Containing The Interval Of A Hundred And Seventy Years.
From The Death Of Judas Maccabeus To The Death Of Queen Alexandra.
How Simon Confederated Himself With Antiochus Pius, And Made War Against Trypho, And A Little Afterward, 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. (15) Now a little while after Demetrius had been carried into captivity, Trypho his governor destroyed Antiochus, (16) the son of Alexander, who was also called The God, (17) and this when he had reigned four years, though he gave it out that he died under the hands of the surgeons. 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 Atitiochus, if he came to be king, would do them a great deal of mischief, in way of revenge for their revolting from his brother. So the soldiers, in expectation of the wealth they should get by bestowing the kingdom on 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 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; which behavior made his enemies superior to him; for the soldiery hated him, and revolted from him to Cleopatra, the wife of Demetrius, who was then shut up in Seleucia with her children. 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. As Antlochuswas 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; 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. However, Antiochus forgot the kind assistance that Simon had afforded him in his necessity, by reason of his covetous and wicked disposition, and committed an army of soldiers to his friend Cendebeus, and sent him at once to ravage Judea, and to seize Simon. 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. 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. Now he was the 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; but the young man perceiving them coming, he avoided the danger he was in from them, (18) 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.
(15) It must here be diligently noted, that Josephus's copy of the First Book of Maccabees, which he had so carefully followed, and faithfully abridged, as far as the fiftieth verse of the thirteenth chapter, seems there to have ended. What few things there are afterward common to both, might probably be learned by him from some other more imperfect records. However, we must exactly observe here, what the remaining part of that book of the Maccabees informs us of, and what Josephus would never have omitted, had his copy contained so much, that this Simon the Great, the Maccabee, made a league with Antiochus Soter, the son of Demetrius Soter, and brother of the other Demetrius, who was now a captive in Parthis: that upon his coming to the crown, about the 140th year before the Christian sets, he granted great privileges to the Jewish nation, and to Simon their high priest and ethnarch; which privileges Simon seems to have taken of his own accord about three years before. In particular, he gave him leave to coin money for his country with his own stamp; and as concerning Jerusalem and the sanctuary, that they should be free, or, as the vulgar Latin hath it,
"holy and free," 1 Macc. 15:6, 7
which I take to be the truer reading, as being the very words of his father's concession offered to Jonathan several years before, Ch. 10:31; and Antiq. B, XIII. Ch. 2. Sect. 3. Now what makes this date and these grants greatly remarkable, is the state of the remaining genuine shekels of the Jews with Samaritan characters, which seem to have been (most of them at least) coined in the first four years of this Simon the Asamonean, and having upon them these words on one side, "Jerusalem the Holy ;" and on the reverse, "In the Year of Freedom," 1, or 2, or 3, or 4; which shekels therefore are original monuments of these times, and undeniable marks of the truth of the history in these chapters, though it be in great measure omitted by Josephus. See Essay on the Old Test. p. 157, 158. The reason why I rather suppose that his copy of the Maccabees wanted these chapters, than that his own copies are here imperfect, is this, that all their contents are not here omitted, though much the greatest part be.
(16) How Trypho killed this Antiochus the epitome of Livy informs us, Ch. 53, viz. that he corrupted his physicians or surgeons, who falsely pretending to the people that he was perishing with the stone, as they cut him for it, killed him, which exactly agrees with Josephus.
(17) That this Antiochus, the son of Alexader Balas, was called "The God," is evident from his coins, which Spanheim assures us bear this inscription, "King Antiochus the God, Epiphanes the Victorious."
(18) Here Josephus begins to follow and to abridge the next sacred Hebrew book, styled in the end of the First Book of Maccabees, "The Chronicle of John [Hyrcanus's] high priesthood;" but in some of the Greek copies," The Fourth Book of Maccabees." A Greek version of this chronicle was extant not very long ago in the days of Sautes Pagninus, and Sixtus Senensis, at Lyons, though it seems to have been there burnt, and to be utterly lost. See Sixtus Senensis's account of it, of its many Hebraisms, and its great agreement with Josephus's abridgement, in the Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 206, 207, 208.