1 Maccabees 11Good News Translation (GNT)
The Fall of Alexander Epiphanes
11 King Ptolemy the Sixth of Egypt assembled an army of soldiers more numerous than the grains of sand along the seashore, and he also gathered a great fleet of ships. He intended to trap Alexander, take his kingdom, and add it to his own, 2 so he went to Syria with promises of peace, and the citizens opened their gates to him and welcomed him. King Alexander had ordered them to do this because Ptolemy was his father-in-law. 3 But as Ptolemy moved north, he stationed a detachment of troops in each town. 4 When he reached Azotus, the people there showed him the burned ruins of the temple of Dagon and all the destruction in the city and the surrounding towns. There were corpses everywhere. The bodies of the men Jonathan had burned to death during the battle were now stacked up along Ptolemy's route. 5 The people told him what Jonathan had done, hoping that he would hold him responsible, but Ptolemy said nothing. 6 Jonathan, with all the proper ceremony, went to Joppa to meet him. They exchanged greetings and spent the night there. 7 Jonathan accompanied him as far as the Eleutherus River before returning to Jerusalem. 8 In this way King Ptolemy, in his plot against Alexander, took control of the towns along the coast as far north as Seleucia-by-the-sea.
9 From there King Ptolemy sent this message to King Demetrius:
11 Ptolemy made this accusation against Alexander because he wanted to take over his kingdom. 12 So he took his daughter away from Alexander and gave her to Demetrius; he broke off all relations with Alexander, and they became open enemies. 13 Then Ptolemy entered Antioch and assumed the crown of Syria; so he wore both the crown of Egypt and the crown of Syria.
14 King Alexander was in Cilicia at the time because the people of that region were in a state of rebellion. 15 But when he heard what Ptolemy had done, he moved to attack him. Ptolemy met him with a large force and won a decisive victory. 16 While Ptolemy reached the peak of his power, Alexander fled to Arabia to find protection, 17 but an Arab named Zabdiel cut off his head and sent it to Ptolemy. 18 Two days later Ptolemy himself died, and the troops he had left in the fortresses were then killed by the local citizens. 19 So in the year 167[a] Demetrius the Second became king.
Jonathan Wins the Favor of Demetrius the Second
20 About that time Jonathan gathered the men of Judea to attack the fort in Jerusalem. They built many siege platforms to use in the attack. 21 But some traitorous Jews who hated their own nation went to King Demetrius the Second and told him that Jonathan was laying siege to the fort in Jerusalem. 22 When Demetrius heard this, he was furious and immediately moved his headquarters to Ptolemais. He wrote to Jonathan and ordered him to lift the siege and to meet him for a conference in Ptolemais without a moment's delay.
23 When Jonathan got the message, he gave orders for the siege to continue, and then chose some Jewish leaders and some priests to go with him. At the risk of his life, 24 he went to the king in Ptolemais, taking along robes, silver and gold, and many other gifts. He made a good impression on the king. 25 Although some lawless traitors of his own nation had made accusations against Jonathan, 26 the king still treated him just as his predecessors had done. He honored him in the presence of all his advisers, 27 and confirmed him as High Priest, restoring all his former honors and appointing him to the highest rank among the
Friends of the King.
28 Jonathan asked the king to release the territory of Judea and the three regions of Samaria[b] from the payment of taxes, promising that if Demetrius would do that, he would pay him a lump sum of 22,000 pounds of silver. 29 The king agreed and wrote a letter to Jonathan to confirm all this:
30 King Demetrius to King Jonathan and to the Jewish nation, greetings.
31 For your information I am sending a copy of the letter I have written to the Honorable Lasthenes about you:
32 King Demetrius to the Honorable Lasthenes, greetings. 33 I have decided to grant the Jewish nation certain benefits because they are our loyal allies and keep their treaty obligations. 34 I confirm their rights to the land of Judea and the three regions of Ephraim, Lydda, and Arimathea, which are hereby annexed to Judea from Samaria with all the lands belonging to them. This will be of benefit to everyone who goes to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice, since payments of the annual tax on produce and fruit from these lands will no longer be made to the king, but to the Temple. 35 And I also grant them relief from the payment of revenues now due me from tithes, tolls, salt taxes, and special taxes. 36 None of the provisions mentioned in this letter shall ever be canceled in the future.
37 You are required to see that a complete copy of this decree is made and given to Jonathan, to be posted in a prominent place on the Temple hill.
Jonathan Helps Demetrius the Second
38 When King Demetrius saw that the land was peaceful under his rule and there was no further resistance, he disbanded his whole army and sent everyone home, except the soldiers he had hired from the Greek islands. This made all the soldiers who had served under his predecessors hate him because they had lost their source of income. 39 One of Alexander's former supporters, Trypho, saw that all the soldiers were complaining about Demetrius, so he went to Imalkue, the Arab who was responsible for bringing up Alexander's young son Antiochus. 40 Trypho stayed there for a long time and kept urging Imalkue to hand the boy over to him, so that he could make him king in place of his father. He also told Imalkue about the decrees of Demetrius and how the soldiers hated him.
41 Jonathan sent a message to King Demetrius asking him to remove his troops from the fort in Jerusalem and from the fortresses in Judea, since they kept harassing the Jews. 42 Demetrius replied: I will do what you request, and when the opportunity presents itself, I will bestow upon you and your nation the highest honors. 43 But now you can help me by sending soldiers to fight for me, because all of my troops have revolted.
44 So Jonathan sent 3,000 trained soldiers to Antioch. The king was delighted when they arrived, 45 because a mob of 120,000 had gathered in the city determined to kill him. 46 But he escaped to the palace while the mob took control of the streets and began to riot. 47 Then the king called on the Jewish soldiers for help, and they all rushed to his aid. They went through the whole city and killed at least 100,000 people. 48 They saved the king's life, but they plundered and burned the city. 49 When the people saw that the Jews had complete control of the city, they lost courage and appealed to the king, requesting 50 him to arrange a truce and stop the Jewish attack. 51 The rebels threw down their arms and surrendered. The king and everyone in his kingdom now had great respect for the Jews, who returned to Jerusalem with a great deal of loot. 52 Demetrius was firmly established as king, and the country was at peace under his rule, 53 but he broke all his promises and turned against Jonathan. He did not reward him for his loyal service, but instead continued to harass him.
Jonathan Supports Antiochus the Sixth
54 Some time later, Trypho returned with the young boy Antiochus and crowned him king. 55 All the soldiers that Demetrius had dismissed then came to the support of the young king. They defeated Demetrius, and he fled. 56 Trypho captured the elephants and took control of Antioch. 57 The young King Antiochus wrote to Jonathan and confirmed him as High Priest and as ruler over the four regions and gave him the title
Friend of the King. 58 He sent him a set of gold tableware and authorized him to drink from gold cups, to wear a royal robe, and to wear the gold shoulder buckle awarded to
60 Jonathan then marched with his army through the towns of Greater Syria, and all the Syrian forces joined him as allies. He went to Ascalon, where the people welcomed him with great honors. 61 Then he went to Gaza, but the people there barred their gates against him. So he laid siege to the city and burned and looted the surrounding area. 62 The people of Gaza then asked for peace, and Jonathan arranged a truce. He took the sons of the leaders and sent them to Jerusalem as hostages. After that he marched on as far as Damascus.
63 Jonathan learned that the officers of Demetrius had come to Kedesh in Galilee with a large army, intending to keep him from carrying out his plan. 64 So he left his brother Simon in Judea and set out to meet them in battle. 65 Then Simon laid siege to Bethzur and fought against it for a long time. 66 The people asked for peace terms, and Simon agreed. He then took over the town, drove the people out, and stationed a detachment of troops there.
67 Jonathan and his army set up camp by Lake Galilee. Early the next morning he marched his troops to the plain of Hazor, 68 where the main force of the foreign army was advancing to meet him. Unknown to Jonathan, they had left a detachment of troops in ambush in the mountains, 69 and when the men in ambush came out and attacked, 70 Jonathan's entire army turned and ran. No one was left, except two officers, Mattathias son of Absalom and Judas son of Chalphi. 71 Jonathan was humiliated, so he tore his clothes, threw dust on his head, and prayed. 72 Then he turned back to the battle, crushed the enemy, and put them to flight. 73 When his own fleeing soldiers saw this, they turned back and joined him in pursuit. They chased the enemy all the way back to their camp at Kedesh and then took over the camp. 74 At least 3,000 enemy soldiers were killed that day. Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.