The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Machabees
It was not long before John came up from Gazara, to tell his father Simon how ill Cendebaeus was using their fellow-countrymen.
And at that, Simon must have his two elder sons present, Judas and John both, and made the command over to them. Still young we were, he said, I and my brothers and my father’s kin, when we began that war on Israel’s enemies which is being fought yet; under our banners once and again came victory, and the day was saved for Israel.
I am an old man now, and it is yours to do what I and brother of mine did; march out, fight in our people’s cause, and heaven’s aid be with you!
Twenty thousand warriors John✻ chose out from the rest, and cavalry to support them, and away they went to fight Cendebaeus. That night they spent at Modin,
and on the morrow, when they left it for the valley, what a huge array was this, both of horse and foot, encountering them! And a mountain torrent flowed in between.
When John brought his army to the opposite bank, and found his men had little stomach for the crossing, he made the passage first, leaving the rest to follow at his heels;
then drew them up by companies, with the cavalry in between, so greatly did the enemy’s cavalry outnumber them.
And now the sacred trumpets sounded the charge; fled Cendebaeus, fled his army at their onslaught, and many were left dead on the field; for the rest, they were fain to take refuge behind their walls again.
John went in pursuit, for all his brother Judas had been wounded in the battle, and chased them as far as the walls of Cedron … which he had fortified.✻
Nor might they find shelter in the strongholds of the Azotus territory; he burnt these to the ground; a toll of two thousand men he had taken before he returned victorious to Judaea.
Turn we now to Ptolemy, son of Abobus, that was in charge of all Jericho plain, and had a purse well lined with silver and gold;
was he not the son-in-law of a high priest?✻
But higher still his ambition ran; he would make himself master of the whole country; murder he plotted for Simon and his sons together.
It was in Sabath, the eleventh month, of the hundred and seventy-seventh year, that Simon came down to Jericho, as ever he visited all the cities of Judaea in his great care for them; and his sons Mattathias and Judas went with him.
And there, in a castle he had built for himself, Doch is the name of it, the son of Abobus gave them treacherous welcome. A great feast he made, but he had men waiting in readiness,
and with these, when Simon and his sons had drunk deep, he took arms, broke into the banqueting-chamber, and slew both father and sons, with certain of their retinue.
Never saw Israel so treacherous a deed, or good service so ill rewarded.
News of all this was sent by Ptolemy to the king, and in writing; his plea was, an army should be sent out in support of him, and the country, with all its cities and all the tribute that came from them, given into his charge.
Others of his men he despatched to Gazara; John must be put to death, he wrote, and for the captains, they should have silver and gold and good recompense, would they but rally to his side;
others again were to take possession of Jerusalem, and of the temple hill.
But too late; a messenger had reached John at Gazara, telling him his father and brothers were dead, and himself too marked down for slaughter;
whereupon he took alarm in good earnest; their murderous errand known, he seized his executioners and made an end of them.
What else John did, and how fought he, brave deeds done, and strong walls built, and all his history,
you may read in the annals of his time, that were kept faithfully since the day when he succeeded his father as high priest.
The Holy Bible