1Maccabées (NAB) 6

6 1 As King Antiochus was traversing the inland provinces, he heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais, famous for its wealth in silver and gold, 2 and that its temple was very rich, containing gold helmets, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander, son of Philip, king of Macedon, the first king of the Greeks.3 He went therefore and tried to capture and pillage the city. But he could not do so, because his plan became known to the people of the city4 who rose up in battle against him. So he retreated and in great dismay withdrew from there to return to Babylon.
While he was in Persia, a messenger brought him news that the armies sent into the land of Judah had been put to flight;6 that Lysias had gone at first with a strong army and been driven back by the Israelites; that they had grown strong by reason of the arms, men, and abundant possessions taken from the armies they had destroyed;7 that they had pulled down the Abomination which he had built upon the altar in Jerusalem; and that they had surrounded with high walls both the sanctuary, as it had been before, and his city of Beth-zur.8 When the king heard this news, he was struck with fear and very much shaken. Sick with grief because his designs had failed, he took to his bed.9 There he remained many days, overwhelmed with sorrow, for he knew he was going to die.10 So he called in all his Friends and said to them: "Sleep has departed from my eyes, for my heart is sinking with anxiety.11 I said to myself: 'Into what tribulation have I come, and in what floods of sorrow am I now!12 Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.' But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem, when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver that were in it, and for no cause gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed.13 I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me; and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land."
Then he summoned Philip, one of his Friends, and put him in charge of his whole kingdom.15 He gave him his crown, his robe, and his signet ring, so that he might guide the king's son Antiochus and bring him up to be king.16 King Antiochus died in Persia in the year one hundred and forty-nine. 17 When Lysias learned that the king was dead, he set up the king's son Antiochus, whom he had reared as a child, to be king in his place; and he gave him the title Eupator.

Renewed Attacks from Syria

18 The men in the citadel were hemming in Israel around the sanctuary, continually trying to harm them and to strengthen the Gentiles.19 But Judas planned to destroy them, and called all the people together to besiege them.20 So in the year one hundred and fifty they assembled and stormed the citadel, for which purpose he constructed catapults and other devices. 21 Some of the besieged escaped, joined by impious Israelites;22 they went to the king and said: "How long will you fail to do justice and avenge our kinsmen?23 We agreed to serve your father and to follow his orders and obey his edicts.24 And for this the sons of our people have become our enemies; they have put to death as many of us as they could find and have plundered our estates.25 They have acted aggressively not only against us, but throughout their whole territory.26 Look! They have now besieged the citadel in Jerusalem in order to capture it, and they have fortified the sanctuary and Beth-zur.27 Unless you quickly forestall them, they will do even worse things than these, and you will not be able to stop them."
When the king heard this he was angry, and he called together all his Friends, the officers of his army, and the commanders of the cavalry.29 Mercenary forces also came to him from other kingdoms and from the islands of the seas.30 His army numbered a hundred thousand foot-soldiers, twenty thousand cavalry, and thirty-two elephants trained for war.31 They passed through Idumea and camped before Beth-zur. For many days they attacked it; they constructed siege-devices, but the besieged made a sortie and burned these, and they fought bravely.

The Battle at Beth-zechariah

32 Then Judas marched away from the citadel and moved his camp to Beth-zechariah, on the way to the king's camp.33 The king, rising before dawn, moved his force hastily along the road to Beth-zechariah; and the armies prepared for battle, while the trumpets sounded.34 They showed the elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries to provoke them to fight.35 The beasts were distributed along the phalanxes, each elephant having assigned to it a thousand men in coats of mail, with bronze helmets, and five hundred picked cavalry.36 These anticipated the beast wherever it was; and wherever it moved, they moved too and never left it.37 A strong wooden tower covering each elephant, and fastened to it by a harness, held, besides the Indian mahout, three soldiers who fought from it.38 The remaining cavalry were stationed on one or the other of the two flanks of the army, to harass the enemy and to be protected from the phalanxes.
When the sun shone on the gold and bronze shields, the mountains gleamed with their brightness and blazed like flaming torches.40 Part of the king's army extended over the heights, while some were on low ground, but they marched forward steadily and in good order.41 All who heard the noise of their numbers, the tramp of their marching, and the clashing of the arms, trembled; for the army was very great and strong.42 Judas with his army advanced to fight, and six hundred men of the king's army fell.43 Eleazar, called Avaran, saw one of the beasts bigger than any of the others and covered with royal armor, and he thought the king must be on it.44 So he gave up his life to save his people and win an everlasting name for himself.45 He dashed up to it in the middle of the phalanx, killing men right and left, so that they fell back from him on both sides.46 He ran right under the elephant and stabbed it in the belly, killing it. The beast fell to the ground on top of him, and he died there.47 When the Jews saw the strength of the royal army and the ardor of its forces, they retreated from them.

The Siege of the Temple

48 A part of the king's army went up to Jerusalem to attack them, and the king established camps in Judea and at Mount Zion.49 He made peace with the men of Beth-zur, and they evacuated the city, because they had no food there to enable them to stand a siege, for that was a sabbath year in the land. 50 The king took Beth-zur and stationed a garrison there to hold it.
For many days he besieged the sanctuary, setting up artillery and machines, fire-throwers, catapults and mechanical bows for shooting arrows and slingstones.52 The Jews countered by setting up machines of their own, and kept up the fight a long time.53 But there were no provisions in the storerooms, because it was the seventh year, and the tide-over provisions had been eaten up by those who had been rescued from the Gentiles and brought to Judea.54 Few men remained in the sanctuary; the rest scattered, each to his own home, for the famine was too much for them.

Syria Offers Terms

55 Lysias heard that Philip, whom King Antiochus, before his death, had appointed to train his son Antiochus to be king,56 had returned from Persia and Media with the army that accompanied the king, and that he was seeking to take over the government.57 So he hastily resolved to withdraw. He said to the king, the leaders of the army, and the soldiers: "We are grow-ing weaker every day, our provisions are scanty, the place we are besieging is strong, and it is our duty to take care of the affairs of the kingdom.58 Therefore let us now come to terms with these men, and make peace with them and all their nation.59 Let us grant them freedom to live according to their own laws as formerly; it was on account of their laws, which we abolished, that they became angry and did all these things."60 The proposal found favor with the king and the leaders;61 he sent peace terms to the Jews, and they accepted. So the king and the leaders swore an oath to them, and on these terms they evacuated the fortification.62 But when the king entered Mount Zion and saw how the place was fortified, he broke the oath he had sworn and gave orders for the encircling wall to be destroyed.63 Then he departed in haste and returned to Antioch, where he found Philip in possession of the city. He fought against him and took the city by force.

Expedition of Bacchides and Alcimus

7 1 In the year one hundred and fifty-one, Demetrius, son of Seleucus, set out from Rome, arrived with a few men in a city on the seacoast, and began to rule there. 2 As he was preparing to enter the royal palace of his ancestors, the soldiers seized Antiochus and Lysias to bring them to him.3 When he was informed of this, he said, "Do not show me their faces."4 So the soldiers killed them, and Demetrius sat on the royal throne.
Then all the lawless and impious men of Israel came to him. They were led by Alcimus, who desired to be high priest. 6 They made this accusation to the king against the people: "Judas and his brothers have destroyed all your friends and have driven us out of our country.7 So now, send a man whom you trust to go and see all the havoc Judas has done to us and to the king's land, and let him punish them and all their supporters."
Then the king chose Bacchides, one of the King's Friends, governor of West-of-Euphrates, a great man in the kingdom, and faithful to the king.9 He sent him and the impious Alcimus, to whom he granted the high priesthood, with orders to take revenge on the Israelites.10 They set out and, on arriving in the land of Judah with a great army, sent messengers who spoke deceitfully to Judas and his brothers in peaceful terms.11 But these paid no attention to their words, seeing that they had come with a great army.12 A group of scribes, however, gathered about Alcimus and Bacchides to ask for a just agreement.13 The Hasideans were the first among the Israelites to seek peace with them,14 for they said, "A priest of the line of Aaron has come with the army, and he will not do us any wrong."15 He spoke with them peacefully and swore to them, "We will not try to injure you or your friends."16 So they trusted him. But he arrested sixty of them and killed them in one day, according to the text of Scripture:17 "The flesh of your saints they have strewn, and their blood they have shed round about Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them."18 Then fear and dread of them came upon all the people, who said: "There is no truth or justice among them; they violated the agreement and the oath that they swore."19 Bacchides withdrew from Jerusalem and pitched his camp in Beth-zaith. He had many of the men arrested who deserted to him, throwing them into the great pit. 20 He handed the province over to Alcimus, leaving troops to help him, while he himself returned to the king.
Alcimus spared no pains to maintain his high priesthood,22 and all those who were disturbing their people gathered about him. They took possession of the land of Judah and caused great distress in Israel.23 When Judas saw all the evils that Alcimus and his men were bringing upon the Israelites, more than even the Gentiles had done,24 he went about all the borders of Judea and took revenge on the men who had deserted, preventing them from going out into the country.25 But when Alcimus saw that Judas and his followers were gaining strength and realized that he could not oppose them, he returned to the king and accused them of grave crimes.

Nicanor in Judea

26 Then the king sent Nicanor, one of his famous officers, who was a bitter enemy of Israel, with orders to destroy the people.27 Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a large force and deceitfully sent to Judas and his brothers this peaceable message: 28 "Let there be no fight between me and you. I will come with a few men to meet you peaceably."29 So he came to Judas, and they greeted one another peaceably. But Judas' enemies were prepared to seize him.30 When he became aware that Nicanor had come to him with treachery in mind, Judas was afraid and would not meet him again.31 When Nicanor saw that his plan had been discovered, he went out to fight Judas near Capharsalama. 32 About five hundred men of Nicanor's army fell; the rest fled to the City of David.

Nicanor Threatens the Temple

33 After this, Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests from the sanctuary and some of the elders of the people came out to greet him peaceably and to show him the holocaust that was being offered for the king.34 But he mocked and ridiculed them, defiled them, and spoke disdainfully. 35 In a rage he swore: "If Judas and his army are not delivered to me at once, when I return victorious I will burn this temple down." He went away in great anger.36 The priests, however, went in and stood before the altar and the sanctuary. They wept and said:37 "You have chosen this house to bear your name, to be a house of prayer and petition for your people.38 Take revenge on this man and his army, and let them fall by the sword. Remember their blasphemies, and do not let them continue."

The Death of Nicanor

39 Nicanor left Jerusalem and pitched his camp at Beth-horon, where the Syrian army joined him.40 But Judas camped in Adasa with three thousand men. Here Judas uttered this prayer: 41 "When they who were sent by the king blasphemed, your angel went out and killed a hundred and eighty-five thousand of them.42 In the same way, crush this army before us today, and let the rest know that Nicanor spoke wickedly against your sanctuary; judge him according to his wickedness."43 The armies met in battle on the thirteenth day of the month Adar. Nicanor's army was crushed, and he himself was the first to fall in the battle.44 When his army saw that Nicanor was dead, they threw down their arms and fled.45 The Jews pursued them a day's journey, from Adasa to near Gazara, blowing the trumpets behind them as signals.46 From all the surrounding villages of Judea people came out and closed in on them. They hemmed them in, and all the enemies fell by the sword; not a single one escaped.47 Then the Jews collected the spoils and the booty; they cut off Nicanor's head and his right arm, which he had lifted up so arrogantly. These they brought to Jerusalem and displayed there.48 The people rejoiced greatly, and observed that day as a great festival.49 They decreed that it should be observed every year on the thirteenth of Adar. 50 And for a short time the land of Judah was quiet.

A Eulogy of the Romans

8 1 Judas had heard of the reputation of the Romans. They were valiant fighters and acted amiably to all who took their side. They established a friendly alliance with all who applied to them. 2 He was also told of their battles and the brave deeds that they had performed against the Gauls, conquering them and forcing them to pay tribute. 3 They had gotten possession of the silver and gold mines in Spain,4 and by planning and persistence had conquered the whole country, although it was very remote from their own. They had crushed the kings who had come against them from the far corners of the earth and had inflicted on them severe defeat, and the rest paid tribute to them every year.5 Philip and Perseus, king of the Macedonians, and the others who opposed them in battle had been overwhelmed and subjugated. 6 Antiochus the Great, king of Asia, who had fought against them with a hundred and twenty elephants and with cavalry and chariots and a very great army, had been defeated by them. 7 They had taken him alive and obliged him and the kings who succeeded him to pay a heavy tribute, to give hostages and a section of8 Lycia, Mysia, and Lydia from among their best provinces. The Romans took these from him and gave them to King Eumenes. 9 When the men of Greece had planned to come and destroy them, 10 the Romans discovered it, and sent against the Greeks a single general who made war on them. Many were wounded and fell, and the Romans took their wives and children captive. They plundered them, took possession of their land, tore down their strongholds and reduced them to slavery even to this day.11 All the other kingdoms and islands that had ever opposed them they destroyed and enslaved;12 with their friends, however, and those who relied on them, they maintained friendship. They had conquered kings both far and near, and all who heard of their fame were afraid of them.13 In truth, those whom they desired to help to a kingdom became kings, and those whom they wished to depose they deposed; and they were greatly exalted.
Yet with all this, none of them put on a crown or wore purple as a display of grandeur.15 They had made for themselves a senate house, and every day three hundred and twenty men took counsel, deliberating on all that concerned the people and their well-being.16 They entrusted their government to one man every year, to rule over their entire country, and they all obeyed that one, and there was no envy or jealousy among them.

An Alliance with Rome

17 So Judas chose Eupolemus, son of John, son of Accos, and Jason, son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome to establish an alliance of friendship with them.18 He did this to get rid of the yoke, for it was obvious that the kingdom of the Greeks was subjecting Israel to slavery.19 After making a very long journey to Rome, the envoys entered the senate and spoke as follows:20 "Judas, called Maccabeus, and his brothers, with the Jewish people, have sent us to you to make a peaceful alliance with you, and to enroll ourselves among your allies and friends."21 The proposal pleased the Romans,22 and this is a copy of the reply they inscribed on bronze tablets and sent to Jerusalem, to remain there with the Jews as a record of peace and alliance:
"May it be well with the Romans and the Jewish nation at sea and on land forever; may sword and enemy be far from them.24 But if war is first made on Rome, or any of its allies in any of their dominions,25 the Jewish nation will help them wholeheartedly, as the occasion shall demand;26 and to those who wage war they shall not give nor provide grain, arms, money, or ships; this is Rome's decision. They shall fulfill their obligations without receiving any recompense.27 In the same way, if war is made first on the Jewish nation, the Romans will help them willingly, as the occasion shall demand,28 and to those who are attacking them there shall not be given grain, arms, money, or ships; this is Rome's decision. They shall fulfill their obligations without deception.29 On these terms the Romans have made an agreement with the Jewish people.30 But if both parties hereafter decide to add or take away anything, they shall do as they choose, and whatever they shall add or take away shall be valid.
"Moreover, concerning the wrongs that King Demetrius has done to them, we have written to him thus: 'Why have you made your yoke heavy upon our friends and allies the Jews?32 If they complain about you again, we will do them justice and make war on you by land and sea.'"

Bacchides Returns to Judea

9 1 When Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his army had fallen in battle, he again sent Bacchides and Alcimus into the land of Judah, along with the right wing of his army.2 They took the road to Galilee, and camping opposite the ascent at Arbela, they captured it and killed many people. 3 In the first month of the year one hundred and fifty-two, they encamped against Jerusalem. 4 Then they set out for Berea with twenty thousand men and two thousand cavalry.5 Judas, with three thousand picked men, had camped at Elasa.
When his men saw the great number of the troops, they were very much afraid, and many slipped away from the camp, until only eight hundred men remained.7 As Judas saw that his army was melting away just when the battle was imminent, he was panic-stricken, because he had no time to gather them together.8 But in spite of his discouragement, he said to those who remained: "Let us go forward to meet our enemies; perhaps we can put up a good fight against them."9 They tried to dissuade him, saying: "We certainly cannot. Let us save our lives now, and come back with our kinsmen, and then fight against them. Now we are too few."10 But Judas said: "Far be it from me to do such a thing as to flee from them! If our time has come, let us die bravely for our kinsmen and not leave a stain upon our glory!"

The Last Battle of Judas

11 Then the army of Bacchides moved out of camp and took its position for combat. The cavalry were divided into two squadrons, and the slingers and the archers came on ahead of the army, and all the valiant men were in the front line.12 Bacchides was on the right wing. Flanked by the two squadrons, the phalanx attacked as they blew their trumpets. Those who were on Judas' side also blew their trumpets.13 The earth shook with the noise of the armies, and the battle raged from morning until evening.14 Seeing that Bacchides was on the right, with the main force of his army, Judas, with all the most stouthearted rallying to him,15 drove back the right wing and pursued them as far as the mountain slopes. 16 But when the men on the left wing saw that the right wing was driven back, they turned and followed Judas and his men, taking them in the rear.17 The battle was fought desperately, and many on both sides fell wounded.18 Then Judas fell, and the rest fled.
Jonathan and Simon took their brother Judas and buried him in the tomb of their fathers at Modein.20 All Israel bewailed him in great grief. They mourned for him many days, and they said,21 "How the mighty one has fallen, the savior of Israel!"22 The other acts of Judas, his battles, the brave deeds he performed, and his greatness have not been recorded; but they were very many.

Jonathan Succeeds Judas

23 After the death of Judas, the transgressors of the law raised their heads in every part of Israel, and all kinds of evildoers appeared.24 In those days there was a very great famine, and the country deserted to them.25 Bacchides chose impious men and made them masters of the country.26 These sought out and hunted down the friends of Judas and brought them to Bacchides, who punished and derided them.27 There had not been such great distress in Israel since the time prophets ceased to appear among the people.
Then all the friends of Judas came together and said to Jonathan:29 "Since your brother Judas died, there has been no one like him to oppose our enemies, Bacchides and those who are hostile to our nation.30 Now therefore we have chosen you today to be our ruler and leader in his place, and to fight our battle."
From that moment Jonathan accepted the leadership, and took the place of Judas his brother.

The Campaigns of Jonathan

32 When Bacchides learned of it, he sought to kill him.33 But Jonathan and his brother Simon and all the men with him discovered this, and they fled to the desert of Tekoa and camped by the waters of the pool of Asphar. 34 35 Jonathan sent his brother as leader of the convoy to ask permission of his friends, the Nabateans, to deposit with them their great quantity of baggage. 36 But the sons of Jambri from Medaba made a raid and seized and carried off John and everything he had.
After this, word was brought to Jonathan and his brother Simon: "The sons of Jambri are celebrating a great wedding, and with a large escort they are bringing the bride, the daughter of one of the great princes of Canaan, from Nadabath."38 Remembering the blood of John their brother, they went up and hid themselves under cover of the mountain.39 They watched, and suddenly saw a noisy crowd with baggage; the bridegroom and his friends and kinsmen had come out to meet the bride's party with tambourines and musicians and much equipment.40 The Jews rose up against them from their ambush and killed them. Many fell wounded, and after the survivors fled toward the mountain, all their spoils were taken.41 Thus the wedding was turned into mourning, and the sound of music into lamentation.42 Having taken their revenge for the blood of their brother, the Jews returned to the marshes of the Jordan.
When Bacchides heard of it, he came on the sabbath to the banks of the Jordan with a large force.44 Then Jonathan said to his companions, "Let us get up now and fight for our lives, for today is not like yesterday and the day before.45 The battle is before us, and behind us are the waters of the Jordan on one side, marsh and thickets on the other, and there is no way of escape. 46 Cry out now to Heaven for deliverance from our enemies."47 When they joined battle, Jonathan raised his arm to strike Bacchides, but Bacchides backed away from him.48 Jonathan and his men jumped into the Jordan and swam across to the other side, but the enemy did not pursue them across the Jordan.49 A thousand men on Bacchides' side fell that day.

Bacchides Builds Fortifications

50 On returning to Jerusalem, Bacchides built strongholds in Judea: the Jericho fortress, as well as Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon, and Tephon, with high walls and gates and bars. 51 In each he put a garrison to oppose Israel.52 He fortified the city of Beth-zur, Gazara and the citadel, and put soldiers in them and stores of provisions.53 He took as hostages the sons of the leaders of the country and put them in custody in the citadel at Jerusalem.
In the year one hundred and fifty-three, in the second month, Alcimus ordered the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary to be torn down, thus destroying the work of the prophets. But he only began to tear it down. 55 Just at that time he had a stroke, and his work was interrupted; his mouth was closed and he was paralyzed, so that he could no longer utter a word to give orders concerning his house.56 Finally he died in great agony.57 Seeing that Alcimus was dead, Bacchides returned to the king, and the land of Judah was quiet for two years. Bacchides and Jonathan

The End of the War

58 Then all the transgressors of the law held a council and said: "Jonathan and his companions are living in peace and security. Now then, let us have Bacchides return, and he will capture all of them in a single night."59 So they went and took counsel with him.60 When Bacchides was setting out with a large force, he sent letters secretly to all his allies in Judea, telling them to seize Jonathan and his companions. They were not able to do this, however, because their plot became known.61 In fact, Jonathan's men seized about fifty of the men of the country who were ringleaders in the mischief and put them to death.
Then Jonathan and Simon and their companions withdrew to Bethbasi in the desert; they rebuilt and strengthened its fortifications that had been demolished. 63 When Bacchides learned of this, he gathered together his whole force and sent word to those who were in Judea.64 He came and pitched his camp before Bethbasi, and constructing siege-machines, he fought against it for many days.
Leaving his brother Simon in the city, Jonathan, accompanied by a small group of men, went out into the field.66 He struck down Odomera and his kinsmen and the sons of Phasiron in their encampment; these men had set out to go up to the siege with their forces.67 Simon and his men then sallied forth from the city and set fire to the machines.68 They fought against Bacchides, and he was beaten. This caused him great distress. Because the enterprise he had planned came to nought,69 he was angry with the lawless men who had advised him to invade the province. He killed many of them and resolved to return to his own country.
Jonathan learned of this and sent ambassadors to make peace with him and to obtain the release of the prisoners.71 He agreed to do as Jonathan had asked. He swore an oath to him that he would never try to injure him for the rest of his life;72 and he released the prisoners he had previously taken from the land of Judah. He returned to his own country and never came into their territory again.73 Then the sword ceased in Israel. Jonathan settled in Michmash; he began to judge the people and he destroyed the impious in Israel.

Revolt of Alexander Epiphanes

10 1 In the year one hundred and sixty, Alexander, who was called Epiphanes, son of Antiochus, came up and took Ptolemais. He was accepted and began to reign there. 2 When King Demetrius heard of it, he mustered a very large army and marched out to engage him in combat.3 Demetrius sent a letter to Jonathan written in peaceful terms, to pay him honor;4 for he said: "Let us be the first to make peace with him, before he makes peace with Alexander against us,5 since he will remember all the wrongs we have done to him, his brothers, and his nation."6 So Demetrius authorized him to gather an army and procure arms as his ally; and he ordered that the hostages in the citadel be released to him.
Accordingly Jonathan went up to Jerusalem and read the letter to all the people. The men in the citadel8 were struck with fear when they heard that the king had given him authority to gather an army.9 They released the hostages to Jonathan, and he gave them back to their parents.10 Thereafter Jonathan dwelt in Jerusalem, and began to build and restore the city.11 He ordered the workmen to build the walls and encircle Mount Zion with square stones for its fortification, which they did.12 The foreigners in the strongholds that Bacchides had built, took flight;13 each one of them left his place and returned to his own country.14 Only in Beth-zur did some remain of those who had abandoned the law and the commandments, for they used it as a place of refuge.
King Alexander heard of the promises that Demetrius had made to Jonathan; he was also told of the battles and valiant deeds of Jonathan and his brothers and the troubles that they had endured.16 He said, "Shall we ever find another man like him? Let us now make him our friend and ally."17 So he sent Jonathan a letter written in these terms:

Jonathan Becomes High Priest

18 "King Alexander sends greetings to his brother Jonathan.19 We have heard of you, that you are a mighty warrior and worthy to be our friend.20 We have therefore appointed you today to be high priest of your nation; you are to be called the King's Friend, and you are to look after our interests and preserve amity with us." He also sent him a purple robe and a crown of gold.21 Jonathan put on the sacred vestments in the seventh month of the year one hundred and sixty at the feast of Booths, and he gathered an army and procured many arms.
When Demetrius heard of these things, he was distressed and said:23 "Why have we allowed Alexander to get ahead of us by gaining the friendship of the Jews and thus strengthening himself?24 I too will write them conciliatory words and offer dignities and gifts, so that they may be an aid to me."

A Letter from Demetrius to Jonathan

25 So he sent them this message: "King Demetrius sends greetings to the Jewish nation.
We have heard how you have kept the treaty with us and continued in our friendship and not gone over to our enemies, and we are glad.27 Continue, therefore, to keep faith with us, and we will reward you with favors in return for what you do in our behalf.28 We will grant you many exemptions and will bestow gifts on you.29 "I now free you, as I also exempt all the Jews, from the tribute, the salt tax, and the crown levies.30 Instead of collecting the third of the grain and the half of the fruit of the trees that should be my share, I renounce the right from this day forward: Neither now nor in the future will I collect them from the land of Judah or from the three districts annexed from Samaria. 31 Let Jerusalem and her territory, her tithes and her tolls, be sacred and free from tax.32 I also yield my authority over the citadel in Jerusalem, and I transfer it to the high priest, that he may put in it such men as he shall choose to guard it.33 Every one of the Jews who has been carried into captivity from the land of Judah into any part of my kingdom I set at liberty without ransom; and let all their taxes, even those on their cattle, be canceled.34 Let all feast days, sabbaths, new moon festivals, appointed days, and the three days that precede each feast day, and the three days that follow, be days of immunity and exemption for every Jew in my kingdom.35 Let no man have authority to exact payment from them or to molest any of them in any matter.36 "Let thirty thousand Jews be enrolled in the king's army and allowances be given them, as is due to all the king's soldiers.37 Let some of them be stationed in the king's principal strongholds, and of these let some be given positions of trust in the affairs of the kingdom. Let their superiors and their rulers be taken from among them, and let them follow their own laws, as the king has commanded in the land of Judah.38 "Let the three districts that have been added to Judea from the province of Samaria be incorporated with Judea so that they may be under one man and obey no other authority than the high priest.39 Ptolemais and its confines I give as a present to the sanctuary in Jerusalem for the necessary expenses of the sanctuary.
I make a yearly personal grant of fifteen thousand silver shekels out of the royal revenues, from appropriate places.41 All the additional funds that the officials did not hand over as they had done in the first years, shall henceforth be handed over for the services of the temple.42 Moreover, the dues of five thousand silver shekels that used to be taken from the revenue of the sanctuary every year shall be canceled, since these funds belong to the priests who perform the services.43 Whoever takes refuge in the temple of Jerusalem or in any of its precincts, because of money he owes the king, or because of any other debt, shall be released, together with all the goods he possesses in my kingdom.44 The cost of rebuilding and restoring the structures of the sanctuary shall be covered out of the royal revenue.45 Likewise the cost of building the walls of Jerusalem and fortifying it all around, and of building walls in Judea, shall be donated from the royal revenue."

Death of Demetrius

46 When Jonathan and the people heard these words, they neither believed nor accepted them, for they remembered the great evil that Demetrius had done in Israel, and how sorely he had afflicted them.47 They therefore decided in favor of Alexander, for he had been the first to address them peaceably, and they remained his allies for the rest of his life.
King Alexander gathered together a large army and encamped opposite Demetrius.49 The two kings joined battle, and when the army of Demetrius fled, Alexander pursued him, and overpowered his soldiers.50 He pressed the battle hard until sunset, and Demetrius fell that day.

Treaty of Ptolemy and Alexander

51 Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemy, king of Egypt, with this message:52 "Now that I have returned to my realm, taken my seat on the throne of my fathers, and established my rule by crushing Demetrius and gaining control of my country-- 53 for I engaged him in battle, defeated him and his army, and recovered the royal throne-- 54 let us now establish friendship with each other. Give me your daughter for my wife; and as your son-in-law, I will give to you and to her gifts worthy of you."
King Ptolemy answered in these words: "Happy the day on which you returned to the land of your fathers and took your seat on their royal throne!56 I will do for you what you have written; but meet me in Ptolemais, so that we may see each other, and I will become your father-in-law as you have proposed."
So Ptolemy with his daughter Cleopatra set out from Egypt and came to Ptolemais in the year one hundred and sixty-two. 58 There King Alexander met him, and Ptolemy gave him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage. Their wedding was celebrated at Ptolemais with great splendor according to the custom of kings.
King Alexander also wrote to Jonathan to come and meet him.60 So he went with pomp to Ptolemais, where he met the two kings and gave them and their friends silver and gold and many gifts and thus won their favor.61 Some pestilent Israelites, transgressors of the law, united against him to accuse him, but the king paid no heed to them.62 He ordered Jonathan to be divested of his ordinary garments and to be clothed in royal purple; and so it was done.63 The king also had him seated at his side. He said to his magistrates: "Go with him to the center of the city and make a proclamation that no one is to bring charges against him on any grounds or be troublesome to him in any way."64 When his accusers saw the honor paid to him in the proclamation, and the purple with which he was clothed, they all fled.65 The king also honored him by numbering him among his Chief Friends and made him military commander and governor of the province.66 So Jonathan returned in peace and happiness to Jerusalem.

Apollonius Is Defeated by Jonathan

67 In the year one hundred and sixty-five, Demetrius, son of Demetrius, came from Crete to the land of his fathers. 68 When King Alexander heard of it he was greatly troubled, and returned to Antioch.69 Demetrius appointed Apollonius governor of Coelesyria. Having gathered a large army, Appollonius pitched his camp at Jamnia. From there he sent this message to Jonathan the high priest:
"You are the only one who resists us. I am laughed at and put to shame on your account. Why are you displaying power against us in the mountains?71 If you have confidence in your forces, come down now to us in the plain, and let us test each other's strength there; the city forces are on my side.72 Inquire and learn who I am and who the others are who are helping me. Men say that you cannot make a stand against us because your fathers were twice put to flight in their own land.73 Now you too will be unable to withstand our cavalry and such a force as this in the plain, where there is not a stone or a pebble or a place to flee."
When Jonathan heard the message of Apollonius, he was roused. Choosing ten thousand men, he set out from Jerusalem, and Simon his brother joined him to help him.75 He pitched camp near Joppa, but the men in the city shut him out because Apollonius had a garrison there. When the Jews besieged it,76 the men of the city became afraid and opened the gates, and so Jonathan took possession of Joppa. 77 When Apollonius heard of it, he drew up three thousand horsemen and an innumerable infantry. He marched on Azotus as though he were going on through the country, but at the same time he advanced into the plain, because he had such a large number of horsemen to rely on.78 Jonathan followed him to Azotus, and they engaged in battle.79 Apollonius, however, had left a thousand cavalry in hiding behind them.80 When Jonathan discovered that there was an ambush behind him, his army was surrounded. From morning until evening they showered his men with arrows.
But his men held their ground, as Jonathan had commanded, whereas the enemy's horses became tired out.82 When the horsemen were exhausted, Simon attacked the phalanx, overwhelmed it and put it to flight.83 The horsemen too were scattered over the plain. The enemy fled to Azotus and entered Beth-dagon, the temple of their idol, to save themselves.84 But Jonathan burned and plundered Azotus with its neighboring towns, and destroyed by fire both the temple of Dagon and the men who had taken refuge in it.85 Those who fell by the sword, together with those who were burned alive, came to about eight thousand men.86 Then Jonathan left there and pitched his camp at Ashkalon, and the people of that city came out to meet him with great pomp.87 He and his men then returned to Jerusalem, laden with much booty.88 When King Alexander heard of these events, he accorded new honors to Jonathan.89 He sent him a gold buckle, such as is usually given to King's Kinsmen; he also gave him Ekron and all its territory as a possession.

1Maccabées (NAB) 6