The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Machabees
Now turn we to Demetrius’ other son, Antiochus.✻ He it was directed a letter, from the islands over sea, to Simon, high priest and ruler of the Jews, and to the whole nation;
and this was the tenour of it. King Antiochus, to the high priest Simon and to the people of the Jews, greeting.
Here is the kingdom of my fathers overrun by ill folk; I mean to challenge them, and bring back the old ways. To this end, I have made a great levy of mercenaries, and built ships of war;
passage I needs must have through yonder territory, ere I can take vengeance for lands of mine ravaged, cities of mine laid waste.
This grant, then, I make thee; exemption, such as thou hadst, in the name of former kings, from public offerings and all other payment due to me;
the right of minting money within thy own borders;
for Jerusalem, enjoyment of her sacred liberties; of weapons thou hast made, strongholds thou hast built, the undisturbed possession.
Never a claim the king has, or shall have hereafter, on his subjects, but to thee it is remitted;
and, when the kingdom is ours, such honours we will bestow as shall make thee, and thy race, and its sanctuary, renowned all the world over.
So, in the hundred and seventy-fourth year, Antiochus returned to his native country, and the armies rallied to him, until Tryphon had but a small following left;
all down the sea-coast he fled, with Antiochus at his heels, till he reached Dora;
and ever he saw the toils closing round him, now his troops had played him false.
With a hundred and twenty thousand foot, and eight thousand horse, Antiochus came to the gates of Dora
and began the siege of it; his ships, too, blockaded the coast, so that it was cut off by land and sea alike; enter it none might, nor leave it …
And now here were Numenius and his fellow envoys come back from Rome,✻ with a copy of despatches sent out to kings and nations everywhere, and this was the tenour of them.
Lucius, the Roman consul, to king Ptolemy, greeting.
Envoys we have but now received in audience from a friendly country, to wit, Judaea; the people of the Jews, with their high priest Simon, had sent to renew their old treaty of alliance with us,
and had made us a present besides, a golden target of a thousand minas weight.
Agreed we then to warn kings and nations everywhere, they should not hurt or assault the Jewish people, its cities and country-side, nor comfort its enemies;
and for the target of gold, our pleasure was to accept the gift of it.
If then there be malcontents from Judaea sheltering among you, our bidding is you should hand them over to the high priest Simon, for such punishment as the Jewish law prescribes.
Copies of this decree have been sent to Demetrius, Attalus, Ariarathes and Arsaces,
and to these countries following: Lampsacus, Sparta, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Coös, Side, Arados, Rhodes, Phaselis, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus and Cyrene.
A further copy has been sent to the high priest Simon and to the Jewish people …
Once again✻ king Antiochus laid siege to Dora, bringing fresh force to bear, and devising fresh engines; and ever he kept Tryphon hemmed in, so that escape was none.
Thereupon Simon despatched two thousand picked men to aid in the siege, with silver and gold and a deal of tackle besides;
but accept them the king would not; all his promises were forgot, and Simon a stranger now.
Athenobius it was, one of the king’s friends, that came to treat with him, and this was the message he bore: Cities of mine you hold, Joppe, and Gazara, and Jerusalem citadel;
lands about them you have laid waste, and done Syria much mischief besides, encroaching everywhere on my domain.
Needs must you should hand over cities you have occupied, revenues of Gentile lands you have detained,
or else five hundred talents of silver in exchange, and five hundred more to compensate for damage done and revenue lost; if not, we will come and overpower you by force of arms.
So came Athenobius, the king’s friend, to Jerusalem, where he saw what state Simon kept, much display of gold and silver, and a great throng of attendants, till he was dazzled at the sight. Yet delivered he his errand;
to which Simon made this answer: Other men’s fief seized we never, nor other men’s rights detain; here be lands that were our fathers’ once, by enemies of ours for some while wrongfully held;
opportunity given us, should we not claim the patrimony we had lost?
As for thy talk of Joppe and Gazara, these were cities did much mischief to people and land of ours; for the worth of them, thou shalt have a hundred talents if thou wilt. Never a word said Athenobius,
but went back to the king very ill pleased, and told him what answer was given; of Simon’s court, too, and of all else he had seen.
Antiochus was in a great taking of anger;
Antiochus was in a great taking of anger;
here was Tryphon newly escaped by ship to Orthosias!
He must needs leave the sea-coast in charge of Cendebaeus, with a strong command both of horse and foot,
while himself gave Tryphon chase. This Cendebaeus had orders to advance and threaten Judaea; Gedor✻ he should fortify, and there make himself fast, the better to levy war on Juda.
So he marched away to Jamnia, and set about harassing the Jews; now it was an inroad, with prisoners carried away, now a massacre; and all the while he was fortifying Gedor.
Cavalry he quartered there, and other troops besides, to sally out and patrol the roads into Judaea; the king would have it so.
The Holy Bible