God's New Bible

The First Book of Maccabees

World English Bible Catholic 2020

- Chapter 13 -

Simon is made captain general in the room of his brother. Jonathan is slain by Tryphon. Simon is favoured by Demetrius: he takes Gaza, and the castle of Jerusalem.

Simon heard that Tryphon had gathered together a mighty army to come into the land of Judah and destroy it utterly.
He saw that the people were trembling in great fear. So he went up to Jerusalem and gathered the people together.
He encouraged them, and said to them, “You yourselves know all the things that I, my kindred, and my father’s house have done for the laws and the sanctuary, and the battles and the distresses which we have seen.
Because of this, all my brothers have perished for Israel’s sake, and I am left alone.
Now be it far from me, that I should spare my own life in any time of affliction, for I am not better than my kindred.
However, I will take vengeance for my nation, for the sanctuary, and for our wives and children, because all the Gentiles have gathered out of hatred to destroy us.”
The spirit of the people revived as soon as they heard these words.
They answered with a loud voice, saying, “You are our leader in the place of Judas and Jonathan your brothers.
Fight our battles, and we will do all that you tell us to do.”
He gathered together all the men of war, and hurried to finish the walls of Jerusalem. He fortified it all around.
He sent Jonathan the son of Absalom, and with him a great army, to Joppa. He threw out those who were in it, and lived there.
Tryphon left Ptolemais with a mighty army to enter into the land of Judah, and Jonathan was with him under guard.
But Simon encamped at Adida, near the plain.
Tryphon knew that Simon had risen up in the place of his brother Jonathan, and meant to join battle with him, so he sent ambassadors to him, saying,
“It is for money which Jonathan your brother owed to the king’s treasury, by reason of the offices which he had, that we are detaining him.
Now send one hundred talents of silver and two of his sons for hostages, so that when he is released he may not revolt against us, and we will release him.”
Simon knew that they spoke to him deceitfully, but he sent to get the money and the children, lest perhaps he would arouse great hostility among the people,
who might say, “Because I didn’t send him the money and the children, he perished.”
So he sent the children and the hundred talents, but Tryphon lied, and didn’t release Jonathan.
After this, Tryphon came to invade the land and destroy it, and he went around by the way that leads to Adora. Simon and his army marched near him to every place, wherever he went.
Now the people of the citadel sent to Tryphon ambassadors, urging him to come to them through the wilderness, and to send them food.
So Tryphon prepared all his cavalry to come, but on that night a very heavy snow fell, and he didn’t come because of the snow. He marched off and went into the land of Gilead.
When he came near to Bascama, he killed Jonathan, and he was buried there.
Then Tryphon turned back, and went away into his own land.
Simon sent, and took the bones of Jonathan his brother, and buried him at Modin, the city of his fathers.
All Israel made great lamentation over him, and mourned for him many days.
Simon built a monument on the tomb of his father and his kindred, and raised it high so that it could be seen, with polished stone on the front and back.
He also set up seven pyramids, one near another, for his father, his mother, and his four brothers.
For these, he made an elaborate setting, erecting great pillars around them, and upon the pillars he made suits of armor for a perpetual memorial, and beside the suits of armor, he carved ships, so that they could be seen by all who sail on the sea.
This is the tomb which he made at Modin. It remains to this day.
Now Tryphon deceived the young King Antiochus and killed him,
and reigned in his place. He put on himself the crown of Asia and brought a great calamity upon the land.
Simon built up the strongholds of Judea, and walled them all around with high towers, great walls, gates, and bars; and he stored food in the strongholds.
Simon chose men, and sent to King Demetrius with a request that he grant the country an immunity, because all that Tryphon did was to plunder.
King Demetrius sent to him according to these words, and answered him, and wrote a letter to him, as follows:
“King Demetrius to Simon the high priest and friend(a) of kings, and to the elders and nation of the Jews, greetings.
The golden crown and the palm branch, which you sent, we have received. We are ready to make a steadfast peace with you, yes, and to write to our officers to release you from tribute.
Whatever things we confirmed to you, they are confirmed. The strongholds, which you have built, let them be your own.
As for any oversights and faults committed to this day, we forgive them, and the crown tax which you owed us. If there were any other tax collected in Jerusalem, let it be collected no longer.
If any among you are qualified to be enrolled in our court, let them be enrolled, and let there be peace between us.”
In the one hundred seventieth year,(b) the yoke of the Gentiles was taken away from Israel.
The people began to write in their instruments and contracts, “In the first year of Simon, the great high priest and captain and leader of the Jews.”
In those days Simon encamped against(c) Gazara, and surrounded it with troops. He made a seige engine, and brought it up to the city, and struck a tower, and captured it.
Those who were in the engine leaped out into the city; and there was a great uproar in the city.
The people of the city tore their clothes, and went up on the walls with their wives and children, and cried with a loud voice, asking Simon to give them(d) his right hand.
They said, “Don’t deal with us according to our wickednesses, but according to your mercy.”
So Simon was reconciled to them, and didn’t fight against them; but he expelled them from the city and cleansed the houses where the idols were, and then entered into it with singing and giving praise.
He removed all uncleanness out of it, and placed in it men who would keep the law, and made it stronger than it was before, and built a dwelling place for himself in it.
But the people of the citadel in Jerusalem were hindered from going out and from going into the country, and from buying and selling. So they were very hungry, and a great number of them perished from famine.
Then they cried out to Simon, that he should give them his right hand; and he gave it to them; but he expelled them from there, and he cleansed the citadel from its pollutions.
He entered into it on the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred seventy-first year,(e) with praise and palm branches, with harps, with cymbals, and with stringed instruments, with hymns, and with songs, because a great enemy had been destroyed out of Israel.
Simon ordained that they should keep that day every year with gladness. He made the hill of the temple that was by the citadel stronger than before, and he lived there with his men.
Simon saw that his son John was a man, so he made him leader of all his forces; and he lived in Gazara.


(a)13:36 See 1 Maccabees 2:18 .
(b)13:41 circa B.C. 143.
(c)13:43 See 1 Maccabees 13:53 (compare 1 Maccabees 13:48 ); 1 Maccabees 14:7 34; 15:28; 16:1: also Josephus. All the authorities read Gazain this verse.
(d)13:45 Gr. right hands.
(e)13:51 circa B.C. 142.