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Title:Coins of the Maccabean Hasmonean Era 166-37 BC. Messianic Star king Widow's Mite coin
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Body:Maccabean, Hasmonean Coins: 166-37 BC

GREEK EMPIRE COIN PAGES (333-31 BC)

Macedonian Coins

333-302 BC

Ptolemaic Coins

323-31 BC

Seleucid Coins

321-64 BC

Maccabean Coins

166-37 BC

Introduction:

The Hasmonean, Maccabean period of Bible history all happens within the Greek kingdom era which Daniel prophesied as the third kingdom of 5 he foresaw. The Maccabean era is a short window of Jewish and Judean independence that lasted about 60 years:

Babylon: 623 - 539 BC

Persia: 539 - 333 BC

Greece: 333 - 31 BC

Rome: 31 BC - 476 AD

Church (Pentecost 33 AD)

Alexander the Great conquers the world in a stunning and unique series of victories:

In 334 BC Alexander the Great defeats Darius III in the Battle of Granicus

In 333 BC Alexander the Great defeats Darius III in Battle of Issus

In 323 BC Alexander the Great dies at age 32 on June 10: The Great broken horn of Daniel. After Alexander the Great died, his kingdom split into four kingdoms just as Daniel had prophesied:

"After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth." (Daniel 2:39)

"After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it." (Daniel 7:6)

Four horns of Dan 8:8; 11:3-4

"Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven." (Daniel 8:8)

""And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. "But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them." (Daniel 11:3-4)

Four "horns" empires after Alexander the Great:

Ptolemy Empire (323-31 BC)

Area of modern Egypt

Ptolemy Empire Ends when Rome conquers Egypt in 31 BC

Antony/Cleopatra commit suicide 30 extincting the Ptolemy empire.

Seleucid Empire (321-64 BC)

Area of Modern Israel, Syria, Turkey

Cassander (319-168 BC)

Area of Modern Greece.

Cassander founds Thessalonica 315 BC

Rome conquered Greece in battle of Pydna in 168 AD)

Lysimachus (323-133 BC)

Area of modern Asia Minor.

King Attalus III bequeathed Asia Minor to Rome in 133 BC

Only 47 years of Independence:

Within the 679 year period between 609 BC and 70 AD, the Jews had independence only twice for a total of 51 years. Because of Idolatry, immorality and corruption in the courts God took away all independence of the Jews starting with the first attack of Nebuchadnezzar in 609 BC, ultimately the destruction of the temple of Solomon in 587 BC.

The total Hasmonean period was a short 129 year struggle for Judah independence: 166 - 37 BC

The Hasmonean, Maccabean period of Bible history is a short window of Jewish, full Judean independence that lasted only about 47 years.

47 years: From about 110 BC - 63 BC during the Maccabean/Hasmonean period. 110 BC was the time when the Maccabees had finally gained full independence from all outside governments of Greek/Seleucid empire. However this came to and end in 63 AD when General Pompey captures Jerusalem and reappoints Hyrcranus II as high priest.

4 years: 66-70 AD during the first Jewish war, which ended in the total permanent destruction of the Jewish nation as a theocratic entity with God's approval.

In 167 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes 175-163 BC desecrates Jewish Temple as a place of pagan worship. See all Antiochus IV coins here: Seleucid Coins

Strangely, this suddenly offended the Jews whose fathers had allowed all the pagan idol gods to co-exist in the temple of Solomon from 960 BC down to its destruction in 587 BC by Nebuchadnezzar.

Had the Jews living in 587 BC, been as equally offended during the 373 years where THEY desecrated the Temple of Solomon themselves with pagan gods, as Maccabean Jews were in 167 BC, the temple of Solomon would have still been standing in 167 BC!

However we take note that the Jews finally gave up idol worship after the return from the 70 year Babylonian captivity (605-536 BC).

Hasmonean/Maccabean rebellion and independence: 166-37

166 BC The Revolt of Mattathias who dies the same year (166 BC): 1 Maccabees 1,2; 2 Maccabees 6; Jos Ant. 7:265-272

166-160 BC Judas Maccabeus leads the independence movement (1 Maccabees 3-4; Jos Ant. 7:287-292)

164 BC Jewish Temple liberated by Judas Maccabeus.

Origin of Hanukkah:

In 164 BC the first Hanukkah celebrated the liberation and rededication of the Jewish Temple.

In Hebrew, the word "Hanukkah" means "dedication."

Hanukkah was celebrated in New Testament times: Jn 10:22

It is very strange that Hanukkah is celebrated today by all Jews since they are memorializing the dedication of a temple that existed in 167 BC, that was replaced by Herod the Great in 18 BC and destroyed by the Romans under Titus in 70 AD.

It doesn't make much sense to celebrate the dedication and liberation of a temple, which was first obsoleted by Herod the Great in 18 BC when he built the new temple which was in turn utterly destroyed without trace by the Romans in 70 AD.

Messianic symbols in Hasmonean coins:

a. The author has personally excavated at Khirbet el-Maqatir "K series" KEM-1112 Cav1 2013; KEM-2855 W22 (tower) 2016; KEM-935 O21 2013; KEM-3144 surface 2016. "K17 series" coins: KEM-644 ZH05 December 2011

b. The messianic symbols on these coins are drawn from a variety of messianic Old Testament passages and are demonstrated in two dead sea scrolls. (4Q175-4QTestimonia and 4Q174-4QFlorilegium)

c. (See full outline on Messianic expectation in the DSS)

d. See messianic symbols in Simon Bar Kokhba coins of the second Jewish war 132-135 AD

Messianic symbols in Hasmonean coins

See also Messianic symbols in Bar Kokhba coins

Bible & DSS

Coin

Comment

Star: Num 24:17

4QTestimonia

Meshorer "L" series: The smallest and most common coin featured a messianic star from Balaam's prophecy. Jannaeus clearly invoked messiah-like symbolism for himself given he enjoyed independence from Rome 103-76 BC. Jannaeus' name circles the outside of the star. Jannaeus is the only Hasmonean who used the messianic star symbol on his coins. The anchor is viewed as a symbol of Naval strength.

Star: Num 24:17

4QTestimonia

Meshorer "K" series: This widow's mite (prutah) spells Jannaeus' name letter by letter insides each of the spokes of the star. This is a stronger messianic message than the "L" series where his name encircles the star.

Star, Priest, King: Num 24:17; Zech 6:12-13

4QTestimonia

Meshorer "K17" series: This special issue "widows Mite" features quad messianic imagery of priest-King, star diadem. "King-Priest" are spelled in long extinct Paleo-Hebrew in between the rays of the star enhancing his messianic connection. "Of King Alexander" is on the flip side, implying that Jannaeus himself was the messiah. Being a priest of Levi he was resisted in his claims since the messiah was understood to be from Judah. Hebrews 7:14 was written to directly reinforce this historic error.

Star, Priest, King: Num 24:17; Zech 6:12-13

4QTestimonia

Meshorer "K17" series: Double star king/priest. This rare coin has the messianic star on both sides with the same Paleo-Hebrew inscription "King the Priest" on both sides.

Priest-King

Zech 6:12-13

4QTestimonia

While others minted a coins with either King or Priest on them, Antigonus II was the only other Hasmonean to mint a single coin with both priest and king on it. With Herod's rebuilt of the temple in 18 BC, perhaps the Jewish temple was run down and in need of repair like in the time of Josiah. This encouraged their role as temple restorers.

See full outline on Messianic expectation seen in Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish coins

See also Messianic symbols in Bar Kokhba coins

I. List of Hasmonean, Maccabean kings who ruled during the short 129 year struggle for Jewish independence: 166 - 37 BC:

Revolt of Mattathias: 166 BC

Judas Maccabeus: 166-160 BC

Jonathan: 160-143 BC

Simeon: 143-135 BC

John Hyrcanus I: 135-104 BC

Tyre liberated from Seleucids: 125 BC

Full Judean independence: 110 BC

Aristobulus I: 104-103 BC

Alexander Janneus: 103-76 BC

Hyrcanus II (Salome Alexandra): 76-67 BC

Aristobulus II: 67-63 BC

General Pompey captures Jerusalem and reappoints Hyrcranus II as high priest: 63 BC

Hycranus II exiled to Parthia: 40-36 BC

Antigonus II: 40-37 BC

Hycranus II lives with Babylonian Jews: 35 BC

Mark Antony kills Antigonus ending Hasmonean rule: 37 BC

Aristobulus III briefly appointed High Priest: 37 BC

Herod executes Hycranus II after inviting him to Jerusalem: 30 BC

Judah under Roman control when Herod kills last Hasmonean: Hycranus II: 30 BC

II. Coins of the Hasmonean, Maccabean period of Jewish independence:

Revolt of Mattathias: 166

Judas Maccabeus: 166-160 BC

Jonathan: 160-143 BC

Simeon: 143-135 BC

John Hyrcanus I: 135-104 BC

Tyre liberated from Seleucids: 125 BC

Full Judean independence: 110 BC

John Hyrcanus I Prutah, Undated

Aristobulus I: 104-103 BC

Alexander Jannaeus: 103-76 BC

Alexander Jannaeus year 103 BC Prutah:

Alexander Jannaeus year undated Prutah:

Messianic Star "Widow Mite" Meshorer "L" and "K" series (Alexander Jannaeus Prutah): The messianic star coin is based upon the prophecy of Balaam in Num 24:17 and is used in the Dead Sea scrolls (see above). The Jews were looking for multiple men to rise as messiahs with different functions drawn from a variety of Bible prophetic texts. These coins draw from the imagery of star, crown/diadem king and priest. (see above) Remember that all the Hasmonean rulers were priests from Levi that ruled the people in a long dynasty from 166-37 BC. Messianic claims by Jannaeus did not go unchallenged given the widely understood idea that the Messiah was the branch of David from Judah. The "L" series coins is the most common Jewish coin ever minted and are very common in archeological excavations. This is the coin Jesus referenced in the story of the widow who put "two small copper coins" into the Jewish treasury. (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4) The author has excavated many "Meshorer K series" (MK = Hendin 1150) coins at Khirbet el-Maqatir with object numbers: "K series" KEM-1112 Cav1 2013; KEM-2855 W22 (tower) 2016; KEM-935 O21 2013; KEM-3144 surface 2016. The author also excavated on rate "K17 series" coin: KEM-644 ZH05 December 2011. (Meshorer K17 = Hendin 1151) The "L" series is also a messianic widow's mite coin but the text of the name of the king is outside and encircles the rays of the messianic star. "K" series coins differ in that the name is spelled out INSIDE the messianic star, emphasizing the association of Jannaeus as possibly the messiah or perhaps "messianic-like". Remember, the Jews views the messiah as a warrior king who would overthrow Rome. Alexander Jannaeus is the second Jew since the Babylonian captivity in 605 BC to enjoy true independence from a foreign nation. Jannaeus (103-76 BC) was a critically important ruler to the Jews who ensured the Greek Tanakh (Septuagint) was distributed in every synagogue around the world and inside Judea. He did this, unaware it was God's plan in preparation for Jesus Christ and the mass conversion of the Jews to Christianity around the world through the Greek LXX bible and synagogues, each of which had a "Christian maker" known as a Mikveh. There are thee versions of the Messianic star K coin: Jannaeus' name "King Yehonatan" spelled inside the spokes, "King the priest" spelled inside the spokes and a double star coin with, "King the priest" spelled inside the spokes of a star that is on both sides of the coin. The text was always spelled in extinct Paleo-Hebrew. Here are the variations of the spellings on the coins: (this is not a complete list)

Meshorer TJC K1. K-LM - H - N-T-N-WH-Y

Meshorer TJC K2. K-L-M - H N-T-N-WH-Y

Meshorer TJC K3. K-LM - H - N-T-NW-H-Y

Meshorer TJC K4. Same as K3, but struck on smaller flan (coin blank before striking).

Meshorer TJC K5. KL-M - H - N-T-NW-H-Y

Meshorer TJC K6. K-L-M - H - NT-NW-H-Y

Meshorer TJC K7. K-L-M - H N-T-NW-H-Y

Meshorer TJC K8. K-L-M - H - T-N-WH-Y

Meshorer TJC K9. K-LM - H - N-T-N-H-Y

Meshorer TJC K10. K-L-M - H - N-T-N-Y

Meshorer TJC K17 HMLK KHN "priest the king"

Alexander Jannaeus year 78 BC Prutah "Widows Mite": "L" series: Messianic "Star king" (Alexander spelled around the outside of the star) coin (Num 24:17). This coin is dated with year 25 of Jannaeus' reign or 78 BC.

Alexander Jannaeus year 78 BC Prutah "Widows Mite": "K" series: Messianic "King Star, diadem" (Yehonatan spelled inside the spokes of the star) coin (Num 24:17)

Alexander Jannaeus year 78 BC Prutah "Widows Mite": "K" series: Messianic "King/Priest Star, diadem" coin (Num 24:17) "It is difficult to understand this coin. At first glance it appears to be simply a reduced weight version, and inscription error of No. 1150. Yet, Meshorer suggests that if the monogram "has some symbolic significance it can be suggested that the inscription too is not incidental" Barag adds that it can hardly "be a mistake or initiative of the die engraver It seems, rather, that at some point the royal mint issued for political reasons these double-titled coins and after a very short time refrained from further issues of that kind." Barag says Josephus and Rabbinnic sources "leave no doubt that the Pharisees demanded that Hyrcanus I should give up the position of high priest and be content with his secular power During the reign of Alexander Jannaeus their attitude reached an extreme point-the Hasmoneans were priests and therefore not from David's line and thus usurpers of the crown.... The coins described above seem to be related to that division between the Pharisees and Hasmoneans by presenting the legend 'Priest the King.' The impact of this coin issue was, apparently, thought to be ineffective for the sake of dynastic propaganda and stopped soon after its introduction." (Guide to biblical coins, David Hendin, coin 1151, p 200)

Alexander Jannaeus year 78 BC Prutah "Widows Mite": "K" series: Messianic Double star "King/Priest, diadem" coin (Num 24:17)

Hyrcanus II (Salome Alexandra): 76-67 BC

Aristobulus II: 67-63 BC

General Pompey captures Jerusalem and reappoints Hyrcranus II as high priest: 63 BC

Hycranus II exiled to Parthia: 40-36 BC

Antigonus II: 40-37 BC

Hycranus II lives with Babylonian Jews: 35 BC

Mark Antony kills Antigonus ending Hasmonean rule: 37 BC

Antigonus II Four Prutah: Messianic

Aristobulus III briefly appointed High Priest: 37 BC

Herod executes Hycranus II after inviting him to Jerusalem: 30 BC

Judah under Roman control when Herod kills last Hasmonean: Hycranus II: 30 BC

III. Josephus and literary sources for the Hasmonean, Maccabean period of Jewish independence:

Initial brief Revolt of Mattathias: 166 BC

Mattathias dies 166

1 Maccabees 1-2: "After Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated King Darius of the Persians and the Medes, he succeeded him as king. (He had previously become king of Greece.) He fought many battles, conquered strongholds, and put to death the kings of the earth. He advanced to the ends of the earth, and plundered many nations. When the earth became quiet before him, he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up. He gathered a very strong army and ruled over countries, nations, and princes, and they became tributary to him. After this he fell sick and perceived that he was dying. So he summoned his most honored officers, who had been brought up with him from youth, and divided his kingdom among them while he was still alive. And after Alexander had reigned twelve years, he died. Then his officers began to rule, each in his own place. They all put on crowns after his death, and so did their descendants after them for many years; and they caused many evils on the earth. From them came forth a sinful root, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus; he had been a hostage in Rome. He began to reign in the one hundred thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. In those days certain renegades came out from Israel and misled many, saying, "Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles around us, for since we separated from them many disasters have come upon us." This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil. When Antiochus saw that his kingdom was established, he determined to become king of the land of Egypt, in order that he might reign over both kingdoms. So he invaded Egypt with a strong force, with chariots and elephants and cavalry and with a large fleet. He engaged King Ptolemy of Egypt in battle, and Ptolemy turned and fled before him, and many were wounded and fell. They captured the fortified cities in the land of Egypt, and he plundered the land of Egypt. After subduing Egypt, Antiochus returned in the one hundred forty-third year. He went up against Israel and came to Jerusalem with a strong force. He arrogantly entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lampstand for the light, and all its utensils. He took also the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple; he stripped it all off. He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels; he took also the hidden treasures that he found. Taking them all, he went into his own land. He shed much blood, and spoke with great arrogance. Israel mourned deeply in every community, rulers and elders groaned, young women and young men became faint, the beauty of the women faded. Every bridegroom took up the lament; she who sat in the bridal chamber was mourning. Even the land trembled for its inhabitants, and all the house of Jacob was clothed with shame. Two years later the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute, and he came to Jerusalem with a large force. Deceitfully he spoke peaceable words to them, and they believed him; but he suddenly fell upon the city, dealt it a severe blow, and destroyed many people of Israel. He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. They took captive the women and children, and seized the livestock. Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers, and it became their citadel. They stationed there a sinful people, men who were renegades. These strengthened their position; they stored up arms and food, and collecting the spoils of Jerusalem they stored them there, and became a great menace, for the citadel became an ambush against the sanctuary, an evil adversary of Israel at all times. On every side of the sanctuary they shed innocent blood; they even defiled the sanctuary. Because of them the residents of Jerusalem fled; she became a dwelling of strangers; she became strange to her offspring, and her children forsook her. Her sanctuary became desolate like a desert; her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into a reproach, her honor into contempt. Her dishonor now grew as great as her glory; her exaltation was turned into mourning. Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and that all should give up their particular customs. All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath. And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane sabbaths and festivals, to defile the sanctuary and the priests, to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals, and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane, so that they would forget the law and change all the ordinances. He added, "And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die." In such words he wrote to his whole kingdom. He appointed inspectors over all the people and commanded the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice, town by town. Many of the people, everyone who forsook the law, joined them, and they did evil in the land; they drove Israel into hiding in every place of refuge they had. Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year, they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah, and offered incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets. The books of the law that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire. Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death by decree of the king. They kept using violence against Israel, against those who were found month after month in the towns. On the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offering. According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised, and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers' necks. But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. Very great wrath came upon Israel. In those days Mattathias son of John son of Simeon, a priest of the family of Joarib, moved from Jerusalem and settled in Modein. He had five sons, John surnamed Gaddi, Simon called Thassi, Judas called Maccabeus, Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus. He saw the blasphemies being committed in Judah and Jerusalem, and said, "Alas! Why was I born to see this, the ruin of my people, the ruin of the holy city, and to live there when it was given over to the enemy, the sanctuary given over to aliens? Her temple has become like a person without honor; her glorious vessels have been carried into exile. Her infants have been killed in her streets, her youths by the sword of the foe. What nation has not inherited her palaces and has not seized her spoils? All her adornment has been taken away; no longer free, she has become a slave. And see, our holy place, our beauty, and our glory have been laid waste; the Gentiles have profaned them. Why should we live any longer?" Then Mattathias and his sons tore their clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned greatly. The king's officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them offer sacrifice. Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons were assembled. Then the king's officers spoke to Mattathias as follows: "You are a leader, honored and great in this town, and supported by sons and brothers. Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the people of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the Friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts." But Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: "Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to obey his commandments, everyone of them abandoning the religion of their ancestors, I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. We will not obey the king's words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left." When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein, according to the king's command. When Mattathias saw it, he burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him on the altar. At the same time he killed the king's officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. Thus he burned with zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did against Zimri son of Salu. Then Mattathias cried out in the town with a loud voice, saying: "Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!" Then he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the town. At that time many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to live there, they, their sons, their wives, and their livestock, because troubles pressed heavily upon them. And it was reported to the king's officers, and to the troops in Jerusalem the city of David, that those who had rejected the king's command had gone down to the hiding places in the wilderness. Many pursued them, and overtook them; they encamped opposite them and prepared for battle against them on the sabbath day. They said to them, "Enough of this! Come out and do what the king commands, and you will live." But they said, "We will not come out, nor will we do what the king commands and so profane the sabbath day." Then the enemy quickly attacked them. But they did not answer them or hurl a stone at them or block up their hiding places, for they said, "Let us all die in our innocence; heaven and earth testify for us that you are killing us unjustly." So they attacked them on the sabbath, and they died, with their wives and children and livestock, to the number of a thousand persons. When Mattathias and his friends learned of it, they mourned for them deeply. And all said to their neighbors: "If we all do as our kindred have done and refuse to fight with the Gentiles for our lives and for our ordinances, they will quickly destroy us from the earth." So they made this decision that day: "Let us fight against anyone who comes to attack us on the sabbath day; let us not all die as our kindred died in their hiding places." Then there united with them a company of Hasideans, mighty warriors of Israel, all who offered themselves willingly for the law. And all who became fugitives to escape their troubles joined them and reinforced them. They organized an army, and struck down sinners in their anger and renegades in their wrath; the survivors fled to the Gentiles for safety. And Mattathias and his friends went around and tore down the altars; they forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised boys that they found within the borders of Israel. They hunted down the arrogant, and the work prospered in their hands. They rescued the law out of the hands of the Gentiles and kings, and they never let the sinner gain the upper hand. Now the days drew near for Mattathias to die, and he said to his sons: "Arrogance and scorn have now become strong; it is a time of ruin and furious anger. Now, my children, show zeal for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of our ancestors. "Remember the deeds of the ancestors, which they did in their generations; and you will receive great honor and an everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. Phinehas our ancestor, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood. Joshua, because he fulfilled the command, became a judge in Israel. Caleb, because he testified in the assembly, received an inheritance in the land. David, because he was merciful, inherited the throne of the kingdom forever. Elijah, because of great zeal for the law, was taken up into heaven. Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame. Daniel, because of his innocence, was delivered from the mouth of the lions. "And so observe, from generation to generation, that none of those who put their trust in him will lack strength. Do not fear the words of sinners, for their splendor will turn into dung and worms. Today they will be exalted, but tomorrow they will not be found, because they will have returned to the dust, and their plans will have perished. My children, be courageous and grow strong in the law, for by it you will gain honor. "Here is your brother Simeon who, I know, is wise in counsel; always listen to him; he shall be your father. Judas Maccabeus has been a mighty warrior from his youth; he shall command the army for you and fight the battle against the peoples. You shall rally around you all who observe the law, and avenge the wrong done to your people. Pay back the Gentiles in full, and obey the commands of the law." Then he blessed them, and was gathered to his ancestors. He died in the one hundred forty-sixth year and was buried in the tomb of his ancestors at Modein. And all Israel mourned for him with great lamentation." (1 Maccabees 1-2)

2 Maccabees 6: "Not long after this, the king sent an Athenian senator to compel the Jews to forsake the laws of their ancestors and no longer to live by the laws of God; also to pollute the temple in Jerusalem and to call it the temple of Olympian Zeus, and to call the one in Gerizim the temple of Zeus-the-Friend-of-Strangers, as did the people who lived in that place. Harsh and utterly grievous was the onslaught of evil. For the temple was filled with debauchery and reveling by the Gentiles, who dallied with prostitutes and had intercourse with women within the sacred precincts, and besides brought in things for sacrifice that were unfit. The altar was covered with abominable offerings that were forbidden by the laws. People could neither keep the sabbath, nor observe the festivals of their ancestors, nor so much as confess themselves to be Jews. On the monthly celebration of the king's birthday, the Jews were taken, under bitter constraint, to partake of the sacrifices; and when a festival of Dionysus was celebrated, they were compelled to wear wreaths of ivy and to walk in the procession in honor of Dionysus. At the suggestion of the people of Ptolemais a decree was issued to the neighboring Greek cities that they should adopt the same policy toward the Jews and make them partake of the sacrifices, and should kill those who did not choose to change over to Greek customs. One could see, therefore, the misery that had come upon them. For example, two women were brought in for having circumcised their children. They publicly paraded them around the city, with their babies hanging at their breasts, and then hurled them down headlong from the wall. Others who had assembled in the caves nearby, in order to observe the seventh day secretly, were betrayed to Philip and were all burned together, because their piety kept them from defending themselves, in view of their regard for that most holy day. Now I urge those who read this book not to be depressed by such calamities, but to recognize that these punishments were designed not to destroy but to discipline our people. In fact, it is a sign of great kindness not to let the impious alone for long, but to punish them immediately. For in the case of the other nations the Lord waits patiently to punish them until they have reached the full measure of their sins; but he does not deal in this way with us, in order that he may not take vengeance on us afterward when our sins have reached their height. Therefore he never withdraws his mercy from us. Although he disciplines us with calamities, he does not forsake his own people. Let what we have said serve as a reminder; we must go on briefly with the story. Eleazar, one of the scribes in high position, a man now advanced in age and of noble presence, was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine's flesh. But he, welcoming death with honor rather than life with pollution, went up to the rack of his own accord, spitting out the flesh, as all ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life. Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside because of their long acquaintance with him, and privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use, and to pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal that had been commanded by the king, so that by doing this he might be saved from death, and be treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them. But making a high resolve, worthy of his years and the dignity of his old age and the gray hairs that he had reached with distinction and his excellent life even from childhood, and moreover according to the holy God-given law, he declared himself quickly, telling them to send him to Hades. "Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life," he said, "for many of the young might suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year had gone over to an alien religion, and through my pretense, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they would be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age. Even if for the present I would avoid the punishment of mortals, yet whether I live or die I will not escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by bravely giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old age and leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws." When he had said this, he went at once to the rack. Those who a little before had acted toward him with goodwill now changed to ill will, because the words he had uttered were in their opinion sheer madness. When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned aloud and said: "It is clear to the Lord in his holy knowledge that, though I might have been saved from death, I am enduring terrible sufferings in my body under this beating, but in my soul I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him." So in this way he died, leaving in his death an example of nobility and a memorial of courage, not only to the young but to the great body of his nation." (2 Maccabees 6)

Josephus Antiquities 12:265-277: How, Upon Antiochus's Prohibition to the Jews to Make Use of the Laws of Their Country, Mattathias, the Son of Asamoneus, Alone Despised the King, and Overcame the Generals of Antiochus's Army: As Also Concerning the Death of Mattathias, and the Succession of Judas 1. (265) Now at this time there was one whose name was Mattathias, who dwelt at Modin, the son of John, the son of Simeon, the son of Asamoneus, a priest of the order of Joarib, and a citizen of Jerusalem. (266) He had five sons; John, who was called Gaddis, and Simon, who was called Matthes, and Judas, who was called Maccabeus, and Eleazar, who was called Auran, and Jonathan, who was called Apphus. (267) Now this Mattathias lamented to his children the sad state of their affairs, and the ravage made in the city and the plundering of the temple, and the calamities the multitude were under; and he told them that it was better for them to die for the laws of their country than to live so ingloriously as they then did. 2. (268) But when those that were appointed by the king were come to Modin, that they might compel the Jews to do what they were commanded, and to enjoin those that were there to offer sacrifice, as the king had commanded, they desired that Mattathias, a person of the greatest character among them, both on other accounts, and particularly on account of such a numerous and so deserving a family of children, would begin the sacrifice, (269) because his fellow citizens would follow his example, and because such a procedure would make him honored by the king. But Mattathias said that he would not do it; and that if all the other nations would obey the commands of Antiochus, either out of fear, or to please him, yet would not he nor his sons leave the religious worship of their country; (270) but as soon as he had ended his speech, there came one of the Jews into the midst of them, and sacrificed as Antiochus had commanded. At which Mattathias had great indignation, and ran upon him violently with his sons, who had swords with them, and slew both the man himself that sacrificed, and Apelles the king's general, who compelled them to sacrifice, with a few of his soldiers. He also overthrew the idol altar, and cried out, (271) "If," said he, "anyone be zealous for the laws of his country, and for the worship of God, let him follow me;" and when he had said this, he made haste into the desert with his sons, and left all his substance in the village. (272) Many others did the same also, and fled with their children and wives into the desert and dwelt in caves; but when the king's generals heard this, they took all the forces they then had in the citadel at Jerusalem, and pursued the Jews into the desert; (273) and when they had overtaken them, they in the first place endeavored to persuade them to repent, and to choose what was most for their advantage, and not put them to the necessity of using them according to the law of war; (274) but when they would not comply with their persuasions, but continued to be of a different mind, they fought against them on the Sabbath day, and they burnt them as they were in the caves, without resistance, and without so much as stopping up the entrances of the caves. And they avoided to defend themselves on that day, because they were not willing to break in upon the honor they owed the Sabbath, even in such distresses; for our law required that we rest upon that day. (275) There were about a thousand, with their wives and children, who were smothered and died in these caves; but many of those that escaped joined themselves to Mattathias, and appointed him to be their ruler, (276) who taught them to fight even on the Sabbath day; and told them that unless they would do so, they would become their own enemies, by observing the law [so rigorously], while their adversaries would still assault them on this day, and they would not then defend themselves; and that nothing could then hinder but they must all perish without fighting. (277) This speech persuaded them; and this rule continues among us to this day, that if there be a necessity, we may fight on Sabbath days. (278) So Mattathias got a great army about him, and overthrew their idol altars, and slew those that broke the laws, even all that he could get under his power; for many of them were dispersed among the nations round about them for fear of him. He also commanded that those boys who were not yet circumcised should be circumcised now; and he drove those away that were appointed to hinder such their circumcision.

Judas Maccabeus: 166-160 BC

1 Maccabees 3-4: "Then his son Judas, who was called Maccabeus, took command in his place. All his brothers and all who had joined his father helped him; they gladly fought for Israel. He extended the glory of his people. Like a giant he put on his breastplate; he bound on his armor of war and waged battles, protecting the camp by his sword. He was like a lion in his deeds, like a lion's cub roaring for prey. He searched out and pursued those who broke the law; he burned those who troubled his people. Lawbreakers shrank back for fear of him; all the evildoers were confounded; and deliverance prospered by his hand. He embittered many kings, but he made Jacob glad by his deeds, and his memory is blessed forever. He went through the cities of Judah; he destroyed the ungodly out of the land; thus he turned away wrath from Israel. He was renowned to the ends of the earth; he gathered in those who were perishing. Apollonius now gathered together Gentiles and a large force from Samaria to fight against Israel. When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him, and he defeated and killed him. Many were wounded and fell, and the rest fled. Then they seized their spoils; and Judas took the sword of Apollonius, and used it in battle the rest of his life. When Seron, the commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had gathered a large company, including a body of faithful soldiers who stayed with him and went out to battle, he said, "I will make a name for myself and win honor in the kingdom. I will make war on Judas and his companions, who scorn the king's command." Once again a strong army of godless men went up with him to help him, to take vengeance on the Israelites. When he approached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a small company. But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas, "How can we, few as we are, fight against so great and so strong a multitude? And we are faint, for we have eaten nothing today." Judas replied, "It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few. It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven. They come against us in great insolence and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us; but we fight for our lives and our laws. He himself will crush them before us; as for you, do not be afraid of them." When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly against Seron and his army, and they were crushed before him. They pursued them down the descent of Beth-horon to the plain; eight hundred of them fell, and the rest fled into the land of the Philistines. Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and terror fell on the Gentiles all around them. His fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked of the battles of Judas. When King Antiochus heard these reports, he was greatly angered; and he sent and gathered all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army. He opened his coffers and gave a year's pay to his forces, and ordered them to be ready for any need. Then he saw that the money in the treasury was exhausted, and that the revenues from the country were small because of the dissension and disaster that he had caused in the land by abolishing the laws that had existed from the earliest days. He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts that he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings. He was greatly perplexed in mind; then he determined to go to Persia and collect the revenues from those regions and raise a large fund. He left Lysias, a distinguished man of royal lineage, in charge of the king's affairs from the river Euphrates to the borders of Egypt. Lysias was also to take care of his son Antiochus until he returned. And he turned over to Lysias half of his forces and the elephants, and gave him orders about all that he wanted done. As for the residents of Judea and Jerusalem, Lysias was to send a force against them to wipe out and destroy the strength of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem; he was to banish the memory of them from the place, settle aliens in all their territory, and distribute their land by lot. Then the king took the remaining half of his forces and left Antioch his capital in the one hundred and forty-seventh year. He crossed the Euphrates river and went through the upper provinces. Lysias chose Ptolemy son of Dorymenes, and Nicanor and Gorgias, able men among the Friends of the king, and sent with them forty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry to go into the land of Judah and destroy it, as the king had commanded. So they set out with their entire force, and when they arrived they encamped near Emmaus in the plain. When the traders of the region heard what was said to them, they took silver and gold in immense amounts, and fetters, and went to the camp to get the Israelites for slaves. And forces from Syria and the land of the Philistines joined with them. Now Judas and his brothers saw that misfortunes had increased and that the forces were encamped in their territory. They also learned what the king had commanded to do to the people to cause their final destruction. But they said to one another, "Let us restore the ruins of our people, and fight for our people and the sanctuary." So the congregation assembled to be ready for battle, and to pray and ask for mercy and compassion. Jerusalem was uninhabited like a wilderness; not one of her children went in or out. The sanctuary was trampled down, and aliens held the citadel; it was a lodging place for the Gentiles. Joy was taken from Jacob; the flute and the harp ceased to play. Then they gathered together and went to Mizpah, opposite Jerusalem, because Israel formerly had a place of prayer in Mizpah. They fasted that day, put on sackcloth and sprinkled ashes on their heads, and tore their clothes. And they opened the book of the law to inquire into those matters about which the Gentiles consulted the likenesses of their gods. They also brought the vestments of the priesthood and the first fruits and the tithes, and they stirred up the nazirites who had completed their days; and they cried aloud to Heaven, saying, "What shall we do with these? Where shall we take them? Your sanctuary is trampled down and profaned, and your priests mourn in humiliation. Here the Gentiles are assembled against us to destroy us; you know what they plot against us. How will we be able to withstand them, if you do not help us?" Then they sounded the trumpets and gave a loud shout. After this Judas appointed leaders of the people, in charge of thousands and hundreds and fifties and tens. Those who were building houses, or were about to be married, or were planting a vineyard, or were fainthearted, he told to go home again, according to the law. Then the army marched out and encamped to the south of Emmaus. And Judas said, "Arm yourselves and be courageous. Be ready early in the morning to fight with these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. It is better for us to die in battle than to see the misfortunes of our nation and of the sanctuary. But as his will in heaven may be, so shall he do." Now Gorgias took five thousand infantry and one thousand picked cavalry, and this division moved out by night to fall upon the camp of the Jews and attack them suddenly. Men from the citadel were his guides. But Judas heard of it, and he and his warriors moved out to attack the king's force in Emmaus while the division was still absent from the camp. When Gorgias entered the camp of Judas by night, he found no one there, so he looked for them in the hills, because he said, "These men are running away from us." At daybreak Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men, but they did not have armor and swords such as they desired. And they saw the camp of the Gentiles, strong and fortified, with cavalry all around it; and these men were trained in war. But Judas said to those who were with him, "Do not fear their numbers or be afraid when they charge. Remember how our ancestors were saved at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh with his forces pursued them. And now, let us cry to Heaven, to see whether he will favor us and remember his covenant with our ancestors and crush this army before us today. Then all the Gentiles will know that there is one who redeems and saves Israel." When the foreigners looked up and saw them coming against them, they went out from their camp to battle. Then the men with Judas blew their trumpets and engaged in battle. The Gentiles were crushed, and fled into the plain, and all those in the rear fell by the sword. They pursued them to Gazara, and to the plains of Idumea, and to Azotus and Jamnia; and three thousand of them fell. Then Judas and his force turned back from pursuing them, and he said to the people, "Do not be greedy for plunder, for there is a battle before us; Gorgias and his force are near us in the hills. But stand now against our enemies and fight them, and afterward seize the plunder boldly." Just as Judas was finishing this speech, a detachment appeared, coming out of the hills. They saw that their army had been put to flight, and that the Jews were burning the camp, for the smoke that was seen showed what had happened. When they perceived this, they were greatly frightened, and when they also saw the army of Judas drawn up in the plain for battle, they all fled into the land of the Philistines. Then Judas returned to plunder the camp, and they seized a great amount of gold and silver, and cloth dyed blue and sea purple, and great riches. On their return they sang hymns and praises to Heaven-"For he is good, for his mercy endures forever." Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day. Those of the foreigners who escaped went and reported to Lysias all that had happened. When he heard it, he was perplexed and discouraged, for things had not happened to Israel as he had intended, nor had they turned out as the king had ordered. But the next year he mustered sixty thousand picked infantry and five thousand cavalry to subdue them. They came into Idumea and encamped at Beth-zur, and Judas met them with ten thousand men. When he saw that their army was strong, he prayed, saying, "Blessed are you, O Savior of Israel, who crushed the attack of the mighty warrior by the hand of your servant David, and gave the camp of the Philistines into the hands of Jonathan son of Saul, and of the man who carried his armor. Hem in this army by the hand of your people Israel, and let them be ashamed of their troops and their cavalry. Fill them with cowardice; melt the boldness of their strength; let them tremble in their destruction. Strike them down with the sword of those who love you, and let all who know your name praise you with hymns." Then both sides attacked, and there fell of the army of Lysias five thousand men; they fell in action. When Lysias saw the rout of his troops and observed the boldness that inspired those of Judas, and how ready they were either to live or to die nobly, he withdrew to Antioch and enlisted mercenaries in order to invade Judea again with an even larger army. Then Judas and his brothers said, "See, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it." So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion. There they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. Then they tore their clothes and mourned with great lamentation; they sprinkled themselves with ashes and fell face down on the ground. And when the signal was given with the trumpets, they cried out to Heaven. Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary. He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been profaned. And they thought it best to tear it down, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them. Then they took unhewn stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. Then they offered incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken. Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt offerings; they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and fitted them with doors. There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed. Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev. At that time they fortified Mount Zion with high walls and strong towers all around, to keep the Gentiles from coming and trampling them down as they had done before. Judas stationed a garrison there to guard it; he also fortified Beth-zur to guard it, so that the people might have a stronghold that faced Idumea." (1 Maccabees 3-4)

Josephus Antiquities 12:287-292: How Judas Overthrew the Forces of Apollonius and Seron, and Killed the Generals of Their Armies Themselves; And How When, a Little While Afterwards, Lysias and Gorgias Were Beaten, He Went Up to Jerusalem, and Purified the Temple 1. (287) When Apollonius, the general of the Samaritan forces, heard this, he took his army, and made haste to go against Judas, who met him, and joined battle with him, and beat him, and slew many of his men, and among them Apollonius himself, their general, whose sword, being that which he happened then to wear, he seized upon and kept for himself, but he wounded more than he slew, and took a great deal of prey from the enemy's camp, and went his way; (288) but when Seron, who was general of the army of Celesyria, heard that many had joined themselves to Judas, and that he had about him an army sufficient for fighting and for making war, he determined to make an expedition against him, as thinking it became him to endeavor to punish those that transgressed the king's injunctions. (289) He then got together an army, as large as he was able, and joined to it the runagate and wicked Jews, and came against Judas. He then came as far as Bethoron, a village of Judea, and there pitched his camp; (290) upon which Judas met him, and when he intended to give him battle, he saw that his soldiers were backward to fight, because their number was small, and because they wanted food, for they were fasting, he encouraged them, and said to them, that victory and conquest of enemies are not derived from the multitude in armies, but in the exercise of piety towards God; (291) and that they had the plainest instances in their forefathers, who, by their righteousness, and exerting themselves on behalf of their own laws, and their own children, had frequently conquered many ten thousands,-for innocence is the strongest army. (292) By this speech he induced his men to condemn the multitude of the enemy, and to fall upon Seron; and upon joining battle with him, he beat the Syrians; and when their general fell among the rest, they all ran away with speed, as thinking that to be their best way of escaping. So he pursued them unto the plain, and slew about eight hundred of the enemy; but the rest escaped to the region which lay near to the sea.

Jonathan: 160-143 BC

1 Maccabees 9-10: "When Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his army had fallen in battle, he sent Bacchides and Alcimus into the land of Judah a second time, and with them the right wing of the army. They went by the road that leads to Gilgal and encamped against Mesaloth in Arbela, and they took it and killed many people. In the first month of the one hundred fifty-second year they encamped against Jerusalem; then they marched off and went to Berea with twenty thousand foot soldiers and two thousand cavalry. Now Judas was encamped in Elasa, and with him were three thousand picked men. When they saw the huge number of the enemy forces, they were greatly frightened, and many slipped away from the camp, until no more than eight hundred of them were left. When Judas saw that his army had slipped away and the battle was imminent, he was crushed in spirit, for he had no time to assemble them. He became faint, but he said to those who were left, "Let us get up and go against our enemies. We may have the strength to fight them." But they tried to dissuade him, saying, "We do not have the strength. Let us rather save our own lives now, and let us come back with our kindred and fight them; we are too few." But Judas said, "Far be it from us to do such a thing as to flee from them. If our time has come, let us die bravely for our kindred, and leave no cause to question our honor." Then the army of Bacchides marched out from the camp and took its stand for the encounter. The cavalry was divided into two companies, and the slingers and the archers went ahead of the army, as did all the chief warriors. Bacchides was on the right wing. Flanked by the two companies, the phalanx advanced to the sound of the trumpets; and the men with Judas also blew their trumpets. The earth was shaken by the noise of the armies, and the battle raged from morning until evening. Judas saw that Bacchides and the strength of his army were on the right; then all the stouthearted men went with him, and they crushed the right wing, and he pursued them as far as Mount Azotus. When those on the left wing saw that the right wing was crushed, they turned and followed close behind Judas and his men. The battle became desperate, and many on both sides were wounded and fell. Judas also fell, and the rest fled. Then Jonathan and Simon took their brother Judas and buried him in the tomb of their ancestors at Modein, and wept for him. All Israel made great lamentation for him; they mourned many days and said, "How is the mighty fallen, the savior of Israel!" Now the rest of the acts of Judas, and his wars and the brave deeds that he did, and his greatness, have not been recorded, but they were very many. After the death of Judas, the renegades emerged in all parts of Israel; all the wrongdoers reappeared. In those days a very great famine occurred, and the country went over to their side. Bacchides chose the godless and put them in charge of the country. They made inquiry and searched for the friends of Judas, and brought them to Bacchides, who took vengeance on them and made sport of them. So there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them. Then all the friends of Judas assembled and said to Jonathan, "Since the death of your brother Judas there has been no one like him to go against our enemies and Bacchides, and to deal with those of our nation who hate us. Now therefore we have chosen you today to take his place as our ruler and leader, to fight our battle." So Jonathan accepted the leadership at that time in place of his brother Judas. When Bacchides learned of this, he tried to kill him. But Jonathan and his brother Simon and all who were with him heard of it, and they fled into the wilderness of Tekoa and camped by the water of the pool of Asphar. Bacchides found this out on the sabbath day, and he with all his army crossed the Jordan. So Jonathan sent his brother as leader of the multitude and begged the Nabateans, who were his friends, for permission to store with them the great amount of baggage that they had. But the family of Jambri from Medeba came out and seized John and all that he had, and left with it. After these things it was reported to Jonathan and his brother Simon, "The family of Jambri are celebrating a great wedding, and are conducting the bride, a daughter of one of the great nobles of Canaan, from Nadabath with a large escort." Remembering how their brother John had been killed, they went up and hid under cover of the mountain. They looked out and saw a tumultuous procession with a great amount of baggage; and the bridegroom came out with his friends and his brothers to meet them with tambourines and musicians and many weapons. Then they rushed on them from the ambush and began killing them. Many were wounded and fell, and the rest fled to the mountain; and the Jews took all their goods. So the wedding was turned into mourning and the voice of their musicians into a funeral dirge. After they had fully avenged the blood of their brother, they returned to the marshes of the Jordan. When Bacchides heard of this, he came with a large force on the sabbath day to the banks of the Jordan. And Jonathan said to those with him, "Let us get up now and fight for our lives, for today things are not as they were before. For look! the battle is in front of us and behind us; the water of the Jordan is on this side and on that, with marsh and thicket; there is no place to turn. Cry out now to Heaven that you may be delivered from the hands of our enemies." So the battle began, and Jonathan stretched out his hand to strike Bacchides, but he eluded him and went to the rear. Then Jonathan and the men with him leaped into the Jordan and swam across to the other side, and the enemy did not cross the Jordan to attack them. And about one thousand of Bacchides' men fell that day. Then Bacchides returned to Jerusalem and built strong cities in Judea: the fortress in Jericho, and Emmaus, and Beth-horon, and Bethel, and Timnath, and Pharathon, and Tephon, with high walls and gates and bars. And he placed garrisons in them to harass Israel. He also fortified the town of Beth-zur, and Gazara, and the citadel, and in them he put troops and stores of food. And he took the sons of the leading men of the land as hostages and put them under guard in the citadel at Jerusalem. In the one hundred and fifty-third year, in the second month, Alcimus gave orders to tear down the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary. He tore down the work of the prophets! But he only began to tear it down, for at that time Alcimus was stricken and his work was hindered; his mouth was stopped and he was paralyzed, so that he could no longer say a word or give commands concerning his house. And Alcimus died at that time in great agony. When Bacchides saw that Alcimus was dead, he returned to the king, and the land of Judah had rest for two years. Then all the lawless plotted and said, "See! Jonathan and his men are living in quiet and confidence. So now let us bring Bacchides back, and he will capture them all in one night." And they went and consulted with him. He started to come with a large force, and secretly sent letters to all his allies in Judea, telling them to seize Jonathan and his men; but they were unable to do it, because their plan became known. And Jonathan's men seized about fifty of the men of the country who were leaders in this treachery, and killed them. Then Jonathan with his men, and Simon, withdrew to Bethbasi in the wilderness; he rebuilt the parts of it that had been demolished, and they fortified it. When Bacchides learned of this, he assembled all his forces, and sent orders to the men of Judea. Then he came and encamped against Bethbasi; he fought against it for many days and made machines of war. But Jonathan left his brother Simon in the town, while he went out into the country; and he went with only a few men. He struck down Odomera and his kindred and the people of Phasiron in their tents. Then he began to attack and went into battle with his forces; and Simon and his men sallied out from the town and set fire to the machines of war. They fought with Bacchides, and he was crushed by them. They pressed him very hard, for his plan and his expedition had been in vain. So he was very angry at the renegades who had counseled him to come into the country, and he killed many of them. Then he decided to go back to his own land. When Jonathan learned of this, he sent ambassadors to him to make peace with him and obtain release of the captives. He agreed, and did as he said; and he swore to Jonathan that he would not try to harm him as long as he lived. He restored to him the captives whom he had taken previously from the land of Judah; then he turned and went back to his own land, and did not come again into their territory. Thus the sword ceased from Israel. Jonathan settled in Michmash and began to judge the people; and he destroyed the godless out of Israel. In the one hundred sixtieth year Alexander Epiphanes, son of Antiochus, landed and occupied Ptolemais. They welcomed him, and there he began to reign. When King Demetrius heard of it, he assembled a very large army and marched out to meet him in battle. Demetrius sent Jonathan a letter in peaceable words to honor him; for he said to himself, "Let us act first to make peace with him before he makes peace with Alexander against us, for he will remember all the wrongs that we did to him and to his brothers and his nation." So Demetrius gave him authority to recruit troops, to equip them with arms, and to become his ally; and he commanded that the hostages in the citadel should be released to him. Then Jonathan came to Jerusalem and read the letter in the hearing of all the people and of those in the citadel. They were greatly alarmed when they heard that the king had given him authority to recruit troops. But those in the citadel released the hostages to Jonathan, and he returned them to their parents. And Jonathan took up residence in Jerusalem and began to rebuild and restore the city. He directed those who were doing the work to build the walls and encircle Mount Zion with squared stones, for better fortification; and they did so. Then the foreigners who were in the strongholds that Bacchides had built fled; all of them left their places and went back to their own lands. Only in Beth-zur did some remain who had forsaken the law and the commandments, for it served as a place of refuge. Now King Alexander heard of all the promises that Demetrius had sent to Jonathan, and he heard of the battles that Jonathan and his brothers had fought, of the brave deeds that they had done, and of the troubles that they had endured. So he said, "Shall we find another such man? Come now, we will make him our friend and ally." And he wrote a letter and sent it to him, in the following words: "King Alexander to his brother Jonathan, greetings. We have heard about you, that you are a mighty warrior and worthy to be our friend. And so we have appointed you today to be the high priest of your nation; you are to be called the king's Friend and you are to take our side and keep friendship with us." He also sent him a purple robe and a golden crown. So Jonathan put on the sacred vestments in the seventh month of the one hundred sixtieth year, at the festival of booths, and he recruited troops and equipped them with arms in abundance. When Demetrius heard of these things he was distressed and said, "What is this that we have done? Alexander has gotten ahead of us in forming a friendship with the Jews to strengthen himself. I also will write them words of encouragement and promise them honor and gifts, so that I may have their help." So he sent a message to them in the following words: "King Demetrius to the nation of the Jews, greetings. Since you have kept your agreement with us and have continued your friendship with us, and have not sided with our enemies, we have heard of it and rejoiced. Now continue still to keep faith with us, and we will repay you with good for what you do for us. We will grant you many immunities and give you gifts. "I now free you and exempt all the Jews from payment of tribute and salt tax and crown levies, and instead of collecting the third of the grain and the half of the fruit of the trees that I should receive, I release them from this day and henceforth. I will not collect them from the land of Judah or from the three districts added to it from Samaria and Galilee, from this day and for all time. Jerusalem and its environs, its tithes and its revenues, shall be holy and free from tax. I release also my control of the citadel in Jerusalem and give it to the high priest, so that he may station in it men of his own choice to guard it. And everyone of the Jews taken as a captive from the land of Judah into any part of my kingdom, I set free without payment; and let all officials cancel also the taxes on their livestock. "All the festivals and sabbaths and new moons and appointed days, and the three days before a festival and the three after a festival-let them all be days of immunity and release for all the Jews who are in my kingdom. No one shall have authority to exact anything from them or annoy any of them about any matter. "Let Jews be enrolled in the king's forces to the number of thirty thousand men, and let the maintenance be given them that is due to all the forces of the king. Let some of them be stationed in the great strongholds of the king, and let some of them be put in positions of trust in the kingdom. Let their officers and leaders be of their own number, and let them live by their own laws, just as the king has commanded in the land of Judah. "As for the three districts that have been added to Judea from the country of Samaria, let them be annexed to Judea so that they may be considered to be under one ruler and obey no other authority than the high priest. Ptolemais and the land adjoining it I have given as a gift to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, to meet the necessary expenses of the sanctuary. I also grant fifteen thousand shekels of silver yearly out of the king's revenues from appropriate places. And all the additional funds that the government officials have not paid as they did in the first years, they shall give from now on for the service of the temple. Moreover, the five thousand shekels of silver that my officials have received every year from the income of the services of the temple, this too is canceled, because it belongs to the priests who minister there. And all who take refuge at the temple in Jerusalem, or in any of its precincts, because they owe money to the king or are in debt, let them be released and receive back all their property in my kingdom. "Let the cost of rebuilding and restoring the structures of the sanctuary be paid from the revenues of the king. And let the cost of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and fortifying it all around, and the cost of rebuilding the walls in Judea, also be paid from the revenues of the king." When Jonathan and the people heard these words, they did not believe or accept them, because they remembered the great wrongs that Demetrius had done in Israel and how much he had oppressed them. They favored Alexander, because he had been the first to speak peaceable words to them, and they remained his allies all his days. Now King Alexander assembled large forces and encamped opposite Demetrius. The two kings met in battle, and the army of Demetrius fled, and Alexander pursued him and defeated them. He pressed the battle strongly until the sun set, and on that day Demetrius fell. Then Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemy king of Egypt with the following message: "Since I have returned to my kingdom and have taken my seat on the throne of my ancestors, and established my rule-for I crushed Demetrius and gained control of our country; I met him in battle, and he and his army were crushed by us, and we have taken our seat on the throne of his kingdom- now therefore let us establish friendship with one another; give me now your daughter as my wife, and I will become your son-in-law, and will make gifts to you and to her in keeping with your position." Ptolemy the king replied and said, "Happy was the day on which you returned to the land of your ancestors and took your seat on the throne of their kingdom. And now I will do for you as you wrote, but meet me at Ptolemais, so that we may see one another, and I will become your father-in-law, as you have said." So Ptolemy set out from Egypt, he and his daughter Cleopatra, and came to Ptolemais in the one hundred sixty-second year. King Alexander met him, and Ptolemy gave him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage, and celebrated her wedding at Ptolemais with great pomp, as kings do. Then King Alexander wrote to Jonathan to come and meet him. So he went with pomp to Ptolemais and met the two kings; he gave them and their Friends silver and gold and many gifts, and found favor with them. A group of malcontents from Israel, renegades, gathered together against him to accuse him; but the king paid no attention to them. The king gave orders to take off Jonathan's garments and to clothe him in purple, and they did so. The king also seated him at his side; and he said to his officers, "Go out with him into the middle of the city and proclaim that no one is to bring charges against him about any matter, and let no one annoy him for any reason." When his accusers saw the honor that was paid him, in accord with the proclamation, and saw him clothed in purple, they all fled. Thus the king honored him and enrolled him among his chief Friends, and made him general and governor of the province. And Jonathan returned to Jerusalem in peace and gladness. In the one hundred sixty-fifth year Demetrius son of Demetrius came from Crete to the land of his ancestors. When King Alexander heard of it, he was greatly distressed and returned to Antioch. And Demetrius appointed Apollonius the governor of Coelesyria, and he assembled a large force and encamped against Jamnia. Then he sent the following message to the high priest Jonathan: "You are the only one to rise up against us, and I have fallen into ridicule and disgrace because of you. Why do you assume authority against us in the hill country? If you now have confidence in your forces, come down to the plain to meet us, and let us match strength with each other there, for I have with me the power of the cities. Ask and learn who I am and who the others are that are helping us. People will tell you that you cannot stand before us, for your ancestors were twice put to flight in their own land. And now you will not be able to withstand my cavalry and such an army in the plain, where there is no stone or pebble, or place to flee." When Jonathan heard the words of Apollonius, his spirit was aroused. He chose ten thousand men and set out from Jerusalem, and his brother Simon met him to help him. He encamped before Joppa, but the people of the city closed its gates, for Apollonius had a garrison in Joppa. So they fought against it, and the people of the city became afraid and opened the gates, and Jonathan gained possession of Joppa. When Apollonius heard of it, he mustered three thousand cavalry and a large army, and went to Azotus as though he were going farther. At the same time he advanced into the plain, for he had a large troop of cavalry and put confidence in it. Jonathan pursued him to Azotus, and the armies engaged in battle. Now Apollonius had secretly left a thousand cavalry behind them. Jonathan learned that there was an ambush behind him, for they surrounded his army and shot arrows at his men from early morning until late afternoon. But his men stood fast, as Jonathan had commanded, and the enemy's horses grew tired. Then Simon brought forward his force and engaged the phalanx in battle (for the cavalry was exhausted); they were overwhelmed by him and fled, and the cavalry was dispersed in the plain. They fled to Azotus and entered Beth-dagon, the temple of their idol, for safety. But Jonathan burned Azotus and the surrounding towns and plundered them; and the temple of Dagon, and those who had taken refuge in it, he burned with fire. The number of those who fell by the sword, with those burned alive, came to eight thousand. Then Jonathan left there and encamped against Askalon, and the people of the city came out to meet him with great pomp. He and those with him then returned to Jerusalem with a large amount of booty. When King Alexander heard of these things, he honored Jonathan still more; and he sent to him a golden buckle, such as it is the custom to give to the King's Kinsmen. He also gave him Ekron and all its environs as his possession." (1 Maccabees 9-10)

Josephus Antiquities 13:46-212: (part quote) 3. (46) When Jonathan had received this letter, he put on the pontifical robe at the time of the feast of tabernacles, four years after the death of his brother Judas, for at that time no high priest had been made. So he raised great forces, and had abundance of armor got ready. (47) This greatly grieved Demetrius when he heard of it, and made him blame himself for his slowness, that he had not prevented Alexander, and got the good will of Jonathan, but had given him time so to do. However, he also himself wrote a letter to Jonathan, and to the people, the contents whereof are these:-(48) "King Demetrius to Jonathan, and to the nation of the Jews, sendeth greeting. Since you have preserved your friendship for us, and when you have been tempted by our enemies, you have not joined yourselves to them; I both commend you for this your fidelity, and exhort you to continue in the same disposition; for which you shall be repaid, and receive rewards from us; (49) for I will free you from the greatest part of the tributes and taxes which you formerly paid to the kings my predecessors, and to myself; and I do now set you free from those tributes which you have ever paid; and besides, I forgive you the tax upon salt, and the value of the crowns which you used to offer to me: and instead of the third part of the fruits [of the field], and the half of the fruits of the trees, I relinquish my part of them from this day: (50) and as to the poll money, which ought to be given me for every head of the inhabitants of Judea, and of the three toparchies that adjoin to Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, and Perea, that I relinquish to you for this time, and for all time to come. (51) I will also, that the city of Jerusalem be holy and inviolable, and free from the tithe, and from the taxes, unto its utmost bonds: and I so far recede from my title to the citadel, as to permit Jonathan your high priest to possess it, that he may place such a garrison in it as he approves of for fidelity and good will to himself that they may keep it for us. (52) I also make free all those Jews who have been made captives and slaves in my kingdom. I also give order that the beasts of the Jews be not pressed for our service: and let their Sabbaths, and all their festivals and three days before each of them, be free from any imposition. (53) In the same manner, I set free the Jews that are inhabitants in my kingdom, and order that no injury be done them. I also give leave to such of them as are willing to list themselves in my army, that they may do it, and those as far as thirty thousand; which Jewish soldiers, wheresoever they go, shall have the same pay that my own army hath; and some of them I will place in my garrisons, and some as guards about mine own body, and as rulers over those that are in my court. (54) I give them leave also to use the laws of their forefathers, and to observe them; and I will that they have power over the three toparchies that are added to Judea; and it shall be in the power of the high priest to take care that no one Jew shall have any other temple for worship but only that at Jerusalem. (55) I bequeath also, out of my own revenues, yearly, for the expenses about the sacrifices, one hundred and fifty thousand [drachmae]; and what money is to spare, I will that it shall be your own. I also release to you those ten thousand drachmae which the kings received from the temple, because they appertain to the priests that minister in that temple. (56) And whosoever shall fly to the temple at Jerusalem, or to the places thereto belonging, or who owe the king money, or are there on any other account, let them be set free, and let their goods be in safety. (57) I also give you leave to repair and rebuild your temple, and that all be done at my expenses. I also allow you to build the walls of your city, and to erect high towers, and that they be erected at my charge. And if there be any fortified town that would be convenient for the Jewish country to have very strong, let it be so built at my expenses."

Simeon: 143-135 BC

1 Maccabees 13-14: "Simon heard that Trypho had assembled a large army to invade the land of Judah and destroy it, and he saw that the people were trembling with fear. So he went up to Jerusalem, and gathering the people together he encouraged them, saying to them, "You yourselves know what great things my brothers and I and the house of my father have done for the laws and the sanctuary; you know also the wars and the difficulties that my brothers and I have seen. By reason of this all my brothers have perished for the sake of Israel, and I alone am left. And now, far be it from me to spare my life in any time of distress, for I am not better than my brothers. But I will avenge my nation and the sanctuary and your wives and children, for all the nations have gathered together out of hatred to destroy us." The spirit of the people was rekindled when they heard these words, and they answered in a loud voice, "You are our leader in place of Judas and your brother Jonathan. Fight our battles, and all that you say to us we will do." So he assembled all the warriors and hurried to complete the walls of Jerusalem, and he fortified it on every side. He sent Jonathan son of Absalom to Joppa, and with him a considerable army; he drove out its occupants and remained there. Then Trypho left Ptolemais with a large army to invade the land of Judah, and Jonathan was with him under guard. Simon encamped in Adida, facing the plain. Trypho learned that Simon had risen up in place of his brother Jonathan, and that he was about to join battle with him, so he sent envoys to him and said, "It is for the money that your brother Jonathan owed the royal treasury, in connection with the offices he held, that we are detaining him. Send now one hundred talents of silver and two of his sons as hostages, so that when released he will not revolt against us, and we will release him." Simon knew that they were speaking deceitfully to him, but he sent to get the money and the sons, so that he would not arouse great hostility among the people, who might say, "It was because Simon did not send him the money and the sons, that Jonathan perished." So he sent the sons and the hundred talents, but Trypho broke his word and did not release Jonathan. After this Trypho came to invade the country and destroy it, and he circled around by the way to Adora. But Simon and his army kept marching along opposite him to every place he went. Now the men in the citadel kept sending envoys to Trypho urging him to come to them by way of the wilderness and to send them food. So Trypho got all his cavalry ready to go, but that night a very heavy snow fell, and he did not go because of the snow. He marched off and went into the land of Gilead. When he approached Baskama, he killed Jonathan, and he was buried there. Then Trypho turned and went back to his own land. Simon sent and took the bones of his brother Jonathan, and buried him in Modein, the city of his ancestors. All Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and mourned for him many days. And Simon built a monument over the tomb of his father and his brothers; he made it high so that it might be seen, with polished stone at the front and back. He also erected seven pyramids, opposite one another, for his father and mother and four brothers. For the pyramids he devised an elaborate setting, erecting about them great columns, and on the columns he put suits of armor for a permanent memorial, and beside the suits of armor he carved ships, so that they could be seen by all who sail the sea. This is the tomb that he built in Modein; it remains to this day. Trypho dealt treacherously with the young King Antiochus; he killed him and became king in his place, putting on the crown of Asia; and he brought great calamity on the land. But Simon built up the strongholds of Judea and walled them all around, with high towers and great walls and gates and bolts, and he stored food in the strongholds. Simon also chose emissaries and sent them to King Demetrius with a request to grant relief to the country, for all that Trypho did was to plunder. King Demetrius sent him a favorable reply to this request, and wrote him a letter as follows, "King Demetrius to Simon, the high priest and friend of kings, and to the elders and nation of the Jews, greetings. We have received the gold crown and the palm branch that you sent, and we are ready to make a general peace with you and to write to our officials to grant you release from tribute. All the grants that we have made to you remain valid, and let the strongholds that you have built be your possession. We pardon any errors and offenses committed to this day, and cancel the crown tax that you owe; and whatever other tax has been collected in Jerusalem shall be collected no longer. And if any of you are qualified to be enrolled in our bodyguard, let them be enrolled, and let there be peace between us." In the one hundred seventieth year the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel, and the people began to write in their documents and contracts, "In the first year of Simon the great high priest and commander and leader of the Jews." In those days Simon encamped against Gazara and surrounded it with troops. He made a siege engine, brought it up to the city, and battered and captured one tower. The men in the siege engine leaped out into the city, and a great tumult arose in the city. The men in the city, with their wives and children, went up on the wall with their clothes torn, and they cried out with a loud voice, asking Simon to make peace with them; they said, "Do not treat us according to our wicked acts but according to your mercy." So Simon reached an agreement with them and stopped fighting against them. But he expelled them from the city and cleansed the houses in which the idols were located, and then entered it with hymns and praise. He removed all uncleanness from it, and settled in it those who observed the law. He also strengthened its fortifications and built in it a house for himself. Those who were in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from going in and out to buy and sell in the country. So they were very hungry, and many of them perished from famine. Then they cried to Simon to make peace with them, and he did so. But he expelled them from there and cleansed the citadel from its pollutions. On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred seventy-first year, the Jews entered it with praise and palm branches, and with harps and cymbals and stringed instruments, and with hymns and songs, because a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel, and he and his men lived there. Simon saw that his son John had reached manhood, and so he made him commander of all the forces; and he lived at Gazara. In the one hundred seventy-second year King Demetrius assembled his forces and marched into Media to obtain help, so that he could make war against Trypho. When King Arsaces of Persia and Media heard that Demetrius had invaded his territory, he sent one of his generals to take him alive. The general went and defeated the army of Demetrius, and seized him and took him to Arsaces, who put him under guard. The land had rest all the days of Simon. He sought the good of his nation; his rule was pleasing to them, as was the honor shown him, all his days. To crown all his honors he took Joppa for a harbor, and opened a way to the isles of the sea. He extended the borders of his nation, and gained full control of the country. He gathered a host of captives; he ruled over Gazara and Beth-zur and the citadel, and he removed its uncleanness from it; and there was none to oppose him. They tilled their land in peace; the ground gave its increase, and the trees of the plains their fruit. Old men sat in the streets; they all talked together of good things, and the youths put on splendid military attire. He supplied the towns with food, and furnished them with the means of defense, until his renown spread to the ends of the earth. He established peace in the land, and Israel rejoiced with great joy. All the people sat under their own vines and fig trees, and there was none to make them afraid. No one was left in the land to fight them, and the kings were crushed in those days. He gave help to all the humble among his people; he sought out the law, and did away with all the renegades and outlaws. He made the sanctuary glorious, and added to the vessels of the sanctuary. It was heard in Rome, and as far away as Sparta, that Jonathan had died, and they were deeply grieved. When they heard that his brother Simon had become high priest in his stead, and that he was ruling over the country and the towns in it, they wrote to him on bronze tablets to renew with him the friendship and alliance that they had established with his brothers Judas and Jonathan. And these were read before the assembly in Jerusalem. This is a copy of the letter that the Spartans sent: "The rulers and the city of the Spartans to the high priest Simon and to the elders and the priests and the rest of the Jewish people, our brothers, greetings. The envoys who were sent to our people have told us about your glory and honor, and we rejoiced at their coming. We have recorded what they said in our public decrees, as follows, 'Numenius son of Antiochus and Antipater son of Jason, envoys of the Jews, have come to us to renew their friendship with us. It has pleased our people to receive these men with honor and to put a copy of their words in the public archives, so that the people of the Spartans may have a record of them. And they have sent a copy of this to the high priest Simon.' " After this Simon sent Numenius to Rome with a large gold shield weighing one thousand minas, to confirm the alliance with the Romans. When the people heard these things they said, "How shall we thank Simon and his sons? For he and his brothers and the house of his father have stood firm; they have fought and repulsed Israel's enemies and established its freedom." So they made a record on bronze tablets and put it on pillars on Mount Zion. This is a copy of what they wrote: "On the eighteenth day of Elul, in the one hundred seventy-second year, which is the third year of the great high priest Simon, in Asaramel, in the great assembly of the priests and the people and the rulers of the nation and the elders of the country, the following was proclaimed to us: "Since wars often occurred in the country, Simon son of Mattathias, a priest of the sons of Joarib, and his brothers, exposed themselves to danger and resisted the enemies of their nation, in order that their sanctuary and the law might be preserved; and they brought great glory to their nation. Jonathan rallied the nation, became their high priest, and was gathered to his people. When their enemies decided to invade their country and lay hands on their sanctuary, then Simon rose up and fought for his nation. He spent great sums of his own money; he armed the soldiers of his nation and paid them wages. He fortified the towns of Judea, and Beth-zur on the borders of Judea, where formerly the arms of the enemy had been stored, and he placed there a garrison of Jews. He also fortified Joppa, which is by the sea, and Gazara, which is on the borders of Azotus, where the enemy formerly lived. He settled Jews there, and provided in those towns whatever was necessary for their restoration. "The people saw Simon's faithfulness and the glory that he had resolved to win for his nation, and they made him their leader and high priest, because he had done all these things and because of the justice and loyalty that he had maintained toward his nation. He sought in every way to exalt his people. In his days things prospered in his hands, so that the Gentiles were put out of the country, as were also those in the city of David in Jerusalem, who had built themselves a citadel from which they used to sally forth and defile the environs of the sanctuary, doing great damage to its purity. He settled Jews in it and fortified it for the safety of the country and of the city, and built the walls of Jerusalem higher. "In view of these things King Demetrius confirmed him in the high priesthood, made him one of his Friends, and paid him high honors. For he had heard that the Jews were addressed by the Romans as friends and allies and brothers, and that the Romans had received the envoys of Simon with honor. "The Jews and their priests have resolved that Simon should be their leader and high priest forever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise, and that he should be governor over them and that he should take charge of the sanctuary and appoint officials over its tasks and over the country and the weapons and the strongholds, and that he should take charge of the sanctuary, and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all contracts in the country should be written in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple and wear gold. "None of the people or priests shall be permitted to nullify any of these decisions or to oppose what he says, or to convene an assembly in the country without his permission, or to be clothed in purple or put on a gold buckle. Whoever acts contrary to these decisions or rejects any of them shall be liable to punishment." All the people agreed to grant Simon the right to act in accordance with these decisions. So Simon accepted and agreed to be high priest, to be commander and ethnarch of the Jews and priests, and to be protector of them all. And they gave orders to inscribe this decree on bronze tablets, to put them up in a conspicuous place in the precincts of the sanctuary, and to deposit copies of them in the treasury, so that Simon and his sons might have them." (1 Maccabees 13-14)

Josephus Antiquities 13:218-228: How Simon Confederated Himself with Antiochus Pius, and Made War Against Trypho, and, a Little Afterwards, Against Cendebeus, the General of Antiochus's Army; As Also How Simon Was Murdered by His Son-in-Law, Ptolemy, and that by Treachery 1. (218) Now a little while after Demetrius had been carried into captivity, Trypho his governor destroyed Antiochus, the son of Alexander, who was also called The God, and this when he had reigned four years, though he gave it out that he died under the hands of the surgeons. (219) He then sent his friends, and those that were most intimate with him, to the soldiers, and promised that he would give them a great deal of money if they would make him king. He intimated to them that Demetrius was made a captive by the Parthians; and that Demetrius's brother Antiochus, if he came to be king, would do them a great deal of mischief, in way of revenge for revolting from his brother. (220) So the soldiers, in expectation of the wealth they should get by bestowing the kingdom upon Trypho, made him their ruler. However, when Trypho had gained the management of affairs, he demonstrated his disposition to be wicked; for while he was a private person he cultivated a familiarity with the multitude, and pretended to great moderation, and so drew them on artfully to whatsoever he pleased; but when he had once taken the kingdom, he laid aside any further dissimulation, and was the true Trypho; (221) which behavior made his enemies superior to him; for the soldiers hated him, and revolted from him to Cleopatra, the wife of Demetrius, who was then shut up in Seleucia with her children; (222) but as Antiochus, the brother of Demetrius who was called Soter, was not admitted by any of the cities, on account of Trypho, Cleopatra sent to him, and invited him to marry her, and to take the kingdom. The reasons why she made this invitation were these: That her friends persuaded her to it, and that she was afraid for herself, in case some of the people of Seleucia should deliver up the city to Trypho. 2. (223) As Antiochus was now come to Seleucia, and his forces increased every day, he marched to fight Trypho; and having beaten him in the battle, he ejected him out of the Upper Syria into Phoenicia, and pursued him thither, and besieged him in Dora, which was a fortress hard to be taken, whither he had fled. He also sent ambassadors to Simon the Jewish high priest, about a league of friendship and mutual assistance; (224) who readily accepted of the invitation, and sent to Antiochus great sums of money and provisions for those that besieged Dora, and thereby supplied them very plentifully, so that for a little while he was looked upon as one of his most intimate friends; but still Trypho fled from Dora to Apamia, where he was taken during the siege, and put to death, when he had reigned three years. 3. (225) However, Antiochus forgot the kind assistance that Simon had afforded him in his necessity, and committed an army of soldiers to his friend Cendebeus, and sent him at once to ravage Judea, and to seize Simon. (226) When Simon heard of Antiochus's breaking his league with him, although he were now in years, yet, provoked with the unjust treatment he had met with from Antiochus, and taking a resolution brisker than his age could well bear, he went like a young man to act as general of his army. (227) He also sent his sons before among the most hardy of his soldiers, and he himself marched on with his army another way, and laid many of his men in ambushes in the narrow valleys between the mountains; nor did he fail of success in any one of his attempts, but was too hard for his enemies in every one of them. So he led the rest of his life in peace, and did also himself make a league with the Romans. 4. (228) Now he was ruler of the Jews in all eight years; but at a feast came to his end. It was caused by the treachery of his son-in-law Ptolemy, who caught also his wife, and two of his sons, and kept them in bonds. He also sent some to kill John the third son, whose name was Hyrcanus: (229) but the young man perceiving them coming, he avoided the danger he was in from them, and made haste into the city [Jerusalem], as relying on the good will of the multitude, because of the benefits they had received from his father, and because of the hatred the same multitude bare to Ptolemy; so that when Ptolemy was endeavoring to enter the city by another gate, they drove him away, as having already admitted Hyrcanus.

Josephus Wars 1:50-60: 2. (50) However, Simeon managed the public affairs after a courageous manner, and took Gazara, and Joppa, and Jamnia, which were cities in the neighborhood. He also got the garrison under, and demolished the citadel. He was afterwards an auxiliary to Antiochus, against Trypho, whom he besieged in Dora, before he went on his expedition against the Medes; (51) yet could not he make the king ashamed of his ambition, though he had assisted him in killing Trypho; for it was not long ere Antiochus sent Cendebeus his general with an army to lay waste Judea, and to subdue Simeon; (52) yet, though he was now in years conducted the war as if he were a much younger man. He also sent his sons with a band of strong men against Antiochus, while he took part of the army himself with him, and fell upon him from another quarter; (53) he also laid a great many men in ambush in many places of the mountains, and was superior in all his attacks upon them. And when he had been conqueror after so glorious a manner, he was made high priest, and also freed the Jews from the dominion of the Macedonians, after a hundred and seventy years of the empire [of Seleucus]. 3. (54) This Simeon had also a plot laid against him, and was slain at a feast by his son-in-law Ptolemy, who put his wife and two sons into prison, and sent some persons to kill John, who was also called Hyrcanus. (55) But when the young man was informed of their coming beforehand, he made haste to get to the city, as having a very great confidence in the people there, both on account of the memory of the glorious actions of his father, and of the hatred they could not but bear to the injustice of Ptolemy. Ptolemy also made an attempt to get into the city by another gate, but was repelled by the people, who had just then admitted Hyrcanus; (56) so he retired presently to one of the fortresses that were above Jericho, which was called Dagon. Now, when Hyrcanus had received the high priesthood, which his father had held before, and had offered sacrifice to God, he made great haste to attack Ptolemy, that he might afford relief to his mother and brethren. 4. (57) So he laid siege to the fortress, and was superior to Ptolemy in other respects, but was overcome by him as to the just affection [he had for his relations]; for when Ptolemy was distressed, he brought forth his mother and his brethren, and set them upon the wall, and beat them with rods in everybody's sight and threatened, that, unless he would go away immediately, he would throw them down headlong; (58) at which sight Hyrcanus's commiseration and concern were too hard for his anger. But his mother was not dismayed, neither at the stripes she received, nor at the death with which she was threatened, but stretched out her hands, and prayed her son not to be moved with the injuries that she suffered, to spare the wretch; since it was to her better to die by the means of Ptolemy than to live ever so long, provided he might be punished for the injuries he had done to their family. (59) Now, John's case was this:-When he considered the courage of his mother, and heard her entreaty, he set about his attacks; but when he saw her beaten, and torn to pieces with the stripes, he grew feeble, and was entirely overcome by his affections. (60) And as the siege was delayed by this means, the year of rest came on, upon which the Jews rest every seventh year as they do on every seventh day. On this year, therefore, Ptolemy was freed from being besieged, and slew the brethren of John, with their mother, and fled to Zeno, who was also called Cotylas, who was the tyrant of Philadelphia.

John Hyrcanus I: 135-104 BC

110 BC Full Judean independence finally achieved!

125 BC Tyre liberated from Seleucids. Tyrian Shekel Year 1

Josephus Antiquities 13:229-299: (part quote) Hyrcanus Receives the High Priesthood, and Ejects Ptolemy Out of the Country. Antiochus Makes War Against Hyrcanus, and Afterwards Makes a League with Him. 1. (230) So Ptolemy retired to one of the fortresses that was above Jericho, which was called Dagon. But Hyrcanus having taken the high priesthood that had been his father's before, and in the first place propitiated God by sacrifices, he then made an expedition against Ptolemy; and when he made his attacks upon the place, in other points he was too hard for him, but was rendered weaker than he, by the commiseration he had for his mother and his brethren, and by that only; (231) for Ptolemy brought them upon the wall, and tormented them in the sight of all, and threatened that he would throw them down headlong, unless Hyrcanus would leave off the siege; and as he thought that, so far as he relaxed to the siege and taking of the place, so much favor did he show to those that were dearest to him by preventing their misery, his zeal about it was cooled. (232) However, his mother spread out her hands, and begged of him that he would not grow remiss on her account, but indulge his indignation so much the more, and that he would do his utmost to take the place quickly, in order to get their enemy under his power, and then to avenge upon him what he had done to those that were dearest to himself; for that death would be to her sweet, though with torment, if that enemy of theirs might but be brought to punishment for his wicked dealings to them. (233) Now when his mother said so, he resolved to take the fortress immediately; but when he saw her beaten, and torn to pieces, his courage failed him, and he could not but sympathize with what his mother suffered, and was thereby overcome; (234) and as the siege was drawn out into length by this means, that year on which the Jews use to rest, came on; for the Jews observe this rest every seventh year, as they do every seventh day; (235) so that Ptolemy being for this cause released from the war, he slew the brethren of Hyrcanus and his mother: and when he had so done, he fled to Zeno, who was called Cotylas, who was then the tyrant of the city Philadelphia.

Josephus Wars 1:61-69: 5. (61) And now Antoicchus was so angry at what he had suffered from Simeon, that he made an expedition into Judea, and sat down before Jerusalem, and besieged Hyrcanus; but Hyrcanus opened the sepulchre of David, who was the richest of all kings, and took thence about three thousand talents in money, and induced Antiochus, by the promise of three thousand talents, to raise the siege. Moreover, he was the first of the Jews that had money enough, and began to hire foreign auxiliaries also. 6. (62) However, at another time, when Antiochus was gone upon an expedition against the Medes, and so gave Hyrcanus an opportunity of being avenged upon him, he immediately made an attack upon the cities of Syria as thinking, what proved to be the case with them, that he should find them empty of good troops. (63) So he took Medaba and Samea, with the towns in their neighborhood, as also Shechem and Gerizzim; and besides these, [he subdued] the nation of the Cutheans, who dwelt round about that temple which was built in imitation of the temple at Jerusalem; he also took a great many other cities of Idumea, with Adoreon and Marissa.

7. (64) He also proceeded as far as Samaria, where is now the city of Sebaste which was built by Herod the king, and encompassed it all round with a wall, and set his sons, Aristobulus and Antigonus, over the siege; who pushed it on so hard that a famine so far prevailed within the city, that they were forced to eat what never was esteemed food. (65) They also invited Antiochus, who was called Cyzicenus, to come to their assistance; whereupon he got ready, and complied with their invitation, but was beaten by Aristobulus and Antigonus; and indeed he was pursued as far as Scythopolis by these brethren, and fled away from them. So they returned back to Samaria, and shut the multitude again within the wall; and when they had taken the city, they demolished it, and made slaves of its inhabitants. (66) And, as they had still great success in their undertakings, they did not suffer their zeal to cool, but marched with an army as far as Scythopolis, and made an incursion upon it, and laid waste all the country that lay within Mount Carmel. 8. (67) But then, these successes of John and of his sons made them be envied, and occasioned a sedition in the country; and many there were who got together, and would not be at rest till they brake out into open war, in which war they were beaten. (68) So John lived the rest of his life very happily, and administered the government after a most extraordinary manner, and this for thirty-three entire years together. He died, leaving five sons behind him. He was certainly a very happy man, and afforded no occasion to have any complaint made of fortune on his account. He it was who alone had three of the most desirable things in the world-the government of his nation, and the high priesthood, and the gift of prophecy; (69) for the Deity conversed with him-and he was not ignorant of anything that was to come afterwards; insomuch that he foresaw and foretold that his two eldest sons would not continue masters of the government; and it will highly deserve our narration to describe their catastrophe, and how far inferior these men were to their father in felicity.

Aristobulus I: 104-103 BC

Josephus Antiquities 13:301-319: (part quote) 1. (301) Now when their father Hyrcanus was dead, the eldest son Aristobulus, intending to change the government into a kingdom, for so he resolved to do, first of all put a diadem on his head, four hundred and eighty-one years and three months after the people had been delivered from the Babylonish slavery, and were returned to their own country again. (302) This Aristobulus loved his next brother Antigonus, and treated him as his equal; but the others he held in bonds. He also cast his mother into prison, because she disputed the government with him; for Hyrcanus had left her to be mistress of all. He also proceeded to that degree of barbarity, as to kill her in prison with hunger; (303) nay he was alienated from his brother Antigonus by calumnies, and added him to the rest whom he slew; yet he seemed to have an affection for him, and made him above the rest a partner with him in the kingdom. Those calumnies he at first did not give credit to, partly because he loved him, and so did not give heed to what was said against him, and partly because he thought the reproaches were derived from the envy of the relaters. (304) But when Antigonus was once returned from the army, and that feast was then at hand when they make tabernacles [to the honor of] God, it happened that Aristobulus was fallen sick, and that Antigonus went up most splendidly adorned, and with his soldiers about him in their armor, to the temple to celebrate the feast, and to put up many prayers for the recovery of his brother, (305) when some wicked persons, who had a great mind to raise a difference between the brethren, made use of this opportunity of the pompous appearance of Antigonus, and of the great actions which he had done, and went to the king, and spitefully aggravated the pompous show of his at the feast, (306) and pretended that all these circumstances were not like those of private person; that these actions were indications of an affectation of royal authority; and that his coming with a strong body of men must be with an intention to kill him; and that his way of reasoning was this: That it was a silly thing in him, while it was in his power to reign himself, to look upon it as a great favor that he was honored with a lower dignity by his brother. 2. (307) Aristobulus yielded to these imputations, but took care both that his brother should not suspect him, and that he himself might not run the hazard of his own safety; so he ordered his guards to lie in a certain place that was under ground, and dark (he himself then lying sick in the tower which was called Antonia); and he commanded them, that in case Antigonus came in to him unarmed, they should not touch anybody, but if armed, they should kill him; (308) yet did he send to Antigonus, and desired that he would come unarmed: but the queen, and those that joined with her in the plot against Antigonus, persuaded the messenger to tell him the direct contrary: how his brother had heard that he had made himself a fine suit of armor for war and desired him to come to him in that armor, that he might see how fine it was. (309) So Antigonus, suspecting no treachery, but depending on the good will of his brother, came to Aristobulus armed, as he used to be, with his entire armor, in order to show it to him; but when he was come to a place which was called Strato's Tower, where the passage happened to be exceeding dark, the guards slew him; (310) which death demonstrates that nothing is stronger than envy and calumny, and that nothing does more certainly divide the good will and natural affection of men than those passions. (311) But here one may take occasion to wonder at one Judas, who was of the sect of the Essenes, and who never missed the truth in his predictions; for this man, when he saw Antigonus passing by the temple, cried to his companions and friends, who abode with him as his scholars, in order to learn the art of foretelling things to come. (312) "That it was good for him to die now, since he had spoken falsely about Antigonus, who is still alive, and I see him passing by, although he had foretold that he should die at the place called Strato's Tower that very day, while yet the place is six hundred furlongs off where he had foretold he should be slain; and still this day is a great part of it already past, so that he was in danger of proving a false prophet." (313) As he was saying this, and that in a melancholy mood, the news came that Antigonus was slain in a place under ground, which itself was called also Strato's Tower or of the same name with that Cesarea which is seated at the sea. This event put the prophet into a great disorder. 3. (314) But Aristobulus repented immediately of this slaughter of his brother; on which account his disease increased upon him, and he was disturbed in his mind, upon the guilt of such wickedness, insomuch that his entrails were corrupted by his intolerable pain, and he vomited blood; at which time one of the servants that attended upon him, and was carrying his blood away, did, by divine providence, as I cannot but suppose, slip down, and shed part of his blood at the very place where there were spots of Antigonus's blood there slain, still remaining; (315) and when there was a cry made by the spectators, as if the servant had on purpose shed the blood on that place, Aristobulus heard it, and inquired what the matter was; and as they did not answer him, he was the more earnest to know what it was, it being natural to men to suspect that what is thus concealed is very bad: (316) so upon his threatening, and forcing them by terrors to speak, they at length told him the truth; whereupon he shed many tears, in that disorder of mind which arose from his consciousness of what he had done, and gave a deep groan, and said, "I am not therefore, I perceive, to be concealed from God, in the impious and horrid crimes I have been guilty of; but a sudden punishment is coming upon me for the shedding of the blood of my relations. (317) And now, O thou most impudent body of mine, how long wilt thou retain a soul that ought to die, in order to appease the ghost of my brother and my mother? Why dost thou not give it all up at once? And why do I deliver up my blood, drop by drop, to those whom I have so wickedly murdered." In saying which last words he died, having reigned a year. (318) He was called a lover of the Grecians; and had conferred many benefits on his own country, and made war against Iturea, and added a great part of it to Judea, and compelled the inhabitants, if they would continue in that country, to be circumcised, and to live according to the Jewish laws. (319) He was naturally a man of candor, and of great modesty, as Strabo bears witness in the name of Timagenes: who says thus:-"This man was a person of candor, and very serviceable to the Jews, for he added a country to them, and obtained a part of the nation of the Itureans for them and bound them to them by the bond of the circumcision of their genitals."

Josephus Wars 1:70-84: How Aristobulus Was the First that Put a Diadem About His Head; And, After He Had Put His Mother and Brother to Death, Died Himself, When He Had Reigned No More Than a Year 1. (70) For after the death of their father, the elder of them, Aristobulus, changed the government into a kingdom, and was the first that put a diadem upon his head, four hundred and seventy-one years and three months after our people came down into this country, when they were set free from the Babylonian slavery. (71) Now, of his brethren, he appeared to have an affection for Antigonus, who was next to him, and made him his equal; but, for the rest, he bound them, and put them in prison. He also put his mother in bonds, for her contesting the government with him; for John had left her to be the governess of public affairs. He also proceeded to that degree of barbarity as to cause her to be pined to death in prison. 2. (72) But vengeance circumvented him in the affair of his brother Antigonus, whom he loved, and whom he made his partner in the kingdom; for he slew him by the means of the calumnies which ill men about the palace contrived against him. At first, indeed, Aristobulus would not believe their reports, partly out of the affection he had for his brother, and partly because he thought that a great part of these tales were owing to the envy of their relaters; (73) however, as Antigonus came once in a splendid manner from the army to that festival, wherein our ancient custom is to make tabernacles for God, it happened in those days that Aristobulus was sick, and that, at the conclusion of the feast, Antigonus came up to it, with his armed men about him, and this when he was adorned in the finest manner possible; and that, in a great measure, to pray to God on the behalf of his brother. (74) Now, at this very time it was that these ill men came to the king, and told him in what a pompous manner the armed men came, and with what insolence Antigonus marched, and that such his insolence was too great for a private person, and that accordingly he was come with a great band of men to kill him; for that he could not endure this bare enjoyment of royal honor, when it was in his power to take the kingdom himself. 3. (75) Now Aristobulus, by degrees, and unwillingly, gave credit to these accusations; and accordingly he took care not to discover his suspicion openly, though he provided to be secure against any accidents; so he placed the guards of his body in a certain dark subterraneous passage; for he lay sick in a certain place called formerly the Citadel, though afterwards its name was changed to Antonia; and he gave orders, that if Antigonus came unarmed, they should let him alone, but if he came to him in his armor, they should kill him. He also sent some to let him know beforehand, that he should come unarmed. (76) But, upon this occasion, the queen very cunningly contrived the matter with those that plotted his ruin, for she persuaded those that were sent, to conceal the king's message; but to tell Antigonus how his brother had heard he had got a very suit of armor, made with fine martial ornaments, in Galilee; and because his present sickness hindered him from coming and seeing all the finery, he very much desired to see him now in his armor, because, said he, in a little time thou art going away from me. 4. (77) As soon as Antigonus heard this, the good temper of his brother not allowing him to suspect any harm from him, he came along with his armor on, to show it to his brother; but when he was going along that dark passage, which was called Strato's Tower, he was slain by the body guards, and became an eminent instance how calumny destroys good will and natural affection, and how none of our good affections are strong enough to resist envy perpetually. 5. (78) And truly any one would be surprised at Judas upon this occasion. He was of the sect of the Essenes, and had never failed or deceived men in his predictions before. Now, this man saw Antigonus as he was passing along by the temple, and cried out to his acquaintance (they were not a few who attended upon him as his scholars), (79) "O strange!" said he, "it is good for me to die now, since truth is dead before me, and somewhat that I have foretold hath proved false; for this Antigonus is this day alive, who ought to have died this day; and the place where he ought to be slain, according to that fatal decree, was Strato's Tower, which is at the distance of six hundred furlongs form this place, and yet four hours of this day are over already; which point of time renders the prediction impossible to be fulfilled." (80) And when the old man had said this he was dejected in his mind and so continued. But, in a little time, news came that Antigonus was slain in a subterraneous place, which was itself also called Strato's Tower, by the same name with that Cesarea which lay by the seaside; and this ambiguity it was which caused the prophet's disorder. 6. (81) Hereupon Aristobulus repented of the great crime he had been guilty of, and this gave occasion to the increase of his distemper. He also grew worse and worse, and his soul was constantly disturbed at the thought of what he done, till his very bowels being torn to pieces by the intolerable grief he was under, he threw up a great quantity of blood. (82) And, as one of those servants that attended him carried out that blood, he, by some supernatural providence slipped and fell down in the very place where Antigonus had been slain; and so he spilt some of the murderer's blood upon the spots of the blood of him that had been murdered, which still appeared. Hereupon a lamentable cry arose among the spectators, as if the servant had spilled the blood on purpose in that place; (83) and, as the king heard that cry, he inquired what was the cause of it; and while nobody durst tell him, he pressed them so much the more to let him know what was the matter, so, at length, when he had threatened them, and forced them to speak out, they told; whereupon he burst into tears, and groaned, and said, (84) "So I perceive I am not like to escape the all-seeing eye of God, as to the great crimes I have committed; but the vengeance of the blood of my kinsman pursues me hastily. O thou most impudent body! how long wilt thou retain a soul that ought to die, on account of that punishment it ought to suffer for a mother and a bother slain! how long shall I myself spend my blood drop by drop! let them take it all at once; and let their ghosts no longer be disappointed by a few parcels of my bowels offered to them." As soon as he had said these words, he presently died, when he had reigned no longer than a year.

Alexander Jannaeus: 103-76 BC

Josephus Antiquities 13:320-406: (part quote) How Alexander, When He Had Taken the Government, Made an Expedition Against Ptolemais, and Then Raised the Siege, Out of Fear of Ptolemy Lathyrus; And How Ptolemy Made War Against Him, Because He Had Sent to Cleopatra to Persuade Her to Make War Against Ptolemy, and Yet Pretended to Be in Friendship with Him, When He Went to Beat the Jews in Battle 1. (320) When Aristobulus was dead, his wife Salome, who, by the Greeks, was called Alexandra, let his brethren out of prison (for Aristobulus had kept them in bonds, as we have said already), and made Alexander Janneus king, who was the superior in age and in moderation. (321) This child happened to be hated by his father as soon as he was born, and could never be permitted to come into his father's sight till he died. The occasion of which hatred is thus reported: (322) when Hyrcanus chiefly loved the two eldest of his sons, Antigonus and Aristobulus, God appeared to him in his sleep, of whom he inquired which of his sons should be his successor. Upon God's representing to him the countenance of Alexander, he was grieved that he was to be the heir of all his goods, and suffered him to be brought up in Galilee. However, God did not deceive Hyrcanus, (323) for after the death of Aristobulus, he certainly took the kingdom; and one of his brethren who affected the kingdom he slew; and the other, who chose to live a private and quiet life, he had in esteem. 2. (324) When Alexander Janneus had settled the government in the manner that he judged best, he made an expedition against Ptolemais; and having overcome the men in battle, he shut them up in the city, and sat round about it, and besieged it; for of the maritime cities there remained only Ptolemais and Gaza to be conquered, besides Strato's Tower and Dora, which were held by the tyrant Zoilus. (325) Now while Antiochus Philometor, and Antiochus who was called Cyzicenus, were making war against one another, and destroying one another's armies, the people of Ptolemais could have no assistance from them; (326) but when they were distressed with this siege, Zoilus, who possessed Strato's Tower and Dora, and maintained a legion of soldiers, and on occasion of the contest between the kings affected tyranny himself, came and brought some small assistance to the people of Ptolemais; (327) nor indeed had the kings such a friendship for them as that they should hope for any advantage from them. Both those kings were in the case of wrestlers, who finding themselves deficient in strength, and yet being ashamed to yield, put off the fight by laziness, and by lying still as long as they can. (328) The only hope they had remaining was from the kings of Egypt, and from Ptolemy Lathyrus, who now held Cyrus, and who came to Cyrus when he was driven from the government of Egypt, by Cleopatra his mother: so the people of Ptolemais sent to this Ptolemy Lathyrus and desired him to come as a confederate, to deliver them, now they were in such danger, out of the hands of Alexander. (329) And as the ambassadors gave him hopes, that if he would pass over into Syria, he would have the people of Gaza on the side of those of Ptolemais; as they also said that Zoilus, and besides these the Sidonians and many others would assist them, so he was elevated at this, and got his fleet ready as soon as possible. 3. (330) But in this interval Demenetus, one that was of abilities to persuade men to do as he would have them, and a leader of the populace, made those of Ptolemais change their opinions; and said to them, that it was better to run the hazard of being subject to the Jews than to admit of evident slavery by delivering themselves up to a master; and besides that, to have not only a war at present, but to expect a much greater war from Egypt; (331) for that Cleopatra would not overlook an army raised by Ptolemy for himself out of the neighborhood, but would come against them with a great army of her own, and this because she was laboring to eject her son out of Cyprus also; that as for Ptolemy, if he fail of his hopes, he can still retire to Cyprus; but that they will be left in the greatest danger possible. (332) Now Ptolemy, although he had heard of the change that was made in the people of Ptolemais, yet did he still go on with his voyage, and came to the country called Sycamine, and there set his army on shore. (333) This army of his, in the whole horse and foot together, were about thirty thousand, with which he marched near to Ptolemais, and there pitched his camp: but when the people of Ptolemais neither received his ambassadors, nor would hear what they had to say, he was under a very great concern. 4. (334) But when Zoilus and the people of Gaza came to him, and desired his assistance, because their country was laid waste by the Jews, and by Alexander,-Alexander raised the siege, for fear of Ptolemy: and when he had drawn off his army into his own country, he used a stratagem afterwards, by privately inviting Cleopatra to come against Ptolemy, but publicly pretending to desire a league of friendship and mutual assistance with him; (335) and promising to give him four hundred talents of silver, he desired that, by way of requital, he would take off Zoilus the tyrant, and give his country to the Jews. And then indeed Ptolemy, with pleasure, made such a league of friendship with Alexander, and subdued Zoilus: (336) but when he afterwards heard that he had privily sent to Cleopatra his mother, he broke the league with him, which yet he had confirmed with an oath, and fell upon him, and besieged Ptolemais, because it would not receive him. However, leaving his generals, with some part of his forces, to go on with the siege, he went himself immediately with the rest to lay Judea waste: (337) and when Alexander understood this to be Ptolemy's intention, he also got together about fifty thousand soldiers out of his own country; nay, as some writers have said, eighty thousand. He then took his army, and went to meet Ptolemy; but Ptolemy fell upon Asochis, a city of Galilee, and took it by force on the Sabbath day, and there he took about ten thousand slaves, and a great deal of other prey. 5. (338) He then tried to take Sepphoris, which was a city not far from that which was destroyed, but lost many of his men; yet did he then go to fight with Alexander. Alexander met him at the river Jordan, near a certain place called Saphoth [not far from the river Jordan] and pitched his camp near to the enemy. (339) He had however eight thousand in the first rank, which he styled Hecatontomachi, having shields of brass.-Those in the first rank of Ptolemy's soldiers also had shields covered with brass: but Ptolemy's soldiers in other respects were inferior to those of Alexander, and therefore were more fearful of running hazards; (340) but Philostephanus, the camp master, put great courage into them, and ordered them to pass the river, which was between their camps: nor did Alexander think fit to hinder their passage over it: for he thought, that if the enemy had once gotten the river on their back, that he should the easier take them prisoners, when they could not flee out of the battle: (341) in the beginning of which, the acts on both sides, with their hands, and with their alacrity, were alike, and a great slaughter was made by both the armies; but Alexander was superior, till Philostephanus opportunely brought up the auxiliaries, to help those that were giving way; (342) but as there were no auxiliaries to afford help to that part of the Jews that gave way, it fell out that they fled, and those near them did not assist them, but fled along with them. However, Ptolemy's soldiers acted quite otherwise; (343) for they followed the Jews, and killed them, till at length those that slew them pursued after them when they had made them all run away, and slew them so long, that their weapons of iron were blunted, and their hands quite tired with the slaughter; (344) for the report was, that thirty thousand men were then slain. Timagenes says they were fifty thousand. As for the rest, they were part of them taken captives; and the other part ran away to their own country. 6. (345) After this victory, Ptolemy overran all the country; and when night came on, he abode in certain villages of Judea, which when he found full of women and children, he commanded his soldiers to strangle them, and to cut them in pieces, and then to cast them into boiling caldrons, and then to devour their limbs as sacrifices. (346) This commandment was given, that such as fled from the battle, and came to them, might suppose their enemies were cannibals, and eat men's flesh, and might on that account be still more terrified at them upon such a sight. (347) And both Strabo and Nicholaus [of Damascus] affirm, that they used these people after this manner, as I have already related. Ptolemy also took Ptolemais by force, as we have declared elsewhere.

Josephus Wars 1:85-106: What Actions Were Done by Alexander Janneus, Who Reigned Twenty-Seven Years 1. (85) And now the king's wife loosed the king's brethren, and made Alexander king, who appeared both elder in age and more moderate in his temper than the rest; who, when he came to the government, slew one of his brethren, as affecting to govern himself; but had the other of them in great esteem, as loving a quiet life, without meddling with public affairs. 2. (86) Now it happened that there was a battle between him and Ptolemy, who was called Lathyrus, who had taken the city Asochis. He indeed slew a great many of his enemies; but the victory rather inclined to Ptolemy. But, when this Ptolemy was pursued by his mother Cleopatra, and retired into Egypt, Alexander besieged Gadara, and took it, as also he did Amathus, which was the strongest of all the fortresses that were about Jordan, and therein were the most precious of all the possessions of Theodorus, the son of Zeno. (87) Whereupon Theodorus marched against him, and took what belonged to himself, as well as the king's baggage, and slew ten thousand of the Jews. However, Alexander recovered this blow, and turned his force towards the maritime parts, and took Raphia, and Gaza, with Anthedon also, which was afterwards called Agrippias by king Herod. 3. (88) But when he made slaves of the citizens of all these cities, the nation of the Jews made an insurrection against him at a festival; for at those feasts seditions are generally begun; and it looked as if he should not be able to escape the plot they laid for him, and not his foreign auxiliaries, the Pisidians and Cilicians, assisted him; for, as to the Syrians, he never admitted them among his mercenary troops, on account of their of their enmity against the Jewish nation. (89) And when he had slain more than six thousand of the rebels, he made an incursion into Arabia, and when he had taken that country, together with the Gileadites and Moabites, he enjoined them to pay him tribute, and returned to Amathus; and as Theodorus was surprised at his great success, he took the fortress, and demolished it. 4. (90) However, when he fought with Obodas, king of the Arabians, who had laid an ambush for him near Golan, and a plot against him, he lost his entire army, which was crowded together in a deep valley, and broken to pieces by the multitude of camels; and when he had made his escape to Jerusalem, he provoked the multitude, who hated him before, to make an insurrection against him, and this on account of the greatness of the calamity that he was under. (91) However, he was then too hard for them; and, in the several battles that were fought on both sides, he slew not fewer than fifty thousand of the Jews, in the interval of six years. Yet had he no reason to rejoice in these victories, since he did but consume his own kingdom; till at length he left off fighting, and endeavored to come to a composition with them, by talking with his subjects; (92) but this mutability and irregularity of his conduct made them hate him still more; and when he asked them why they so hated him, and what he should do, in order to appease them, they said, by killing himself; for that it would be then all they could do, to be reconciled to him who had done such tragical things to them, even when he was dead. At the same time they invited Demetrius, who was called Eucerus, to assist them, and as he readily complied with their request in hopes of great advantages, and came with his army, the Jews joined with those their auxiliaries about Shechem. 5. (93) Yet did Alexander meet both these forces with one thousand horsemen, and eight thousand mercenaries that were on foot. He had also with him that part of the Jews which favored him, to the number of ten thousand; while the adverse party had three thousand horsemen, and fourteen thousand footmen. Now, before they joined battle, the kings made proclamation, and endeavored to draw off each other's soldiers, and make them revolt; while Demetrius hoped to induce Alexander's mercenaries to leave him,-and Alexander hoped to induce the Jews that were with Demetrius to leave him; (94) but, since neither the Jews would leave off their rage, nor the Greeks prove unfaithful, they came to an engagement, and to a close fight with their weapons. (95) In which battle Demetrius was the conqueror, although Alexander's mercenaries showed the greatest exploits, both in soul and body. Yet did the upshot of this battle prove different from what was expected, as to both of them, for neither did those that invited Demetrius to come to them continue firm to him, though he was conqueror; and six thousand Jews, out of pity to the change of Alexander's condition, when he was fled to the mountains, came over to him. Yet could not Demetrius bear this turn of affairs; but supposing that Alexander was already become a match for him again, and that all the nation would [at length] run to him, he left the country, and went his way. 6. (96) However the rest of the [Jewish] multitude did not lay aside their quarrels with him, when the [foreign] auxiliaries were gone; but they had a perpetual war with Alexander, until he had slain the greatest part of them, and driven the rest into the city Bemeselis; and when he had demolished that city, he carried the captives to Jerusalem. (97) Nay, his rage was grown so extravagant, that his barbarity proceeded to a degree of impiety; for when he had ordered eight hundred to be hung upon crosses in the midst of the city, he had the throats of their wives and children cut before their eyes; and these executions he saw as he was drinking and lying down with his concubines. (98) Upon which, so deep a surprise seized upon the people, that eight thousand of his opposers fled away the very next night, out of all Judea, whose flight was only terminated by Alexander's death; so at last, though not till late, and with great difficulty, he, by such actions, procured quiet to his kingdom, and left off fighting any more. 7. (99) Yet did that Antiochus, who was also called Dionysius, become an origin of troubles again. This man was the brother of Demetrius, and the last of the race of the Seleucidae. Alexander was afraid of him, when he was marching against the Arabians; so he cut a deep trench between Antipatris, which was near the mountains, and the shores of Joppa; he also erected a high wall before the trench, and built wooden towers in order to hinder any sudden approaches; (100) but still he was not able to exclude Antiochus, for he burnt the towers, and filled up the trenches, and marched on with his army; and as he looked upon taking his revenge on Alexander for endeavoring to stop him, as a thing of less consequence, he marched directly against the Arabians, (101) whose king retired into such parts of the country as were fittest for engaging the enemy, and then on the sudden made his horse turn back, who were in number ten thousand, and fell upon Antiochus's army while they were in disorder, and a terrible battle ensued. Antiochus's troops, so long as he was alive, fought it out, although a mighty slaughter was made among them by the Arabians; (102) but when he fell, for he was in the forefront, in the utmost danger, in rallying his troops, they all gave ground, and the greatest part of his army were destroyed, either in the action or the flight; and for the rest, who fled to the village of Cana, it happened that they were all consumed by want of necessaries, a few only excepted. 8. (103) About this time it was that the people of Damascus, out of their hatred to Ptolemy, the son of Menneus, invited Aretas to take the government, and made him king of Celesyria. This man also made an expedition against Judea, and beat Alexander in battle, but afterwards retired by mutual agreement. (104) But Alexander, when he had taken Pella, marched to Gerasa again, out of the covetous desire he had of Theodorus's possessions; and when he had built a triple wall about the garrison, he took the place by force. (105) He also demolished Golan, and Seleucia, and what was called Valley of Antiochus; besides which, he took the strong fortress of Gamala, and stripped Demetrius, who was governor therein, of what he had, on account of the many crimes laid to his charge, and then returned into Judea, after he had been three whole years in this expedition; and now he was kindly received of the nation, because of the good success he had. So, when he was at rest from war, he fell into a distemper, (106) for he was afflicted with a quartan ague, and supposed that, by exercising himself again, in martial affairs, he should get rid of his distemper; but, by making such expeditions at unseasonable times, and forcing his body to undergo greater hardships than it was able to bear, he brought himself to his end. He died, therefore, in the midst of his troubles after he had reigned twenty-seven years.

Hyrcanus II (Salome Alexandra) : 76-67 BC

Josephus Antiquities 13:399-432: 5. (398) After this, king Alexander, although he fell into a distemper by hard drinking, and had a quartan ague which held him three years, yet would not leave off going out with his army, till he was quite spent with the labors he had undergone, and died in the bounds of Ragaba, a fortress beyond Jordan. (399) But when his queen saw that he was ready to die, and had no longer any hopes of surviving, she came to him weeping and lamenting, and bewailed herself and her sons on the desolate condition they should be left in: and said to him, "To whom dost thou thus leave me and my children, who are destitute of all other supports, and this when thou knowest how much ill will thy nation bears thee?" (400) But he gave her the following advice:-That she need but follow what he would suggest to her in order to retain the kingdom securely, with her children: that she should conceal his death from the soldiers till she should have taken that place; (401) after this, she should go in triumph, as upon a victory, to Jerusalem, and put some of her authority into the hands of the Pharisees; for that they would commend her for the honor she had done them, and would reconcile the nation to her; for he told her they had great authority among the Jews, both to do hurt to such as they hated, and to bring advantages to those to whom they were friendly disposed; (402) for that they are then believed best of all by the multitude when they speak any severe thing against others, though it be only out of envy at them. And he said, that it was by their means that he had incurred the displeasure of the nation, whom indeed he had injured. (403) `Do thou therefore,' said he, `when thou art come to Jerusalem send for the leading men among them, and show them my body, and with great appearance of sincerity, give them leave to use it as they themselves please, whether they will dishonor the dead body by refusing it burial, as having severely suffered by my means, or whether in their anger they will offer any other injury to that body. Promise them also, that thou wilt do nothing without them in the affairs of the kingdom. (404) If thou dost but say this to them, I shall have the honor of a more glorious funeral from them than thou couldst have made for me: and when it is in their power to abuse my dead body, they will do it no injury at all, and thou wilt rule in safety.' So when he had given his wife this advice, he died,-after he had reigned twenty-seven years, and lived fifty years, within one.

Chapter 16 How Alexandra, by Gaining the Good Will of the Pharisees, Retained the Kingdom Nine Years, and Then, Having Done Many Glorious Actions, Died 1. (405) So Alexandra, when she had taken the fortress, acted as her husband had suggested to her, and spake to the Pharisees, and put all things into their power, both as to the dead body and as to the affairs of the kingdom, and thereby pacified their anger against Alexander, and made them bear good will and friendship to him; (406) who then came among the multitude, and made speeches to them, and laid before them the actions of Alexander, and told them that they had lost a righteous king; and by the commendation they gave him, they brought them to grieve, and to be in heaviness for him, so that he had a funeral more splendid than had any of the kings before him. (407) Alexander left behind him two sons, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, but committed the kingdom to Alexandra. Now, as to these two sons, Hyrcanus was indeed unable to manage public affairs, and delighted rather in a quiet life; but the younger, Aristobulus, was an active and a bold man; and for this woman herself, Alexandra, she was loved by the multitude, because she seemed displeased at the offenses her husband had been guilty of. 2. (408) So she made Hyrcanus high priest because he was the elder, but much more because he cared not to meddle with politics, and permitted the Pharisees to do everything; to whom also she ordered the multitude to be obedient. She also restored again those practices which the Pharisees had introduced, according to the traditions of their forefathers, and which her father-in-law, Hyrcanus, had abrogated. (409) So she had indeed the name of the Regent; but the Pharisees had the authority; for it was they who restored such as had been banished, and set such as were prisoners at liberty, and, to say all at once, they differed in nothing from lords. However, the queen also took care of the affairs of the kingdom, and got together a great body of mercenary soldiers, and increased her own army to such a degree, that she became terrible to the neighboring tyrants, and took hostages of them: (410) and the country was entirely at peace, excepting the Pharisees; for they disturbed the queen, and desired that she would kill those who persuaded Alexander to slay the eight hundred men; after which they cut the throat of one of them, Diogenes: and after him they did the same to several, one after another, (411) till the men that were the most potent came into the palace, and Aristobulus with them, for he seemed to be displeased at what was done; and it appeared openly that, if he had an opportunity, he would not permit his mother to go on so. These put the queen in mind what great dangers they had gone through, and great things they had done, whereby then had demonstrated the firmness of their fidelity to their master, insomuch that they had received the greatest marks of favor from him: (412) and they begged of her, that she would not utterly blast their hopes, as it now happened, that when they had escaped the hazards that arose from their [open] enemies, they were to be cut off at home, by their [private] enemies, like brute beasts, without any help whatsoever. (413) They said also, that if their adversaries would be satisfied with those that had been slain already, they would take what had been done patiently, on account of their natural love to their governors; but if they must expect the same for the future also, they implored of her a dismission from her service; for they could not bear to think of attempting any method for their deliverance without her, but would rather die willingly before the palace gate, in case she would not forgive them. (414) And that it was a great shame, both for themselves and for the queen, that when they were neglected by her, they should come under the lash of her husband's enemies; for that Aretas, the Arabian king, and the monarchs, would give any reward if they could get such men as foreign auxiliaries, to whom their very names, before their voices be heard, may perhaps be terrible; (415) but if they could not obtain this their second request, and if she had determined to prefer the Pharisees before them, they still insisted that she would place them every one in her fortresses; for if some fatal demon hath a constant spite against Alexander's house, they would be willing to bear their part, and to live in a private station there. 3. (416) As these men said thus, and called upon Alexander's ghost for commiseration of those already slain, and those in danger of it, all the bystanders brake out into tears: but Aristobulus chiefly made manifest what were his sentiments, and used many reproachful expressions to his mother [saying], (417) "Nay, indeed, the case is this, that they have been themselves the authors of their own calamities, who have permitted a woman who, against reason, was mad with ambition, to reign over them, when there were some in the flower of their age fitter for it." So Alexandra, not knowing what to do with any decency, committed the fortresses to them, all but Hyrcania and Alexandrium, and Macherus, where her principal treasures were. (418) After a little while also, she sent her son Aristobulus with an army to Damascus against Ptolemy, who was called Menneus, who was such a bad neighbor to the city; but he did nothing considerable there, and so returned home. 4. (419) About this time news was brought that Tigranes, the king of Armenia, had made an irruption into Syria with five hundred thousand soldiers, and was coming against Judea. This news, as may well be supposed, terrified the queen and the nation. Accordingly they sent him many and very valuable presents, as also ambassadors, and that as he was besieging Ptolemais; (420) for Selene the queen, the same that was also called Cleopatra, ruled then over Syria, who had persuaded the inhabitants to exclude Tigranes. So the Jewish ambassadors interceded with him, and entreated him that he would determine nothing that was severe about their queen or nation. (421) He commended them for the respects they paid him at so great a distance: and gave them good hopes of his favor. But as soon as Ptolemais was taken, news came to Tigranes, that Lucullus, in his pursuit of Mithridates, could not light upon him, who was fled into Iberia, but was laying waste Armenia and besieging its cities. Now, when Tigranes knew this, he returned home. 5. (422) After this, when the queen was fallen into a dangerous distemper, Aristobulus resolved to attempt the seizing of the government; so he stole away secretly by night, with only one of his servants, and went to the fortresses, wherein his friends, that were such from the days of his father, were settled; (423) for as he had been a great while displeased at his mother's conduct, so he was now much more afraid, lest, upon her death, their whole family should be under the power of the Pharisees; for he saw the inability of his brother, who was to succeed in the government: (424) nor was anyone conscious of what he was doing but only his wife, whom he left at Jerusalem with their children. He first of all came to Agaba, where was Galestes, one of the potent men before mentioned, and was received by him. (425) When it was day the queen perceived that Aristobulus was fled; and for some time she supposed that his departure was not in order to make any innovation; but when messengers came one after another with the news that he had secured the first place, the second place, and all the places, for as soon as one had begun, they all submitted to his disposal, then it was that the queen and the nation were in the greatest disorder, (426) for they were aware that it should not be long ere Aristobulus would be able to settle himself firmly in the government. What they were principally afraid of was this, that he would inflict punishment upon them for the mad treatment his house had had from them: so they resolved to take his wife and children into custody, and keep them in the fortress that was over the temple. (427) Now there was a mighty conflux of people that came to Aristobulus from all parts, insomuch that he had a kind of royal attendants about him; for in a little more than fifteen days, he got twenty-two strong places, which gave him the opportunity of raising an army from Libanus and Trachonitis, and the monarchs; for men are easily led by the greater number, and easily submit to them. And, besides this, that by affording him their assistance, when he could not expect it, they, as well as he, should have the advantages that would come by his being king, because they had been the occasion of his gaining the kingdom. (428) Now the elders of the Jews, and Hyrcanus with them, went in unto the queen, and desired that she would give them her sentiments about the present posture of affairs, for that Aristobulus was in effect lord of almost all the kingdom, by possessing of so many strongholds, and that it was absurd for them to take any counsel by themselves, how ill soever she were, whilst she was alive, and that the danger would be upon them in no long time. (429) But she bade them do what they thought proper to be done: that they had many circumstances in their favor still remaining; a nation in good heart, an army, and money in their several treasuries: for that she had small concern about public affairs now, when the strength of her body already failed her. 6. (430) Now a little while after she had said this to them, she died, when she had reigned nine years, and had in all lived seventy-three. A woman she was who showed no signs of the weakness of her sex, for she was sagacious to the greatest degree in her ambition of governing, and demonstrated by her doings at once, that her mind was fit for action, and that sometimes men themselves show the little understanding they have by the frequent mistakes they make in point of government; (431) for she always preferred the present to futurity, and preferred the power of an imperious dominion above all things, and in comparison of that, had no regard to what was good or what was right. However, she brought the affairs of her house to such an unfortunate condition, that she was the occasion of the taking away that authority from it, and that in no long time afterward, which she had obtained by a vast number of hazards and misfortunes, and this out of a desire of what does not belong to a woman, and all by a compliance in her sentiments with those that bare ill will to their family, and by leaving the administration destitute of a proper support of great men; (432) and indeed, her management during her administration, while she was alive, was such as filled the palace after her death with calamities and disturbance. However, although this had been her way of governing, she preserved the nation in peace:-and this is the conclusion of the affairs of Alexandra.

Josephus Wars 1:107-119: Alexandra Reigns Nine Years; During Which Time the Pharisees Were the Real Rulers of the Nation 1. (107) Now Alexander left the kingdom to Alexandra his wife, and depended upon it that the Jews would now very readily submit to her; because she had been very averse to such cruelty as he had treated them with, and had opposed his violation of their laws, and had thereby got the good will of the people. (108) Nor was he mistaken as to his expectations; for this woman kept the dominion, by the opinion that the people had of her piety; for she chiefly studied the ancient customs of her country, and cast those men out of the government that offended against their holy laws. (109) And as she had two sons by Alexander, she made Hyrcanus, the elder, high priest, on account of his age; as also, besides that, on account of his inactive temper noway disposing him to disturb the public. But she retained the younger, Aristobulus, with her as a private person, by reason of the warmth of him temper. 2. (110) And now the Pharisees joined themselves to her, to assist her in the government. These are a certain sect of the Jews that appear more religious than others, and seem to interpret the laws more accurately. (111) Now, Alexandra hearkened to them to an extraordinary degree, as being herself a woman of great piety towards God. But these Pharisees artfully insinuated themselves into her favor by little and little, and became themselves the real administrators of the public affairs; they banished and reduced whom they pleased; they bound and loosed [men] at their pleasure; and, to say all at once, they had the enjoyment of the royal authority, whilst the expenses and the difficulties of it belonged to Alexandra. (112) She was a sagacious woman in the management of great affairs, and intent always upon gathering soldiers together; so that she increased the army the one half, and procured a great body of foreign troops, till her own nation became not only very powerful at home, but terrible also to foreign potentates, while she governed other people, and the Pharisees governed her. 3. (113) Accordingly they themselves slew Diogenes, a person of figure, and one that had been a friend to Alexander: and accused him as having assisted the king with his advice, for crucifying the eight hundred men [before mentioned]. They also prevailed with Alexandra to put to death the rest of those who had irritated him against them. Now, she was so superstitious as to comply with their desires, and accordingly they slew whom they pleased themselves. (114) But the principal of those that were in danger fled to Aristobulus, who persuaded his mother to spare the men on account of their dignity, but to expel them out of the city, unless she took them to be innocent; so they were suffered to go unpunished, and were dispersed all over the country. (115) But, when Alexandra sent out her army to Damascus, under pretense that Ptolemy was always oppressing that city, she got possession of it; nor did it make any considerable resistance. (116) She also prevailed with Tigranes, king of Armenia, who lay with his troops about Ptolemais, and besieged Cleopatra, by agreements and presents, to go away. Accordingly Tigranes soon arose from the siege, by reason of those domestic tumults which happened upon Lucullus's expedition into Armenia. 4. (117) In the meantime, Alexandra fell sick, and Aristobulus, her younger son, took hold of this opportunity, with his domestics, of which he had a great many, who were all of them his friends, on account of the warmth of their youth, and got possession of all the fortresses. He also used the sums of money he found in them, to get together a number of mercenary soldiers, and made himself king; (118) and besides this, upon Hyrcanus's complaint to his mother, she compassionated his case, and put Aristobulus's wife and sons under restraint in Antonia, which was a fortress that joined to the north part of the temple. It was, as I have already said, of old called the Citadel, but afterwards got the name of Antonia, when Antony was lord [of the east], just as the other cities, Sebaste and Agrippias, had their names changed and these given them from Sebastus and Agrippa. (119) But Alexandra died before she could punish Aristobulus for his disinheriting his brother, after she had reigned nine years.

Josephus Wars 1:270: (270) Antigonus himself also bit off Hyrcanus's ears with his own teeth, as he fell down upon his knees to him, that so he might never be able, upon any mutation of affairs, to take the high priesthood again; for the high priests that officiated were to be complete, and without blemish.

Aristobulus II: 67-63 BC

Josephus Antiquities 14:4-28: The War Between Aristobulus and Hyrcanus About the Kingdom; And How They Made an Agreement that Aristobulus Should Be King, and Hyrcanus Live a Private Life: As Also, How Hyrcanus, a Little Afterwards, Was Persuaded by Antipater to Fly to Aretas 1. (1) We have related the affairs of queen Alexandra, and her death, in the foregoing book, and will now speak of what followed, and was connected with those histories; declaring, before we proceed, that we have nothing so much at heart as this, that we may omit no facts either through ignorance, or laziness; (2) for we are upon the history and explication of such things as the greatest part are unacquainted withal, because of their distance from our times; and we aim to do it with a proper beauty of style, so far as that is derived from proper words harmonically disposed, and from such ornaments of speech also as may contribute to the pleasure of our readers, (3) that they may entertain the knowledge of what we write with some agreeable satisfaction and pleasure. But the principal scope that authors ought to aim at, above all the rest, is to speak accurately, and to speak truly for the satisfaction of those that are otherwise unacquainted with such transactions, and obliged to believe what these writers inform them of. 2. (4) Hyrcanus then began his high priesthood on the third year of the hundred and seventy-seventh olympiad, when Quintus Hortensius and Quintus Metellus, who was called Metellus of Crete, were consuls at Rome; when presently Aristobulus began to make war against him, and as it came to a battle with Hyrcanus at Jericho, many of his soldiers deserted him, and went over to his brother; (5) upon which Hyrcanus fled into the citadel, where Aristobulus's wife and children were imprisoned by his mother, as we have said already, and attacked and overcame those his adversaries that had fled thither, and lay within the walls of the temple. (6) So when he had sent a message to his brother about agreeing the matters between them, he laid aside his enmity to him on these conditions, that Aristobulus should be king, that he should live without intermeddling with public affairs, and quietly enjoy the estate he had acquired. (7) When they had agreed upon these terms in the temple, and had confirmed the agreement with oaths, and the giving one another their right hands, and embracing one another in the sight of the whole multitude, they departed; the one, Aristobulus, to the palace, and Hyrcanus, as a private man, to the former house of Aristobulus. 3. (8) But there was a certain friend of Hyrcanus, an Idumean, called Antipater, who was very rich, and in his nature an active and a seditious man; who was at enmity with Aristobulus, and had differences with him on account of his good will to Hyrcanus. (9) It is true, that Nicolaus of Damascus says, that Antipater was of the stock of the principal Jews who came out of Babylon into Judea; but that assertion of his was to gratify Herod, who was his son, and who, by certain revolutions of fortune, came afterwards to be king of the Jews, whose history we shall give you in its proper place hereafter. (10) However, this Antipater was at first called Antipas, and that was his father's name also; of whom they relate this: That king Alexander and his wife made him general of all Idumea, and that he made a league of friendship with those Arabians, and Gazites, and Ascalonites, that were of his own party, and had, by many and large presents, made them his fast friends; (11) but now this young Antipater was suspicious of the power of Aristobulus, and was afraid of some mischief he might do him, because of his hatred to him; so he stirred up the most powerful of the Jews, and talked against him to them privately; and said, that it was unjust to overlook the conduct of Aristobulus, who had gotten the government unrighteously, and ejected his brother out of it, who was the elder, and ought to retain what belonged to him by prerogative of his birth; (12) and the same speeches he perpetually made to Hyrcanus; and told him that his own life would be in danger unless he guarded himself, and got quit of Aristobulus; for he said that the friends of Aristobulus omitted no opportunity of advising him to kill him, as being then, and not before, sure to retain his principality. (13) Hyrcanus gave no credit to these words of his, as being of a gentle disposition, and one that did not easily admit of calumnies against other men. This temper of his not disposing him to meddle with public affairs, and want of spirit, occasioned him to appear to spectators to be degenerate and unmanly; while Aristobulus was of a contrary temper, an active man, and one of a great and generous soul. 4. (14) Since therefore Antipater saw that Hyrcanus did not attend to what he said, he never ceased, day by day, to charge feigned crimes upon Aristobulus, and to calumniate him before him, as if he had a mind to kill him; and so, by urging him perpetually, he advised him, and persuaded him to fly to Aretas, the king of Arabia; and promised, that if he would comply with his advice, he would also himself assist him, [and go with him]. (15) When Hyrcanus heard this, he said that it was for his advantage to fly away to Aretas. Now Arabia is a country that borders upon Judea. However, Hyrcanus sent Antipater first to the king of Arabia, in order to receive assurances from him, that when he should come in the manner of a supplicant to him, he would not deliver him up to his enemies. (16) So Antipater having received such assurances, returned to Hyrcanus to Jerusalem. A while afterward he took Hyrcanus, and stole out of the city by night, and went a great journey, and came and brought him to the city called Petra, where the palace of Aretas was; (17) and as he was a very familiar friend of that king, he persuaded him to bring back Hyrcanus into Judea; and this persuasion he continued every day without any intermission. He also proposed to make him presents on that account. At length he prevailed with Aretas in his suit. (18) Moreover, Hyrcanus promised him, that when he had been brought thither, and had received his kingdom, he would restore that country, and those twelve cities which his father Alexander had taken from the Arabians; which were these, Medaba, Naballo, Libyas, Tharabasa, Agala, Athone, Zoar, Orone, Marissa, Rudda, Lussa, and Oruba. Chapter 2 How Aretas and Hyrcanus Made an Expedition Against Aristobulus, and Besieged Jerusalem; And How Scaurus, the Roman General, Raised the Siege. Concerning the Death of Onias 1. (19) After these promises had been given to Aretas he made an expedition against Aristobulus, with an army of fifty thousand horse and foot, and beat him in the battle. And when after that victory many went over to Hyrcanus as deserters, Aristobulus was left desolate, and fled to Jerusalem; (20) upon which the king of Arabia took all his army and made an assault upon the temple, and besieged Aristobulus therein, the people still supporting Hyrcanus, and assisting him in the siege, while none but the priests continued with Aristobulus. (21) So Aretas united the forces of the Arabians and of the Jews together, and pressed on the siege vigorously. As this happened at the time when the feast of unleavened bread was celebrated, which we call the Passover, the principal men among the Jews left the country, and fled into Egypt. (22) Now there was one, whose name was Onias, a righteous man he was, and beloved of God, who, in a certain drought, had prayed to God to put an end to the intense heat, and whose prayers God had heard, and had sent them rain. This man had hid himself, because he saw that this sedition would last a great while. However, they brought him to the Jewish camp, and desired, that as by his prayers he had once put an end to the drought, so he would in like manner made imprecations on Aristobulus and those of his faction. (23) And when, upon his refusal, and the excuses that he made, he was still by the multitude compelled to speak, he stood up in the midst of them, and said, (24) "O God, the king of the whole world! since those that stand now with me are thy people, and those that are besieged are also thy priests, I beseech thee, that thou wilt neither hearken to the prayers of those against these, nor bring to effect what these pray against those." Whereupon such wicked Jews as stood about him, as soon as he had made this prayer, stoned him to death. 2. (25) But God punished them immediately for this their barbarity, and took vengeance of them for the murder of Onias, in the manner following:-While the priests and Aristobulus were besieged, it happened that the feast called the Passover was come, at which it is our custom to offer a great number of sacrifices to God; (26) but those that were with Aristobulus wanted sacrifices, and desired that their countrymen without would furnish them with such sacrifices, and assured them they should have as much money for them as they should desire; and when they required them to pay a thousand drachmae for each head of cattle, Aristobulus and the priests willingly undertook to pay for them accordingly; and those within let down the money over the walls, and gave it them. (27) But when the others had received it they did not deliver the sacrifices, but arrived at the height of wickedness as to break the assurances they had given, and to be guilty of impiety towards God, by not furnishing those that wanted them with sacrifices. (28) And when the priests found they had been cheated, and that the agreements they had made were violated, they prayed to God that he would avenge them on their countrymen. Nor did he delay that their punishment, but sent a strong and vehement storm of wind, that destroyed the fruits of the whole country, till a modius of wheat was then bought for eleven drachmae. 3. (29) In the meantime Pompey sent Scaurus into Syria, while he was himself in Armenia, and making war with Tigranes; but when Scaurus was come to Damascus, and found that Lollius and Metellus had newly taken the city, he came himself hastily into Judea. (30) And when he was come thither ambassadors came to him, both from Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, and both desired he would assist them; and when both of them promised to give him money, Aristobulus four hundred talents, and Hyrcanus no less, he accepted of Aristobulus's promise, (31) for he was rich, and had a great soul, and desired to obtain nothing but what was moderate; whereas the other was poor and tenacious, and made incredible promises in hope of greater advantages; for it was not the same thing to take a city that was exceeding strong and powerful, as it was to eject out of the country some fugitives, with a great number of Nabateans, who were no very warlike people. (32) He therefore made an agreement with Aristobulus for the reason before mentioned, and took his money, and raised the siege, and ordered Aretas to depart, or else he should be declared an enemy to the Romans. (33) So Scaurus returned to Damascus again; and Aristobulus, with a great army, made war with Aretas and Hyrcanus, and fought them at a place called Papyron, and beat them in the battle, and slew about six thousand of the enemy, with whom fell Phalion also, the brother of Antipater.

Josephus Wars 1:120-126: When Hyrcanus, Who Was Alexander's Heir, Receded from His Claim to the Crown, Aristobulus is Made King; And Afterward the Same Hyrcanus, by the Means of Antipater, is Brought Back by Aretas. At Last Pompey is Made the Arbitrator of the Dispute Between the Brothers 1. (120) Now Hyrcanus was heir to the kingdom, and to him did his mother commit it before she died; but Aristobulus was superior to him in power and magnanimity; and when there was battle between them, to decide the dispute about the kingdom, near Jericho, the greatest part deserted Hyrcanus and went over to Aristobulus; (121) but Hyracanus, with those of his party who staid with him, fled to Antonia, and got into his power the hostages that might be for his preservation (which were Aristobulus's wife, with her children); but they came to an agreement before things should come to extremities, that Aristobulus should be king, and Hyrcanus should resign that up, but retain all the rest of his dignities, as being the king's brother. (122) Hereupon they were reconciled to each other in the temple, and embraced one another in a very kind manner, while the people stood round about them; they also changed their houses; while Aristobulus went to the royal palace, and Hyrcanus retired to the house of Aristobulus. 2. (123) Now, those other people who were at variance with Aristobulus were afraid, upon his unexpectedly obtaining the government; and especially this concerned Antipater, whom Aristobulus hated of old. He was by birth an Idumean, and one of the principal of that nation, on account of his ancestors and riches, and other authority to him belonging: (124) he also persuaded Hyrcanus to fly to Aretas, the king of Arabia, and to lay claim to the kingdom; as also he persuaded Aretas to receive Hyrcanus, and to bring him back to his kingdom; he also cast reproaches upon Aristobulus, as to his morals, and gave great commendations to Hyrcanus, and exhorted Aretas to receive him, and told him how becoming a thing it would be for him, who ruled so great a kingdom, to afford his assistance to such as are injured; alleging that Hyrcanus was treated unjustly, by being deprived of that dominion which belonged to him by the prerogative of his birth. (125) And when he had predisposed them both to do what he would have them, he took Hyrcanus by night, and ran away from the city; and, continuing his flight with great swiftness, he escaped to the place called Petra, which is the royal seat of the king of Arabia, (126) where he put Hyrcanus into Aretas's hands; and by discoursing much with him, and gaining upon him with many presents, he prevailed with him to give him an army that might restore him to his kingdom. This army consisted of fifty thousand footmen and horsemen, against which Aristobulus was not able to make resistance, but was deserted in his first onset, and was driven to Jerusalem: (127) he also had been taken at first by force, if Scaurus, the Roman general, had not come and seasonably interposed himself, and raised the siege. This Scaurus was sent into Syria from Armenia by Pompey the Great, when he fought against Tigranes; so Scaurus came to Damascus, which had been lately taken by Metellus and Lollius, and caused them to leave the place; and, upon his hearing how the affairs of Judea stood, he made hast thither as to a certain booty.

63 BC General Pompey captures Jerusalem and reappoints Hyrcranus II as high priest.

Josephus Antiquities 14:34-79: How Aristobulus and Hyrcanus Came to Pompey, in Order to Argue Who Ought to Have the Kingdom; And How, Upon the Flight of Aristobulus to the Fortress Alexandrium, Pompey Led His Army Against Him, and Ordered Him to Deliver Up the Fortresses Whereof He Was Possessed 1. (34) A little afterward Pompey came to Damascus, and marched over Celesyria; at which time there came ambassadors to him from all Syria, and Egypt, and out of Judea also, for Aristobulus had sent him a great present, which was a golden vine, of the value of five hundred talents. (35) Now Strabo of Cappadocia mentions this present in these words:-"There came also an embassage out of Egypt, and a crown of the value of four thousand pieces of gold; and out of Judea there came another, whether you call it a vine or a garden; they call the thing Terpole, the Delight. (36) However, we ourselves saw that present reposited at Rome, in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus with this inscription: `The Gift of Alexander, the king of the Jews.' It was valued at five hundred talents; and the report is, that Aristobulus, the governor of the Jews, sent it."

2. (37) In a little time afterward came ambassadors again to him, Antipater from Hyrcanus, and Nicodemus from Aristobulus; which last also accused such as had taken bribes; first Gabinius, and then Scaurus,-the one three hundred talents, and the other four hundred; by which procedure he made these two his enemies, besides those he had before; (38) and when Pompey had ordered those that had controversies one with another to come to him in the beginning of the spring, he brought his army out of their winter quarters, and marched into the country of Damascus; and as he went along he demolished the citadel that was at Apamea, which Antiochus Cyzicenus had built, (39) and took cognizance of the country of Ptolemy Menneus, a wicked man, and not less so than Dionysius of Tripoli, who had been beheaded, who was also his relation by marriage: yet did he buy off the punishment of his crimes for a thousand talents, with which money Pompey paid the soldiers their wages. (40) He also conquered the place called Lysias, of which Silas a Jew was tyrant; and when he had passed over the cities of Heliopolis and Chalcis, and got over the mountain which is on the limit of Celesyria, he came from Pella to Damascus; (41) and there it was that he heard the causes of the Jews, and of their governors Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, who were at difference one with another, as also of the nation against them both, which did not desire to be under kingly government, because the form of government they received from their forefathers was that of subjection to the priests of that God whom they worshipped; and [they complained], that though these two were the posterity of priests, yet did they seek to change the government of their nation to another form, in order to enslave them. (42) Hyrcanus complained, that although he were the elder brother, he was deprived of the prerogative of his birth by Aristobulus, and that he had but a small part of the country under him, Aristobulus having taken away the rest from him by force. (43) He also accused him, that the incursions which had been made into their neighbors' countries, and the piracies that had been at sea, were owing to him; and that the nation would not have revolted, unless Aristobulus had been a man given to violence and disorder; and there were no fewer than a thousand Jews, of the best esteem among them, who confirmed this accusation; which confirmation was procured by Antipater; (44) but Aristobulus alleged against him, that it was Hyrcanus's own temper, which was inactive, and on that account contemptible, which caused him to be deprived of the government; and that for himself he was necessitated to take it upon him, for fear lest it should be transferred to others; and that as to his title [of king], it was no other than what his father had taken [before him]. (45) He also called for witnesses of what he said, some persons who were both young and insolent; whose purple garments, fine heads of hair, and other ornaments, were detested [by the court], and which they appeared in, not as though they were to plead their cause in a court of justice, but as if they were marching in a pompous procession. 3. (46) When Pompey had heard the causes of these two, and had condemned Aristobulus for his violent procedure, he then spake civilly to them, and sent them away; and told them, that when he came again into their country he would settle all their affairs, after he had first taken a view of the affairs of the Nabateans. In the meantime, he ordered them to be quiet; and treated Aristobulus civilly, lest he should make the nation revolt, and hinder his return; (47) which yet Aristobulus did; for without expecting any further determination, which Pompey had promised them, he went to the city Delius, and thence marched into Judea. 4. (48) At this behavior Pompey was angry and taking with him that army which he was leading against the Nabateans, and the auxiliaries that came from Damascus, and the other parts of Syria, with the other Roman legions which he had with him, he made an expedition against Aristobulus; (49) but as he passed by Pella and Scythopolis, he came to Coreae, which is the first entrance into Judea when one passes over the midland countries, where he came to a most beautiful fortress that was built on the top of a mountain called Alexandrium, whither Aristobulus had fled; and thence Pompey sent his commands to him, that he should come to him. (50) Accordingly, at the persuasions of many that he would not make war with the Romans, he came down; and when he had disputed with his brother about the right to the government, he went up again to the citadel, as Pompey gave him leave to do; (51) and this he did two or three times, as flattering himself with the hopes of having the kingdom granted him; so that he still pretended he would obey Pompey in whatsoever he commanded, although at the same time he retired to his fortress, that he might not depress himself too low, and that he might be prepared for a war, in case it should prove as he feared, that Pompey would transfer the government to Hyrcanus; (52) but when Pompey enjoined Aristobulus to deliver up the fortresses he held, and to send an injunction to their governors under his own hand for that purpose, for they had been forbidden to deliver them up upon any other commands, he submitted indeed to do so; but still he retired in displeasure to Jerusalem, and made preparation for war. (53) A little after this, certain persons came out of Pontus, and informed Pompey, as he was on the way, and conducting his army against Aristobulus, that Mithridates was dead, and was slain by his son Pharnaces. Chapter 4 How Pompey, When the Citizens of Jerusalem Shut Their Gates Against Him, Besieged the City, and Took It by Force; As Also What Other Things He Did in Judea 1. (54) Now when Pompey had pitched his camp at Jericho (where the palm tree grows, and that balsam which is an ointment of all the most precious, which, upon any incision made in the wood with a sharp stone, distills out thence like a juice), he marched in the morning to Jerusalem. (55) Hereupon Aristobulus repented of what he was doing, and came to Pompey, and [promised to] give him money, and received him into Jerusalem, and desired that he would leave off the war, and do what he pleased peaceably. So Pompey, upon his entreaty, forgave him, and sent Gabinius, and soldiers with him, to receive the money and the city: (56) yet was no part of this performed; but Gabinius came back, being both excluded out of the city, and receiving none of the money promised, because Aristobulus's soldiers would not permit the agreements to be executed. (57) At this Pompey was very angry, and put Aristobulus into the prison, and came himself to the city, which was strong on every side, excepting the north, which was not so well fortified, for there was a broad and deep ditch, that encompassed the city, and included within it the temple, which was itself encompassed about with a very strong stone wall. 2. (58) Now there was a sedition of the men that were within the city, who did not agree what was to be done in their present circumstances, while some thought it best to deliver up the city to Pompey; but Aristobulus's party exhorted them to shut the gates, because he was kept in prison. Now these prevented the others, and seized upon the temple, and cut off the bridge which reached from it to the city, and prepared themselves to abide a siege; (59) but the others admitted Pompey's army in, and delivered up both the city and the king's palace to him. So Pompey sent his lieutenant Piso with an army, and placed garrisons both in the city and in the palace, to secure them, and fortified the houses that joined to the temple, and all those which were more distant and without it. (60) And in the first place, he offered terms of accommodation to those that were within; but when they would not comply with what was desired, he encompassed all the places thereabout with a wall, wherein Hyrcanus did gladly assist him on all occasions; but Pompey pitched his camp within [the wall], on the north part of the temple, where it was most practicable; (61) but even on that side there were great towers, and a ditch had been dug, and a deep valley begirt it round about, for on the parts towards the city were precipices, and the bridge on which Pompey had gotten in was broken down. However, a bank was raised day by day, with a great deal of labor, while the Romans cut down materials for it from the places round about; (62) and when this bank was sufficiently raised, and the ditch filled up, though but poorly, by reason of its immense depth, he brought his mechanical engines, and battering-rams from Tyre, and placing them on the bank, he battered the temple with the stones that were thrown against it; (63) and had it not been our practice, from the days of our forefathers, to rest on the seventh day, this bank could never have been perfected, by reason of the opposition the Jews would have made; for though our law gives us leave then to defend ourselves against those that begin to fight with us and assault us, yet does it not permit us to meddle with our enemies while they do anything else. 3. (64) Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days which we call Sabbaths, they threw nothing at the Jews, nor came to any pitched battle with them, but raised up their earthen banks, and brought their engines into such forwardness, that they might do execution the next days; (65) and anyone may hence learn how very great piety we exercise towards God, and the observance of his laws, since the priests were not at all hindered from their sacred ministrations, by their fear during this siege, but did still twice each day, in the morning and about the ninth hour, offer their sacrifices on the altar; nor did they omit those sacrifices, if any melancholy accident happened, by the stones that were thrown among them; (66) for although the city was taken on the third month, on the day of the fast, upon the hundred and seventy-ninth olympiad, when Caius Antonius and Marcus Tullius Cicero were consuls, and the enemy then fell upon them, and cut the throats of those that were in the temple, (67) yet could not those that offered the sacrifices be compelled to run away, neither by the fear they were in of their own lives, nor by the number that were already slain, as thinking it better to suffer whatever came upon them, at their very altars, than to omit anything that their laws required of them; (68) and that this is not a mere brag, or an encomium to manifest a degree of our piety that was false, but is the real truth, I appeal to those that have written of the acts of Pompey; and, among them, to Strabo and Nicolaus [of Damascus]; and besides these, to Titus Livius, the writer of the Roman History, who will bear witness of this thing. 4. (69) But when the battering-engine was brought near, the greatest of the towers was shaken by it, and fell down, and broke down a part of the fortifications, so the enemy poured in apace; and Cornelius Faustus, the son of Sylla, with his soldiers, first of all ascended the wall, and next to him Furius the centurion, with those that followed, on the other part; while Fabius, who was also a centurion, ascended it in the middle, with a great body of men after him; but now all was full of slaughter; (70) some of the Jews being slain by the Romans, and some by one another; nay, some there were who threw themselves down the precipices, or put fire to their houses, and burnt them, as not able to bear the miseries they were under. (71) Of the Jews there fell twelve thousand; but of the Romans very few. Absalom, who was at once both uncle and father-in-law to Aristobulus, was taken captive; and no small enormities were committed about the temple itself, which, in former ages, had been inaccessible, and seen by none; (72) for Pompey went into it, and not a few of those that were with him also, and saw all that which it was unlawful for any other men to see, but only for the high priests. There were in that temple the golden table, the holy candlestick, and the pouring vessels, and a great quantity of spices; and besides these there were among the treasures two thousand talents of sacred money; yet did Pompey touch nothing of all this, on account of his regard to religion; and in this point also he acted in a manner that was worthy of his virtue. (73) The next day he gave order to those that had the charge of the temple to cleanse it, and to bring what offerings the law required to God; and restored the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, both because he had been useful to him in other respects, and because he hindered the Jews in the country from giving Aristobulus any assistance in his war against him. He also cut off those that had been the authors of that war; and bestowed proper rewards on Faustus, and those others that mounted the wall with such alacrity; (74) and he made Jerusalem tributary to the Romans, and took away those cities of Celesyria which the inhabitants of Judea had subdued, and put them under the government of the Roman president, and confined the whole nation, which had elevated itself so high before, within its own bounds. (75) Moreover, he rebuilt Gadara, which had been demolished a little before, to gratify Demetrius of Gadara, who was his freedman, and restored the rest of the cities, Hippos and Scythopolis, and Pella, and Dios, and Samaria, as also Marissa, and Ashdod, and Jamnia, and Arethusa, to their own inhabitants; (76) these were in the inland parts. Besides those that had been demolished, and also of the maritime cities, Gaza, and Joppa, and Dora, and Strato's Tower: which last Herod rebuilt after a glorious manner, and adorned with havens and temples; and changed its name to Caesarea. All these Pompey left in a state of freedom, and joined them to the province of Syria. 5. (77) Now the occasions of this misery which came upon Jerusalem were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, by raising a sedition one against the other; for now we lost our liberty, and became subject to the Romans, and were deprived of that country which we had gained by our arms from the Syrians, and were compelled to restore it to the Syrians. (78) Moreover, the Romans exacted of us, in a little time, above ten thousand talents; and the royal authority, which was a dignity formerly bestowed on those that were high priests, by the right of their family, became the property of private men; but of these matters we shall treat in their proper places. (79) Now Pompey committed Celesyria, as far as the river Euphrates and Egypt, to Scaurus, with two Roman legions, and then went away to Cilicia, and made haste to Rome. He also carried bound along with him Aristobulus and his children; for he had two daughters, and as many sons; the one of whom ran away; but the younger, Antigonus, was carried to Rome, together with his sisters.

Josephus Wars 1:149-154: 5. (150) And now did many of the priests, even when they saw their enemies assailing them with swords in their hands, without any disturbance, go on with their divine worship, and were slain while they were offering their drink offerings and burning their incense, as preferring the duties about their worship to God before their own preservation. The greatest part of them were slain by their own countrymen of the adverse faction, and an innumerable multitude threw themselves down precipices; nay some there were who were so distracted among the insuperable difficulties they were under, that they set fire to the buildings that were near to the wall, and were burnt together with them. (151) Now of the Jews were slain twelve thousand; but of the Romans very few were slain, but a greater number was wounded. 6. (152) But there was nothing that affected the nation so much in the calamities they were then under, as that their holy place, which had been hitherto seen by none, should be laid open to strangers; for Pompey, and those that were about him, went into the temple itself, whither it was not lawful for any to enter but the high priest, and saw what was reposited therein, the candlestick with its lamps, and the table, and the pouring vessels, and the censers, all made entirely of gold, as also a great quantity of spices heaped together, with two thousand talents of sacred money. (153) Yet did not he touch the money, nor any thing else that was there reposited; but he commanded the ministers about the temple, the very next day after he had taken it, to cleanse it, and to perform their accustomed sacrifices. Moreover, he made Hyrcanus high priest, as one that not only in other respects had shown great alacrity, on his side, during the siege, but as he had been the means of hindering the multitude that was in the country from fighting for Aristobulus, which they were otherwise very ready to have done; by which means he acted the part of a good general, and reconciled the people to him more by benevolence than by terror. (154) Now among the captives, Aristobulus's father-in-law was taken, who was also his uncle, so those that were the most guilty he punished with decollation; but rewarded Faustus, and those with him that had fought so bravely, with glorious presents; and laid a tribute upon the country and upon Jerusalem itself.

40-36 BC Hycranus II exiled to Parthia

Antigonus II: 40-37 BC

Josephus Antiquities 14:335-480: (part quote) 3. (330) Now, in the second year, Pacorus, the king of Parthia's son, and Barzapharnes, a commander of the Parthians, possessed themselves of Syria. Ptolemy, the son of Menneus, also was now dead, and Lysanius his son took his government, and made a league of friendship with Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus: and, in order to obtain it, made use of that commander, who had a great interest in him. (331) Now Antigonus had promised to give the Parthians a thousand talents, and five hundred women, upon condition they would take the government away from Hyrcanus, and bestow it upon him, and withal kill Herod. (332) And although he did not give them what he had promised, yet did the Parthians make an expedition into Judea on that account, and carried Antigonus with them. Pacorus went along the maritime parts; but the commander Barzapharnes, through the midland. (333) Now the Tyrians excluded Pacorus; but the Sidonians, and those of Ptolemais, received him. However, Pacorus sent a troop of horsemen into Judea, to take a view of the state of the country, and to assist Antigonus; and sent also the king's butler, of the same name with himself. (334) So when the Jews that dwelt about Mount Carmel came to Antigonus, and were ready to march with him into Judea, Antigonus hoped to get some part of the country by their assistance. The place is called Drymi; and when some others came and met them, the men privately fell upon Jerusalem; and when some more were come to them, they got together in great numbers and came against the king's palace, and besieged it. (335) But as Phasaelus's and Herod's party came to the other's assistance, and a battle happened between them in the marketplace, the young men beat their enemies, and pursued them into the temple, and sent some armed men into the adjoining houses, to keep them in, who yet being destitute of such as should support them, were burnt, and the houses with them, by the people who rose up against them. (336) But Herod was revenged on these seditious adversaries of his a little afterward for this injury they had offered him, when he fought with them, and slew a great number of them. 4. (337) But while there were daily skirmishes, the enemy waited for the coming of the multitude out of the country to Pentecost, a feast of ours so called; (338) and when that day was come, many ten thousands of the people were gathered together about the temple, some in armor, and some without. Now those that came, guarded both the temple and the city, excepting what belonged to the palace, which Herod guarded with a few of his soldiers; (339) and Phasaelus had the charge of the wall, while Herod with a body of his men, sallied out upon the enemy, who lay in the suburbs, and fought courageously, and put many ten thousands to flight, some flying into the city, and some into the temple, and some into the outer fortifications, for some such fortifications there were in that place. Phasaelus came also to his assistance; (340) yet was Pacorus, the general of the Parthians, at the desire of Antigonus, admitted into the city, with a few of his horsemen, under pretense indeed as if he would still the sedition, but in reality to assist Antigonus in obtaining the government. (341) And when Phasaelus met him, and received him kindly, Pacorus persuaded him to go himself as ambassador to Barzapharnes, which was done fraudulently. Accordingly, Phasaelus, suspecting no harm, complied with his proposal, while Herod did not give his consent to what was done, because of the perfidiousness of those barbarians, but desired Phasaelus rather to fight those that were come into the city.

Josephus Wars 1:250-357: (part quote) The Parthians Bring Antigonus Back into Judea, and Cast Hyrcanus and Phasaelus into Prison. The Flight of Herod, and the Taking of Jerusalem, and What Hyrcanus and Phasaelus Suffered 1. (248) Now two years afterward, when Barzapharnes, a governor among the Parthians, and Pacorus, the king's son, had possessed themselves of Syria, and when Lysanias had already succeeded, upon the death of his father Ptolemy, the son of Menneus, in the government [of Chalcis], he prevailed with the governor, by a promise of a thousand talents, and five hundred women, to bring back Antigonus to his kingdom, and to turn Hyrcanus out of it. (249) Pacorus was by these means induced so to do, and marched along the seacoast, while he ordered Barzapharnes to fall upon the Jews as he went along the Mediterranean part of the country; but of the maritime people, the Tyrians would not receive Pacorus, although those of Ptolemais and Sidon had received him; so he committed a troop of his horses to a certain cupbearer belonging to the royal family, of his own name [Pacorus], and gave him orders to march into Judea, in order to learn the state of affairs among their enemies, and to help Antigonus when he should want his assistance. 2. (250) Now, as these men were ravaging Carmel, many of the Jews ran together to Antigonus, and showed themselves ready to make an incursion into the country; so he sent them before into that place called Drymus [the woodland], to seize upon the place; whereupon a battle was fought between them, and they drove the enemy away, and pursued them, and ran after them as far as Jerusalem, and as their numbers increased, they proceeded as far as the king's palace; (251) but as Hyrcanus and Phasaelus received them with a strong body of men, there happened a battle in the marketplace, in which Herod's party beat the enemy, and shut them up in a temple, and set sixty men in the houses adjoining as a guard on them. (252) But the people that were tumultuous against the brethren came in and burnt those men; while Herod, in his rage for killing them, attacked and slew many of the people, till one party made incursions on the other by turns, day by day, in the way of ambushes; and slaughters were made continually among them. 3. (253) Now, when that festival which we call Pentecost was at hand, all the places about the temple, and the whole city was full of a multitude of people that were come out of the country, and who were the greatest part of them armed also, at which time Phasaelus guarded the wall, and Herod with a few, guarded the royal palace; and when he made an assault upon his enemies, as they were out of their ranks, on the north quarter of the city, he slew a very great number of them, and put them all to flight; and some of them he shut up within the city, and others within the outward rampart. (254) In the meantime Antigonus desired that Pacorus might be admitted to be a reconciler between them; and Phasaelus was prevailed upon to admit the Parthian into the city with five hundred horse, and to treat him in an hospitable manner, who pretended that he came to quell the tumult, but in reality he came to assist Antigonus; (255) however, he laid a plot for Phasaelus, and persuaded him to go as an ambassador to Barzapharnes, in order to put an end to the war, although Herod was very earnest with him to the contrary, and exhorted him to kill the plotter, but not expose himself to the snares he had laid for him, because the barbarians are naturally perfidious. However, Pacorus went out and took Hyrcanus with him, that he might be the less suspected; he also left some of the horsemen, called the Freeman, with Herod, and conducted Phasaelus with the rest. 4. (256) But now, when they were come to Galilee, they found that the people of that country had revolted, and were in arms, who came very cunningly to their leader, and besought him to conceal his treacherous intentions by an obliging behavior to them; accordingly, he at first made them presents afterward, as they went away, laid ambushes for them; (257) and, when they were come to one of the maritime cities called Ecdippon, they perceived that a plot was laid for them; for they were there informed of the promise of a thousand talents, and how Antigonus had devoted the greatest number of the women that were there with them, among the five hundred, to the Parthians; (258) they also perceived that an ambush was always laid for them by the barbarians in the nighttime; they had also been seized on before this, unless they had waited for the seizure of Herod first at Jerusalem, because, if he were once informed of this treachery of theirs, he would take care of himself; nor was this a mere report, for they saw the guards already not far off them. 5. (259) Nor would Phasaelus think of forsaking Hyrcanus and flying away, although Ophellius earnestly persuaded him to it; for this man had learned the whole scheme of the plot from Saramalla, the richest of all the Syrians. But Phasaelus went up to the Parthian governor, and reproached him to his face for laying this treacherous plot against them, and chiefly because he had done it for money; and he promised him, that he would give him more money for their preservation, than Antigonus had promised to give for the kingdom. (260) But the sly Parthian endeavored to remove all his suspicion by apologies and by oaths, and then went to [the other] Pacorus; immediately after which those Parthians who were left, and had it in charge, seized upon Phasaelus and Hyrcanus, who could do no more than curse their perfidiousness and their perjury. 6. (261) In the meantime the cup-bearer was sent [back], and laid a plot how to seize upon Herod, by deluding him, and getting him out of the city, as he was commanded to do. But Herod suspected the barbarians from the beginning; and having then received intelligence that a messenger, who was to bring him the letters that informed him of the treachery intended, had fallen among the enemy, he would not go out of the city; though Pacorus said, very positively, that he ought to go out, and meet the messengers that brought the letters, for that the enemy had not taken them, and that the contents of them were not accounts of any plots upon them, but of what Phasaelus had done; (262) yet had he heard from others that his brother was seized; and Alexandra, the shrewdest woman in the world, Hyrcanus's daughter, begged of him that he would not go out, nor trust himself to those barbarians, who now were come to make an attempt upon him openly.

Hycranus II: 35 BC lives with Babylonian Jews

37 BC Mark Antony kills Antigonus ending Hasmonean rule

Aristobulus III: 37 BC briefly appointed High Priest

30 BC Herod executes Hycranus II after inviting him to Jerusalem

30 BC Judah under Roman control when Herod kills last Hasmonean: Hycranus II

Conclusion:

1. The brief period of about 47 years of true independence from under the control of the Greek/Seleucid empire came to an end when General Pompey captures Jerusalem and reappoints Hyrcranus II as high priest in 63 BC the Romans and finally when Herod the Great killed Hycranus II in 30 BC.

a. Herod would build the Jews a temple in 18 months completed in 18 BC.

b. Jesus would be born in 2-1 BC and Herod would die in 1 BC.

c. The Roman empire would control the Jews up until the first Jewish war of 66 AD.

d. This rebellion resulted in the Romans coming down with a heavy hand and they easily crushed the rebellion and forever destroyed the temple in 70 AD.

e. A new temple had been raised from the dust, just as Jesus said: His body, THE CHURCH.

f. Jesus said the kingdom of God and the temple is not physical but within each of us!

2. The Greek kingdom existed from 333 - 31 BC

3. Alexander the Great lived only ten years and ruled the world as a sole monarch from 333-323 BC

4. The early Greek/Macedonian period is 333 - 302 BC as far as classifying coins is concerned.

5. After Alexander the Great died, his kingdom was split into four Kingdoms: (Four "horns" empires after Alexander the Great)

Ptolemy Empire (323-31 BC)

Seleucid Empire (321-64 BC)

Cassander (319-168 BC) We do not discuss this kingdom at all because it is far removed from land of Judah.

Lysimachus (323-133 BC) We do not discuss this kingdom at all because it is far removed from land of Judah.

For a short time during the Greek Empire period, the Jews gained true independence under the Maccabees (Hasmonean Era): 166-37 BC

Rome conquered all by 31 BC and the fourth and final kingdom of Daniel's prophecy (Dan 2) came into existence.

On Pentecost 33 AD, God set up his divine Kingdom which we know today as the Church of Christ which will never come to an end:

"For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." (Ephesians 5:5)

"For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14)

Messianic symbols were used by two of the Maccabees: Jannaeus and Antigonus II.

The most famous messianic coins is also the most common: the Widow's Mite.

See full outline on Messianic expectation seen in Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish coins

Simon Bar Kokhba claimed to be the Messiah in 132 AD and his coins demonstrates the widely believed misconception that the messianic prophecies indicated TWO messiah's would arise: 1. The Star warrior king branch of David. 2. The interpreter of the Law. (High priest). This misconception is witnessed in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the interrogation of John the Baptist. In fact, Jesus Christ summed up ALL messianic prophecy in himself in the church, His kingdom and Christians his new Israel.

See also Messianic symbols in Bar Kokhba coins

Why not attend a local church that follows the pure Bible Blueprint in your own home town! Click here to find one

GREEK EMPIRE COIN PAGES (333-31 BC)

Macedonian Coins

333-302 BC

Ptolemaic Coins

323-31 BC

Seleucid Coins

321-64 BC

Maccabean Coins

166-37 BC

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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