Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read about the Jewish warrior’s battle to have an independent nation and achieve freedom for God’s people. The people fight against the greeks but they fight in such a way that respects the Lord. Simon, for example, will spare the life of certain people but force them to leave.
This chapter is a call to surrender to the Lord’s law and live in the covenant he established.
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 13
1 Simon heard that Trypho had collected a large army to invade and devastate Judaea,
2 and when he saw how the people were quaking with fear, he went up to Jerusalem, called the people together,
3 and exhorted them thus, ‘You know yourselves how much I and my brothers and my father’s family have done for the laws and the sanctuary; you know what wars and hardships we have experienced.
4 That is why my brothers are all dead, for Israel’s sake, and I am the only one left.
5 Far be it from me, then, to be sparing of my own life in any time of oppression, for I am not worth more than my brothers.
6 Rather will I avenge my nation and the sanctuary and your wives and children, now that the foreigners are all united in malice to destroy us.’
7 The people’s spirit rekindled as they listened to his words,
8 and they shouted back at him, ‘You are our leader in place of Judas and your brother Jonathan.
9 Fight our battles for us, and we will do whatever you tell us.’
10 So he assembled all the fighting men and hurried on with completing the walls of Jerusalem, fortifying the whole perimeter.
11 He sent a considerable force to Joppa under Jonathan son of Absalom who drove out the inhabitants and remained there in occupation.
12 Trypho now left Ptolemais with a large army to invade Judaea, taking Jonathan with him under guard.
13 Simon pitched camp in Adida, facing the plain.
14 When Trypho learned that Simon had taken the place of his brother Jonathan and that he intended to join battle with him, he sent envoys to him with this message,
15 ‘Your brother Jonathan was in debt to the royal exchequer for the offices he held; that is why we are detaining him.
16 If you send a hundred talents of silver and two of his sons as hostages, to make sure that on his release he does not revolt against us, we shall release him.’
17 Although Simon was aware that the message was a ruse, he sent for the money and the boys for fear of incurring great hostility from the people,
18 who would have said that Jonathan had died because Simon would not send Trypho the money and the children.
19 He therefore sent both the boys and the hundred talents, but Trypho broke his word and did not release Jonathan.
20 Next, Trypho set about the invasion and devastation of the country; he made a detour along the Adora road, but Simon and his army confronted him wherever he attempted to go.
21 The men in the Citadel kept sending messengers to Trypho, urging him to get through to them by way of the desert and send them supplies.
22 Trypho organised his entire cavalry to go, but that night it snowed so heavily that he could not get through for the snow, so he left there and moved off into Gilead.
23 As he approached Baskama he killed Jonathan, who was buried there.
24 Trypho turned back and regained his own country.
25 Simon sent and recovered the bones of his brother Jonathan, and buried him in Modein, the town of his ancestors.
26 All Israel kept solemn mourning for him and long bewailed him.
27 Over the tomb of his father and brothers, Simon raised a monument high enough to catch the eye, using dressed stone back and front.
28 He erected seven pyramids facing each other, for his father and mother and his four brothers,
29 surrounding them with a structure consisting of tall columns surmounted by trophies of arms to their everlasting memory and, beside the trophies of arms, ships sculpted on a scale to be seen by all who sail the sea.
30 Such was the monument he constructed at Modein, and it is still there today.
31 Now Trypho, betraying the trust of young King Antiochus, put him to death.
32 He usurped his throne, assuming the crown of Asia, and brought great havoc on the country.
33 Simon built up the fortresses of Judaea, surrounding them with high towers, great walls and gates with bolts, and stocked these fortresses with food.
34 He also sent a delegation to King Demetrius, to get him to grant the province a remission, since all Trypho did was to despoil.
35 King Demetrius replied to his request in a letter framed as follows:
36 ‘King Demetrius to Simon, high priest and Friend of Kings, and to the elders and nation of the Jews, greetings.
37 ‘It has pleased us to accept the golden crown and the palm you have sent us, and we are disposed to make a general peace with you, and to write to the officials to grant you remissions.
38 Everything that we have decreed concerning you remains in force, and the fortresses you have built may remain in your hands.
39 We pardon all offences, unwitting or intentional, hitherto committed, and remit the crown tax you now owe us; and whatever other taxes were levied in Jerusalem are no longer to be levied.
40 If any of you are suitable for enrolment in our bodyguard, let them be enrolled, and let there be peace between us.’
41 The gentile yoke was thus lifted from Israel in the year 170,
42 when our people began engrossing their documents and contracts: ‘In the first year of Simon, eminent high priest, commander-in-chief and ethnarch of the Jews’.
43 About that time Simon laid siege to Gezer, surrounding it with his troops. He constructed a mobile tower, brought it up to the city, opened a breach in one of the bastions and took it.
44 The men in the mobile tower sprang out into the city, where great confusion ensued.
45 The citizens, accompanied by their wives and children, mounted the ramparts with their garments torn and loudly implored Simon to make peace with them:
46 ‘Treat us’, they said, ‘not as our wickedness deserves, but as your mercy prompts you.’
47 Simon came to terms with them and stopped the fighting; but he expelled them from the city, purified the houses which contained idols, and then made his entry with songs of praise.
48 He banished all impurity from it, settled in it people who observed the Law, and having fortified it, built a residence there for himself.
49 The occupants of the Citadel in Jerusalem, prevented as they were from coming out and going into the countryside to buy and sell, were in desperate need of food, and numbers of them were being carried off by starvation.
50 They begged Simon to make peace with them, and he granted this, though he expelled them and purified the Citadel from its pollutions.
51 The Jews made their entry on the twenty-third day of the second month in the year 171, with acclamations and carrying palms, to the sound of lyres, cymbals and harps, chanting hymns and canticles, since a great enemy had been crushed and thrown out of Israel. Simon made it a day of annual rejoicing.
52 He fortified the Temple hill on the Citadel side, and took up residence there with his men.
53 Since his son John had come to manhood, Simon appointed him general-in-chief, with his residence in Gezer.
17 Do not let your heart be envious of sinners but remain steady every day in the fear of Yahweh;
18 for there is a future, and your hope will not come to nothing.
19 Listen, my child, and be wise, and guide your heart in the way.
20 Do not be one of those forever tippling wine nor one of those who gorge themselves with meat;
21 for the drunkard and glutton impoverish themselves, and sleepiness is clothed in rags.