1st Maccabees – Chapters 13-16

Maccabees picChapter 13

1 Now when Shim’on heard that Tryphon had gathered together a great host to invade the land of Yehudah, and destroy it,
2 And saw that the people was in great trembling and fear, he went up to Yerushalayim, and gathered the people together,
3 And gave them exhortation, saying, You yourselves know what great things I, and my brethren, and my father’s house, have done for the laws and the sanctuary, the battles also and troubles which we have seen.
4 By reason whereof all my brethren are slain for Yisra’el’s sake, and I am left alone.
5 Now therefore be it far from me, that I should spare mine own life in any time of trouble: for I am no better than my brethren.
6 Doubtless I will avenge my nation, and the sanctuary, and our wives, and our children: for all the heathen are gathered to destroy us of very malice.
7 Now as soon as the people heard these words, their spirit revived.
8 And they answered with a loud voice, saying, you shall be our leader instead of Yehudah and Yehonathan your brother.
9 Fight our battles, and whatsoever, you commandt us, that will we do.
10 So then he gathered together all the men of war, and made haste to finish the walls of Yerushalayim, and he fortified it round about.
11 Also he sent Yehonathan the son of Absolom, and with him a great power, to Yapho: who casting out them that were therein remained there in it.
12 So Tryphon removed from Ptolemaus with a great power to invade the land of Yehudah, and Jonathan was with him in ward.
13 But Shim’on pitched his tents at Hadid, over against the plain.
14 Now when Tryphon knew that Shim’on was risen up instead of his brother Yehonathan, and meant to join battle with him, he sent messengers unto him, saying,
15 Whereas we have Yehonathan your brother in hold, it is for money that he is owing unto the king’s treasure, concerning the business that was committed unto him.
16 Wherefore now send an hundred talents of silver, and two of his sons for hostages, that when he is at liberty he may not revolt from us, and we will let him go.
17 Hereupon Shim’on, albeit he perceived that they spoke deceitfully unto him yet sent he the money and the children, lest peradventure he should procure to himself great hatred of the people:
18 Who might have said, Because I sent him not the money and the children, therefore is Yehonathan dead.
19 So he sent them the children and the hundred talents: howbeit Tryphon dissembled neither would he let Yehonathan go.
20 And after this came Tryphon to invade the land, and destroy it, going round about by the way that leads unto Adorah: but Shim’on and his host marched against him in every place, wheresoever he went.
21 Now they that were in the tower sent messengers unto Tryphon, to the end that he should hasten his coming unto them by the wilderness, and send them victuals.
22 Wherefore Tryphon made ready all his horsemen to come that night: but there fell a very great snow, by reason whereof he came not. So he departed, and came into the country of Gil’ad.
23 And when he came near to Baskamah he slew Yehonathan, who was buried there.
24 Afterward Tryphon returned and went into his own land.
25 Then sent Shim’on, and took the bones of Yehonathan his brother, and buried them in Modin, the city of his fathers.
26 And all Yisra’el made great lamentation for him, and bewailed him many days.
27 Shim’on also built a monument upon the sepulchre of his father and his brethren, and raised it aloft to the sight, with hewn stone behind and before.
28 Moreover he set up seven pillars, one against another, for his father, and his mother, and his four brethren.¹
29 And in these he made cunning devices, and upon the pillars he made all their armour for a perpetual memory, and by the armour ships carved, that they might be seen of all that sail on the sea.
30 This is the sepulchre which he made at Modin, and it stands yet unto this day.
31 Now Tryphon dealt deceitfully with the young king Antiochus, and slew him.
32 And he reigned in his stead, and crowned himself king of Asia, and brought a great calamity upon the land.
33 Then Shim’on built up the strong holds in Yehudah, and fenced them about with high towers, and great walls, and gates, and bars, and laid up victuals therein.
34 Moreover Shim’on chose men, and sent to king Demetrius, to the end he should give the land an immunity, because all that Tryphon did was to spoil.
35 Unto whom king Demetrius answered and wrote after this manner:
36 King Demetrius unto Shim’on the Kohen HaGadol, and friend of kings, as also unto the elders and nation of the Yehudah, sendeth greeting:
37 The golden crown, and the scarlet robe, which you sent unto us, we have received: and we are ready to make a steadfast peace with you, yea, and to write unto our officers, to confirm the immunities which we have granted.
38 And whatsoever covenants we have made with you shall stand; and the strong holds, which you have builded, shall be your own.
39 As for any oversight or fault committed unto this day, we forgive it, and the crown tax also, which you owe us: and if there were any other tribute paid in Yerushalayim, it shall no more be paid.
40 And look who are meet among you to be in our court, let then be enrolled, and let there be peace between us.
41 Thus the yoke of the heathen was taken away from Yisra’el in the hundred and seventieth year.
42 Then the people of Yisra’el began to write in their instruments and contracts, In the first year of Shim’on the Kohen HaGadol, the governor and leader of the Yehudim.
43 In those days Shim’on camped against Gaza and besieged it round about; he made also an engine of war, and set it by the city, and battered a certain tower, and took it.
44 And they that were in the engine leaped into the city; whereupon there was a great uproar in the city:
45 Insomuch as the people of the city rent their clothes, and climbed upon the walls with their wives and children, and cried with a loud voice, beseeching Shim’on to grant them shalom.
46 And they said, Deal not with us according to our wickedness, but according to your loving-kindness.
47 So Shim’on was appeased toward them, and fought no more against them, but put them out of the city, and cleansed the houses wherein the idols were, and so entered into it with songs and thanksgiving.
48 Yea, he put all uncleanness out of it, and placed such men there as would keep the law, and made it stronger than it was before, and built therein a dwellingplace for himself.
49 They also of the tower in Yerushalayim were kept so strait, that they could neither come forth, nor go into the country, nor buy, nor sell: wherefore they were in great distress for want of victuals, and a great number of them perished through famine.
50 Then cried they to Shim’on, beseeching him to be at one with them: which thing he granted them; and when he had put them out from thence, he cleansed the tower from pollutions:
51 And entered into it the three and twentieth day of the second month in the hundred seventy and first year, with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and with harps, and cymbals, and with viols, and hymns, and songs: because there was destroyed a great enemy out of Yisra’el.
52 He ordained also that that day should be kept every year with gladness. Moreover the hill of the temple that was by the tower he made stronger than it was, and there he dwelt himself with his company.
53 And when Shim’on saw that Yochanan his son was a valiant man, he made him captain of all the hosts; and he dwelt in Gazerah.
*1 – in some versions, the word referenced as “pillars” is often translated as “pyramids.” It is incongruent with the Levitical priesthood to erect any symbol of Mitsrayim/Egypt, in this case a pyramid, but there are several references to pillars being erected in memory of something – i.e.  Gen 28:18,22;31:15; Exo 24:4; 1Ki 9:26.

  Chapter 14

1 Now in the hundred threescore and twelfth year king Demetrius gathered his forces together, and went into Medes to get him help to fight against Tryphon.
2 But when Arsaces, the king of Persia and Medes, heard that Demetrius was entered within his borders, he sent one of his princes to take him alive:
3 Who went and smote the host of Demetrius, and took him, and brought him to Arsaces, by whom he was put in ward.
4 As for the land of Yehudah, that was quiet all the days of Shim’on; for he sought the good of his nation in such wise, as that evermore his authority and honor pleased them well.
5 And as he was honorable in all his acts, so in this, that he took Yapho for an haven, and made an entrance to the isles of the sea,
6 And enlarged the bounds of his nation, and recovered the country,
7 And gathered together a great number of captives, and had the dominion of Gazerah, and Beyth Surah, and the tower, out of the which he took all uncleanness, neither was there any that resisted him.
8 Then did they till their ground in peace, and the earth gave her increase, and the trees of the field their fruit.
9 The ancient men sat all in the streets, communing together of good things, and the young men put on glorious and warlike apparel.
10 He provided victuals for the cities, and set in them all manner of munitions, so that his honorable name was renowned unto the end of the world.
11 He made peace in the land, and Yisra’el rejoiced with great joy:
12 For every man sat under his vine and his fig tree, and there was none to fray them¹:
13 Neither was there any left in the land to fight against them: yea, the kings themselves were overthrown in those days.
14 Moreover he strengthened all those of his people that were brought low: the law he searched out; and everyone in contempt of the law and wicked person he took away.
15 He beautified the sanctuary, and multiplied vessels of the temple.
16 Now when it was heard at Roma, and as far as Sparta, that Yehonathan was dead, they  were very sorry.
17 But as soon as they heard that his brother Shim’on was made Kohen HaGadol in his stead, and ruled the country, and the cities therein:
18 They wrote unto him in tables of brass, to renew the friendship and league which they had made with Yehudah and Yehonathan his brethren:
19 Which writings were read before the congregation at Yerushalayim.
21 And this is the copy of the letters that the Spartidai sent; The rulers of the Spartidai, with the city, unto Shim’on the Kohen HaGadol, and the elders, and priests, and residue of the people of the Yehudim, our brethren, send greeting:
21 The ambassadors that were sent unto our people certified us of your esteem and honor: wherefore we were glad of their coming,
22 And did register the things that they spoke in the council of the people in this manner; Numenius son of Antiochus, and Antipater son of Jason, the Yehudim’s ambassadors, came unto us to renew the friendship they had with us.
23 And it pleased the people to entertain the men honorably, and to put the copy of their ambassadorship in public records, to the end the people of the Spartidai might have a memorial thereof: furthermore we have written a copy thereof unto Shim’on the Kohen HaGadol.
24 After this Shim’on sent Numenius to Roma with a great shield of gold of a thousand pound weight to confirm the league with them.
25 Whereof when the people heard, they said, What thanks shall we give to Shim’on and his sons?
26 For he and his brethren and the house of his father have established Yisra’el, and chased away in fight their enemies from them, and confirmed their liberty.
27 So then they wrote it in tables of brass, which they set upon pillars in Mount Tsiyon: and this is the copy of the writing; The eighteenth day of the month Elul² , in the hundred threescore and twelfth year, being the third year of Shim’on the Kohen HaGadol,
28  At Asaramel³ in the great congregation of the priests, and people, and rulers of the nation, and elders of the country, were these things notified unto us.
29 Forasmuch as oftentimes there have been wars in the country, wherein for the maintenance of their sanctuary, and the law, Shim’on the son of Mattityahu, of the posterity of Yoarib, together with his brethren, put themselves in jeopardy, and resisting the enemies of their nation did their nation great honor:
30 (For after that Yehonathan, having gathered his nation together, and been their Kohen HaGadol, was added to his people,
31 Their enemies prepared to invade their country, that they might destroy it, and lay hands on the sanctuary:
32 At which time Shim’on rose up, and fought for his nation, and spent much of his own substance, and armed the valiant men of his nation and gave them wages,
33 And fortified the cities of Yehudah, together with Beyth Surah, that lies upon the borders of Yehudah, where the armor of the enemies had been before; but he set a garrison of Yehudim there:
34 Moreover he fortified Yapho, which lies upon the sea, and Gazerah, that borders upon Azotus, where the enemies had dwelt before: but he placed Yehudim there, and furnished them with all things convenient for the reparation thereof.)
35 The people therefore sang the acts of Shim’on, and unto what glory he thought to bring his nation, made him their governor and chief priest, because he had done all these things, and for the justice and faith which he kept to his nation, and for that he sought by all means to exalt his people.
36 For in his time things prospered in his hands, so that the heathen were taken out of their country, and they also that were in the city of David in Yerushalayim, who had made themselves a tower, out of which they issued, and polluted all about the sanctuary, and did much hurt in the set-apart place:
37 But he placed Yehudim therein. and fortified it for the safety of the country and the city, and raised up the walls of Yerushalayim.
38 King Demetrius also confirmed him in the high priesthood according to those things,
39 And made him one of his friends, and honored him with great honor.
40 For he had heard say, that the Romayim had called the Yehudim their friends and confederates and brethren; and that they had entertained the ambassadors of Shim’on honorably;
41 Also that the Yehudim and priests were well pleased that Shim’on should be their governor and Kohen HaGadol for ever, until there should arise a faithful prophet;
42 Moreover that he should be their captain, and should take charge of the sanctuary, to set them over their works, and over the country, and over the armor, and over the fortresses, that, I say, he should take charge of the sanctuary;
43 Beside this, that he should be obeyed of every man, and that all the writings in the country should be made in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple, and wear gold:
44 Also that it should be lawful for none of the people or priests to break any of these things, or to gainsay his words, or to gather an assembly in the country without him, or to be clothed in purple, or wear a buckle of gold;
45 And whosoever should do otherwise, or break any of these things, he should be punished.
46 Thus it liked all the people to deal with Shim’on, and to do as has been said.
47 Then Shim’on accepted hereof, and was well pleased to be high priest, and captain and governor of the Yehudim and priests, and to defend them all.
48 So they commanded that this writing should be put in tables of brass, and that they should be set up within the compass of the sanctuary in a conspicuous place;
49 Also that the copies thereof should be laid up in the treasury, to the end that Shim’on and his sons might have them.
*1. 1Ki 4:25, Zec 3:10 *2. the sixth month of the Hebrew calendar *3 Hebrew phrase meaning “in the court of the people of El”

Chapter 15

1 Moreover Antiochus son of Demetrius the king sent letters from the isles of the sea unto Shim’on the priest and prince of the Yehudim, and to all the people;
2 The contents whereof were these: King Antiochus to Shim’on the Kohen HaGadol and prince of his nation, and to the people of the Yehudim, greeting:
3 Forasmuch as certain pestilent men have usurped the kingdom of our fathers, and my purpose is to challenge it again, that I may restore it to the old estate, and to that end have gathered a multitude of foreign soldiers together, and prepared ships of war;
4 My meaning also being to go through the country, that I may be avenged of them that have destroyed it, and made many cities in the kingdom desolate:
5 Now therefore I confirm unto you all the oblations which the kings before me granted thee, and whatsoever gifts besides they granted.
6 I give you leave also to coin money for your country with your own stamp.
7 And as concerning Yerushalayim and the sanctuary, let them be free; and all the armor that you have made, and fortresses that you have built, and keep in your hands, let them remain unto you.
8 And if anything be, or shall be, owing to the king, let it be forgiven of you from this time forth for evermore.
9 Furthermore, when we have obtained our kingdom, we will honor you, and your nation, and your temple, with great honor, so that your honor shall be known throughout the world.
10 In the hundred threescore and fourteenth year went Antiochus into the land of his fathers: at which time all the forces came together unto him, so that few were left with Tryphon.
11 Wherefore being pursued by king Antiochus, he fled unto Dora, which lies by the sea side:
12 For he saw that troubles came upon him all at once, and that his forces had forsaken him.
13 Then camped Antiochus against Dora, having with him an hundred and twenty thousand men of war, and eight thousand horsemen.
14 And when he had compassed the city round about, and joined ships close to the town on the sea side, he vexed the city by land and by sea, neither suffered he any to go out or in.
15 In the mean season came Numenius and his company from Roma, having letters to the kings and countries; wherein were written these things:
16 Lucius, consul of the Romayim unto king Ptolemy, greeting:
17 The Yehudim’s ambassadors, our friends and confederates, came unto us to renew the old friendship and league, being sent from Shim’on the high priest, and from the people of the Yehudim:
18 And they brought a shield of gold of a thousand pound.
19 We thought it good therefore to write unto the kings and countries, that they should do them no harm, nor fight against them, their cities, or countries, nor yet aid their enemies against them.
20 It seemed also good to us to receive the shield of them.
21 If therefore there be any pestilent fellows, that have fled from their country unto you, deliver them unto Shim’on the high priest, that he may punish them according to their own law.
22 The same things wrote he likewise unto Demetrius the king, and Attalus, to Ariarathes, and Arsaces,
23 And to all the countries and to Sampsames, and the Spartidai, and to Delus, and Myndus, and Sicyon, and Caria, and Samos, and Pamphylia, and Lycia, and Halicarnassus, and Rhodus, and Aradus, and Cos, and Side, and Aradus, and Gortyna, and Cnidus, and Cyprus, and Cyrene.
24 And the copy hereof they wrote to Shim’on the high priest.
25 So Antiochus the king camped against Dora the second day, assaulting it continually, and making engines, by which means he shut up Tryphon, that he could neither go out nor in.
26 At that time Shim’on sent him two thousand chosen men to aid him; silver also, and gold, and much armor.
27 Nevertheless he would not receive them, but brake all the covenants which he had made with him afore, and became strange unto him.
28 Furthermore he sent unto him Athenobius, one of his friends, to commune with him, and say, You withhold Yapho and Gazerah; with the tower that is in Yerushalayim, which are cities of my realm.
29 The borders thereof you have wasted, and done great hurt in the land, and got the dominion of many places within my kingdom.
30 Now therefore deliver the cities which you have taken, and the tributes of the places, whereof you have gotten dominion without the borders of Yehudah:
31 Or else give me for them five hundred talents of silver; and for the harm that you have done, and the tributes of the cities, other five hundred talents: if not, we will come and fight against you
32 So Athenobius the king’s friend came to Yerushalayim: and when he saw the esteem of Shim’on, and the cupboard of gold and silver plate, and his great attendance, he was astonished, and told him the king’s message.
33 Then answered Shim’on, and said unto him, We have neither taken other men’s land, nor hold that which appertains to others, but the inheritance of our fathers, which our enemies had wrongfully in possession a certain time.
34 Wherefore we, having opportunity, hold the inheritance of our fathers.
35 And whereas you demand Yapho and Gazerah, albeit they did great harm unto the people in our country, yet will we give thee an hundred talents for them. Hereunto Athenobius answered him not a word;
36 But returned in a rage to the king, and made report unto him of these speeches, and of the esteem of Shim’on, and of all that he had seen: whereupon the king was exceeding wroth.
37 In the mean time fled Tryphon by ship unto Orthosias.
38 Then the king made Cendebeus captain of the sea coast, and gave him an host of footmen and horsemen,
39 And commanded him to remove his host toward Yehudah; also he commanded him to build up Kedron, and to fortify the gates, and to war against the people; but as for the king himself, he pursued Tryphon.
40 So Cendebeus came to Yamnia and began to provoke the people and to invade Yehudah, and to take the people prisoners, and slay them.
41 And when he had built up Kedron, he set horsemen there, and an host of footmen, to the end that issuing out they might make outroads upon the ways of Yehudah, as the king had commanded him.

Chapter 16

1 Then came up Yochanan from Gazerah, and told Shim’on his father what Cendebeus had done.
2 Wherefore Shim’on called his two eldest sons, Yehudah and Yochanan, and said unto them, I, and my brethren, and my father’s house, have ever from my youth unto this day fought against the enemies of Yisra’el; and things have prospered so well in our hands, that we have delivered Yisra’el oftentimes.
3 But now I am old, and you, by Elohim’s mercy, are of a sufficient age: let it be you instead of me and my brother, and go and fight for our nation, and the help from heaven be with you.
4 So he chose out of the country twenty thousand men of war with horsemen, who went out against Cendebeus, and rested that night at Modin.
5 And when as they rose in the morning, and went into the plain, behold, a mighty great host both of footmen and horsemen came against them: howbeit there was a water brook between them.
6 So he and his people pitched over against them: and when he saw that the people were afraid to go over the water brook, he went first over himself, and then the men seeing him passed through after him.
7 That done, he divided his men, and set the horsemen in the midst of the footmen: for the enemies’ horsemen were very many.
8 Then sounded they with the holy trumpets: whereupon Cendebeus and his host were put to flight, so that many of them were slain, and the remnant got them to the strong hold.
9 At that time was Yehudah, Yochanan’s brother, wounded; but Yochanan still followed after them, until he came to Kedron, which Cendebeus had built.
10 So they fled even unto the towers in the fields of Azotus; wherefore he burned it with fire: so that there were slain of them about two thousand men. Afterward he returned into the land of Yehudah in peace.
11 Moreover in the plain of Yericho was Ptolemeus the son of Abubus made captain, and he had abundance of silver and gold:
12 For he was the high priest’s son in law.
13 Wherefore his heart being lifted up, he thought to get the country to himself, and thereupon consulted deceitfully against Shim’on and his sons to destroy them.
14 Now Shim’on was visiting the cities that were in the country, and taking care for the good ordering of them; at which time he came down himself to Yericho with his sons, Mattityahu and Yehudah, in the hundred threescore and seventeenth year, in the eleventh month, called Shevat:
15 Where the son of Abubus receiving them deceitfully into a little hold, called Docus, which he had built, made them a great banquet: howbeit he had hid men there.
16 So when Shim’on and his sons had drunk largely, Ptolemy and his men rose up, and took their weapons, and came upon Shim’on into the banqueting place, and slew him, and his two sons, and certain of his servants.
17 In which doing he committed a great treachery, and recompensed evil for good.
18 Then Ptolemy wrote these things, and sent to the king, that he should send him an host to aid him, and he would deliver him the country and cities.
19 He sent others also to Gazerah to kill Yochanan: and unto the tribunes he sent letters to come unto him, that he might give them silver, and gold, and rewards.
20 And others he sent to take Yerushalayim, and the mountain of the temple.
21 Now one had run afore to Gazerah and told Yochanan that his father and brethren were slain, and, quote he, Ptolemy hath sent to slay you also.
22 Hereof when he heard, he was sore astonished: so he laid hands on them that were come to destroy him, and slew them; for he knew that they sought to make him away.
23 As concerning the rest of the acts of Yochanan, and his wars, and worthy deeds which he did, and the building of the walls which he made, and his doings,
24 Behold, these are written in the chronicles of his priesthood, from the time he was made Kohen HaGadol after his father.