1 Maccabees 15 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Letter of Antiochus VII
15 Anti′ochus, the son of Deme′trius the king, sent a letter from the islands of the sea to Simon, the priest and ethnarch of the Jews, and to all the nation; 2 its contents were as follows: “King Anti′ochus to Simon the high priest and ethnarch and to the nation of the Jews, greeting. 3 Whereas certain pestilent men have gained control of the kingdom of our fathers, and I intend to lay claim to the kingdom so that I may restore it as it formerly was, and have recruited a host of mercenary troops and have equipped warships, 4 and intend to make a landing in the country so that I may proceed against those who have destroyed our country and those who have devastated many cities in my kingdom, 5 now therefore I confirm to you all the tax remissions that the kings before me have granted you, and release from all the other payments from which they have released you. 6 I permit you to mint your own coinage as money for your country, 7 and I grant freedom to Jerusalem and the sanctuary. All the weapons which you have prepared and the strongholds which you have built and now hold shall remain yours. 8 Every debt you owe to the royal treasury and any such future debts shall be canceled for you from henceforth and for all time. 9 When we gain control of our kingdom, we will bestow great honor upon you and your nation and the temple, so that your glory will become manifest in all the earth.”
10 In the one hundred and seventy-fourth year[a] Anti′ochus set out and invaded the land of his fathers. All the troops rallied to him, so that there were few with Trypho. 11 Anti′ochus pursued him, and he came in his flight to Dor, which is by the sea; 12 for he knew that troubles had converged upon him, and his troops had deserted him. 13 So Anti′ochus encamped against Dor, and with him were a hundred and twenty thousand warriors and eight thousand cavalry. 14 He surrounded the city, and the ships joined battle from the sea; he pressed the city hard from land and sea, and permitted no one to leave or enter it.
Rome Supports the Jews
15 Then Nume′nius and his companions arrived from Rome, with letters to the kings and countries, in which the following was written: 16 “Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptol′emy, greeting. 17 The envoys of the Jews have come to us as our friends and allies to renew our ancient friendship and alliance. They had been sent by Simon the high priest and by the people of the Jews, 18 and have brought a gold shield weighing a thousand minas. 19 We therefore have decided to write to the kings and countries that they should not seek their harm or make war against them and their cities and their country, or make alliance with those who war against them. 20 And it has seemed good to us to accept the shield from them. 21 Therefore if any pestilent men have fled to you from their country, hand them over to Simon the high priest, that he may punish them according to their law.”
22 The consul[b] wrote the same thing to Deme′trius the king and to At′talus and Ariar′athes and Ar′saces, 23 and to all the countries, and to Sam′psames,[c] and to the Spartans, and to Delos, and to Myndos, and to Sic′yon, and to Ca′ria, and to Samos, and to Pamphyl′ia, and to Lyc′ia, and to Halicarnas′sus, and to Rhodes, and to Phase′lis, and to Cos, and to Side, and to Ar′adus and Gorty′na and Cnidus and Cyprus and Cyre′ne. 24 They also sent a copy of these things to Simon the high priest.
Antiochus VII Threatens Simon
25 Anti′ochus the king besieged Dor anew,[d] continually throwing his forces against it and making engines of war; and he shut Trypho up and kept him from going out or in. 26 And Simon sent to Anti′ochus two thousand picked men, to fight for him, and silver and gold and much military equipment. 27 But he refused to receive them, and he broke all the agreements he formerly had made with Simon,[e] and became estranged from him. 28 He sent to him Athenob′ius, one of his friends, to confer with him, saying, “You hold control of Joppa and Gazar′a and the citadel in Jerusalem; they are cities of my kingdom. 29 You have devastated their territory, you have done great damage in the land, and you have taken possession of many places in my kingdom. 30 Now then, hand over the cities which you have seized and the tribute money of the places which you have conquered outside the borders of Judea; 31 or else give me for them five hundred talents of silver, and for the destruction that you have caused and the tribute money of the cities, five hundred talents more. Otherwise we will come and conquer you.”
32 So Athenob′ius the friend of the king came to Jerusalem, and when he saw the splendor of Simon, and the sideboard with its gold and silver plate, and his great magnificence, he was amazed. He reported to him the words of the king, 33 but Simon gave him this reply: “We have neither taken foreign land nor seized foreign property, but only the inheritance of our fathers, which at one time had been unjustly taken by our enemies. 34 Now that we have the opportunity, we are firmly holding the inheritance of our fathers. 35 As for Joppa and Gazar′a, which you demand, they were causing great damage among the people and to our land; for them we will give a hundred talents.” Athenob′ius[f] did not answer him a word, 36 but returned in wrath to the king and reported to him these words and the splendor of Simon and all that he had seen. And the king was greatly angered.
Victory over Cendebeus
37 Now Trypho embarked on a ship and escaped to Ortho′sia. 38 Then the king made Cendebe′us commander-in-chief of the coastal country, and gave him troops of infantry and cavalry. 39 He commanded him to encamp against Judea, and commanded him to build up Kedron and fortify its gates, and to make war on the people; but the king pursued Trypho. 40 So Cendebe′us came to Jam′nia and began to provoke the people and invade Judea and take the people captive and kill them. 41 He built up Kedron and stationed there horsemen and troops, so that they might go out and make raids along the highways of Judea, as the king had ordered him.