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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 14

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Capture of Demetrius. 1In the year one hundred and seventy‐two,* King Demetrius assembled his army and marched into Media to obtain help so that he could fight Trypho. 2When Arsaces,* king of Persia and Media, heard that Demetrius had invaded his territory, he sent one of his generals to take him alive. 3The general went forth and defeated the army of Demetrius; he captured him and brought him to Arsaces, who put him in prison.

4The land was at rest all the days of Simon, who sought the good of his nation. His people were delighted with his power and his magnificence throughout his reign. l 1 Mc 3, 3–9 . 5As his crowning glory he captured the port of Joppa and made it a gateway to the isles of the sea. 6He enlarged the borders of his nation and gained control of the country. m Ex 34, 24 . 7He took many enemies prisoners of war and made himself master of Gazara, Beth‐zur, and the citadel.

He cleansed the citadel of its impurities; there was no one to withstand him. 8The people cultivated their land in peace; the land yielded its produce and the trees of the field their fruit. n Zec 8, 12 . 9Old men sat in the squares, all talking about the good times, while the young men wore the glorious apparel of war. o Zec 8, 4f . 10He supplied the cities with food and equipped them with means of defense, till his glorious name reached the ends of the earth. 11He brought peace to the land, and Israel was filled with happiness. p Lv 26, 6 . 12Every man sat under his vine and his fig tree, with no one to disturb him. q Mi 4, 4; Zec 3, 10 . 13No one was left to attack them in their land; the kings in those days were crushed. 14He strengthened all the lowly among his people and was zealous for the law; he suppressed all the lawless and the wicked. 15He made the temple splendid and enriched its equipment.

Alliance with Rome and Sparta. 16When people heard in Rome and even in Sparta that Jonathan had died, they were deeply grieved.* 17But when the Romans heard that his brother Simon had been made high priest in his place and was master of the country and the cities, 18they sent him inscribed tablets of bronze to renew with him the friendship and alliance that they had established with his brothers Judas and Jonathan. r Mc 8, 22 . 19These were read before the assembly in Jerusalem.

20This is a copy of the letter that the Spartans sent: “The rulers and the citizens of Sparta send greetings to Simon the high priest, the elders, the priests, and the rest of the Jewish people, our brothers. 21The envoys you sent to our people have informed us of your glory and fame, and we were happy that they came. 22In accordance with what they said we have recorded the following in the public decrees: Since Numenius, son of Antiochus, and Antipater, son of Jason, envoys of the Jews, have come to us to renew their friendship with us, s 1 Mc 12, 16; 15, 15 . 23the people have voted to receive the men with honor, and to deposit a copy of their words in the public archives, so that the people of Sparta may have a record of them. A copy of this decree has been made for Simon the high priest.”

24After this, Simon sent Numenius to Rome with a great gold shield weighing a thousand minas, to confirm the alliance with the Romans. t 1 Mc 12, 16; 15, 15 .

Decree of Honor. 25When the people heard of these things, they said, “How can we thank Simon and his sons? 26He and his brothers and his father's house have stood firm and repulsed Israel's enemies. They have thus preserved its liberty.” So they made an inscription on bronze tablets, which they affixed to pillars on Mount Zion. 27The following is a copy of the inscription:

“On the eighteenth day of Elul,* in the year one hundred and seventy‐two, that is, the third year under Simon the high priest in Asaramel, 28in a great assembly of priests, people, rulers of the nation, and elders of the country, the following proclamation was made:

29“‘Since there have often been wars in our country, Simon, son of the priest Mattathias, descendant of Joarib, and his brothers have put themselves in danger and resisted the enemies of their nation, so that their sanctuary and law might be maintained, and they have thus brought great glory to their nation. 30After Jonathan had rallied his nation and become their high priest, he was gathered to his kinsmen. 31When the enemies of the Jews sought to invade and devastate their country and to lay hands on their temple, 32Simon rose up and fought for his nation, spending large sums of his own money to equip the men of his nation's armed forces and giving them their pay. 33He fortified the cities of Judea, especially the frontier city of Beth‐zur, where he stationed a garrison of Jewish soldiers, and where previously the enemy's arms had been stored. 34He also fortified Joppa by the sea and Gazara on the border of Azotus, a place previously occupied by the enemy; these cities he resettled with Jews, and furnished them with all that was necessary for their restoration. 35When the Jewish people saw Simon's loyalty and the glory he planned to bring to his nation, they made him their leader and high priest because of all he had accomplished and the loyalty and justice he had shown his nation. In every way he sought to exalt his people.

36“‘In his time and under his guidance they succeeded in driving the Gentiles out of their country, especially those in the City of David in Jerusalem, who had built for themselves a citadel from which they used to sally forth to defile the environs of the temple and inflict grave injury on its purity. 37In this citadel he stationed Jewish soldiers, and he strengthened its fortifications for the defense of the land and the city, while he also raised the wall of Jerusalem to a greater height. 38Consequently, King Demetrius confirmed him in the high priesthood, 39 u 39f: 1 Mc 2, 18 . made him one of his Friends, and conferred the highest honors on him. 40He had indeed heard that the Romans had addressed the Jews as friends, allies, and brothers and that they had received Simon's envoys with honor.

41“‘The Jewish people and their priest have, therefore, made the following decisions. Simon shall be their permanent leader and high priest until a true prophet arises. 42He shall act as governor general over them, and shall have charge of the temple, to make regulations concerning its functions and concerning the country, its weapons and strongholds; 43he shall be obeyed by all. All contracts made in the country shall be dated by his name. He shall have the right to wear royal purple and gold ornaments. 44It shall not be lawful for any of the people or priests to nullify any of these decisions, or to contradict the orders given by him, or to convene an assembly in the country without his consent, to be clothed in royal purple or wear an official gold brooch. 45Whoever acts otherwise or violates any of these prescriptions shall be liable to punishment.

46“‘All the people approved of granting Simon the right to act in accord with these decisions, 47and Simon accepted and agreed to act as high priest, governor general, and ethnarch* of the Jewish people and priests and to exercise supreme authority over all.’”

48It was decreed that this inscription should be engraved on bronze tablets, to be set up in a conspicuous place in the precincts of the temple, 49and that copies of it should be deposited in the treasury, where they would be available to Simon and his sons.

Notes:

l: 1 Mc 3, 3–9 .

m: Ex 34, 24 .

n: Zec 8, 12 .

o: Zec 8, 4f .

p: Lv 26, 6 .

q: Mi 4, 4; Zec 3, 10 .

r: Mc 8, 22 .

s: 1 Mc 12, 16; 15, 15 .

t: 1 Mc 12, 16; 15, 15 .

u: 39f: 1 Mc 2, 18 .

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