1. In the hundred and sixtieth year Alexander, the son of Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, went up and took Ptolemais: for the people had received him, by means whereof he reigned there,
2. Now when king Demetrius heard thereof, he gathered together an exceeding great host, and went forth against him to fight.
3. Moreover Demetrius sent letters unto Jonathan with loving words, so as he magnified him.
4. For said he, Let us first make peace with him, before he join with Alexander against us:
5. Else he will remember all the evils that we have done against him, and against his brethren and his people.
6. Wherefore he gave him authority to gather together an host, and to provide weapons, that he might aid him in battle: he commanded also that the hostages that were in the tower should be delivered him.
7. Then came Jonathan to Jerusalem, and read the letters in the audience of all the people, and of them that were in the tower:
8. Who were sore afraid, when they heard that the king had given him authority to gather together an host.
9. Whereupon they of the tower delivered their hostages unto Jonathan, and he delivered them unto their parents.
10. This done, Jonathan settled himself in Jerusalem, and began to build and repair the city.
11. And he commanded the workmen to build the walls and the mount Sion and about with square stones for fortification; and they did so.
12. Then the strangers, that were in the fortresses which Bacchides had built, fled away;
13. Insomuch as every man left his place, and went into his own country.
14. Only at Bethsura certain of those that had forsaken the law and the commandments remained still: for it was their place of refuge.
15. Now when king Alexander had heard what promises Demetrius had sent unto Jonathan: when also it was told him of the battles and noble acts which he and his brethren had done, and of the pains that they had endured,
16. He said, Shall we find such another man? now therefore we will make him our friend and confederate.
17. Upon this he wrote a letter, and sent it unto him, according to these words, saying,
18. King Alexander to his brother Jonathan sendeth greeting:
19. We have heard of thee, that thou art a man of great power, and meet to be our friend.
20. Wherefore now this day we ordain thee to be the high priest of thy nation, and to be called the king's friend; (and therewithal he sent him a purple robe and a crown of gold:) and require thee to take our part, and keep friendship with us.
21. So in the seventh month of the hundred and sixtieth year, at the feast of the tabernacles, Jonathan put on the holy robe, and gathered together forces, and provided much armour.
22. Whereof when Demetrius heard, he was very sorry, and said,
23. What have we done, that Alexander hath prevented us in making amity with the Jews to strengthen himself?
24. I also will write unto them words of encouragement, and promise them dignities and gifts, that I may have their aid.
25. He sent unto them therefore to this effect: King Demetrius unto the people of the Jews sendeth greeting:
26. Whereas ye have kept covenants with us, and continued in our friendship, not joining yourselves with our enemies, we have heard hereof, and are glad.
27. Wherefore now continue ye still to be faithful unto us, and we will well recompense you for the things ye do in our behalf,
28. And will grant you many immunities, and give you rewards.
29. And now do I free you, and for your sake I release all the Jews, from tributes, and from the customs of salt, and from crown taxes, 30. And from that which appertaineth unto me to receive for the third part or the seed, and the half of the fruit of the trees, I release it from this day forth, so that they shall not be taken of the land of Judea, nor of the three governments which are added thereunto out of the country of Samaria and Galilee, from this day forth for evermore.
31. Let Jerusalem also be holy and free, with the borders thereof, both from tenths and tributes.
32. And as for the tower which is at Jerusalem, I yield up authority over it, and give the high priest, that he may set in it such men as he shall choose to keep it.
33. Moreover I freely set at liberty every one of the Jews, that were carried captives out of the land of Judea into any part of my kingdom, and I will that all my officers remit the tributes even of their cattle.
34. Furthermore I will that all the feasts, and sabbaths, and new moons, and solemn days, and the three days before the feast, and the three days after the feast shall be all of immunity and freedom for all the Jews in my realm.
35. Also no man shall have authority to meddle with or to molest any of them in any matter.
36. I will further, that there be enrolled among the king's forces about thirty thousand men of the Jews, unto whom pay shall be given, as belongeth to all king's forces.
37. And of them some shall be placed in the king's strong holds, of whom also some shall be set over the affairs of the kingdom, which are of trust: and I will that their overseers and governors be of themselves, and that they live after their own laws, even as the king hath commanded in the land of Judea.
38. And concerning the three governments that are added to Judea from the country of Samaria, let them be joined with Judea, that they may be reckoned to be under one, nor bound to obey other authority than the high priest's.
39. As for Ptolemais, and the land pertaining thereto, I give it as a free gift to the sanctuary at Jerusalem for the necessary expences of the sanctuary.
40. Moreover I give every year fifteen thousand shekels of silver out of the king's accounts from the places appertaining.
41. And all the overplus, which the officers payed not in as in former time, from henceforth shall be given toward the works of the temple.
42. And beside this, the five thousand shekels of silver, which they took from the uses of the temple out of the accounts year by year, even those things shall be released, because they appertain to the priests that minister.
43. And whosoever they be that flee unto the temple at Jerusalem, or be within the liberties hereof, being indebted unto the king, or for any other matter, let them be at liberty, and all that they have in my realm.
44. For the building also and repairing of the works of the sanctuary expenses shall be given of the king's accounts.
45. Yea, and for the building of the walls of Jerusalem, and the fortifying thereof round about, expenses shall be given out of the king's accounts, as also for the building of the walls in Judea.
46. Now when Jonathan and the people heard these words, they gave no credit unto them, nor received them, because they remembered the great evil that he had done in Israel; for he had afflicted them very sore.
47. But with Alexander they were well pleased, because he was the first that entreated of true peace with them, and they were confederate with him always.
48. Then gathered king Alexander great forces, and camped over against Demetrius.
49. And after the two kings had joined battle, Demetrius' host fled: but Alexander followed after him, and prevailed against them.
50. And he continued the battle very sore until the sun went down: and that day was Demetrius slain.
51. Afterward Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemy king of Egypt with a message to this effect:
52. Forasmuch as I am come again to my realm, and am set in the throne of my progenitors, and have gotten the dominion, and overthrown Demetrius, and recovered our country;
53. For after I had joined battle with him, both he and his host was discomfited by us, so that we sit in the throne of his kingdom:
54. Now therefore let us make a league of amity together, and give me now thy daughter to wife: and I will be thy son in law, and will give both thee and her as according to thy dignity.
55. Then Ptolemy the king gave answer, saying, Happy be the day wherein thou didst return into the land of thy fathers, and satest in the throne of their kingdom.
56. And now will I do to thee, as thou hast written: meet me therefore at Ptolemais, that we may see one another; for I will marry my daughter to thee according to thy desire.
57. So Ptolemy went out of Egypt with his daughter Cleopatra, and they came unto Ptolemais in the hundred threescore and second year:
58. Where king Alexander meeting him, he gave unto him his daughter Cleopatra, and celebrated her marriage at Ptolemais with great glory, as the manner of kings is.
59. Now king Alexander had written unto Jonathan, that he should come and meet him.
60. Who thereupon went honourably to Ptolemais, where he met the two kings, and gave them and their friends silver and gold, and many presents, and found favour in their sight.
61. At that time certain pestilent fellows of Israel, men of a wicked life, assembled themselves against him, to accuse him: but the king would not hear them.
62. Yea more than that, the king commanded to take off his garments, and clothe him in purple: and they did so.
63. And he made him sit by himself, and said into his princes, Go with him into the midst of the city, and make proclamation, that no man complain against him of any matter, and that no man trouble him for any manner of cause.
64. Now when his accusers saw that he was honored according to the proclamation, and clothed in purple, they fled all away.
65. So the king honoured him, and wrote him among his chief friends, and made him a duke, and partaker of his dominion.
66. Afterward Jonathan returned to Jerusalem with peace and gladness.
67. Furthermore in the; hundred threescore and fifth year came Demetrius son of Demetrius out of Crete into the land of his fathers:
68. Whereof when king Alexander heard tell, he was right sorry, and returned into Antioch.
69. Then Demetrius made Apollonius the governor of Celosyria (Coele-Syria) his general, who gathered together a great host, and camped in Jamnia, and sent unto Jonathan the high priest, saying,
70. Thou alone liftest up thyself against us, and I am laughed to scorn for thy sake, and reproached: and why dost thou vaunt thy power against us in the mountains?
71. Now therefore, if thou trustest in thine own strength, come down to us into the plain field, and there let us try the matter together: for with me is the power of the cities.
72. Ask and learn who I am, and the rest that take our part, and they shall tell thee that thy foot is not able to to flight in their own land.
73. Wherefore now thou shalt not be able to abide the horsemen and so great a power in the plain, where is neither stone nor flint, nor place to flee unto.
74. So when Jonathan heard these words of Apollonius, he was moved in his mind, and choosing ten thousand men he went out of Jerusalem, where Simon his brother met him for to help him.
75. And he pitched his tents against Joppa: but; they of Joppa shut him out of the city, because Apollonius had a garrison there.
76. Then Jonathan laid siege unto it: whereupon they of the city let him in for fear: and so Jonathan won Joppa.
77. Whereof when Apollonius heard, he took three thousand horsemen, with a great host of footmen, and went to Azotus as one that journeyed, and therewithal drew him forth into the plain. because he had a great number of horsemen, in whom he put his trust.
78. Then Jonathan followed after him to Azotus, where the armies joined battle.
79. Now Apollonius had left a thousand horsemen in ambush.
80. And Jonathan knew that there was an ambushment behind him; for they had compassed in his host, and cast darts at the people, from morning till evening.
81. But the people stood still, as Jonathan had commanded them: and so the enemies' horses were tired.
82. Then brought Simon forth his host, and set them against the footmen, (for the horsemen were spent) who were discomfited by him, and fled.
83. The horsemen also, being scattered in the field, fled to Azotus, and went into Bethdagon, their idol's temple, for safety.
84. But Jonathan set fire on Azotus, and the cities round about it, and took their spoils; and the temple of Dagon, with them that were fled into it, he burned with fire.
85. Thus there were burned and slain with the sword well nigh eight thousand men.
86. And from thence Jonathan removed his host, and camped against Ascalon, where the men of the city came forth, and met him with great pomp.
87. After this returned Jonathan and his host unto Jerusalem, having any spoils.
88. Now when king Alexander heard these things, he honoured Jonathan yet more.
89. And sent him a buckle of gold, as the use is to be given to such as are of the king's blood: he gave him also Accaron with the borders thereof in possession.
Footnotes by Verse:
1. In the hundred and sixtieth year ... the 160th year in the kingdom of the Greeks, or 152 BC.
1. Alexander ... Alexander I Theopator Euergetes, surnamed Balas, a.k.a Alexander Balas (r. 150 BC – August 145 BC). Alexander Balas claimed to be a son of Antiochus IV. He had the backing of the Romans, who had never forgiven Demetrius for becoming king without their permission. The latter meanwhile had become unpopular with his own people as well as with the Jews. He ruled Syria after Demetrius I Soter.
2. king Demetrius ... Demetrius I Soter (r. November 162 – June 150 BC).
18. King Alexander to his brother Jonathan sendeth greeting: ... Not in truth his sibling brother but in a manner of speaking to woo him.
21. in the seventh month of the hundred and sixtieth year ... Jonathan…feast of Tabernacles: Jonathan began to discharge the office of high priest in October 152 B.C. For seven years after the death of Alcimus there had been no high priest in Jerusalem. It was taken for granted that the king, though a Gentile, had the power to appoint one (2 Mac 4:7, 23–24). The Maccabees, though a priestly family (1 Mac 2:1), were not of the line of Zadok, and some in Israel (perhaps the Qumran community) regarded Jonathan’s tenure as a usurpation.
39. Ptolemais ... (Greek: Πτολεμαΐς) was one of the five cities that formed the Pentapolis of Cyrenaica.
50. and that day was Demetrius slain ... Demetrius I Sotor slain in a battle by the forces of Alexander Balas in 150 BC. Then, Alexander became the sole king of Syria..
51. Ptolemy king of Egypt ... Ptolemy VI Philometor (r. 180–164 BC, 163–145 BC).
54. and give me now thy daughter to wife ... the daughter of Ptolemy VI Philometor was Cleopatra Thea (r. 126–121 BC).
56. for I will marry my daughter to thee ... An agreement between Ptolemy VI Philometor and Alexander Balas for a marriage between Alexander and Cleopatra. Cleopatra Thea, then about fifteen years old. She later married Demetrius II, and later still, his brother Antiochus VII. The city Ptolemais on the coast of Palestine was a neutral site.
57. in the hundred threescore and second year ... the 162nd year of the Greeks, or 150 BC.
67. in the; hundred threescore and fifth year ... the 165th year in the kingdom of the Greeks, or 147 BC.
67. Demetrius son of Demetrius ... Or Demetrius II Nicator (r. September 145 – July/August 138 BC) son of Demetrius I Sotor.
67. out of Crete into the land of his fathers: ... When he was a young boy, Demetrius' father Demetrius I Sotor fought Alexander Balas for control of the Seleucid throne. Somewhat surprisingly, Balas won, and Demetrius' father, mother, and older brother were all killed. The young Demetrius II fled to Crete, where he was raised by his guardians. He left Crete to return to the land of his fathers, Syria.
69. Apollonius ... General Apollonius Taos was governor over Coele-Syria and was set as general under Demetrius II Nicator. Apollinus was the son of Apollonius of Tarsus.
84. the temple of Dagon ... In the city of Azotus (ancient Ashdod) was one of the pagan temples of Dagon. Previously and originally of the Philistines and destroyed in earlier times by Samson (Judges 16:23-30.) Dagon was half man and half fish.
88. Now when king Alexander heard these things, he honoured Jonathan yet more. Alexander Balas heard of the victory of Jonathan over General Apollonius. In 147 BC, Demetrius II Nicator began claiming the throne. At this time Demetrius II Nicator and Alexander Balas were at warring. Apollonius, Although in support of Demetrius II Nicator, used his position to challenge Jonathan and the Jewish forces at a battle of Jaffa where Jonathan was victorious.