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  • 1 Maccabees 16

    16 John went up from Gazara and reported to his father Simon what Cendebeus had done. Simon summoned his two oldest boys, Judas and John. He said to them, “My brothers and I, and my father’s family, have fought Israel’s wars from our youth until this day. We have prospered and have delivered Israel many times. But now I’ve become old. By heaven’s mercy, you are mature in years. Take my place and that of my brothers, and go out and fight for our nation. May the help that comes from heaven be with you!”

    So John chose twenty thousand warriors and cavalry from across the country. They marched against Cendebeus, camping overnight in Modein. They started out early in the morning and marched into the plain, where a large force of infantry and cavalry was advancing to meet them. A stream lay between them. Then John and his army lined up against them. He saw that his soldiers were afraid to cross the stream, so he crossed it first. When his troops saw his action, they crossed over after him. Then he divided up the army, placing the cavalry in the middle of the infantry, because the enemy had a large number of cavalry. They sounded the trumpets and decisively defeated Cendebeus and his army. Many of them were killed, and the rest headed into the fortress. During the battle, John’s brother Judas was wounded, but John pursued them until Cendebeus reached Kedron, which he had built. 10 Some also fled into the towers that were in the fields of Azotus. John burned them down, killing about two thousand. Then he safely returned to Judea.

    Murder of Simon and his sons

    11 Now Ptolemy, Abubus’ son, had been appointed governor over Jericho. He had a large amount of silver and gold 12 because he was the high priest’s son-in-law. 13 He became arrogant and was determined to gain control of the country. He made devious plans against Simon and his sons to do away with them.

    14 Now Simon was out visiting the towns in the countryside and attending to their needs. He went down to Jericho with his sons Mattathias and Judas. It was the eleventh month, the month of Shevat, in the year 177. 15 Abubus’ son welcomed them deceitfully in the little fortress called Dok, which he had built. He threw a great banquet for them, but he hid men in the hall. 16 When Simon and his sons became drunk, Ptolemy and his men took their weapons. They rushed forward against Simon, and killed him and his two sons in the banquet hall, as well as some of his servants. 17 So he committed an act of great treachery, returning evil for good.

    John succeeds Simon

    18 Ptolemy wrote a report about these matters and sent it to the king. He asked him to send troops to aid him and to turn over the towns and country to him. 19 He sent other soldiers to Gazara to kill John. And he sent letters to the captains asking them to come to him so that he could give them silver and gold and gifts. 20 He sent other troops to capture Jerusalem and the temple mount. 21 But someone ran ahead and told John at Gazara that his father and brothers had died, and also said, “He has sent men to kill you also.” 22 When he heard this news, he was greatly shocked. He detained the men who had come to destroy him and killed them because he had learned about their intentions.

    23 The rest of John’s actions, his wars, the brave deeds that he did, his achievements, and the building of the walls that he completed— 24 these are written in the records of his high priesthood, dating from the time when he became high priest after his father.