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1 Maccabees

The fall of Alexander Epiphanes.  1Mace.11.1-19 c.146bce (SYRIA)

1Then the king of Egypt gathered great forces, like the sand by the seashore, and many ships; and he tried to get possession of Alexander's kingdom by trickery and add it to his own kingdom. 2He set out for Syria with peaceable words, and the people of the cities opened their gates to him and went to meet him, for Alexander the king had commanded them to meet him, since he was Alexander's father-in-law. 3But when Ptolemy entered the cities he stationed forces as a garrison in each city.

4When he approached Azotus, they showed him the temple of Dagon burned down, and Azotus and its suburbs destroyed, and the corpses lying about, and the charred bodies of those whom Jonathan had burned in the war, for they had piled them in heaps along his route. 5They also told the king what Jonathan had done, to throw blame on him; but the king kept silent. 6Jonathan met the king at Joppa with pomp, and they greeted one another and spent the night there. 7And Jonathan went with the king as far as the river called Eleutherus; then he returned to Jerusalem.

8So King Ptolemy gained control of the coastal cities as far as Seleucia by the sea, and he kept devising evil designs against Alexander. 9He sent envoys to Demetrius the king, saying, "Come, let us make a covenant with each other, and I will give you in marriage my daughter who was Alexander's wife, and you shall reign over your father's kingdom. 10For I now regret that I gave him my daughter, for he has tried to kill me." 11He threw blame on Alexander because he coveted his kingdom. 12So he took his daughter away from him and gave her to Demetrius. He was estranged from Alexander, and their enmity became manifest.

13Then Ptolemy entered Antioch and put on the crown of Asia. Thus he put two crowns upon his head, the crown of Egypt and that of Asia. 14Now Alexander the king was in Cilicia at that time, because the people of that region were in revolt. 15And Alexander heard of it and came against him in battle. Ptolemy marched out and met him with a strong force, and put him to flight. 16So Alexander fled into Arabia to find protection there, and King Ptolemy was exalted. 17And Zabdiel the Arab cut off the head of Alexander and sent it to Ptolemy. 18But King Ptolemy died three days later, and his troops in the strongholds were killed by the inhabitants of the strongholds. 19So Demetrius became king in the one hundred and sixty-seventh year.

Jonathan wins the Favour of Demetrius II (Nicator).  1Mace.11.20-37 c.146-5bce (JERUSALEM)

20In those days Jonathan assembled the men of Judea to attack the citadel in Jerusalem, and he built many engines of war to use against it. 21But certain lawless men who hated their nation went to the king and reported to him that Jonathan was besieging the citadel. 22When he heard this he was angry, and as soon as he heard it he set out and came to Ptolemais; and he wrote to Jonathan not to continue the seige, but to meet him for a conference at Ptolemais as quickly as possible.

23When Jonathan heard this, he gave orders to continue the siege; and he chose some of the elders of Israel and some of the priests, and put himself in danger, 24for he went to the king at Ptolemais, taking silver and gold and clothing and numerous other gifts. And he won his favour. 25Although certain lawless men of his nation kept making complaints against him, 26the king treated him as his predecessors had treated him; he exalted him in the presence of all his friends. 27He confirmed him in the high priesthood and in as many other honours as he had formerly had, and made him to be regarded as one of his chief friends. 28Then Jonathan asked the king to free Judea and the three districts of Samaria from tribute, and promised him three hundred talents. 29The king consented, and wrote a letter to Jonathan about all these things; its contents were as follows:

30"King Demetrius to Jonathan his brother and to the nation of the Jews, greeting. 31This copy of the letter which we wrote concerning you to Lasthenes our kinsman we have written to you also, so that you may know what it says. 32`King Demetrius to Lasthenes his father, greeting. 33To the nation of the Jews, who are our friends and fulfil their obligations to us, we have determined to do good, because of the good will they show toward us. 34We have confirmed as their possession both the territory of Judea and the three districts of Aphairema and Lydda and Rathamin; the latter, with all the region bordering them, were added to Judea from Samaria. To all those who offer sacrifice in Jerusalem, we have granted release from the royal taxes which the king formerly received from them each year, from the crops of the land and the fruit of the trees. 35And the other payments henceforth due to us of the tithes, and the taxes due to us, and the salt pits and the crown taxes due to us - from all these we shall grant them release. 36And not one of these grants shall be canceled from this time forth for ever. 37Now therefore take care to make a copy of this, and let it be given to Jonathan and put up in a conspicuous place on the holy mountain.' "

Jonathan helps Demetrius II.  1Mace.11.38-53 c.146-5bce (JERUSALEM)

38Now when Demetrius the king saw that the land was quiet before him and that there was no opposition to him, he dismissed all his troops, each man to his own place, except the foreign troops which he had recruited from the islands of the nations. So all the troops who had served his fathers hated him. 39Now Trypho had formerly been one of Alexander's supporters. He saw that all the troops were murmuring against Demetrius. So he went to Imalkue the Arab, who was bringing up Antiochus, the young son of Alexander, 40and insistently urged him to hand Antiochus over to him, to become king in place of his father. He also reported to Imalkue what Demetrius had done and told of the hatred which the troops of Demetrius had for him; and he stayed there many days.

41Now Jonathan sent to Demetrius the king the request that he remove the troops of the citadel from Jerusalem, and the troops in the strongholds; for they kept fighting against Israel. 42And Demetrius sent this message to Jonathan, "Not only will I do these things for you and your nation, but I will confer great honour on you and your nation, if I find an opportunity. 43Now then you will do well to send me men who will help me, for all my troops have revolted." 44So Jonathan sent three thousand stalwart men to him at Antioch, and when they came to the king, the king rejoiced at their arrival.

45Then the men of the city assembled within the city, to the number of a hundred and twenty thousand, and they wanted to kill the king. 46But the king fled into the palace. Then the men of the city seized the main streets of the city and began to fight. 47So the king called the Jews to his aid, and they all rallied about him and then spread out through the city; and they killed on that day as many as a hundred thousand men. 48They set fire to the city and seized much spoil on that day, and they saved the king. 49When the men of the city saw that the Jews had gained control of the city as they pleased, their courage failed and they cried out to the king with this entreaty, 50"Grant us peace, and make the Jews stop fighting against us and our city." 51And they threw down their arms and made peace. So the Jews gained glory in the eyes of the king and of all the people in is kingdom, and they returned to Jerusalem with much spoil. 52So Demetrius the king sat on the throne of his kingdom, and the land was quiet before him. 53But he broke his word about all that he had promised; and he became estranged from Jonathan and did not repay the favours which Jonathan had done him, but oppressed him greatly.

Jonathan supports Antiochus VI (Epiphanes).  1Mace.11.54-74 c.145-142bce (Galilee)

54After this Trypho returned, and with him the young boy Antiochus who began to reign and put on the crown. 55All the troops that Demetrius had cast off gathered around him, and they fought against Demetrius, and he fled and was routed. 56And Trypho captured the elephants and gained control of Antioch. 57Then the young Antiochus wrote to Jonathan, saying, "I confirm you in the high priesthood and set you over the four districts and make you one of the friends of the king." 58And he sent him gold plate and a table service, and granted him the right to drink from gold cups and dress in purple and wear a gold buckle. 59Simon his brother he made governor from the Ladder of Tyre to the borders of Egypt.

60Then Jonathan set forth and travelled beyond the river and among the cities, and all the army of Syria gathered to him as allies. When he came to Askalon, the people of the city met him and paid him honour. 61From there he departed to Gaza, but the men of Gaza shut him out. So he beseiged it and burned its suburbs with fire and plundered them. 62Then the people of Gaza pleaded with Jonathan, and he made peace with them, and took the sons of their rulers as hostages and sent them to Jerusalem. And he passed through the country as far as Damascus.

63Then Jonathan heard that the officers of Demetrius had come to Kadesh in Galilee with a large army, intending to remove him from office. 64He went to meet them, but left his brother Simon in the country. 65Simon encamped before Beth-zur and fought against it for many days and hemmed it in. 66Then they asked him to grant them terms of peace, and he did so. He removed them from there, took possession of the city, and set a garrison over it.

67Jonathan and his army encamped by the waters of Gennesaret. Early in the morning they marched to the plain of Hazor, 68and behold, the army of the foreigners met him in the plain; they had set an ambush against him in the mountains, but they themselves met him face to face. 69Then the men in ambush emerged from their places and joined battle. 70All the men with Jonathan fled; not one of them was left except Mattathias the son of Absalom and Judas the son of Chalphi, commanders of the forces of the army. 71Jonathan rent his garments and put dust on his head, and prayed. 72Then he turned back to the battle against the enemy and routed them, and they fled. 73When his men who were fleeing saw this, they returned to him and joined him in the pursuit as far as Kadesh, to their camp, and there they encamped. 74As many as three thousand of the foreigners fell that day. And Jonathan returned to Jerusalem.


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Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971], Apocrypha, copyright 1957; The Third and Fourth Books of the Maccabees and Psalm 151, copyright 1977, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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