallius, the son of Lucius, of the Menenian tribe, and of Gaius Sempronius, the son of Gaius, of the Falernian tribe, to discuss the matters presented by the envoys Simon, the son of Dositheus, and Apollonius, the son of Alexander, and Diodorus, the son of Jason, worthy and excellent men sent by the Jewish people, [261] who also spoke of the friendship and alliance existing between their people and the Romans, and of public affairs such as their request that Joppa and its harbours and Gazara and Pegae and whatever other cities and territories Antiochus took from them in war, contrary to the decree of the Senate, be restored to them, [262] G   and that the soldiers of the king be not permitted to march through their country or those of their subjects, and that the laws made by Antiochus during this same war contrary to the decree of the Senate be annulled, [263] and that the Romans send envoys to bring about the restitution of the places taken from the Jews by Antiochus and to estimate the value of the territory ruined during the war, and also that they give the Jewish envoys letters to the kings and free cities to assure their safe return homeward. [264] G   Concerning these matters, therefore, it has been decreed that the alliance of friendship be renewed with the worthy men who have been sent by a worthy and friendly people." [265] Concerning the letters, however, they replied that they would deliberate when the Senate should have leisure from its own affairs, and that they would take care that no similar injustice should be done them in future, and also that the praetor Fannius should give them money from the public treasury for their return home. [266] G   Accordingly Fannius dismissed the Jewish envoys in this manner, giving them money from the public treasury and a decree of the Senate to those who were to conduct them on their way and furnish them a safe return home.   

[267] Such, then, was the situation under the high priest Hyrcanus. As for King Demetrius, who was eager to march against Hyrcanus, he found neither  the time nor the occasion for doing so, as both the Syrians and his soldiers were hostile to him - for he was a scoundrel - and sent envoys to Ptolemy, surnamed Physcon, asking him to give them someone of the family of Seleucus to occupy the throne. [268] G   Ptolemy therefore sent Alexander, also called Zebinas,  with an army, and a battle with Demetrius took place, in which Demetrius was defeated ; he then fled to Ptolemais to his wife Cleopatra, but as his wife would not receive him, he went from there to Tyre, where he was captured and put to death after suffering severely at the hands of those who hated him. [269] Thereupon Alexander took over the royal power and made friends with the high priest Hyrcanus. Later, in a battle with Demetrius' son Antiochus, surnamed Grypus, he was defeated and killed.   

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