1 Maccabees 15
Good News Translation
Antiochus the Seventh Asks for Simon's Support
15 From the Greek islands Antiochus son of King Demetrius wrote the following letter to Simon the High Priest and governor of the Jews and to the whole nation:
2 King Antiochus to Simon, the High Priest and governor, and to the Jewish nation, greetings. 3 As you know, the kingdom of my ancestors has been seized by traitors. I have decided to reclaim it and restore its former greatness. I have raised a large army of mercenary troops and have fitted out warships. 4 I plan to invade the land and to attack those who have destroyed many of the towns and ruined the country.
5 Now therefore, I confirm all exemptions from taxes and payments granted you by former kings. 6 I authorize you to mint your own coins as legal currency in your own country. 7 Jerusalem and the Temple shall be free of taxation. All the weapons that you have manufactured and the defenses you have built and now occupy shall remain yours. 8 In addition, all debts now owed to the royal treasury, or which may in the future fall due, are permanently canceled. 9 As soon as I have regained control of my kingdom, I will confer upon you, your nation, and the Temple such great honors that the glory of your country will be evident to the whole world.
10 In the year 174[a] Antiochus invaded the land of his ancestors. Most of the soldiers came over to his side, so that there were very few left with Trypho. 11 Trypho, pursued by Antiochus, fled to the coastal city of Dor, 12 realizing that he was in a desperate situation, now that all his troops had deserted him. 13 Then Antiochus laid siege to Dor with 120,000 well-trained soldiers and 8,000 cavalry. 14 With his ships joining the attack, he completely surrounded the town and brought such pressure on it that no one was able to enter or leave.
Rome Supports the Jews
15 (A)Meanwhile, Numenius and those with him arrived in Jerusalem from Rome with the following letter addressed to various kings and countries:
16 From Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, greetings. 17 A delegation from our friends and allies the Jews has come to us to renew the earlier treaty of friendship and alliance. They were sent by the High Priest Simon and the Jewish people, 18 and they have brought as a gift a gold shield weighing half a ton. 19 So we have decided to write to various kings and countries urging them not to harm the Jews, their towns, or their country in any way. They must not make war against the Jews or give support to those who attack them. 20 We have decided to accept the shield and grant them protection. 21 Therefore if any traitors escape from Judea and seek refuge in your land, hand them over to Simon the High Priest, so that he may punish them according to Jewish law.
22 Lucius wrote the same letter to King Demetrius, to Attalus, Ariarathes, and Arsaces, 23 and to all the following countries: Sampsames, Sparta, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus, and Cyrene. 24 A copy of the letter was also sent to Simon the High Priest.
Antiochus the Seventh Breaks with Simon
25 King Antiochus laid siege to Dor for a second time, keeping it under constant attack. He built siege platforms, and his blockade kept Trypho and his men from going in or out. 26 Simon sent 2,000 well-trained soldiers to help Antiochus, as well as silver and gold and a great deal of equipment. 27 But Antiochus refused to accept them, canceled all the previous agreements that he had made with Simon, and became his enemy. 28 Then Antiochus sent his trusted official Athenobius to negotiate with Simon. He told Simon,
You are occupying Joppa, Gezer, and the fort in Jerusalem, cities that belong to my kingdom. 29 You have devastated those regions and brought great trouble to the country. You have seized control of many places in my kingdom. 30 Now you must hand back these cities that you have captured, and you must give me the tax money that you have taken from places that you occupied outside the territory of Judea. 31 If you are unwilling to do this, then you must pay me 30,000 pounds of silver, and 30,000 additional pounds of silver to compensate me for damages and for lost taxes. If you refuse to do either of these, we will go to war against you.
32 When Athenobius came to Jerusalem and saw the splendor of Simon's court, the gold and silver tableware in his banquet hall, and the rest of the display of great wealth, he was amazed. He delivered the king's message to Simon, 33 and Simon answered,
We have never taken land away from other nations or confiscated anything that belonged to other people. On the contrary, we have simply taken back property that we inherited from our ancestors, land that had been unjustly taken away from us by our enemies at one time or another. 34 We are now only making use of this opportunity to recover our ancestral heritage. 35 As for Joppa and Gezer, which you claim, we will give you 6,000 pounds of silver, in spite of the fact that the people of those cities have done great harm to our nation.
Athenobius made no reply, 36 but he returned to the king in a rage. When he told the king what Simon had said, and reported on the splendor of Simon's court and all that he had seen, the king became violently angry.
John's Victory over Cendebeus
37 In the meantime, Trypho had boarded a ship and escaped to the town of Orthosia. 38 King Antiochus appointed Cendebeus as commander of the coastal area, provided him with infantry and cavalry, 39 and gave him orders to move against Judea. He also ordered him to rebuild the town of Kedron and fortify its gates, so that he could fight against the Jewish people. The king himself continued to pursue Trypho.
40 Cendebeus then came to Jamnia and began to harass the Jews by invading Judea, capturing people, and murdering them. 41 He rebuilt Kedron and stationed some cavalry and infantry units there, so that they could make attacks and patrol the roads of Judea, as the king had ordered.
- 1 Maccabees 15:10 the year 174: This corresponds to 138 B.C.
1 Maccabees 15
New Revised Standard Version
Letter of Antiochus VII
15 Antiochus, son of King Demetrius, 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 Antiochus to Simon the high priest and ethnarch and to the nation of the Jews, greetings. 3 Whereas certain scoundrels have gained control of the kingdom of our ancestors, 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 a 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 that you have prepared and the strongholds that 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 on you and your nation and the temple, so that your glory will become manifest in all the earth.”
10 In the one hundred seventy-fourth year[a] Antiochus set out and invaded the land of his ancestors. All the troops rallied to him, so that there were only a few with Trypho. 11 Antiochus pursued him, and Trypho[b] came in his flight to Dor, which is by the sea; 12 for he knew that troubles had converged on him, and his troops had deserted him. 13 So Antiochus encamped against Dor, and with him were one hundred twenty thousand warriors and eight thousand cavalry. 14 He surrounded the town, and the ships joined battle from the sea; he pressed the town hard from land and sea, and permitted no one to leave or enter it.
Rome Supports the Jews
15 Then Numenius 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 Ptolemy, greetings. 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 the high priest Simon and by the Jewish people 18 and have brought a gold shield weighing one 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 scoundrels have fled to you from their country, hand them over to the high priest Simon, so that he may punish them according to their law.”
22 The consul[c] wrote the same thing to King Demetrius and to Attalus and Ariarathes and Arsaces, 23 and to all the countries, and to Sampsames,[d] and to the Spartans, and to Delos, and to Myndos, and to Sicyon, and to Caria, and to Samos, and to Pamphylia, and to Lycia, and to Halicarnassus, and to Rhodes, and to Phaselis, and to Cos, and to Side, and to Aradus and Gortyna and Cnidus and Cyprus and Cyrene. 24 They also sent a copy of these things to the high priest Simon.
Antiochus VII Threatens Simon
25 King Antiochus besieged Dor for the second time, 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 Antiochus[e] two thousand picked troops, to fight for him, and silver and gold and a large amount of military equipment. 27 But he refused to receive them, and broke all the agreements he formerly had made with Simon, and became estranged from him. 28 He sent to him Athenobius, one of his Friends, to confer with him, saying, “You hold control of Joppa and Gazara 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 that you have seized and the tribute money of the places that you have conquered outside the borders of Judea; 31 or else pay me five hundred talents of silver for the destruction that you have caused and five hundred talents more for the tribute money of the cities. Otherwise we will come and make war on you.”
32 So Athenobius, the king’s Friend, 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. When he reported to him the king’s message, 33 Simon said to him in reply: “We have neither taken foreign land nor seized foreign property, but only the inheritance of our ancestors, 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 ancestors. 35 As for Joppa and Gazara, which you demand, they were causing great damage among the people and to our land; for them we will give you one hundred talents.”
Athenobius[f] did not answer him a word, 36 but returned in wrath to the king and reported to him these words, and also the splendor of Simon and all that he had seen. And the king was very angry.
Victory over Cendebeus
37 Meanwhile Trypho embarked on a ship and escaped to Orthosia. 38 Then the king made Cendebeus commander-in-chief of the coastal country, and gave him troops of infantry and cavalry. 39 He commanded him to encamp against Judea, to build up Kedron and fortify its gates, and to make war on the people; but the king pursued Trypho. 40 So Cendebeus came to Jamnia and began to provoke the people and invade Judea and take the people captive and kill them. 41 He built up Kedron and stationed horsemen and troops there, so that they might go out and make raids along the highways of Judea, as the king had ordered him.
1 Maccabees 15
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition
15 And king Antiochus the son of Demetrius sent letters from the isles of the sea to Simon the priest, and prince of the nation of the Jews, and to all the people:
2 And the contents were these: King Antiochus to Simon the high priest, and to the nation of the Jews, greeting.
3 Forasmuch as certain pestilent men have usurped the kingdom of our fathers, and my purpose is to challenge the kingdom, and to restore it to its former estate: and I have chosen a great army, and have built ships of war.
4 And I design to go through the country that I may take revenge of them that have destroyed our country, and that have made many cities desolate in my realm.
5 Now therefore I confirm unto thee all the oblations which all the kings before me remitted to thee, and what other gifts soever they remitted to thee:
6 And I give thee leave to coin thy own money in thy country:
7 And let Jerusalem be holy and free, and all the armour that hath been made, and the fortresses which thou hast built, and which thou keepest in thy hands, let them remain to thee.
8 And all that is due to the king, and what should be the king's hereafter, from this present and for ever, is forgiven thee.
9 And when we shall have recovered our kingdom, we will glorify thee, and thy nation, and the temple with great glory, so that your glory shall be made manifest in all the earth.
10 In the year one hundred and seventy-four Antiochus entered into the land of his fathers, and all the forces assembled to him, so that few were left with Tryphon.
11 And king Antiochus pursued after him, and he fled along by the sea coast and came to Dora.
12 For he perceived that evils were gathered together upon him, and his troops had forsaken him.
13 And Antiochus camped above Dora with a hundred and twenty thousand men of war, and eight thousand horsemen:
14 And he invested the city, and the ships drew near by sea: and they annoyed the city by land, and by sea, and suffered none to come in, or to go out.
15 And Numenius, and they that had been with him, came from the city of Rome, having letters written to the kings, and countries, the contents whereof were these:
16 Lucius the consul of the Romans, to king Ptolemee, greeting.
17 The ambassadors of the Jews our friends came to us, to renew the former friendship and alliance, being sent from Simon the high priest, and the people of the Jews.
18 And they brought also a shield of gold of a thousand pounds.
19 It hath seemed good therefore to us to write to the kings, and countries, that they should do them no harm, nor fight against them, their cities, or countries: and that they should give no aid to them that fight against them.
20 And it hath seemed good to us to receive the shield of them.
21 If therefore any pestilent men are fled out of their country to you, deliver them to Simon the high priest, that he may punish them according to their law.
22 These same things were written to king Demetrius, and to Attalus, and to Ariarathes, and to Arsaces,
23 And to all the countries; and to Lampsacus, and to the Spartans, and to Delus, and Myndus, and Sicyon, and Caria, and Samus, and Pamphylia, and Lycia, and Alicarnassus, and Cos, and Side, and Aradus, and Rhodes, and Phaselis, and Gortyna, and Gnidus, and Cyprus, and Cyrene.
24 And they wrote a copy thereof to Simon the high priest, and to the people of the Jews.
25 But king Antiochus moved his camp to Dora the second time, assaulting it continually, and making engines: and shut up Tryphon, that he could not go out.
26 And Simon sent to him two thousand chosen men to aid him, silver also, and gold, and abundance of furniture.
27 And he would not receive them, but broke all the covenant that he had made with him before, and alienated himself from him.
28 And he sent to him Athenobius one of his friends, to treat with him, saying: You hold Joppe, and Gazara, and the castle that is in Jerusalem, which are cities of my kingdom:
29 Their borders you have wasted, and you have made great havock in the land, and have got the dominion of many places in my kingdom.
30 Now therefore deliver up the cities that you have taken, and the tributes of the places whereof you have gotten the dominion without the borders of Judea.
31 But if not, give me for them five hundred talents of silver, and for the havock that you have made, and the tributes of the cities other five hundred talents: or else we will come and fight against you.
32 So Athenobius the king's friend came to Jerusalem, and saw the glory of Simon and his magnificence in gold, and silver, and his great equipage, and he was astonished, and told him the king's words.
33 And Simon answered him, and said to him: We have neither taken other men's land, neither do we hold that which is other men's: but the inheritance of our fathers, which was for some time unjustly possessed by our enemies.
34 But we having opportunity claim the inheritance of our fathers.
35 And as to thy complaints concerning Joppe and Gazara, they did great harm to the people, and to our country: yet for these we will give a hundred talents. And Athenobius answered him not a word:
36 But returning in a rage to the king, made report to him of these words, and of the glory of Simon, and of all that he had seen, and the king was exceeding angry.
37 And Tryphon fled away by ship to Orthosias.
38 And the king appointed Cendebeus captain of the sea coast, and gave him an army of footmen and horsemen.
39 And he commanded him to march with his army towards Judea: and he commanded him to build up Gedor, and to fortify the gates of the city, and to war against the people. But the king himself pursued after Tryphon.
40 And Cendebeus came to Jamnia, and began to provoke the people, and to ravage Judea, and to take the people prisoners, and to kill, and to build Gedor.
41 And he placed there horsemen, and an army: that they might issue forth, and make incursions upon the ways of Judea, as the king had commanded him.
1 Maccabees 15
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Letter of Antiochus VII. 1 Antiochus,[a] son of King Demetrius, sent a letter from the islands of the sea to Simon, the priest and ethnarch of the Jews, and to all the nation, 2 which read as follows:
“King Antiochus sends greetings to Simon, the high priest and ethnarch, and to the Jewish nation. 3 Whereas certain villains have gained control of the kingdom of our ancestors, I intend to reclaim it, that I may restore it to its former state. I have recruited a large number of mercenary troops and equipped warships. 4 I intend to make a landing in the country so that I may take revenge on those who have ruined our country and laid waste many cities in my kingdom.
5 “Now, therefore, I confirm to you all the tax exemptions that the kings before me granted you and whatever other privileges they conceded to you. 6 I authorize you to coin your own money, as legal tender in your country. 7 Jerusalem and its sanctuary shall be free. All the weapons you have prepared and all the strongholds you have built and now occupy shall remain in your possession. 8 All debts, present or future, due to the royal treasury shall be canceled for you, now and for all time. 9 When we establish our kingdom, we will greatly honor you and your nation and the temple, so that your glory will be manifest in all the earth.”
10 In the one hundred and seventy-fourth year[b] Antiochus invaded the land of his ancestors, and all the troops rallied to him, so that few were left with Trypho. 11 Pursued by Antiochus, Trypho fled to Dor, by the sea,[c] 12 realizing what troubles had come upon him now that his soldiers had deserted him. 13 Antiochus encamped before Dor with a hundred and twenty thousand infantry and eight thousand cavalry. 14 While he surrounded the city, his ships closed from the sea, so that he pressed it hard by land and sea and let no one go in or out.
Roman Alliance Renewed. 15 Meanwhile, Numenius and his companions came from Rome with letters containing this message to various kings and countries:(A) 16 “Lucius,[d] Consul of the Romans, sends greetings to King Ptolemy. 17 Ambassadors of the Jews, our friends and allies, have come to us to renew their earlier friendship and alliance. They had been sent by Simon the high priest and the Jewish people, 18 and they brought with them a gold shield of a thousand minas.(B) 19 Therefore we have decided to write to various kings and countries, that they are not to venture to harm them, or wage war against them or their cities or their country, and are not to assist those who fight against them. 20 We have also decided to accept the shield from them. 21 If, then, any troublemakers from their country take refuge with you, hand them over to Simon the high priest, so that he may punish them according to their law.”
22 The consul sent identical letters to Kings Demetrius, Attalus,[e] Ariarthes and Arsaces; 23 to all the countries—Sampsames, the Spartans, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus, and Cyrene. 24 A copy of the letter was also sent to Simon the high priest.
Hostility from Antiochus VII. 25 When King Antiochus encamped before Dor, he assaulted it continuously both with troops and with the siege engines he had made. He blockaded Trypho by preventing anyone from going in or out. 26 Simon sent to Antiochus’ support two thousand elite troops, together with silver and gold and much equipment. 27 But he refused to accept the aid; in fact, he broke all the agreements he had previously made with Simon and became hostile toward him.(C)
28 He sent Athenobius, one of his Friends, to confer with Simon and say: “You are occupying Joppa and Gazara and the citadel of Jerusalem; these are cities of my kingdom. 29 You have laid waste their territories, done great harm to the land, and taken possession of many districts in my kingdom. 30 Now, therefore, give up the cities you have seized and the tribute money of the districts you control outside the territory of Judea; 31 or instead, pay me five hundred talents of silver for the devastation you have caused and five hundred talents more for the tribute money of the cities. If you do not do this, we will come and make war on you.”
32 So Athenobius, the king’s Friend, came to Jerusalem and on seeing the splendor of Simon’s court, the gold and silver plate on the sideboard, and his rich display, he was amazed. When he gave him the king’s message, 33 Simon said to him in reply: “It is not foreign land we have taken nor have we seized the property of others, but only our ancestral heritage which for a time had been unjustly held by our enemies. 34 Now that we have the opportunity, we are holding on to the heritage of our ancestors. 35 As for Joppa and Gazara, which you demand, those cities were doing great harm to our people and our country. For these we will give you a hundred talents.” Athenobius made no reply, 36 but returned to the king in anger. When he told him of Simon’s words, of his splendor, and of all he had seen, the king fell into a violent rage.
Victory over Cendebeus. 37 Trypho had boarded a ship and escaped to Orthosia.[f] 38 Then the king appointed Cendebeus commander-in-chief of the seacoast, and gave him infantry and cavalry forces. 39 He ordered him to encamp against Judea and to fortify Kedron[g] and strengthen its gates, so that he could wage war on the people. Meanwhile the king went in pursuit of Trypho. 40 When Cendebeus came to Jamnia, he began to harass the people and to make incursions into Judea, where he took people captive and massacred them. 41 As the king ordered, he fortified Kedron and stationed cavalry and infantry there, so that they could go out and patrol the roads of Judea.
- 15:1 Antiochus: Antiochus VII Sidetes, son of Demetrius I, and younger brother of Demetrius II (now a prisoner of the Parthians). At the age of twenty he set out from the island of Rhodes to take his brother’s place and drive out the usurper Trypho.
- 15:10 The one hundred and seventy-fourth year: 138 B.C.
- 15:11 Dor, by the sea: a fortress on the Palestinian coast, fifteen miles south of Carmel.
- 15:16 Lucius: perhaps Lucius Caecilius Metellus, consul in 142 B.C., or Lucius Calpurnicus Piso, consul in 140–139 B.C. This document pertains to Simon’s first years as leader.
- 15:22 Attalus: Attalus II of Pergamum, reigned 159–138 B.C. Ariarthes: Ariarthes V of Cappadocia, reigned 162–130 B.C. Arsaces: see note on 14:2.
- 15:37 Orthosia: a port between Tripoli and the Eleutherus River.
- 15:39 Kedron: a few miles southeast of Jamnia and facing the fortress of Gazara held by John Hyrcanus (13:53; 16:1).