Day 199 – 1 Maccabees 13:12-14:24; Psalms 19; Proverbs 3:28–32; Acts 20:17–38

1 Maccabees 13:12-14:24

12 Meanwhile, Trypho left from Ptolemais with a large force to come into the land of Judah. Jonathan accompanied him under guard. 13 Now Simon set up camp in Adida, opposite the plain. 14 When Trypho heard that Simon had risen up in place of his brother Jonathan and was about to face him in battle, he sent men to him, saying, 15 “We are detaining your brother Jonathan because of the silver he owed the royal treasury and for which he is responsible. 16 Now send a hundred talents of silver and two of his sons as hostages, that when he is freed he will not rise up against us; then we will free him.” 17 Simon sensed they were speaking to him deceitfully, but he sent for the silver and the sons, lest he arouse great hostility among the people, for they might say, 18 “Because Simon did not give him the money and the sons, Jonathan perished.” 19 Then he sent the sons and the hundred talents. But Trypho acted with deceit and would not free Jonathan.
20 Later, Trypho arrived to invade Judah to destroy it, and they circled around the road leading to Adora. But Simon and his army advanced along opposite him every place he went. 21 Then men from the citadel sent ambassadors to Trypho, urging him to come to them through the desert and send food for them. 22 Trypho then prepared all his cavalry to come, but there was a heavy snowfall that night, and he could not march through the deep snow. Instead, he departed and went into Gilead. 23 But when he came near Bascama, he slew Jonathan and buried him there. 24 Then Trypho turned and went to his own country.
25 Simon sent men and gathered the remains of his brother Jonathan and buried him in Modein, the city of his fathers. 26 All Israel mourned him with great lament for many days. 27 Simon also built up the tomb of his father and brothers with polished stone in front and back, making it high enough to be seen. 28 He then built seven pyramids, one opposite the other, for his father and his mother and his four brothers. 29 Around these pyramids he made engines of war, building massive pillars around them, and upon these pillars he placed suits of armor for a perpetual memorial, and alongside the suits of armor he made carved ships, so they could be seen by everyone sailing the sea. 30 This tomb which he made in Modein exists until this day.
Demetrius II Honors Simon
31 Now Trypho also dealt wickedly with young Antiochus the king and murdered him. 32 Then he became king in his place and wore the crown of Asia, bringing great adversity to the land. 33 Simon thus strengthened the fortresses in Judea, surrounding them with high towers and with thick walls and gates and bolts, storing provisions in the fortresses. 34 Also Simon selected men and sent them to King Demetrius to bring relief for the country, for all Trypho’s actions were violent. 35 Then the king sent him a positive answer and wrote him this letter:
36 “King Demetrius to Simon the high priest, friend of kings, and to the elders and the Jewish nation, greetings. 37 We received the crown of gold and the palm branch you sent. We are ready to declare general peace with you and to order our officials to cancel your taxes. 38 Indeed, all the grants we made to you stay intact, and let the fortresses you built remain in your keeping. 39 We also forgive the mistakes committed up to the present day as well, and remove the crown tax you owe. If any other tax has been exacted in Jerusalem, let it be no longer exacted. 40 If some of your men are suited for enrollment in our bodyguard, let them be enrolled. And may there be peace among us.”
  41 The yoke of the Gentiles was lifted from Israel in the one hundred and seventieth year. 42 Then the people began to record in their letters and contracts, “In the first year of Simon, the great high priest and commander and ruler of the Jews.”
Simon Secures Gazara and Jerusalem
43 In those days Simon camped at Gazara, surrounding it with soldiers. He also built an engine of war, brought it to the city, and struck and seized one tower. 44 Then the men in the siege engine jumped out and ran into the city, and there was a great commotion in Gazara. 45 The men in the city also climbed up onto the wall with their wives and children, tearing their clothes and crying with a loud voice, pleading with Simon to make peace with them. 46 They said, “Treat us not according to our evil deeds, but according to your mercy.” 47 So Simon made an agreement with them and ceased waging war against them. But he cast them out of the city and purified the houses that contained idols. Thus he entered Gazara with hymns and blessings. 48 He also cast out all uncleanness from it and settled men there who would keep the law. Then he fortified it and built a dwelling there for himself.
49 But the men in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from coming and going in the region to buy and to sell. So they were extremely hungry; even the strong among them were dying of hunger. 50 When they called out to Simon to be at peace with them, he did so and then cast them out from there, purifying the citadel from its defilements. 51 They entered it on the twenty-third day of the second month of the one hundred and seventy-first year with praise and palm branches, and with lyres, cymbals, and stringed instruments, and with hymns and songs, because a great enemy had been defeated and cast out of Israel. 52 Thus Simon ordered that each year they should commemorate this day with jubilation. When the temple mount was fortified along with the citadel, he himself and his men lived there. 53 Then Simon noted that his son John had reached adulthood. So he appointed him commander of all the army, and he lived in Gazara.
A Tribute to Simon
1 Then in the one hundred and seventy-second year, King Demetrius gathered his troops and went into Media to enlist help for himself to wage war against Trypho. 2 When Arsaces, king of Persia and Media, learned that Demetrius had entered his borders, he sent one of his officers to capture him alive. 3 So he set out and attacked the camp of Demetrius, and captured him and brought him to Arsaces, who put him in prison.
4 The land of Judah was peaceful all the days of Simon,
And he sought the good of his nation,
And his leadership and his glory pleased them all his days.
5 Then in all his glory he took Joppa for a harbor
And made an entrance to the islands of the sea.
6 He enlarged his nation’s borders
And gained control of his country.
7 He also gathered many captives
And ruled Gazara and Beth-zur and the citadel.
When he removed from it the uncleanness,
No one opposed him.
8 They farmed their land in peace,
And the land gave forth its produce,
And the trees of the plain their fruit.
9 Elders sat in the streets,
Talking together of good things;
And the young men wore the glories and apparel of war.
10 He supplied the cities with food
And furnished them with weapons of defense,
Until his fame spread to the ends of the earth.
11 He established peace in the land,
And Israel rejoiced with great delight.
12 Each one sat under his vine and fig tree,
And no one made them afraid.
13 He caused war to cease in the land,
And kings were defeated in those days.
14 He fortified all the humble among his people;
He demanded adherence to the law
And removed all the lawless and evil men.
15 He beautified the sanctuary
And multiplied the vessels of the sanctuary.
Alliances Renewed with Rome and Sparta
16 When it was heard in Rome and as far away as Sparta that Jonathan had died, they were in great sorrow. 17 But when they heard that his brother Simon had been made high priest in his place and was ruling over the land and the cities in it, 18 they wrote to him on bronze plaques to renew the friendship and alliance they had built with him and with his brothers Judas and Jonathan. 19 These tablets were read before all the people gathered in Jerusalem.
20 This is a copy of the letters the Spartans sent:
“The leaders and the city of the Spartans, to Simon, the high priest, and the elders and the priests, and to all the Jewish people, our brothers, greetings. 21 The ambassadors who were sent by you to our people told us about your glory and honor, and we were overjoyed at their coming. 22 So we recorded what was said by them in our public decrees as follows: ‘Numenius, son of Antiochus, and Antipater, the son of Jason, ambassadors of the Jews, came to renew their friendship with us. 23 Our citizens were pleased to receive them honorably and to place a copy of their words in the public archives, so the people of the Spartans might have a record of them. They also sent a copy of this to Simon the high priest.’ ”
  24 Later, Simon dispatched Numenius to Rome with a large gold shield that weighed a thousand minas, to verify the alliance with them.
Psalms 19

1 For the End; a psalm by David.

2 May the Lord hear you in the day of affliction;

May the name of the God of Jacob defend you.

3 May He send you help from His holy place,

And may He support you from Zion.

4 May He remember every sacrifice of yours,

And may your whole burnt offering be honored.


5 May He give you according to your heart,

May He fulfill all your counsel.

6 We will greatly rejoice in Your salvation,

And in the name of our God we will be magnified.

7 Now I know the Lord has saved His anointed;

He will hear him from His holy heaven;

The salvation of His right hand is mighty.

8 Some glory in chariots, some in horses,

But in the name of the Lord our God we shall be magnified.

9 Their feet were tied together; so they fell;

But we rose up and were restored.

10 O Lord, save Your King,

And hear us in the day we call upon You.

Proverbs 3:28–32

28 And do not be afraid of intimidation when it comes upon you,

Nor of the attack of the ungodly when it comes at you;

29 For the Lord will be over all your ways,

And He will plant your feet firmly, that you may not be shaken.

30 Do not withhold doing good to the needy,

When you may give a helping hand;

31 Do not say, when you are able to do good,

“Come back tomorrow, and I will give you something”;

For you do not know what the next day will bring forth.

32 Do not devise evil things against your friend

Who dwells beside you and trusts in you.

Acts 20:17–38

17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 [c]But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my [d]race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent[e] of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not [f]shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church [g]of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking [h]perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 [i]Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 Then they all wept [j]freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.

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