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  • 1 Maccabees 13

    Simon takes command

    13 Simon heard that Trypho had assembled a large army to invade the land of Judah and destroy it. He saw that the people were trembling and afraid, so he went up to Jerusalem and gathered the people together. He encouraged them by saying, “You yourselves know what great things my brothers and I, and our father’s family, have done for the laws and the sanctuary. You also know about the wars and the difficulties that we have seen. Because of this, all my brothers have died for Israel’s sake. I alone am left. Now, far be it from me to spare my own life at any time of distress. I’m not better than my brothers. Instead, I will avenge my nation and the sanctuary, your wives and children. All the nations have gathered to destroy us out of hatred.”

    The spirit of the people was renewed when they heard these words. They answered loudly, “You are our leader in place of Judas and Jonathan your brothers. Fight our battles, and all that you tell us we will do.” 10 So he assembled the warriors and rushed to complete the walls of Jerusalem and secured it on every side. 11 He sent Jonathan, Absalom’s son, to Joppa with a sufficient army. He drove out its occupants and remained there.

    Trypho’s deceit and treachery

    12 Then Trypho left Ptolemais with a large army to invade the land of Judah, taking Jonathan with him under guard. 13 Simon camped in Adida, facing the plain. 14 Trypho learned that Simon had taken the place of his brother Jonathan and that he was about to battle against him. So he sent envoys to Simon who said, 15 “We are detaining your brother Jonathan because of the money he owes the royal treasury in connection with the offices he held. 16 Send now 5,700 pounds of silver and two of his sons as hostages, to ensure that when he is released he won’t revolt against us, and we will release him.”

    17 Simon knew that they were speaking deceitfully to him, but he sent for the money and the sons so that he wouldn’t arouse hostility among the people. 18 He was concerned that they might say, “Jonathan died because Simon didn’t send the money and his sons.” 19 So he sent the sons and 5,700 pounds of silver. But Trypho broke his word and didn’t release Jonathan.

    20 After this, Trypho came to invade and destroy the country. He circled around by the way to Adora. But Simon and his army kept marching opposite him, every place he went. 21 Now the men in the elevated fortress kept sending messengers to Trypho, urging him to come to them by way of the wilderness and to send them food. 22 So Trypho got all his cavalry ready to go, but that night a very heavy snow fell so he didn’t go. Instead, he marched into the land of Gilead. 23 When he approached Baskama, he killed Jonathan and buried him there. 24 Then Trypho returned to his own land.

    Jonathan’s tomb

    25 Simon sent someone to get the bones of Jonathan his brother, and he buried him in Modein, the city of his ancestors. 26 All Israel mourned Jonathan with great expressions of grief for many days. 27 Simon built a monument over the tomb of his father and his brothers. He made it high so that all might see it. It had polished stone at the front and back. 28 He also set up seven pyramids, opposite each other, for his father and mother and four brothers. 29 He devised an elaborate site for the pyramids, setting up great columns around them. On the columns, he put suits of armor for a permanent memorial. Beside the suits of armor, he carved ships so that all who sail the sea might see them. 30 This is the tomb that he built in Modein, which remains to this day.

    Judea gains independence

    31 Trypho dealt dishonestly with the young king Antiochus and killed him. 32 He put on the crown of Asia and became king in his place. He brought great disaster on the land. 33 But Simon built up the fortresses of Judea and put protection all around them with high towers, great walls, gates, and bolts. In addition, he stored food in the fortresses. 34 Simon also sent messengers to King Demetrius with a request to grant relief to the country, because Trypho had stolen many of their goods. 35 King Demetrius sent a reply to this request, and wrote him a letter:

    36 King Demetrius. To Simon, the high priest and advisor of kings, and to the elders and nation of the Jews. Greetings!

    37 We have received the gold crown and the palm branch that you sent. We are ready to make a general peace with you and to write to our officials to grant you release from tribute. 38 All the exemptions that we have made to you remain valid. Let the fortresses that you have built be in your possession. 39 We pardon any errors and offenses committed to this day. Plus, we cancel the crown tax that you owe. Whatever other tax has been collected in Jerusalem will not be collected any longer. 40 If any of you are qualified to be enrolled in our bodyguard, let them be enrolled. Finally, let there be peace between us.

    41 In the year 170, the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel. 42 The people of Israel began to write in their documents and contracts, “In the first year of Simon the great high priest, commander and leader of the Jews.”

    Simon captures Gazara

    43 In those days, Simon camped against Gazara and surrounded it with troops. He made a siege engine and brought it up to the city. He battered and captured one tower. 44 The men in the siege engine leaped out into the city, and a great tumult arose. 45 Together with their wives and children, the men went up on the wall with their clothes torn. They cried out loudly, asking Simon to make peace with them. 46 They said, “Don’t treat us according to our wicked acts but according to your mercy.” 47 So Simon reached an agreement with them and stopped fighting. But he expelled them from the city and cleansed the houses in which the idols were located. He then entered it with hymns and praise. 48 He removed all pollution from it and settled people there who observed the Law. He also strengthened its defenses and built a house for himself there.

    Simon regains the elevated fortress at Jerusalem.

    49 Those who were in the elevated fortress at Jerusalem were prevented from moving around to buy and sell in the country. So they were very hungry, and many perished from famine. 50 They appealed to Simon to make peace with them, and he did. But he expelled them from there and cleansed the elevated fortress from its pollutions. 51 On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the year 171, the Jews entered it with praise and palm branches, with harps and cymbals and stringed instruments, and with hymns and songs. A great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. 52 Simon declared that they should celebrate this day annually with rejoicing. He strengthened the defenses of the temple hill alongside the elevated fortress, and he and his soldiers lived there. 53 Simon saw that his son John had become a man, and so he made him commander of all the forces. And John lived at Gazara.