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keeping the three first-named strongholds, he was to pay for them and for the ravages he had caused in the land 1,000 talents of silver. If he refused to comply with these demands, Antiochus threatened to enforce them bv violence. When Athenobius had delivered his insolent message, Simon justified his conduct with calmness and dignity; yet he offered 100 talents as compensation for property unavoidably destroyed during the war. The Syrian ambassador saw with astonishment and envy the magnificence and splendour of Simon's court; he felt that the independence of Judea would be a perpetual danger to the Syrian kingdom; and he left Jerusalem in anger. When Antiochus heard the account of Athenobius, he swore he would take his revenge on Simon.
Meanwhile Tryphon, unable to maintain himself any longer in Dora, had escaped to Orthosias on the Phænician coast; and now Antiochus, relieved from his chief adversary, sent out his general Cendebeus with a considerable host to invade Judea. Cendebeus lost no time in executing his commission; he fortified Kidron in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, and from thence made de vastating raids into different parts of Judea. When Simon became aware of the impending dangers, he called his two eldest sons, Judas and John, before him, and said to them: * I, and my brothers, and my father's house have ever, from our youth to this day, fought against the enemies of Israel; and things have prospered so well in our hands that we have delivered Israel oftentimes. But now I am old, and you, by God's mercy, are of a sufficient age: be you instead of me and my brother, and go and fight for our nation, and the help from heaven be with you!' He gave 20,000 men to his sons, and with these they went to meet Cendebeus. Inspired by the bold example of John, his soldiers crossed over the river near Modin, attacked the Syrians, and pursued them to Ashdod, which
they destroyed by fire; and having slain 2,000 of the enemy, they returned triumphantly to Jerusalem.
But treachery once more raised its head in the Jewish commonwealth. Ptolemy, the son-in-law of Simon, had been appointed by him governor of the district of Jericho. He aspired to the High-priesthood, and made a plot to assassinate Simon and his sons. When the aged Simon, accompanied by his two sons Mattathias and Judas, on his journey of supervision through the land, passed through Jericho, Ptolemy induced them to come to the little fortress Docus, where he invited them to a sumptuous repast; and when he saw them merry with wine, he gave the signal to aried men hidden in the banqueting-hall, for the murder of his father-in-law and of his two sons (in the month of Shevat in the year 136). Then the assassin, without loss of time, despatched messengers to king Antiochus (VII.), asked him for money and troops, and confidently promised to conquer the land for him. He ordered the principal Jews to submit to his rule, and prepared for the occupation of Jerusalem and Zion. Feeling that John, the eldest son of Simon, was the main obstacle to his success, he was anxious to kill him also. John was then staying in Gazara, where he learnt with grief and consternation the terrible fate that had befallen his father and his brothers.
Here the account of the Books of the Maccabees closes, and the task which we have proposed to ourselves is finished. The later fortunes of the Asmoneans, who soon afterwards ruled under the title of kings, were varied and for the most part sad. Domestic dissensions, personal jealousies, and the intrigues of rival families, called the Romans into the land, who first became the arbiters, and then the masters, of the people. The last of the Maccabees
was dethroned and succeeded by the Idumæan Herod (40) after whose death Palestine became a dependency of the Roman empire. But not even then were the internal feuds silenced; religious sects and political factions stood arrayed against each other in fierce hostility; violence and treachery were more rife than ever; till at last the arms of the all-conquering Romans made an end of the erhausted Jewish commonwealth ; and after a war and siege almost unparalleled for desperate resistance and frightful bloodshed, Titus, the son of the Emperor Vespasianus, took Jerusalem and burnt the Temple (70 A.C.). Thus the glory of Judah departed. As the Jews saw the flames rise high above their Sanctuary, consuming all that was dear and sacred to them, they felt that their existence as a nation was destroyed; and soon afterwards they dispersed over the whole earth, to seek a refuge or a new home among every people and in every land.