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SIMON SXKOETJI AMBASSADORS TO THE JUM3AX&
Thyphon having usurped the throne of Syria, seat a splendid embassy, with costly gifts, to the llomans, in hopes they would acknowledge him king; but they eluded his expectations by causing the name of Antiochus to be engraven on their present,as if k came from him. Simon * likewise seat ambassadors, for the infatuation of sending tothe Romans possessed his mind, as it had his brother's before him. They were honourably entertained; great concern was expressed for the death of Jonathan, and satisfaction for the successes of Simon. The former leagues were renewed, and being written on tables of brass, were sent to Jerusalem, Those also, with the Lacedaemonians, and other nations, were confirmed to the Jews.
All f the priests, elders, and people of the Jews, met together in a general assembly at Jerusalem, when it was agreed, by unanimous consenl, to establish the high priesthood and supreme government of the nation on Simon and his descendants by a public act, in which were recited the good deeds which had been wrought by Simon and his family. A copy of this they caosed tp be engraved on tables of brass, and hung up in the sanctuary ; the original was deposited in the treasury of the Temple, and from that time Simon took upon him the style, state, and authority of prince, as well as highpriest. Desirous of being acknowledged as such by the Romans, Simon sent ambassadors to renew the league with them, and also a present of a golden
« 1 Mace. Iut. 20. f Ibid. 35.
shield, shield, of the value of fifty thousand pounds of oar money. Both the embassy and present were confiafiy- received ; and the senate caused letters to be written to the different states who were then dependent on them, styling the Jews then* friends-, and commanding that none should injure or molest them, nor harbour any fugitives or traitors of that nation.
Thus did the people of God submit to be shielded by the Romans, as if the shield of the- Salvation of tk» LORD had been insufficient for them!
Simon, who had ample cause to desert Tryphon, sent ambassadors to treat tor peace and alliance with Demetrius^ and presented him wkh a golden crown as a token of submission to his government. Demetrius readiry granted a confirmation of the priesthood to Simon, with » release of aft taxes, tofts, and tributes; and an act of cbhvion of all past hostilities, on condition ofhis joining wkh him against Tryphon. All this was cordially agreed to by the Jews, Simon was declared sovereign prince of the Jewish nation, and the land freed from all foreign tyranny-.
Simon, finding his son John (afterwards called Hyresnus) to be a very valiant man, made him general of aft the fttrces fn Judea, and sent him to Hve in Gazara, where his presence was most necessary.
Demetrius was taken prisoner in a war with the Parthians, and carried fnto Parthia, where he married the king's daughter, which so enraged his queen, that she sent to his brother Antfochns, who wa? in Crete, and ©fteied to marry him if he would jofn his interest with her against Tryphon. This offer he readily accepted. Before he landed, he sent a letter to Simon, offering to confirm all the rnivileges which the Jews at that time enjoyed, and to honour the Temple. Simon, as a proof of his friendly disposition, sent him men, arms, and R 3 money, money, to assist him in carrying on his war; but the perfidious king broke through all his promises, rejected his offers, and sent Athenobius, his friend, into Judea, as ambassador, to demand Joppa, and Gazara, and the fort at Jerusalem; or, instead of them, a thousand talents of silver. These conditions were too unreasonable to be complied with; but, to preserve peace, Simon offered to give an hundred talents. Athenobius, enraged at his refusal, made no reply, but hastened back to report what he had heard and seen. He told the king that Simon lived in a style of the utmost magnificence, and that he absolutely refused to comply with his demands. Antiochus now considered Simon as a rival, was jealous of his power, and resolved to humble him ; and having made Cenebeus, one of his nobles, captain and governor of the sea-ports of Palestine, he sent him with one part of his army against Simon, and with the other he himself pursued Tryphon, who continued to fly from place to place, till at length he was overtaken and put to death. ...... .
Cenebeus in the mean time marched into Judea, and began to kill and plunder the Jews. Simon, being informed of these hostilities, "called* for his two eldest sons, Judas and John, who with a chosen army marched' to meet the adversary, and soon came in sight of the formidable host: an engagement followed, in which Cenebeus lost two thousand men, the rest fled to their strong holds. The two brothers, having driven the Syrians away, returned in triumph to Jerusalem. .
Antiochus Sidetes, after vanquishing Tryphon, and destroying his faction, settled all things upon the same footi ng as they were before these disturbances began.
Aboutf a year after the war with Antiochus, Simon making a circuit through the cities of Judah, to see that
*il -Mace. xvi.2, 3. f Ibid. H. ..
all things were properly regulated, came to Jericho, accompanied by his two sons, Mattathias and Judas. Ptolemy, the son of Abubus, who had married one of his
daughters, was governor of the place, they therefore took up their residence with him; but he was a very wicked ambitious man, and had formed a scheme to get the goverment of Judea for himself. In order to accomplish this, he made a sumptuous entertainment under the pretence of honouring his guests; but while they were rejoicing in his apparent hospitality, he caused them to be assassinated. Ptolemy made immediate application to the king of Syria, promising that he would; deliver. Judea into his hands, if he would furnish him with an army: he also sent to Gazara, and offered great rewards to those who would kill John, and dispatched others to take possession of Jerusalem. John was apprised of Ptolemy's proceedings, and put those to death who attempted to destroy him: he then hastened to secure the holy City and Temple, and used every measure to secure the safety and peace of the people. Ptolemy finding his plot defeated, fled ^.Philadelphia, till such time as the army from Antiochus should arrive: what became of him afterwards is uncertain. | . „. iu .;''
There were great lamentations in Judea on account of the death of Simon, who was universally. beloved; for he was a man of piety, bravery, honour, «nd humanity, and a great benefactor to his cowntrjv A \ ;.
IILs noble acts deservedly gained him the esteem of the people ; but the advantages- he procured for tht'm would have been more permanent if he had not put them as he did under the protection of the Romans; for having by the aid of the Lord once more recovered the land of Judah from subjection to earthly monarchs, R 4 their