Containing The Interval Of A Hundred And Seventy Years.
From The Death Of Judas Maccabeus To The Death Of Queen Alexandra.
How Demetrius Eucerus Overcame Alexander, And Yet In A Little Time Retired Out Of The Country For Fear; As Also How Alexander Slew Many Of The Jews And Thereby Got Clear Of His Troubles. Concerning The Death Of Demetrius.
1. SO Demetrius came with an army, and took those that invited him, and pitched his camp near the city Shechem; upon which Alexander, with his six thousand two hundred mercenaries, and about twenty thousand Jews, who were of his party, went against Demetrius, who had three thousand horsemen, and forty thousand footmen. Now there were great endeavors used on both sides, - Demetrius trying to bring off the mercenaries that were with Alexander, because they were Greeks, and Alexander trying to bring off the Jews that were with Demetrius. However, when neither of them could persuade them so to do, they came to a battle, and Demetrius was the conqueror; in which all Alexander's mercenaries were killed, when they had given demonstration of their fidelity and courage. A great number of Demetrius's soldiers were slain also.
2. Now as Alexander fled to the mountains, six thousand of the Jews hereupon came together [from Demetrius] to him out of pity at the change of his fortune; upon which Demetrius was afraid, and retired out of the country; after which the Jews fought against Alexander, and being beaten, were slain in great numbers in the several battles which they had; and when he had shut up the most powerful of them in the city Bethome, he besieged them therein; and when he had taken the city, and gotten the men into his power, he brought them to Jerusalem, and did one of the most barbarous actions in the world to them; for as he was feasting with his concubines, in the sight of all the city, he ordered about eight hundred of them to be crucified; and while they were living, he ordered the throats of their children and wives to be cut before their eyes.
This was indeed by way of revenge for the injuries they had done him; which punishment yet was of an inhuman nature, though we suppose that he had been never so much distressed, as indeed he had been, by his wars with them, for he had by their means come to the last degree of hazard, both of his life and of his kingdom, while they were not satisfied by themselves only to fight against him, but introduced foreigners also for the same purpose; nay, at length they reduced him to that degree of necessity, that he was forced to deliver back to the king of Arabia the land of Moab and Gilead, which he had subdued, and the places that were in them, that they might not join with them in the war against him, as they had done ten thousand other things that tended to affront and reproach him. However, this barbarity seems to have been without any necessity, on which account he bare the name of a Thracian among the Jews (42) whereupon the soldiers that had fought against him, being about eight thousand in number, ran away by night, and continued fugitives all the time that Alexander lived; who being now freed from any further disturbance from them, reigned the rest of his time in the utmost tranquillity.
3. But when Demetrius was departed out of Judea, he went to Berea, and besieged his brother Philip, having with him ten thousand footmen, and a thousand horsemen. However Strato, the tyrant of Berea, the confederate of Philip, called in Zizon, the ruler of the Arabian tribes, and Mithridates Sinax, the ruler of the Parthians, who coming with a great number of forces, and besieging Demetrius in his encampment, into which they had driven them with their arrows, they compelled those that were with him by thirst to deliver up themselves. So they took a great many spoils out of that country, and Demetrius himself, whom they sent to Mithridates, who was then king of Parthis; but as to those whom they took captives of the people of Antioch, they restored them to the Antiochinus without any reward. Now Mithridates, the king of Parthis, had Demetrius in great honor, till Demetrius ended his life by sickness. So Philip, presently after the fight was over, came to Antioch, and took it, and reigned over Syria.
(42) This name Thracida, which the Jews gave Alexander, must, by the coherence, denote as barbarous as a Thracian, or somewhat like it; but what it properly signifies is not known.