1 Maccabees 14:25-16:24
25 The people heard these words and they said, “How can we show our gratitude to Simon and his sons? 26 For he, his brothers, and his father’s house stood strong and waged war with the enemies of Israel by themselves, and secured her freedom.” So they wrote these words on bronze tablets and put them on the pillars on Mount Zion, 27 and this is a copy of what they wrote:
“On the eighteenth day of Elul, in the hundred and seventy-second year, which is the third year of the great high priest Simon in the court of God’s people, 28 at the large gathering of the priests and people and the rulers of the nation and the elders of the land, the following was made known to us:
29 “Since there have often been wars in the country, Simon the son of Mattathias, priest of the sons of Joarib, with his brothers, placed themselves at risk and opposed their nation’s adversaries, so their sanctuary and the law would be protected; and they honored their nation with great glory. 30 Jonathan also rallied their nation, was made their high priest, and was brought before his people. 31 When their adversaries chose to invade their country and seize their sanctuary, 32 Simon set out to wage war for his country. He spent large amounts of his own money, and supplied weapons to the soldiers in his nation’s army, and paid them wages. 33 Thus he strengthened the cities of Judea, and Beth-zur on the boundary of Judea, where the weapons of the enemy were kept; and he established there a garrison of Jews. 34 He also strengthened Joppa by the sea and Gazara on the boundary of Azotus, where the enemy had previously lived. He moved the Jews there and supplied them with whatever they needed for their welfare.
35 “When the people saw Simon’s dependability and the glory he was committed to bring to his nation, they chose him as their ruler and high priest, because he did all these things and because of the righteousness and good faith he kept toward his nation. In every way he tried to honor his people. 36 Under his rule, everything he touched prospered, and he drove out the Gentiles from the land. The men in the city of David in Jerusalem had made a citadel for themselves, from which they went out and defiled the vicinity of the sanctuary and caused great harm to its purity. 37 Then he settled Jews in it and strengthened it for the security of the country and the city, and built up the walls of Jerusalem to greater heights.
38 “In light of these accomplishments, King Demetrius established him in the high priesthood. 39 He also made him one of his friends and showed him great honor. 40 For he heard the Jews were called friends, allies, and brothers by the Romans and that they had received Simon’s ambassadors with honor.
41 “Thus the Jews and the priests were pleased that Simon should be their ruler and high priest forever, until a faithful prophet should arise. 42 They were also pleased that he should be their governor, and take responsibility for the sanctuary and choose workers to meet its needs, and to look after the country, the weapons and the fortresses. 43 Indeed they decided he should look after the sanctuary and be obeyed by all, that all the contracts of the nation should be drafted with his signature, and that he should be vested in purple and gold.
44 “None of the people or the priests were to be allowed to repeal any of these things, or say anything in opposition to him, or hold an assembly of the people without him, or be clothed in purple, or wear a gold buckle. 45 Anyone who should do anything contrary to these decisions or nullify any of them was to be held liable.
46 “All the people resolved that Simon should act according to these decisions. 47 So Simon consented, agreeing to become high priest, and to be the governor and ethnarch of the Jews and priests and the guardian of all.”
48 They commanded that this decree be inscribed on bronze tablets and be put in a public place near the sanctuary. 49 Copies were also placed in the treasury, accessible to Simon and his sons.
Antiochus VII Seeks Simon’s Help
1 Then Antiochus, son of King Demetrius, sent a letter from the islands of the sea to Simon, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, and to all the nation. 2 It contained the following:
“Antiochus the King to Simon, high priest and ethnarch, and the nation of the Jews, greetings. 3 Since certain troublemakers gained the mastery over the kingdom of our fathers, I wish to lay claim to the kingdom so I can establish it as it was before. I have recruited a multitude of troops and prepared war ships. 4 I plan to go throughout the nation, that I may pursue those who laid our country to ruin and desolated many of its cities. 5 Now therefore, I validate your tax remissions, which the kings before me forgave you, and whatever other payments they remitted for you. 6 I also authorize you to make your own coinage as money for your nation, 7 and allow Jerusalem and the sanctuary to be free. All the weapons you prepared and the fortresses you built, which you seized, let them remain with you. 8 Every money you owe the royal treasury, as well as future debts, let them be remitted from now on and for all time. 9 As soon as we regain control of our kingdom, we will honor you and your nation and the temple with great glory, that your glory may be evident in all the earth.”
10 In the one hundred seventy-fourth year, King Antiochus went to the land of his fathers and all his soldiers went with him. Few sided with Trypho. 11 When Antiochus went after him, he fled to Dora by sea, 12 for he knew that calamity had come upon him. His armies deserted him. 13 Then Antiochus set up camp opposite Dora with one hundred and twenty thousand fighting men and eight thousand cavalry. 14 He encircled the city, and the ships joined the battle from the sea. So he pressed hard against the city by land and sea and did not allow anyone to leave or enter.
The Jews Receive Rome’s Support
15 Then Numenius and his men came from Rome with letters to the kings and their countries, in which the following was contained:
16 “Lucius, the Roman consul, to Ptolemy the king, greetings. 17 The ambassadors of the Jews came to us as friends and allies to renew their longstanding friendship and alliance. They were sent from Simon, the high priest, and by the Jewish people, 18 and brought a gold shield of a thousand minas. 19 Therefore it pleased us to write the kings and their countries, that they not seek to hurt them or wage war against them and their cities and country, or form alignments with those who fight them. 20 It seems right to accept the shield from them. 21 If therefore any troublemakers have escaped from their country to you, give them over to Simon the high priest, that he might prosecute them according to their law.”
22 The consul wrote identical letters to King Demetrius, and to Attalus, Ariarathes, and Arsaces, 23 and to all the nations, to Sampsames, and the Spartans, and to Delos, Myndos, Sieyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Arados, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus, and Cyrene. 24 They also sent a copy to Simon the high priest.
Antiochus VII Turns on Simon
25 Meanwhile, King Antiochus besieged Dora a second time, repeatedly launching his forces against it and building engines of war. He put Trypho in confinement, so he could neither go out or go in. 26 Then Simon sent Antiochus two thousand chosen men as allies, along with silver, gold, and considerable weaponry. 27 But Antiochus decided not to accept these things; he broke all the former agreements he had made with Simon, becoming estranged from him. 28 Then he sent Athenobius, one of his friends, to confer with him, saying, “You control Joppa, Gazara, and the citadel in Jerusalem; they are cities of my kingdom. 29 You desolated their territory and caused great damage in the land; and you rule over many places in my kingdom. 30 Now therefore, give back the cities you took and the taxes from the places you rule outside the boundaries of Judea. 31 Otherwise, give me five hundred talents of silver for them, as well as five hundred talents more for the destruction you caused and for the tribute of the cities; or else we will wage war and defeat you.”
32 When Athenobius, the friend of the king, entered Jerusalem and saw the glory of Simon and the sideboard plated with gold and silver, a magnificent display, he stood amazed. Then he reported the words of the king to him. 33 Thus Simon answered and said to him, “We have not taken any foreign land, nor have we captured foreign property, but only the inheritance of our fathers, which years ago was seized unjustly by our adversaries. 34 But now that we have occasion, we are holding firmly to the inheritance of our fathers. 35 And as for Joppa and Gazara, which you want, their people were causing great damage to our people and our country. For them we will give you one hundred talents.” 36 Athenobius said not a word in reply, but returned to the king in anger. When he relayed to him these words, plus Simon’s splendor and everything he witnessed, the king was extremely enraged.
37 Now Trypho had boarded a ship and escaped to Orthosia. 38 So the king made Cendebeus his commander-in-chief of the seacoast and gave him infantry soldiers and cavalry. 39 He then ordered him to encamp opposite Judea, and further ordered him to build Kedron and strengthen its gates, and to wage war against the people. But the king himself pursued Trypho. 40 When Cendebeus arrived in Jamnia, he began to harass the people. He also invaded Judea, took people captive, and killed them. 41 Then he built up Kedron and stationed cavalry and soldiers there, so they could march through the roads of Judea, making roads as the king commanded him.
Simon’s Sons Defeat Cendebeus
1 Then John traveled from Gazara and told his father Simon the damage Cendebeus was inflicting. 2 So Simon called his two oldest sons, Judas and John, and said to them, “My brothers and I and my father’s house have fought Israel’s battles from our youth until this very day. Things have gone well for us, so as to rescue Israel many times over. 3 Now I have become old, and you by His mercy are men of maturity. Take over my position and my brother’s role and go fight for our country, and may the help sent from heaven be yours.”
4 Thus John chose twenty thousand fighting men and cavalry from the country. Together they marched toward Cendebeus and encamped overnight in Modein. 5 They arose early, marching to the plain. Behold, a huge army was marching out to meet them, infantry and cavalry, and there was a stream between them. 6 John and his army faced off against them, and when he saw that his troops were afraid to ford the stream, he crossed first. His soldiers saw him and crossed behind him. 7 He then divided up the men, putting the cavalry in the middle of the infantry, for the enemy’s cavalry was very large. 8 When they sounded the trumpet, Cendebeus and his army were routed, and numbers of them fell wounded. The rest of them fled into the fortress. 9 Then Judas, the brother of John, was wounded, but John pursued them until Cendebeus reached Kedron, where he had done construction. 10 When they ran into the towers in the fields of Azotus, John set them afire, and roughly two thousand of their men perished. Then he returned to Judea in peace.
John Succeeds Simon
11 Now Ptolemy, the son of Abubus, had been made governor to rule over the plain of Jericho. He had large hoards of silver and gold, 12 for he was the son-in-law of the high priest. 13 He was optimistic and full of determination to seize control of the country. So he developed an evil strategy to seize Simon and his sons by trickery.
14 Now Simon was paying a visit to the cities throughout the country, concentrating on their needs. So he went down to Jericho along with his sons Mattathias and Judas in the one hundred and seventy-seventh year, in the eleventh month, the month of Shebat. 15 The son of Abubus received them with deceit in the little fortress called Dok, which he had erected, and he gave them a grand feast and hid the men there. 16 So when Simon and his sons became drunk, Ptolemy and his soldiers emerged and grabbed their weapons. When they encountered Simon in the banquet hall, they murdered him along with his two sons and certain of his servants. 17 Indeed, Ptolemy committed great treachery, returning evil for good.
18 Ptolemy then drafted a report to the king about these things and asked that he might send him soldiers to help, and to secure their country and cities. 19 He also dispatched soldiers to Gazara to seize John, and sent letters to military tribunes to come to him, so he might give them silver, gold, and gifts. 20 Then he sent others to capture Jerusalem and the temple hill. 21 But somebody ran ahead and told John in Gazara that his father and his brothers had been killed and that “he has sent men to kill you as well.” 22 When John heard this, he was deeply shocked. He captured the soldiers who came to crush him and killed them; for he discovered they were there to kill him.
23 The rest of John’s words and his war history and brave acts, which he did so courageously, plus the heightening of the walls which he built, and his other accomplishments, 24 behold, they are written in the book of his high priesthood, from when he was first made high priest following his father.
1 For the End; a psalm by David.
2 O Lord, the king shall be glad in Your power,
And in Your salvation he will greatly rejoice.
3 You gave him his soul’s desire,
And You did not deprive him of his lips’ request.
4 For You anticipated him with blessings of goodness;
You placed a crown of precious stones on his head.
5 He asked You for life, and You gave it to him,
Length of days unto ages of ages.
6 Great is his glory in Your salvation;
Glory and majesty You shall place upon him.
7 For You shall give him blessing unto ages of ages;
You shall fill him with the joy of Your presence.
8 For the king hopes in the Lord,
And in the mercy of the Most High he will not be shaken.
9 May Your hand be found on all Your enemies;
May Your right hand find all who hate You.
10 You shall make them like a fiery furnace
In the time of Your presence;
The Lord shall throw them into confusion in His wrath,
And the fire shall devour them.
11 You shall destroy their offspring from the earth
And their seed from among the sons of men.
12 For they vented all their evils against You;
They reasoned through a counsel they could not establish.
13 For You shall make them turn their back;
Among Your remnants, You shall make ready their countenance.
14 Be exalted, O Lord, in Your power;
We will sing and praise Your mighty deeds.
33 Do not be ready to quarrel with a man in vain,
Lest he do you some harm.
34 Do not incur the reproach of evil men,
Neither seek their ways;
35 For every lawless man is unclean before the Lord,
And he does not sit among the righteous.
36 The curse of God is in the houses of the ungodly,
But He blesses the dwellings of the righteous.
37 The Lord opposes the arrogant,
But He gives grace to the humble.
38 The wise shall inherit glory,
But the ungodly exalt dishonor.
21 Now it came to pass, that when we had departed from them and set sail, running a straight course we came to Cos, the following day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And finding a ship sailing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had sighted Cyprus, we passed it on the left, sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo. 4 And finding [a]disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem. 5 When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed. 6 When we had taken our leave of one another, we boarded the ship, and they returned home.
7 And when we had finished our voyage from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, greeted the brethren, and stayed with them one day. 8 On the next day we [b]who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. 10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”
12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”
15 And after those days we [c]packed and went up to Jerusalem. 16 Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge.