Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read about a lot of battles, kings, and alliances. There is a rise of two kings – Alexander Epiphanies and Demetrius. Alexander is the son of Antiochus Epiphanes. Each is trying to get Jonathan, the Maccabees, and the Jews on their side.
A letter from Alexander praises Jonathan and declares him a priest. Demetrius also writes to Jonathan saying he will cancel all debts and taxes, free the captives and do whatever Jonathan needs. The Jews do not fall for Jonathan’s bribe since he hasn’t been true to his word in the past.
When Alexander and Demetrius meet in battle, Demetrius and his troops are killed. Demetrius’ son challenges Jonathan to battle with his army. Jonathan defeats the son and his army. Alexander honors Jonathan with a gift.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 Maccabees 10
1 In the year 160, Alexander, son of Antiochus Epiphanes, raised an army and occupied Ptolemais. He was well received, and there inaugurated his reign.
2 On hearing this, King Demetrius assembled a very large army and marched off to do battle with him.
3 Demetrius furthermore sent Jonathan a most conciliatory letter, promising to promote him in rank,
4 for, as he said, ‘We had better move first to come to terms with these people before he makes common cause with Alexander against us;
5 he will not have forgotten all the wrongs we inflicted on him and his brothers, and on his nation.’
7 Jonathan went straight to Jerusalem and read the letter in the hearing of the whole people and of the men in the Citadel.
10 Jonathan then took up residence in Jerusalem and began the rebuilding and restoration of the city.
14 Only at Beth-Zur were a few left of those who had forsaken the Law and the precepts, since this was their refuge.
15 King Alexander heard of all the promises Demetrius had sent to Jonathan, and he was also given an account of the battles and exploits of this man and his brothers and of the hardships they had endured.
16 ‘Shall we ever find another man like him?’ he exclaimed. ‘We must make him our friend and ally!’
19 ‘You have been brought to our notice as a strong man of action and as someone who deserves to be our friend.
20 Accordingly, we have today appointed you high priest of your nation, with the title of “Friend of the King” ‘ — he also sent him a purple robe and a golden crown-‘and you are to study our interests and maintain friendly relations with us.’
21 Jonathan put on the sacred vestments in the seventh month of the year 160, on the feast of Shelters; he then set about raising troops and manufacturing arms in quantity.
23 ‘What have we been doing,’ he said, ‘for Alexander to forestall us in winning the friendship of the Jews and so improving his own position?
27 If you now continue to keep faith with us, we shall make you a handsome return for what you do on our behalf.
30 and whereas I am entitled to one-third of the grain and one-half of the fruit of the trees, I release from this levy, from today and for the future, Judaea and the three districts annexed to it from Samaria-Galilee, from this day henceforth in perpetuity.
34 All festivals, Sabbaths, New Moons and days of special observance, and the three days before and three days after a festival, will be days of exemption and quittance for all the Jews in my kingdom,
36 ‘Jews will be enrolled in the king’s forces to the number of thirty thousand men and receive maintenance on the same scale as the rest of the king’s forces.
37 Some of them will be stationed in the king’s major fortresses, and from among others appointments will be made to positions of trust in the kingdom. Their officers and commanders will be appointed from their own number and will live under their own laws, as the king has prescribed for Judaea.
38 ‘As regards the three districts annexed to Judaea from the province of Samaria, these will be integrated into Judaea and considered as coming under one governor, obeying the high priest’s authority and no other.
39 Ptolemais and the land thereto pertaining I present to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, to meet the necessary expenses of public worship.
41 And the entire surplus, which has not been paid in by the officials as in previous years, will henceforth be paid over by them for work on the Temple.
42 In addition, the sum of five thousand silver shekels, levied annually on the profits of the sanctuary, as shown in the annual accounts, is also relinquished as the perquisite of the priests who perform the liturgy.
43 Anyone who takes refuge in the Temple in Jerusalem or any of its precincts, when in debt to the royal exchequer or otherwise, will be discharged in full possession of all the goods he owns in my kingdom.
44 As regards the building and restoration of the sanctuary, the expense of the work will be met from the royal exchequer.
46 When Jonathan and the people heard these proposals, they put no faith in them and refused to accept them, remembering what great wrongs Demetrius had done to Israel and how cruelly he had oppressed them.
50 He continued the battle with vigour until sunset. Demetrius himself, however, was killed the same day.
52 ‘Since I have returned to my kingdom, have ascended the throne of my ancestors, have gained control by crushing Demetrius, and so recovered our country-
59 King Alexander then wrote to Jonathan to come and meet him.
60 Jonathan made his way in state to Ptolemais and met the two kings; he gave them and their friends silver and gold, and many gifts, and made a favourable impression on them.
62 In fact, the king commanded that Jonathan should be divested of his own garments and clothed in the purple, which was done.
63 The king then seated him by his side and said to his officers, ‘Escort him into the centre of the city and proclaim that no one is to bring charges against him on any count; no one is to molest him for any reason.’
65 The king did him the honour of enrolling him among the First Friends, and appointed him commander-in-chief and governor-general.
66 Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem in peace and gladness.
69 Demetrius confirmed Apollonius as governor of Coele-Syria; the latter assembled a large force, encamped at Jamnia and sent the following message to Jonathan the high priest:
71 If you are so confident in your forces, come down now to meet us on the plain and let us take each other’s measure there; on my side I have the strength of the towns.
72 Ask and learn who I am and who the others supporting us are. You will hear that you cannot stand up to us, since your ancestors were twice routed on their own ground,
73 nor will you now be able to withstand the cavalry or so great an army on the plain, where there is neither rock, nor stone, nor refuge of any kind.’
74 On hearing Apollonius’ words, Jonathan’s spirit was roused; he picked ten thousand men and left Jerusalem, and his brother Simon joined him with reinforcements.
76 the citizens took fright and opened the gates, and Jonathan occupied Joppa.
77 Hearing this, Apollonius marshalled three thousand cavalry and a large army and made his way to Azotus as though intending to march through, while in fact pressing on into the plain, since he had a great number of cavalry on which he was relying.
81 But the troops stood firm, as Jonathan had ordered. Once the cavalry was exhausted,
87 Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem with his followers, laden with booty.
88 In the event, when King Alexander heard what had happened, he awarded Jonathan further honours:
5 Fix your gaze on it, and it is there no longer, for it is able to sprout wings like an eagle that flies off to the sky.
8 You will spit out whatever you have eaten and find your compliments wasted.