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Antiquities of the Jews, Book 12.

The Hellenistic period, to the death of Judas Maccabeus

1. Ptolemy takes Judea by deceit, and transports many prisoners to Egypt

2. Ptolemy Philadelphus has the Bible translated into Greek (LXX)

3. The Jews prospered in Asia Minor, and under Seleucus Nicator in Antioch

4. High-priest Onias angers Ptolemy; better, under Joseph and his son Hyrcanus

5. Antiochus pillages Jerusalem. Jews adopt Greek ways. Samaritans and Zeus

6. Mattathias and his Maccabee family lead religious revolt against Antiochus

7. Victories of Judas Maccabeus, and re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem

8. Details about the victories of Judas and his brother Simon Maccabeus

9. Death of Epiphanes. Eupator continues war on Judas, then makes peace

10. Judas defeats Bacchides and Nicanor; makes a pact with the Romans

11. Bacchides comes in greater force. Judas dies in battle

Chapter 1. [001-010]
Ptolemy takes Judea by a ruse. He transports many prisoners to Egypt

1.

001 After Alexander, king of Macedon, had ended the empire of the Persians and settled things in Judea as we have described, his life came to an end. 002 Then, as his realm was divided into many parts, Antigonus got power in Asia, Seleucus in Babylon and the other nations over there, Lysimachus ruled the Hellespont, Cassander got Macedonia, and Ptolemy the son of Lagus seized Egypt. 003 Since ambition caused each of these princes to strive against the others to hold on to power, there were continual lengthy wars and cities suffered and lost many of their inhabitants in those troubled times, so that all Syria endured from Ptolemy the son of Lagus, the opposite of what was meant by his name of Saviour. 004 This man also took Jerusalem by using deceit and treachery, for he came into the city on a sabbath day, as if to offer sacrifices, and easily took the city without opposition from the Jews, as they did not think him an an enemy and were resting quietly on that day; and once he had taken the city he ruled it cruelly. 005 Agatharchides of Cnidus, who wrote the acts of Alexander's successors, mocks us for superstition, as the reason we lost our freedom. 006 According to him, "There is a nation called the Jews, who live in a strong and large city called Jerusalem, which they did not guard but let it fall to Ptolemy, unwilling because of their foolish superstition to take up arms, and so they fell under a hard master." 007 So say Agatharchides about our nation. When Ptolemy had taken many prisoners from the hill country of Judea and from the areas aroung Jerusalem and Samaria and near Mount Garizim, he took them all into Egypt, and settled them there. 008 Then since he knew that the people of Jerusalem were most faithful in keeping oaths and covenants, knowing the answer they had given Alexander when he sent envoys to them after winning his battle with Darius, he distributed many of them into garrisons and in Alexandria gave them the same citizenship as the Macedonians themselves, and made them swear to be faithful to the descendants of those who gave those places into their care.

009 Many other Jews also went into Egypt of their own accord, drawn by the richness of the soil and the generosity of Ptolemy. 010 But there were conflicts among their descendants about the Samaritans, due to their resolve to retain the lifestyle handed down by their ancestors. They fought each other, because the people from Jerusalem claimed their temple was sacred and that sacrifices must be sent there, while the Samaritans insisted they be sent to Mount Garizim. 1. 011 When Alexander had ruled for twelve years and after him Ptolemy Soter for forty years plus one, Philadelphus took over the kingdom of Egypt and held it for forty years minus one. He had the Law translated and freed the hundred and twenty thousand people from Jerusalem were in slavery in Egypt, as follows. 012 Demetrius Phalerius, who was library keeper to the king, was making every effort to collect all the books in the world and everywhere buying up anything of value that was to the king's taste, who was a keen bibliophile and whose preference in books Demetrius was eager to serve. 013 When Ptolemy once asked him how many thousands of books he had collected, he replied that he had already about twenty times ten thousand, but that he would soon have five hundred thousand. 014 Then be mentioned that he had been told there were many books of laws among the Jews that deserved inquiring into and were worthy of the king's library, but which, being written in characters and in a dialect of their own, would need considerable effort to have them translated into the Greek tongue. 015 While they were written seemed in a script like that of the Syrians and its sound was also rather like theirs, the language itself was unique. Still, he said, there was no reason why they might not get those books translated too, since they had all that was required for that purpose and could also have these books in the library. 016 Seeing Demetrius eager to obtain him many books and suggesting what was best for him to do, the king wrote to the Jewish high priest, to do this.

2.

017 A man called Aristeas was among the king's closest friends and was much favoured by him for his prudence and had in the past often resolved to ask the king to set free all the captive Jews in his kingdom. 018 He saw in this a convenient opportunity to make his petition and first spoke with the officers of the king's bodyguard, Sosibius the Tarentine and Andreas, to persuade them to help him in what he was to ask the king. 019 With the above-named people sharing his views, Aristeas went to the king with the following speech: 020 "O king, we should not just glance at things quickly, or deceive ourselves, but get to the truth of things. Since we have decided to get the laws of the Jews not merely transcribed but translated for your satisfaction, how can we do this while so many of the Jews are now slaves in your kingdom? 021 In order to do something worthy of your magnanimity and good nature, free them from their pitiful condition because the same God, who upholds your kingdom, was also the author of their laws, as I have learned by diligent inquiry. 022 Both these people and ourselves worship the same God the maker of all things. We call him by the name Zeus, or Life, because he breathes life into all people. So you should allow these people to return to their own country for the honour of God, because they pay him a peculiarly excellent worship. 023 My king, though I am not of their race or tribe I think these favours should be granted to them, since all people are God's workmanship and we know how He is pleased with those who do good. Therefore I beg you to do good to them."

3.

024 As Aristeas was saying this, the king looked at him with a cheerful and happy face and said, "How many thousands of these people do you suppose there are who want to be set free?" Andreas, standing nearby, replied, "Just over a hundred and ten thousand." The king answered "And is this a small gift that you ask, Aristeas?" 025 But Sosibius and the other bystanders said that he should offer a thank-offering worthy of his magnanimity, to the God who had given him his kingdom. He was very pleased with this reply, and ordered them, when they paid the soldiers their wages, to set aside a hundred and twenty drachmas for each of the slaves. 026 He promised to publish a formal decree about their request and confirm what Aristeas had proposed and even more, what God wanted done, in which he would set free not only those who had been taken captive by his father and his army, but those imprisoned in this kingdom before that and any who had been captured since then. 027 When they said that their redemption money would amount to more than four hundred talents, he granted it. I have preserved a copy of this decree, to show the magnanimity of this king. Its contents were as follows: 028 "Let all those who campaigned with my father and who, after overrunning Syria and Phoenicia and ravaging Judea, took the Jews captives and made them slaves and brought them to our cities and into this country and sold them, and all such in my kingdom before them and any who have been brought there recently, be set free by their owners; and for every slave let them receive a hundred and twenty drachmas. Let the soldiers receive this redemption money with their pay, but the rest from the royal treasury. 029 For I think they were made captives unjustly, without our father's consent, and that their country was harassed by the soldiers's roughness and that, by removing them into Egypt, the soldiers made a great profit from them. 030 For the sake of justice and of pity towards people who have been tyrannized, I order those who hold such Jews in slavery to set them free, in exchange for the cited sum, and that no one act deceitfully about them, but obey what is here ordered. 031 I will that they give in their names within three days after this edict is published, to those in charge of executing it, and also to produce the slaves to them, for I think it will make my policy workable. And if people do not obey this decree, let anyone who wishes inform on them, so that their estates may be forfeit to the royal treasury." 032 When this decree was first read to the king, it contained all that is here included, with the exception of: "both those who were brought here in the past and those brought later," which had not been clearly mentioned, so in his mercy and generosity he added these clauses. He also commanded that the payment, which should be quickly made, be divided among the king's ministers and the officers of his treasury. 033 When this was done the king's decree was carried out quickly, within seven days, the number of talents paid for the prisoners being more than four hundred and sixty since their masters demanded a hundred and twenty drachmas for the children also, since the king had ordered that these be paid for, when in his decree he said they could receive the said amount for every slave.

4.

034 When this had so generously been done according to the king's will, he ordered Demetrius to give him in writing his view about transcribing the Jewish books, for these kings do nothing rash in their administration but all things are done with much caution. 035 So I subjoin a copy of these letters and set down the number of the vessels sent as donations and how each was formed, so that the exactness of the craftsmen's workmanship, as noted by those who saw them and which workman made every vessel, may be found in the excellence of the vessels themselves. The copy of the letter was rather like this: 036 "to the great king, from Demetrius: When you, O king, commanded me about the collection of books that were needed to fill your library and the care to taken about those that are incomplete, I have exercised extreme diligence about those matters. I can report to you that we lack the books of the Jewish law and some others. They are written in Hebrew characters in the language of that nation which is unknown to us. 037 In fact they have been transcribed more carelessly than they should have been, since up to now they were not treated with royal care. Now you must have accurate copies of them, for this legislation is full of hidden wisdom and entirely faultless, being legislation which comes from God himself. 038 So it is, as Hecateus of Abdera says, that the poets and historians do not mention either it or the people who lead their lives according to it, since it is a holy law and ought not to be spoken of by profane mouths. 039 If it pleases you, O king, you should write to the high priest of the Jews to send six of the elders from every tribe and those who are most skilled in the laws, through whom we may learn the clear and harmonious sense of these books and get a detailed interpretation of their contents and so have the sort of collection that you desire."

5.

040 When this letter was sent to the king, he had a letter be drawn up for the Jewish high priest Eleazar about these matters, telling him of the release of the Jews who had been in slavery among them. He also sent fifty talents of gold for the making of large mixing-bowls and vessels and cups and a countless amount of precious stones. 041 Indeed, he ordered those in charge of the strong-box containing those stones, to let artisans choose whatever ones they pleased among them and had a hundred talents in money sent to the temple for sacrifices and other uses. 042 I will describe these vessels and how they were made, but not until after I provide a copy of the letter written to Eleazar the high priest, who had obtained that dignity as follows. 043 After the death of Onias the high priest he was succeeeded by his son Simon, surnamed "the Just" for his piety to God and his kindly disposition towards his own people. 044 When he died, leaving behind young son called Onias, Simon's brother Eleazar, whom we have mentioned, took up the high priesthood, and it was to him that Ptolemy wrote as follows. 045 "King Ptolemy to Eleazar the high priest, greetings. There are many Jews now living in my kingdom, whom the Persians took as prisoners when they were in power. My father honoured them and placed some of them in the army, on a favourable rate of pay; while to others of them, who came with him into Egypt, he entrusted the guarding of his strongholds, to strike the Egyptians with fear. 046 When I became leader I treated all people with goodwill and especially your fellow citizens, of whom I have freed more than a hundred thousand who were slaves and paid their redemption money to their masters out of my own revenues. 047 I have enrolled into my army those of them of suitable age and have given posts in my court to some of them whom I considered capable and loyal to me, thinking this a major way to acknowledge God's providence towards me. 048 Wishing to do a favour to these and all other Jews the world over, I have decided to have your law translated and transcribed from Hebrew into Greek letters and kept in my library. 049 It would be well therefore if you select and send to me some good older men, six from every tribe. These must have long experience in the laws and be able to interpret them in detail, and when the work is finished, I think I shall have done something that will bring me great renown. 050 I have sent men whom I highly esteem, Andreas, the head of my bodyguard and Aristeas, to discuss this with you, and through them I have sent as first-fruits dedicated to the temple, for sacrifices and other uses, a hundred talents of silver. And we will be pleased if you send and say what else you would like from us."

6.

051 When the king's letter was brought to Eleazar, he wrote back to him in terms of highest respect: "Eleazar the high priest to king Ptolemy, greetings. If you and queen Arsinoe and the children are well, we are very glad. 052 When we received your letter, we were delighted by your intentions, and assembling the people we read it to them to demonstrate to them your devotion towards God. 053 We also showed them the twenty golden vessels and thirty silver ones and the five large mixing-bowls and the table of offerings, and the hundred talents for sacrifices and providing what is needed for the temple, that Andreas and Aristeas, your most honoured friends, have brought us, and truly they are good men of great learning and worthy of your virtue. 054 Be assured that we will follow your wishes, even though it is unusual, for we ought to make a return for your many benefits to our countrymen. 055 Therefore we immediately offered sacrifices for you and your sister, and your children and friends, and the people prayed that your affairs may prosper and your kingdom be preserved in peace and that the translation of our law may benefit you and be completed to your satisfaction. 056 We have chosen six elders from every tribe and sent them to you, bringing the law. In piety and justice, you must send back the law when it has been translated and safely return to us those who are bringing it. Farewell."

7.

057 This was the reply of the high priest. It does not seem to me necessary to report the names of the seventy elders sent by Eleazar to bring the law, as they were subjoined at the end of the letter. 058 However, I did not think it out of place to give an account of the precious and expertly wrought offerings which the king sent to God, to highlight the king's high regard for God, for he spent a vast amount for on them and often went to the workmen to oversee their work and let no carelessness or negligence creep into their creation. 059 Even if the nature of this history may not require such a description, I will tell as well as I can how rich they were, in order to convey to those who read my work the elegant taste and magnanimity of this king.

8.

060 Let me first tell about the table. The king had a mind to make this table enormous in size, but then he ordered that them to find out the size of the table already in Jerusalem and its dimensions and whether it was possible to make one still larger. 061 When he learned the size of the one already there and that there was nothing to stop a larger one being made, he said he had intended having one made five times as large as the existing one, but then feared that its excessive size might make it useless in their liturgies, for he wanted the gifts he presented them to be there not just for show, but to be serviceable in their liturgies. 062 That was the reason why the former table was made of so moderate a size, for practicability and not for lack of gold, so he decided not to exceed the former table in size, but to excel it in the variety and beauty of its materials. 063 Since he was an acute observer of the nature of all kinds of things with fine taste about what was new and surprising, he would cleverly invent suitable adornments for the blank surfaces and show them to the workmen and have them wrought, accurately following the outlines he had drafted.

9.

064 When planning out the table, they made it two and a half cubits long, one cubit wide, and one and a half cubits high, and they made the entire structure out of gold. They fashioned a crown a hand-width thick around it, wreathed with with wavelike shapes and engraved in braided forms so that it looked quite striking from all three directions. 065 Each of its dimensions was triangular in shape, and each was sculpted in the same way, so that when turned about, they still invariaby showed the same form. The part of the crown on the underside of the table was beautifully sculpted, but the part around on the outside, being exposed to the sight and admiration of onlookers, was even more elaborately adorned. 066 Thus both those sides which were stood out from the rest were acute and none of the corners, which as we mentioned were three, appeared smaller than another, when the table was turned about. Into the intricate cordwork precious stones were inserted, in parallel rows, fastened with golden buttons, with hollow centres. 067 The visible parts to the side of the crown had a frieze of of the finest stones, adorned with staves and multiple bas-reliefs surrounding the table. 068 Under these oval engraved figures the workmen had traced a crown representing the forms of all sorts of fruit with emphasis on grapes and stalks of wheat. When they had made the stones representing all the above-named kinds of fruits, each shown in its proper colour, they fastened the whole table with gold. 069 A similar set of oval figures and engraved staves was put under the crown, so that the table showed the same variety and elegance of ornamentation on both sides, and the wave effect and crown looked no different even if the table were turned upside down. The same appearance of ingenuity extended right down as far as the feet, 070 for through the entire breadth of the table there was a plate of gold four fingers broad, into which they inserted the feet fastening them to the table by buttons and button-holes at the level of the crown, so that no matter which side of the table one stood, the view of the ingenuity and artistry appeared the very same.

071 On the table itself they engraved a meander, with starlike forms of various colours inlaid within it in precious stones, including the carbuncle and the emerald, each of them delightful to the viewer, along with other stones, all of them highly sought after because of their sparkling appearance. 072 Alongside the meander ran a textured like a net, the middle of which was shaped like a rhombus, into which were inserted rock-crystal and amber in parallel lines, which delighted the spirit of all who saw them by their marvellous splendour. 073 The capitals of the feet resembled lilies budding forth, their leaves bent beneath the table-top, and with the stalks visible, upright within them. 074 Their bases were made of carbuncle, and the table-base resting upon that carbuncle was one palm deep and eight fingers wide.

075 On each of the feet they had carefully and delicately engraved with a fine tool a branch of ivy and vine-tendrils, sending forth clusters of grapes that had an extremely lifelike appearance. They were so slender and their extremities so fine that they moved with the wind and made one imagine them the product of nature rather than artistic imitations. 076 They fashioned the entire fabric of the table in three parts, but the joints of the various parts were so blended that the joints where they met were invisible and could not be discerned. The thickness of the table was not less than half a cubit. 077 Finally by the king's great generosity, this gift, made of such valuable materials and so exquisitely carved by the artisans with graving tools in imitation of nature, was completed, while the giver fervently wished that though its size was no different from the one already dedicated to God, yet it should far excel it in artistry and the novelty of its design and and be more illustrious than the former in the splendor of its construction.

10.

078 There were two golden mixing-bowls engraved with a leaf-like texture from their base to their waist, and with various sorts of stones inlaid within the coils. 079 Alongside this was a meander of a cubit high, made from stones of all sorts of colours, and next to this were engraved a ste of rods, and then a rhombus in a texture of net-work, up to the brim of the basin. 080 Small shields made of stones, four fingers' deep, beautified the middle section, and the brim of each mixing bowl was wreathed in lily-leaves and the flower and tendrils of the vine, in a circular style. 081 This was the structure of the two golden mixing bowls, each containing two amphorae. The bowls of silver were much brighter and more splendid than mirrors, so that the images that fell upon them were more plainly visible than in the latter. 082 To these the king added thirty salvers, made of gold and encrusted with precious stones, all artistically engraved with tendrils of ivy and vine-leaves. 083 These effects were admirably achieved both by the skill of the workmen, who were marvellous at their craft, and even more by the diligence and generosity of the king. 084 Not only did he supply the artisans abundantly and lavishly with what they wanted, but he took leave from public affairs and came and was present with the artisans, supervising the whole work. This was why the workmen were so diligent in their performance, for seeing the king's great commitment they applied themselves more intensely to the work.

11.

085 These were the gifts sent by Ptolemy as dedications to Jerusalem. The high priest Eleazar dedicated them to God and paid due respect to those who brought them and sent them off with gifts to bring back to the king. 086 When they reached Alexandria and Ptolemy heard of their arrival and that the seventy elders had come also, he at once sent for his envoys, Andreas and Aristeas, who came to him and gave him the letter they brought from the high priest and answered orally all the questions he put to them. 087 He then hurried to meet the elders who came from Jerusalem to translate the laws, and ordered that everyone who came for whatever other need be sent away, which was a surprising and unaccustomed thing, 088 for those whose business brought them there for various matters used to come to him on the fifth of each month, but envoys at the end of the month; and when he had sent them away, he waited for those sent by Eleazar, 089 As these elders came in with the gifts the high priest had given them to bring to the king and the parchments on which they had their laws written in golden letters, he questioned them about their books. 090 When they had taken off the covers wrapping them, they showed them to him and the king stood admiring the thinness of the parchments and the fine joinings, which were all but invisible, and this he did for a long time. He then thanked them for coming and even more the one who sent them, and, above all, thanked God from whom these laws had come. 091 Then the elders and the people present with them, called out with one voice and wished all prosperity to the king, who burst into tears for the extreme pleasure he felt, for it is human to give the same expression to feelings of great joy as to those of sorrow. 092 When he told them to deliver the books to those appointed to receive them, he greeted the men and said that they should talk first of the mission about which they were sent and then about themselves. He promised that for the rest of his life he would mark and remember this day on which they came to him, 093 for their coming coincided with the day he had won his victory over Antigonus at sea. He also said that they should sup with him, and ordered that the finest of lodgings be provided for them in the upper city.

12.

094 Nicanor who was assigned to welcome visitors, called for Dorotheus, whose duty was to look after them and told him furnish each of them with what was needed for their diet and way of living. The matter was ordered by the king as follows. 095 He took care that people from any city who followed a distinctive lifestyle should have everything prepared for them according to the visitor's custom, so that, being feasted according to their customary lifestyle, they would be better pleased and not distressed by having to cope with anything to which they were naturally averse. This was now how these men were treated by Dorotheus, who got his job because of his great skill in such matters of practical life. 096 His duties included all matters concerning the reception of strangers and assigned them two rows of seats to sit on, as the king had told him to do, for he had ordered that half of their seats be set at his right hand and the other half behind his table and was careful to omit no respect that could be shown them. 097 When they were so seated, he had Dorotheus serve all who had come to him from Judea as they were accustomed to be served. He sent away his sacred heralds and the sacrificers and the others who used to say grace, but called one of those who had come to him, a priest named Eleazar, and bade him say the grace. 098 He stood up and prayed for the king and his subjects to enjoy all prosperity. At this the whole company cheered loudly and joyfully and then began eating their supper and enjoying the fare set before them. 099 Shortly afterwards, when the king thought a sufficient time had passed, he began to philosophise with them and asked each of them a serious question that could enlighten his inquiries, and they explained all the problems raised by the king about every point. 100 Well-pleased with their answers, he continued the symposium for twelve days, and whoever wishes to learn them may find the particular questions in the book of Aristeas, which he wrote about all of that.

13.

101 Not only the king but also the philosopher Menedemus admired them and said that everything was ruled by Providence and that probably that is why such force and beauty was shown in these men's words. Finally they ceased asking any more such questions. 102 The king said that their coming was of great benefit to him, because they had helped him to see how he should govern his subjects. He ordered that they each should receive three talents and that the people assigned should bring them to their lodgings. 103 After three days Demetrius took them and went over the seven-furlong long causeway over the sea to an island. When they had crossed the bridge, he proceeded to the northern side and showed them where to meet, in a house near the shore, which was a quiet place suitable for them to talk together about their work. 104 When he had brought them there, he implored them now that they had near them all that they needed for the translating of their law, to let nothing interrupt the work. As one, they set about the work of translation with great zeal and effort and continued at this until three o'clock in the afternoon. 105 Then they relaxed and took some physical exercise, and plentiful food was provided for them, for Dorotheus, at the king's command, brought them much of what was provided for the king himself. 106 In the morning they came to the court and greeted Ptolemy and then went back to their own place, where, after washing their hands, and purifying themselves, they set about translating the laws. 107 When the law was translated and the labour of interpretation was over, which was concluded in seventy-two days, Demetrius gathered all the Jews to the place where the laws had been translated, in in the presence of the interpreters read them aloud. 108 The crowd approved of those elders, experts in the law and commended Demetrius for his proposal, for doing something to their great advantage, and they requested him to also let their leaders read the law, and all of them, from the priest and the oldest of the interpreters and the leaders of their nation requested that once the translation was completed, it should stay as it was and not be changed. 109 When all praised that proposal, they wisely ordered that if anyone noted anything added or omitted, it be reviewed and corrected in their presence, so that when the thing was judged to have been well done, it might last for ever.

14.

110 The king was glad when he saw his plan so well achieved, and he was mainly delighted to hear the Laws read to him, and was astounded at the intelligence and wisdom of the Legislator. He began to say to Demetrius how strange it was that though this legislation was so wonderful, none of their poets or historians, had mentioned it. 111 Demetrius replied that no one dared to attempt a description of these laws since they were divine and venerable and some who had attempted it were struck down by God. 112 He told him how Theopompus who wished to write something about them went astray in the head for more than thirty days, and during a remission of his illness prayed to God, suspecting that his madness had come from him. Further, he saw in a dream that his illness affected him for being too curious about divine matters and wanting to publish them to ordinary folk, and when he gave up the attempt he regained his understanding. 113 He also told him of Theodectes, the tragic poet, of whom it was said that when in a dramatic play he wished to mention things contained in the sacred books, he was afflicted with a darkness in his eyes, and that when he became aware of the cause of his illness and appeased God, he was freed from that affliction.

15.

114 When the king had received these books from Demetrius, as already said, he venerated them and ordered them to be treated with the greatest care, that they might remain uncorrupted. He also wanted the interpreters to come to him often from Judea. 115 He would pay them respect and give them gifts, while he admitted that it was now only fair to send them off, but if, of their own accord, they returned to him later, they would obtain all that their wisdom would fairly ask and what his generosity could give them. 116 Then he sent them off and gave to each of them three garments of high quality and two talents of gold and a cup of the value of one talent and the furnishings of the room where they had feasted. 117 These were what he gave them as gifts, and through them he sent to Eleazar the high priest ten beds with feet of silver and their furnishings and a cup of the value of thirty talents, plus ten garments and purple and a very beautiful crown and a hundred pieces of finest woven linen, and vessels and dishes and pouring vessels and two golden wine-jars to be dedicated to God. 118 He urged him in a letter that if any of the translators wished to come to him they be allowed to do so, for he highly valued contact with men of learning and was most willing to spend his wealth upon such men. This was how Ptolemy Philadelphus treated the Jews, much to their honour and glory.

Chapter 3. [119-153]
The Jews prosper in Asia Minor, and under Seleucus Nicator Antioch

1.

119 The Jews also were honoured by the kings of Asia when they became their auxiliaries; for Nicator Seleucus made them citizens in those cities which he built in Asia, and in lower Syria, and even in the capital, Antioch; and privileged them equally with the Macedonians and Greeks, who were there already, privileges that still continue today: 120 A sign of this is that whereas the Jews do not make use of oil prepared by foreigners, they receive a from the officers who oversee gymnastics a sum of money equal to the value of that oil. When in the last war, the people of Antioch wanted to stop this payment, Mucianus, who was then governor of Syria, preserved it to them. 121 And later, when Vespasianus and Titus his son governed the habitable earth, when the people of Alexandria and of Antioch asked for the Jews' citizenship to be abolished, their request was refused. 122 In which behaviour the equity and generosity of the Romans can be seen, especially in the case of Vespasianus and Titus, who, although the war against the Jews had cost them great hardship and exasperation, because they did not hand over their weapons to them, but continued the war to the very last, 123 yet did not they abolish any of their citizensship privileges mentioned above, but kept their anger in chack, and denied the requests of such powerful people as the Alexandrians and Antiochians. 124 They did not yield to them, either to show favour to these people, or out of resentment of the wicked opponents they had subdued in the war; nor would they alter any of the ancient favours granted to the Jews, saying that those who had resisted them in arms and fought them, had suffered enough already, and that it was not right to remove the privileges they enjoyed, from the people who had not offended. 125 We know that Marcus Agrippa was similarly disposed towards the Jews; for when aroused against them the people of Ionia begged Agrippa that they alone should enjoy the citizenship which Antiochus, the grandson of Seleucus, called The God by the Greeks, had given them 126 and asked that if the Jews were to share it with them, they must be obliged to worship the same gods as themselves. When this conflict came to trial, the Jews, defended by Nicolaus of Damascus, prevailed and were let follow their own customs, for Agrippa gave sentence that nothing be changed. 127 If one wants to study this matter in detail one may read the hundred and twenty-third and -fourth books of Nicolaus' history. Nor was this decision of Agrippa surprising, since at that time our nation had not made war against the Romans. 128 One may well admire, however, the generosity of Vespasian and Titus, who after such warfare and opposition as they had from us, were so moderate with us. But I now return to the story from which I digressed.

2.

129 In the reign of Antiochus the Great, the ruler of all Asia, the Jews and the people of Coele-Syria were in dire straits and their land was greatly harassed. 130 For during his wars with Ptolemy Philopater and his son, Ptolemy nick-named Epiphanes, these people sufferered both when he was defeated and when he was victorious, so that they were like a storm-tossed ship, struck from both sides by the waves. Such was their situation, caught between Antiochus's prosperity and his reverses. 131 When Antiochus defeated Ptolemy, he captured Judea, but when Philopater died his son sent out a large army under his general Scopas, against the people of Coele-Syria, which captured many of their cities and our nation in particular, which, when attacked, went over to him. 132 Not long afterwards, Antiochus defeated Scopas in a battle fought at the fountains of the Jordan and destroyed most of his army. 133 Later, when Antiochus subdued the cities of Coele-Syria which Scopas had occupied, including Samaria, the Jews went over to him of their own accord and welcomed him into their city and provided plentifully for his whole army and his elephants and willingly helped him when he besieged the garrison in the citadel of Jerusalem. 134 Antiochus thought it only fair to repay the Jews' diligence and zeal in his service, so he wrote to his army generals and his friends witnessing to the favourable attitude of the Jews and telling them the rewards he meant to grant them for their conduct. 135 I will present the letters themselves which he wrote to the generals about them, but will first give the testimony of Polybius of Megalopolis, for in the sixteenth book of his history he says, "Now Scopas, the general of Ptolemy's army, hurried to the upper parts of the country and destroyed the Jewish nation during the winter" 136 In the same book he also tells how when Scopas was conquered by Antiochus, Antiochus took Batanea and Samaria and Abila and Gadara, and that a little later the Jews who lived near the temple called Jerusalem came to him. We have more to say about this and particularly about the divine epiphanies surrounding that temple, but we will postpone that story for another occasion. 137 That is what Polybius reports. But we will return to the thread of our story, when we have first cited the letters of king Antiochus.

3.

138 King ANTIOCHUS TO PTOLEMY, GREETINGS.

"Since when we first entered their country, the Jews demonstrated their friendship towards us and when we came to their city, received us lavishly and came to meet us with their council and supplied abundant provisions to our soldiers and to the elephants and joined us in expelling the Egyptian garrison from the citadel, 139 we have thought fit to reward them and to restore their city which has been damaged in the wars, and to repopulate it with the people who were scattered and have now returned. 140 Firstly, because of their piety towards God, we have decided to grant for their sacrifices animals that are fit for sacrifice, and wine and oil and frankincense to the value of twenty thousand pieces of silver and some sacred artabrae of fine flour, with a thousand four hundred and sixty medimni of wheat and three hundred and seventy-five medimni of salt. 141 I want these payments fully paid to them, as I have ordered you, and want the work completed on the temple and the porticoes and anything else that needs to be rebuilt. Let the timber from Judea and the other nations and from Libanus be brought to them tax free, and the same for the other materials needed to make the temple more glorious. 142 Let all the people of that nation live by their ancestral laws, and let the elders and priests and temple scribes and sacred singers be exempt from poll-tax and the crown tax and other taxes too. 143 Also, so that the city may be repopulated the sooner I grant exemption from taxes for three years to its present inhabitants and any others who move to it, until the month Hyperheretus. 144 For the future we exempt them from a third of their taxes, to make up for the losses they have sustained. And to all citizens who have been taken away as slaves, we grant freedom to them and their children and command that their property be restored to them."

4.

145 These were the contents of this letter. He also published a decree through all his kingdom in honour of the temple, to the following effect: "It is unlawful for any foreigner to come within the perimeter of the temple; it is even forbidden to the Jews too, except to those who have purified themselves according to their custom. 146 No flesh of horses or mules or donkeys, wild or tame, may be brought into the city, nor that of leopards, foxes or hares or of any animal which the Jews are forbidden to eat. Nor may their skins be brought into it, and no such animal may be bred within the city. They may sacrifice only as their ancestors did, by which they made atonement to God. Whoever transgresses any of these orders must pay three thousand drachmae of silver to the priests." 147 He also witnessed to our piety and fidelity in a letter written when he was told of a rebellion in Phrygia and Lydia, at a time when he was in the upper provinces, where he ordered Zeuxis, his army general and closest friend, to send some of our nation from Babylon into Phrygia.

148 The letter was this: King ANTIOCHUS TO ZEUXIS HIS FATHER, GREETINGS.

"I hope you are in good health, as I also am healthy. 149 Having learned of a rebellion in Lydia and Phrygia, I thought that it needs great care, and after consulting my friends about what to do, have decided to remove two thousand Jewish families, with their property, from Mesopotamia and Babylon to strongholds and the most suitable places. 150 I am convinced that they will loyally guard our possessions because of their piety towards God and as I know that my predecessors have testified to their willingness to faithfully do what is asked of them. Therefore, though it is a major task, I want you to relocate these Jews, with the promise that they shall be let follow their own laws. 151 When you have brought them to the aforementioned places, you shall give to each family a place to build a house and a portion of land for farming and planting their vines, and you shall exonerate them from tax on the fruits of the earth for ten years. 152 Until they can grow from the earth corn for bread, let them be granted enough wheat to maintain their servants. Those who minister to them in the essentials of life should also be provided for, so that benefitting from our goodwill they may prove more willing and obliging about our affairs. 153 Take care of that nation as best you can, that they are not upset by anyone." These testimonials amply show the friendship that Antiochus the Great had for the Jews.

Chapter 4. [154-236]
Pact between Antiochus and Ptolemy. Onias angers Ptolemy. Matters improved by Joseph and his son Hyrcanus

1.

154 After this Antiochus made a friendship and pact with Ptolemy and gave him his daughter Cleopatra as his wife and yielded up to him Coele-Syria and Samaria and Judea and Phoenicia, by way of dowry. 155 And upon the division of the taxes between the two kings, all the leaders framed the taxes of their several countries and collecting the sum that was settled for them, paid the same to the kings. 156 At this time the Samaritans were prospering and caused the Jews much distress by annexing parts of their land and carrying off slaves. 157 This was when Onias was high priest, for when Eleazar died his uncle Manasses held the high-priesthood and when his life ended, that dignity passed to Onias, the son of the Simon known as The Just, who as I said earlier was Eleazar's brother. 158 This Onias was mean-spirited and attached to money, and for that reason, when he did not pay that tax of twenty talents of silver which his ancestors paid out of their own resources, he provoked the anger of king Ptolemy Euergetes, the father of Philopator. 159 He sent an envoy to Jerusalem complaining that Onias did not pay his taxes and threatening, if he did not receive them, to seize their land and send soldiers to occupy it. When the Jews heard the king's message the Jews were shaken, but Onias was so attached to money that nothing of this kind made him ashamed.

2.

160 There was a man named Joseph, young in age but already enjoying a reputation for justice among the people of Jerusalem for his gravity and prudence. His father's name was Tobias, and as he happened to be in his native village of Phicol, his mother, the sister of the high priest Onias, told him of the envoy's arrival. 161 He went to the city and reproached Onias for not taking care of his countrymens' safety but putting the nation in danger by not paying this money. It was, he told him, to care for their safety that he had received authority and been invested with the honour of high priest. 162 Even if he was such a lover of money that he could bear to see his country endangered because of it and let his countrymen suffer major damage, he advised him to go to the king and petition him to cancel either the whole or a part of the sum demanded. 163 When Onias replied that he did not want his authority and was prepared to resign the high priesthood if possible, but that he would not go up to the king as he did not want to be involved in such matters, the other asked if he would let him to go as envoy to Ptolemy, on behalf of the nation. 164 When he replied that he would allow him, Joseph went up into the temple and summoned the populace and urged them not to be troubled nor fearful because of the carelessness of his uncle Onias, but to be at peace and not upset themselves with anxiety, for he promised to be their envoy to the king and persuade him that they had done him no wrong. 165 Hearing this the people thanked Joseph and he went down from the temple and treated Ptolemy's envoy in a hospitably, presenting him with rich gifts and feasting him magnificently for many days, and then sent him on ahead to the king, saying that he would soon follow him, 166 for he was now more willing to go to the king, encouraged by the envoy, who urged him to come into Egypt, promising tto ensure that he obtained from Ptolemy everything he asked, for he was very impressed with his frankness and his sobriety of manner.

3.

167 When Ptolemy's envoy returned to Egypt, he told the king of the thoughtlessness of Onias, and of Joseph's virtuous manner, and that he was coming to him as his people's patron, to plead for them and show that they had done him no harm. He praised the young man so highly that he disposed both the king and his wife Cleopatra to feel kindly towards him before his arrival. 168 Joseph sent to his friends in Samaria and borrowed money of them and got ready what was needed for his journey, clothing and cups and beasts for burden to the value of about twenty thousand drachmae, and went to Alexandria. 169 Now at this time all the leaders and officers went up from the cities of Syria and Phoenicia, to bid for their taxes, for every year the king sold them to the most powerful men in every city. 170 Seeing Joseph on his journey these men laughed at him for his poverty and lowliness, but when he came to Alexandria and heard that king Ptolemy was at Memphis, be went up there to meet with him.

171 The king happened to be sitting in his chariot, with his wife and with his friend Athenion, the very person who had gone as envoy in Jerusalem and had been entertained by Joseph, and when Athenion saw him, he at once introduced him to the king, saying what a good and generous a young man he was. 172 So Ptolemy greeted him first, inviting him up into his chariot, and began to complain of what Onias had done, while Joseph sat there. His reply was, "Forgive him on account of his age, for you must be aware that old men and infants have the same atttitude, but you shall have all that you require from us, the younger population, and have no cause for complaint." 173 The king was so delighted with the young man's good humour and pleasantry that though he had had long known of him, he began to like him still more, so that he told him to dine in the palace and be a guest at his own table every day. 174 When the king got to Alexandria, the Syrian leaders saw him sitting with the king and were much offended at it.

4.

175 When the day came when the king was to farm out the taxes of the cities and the leading dignitaries from the various countries were to bid for them, the combined sum of the taxes for Coele-Syria and Phoenicia and Judea, plus Samaria, came to eight thousand talents. 176 At this Joseph accused the bidders of agreeing together to value the taxes at too low a rate, and promised that he himself would pay twice as much for them; and would send back to the king all the property of any who did not pay, for this right was sold along with the taxes. 177 The king was pleased with the offer since it increased his revenues, and said he would grant him the sale of the taxes. When he asked if he had any guarantor to offer for the payment of the money, he answered very pleasantly, "I offer the surety of good and responsible persons, which you shall have no reason to distrust." 178 When asked to say who they were, he answered, "I give you no other persons, O king, for my sureties than yourself and your wife, and you will be guarantor for both parties." So Ptolemy laughed at this and granted him the farming of the taxes without any guarantors. 179 This was a severe blow to those who had come to Egypt from the various cities, who were utterly disappointed, and they each returned home, embarrassed.

5.

180 Joseph took with him from the king two thousand foot soldiers, for he needed some help to force the payment from those in the cities who were resisting, and borrowing five hundred talents from the king's friends in Alexandria, he hurried back into Syria. 181 When he was at Askalon and demanded the taxes of the people of Askalon, they refused to pay anything and insulted him to his face, so taking about twenty of the leaders he killed them and gathered together all they had and sent it to the king, with a report of what he had done. 182 Ptolemy admired the man's prudence and commended his action and gave him leave to do as he pleased. When the Syrians heard it they were astounded, and bearing in mind the sad example in the men of Askalon who had been killed, they opened their gates and willingly admitted Joseph and paid their taxes. 183 When the people of Scythopolis tried to insult him and would not pay him their former level of taxes but argued about them, he also killed the leaders of that city and sent their property to the king. 184 By this means he amassed great wealth and made huge profit by this farming of the taxes, and he used the property he had so gained to support his authority, thinking it prudent to maintain what had caused his present good fortune by means of what he owned already. 185 For he secretly sent many gifts to the king and Cleopatra and to their friends and to all those in power at the court and thereby purchased their goodwill.

6.

186 He enjoyed this good fortune for twenty-two years and had fathered seven sons by one wife, as well as another son named Hyrcanus, by the daughter of his brother Solymius, whom he married as follows. 187 He once came to Alexandria with his brother, who had brought along a marriageable daughter, intending to give her in wedlock to some of the leading Jews there. He had supper with the king and falling in love with an actress that was of great beauty and came into the room where they feasted, he told his brother of it and implored him to conceal his offense, since a Jew is forbidden by their law to make love to a non-Jewish woman, and to be kindly and help him to achieve his desires. 188 The brother willingly undertook this service but then adorned his own daughter and brought her to him by night and placed her in his bed. And Joseph, being disordered with drink, did not recognise her and so had intercourse with his brother's daughter, which he did many times and loved her very well. He told his brother that he was risking his life for the sake of a singer whom the king probably would not allow him to wed. 189 But the brother told him not to worry about it and that he could enjoy his lover without any danger and even have her as his wife, and revealed to him the truth of the matter, assuring him that he would rather see his own daughter abused than neglect him and see him disgraced. Joseph praised him for this brotherly love of his and married his daughter, and by her begot his son Hyrcanus, as we have said. 190 When his youngest son, at the age of thirteen showed a mind that was courageous and wise and was greatly envied by his brothers, being very enviable and much more gifted than they, 191 Joseph once wished to know which of his sons was the most virtuous and when he sent each of them to men of the best reputation as teachers, the rest of his children, because of their sloth and unwillingness to take trouble, returned to him foolish and unlearned. 192 Then he sent Hyrcanus, the youngest, with three hundred yoke of oxen and told him go two days' journey into the wilderness and sow the land there, but secretly kept back the yokes of the oxen that held them together. 193 When he came to the place and found he had no yokes with him, he ignored the drivers of the oxen, who advised him to send back to his father to bring them some yokes. Instead, thinking that he should not waste his time by sending for the yokes, he invented a plan worthy of a more mature mind than his own, 194 for he killed ten yoke of the oxen and distributed their flesh among the laborers and cut their hides into pieces and made yokes for himself and with them yoked the oxen so that he sowed as much land as his father had sent him to sow and returned to him. 195 When he returned, his father was very pleased with his prudence and praised the sharpness of his understanding and the audacity of what he did. And he loved him even more, as if he were his only genuine son, to the annoyance of his brothers.

7.

196 When someone told him that a son had just been born to Ptolemy and that all the leaders of Syria and the other countries under him were to hold a festival for the child's birthday and were speeding to Alexandria with great retinues, he was hindered himself by old age from going but asked his sons if any of them were willing to go to the king. 197 When the elder sons excused themselves saying that they were not good enough courtiers for such an occasion and advised him to send their brother Hyrcanus, he gladly agreed and called Hyrcanus to ask if he could and would go to the king. 198 He was pleased with his son's prudence when he promised to go, saying that he would not want much money for his journey, as he would live modestly and that ten thousand drachmas would suffice. 199 A little later the son advised his father not to send his gifts to the king from there, but to give him a letter to his steward in Alexandria, to furnish him with money to buy something excellent and precious. 200 Thinking that ten talents would be enough for gifts to make to the king and commending his son for his good advice, he wrote to Arion his steward, who managed all his money matters in Alexandria, amounting to no less than three thousand talents. 201 In fact, Joseph used to send to Alexandria the money he collected in Syria and on the appointed day for the payment of the taxes to the king he would write to Arion to pay them. 202 After asking and receiving from his father a letter of credit to the steward, the son hurried to Alexandria, and when he was gone his brothers wrote to all the king's friends, asking them to destroy him.

8.

203 When he reached Alexandria, he delivered his letter to Arion, who asked him how many talents he wanted, hoping that he would ask for no more than ten, or a little more. He said he wanted a thousand talents. The steward was angered by this and rebuked him for wanting to live extravagantly, and said how his father had earned his property by hard work and by resisting his inclinations, and told him he should imitate his father's example. He said he would give him no more than ten talents, and only for a gift to the king. 204 The son was furious and had Arion thrown into prison. Then Arion's wife told this to Cleopatra, who had a high regard for Arion, asking her to reprimand the lad, and Cleopatra told it to the king. 205 Ptolemy sent for Hyrcanus, expressing surprise that he had not yet presented himself, though sent to him by his father, and had put the steward in prison, and bade him come to him and explain his actions. 206 They say he answered the king that according to law no creature could taste of a sacrifice until he had been to the temple and sacrificed to God. By this reasoning he had not yet come to him in person with the gift he was to make to him, as his father's benefactor. 207 He had punished the slave for disobeying his orders; for it did not matter whether a master be young or old, and "unless we punish faults such as these, even you yourself may expect to be scorned by your subjects." On hearing this, Ptolemy burst out laughing, amazed at the child's magnanimity.

9.

208 When Arion was notified about the king's attitude and that he had no alternative he gave the child a thousand talents and was set free from prison, and three days later, Hyrcanus came to greet the king and queen. 209 They saw him with pleasure and cordially made a feast him because of their respect for his father. Then he went secretly to the merchants and bought, at a talent apiece, a hundred boys who had acquired learning and were in the bloom of their youth, and he bought a hundred girls, at the same price. 210 When he was invited to a feast with the king with the aristocrats of the country, he sat down as lowest of them all, because, being a child in age, he was little regarded by those who assigned places according to dignity. 211 When all who sat along with him had put the bones of the various joints in a heap before Hyrcanus, after removing the flesh from them, until the table where he sat was filled with them, 212 Tryphon, the king's jester whose job was joking and laughing during the drinking, was called on by those sitting at table; and standing beside the king he said, "Do you not see, my lord, the bones beside Hyrcanus? By this parable you may see how his father stripped all Syria as bare as he has made these bones." 213 Laughing at what Tryphon said, the king asked Hyrcanus how he came to have so many bones before him. He answered, "Very properly, my lord, for it is the dogs that eat both flesh and bones together, as these have done," meanwhile looking at the guests, "for there is nothing in front of them, but human beings eat the flesh and throw away the bones, as I, a human being, have now done." 214 The king admired his answer, so wisely made, and bade them all applaud him, as a mark of their approval of his facetious jest. 215 Next day he went around to greet all the king's friends and the powerful people at court and asked their servants what gift they intended giving the king on his son's birthday. 216 When some said that they would give above ten talents and others that all the people of greater dignity would give according to the extent of their riches, he pretended to each of them to be grieved that he could not bring so large a gift, since he had no more than five talents, and the servants, hearing what he said, told it to their masters, 217 These were glad at the prospect that Joseph would be scorned and would anger the king by the smallness of his gift. When the day came, none of the others, even those who brought the most, offered the king more than twenty talents, but Hyrcanus gave to each of the hundred boys and hundred maidens that he had bought a talent apiece to carry, and led the boys to the king and the girls to Cleopatra. 218 All, including the royal couple, were amazed at the unexpected magnificence of his gifts, and he gave gifts to the king's friends and attendants to the value of many talents, to avert any danger from them, for it was to them that Hyrcanus's brothers had written to destroy him. 219 Admiring the young man's magnanimity, Ptolemy assigned him any gift he wished, but he asked the king to do no more for him than to write to his father and brothers about him.

220 After showing him great respect and giving him large gifts and writing to his father and brothers and all his leaders and officers about him, he sent him off. 221 When his brothers heard that Hyrcanus had received such favours from the king and was returning home in great honour, they went out to meet and kill him, even with their father's knowledge, who was angry at him for the amount he had spent on gifts and was unconcerned for his safety. But for fear of the king Joseph concealed his anger against his son. 222 When the brothers came to fight him, he killed many of those who accompanied them, and two of his brothers themselves, but the rest escaped to their father in Jerusalem. On reaching the city, where nobody would receive him, he was afraid for his life and retreated across the river Jordan and lived there, still taking taxes from the barbarians.

10.

223 Meanwhile Seleucus, who was surnamed Soter, the son of Antiochus the Great, ruled over Asia. 224 Then Hyrcanus's father, Joseph, died, a good man of great spirit who brought the Jews from a state of poverty and material squalor to one that was more splendid. He held the farming of taxes in Syria and Phoenicia and Samaria for twenty-two years. His uncle Onias also died and left the high priesthood to his son Simon. 225 After the latter's death that dignity passed to his son Onias, to whom Areus, king of the Spartans, sent a delegation, with a letter; the copy whereof here follows:

226 "AREUS, king of the SPARTANS, TO ONIAS, GREETINGS.

"We have found a document which says that the Jews and the Spartans come from a single stock and are derived from the clan of Abraham. It is only right that you, our brothers, should send to us as you please about any of your concerns. 227 We will also do the same and take your concerns as our own and will look upon our concerns as shared with you. Demoteles, who brings you this letter, will bring your answer back to us. This letter is four-square, and the seal is an eagle, with a dragon in his claws."

11.

228 These were the contents of the letter sent by the king of the Spartans. But the people grew rebellious after the death of Joseph, on account of his sons, for whereas the elders were hostile to Hyrcanus, the youngest of Joseph's sons, the people were divided. 229 The majority sided with the elders in this war; as did Simon the high priest for the sake of kinship. But Hyrcanus decided to return to Jerusalem no more, and based himself beyond the Jordan and was at perpetual war with the Arabs and killed many of them and took many as prisoners. 230 He also built a strong fortress, formed entirely of white stone to the very roof with animals of a mighty size engraved upon it and drew around it a large, deep channel of water. 231 Then he made caves, many furlongs in length, by hollowing the rock across from him, and made large rooms in it, some for feasting and some as sleeping and living quarters. He also brought in a great supply of water to run through it and which was pleasing and ornamental in the court. 232 The entrances at the mouth of the caves he made so narrow that no more than one person could enter by them at once. There was a good reason for building them in that way: it was for his own safety, against the dangerf of being besieged and captured by his brothers. 233 He went on to build courts of extraordinary size, adorned with vast gardens, and when he had brought the place to this state, he named it Tyre, located between Arabia and Judea, beyond the Jordan, not far from the district of Hessebon. 234 He ruled over those parts for seven years, even all the time that Seleucus was king of Syria. When he died his brother Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, took over the kingdom. 235 Ptolemy the king of Egypt, surnamed Epiphanes, also died, leaving two young sons, the elder called Philometer and the younger Physcon. 236 Seeing the large army of Antiochus and fearful of being captured by him and punished for what he had done to the Arabs, Hyrcanus took his own life, and Antiochus seized all his property

Chapter 5. [237-264]
Antiochus Epiphanes forces the Jews to adopt Greek ways. Samaritan Temple is dedicated to Zeus

1.

237 About this time, when the high priest Onias died they gave the high priesthood to Joshua his brother, because the son Onias left behind him was only an infant, and we will in due time report what happened to this child. 238 But the king, who was angry with Joshua, the brother of Onias, for taking the high priesthood, and gave it to his younger brother, whose name was also Onias; for Simon had these three sons, each of whom gained the high priesthood, as we have said. 239 This Joshua changed his name to Jason, while Onias took the name Menelaus. When the former high priest, Joshua, rebelled against Menelaus, who was appointed after him, the people were divided between them. 240 The sons of Tobias took the side of Menelaus, while the majority of the people sided with Jason, and so Menelaus and the sons of Tobias came under pressure and went to Antiochus to say that they wanted to abandon their ancestral laws and the lifestyle that went with them, in order to follow the king's laws and the Greek lifestyle. 241 They asked his permission to build a gymnasium in Jerusalem. When he allowed it, they also hid the circumcision of their genitals, so that even when naked they might appear to be Greeks. They abandoned all their ancestral customs and imitated the practices of the other nations.

2.

242 When his kingdom was in good order, Antiochus resolved to invade Egypt, because he wanted to take it and scorned the son of Ptolemy as a weakling still unable to manage such great affairs. 243 So he came with a great force to Pelusium and tricked Ptolemy Philometor and captured Egypt. He came to the places around Memphis, and after taking them, hurried to Alexandria, hoping to take it by siege and to subdue Ptolemy, who ruled there. 244 But he was driven not only from Alexandria, but from the whole of Egypt, when the Romans ordered him to leave that country alone; as I have said elsewhere. 245 I will now give a detailed account of this king, how he subdued Judea and the temple, for in my former work I mentioned those things very briefly and I now think it necessary to go over that history again, more fully.

3.

246 King Antiochus returning from Egypt for fear of the Romans, marched against the city of Jerusalem, and when he was there, in the hundred and forty-third year of the kingdom of the Seleucids, he took the city without a fight, when those of his own party opened the gates to him. 247 After taking Jerusalem, he killed many of those who opposed him and looted it of a large amount of money, before returning to Antioch.

4.

248 Two years later, in the hundred and forty fifth year, on the twenty-fifth day of the month we call Chasleu and the Macedonians call Apellaeus, in the hundred and fifty-third Olympiad, the king came up to Jerusalem, and by pretending peace, gained possession of the city by treachery. 249 On this occasion on account of the riches in the temple he spared not even those who let him in, but in his greed, as he saw there a large amount of gold and many valuable ornaments that had been dedicated to it, he dared to break his pact in order to plunder its wealth. 250 So he stripped the temple bare and took away the golden candlesticks and the golden altar and the table and the censers and did not even spare the veils, made of fine linen and scarlet, and emptied its hidden treasures, leaving nothing at all behind, which threw the Jews into deep mourning. 251 He also forbade them to offer the customary daily sacrifices to God required by the law, and after ransacking the whole city, he killed some people and took others prisoner, with their wives and children, and the number of prisoners taken alive was about ten thousand. 252 He also burned down the finest buildings, and destroyed the city walls and built a citadel in the lower part of the city, making it high, to overlook the temple, and fortified it with high walls and towers and put into it a garrison of Macedonians. And so, within the citadel lived this impious and wicked faction from whom the citizens suffered many severe troubles. 253 When the king had built an altar above the real altar, he killed swine upon it and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the law, nor the ancestral worship of the Jews. He also made them turn aside from worshipping their own God and adore those he thought to be gods, and had them build temples and raise altars in every city and village and offer swine upon them every day. 254 He directed them not to circumcise their sons and threatened to punish any that were found transgressing his instruction, and appointed overseers to compel them to carry out what he ordered. 255 In fact, many Jews obeyed the king's commands, either freely, or from fear of the penalty that was announced. But the best and noblest souls did not heed him, but showed more respect for the customs of their country than fear of the punishment he threatened on the disobedient, and for this they were continually subjected to bitter woes and torments. 256 They were whipped with rods and their bodies torn to pieces and crucified while they were still alive and breathing, along with their wives. Parents had their sons, whom they had circumcised against the king's decree, hung around their necks as they hung upon the cross. If any sacred book of the law was found, it was destroyed and those with whom they were found died cruelly too.

5.

257 Seeing the Jews suffering like this, the Samaritans no longer professed themselves their relatives, nor said that their temple on Mount Garizim belonged to Almighty God. This was according to their nature, as we have already shown. They now claimed to be a colony of the Medes and Persians, and were indeed a colony of theirs. 258 They sent envoys to Antiochus with a letter which said, "To king Antiochus the god Epiphanes, a message from the Sidonians living in Sikima. 259 Our ancestors, when some plagues came on the land, followed an ancient superstition and observed the day the Jews call the Sabbath. When they had built a temple without a name on the mountain called Garizim, they offered the customary sacrifices upon it. 260 Now that you have justly punished the wicked Jews, those who manage your royal affairs think that we are their relatives, and practice as they do, making us liable to the same accusations, though we are originally Sidonians, as is evident from the public records. 261 We therefore beg you, our benefactor and saviour, to order Apollonius, the ruler of this area and Nicanor, your agent, not to disturb us, nor to accuse us along with the Jews since we are alien to their nation and their customs. Let our temple, which at present has no name at all be named the Temple of Greek Zeus, so that we may no longer be troubled, but may calmly focus on our own work and so bring more revenue to you." 262 When the Samaritans made this petition, the king replied with the following letter: "King Antiochus to Nicanor. The Sidonians, who live at Sikima, have sent me the enclosed petition. 263 When we were consulting our friends about it, their messengers told us that they are no way involved with the accusations against the Jews, but choose to live according to Greek ways. So we declare them free from such accusations and order that, as they have petitioned, their temple be named after Greek Zeus." 264 He sent a similar letter to Apollonius, the ruler of that part of the country, in the forty-sixth year, on the eighteenth day of the month Hecatombaium Hyrkanios.

Chapter 6. [265-286]
Mattathias leads the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus phanes

1.

265 At that time there was in the village of in Modin a man named Mattathias, the son of John, son of Simon, son of Hasmoneus, a priest of the order of Joarib and a citizen of Jerusalem. 266 He had five sons; John, surnamed Gaddis and Simon, surnamed Thattes and Judas, surnamed Maccabeus, and Eleazar, surnamed Auran and Jonathan, surnamed Apphus. 267 This Mattathias lamented to his children the sad state of their affairs and the ravaging of the city and the looting of the temple and the plight of the people, and he sid that it was better for them to die for their ancestral laws than to live so ignobly.

2.

268 When those appointed by the king came to Modin, to compel the Jews to do what was ordered and to force the inhabitants to offer sacrifice, as the king had commanded, they wanted Mattathias, as a person of dignity, among other things, for having such a fine a family, to sacrifice first, 269 saying that others would follow his example and that such a procedure would make him honoured by the king. But Mattathias said he would not do it, and that even if all other nations obeyed the commands of Antiochus, whether from fear or to please him, neither he nor his sons would abandon their ancestral form of worship. 270 As soon as he fell silent, one of the Jews came into the middle of them and sacrificed as Antiochus had ordered, and Mattathias was enraged and attacked him violently, along with his sons who had their swords, and killed both the man who was sacrificing and Apelles the king's general, who compelled them to sacrifice, and a few of the soldiers. 271 He also destroyed the altar and called out, "Whoever is devoted to the laws of his country and the worship of God, let him follow me." With this, he made off into the desert with his sons and left all his property in the village. 272 Many others did the same and fled with their children and wives into the desert and lived in caves. When the king's generals heard this, they took all the forces they had in the citadel in Jerusalem and pursued the Jews into the desert. 273 When they overtook them, they first tried to persuade them to repent and to choose their own safety and not make them treat them by to the law of war. 274 But when they would not accept this, and continued to oppose them, they fought them on the sabbath day and burned them in the caves, just as they were, without resistance and without so much as blocking the mouths of the caves. They refrained from defending themselves on that day, unwilling to lessen the honour due to the sabbath, even in such a plight, for our law tells us to rest on that day. 275 About a thousand, along with wives and children, were smothered and died in those caves, but many of those who escaped joined Mattathias and appointed him as their leader. 276 He taught them to fight, even on the sabbath day, for unless they did so, they would be fighting themselves, by keeping the law and not defending themselves, with their enemies still attacking them on that day; for then nothing would then save them from all dying without a fight. 277 His speech persuaded them and this rule continues among us to this day, that in case of necessity, we may fight even on sabbath days. 278 So Mattathias gathered a large army and destroyed their altars and killed any law-breakers he got into his power, and many of them scattered among the nations round for fear of him. He ordered that those boys who were not yet circumcised be so now, and drove out any who sought to prevent this from happening.

3.

279 When he had ruled for a year and had fallen ill, he called for his sons and set them around him and said, "My sons, I am going the way of all the earth, and I hand on my resolve to you and beg you not to fail to keep it, 280 but remember the purpose of the one who begot and reared you and keep the customs of your country and recover our ancient ways, now in danger of being set aside and do not be swayed by those who betray it, whether from inclination or need. 281 Be sons worthy of me, unfazed by force or danger, and keep your souls ready, if need be, to die for your laws. You should reckon that if the divinity sees you so disposed he will not abandon you, but will reward your virtue and restore to you again what you have lost and give you again the freedom to live in peace, by our own customs. 282 Your bodies are mortal and vulnerable, but the memory of your deeds will bring them a sort of immortality, which I want you to love so that you may pursue glory and endure greatest hardships and not refuse to pay the price with your lives. 283 I urge you especially to agree with each other, and wherever any of you excels another, yield to him in it, so as to reap the benefit of each one's virtues. So take Simon as your father, for he has great prudence, and be ruled by his advice; 284 and take Maccabeus as general of your army, because of his courage and strength, for he will avenge the nation and bring vengeance on our enemies. Accept the righteous and religious among you and increase their power."

4.

285 Soon after he had said this to his sons and prayed to God to help them and return the people to their former way of life, he died and was buried at Modin, greatly lamented by all the people; and his son Judas Maccabeus took over the state in the hundred and forty sixth year. 286 With the full cooperation of his brothers and others, he drove out their enemies from the land and put to death any of their own countrymen who had transgressed its laws, so that he purified the land of every pollution.

Chapter 7. [287-326]
Victories of Judas Maccabeus. Re-dedication of the Jerusalem Temple

1.

287 Hearing this, the Samaritan general Apollonius set out with his forces against Judas, who met him and fought and defeated him and killed many of his men, among them the general, Apollonius, whose sword he took away and kept for himself. Having wounded even more than he killed and taken a large amount of booty from the enemy's camp, he went off. 288 Then Seron, the general of Coele-Syria, on hearing how many had joined with Judas who now had with him a fighting army ready for war, decided to go against him, and attempt to punish those who had disobeyed the king's instructions. 289 Gathering as large a force as he could, with the addition of renegade and wicked Jews, he went against Judas, getting as far as Bethhoron, a village of Judea, before pitching camp. 290 Then Judas met him, and when before the battle he saw his soldiers reluctant to fight, because they were few in number and had no food and were hungry, he roused them by saying that victory and conquest come not from the size of armies, but from piety towards God. 291 Of this they had the best example in their ancestors, who, in a righteous effort on behalf of their laws and their children, had often conquered thousands, since innocence is a strong force. 292 By this speech he got his men to ignore the numbers of the enemy and to attack Seron and beat the Syrians in the battle, who all ran away when their general fell, as their best way of escape. He pursued them to the plain and killed about eight hundred of the enemy, while the rest fled to the region near the sea.

2.

293 When king Antiochus heard of this, he was enraged by the turns of events, and gathered all his army, along with many mercenaries whom he had hired from the islands, and took them with him to preapare to Judea early in the spring. 294 As he mustered his soldiers, he saw that his treasury depleted and short of money, for not all the taxes had been paid on account of revolts among the nations, and he had been so generous and spendthrift that he had not enough left; so he resolved to go first into Persia and collect the taxes of that land. 295 He left behind a man named Lysias, whom he highly esteemed, to rule the kingdom, from the river Euphrates as far as the borders of Egypt and Lower Asia, and entrusted to him part of his forces and of the elephants, 296 telling him to rear his son Antiochus with great care until he returned, and to conquer Judea and take its inhabitants as slaves and utterly destroy Jerusalem and abolish the whole nation. 297 After entrusting these things to Lysias, king Antiochus went into Persia, and in the hundred and forty-seventh year crossed the Euphrates and went to the upper provinces.

3.

298 Lysias chose Ptolemy, son of Dorymenes and Nicanor and Gorgias, very powerful men among the king's friends and surrendered to them forty thousand foot soldiers and seven thousand cavalry and sent them against Judea. They came as far as the city of Emmaus and encamped in the plain country. 299 Auxiliaries from Syria and the country round about also came to them, with many of the Jews who had fled, along with merchants to buy the captives, bringing chains to bind those who would be taken, and the silver and gold to pay for them. 300 When Judas saw their camp and the size of the enemy, he urged his soldiers to take heart and to put their hopes of victory in God and pray to him, according to the custom of their country, clothed in sackcloth, and to show their usual spirit of prayer amid the greatest dangers and thereby get Him to grant them victory over their enemies. 301 So he set them in the ancient battle-order of their ancestors, under officers of thousands and other officers. He dismissed those who were newly married, as well as those who had newly aquired property, who might fight without courage, being too much in love with life. When he had so arranged his soldiers, he encouraged them to fight by the following speech: 302 "There is no time so opportune for you as now, my friends, for courage in the face of danger. If you now fight manfully you may regain your freedom, which, though it is loved by all for its own sake, is still more desirable to us, as it leaves us free to worship the Divinity. 303 Since therefore it now lies within your grasp, you must either recover that freedom and so regain a happy and blessed lifestyle according to our laws and ancestral custom, or suffer the most ignoble sufferings, for no offspring of your nation will survive if you are beaten in this battle. 304 Fight manfully therefore, knowing that even if you do not fight you will die, but if you die for such glorious aims as your country's freedom, laws and religion, you will enjoy everlasting renown. Prepare your souls and be ready to meet the enemy tomorrow at daybreak."

4.

305 With these words Judas encouraged them. When the enemy sent Gorgias with five thousand foot and a thousand horse, to attack Judas by night guided by some of the renegade Jews, the son of Mattathias noted it and resolved to attack the enemies who were in camp, now their forces were divided. 306 After an early supper and leaving many fires burning in their camp, he marched all night upon the enemies at Emmaus. When Gorgias did not find the enemy in their camp, he thought they had retreated and hidden themselves in the mountains, and decided to go and seek them wherever they might be. 307 But about daybreak Judas appeared among the enemy at Emmaus, with only three thousand men, badly armed and poor, and when he saw the enemy so well and skilfully fortified in their camp, he roused his Jews, telling them that they should fight, even if only with unarmed bodies, since of old God had sometimes given men strength due to their great courage, even against those who were more numerous and better armed; so he ordered the trumpets blown for the battle. 308 By so unexpectedly attacking the enemy and astounding and shaking their minds, he killed many who resisted him and pursued the rest as far as Gadara and the plains of Idumaea and Azotus and Jamneia, and about three thousand of them fell. 309 Judas urged his soldiers however, not to be too eager for the spoils, as they still must do battle with Gorgias and his forces; only when they had overcome them could they securely plunder the camp, as these were the only enemies remaining and they were expecting no others. 310 But just as he was saying this to his soldiers, Gorgias's men looked down at the force they left in their camp and saw it was destroyed and that the camp burned, for the rising smoke showed them, even from a long distance, what had happened. 311 So when the men with Gorgias saw how things were and that Judas's forces were ready to fight them, they too were frightened and fled. 312 Then Judas, as though he had defeated Gorgias's soldiers without fighting, returned and captured the spoils. He took a large extent of gold and silver and purple and blue material, and returned home with joy, singing hymns to God for their success, for this victory contributed greatly to their freedom.

5.

313 Lysias was dejected at the defeat of the force he had sent and the next year he gathered sixty thousand chosen men and five thousand cavalry and attacked Judea, and he went up to the hill country of Bethsur, a village of Judea and encamped there. 314 Judas met him there with ten thousand men, and when he saw the large number of his enemies, he prayed to God to help him and fought the first of the enemy to appear and defeated them and killed about five thousand, becoming feared by the rest of them. 315 Observing the spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their freedom and fearing their desperation in battle as a real real strength, Lysias took the rest of his army and returned to Antioch, where he enlisted foreigners and prepared to attack Judea with a larger army.

6.

316 When the generals of Antiochus's armies had been defeated so often, Judas assembled the people and told them that after these many victories which God had given them, they should go up to Jerusalem and purify the temple and offer the appointed sacrifices. 317 But when he reached Jerusalem along with the crowd, and found the temple deserted and its gates burned down and weeds growing in the abandoned temple, he and his companions began to weep and were quite dismayed at the sight of the temple. 318 He chose some of his soldiers whom he ordered to fight the guards of the citadel, while he himself purified the temple. After purging it with care and bringing in new vessels, the candlestick, the table and the altar, all made of gold, he hung up the veils at the gates and put doors in them. He also took down the altar and built a new one of stones gathered together and not hewn with iron tools. 319 So on the twenty-fifth day of the month Casleu, which the Macedonians call Apelieus, they lit the lamps on the candlestick and offered incense on the altar and laid the loaves on the table and offered holocausts on the new altar. 320 It so happened that these things were done on the very same day when three years before their divine worship had ended and was reduced to a profane and vulgar use, for when the temple was made desolate by Antiochus it continued so for three years. 321 This happened to the temple on the hundred forty fifth year, the twenty-fifth day of the month Apelieus, in the hundred and fifty third Olympiad. It was re-dedicated on the same day, the twenty-fifth of the month Apelieus, on the hundred and forty-eighth year, in the hundred and fifty-fourth Olympiad. 322 The desolation of the temple happened according to the prophecy of Daniel, made four hundred and eight years earlier, when he declared that the Macedonians would put an end to it.

7.

323 For eight days Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the temple sacrifices and neglected no sort of pleasures, but feasted them on rich and splendid sacrifices, honouring God and delighting them by hymns and psalms. 324 Such was their joy at the revival of their customs, when, after so long a time they unexpectedly regained their freedom to worship, that they made a law for their offspring to keep an eight-day festival for the restoration of their temple. 325 From that time to this we celebrate and call it the festival of Lights, I suppose because this liberty seemed to us beyond all hope, and so was this name given to the festival. 326 Judas also rebuilt the walls around the city and raised high towers against enemy attack and set guards in them. He also fortified the city of Bethsura, to serve as a citadel against any danger from our enemies.

Chapter 8. [327-353]
Maccabee Victories, under Judas and his brother Simon

1.

327 After this the nations round about were upset by the revival of the power of the Jews and together rose up and killed many of them by laying traps for them and secretly conspiring against them. Judas made perpetual expeditions against these men and tried to restrain their incursions and to prevent the evils they were doing to the Jews. 328 He attacked Esau's descendants, the Idumaeans, at Acrabattene and killed many of them and took their spoils and also shut up the sons of Baanos, who laid in wait for the Jews, and after an intensive siege burned their towers and killed their menfolk. 329 From there he hurried against the Ammanites, who had a large, numerous army, commanded by Timotheus, and after subduing them, seized the city of Jazor and took their wives and children captive and burned the city and then returned to Judea. 330 When the neighbouring nations learned of his return they gathered in large numbers in Galaditis and came against the Jews that were at their borders, who then fled to the garrison of Dathema, and sent to Judas, telling him that Timotheus was trying to take the place to which they had fled. 331 While they were reading these letters other messengers came from Galilee to tell him that the people of Ptolemais and Tyre and Sidon and foreigners of Galilee had gotten together.

2.

332 Having considered what to do about both these urgent messages, Judas ordered his brother Simon to take three thousand elite troops and go to the help of the Jews in Galilee. 333 He himself and his other brother Jonathan hurried with eight thousand soldiers into Galaditis, leaving Joseph, the son of Zacharias and Azarias, in charge of the rest of the forces, with orders to carefully guard Judea and to fight no battles with anybody until his return. 334 So Simon went into Galilee and fought and routed the enemy and pursued them to the very gates of Ptolemais, killing about three thousand of them and taking their spoils and their baggage and the Jews whom they had held prisoner, and then returned home.

3.

335 Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the river Jordan, and after a journey of three days found the Nabateans, who came to meet them peaceably. 336 These told him about the people in Galaditis, and how many of them were harried and driven into strongholds and into the cities of Galilee, and urged him to hurry against the foreigners and to try to save his own countrymen from their hands. Judas listened to this urging and returned to the wilderness, and first attacked the people of Bosora and took the city and beat the inhabitants and destroyed all the fighting men and burned the city. 337 He did not stop even at nightfall but moved on to the stronghold where the Jews were shut up and which Timotheus had under siege with his army, reaching the city by morning. 338 As he found the enemy attacking the walls, some of them with ladders to climb them and others bringing forward battering rams, he had the trumpet blown and urged his men to risk dangers cheerfully for the sake of their brothers and relatives; and dividing his army into three he attacked the enemy from the rear. 339 When Timotheus's men saw that it was Maccabeus, of whose courage and success in war they already had sufficient experience, they were put to flight, and Judas pursued them with his army and killed about eight thousand. 340 He then turned aside to Mella, the so-called city of the foreigners, and took it and killed all the males and burned the city itself. He then moved from there and destroyed Casphomake and Bosora and many other cities of Galaditis.

4.

341 But not long afterwards Timotheus gathered a large army and many more allies, and induced some of the Arabs, by the promise of rewards, to go with him in this campaign and came with his army beyond the wadi opposite the city of Romphon. 342 He encouraged his soldiers, if there was a battle with the Jews, to fight bravely and stop them from crossing over the brook, for he predicted defeat if they got across it. 343 When Judas heard that Timotheus was preparing to fight, he took his whole army and hurried against the enemy, and after crossing the brook, attacked the enemy and some of them who opposed him he killed while he so terrified the others that he made them throw down their weapons and take to flight. 344 Some escaped, and others fled to what is called the Temple of Enkranai in hope of saving their lives, but Judas took the city and killed them and burned the temple and so destroyed his enemies in a variety of ways.

5.

345 When he had done this, he gathered the Jews with their children and wives and property and was going to bring them back to Judea. 346 On the way, however, he reached a city named Emphron, which it was not possible to avoid and being unwilling to retreat he sent to the inhabitants demanding that they open their gates and let them pass through the city; for they had blocked up the gates with stones to prevent them going through. 347 When the people of Emphron refused this proposal, he urged his companions on and surrounded the city and besieged it by day and night, and took the city and killed every male in it and burned it down and thereby made his way through, and the number of the slain was so great that they walked over the corpses. 348 So they crossed the Jordan and arrived at the great plain, opposite the city of Bethsan, which is called by the Greeks Scythopolis. 349 Quickly passing on from there, they came into Judea, singing psalms and hymns as they went and as mirthful as people celebrating a victory. They also offered thank-offerings for their success and for the safety of their army, for none of the Jews was killed in these battles.

6.

350 But Joseph, the son of Zacharias and Azarias, whom Judas left in charge at the time that Simon was in Galilee, fighting against the people of Ptolemais and Judas himself and his brother Jonathan were in Galaditis, also wanted the glory of being brave leaders in war, and for this reason took the army under their command and came to Jamneia. 351 There Gorgias, the general of Jamneia, met them, and in the battle with him they lost two thousand of their army, and were pursued in flight to the very borders of Judea. 352 This happened to them because of their disobedience to the instructions Judas had given them, not to fight anybody before his return. Alongside the rest of his military prowess one may well be surprised at the failure of the forces under Joseph and Azarias, which he foresaw would happen if they broke the instructions he had given them. 353 Judas and his brothers did not give up fighting the Idumaeans, but pressed upon them on all sides and took from them the city of Hebron and demolished its fortifications and set all its towers on fire and burned the land of the foreigners and the city of Marissa. They came also to Azotus and took it and ravaged it and took away much of the spoils and booty that were in it and returned to Judea.

Chapter 9. [354-388]
Death of Antiochus Epiphanes. Eupator continues war on as, then makes peace.

1.

354 About this time, as he was going up to the northern territory king Antiochus heard of a very wealthy city in Persia, called Elymais, where there was a glorious temple of Artemis, full of all sorts of dedicatory gifts and weapons and breastplates, which he found had been left there by king Alexander of Macedon, the son of Philip. 355 Incited by this, he hurried to Elymais and attacked it by siege; but when they were not dismayed either by his attack nor the siege, and put up a bold defence, his hopes were dashed. Driving him from the city, they came out after him, so that he fled to Babylon, with the loss of many of his soldiers. 356 While he was grieving for this loss, some told him about the defeat of the officers he had left behind him to fight against Judea and how strong the Jews had become. 357 With the worry about these matters added to the rest, he was dejected and became ill from anxiety, and as it went on and he was in increasing pain, he knew that his death was near, so he called his friends to tell them that his illness was severe. He acknowledged that he was suffering for the woes he had inflicted on the Jewish nation, by looting their temple and despising their God, and while saying this, he expired. 358 Polybius of Megalopolis, a reliable man, surprisingly says that "Antiochus died for intending to loot the temple of Diana in Persia," since purposing to do a thing, but not actually doing it, does not deserve punishment. 359 While Polybius thought that Antiochus lost his life therefore, the king is much more likely to have died for his sacrilege against the temple in Jerusalem. But we will not argue this point with those who think that the cause alleged by the man from Megalopolis is truer than that alleged by us.

2.

360 Before he died, Antiochus called for one of his companions, Philip, and made him overseer of his kingdom, giving him his crown and robe and ring, with orders to hand on to his son Antiochus, asking him also to take care of his education and to guard the kingdom for him. 361 Antiochus died in the hundred forty ninth year, but it was Lysias who announced his death to the people and appointed his son Antiochus as king, for he was his guardian, and called him Eupator.

3.

362 Meanwhile the garrison in the citadel of Jerusalem, with the Jewish renegades, did a lot of harm to the Jews, by rushing out suddenly and killing those who were going up to the temple to offer their sacrifices, for this citadel overlooked the temple. 363 When this had happened to them, Judas resolved to destroy that garrison and assembled all the people and vigorously besieged those in the citadel, in the hundred and fiftieth year of the Seleucid rule. He made war machines and built walls and eagerly pressed on to take the citadel. 364 But by night many of the renegades inside went out into the country and gathered other like-minded godless folk and went to king Antiochus and asked him not to forget what they were enduring from their countrymen, since their sufferings were due to his father, on account of whom they had abandoned their ancestral worship in deference to his command. 365 Now the citadel and those appointed by the king to garrison it were in danger of being taken by Judas and his companions unless he sent them help. 366 When the boy Antiochus heard this, in anger he sent for his officers and friends ordering them to gather an army of mercenaries, and men of his own kingdom who were old enough for war, and an army of some hundred thousand infantry and twenty thousand cavalry and thirty-two elephants was assembed.

4.

367 With this army he stormed out of Antioch, with Lysias in command of the whole force, and came to Idumaea and from there ascended to Bethsura, a strong city, not easy to capture, and laid siege to the city. 368 Since the people of Bethsura opposed him bravely and made sallies out upon him and burned his machines of war, the siege lasted a long time. 369 When Judas heard of the king's arrival, he ceased besieging the citadel and faced up to the king and camped at a gorge in a place called BethZacharias, seventy furlongs from the enemy. 370 The king soon led his forces from Bethsura to the gorge, and when it was day, arranged his army for battle. 371 He sent his elephants in single file through the narrow pass, since they could not go side by side, with each elephant surrounded by a thousand infantry and five hundred cavalry; and the elephants carried high towers and archers. The rest of his army he sent up the mountains, under the command of his friends. 372 His orders were for the army to shout aloud as they attacked the enemy and to show their golden and bronze shields, so that they shone with glorious splendor, and the mountains echoed back their shouting. Judas was not terrified by this, but faced the enemy courageously and killed about six hundred of the front runners. 373 When his brother Eleazar, whom they called Auran, saw the tallest of all the elephants armed with royal shields and thought the king riding him, he attacked him with speed and bravery. He killed many around the elephant and scattered the rest and going under the belly of the elephant he struck him and killed the elephant 374 But it fell upon Eleazar and crushed him to death with its weight; and that's how this man ended his life, after bravely destroying many of the enemy.

5.

375 Seeing the strength of the enemy, Judas retreated to Jerusalem and prepared for a siege. Antiochus sent part of his army to combat Bethsura, and came against Jerusalem with the rest of his forces. 376 The people of Bethsura were terrified of his power, and with their provisions growing scarce, they surrendered, being guaranteed by oath that they should suffer no harm from the king. After taking the city, Antiochus did no more to them than sending them out naked and placing in the city a garrison of his own. 377 For a long time he besieged the Jerusalem temple, for those inside bravely defended it, and whatever machines the king set against them, they opposed with machines of their own. 378 But their provisions ran out, for whatever food they had stored was used up as the land was not ploughed that year, since it was the seventh year, when our laws make us leave it unsown. Also, many of the besieged fled for lack of essentials, so that only a few were left in the temple.

6.

379 That was the situation of those besieged in the temple. But when general Lysias and king Antiochus were told that Philip was coming against them from Persia and trying to take over the government, they decided to leave the siege and to attack Philip, but not to let this be known to the soldiers or to the officers. 380 The king ordered Lysias to address himself and the officers publicly without saying anything about the business of Philip, and to tell them that the siege would be very long, since the place was so strong and they were already short of provisions, and many affairs of the kingdom needed attention. 381 So it seemed much better to make a truce with the besieged and to make friends with their whole nation by letting them observe their ancestral laws, for whose removal they had gone into this war, and so to go home. When Lysias said this to them, the army and the officers were pleased with this plan.

7.

382 The king sent to Judas and those who were besieged with him, promising them peace and allowing them to live according to their ancestral laws. They heard his message gladly and when they had received his oaths of good faith, they left the temple. 383 When Antiochus entered and saw how strong a place it was, he broke his oaths and ordered his army to come there and level its walls to the ground, and when he had done so, he returned to Antioch, taking with him Onias the high priest, surnamed Menelaus. 384 Lysias had advised the king to kill Menelaus, if he wanted the Jews to keep the peace and cause him no more trouble, for this man had started all the harm the Jews had done them, by persuading his father to compel the Jews to abandon the religion of their fathers. 385 So the king sent Menelaus to Berea, a city of Syria and there had him put to death, after being high priest for ten years. He had been bad and impious and, in order to win the leadership had forced his nation to break their own laws. After the death of Menelaus, Alcimus, surnamed Jacimus, became high priest. 386 When king Antiochus found that Philip had already taken the leadership, he made war on him and captured and killed him. 387 But Onias, the son of the high priest, who, as we said before, was left a child when his father died, when he saw how the king had killed his uncle Menelaus and given the high priesthood to Alcimus, who was not of the high priestly stock, and was persuaded by Lysias to remove that dignity from his family to another house, fled to Ptolemy, king of Egypt. 388 Finding himself held in high esteem by him and his wife Cleopatra, he asked and obtained a place in the Nomus of Heliopolis, where he built a temple like that in Jerusalem. We will give an account of this later, at a more suitable time.

Chapter 10. [389-419]
Bacchides and Nicanor fail in war against Judas. He makes act of friendship with the Romans.

1.

389 About that time Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, fled from Rome and took Tripoli, a city of Syria and took the crown himself. He also gathered some mercenary soldiers and entered his kingdom and was joyfully received by all, who put themselves in his hands. 390 When they had taken Antiochus the king and Lysias, they brought them to him alive and both were immediately put to death at the command of Demetrius, after Antiochus had ruled for two years, as we have elsewhere reported. 391 But there were now many wicked Jewish renegades who joined him, including the high priest Alcimus, who accused the whole nation and particularly Judas and his brothers, 392 saying that they had killed all his friends and that any in his kingdom who were of his party and awaited his return, were put to death by them. He said that these men had expelled them from their own country and made them exiles in a foreign land, and asked him to send one of his own friends and through him learn the harm that Judas's party had done.

2.

393 At this Demetrius was very angry and sent Bacchides, a friend of Antiochus Epiphanes, a good man who had been entrusted with all Mesopotamia, giving him charge of an army and entrusting the high priest Alcimus to his care, with the commission to kill Judas and his companions. 394 So Bacchides hurried off from Antioch with his army, and arriving in Judea, sent to Judas and his brothers to talk with them about a pact of friendship and peace, planning to seize him by treachery. 395 But he did not trust him, for he saw him coming with a larger army than is normal when one comes to make peace. Still, some of the people were in agreement with Bacchides proclamation and expected to suffer no great harm from Alcimus, who was their countryman. 396 So they went over and after receiving oaths from both of them that neither they nor those of their side would come to any harm, they trusted them. Bacchides did not bother about the oaths he had taken and killed sixty of them, but by not keeping his faith with those who first went over, he deterred all the rest, who had meant to go over to him. 397 When he left Jerusalem and was in the village called Berzetho, he sent out and caught many of the deserters and some of the people and killed them all, and ordered all who lived in the country to submit to Alcimus. So he left him there, with part of the army, leaving him the means to hold the land and returned to Antioch to king Demetrius.

3.

398 But Alcimus wished to make his dominion more secure and understanding that he would govern more safely if he could make the people his friends, he spoke kindly to them all and agreeably and pleasantly to each of them individually, so that he soon had a large group as an army about him. 399 Most of them were impious and renegades and with these, whom he used as his servants and soldiers, he went all over the country and killed whoever of Judas's party he could find. 400 When Judas saw how powerful Alcimus had become and that he had killed many of the nation's good and holy men, he went throughout the country killing those who were of the other party; and as Alcimus saw that he could not oppose Judas, being unequal to him in strength, he decided to apply to king Demetrius for his help. 401 Going to Antioch he roused him against Judas, alleging that he had endured many woes on account of him and that he would do more harm unless he were prevented and punished, by sending a powerful force against him.

4.

402 So Demetrius, already thinking that it would be dangerous for him to ignore Judas, now that he was becoming so powerful, sent against him Nicanor, the closest and most faithful of all his friends, the man who had fled with him from the city of Rome. He also gave him as many forces as he thought sufficient for him to conquer Judas and told him not to spare the nation in the least. 403 On reaching Jerusalem, Nicanor resolved not to fight Judas immediately, judging it better to get him into his power by treachery, 404 so he sent him a message of peace and said there was no need for them to fight and risk themselves, and that he would give him his oath not to harm him, since he only came with some friends to let him know the intentions of king Demetrius and his views about their nation. When Nicanor had delivered this message, Judas and his brothers agreed and suspecting no deceit, gave him assurances of friendship and received Nicanor and his army, but while he was saluting Judas and they were talking together, he gave his soldiers the signal to seize Judas. 405 He realised the treachery and ran back to his own soldiers and fled with them. So when his purpose and his traps for Judas were uncovered, Nicanor decided to make open war with him and gathered his army prepared to fight him, and in their battle at a village called Capharsalama, he defeated Judas and forced him to flee to the citadel in Jerusalem.

5.

406 As Nicanor came down from the citadel to the temple, some of the priests and elders met and greeted him and showed him the sacrifices they offered to God for the king, then he blasphemed and threatened them, that unless the people would hand over Judas to him, upon his return he would pull clown their temple. 407 After so threatening them, he left Jerusalem; and the priests began to weep with grief at what he had said and begged God to save them from their enemies. 408 On leaving Jerusalem Nicanor encamped at a village called Bethoron, and was joined by another force from Syria. Judas encamped at another village, Adasa, thirty furlongs from Bethoron, with two thousand men. 409 After encouraging them not to be dismayed at the number of their enemies, nor to consider the numbers against whom they were going to fight, but to realise who they themselves were and the great rewards for which they risked themselves and to attack the enemy bravely, he led them out to the fight and though the battle with Nicanor proved severe, he overcame the enemy and killed many of them, and finally Nicanor himself fell, fighting gloriously. 410 After his fall the army did not stay but were put to flight by the loss of their general and threw down their arms, and Judas pursued and killed them and by the sound of the trumpets gave notice to the neighbouring villages that he had conquered the enemy. 411 When the inhabitants heard it they sprang to arms and met their enemies face to face as they were running away and killed them, so that none of the nine thousand escaped from this battle. 412 This victory was on the thirteenth day of that month called by the Jews Adar and by the Macedonians Dystrus, and on it the Jews celebrate this victory every year and treat it as a festival day. After this the Jewish nation were free from wars and enjoyed peace for a while, but later they returned to their former state of wars and dangers.

6.

413 As the high priest Alcimus thought to pull down the wall of the sanctuary, which had been built in former times by the holy prophets, he was struck suddenly by God and fell down. This stroke made him fall speechless to the ground, and after many days of suffering he finally died, having been high priest for four years. 414 After his death the people gave the high priesthood to Judas, who hearing of the power of the Romans and that in war they had defeated Galatia and Iberia and Carthage and Libya, and had also subdued Greece and their kings, Perseus and Philip and Antiochus the Great, decided to make a pact of friendship with them. 415 For this he sent to Rome some of his friends, Eupolemus the son of John and Jason the son of Eleazar through whom he asked the Romans to help them and be their friends and to write to Demetrius forbidding him to fight against the Jews. 416 As the envoys from Judas arrived in Rome they were were received by the senate who spoke to them about their mission and agreed to the alliance. They also made a decree about it, a copy of which was sent to Judea, while the original, engraved in brass, they placed in the Capitol. 417 It read as follows: "The decree of the senate about alliance and friendship with the Jewish nation. It shall not be lawful for any of those subject to the Romans to make war on the Jewish nation, or to help those who do so, either by sending them corn, or ships, or money. 418 If anyone attacks the Jews, the Romans shall help them as far as possible and again, if anyone attacks the Romans, the Jews shall fight on their side. If the Jews want to add to, or to take away anything from, this alliance, let it be done with the consent of the Roman people and any addition so made shall be valid." 419 This decree was written by Eupolemus the son of John and by Jason the son of Eleazar, when Judas was high priest of the nation and Simon his brother was general of the army. This was the first pact that the Romans made with the Jews and that was how it came to be.

Chapter 11. [420-434]
Bacchides comes in greater force. Judas dies in battle inst him

1.

420 When Demetrius was told of the death of Nicanor and the destruction of his army, he again sent Bacchides with an army into Judea. 421 Marching from Antioch he arrived in Judea and encamped at Arbela, a city of Galilee, and having besieged and captured those who were in the caves there, for many of the people had fled into them, he moved from there and hurried to Jerusalem. 422 Learning that Judas had encamped at a village named Bethzetho, he led his army against him, they were twenty thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry. Now Judas had no more soldiers than one thousand. When these saw the crowd of Bacchides's men, they were afraid and left their camp and fled all away, except eight hundred. 423 Judas was deserted by his own soldiers and the enemy pressed upon him and gave him no time to get his army together. Still, though left with only eight hundred men, he wanted to come to grips with Bacchides, so he urged these men to face the danger bravely and encouraged them to go forward to battle. 424 When they said they were not many enough to fight such a large army and advised him to retreat now and save themselves and that only when he had gathered all his men should he attack the enemy, his answer was, "Let the sun never see me showing my back to the enemy. 425 If this is the time of my end and I must die in this battle, I will face it bravely and bear whatever comes, rather than run away and spoil my former exploits or tarnish their glory." This was what he said to those who stayed with him, to encourage them to scorn the danger and attack the enemy.

2.

426 But Bacchides led his army out from camp and put them into battle array. He set the cavalry on both the wings and placed the light soldiers and archers in front of the whole army, and he himself was on the right wing. 427 When he had so arranged his army and was going to battle with the enemy, he ordered the trumpeter to blow and the army to raise their battle-cry and attack the enemy. 428 Judas did likewise and engaged the enemy and as both sides fought valiantly the battle continued until sunset. Noting that Bacchides and the strongest part of his army were on the right wing, Judas immediately took his bravest with him and ran at that part of the line and broke through their ranks. 429 He drove through the middle and forced them to run away and pursued them as far as to a mountain called Aza. But when those on the left wing saw that the right being put to flight, they surrounded and pursued Judas and came behind and captured him between them. 430 Unable to flee and surrounded by enemies, he stood fast and he and his companions fought, and after killing many who came against him, he finally was himself wounded and fell and gave up the ghost, dying in a way worthy of his former exploits. 431 When Judas fell, his companions had no one to look up to, and finding themselves bereft of such a general, they fled. 432 His brothers, Simon and Jonathan, received his corpse by a treaty from the enemy and brought it to the village of Modin, where their father was buried. There they buried him while the people lamented him for many days and performed the usual solemn funeral rites for him. 433 Such was the end of Judas, a man of bravery and a great warrior, mindful of the commands of their father Mattathias, and had endured all difficulties, both in doing and suffering, for the freedom of his countrymen. 434 His virtue was such that he left behind him a glorious reputation and memory, gaining freedom for his nation and delivering them from slavery under the Macedonians. He died after holding the high priesthood for three years.