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hope of recovering the throne of Syria. His generals called together a large army; but Jonathan, justly foreseeing danger to himself, advanced rapidly to Hamath to meet them. When they saw him well armed and prepared for battle, they secretly retreated over the river Eleutheris, so that Jonathan could not pursue them; but he attacked and defeated the Arab tribe of the Zabadeans who had harassed him, and marched to Damascus. Meanwhile Simon had not been inactive. He carried on a successful war in Philistia, especially in Ashkelon, and took Joppa, which was on the point of joining Demetrius. Jonathan now returned to Jerusalem, fortified the town with new. walls, and strengthened the old ones; while Simon built Adida in the plain, and made it a strong fortress.
But the Syrian general Tryphon, ambitious and unscrupulous, was scheming to overthrow the young Antiochus, whom he had helped to place on the throne, and to seize the crown for himself. He knew well that Jonathan was too honourable a man and too faithful an ally to aid him in his treacherous projects, and he was, therefore, anxious to remove him. He invited him to come to Bethshan, where he had prepared everything for his assassination. But Jonathan's suspicions were roused, and he advanced with 40,000 men. Yet Tryphon, deceiving him by hypocritical protestations of friendship, induced him to send his army away, and to keep only 3,000 men, of whom he was to leave 2,000 in Galilee; with the remaining 1,000 men he was to accompany Tryphon to Ptolemais, which was to be delivered up into his hands. When Jonathan had entered Ptolemais, the gates of the town were at once closed; he was taken prisoner and his thousand men were slain. Then Tryphon sent without delay a large host of foot and horsemen to Galilee to destroy the bulk of Jonathan's army. But the Jewish soldiers boldly
opposed the Syrians, who, seeing no hope of success, desisted from their attack. The Hebrew troops then returned unmolested to Jerusalem, which rang with mournful wailings at the capture of their beloved leader Jonathan. The Jews were justly alarmed, because the surrounding nations prepared for war, saying, “They have no captain, nor have they any help; now, therefore, let us make war upon them, and take away their memorial from among them.' Tryphon himself gathered a large army, ready to march upon Jerusalem.
166. SIMON (143—136).
(1 Macc. XIII. 30.—XVI. 17.)
But the noble qualities of Judas and Jonathan survived in their younger brother Simon, a man equally remarkable for wisdom and valour. He encouraged the people and allayed their fears, saying: “You yourselves know what great things I and my brothers and my father's house have done for the laws and the Sanctuary, the battles also and troubles which we have seen. Roused to enthusiasm by Simon's exhortations, all promised to fight boldly for their country, and the walls of Jerusalem were rapidly completed and manned. Tryphon marched out from Ptolemais into Judea, and took with him the captive Jonathan. Sending messengers to Simon, he demanded 100 talents of silver and two of his children as hostages; if these demands were complied with, he promised to restore Jonathan to liberty. Although Simon well knew that the proposal was made deceitfully, he yet sent the money and his children, lest the people should accuse him of having selfishly frustrated his brother's rescue. However, Tryphon did not give up Jonathan, and at once marched out to reach Jerusalem by a circuitous road;
but his advance was stopped by a heavy snow-fall, and he proceeded into Gilead. When he arrived near the town of Bascama, he basely murdered Jonathan, and then returned to Syria. The body of Jonathan was, however, recovered by Simon, and was, amidst deep and bitter lamentations, deposited in Modin, the city of his fathers. Simon then built a splendid mausoleum over the sepulchre of his father and mother and of his four brothers. Seven pillars of hewn stone—one of them intended for his own memorial--covered with skilful designs, and surrounded by columns adorned with the representations of armour, weapons, and ships, rose so high that they could be seen by the mariners sailing in the Mediterranean sea; this monument was long preserved with grateful care, and remains of it have quite recently been discovered on the site of the ancient Modin.
The faithless Tryphon soon afterwards killed Antiochus, and mercilessly massacring all the adherents of the latter, he proclaimed himself king of Syria. In this critical state of affairs, when the pretensions of two rival kings- Demetrius and Tryphon — were to be decided upon, Simon gave signal proofs of wisdom and prudence. He strengthened all the fortresses of Judah, and supplied them with ample provisions. Then he sent messengers to Demetrius with suitable presents, requesting a remission of taxes, since Tryphon had seriously weakened and recklessly pillaged the country. Demetrius, to secure so powerful an ally, readily granted all that Simon demanded, confirmed him in the possession of the fortresses he had built, and declared himself ready to receive Jews as officers at his court and in his army.
Thus, then, in the year 143, the Jews became independent, and Simon was a sovereign prince, so that from that year the public documents and private contracts, and the inscriptions on coins, were dated in this manner: 'In
the year of Simon the High-priest, the governor and leader of the Jews.
Simon was alike worthy of and well fitted for the high offices and dignities which he enjoyed. To complete the subjection of Judea, he first besieged and assailed Gaza, which he took after a desperate struggle; he then erpelled from the citadel of Jerusalem the apostate and rebellious Jews, who from that stronghold had long kept their countrymen in terror; he celebrated this important event, which took place on the 21st of Jar in the year 142, with “thanksgiving, and branches of palm-trees, and with viols, and hymns, and songs, because there was destroyed a great enemy out of Israel;' and he ordained that the same day should annually be kept as a festival of joy.
He increased the defences of Jerusalem, and made it the principal fortress in the land. Anxious to devote himself entirely to his important spiritual and civil functions, he appointed his valiant son John to be general over all the army, and sent him to Gazara.
The rule of Simon was in every way beneficent and honourable for the Jews. By his wisdom and justice the contending factions were reconciled, and all alike acknowledged his authority. He constructed an excellent harbour at Joppa, enlarged the boundaries of the land, expelled idolaters, adorned and enriched the Temple in Jerusalem, and encouraged the cultivation of the soil, which yielded produce in unprecedented abundance. The men of maturer years assembled to deliberate on the public weal, while the young men vied with each other in all bodily and warlike exercises. And Simon made peace in the land ; and Israel rejoiced with great joy; for every man sat under his fig-tree, and there was none to terrify him; nor was there any left in the land to fight against them; for the kings themselves were overthrown in those days. . . . He searched out the Law, and every
despiser of the Law and wicked person he punished.' The Romans and Spartans, informed of the death of Jonathan, sent messengers to Simon to condole with him, and to renew their former treaties and leagues of friendship. The people, highly gratified at these marks of respect and goodwill from such powerful nations, were anxious to manifest their gratitude to and admiration for Simon, to whom, in a great measure, they owed their proud position. A brazen tablet, on which all his noble deeds and those of his great brothers were engraved, was erected by them, and conspicuously placed upon pillars on Mount Zion; while copies of it were deposited in the treasury of the Temple.
Demetrius, seeing that unaided he was powerless to resist his rival Tryphon, went with all his forces to Media, in the hope of strengthening himself by conquests (141); but he was taken by the Median king Arsaces and imprisoned. When his son Antiochus learnt his fate, and saw that there was no hope of his return, he sent letters to many nations on the Mediterranean, requesting their support. Among them he appealed to Simon, to whom he promised the undisturbed enjoyment of all his former rights and advantages, and granted the privilege of coining money in his own name. So many followed the standards of Antiochus, that Tryphon, sorely pressed, was compelled to retreat to the fortress of Dora, near Carmel, where he was besieged by his opponent with a large army. Simon, to prove his good faith to Antiochus, sent him a reinforcement of 2,000 men. But Antiochus, capricious and arbitrary, refused their services, sent them back, revoked all the rights he had conceded to Simon, and despatched his friend Athenobius into Judea, bidding Simon to surrender Joppa, Gazara, and the citadel of Jerusalem, and exacting tribute for all the places which he had taken beyond the boundaries of Judea; if Simon preferred