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the palsy, and died in great torment: after his decease the land of Israel enjoyed peace for two years. Soon after the death of Alcimus, Demetrius, who had seized Syria, and slain Antiochus Eupator, was acknowledged king by the Romans.
Jonathan made use of the interval of peace for restoring the government of the Jews, both in church and state, and repairing the walls and fortifications of Sion; this excited the envy of the adverse party, who formed a plot which might have proved fatal to him, but that DIVINE PROVIDENCE interposed in his preservation. He*, and his brother Simon, had after. wards great success against Bacchides; who, grown weary of war, and tired of those who had engaged him in it, put several of them to death, and concluded a peace with Jonathan +.
Demetrius, after a few years, gave himself up entirely to luxury, and neglected public affairs; this disgusted his subjects, and they raised a conspiracy against him. Ptolemy Philometer having taken offence at some proceedings of Demetrius towards him, by way of revenge set up an usurper, whose real name was Balas: but he pretended to be Alexander, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, and great numbers of people flocked to him. Demetrius collected his forces with all possible expedition, and Jonathan armed his troops. Both parties courted the friendship of Jonathan; but as Demetrius had been a bitter enemy to the Jews, Jonathan durst not confide in him: he therefore accepted Alexander's offers, and having the consent of all the Jews, assumed the high-priest's office, and officiated at the feast of Tabernacles §. There had been a vacancy in the priest
* 1 Macc. ix. 58.
+ 1 Macc. x. 2.
+ Ibid. 71.
§ Ibid. 21.
hood for seven years, from the death of Alcimus; but from this time it continued for many years in the family of the Maccabees, called Asmoneans, from Asmoneus, the great grandfather of Mattathias. Whether the Maccabees were of the race of Josedek, is uncertain, but they were undoubtedly of the family of Aa ron; and as none appeared who had a better claim, Jonathan had a right to the office, especially as he was chosen with the consent of all the people.
The contending kings of Syria having taken the field, Demetrius was at length overpowered and slain *. Alexander, having by this victory secured the whole empire of Syria, sent to Ptolemy†, king of Egypt, de siring to have his daughter Cleopatra to wife, which he consented to, and the marriage was accordingly solem. nized. Jonathan went by invitation to the weddingfeast, and was received by both kings with great respect, especially by Alexander; who caused him to be clothed in purple, enrolled him amongst the chief of his friends, and allowed him to take place amongst the first princes of his kingdom; he also constituted him general of his forces in Judea, and gave him an high office in his palace.
These extraordinary honours excited the envy of several persons, and they brought accusations against Jonathan; but the king rejected them all, and caused proclamation to be made, that no one should presume to speak evil of him, and Jonathan returned into Judea.
Alexander having obtained quiet possession of the Syrian throne, abandoned himself to pleasure, ease, and luxury, and left the care of his affairs to a favourite,
1 Macc. x. 50.
+ Ibid. 51. Josephus's Antiquities.
Ibid. 59. 66.
named Ammonius. On which Demetrius, the son of the late king, being now grown up to manhood, resolved to attempt the recovery of the crown, and was joined by Apollonius, the governor of Cœlo-Syria. On this, Alexander took the field with his army, and called for the assistance of his father-in-law Ptolemy.
Apollonius having embraced the party of Demetrius, gathered a great army together, and encamped at Jamnia, from whence he sent a haughty message to Jonathan the high-priest, who immediately marched out of Jerusalem with ten thousand men, took Joppa, and defeated Apollonius's army with a great slaughter; and having set fire to several cities belonging to the enemy, returned to Jerusalem with their spoils. Alexander hearing of this victory gained in his interest, sent to Jonathan a buckle of gold, such as was only worn by the royal family, and gave him also the city of Accaron, and the territory belonging to it †.
Alexander having greatly offended Ptolemy Philo meter, king of Egypt, he persuaded the Syrians to restore the kingdom to Demetrius, the true heir; who was accordingly seated on the throne of his ancestors. Upon this revolution, Alexander wasted the country round Antioch with fire and sword; a battle ensued, and Alexander being vanquished, fled with only five hundred horse to Zebdiel, an Arabian prince, with whom he had entrusted the care of his children; here he was treacherously slain.
Demetrius succeeding in Syria, in consequence of this victory, called himself NICATOR, that is, the conAt first he treated Jonathan very graciously, queror.
* Supposed by Prideaux to have been governor of Calo-Syria, and a former adherent to Demetrius.
† 1 Mace. x. 89.
established him in the high-priesthood, and granted him many privileges and immunities*. Jonathan, in return, performed some great service for him; but Demetrius was of a very oppressive, unjust disposition, and behaved afterwards with shameful ingratitude, which alienated the Jews from his interest. He had also rendered himself hateful to the rest of his subjects, who revolted from him in favour of young Antiochus, the son of Alexander, called Theos, or the Divine, who was placed upon the throne, and Demetrius driven away.
† Jonathan being justly provoked by the ingratitude of the late king, accepted of an invitation made him by the new monarch; on which he was confirmed in the high-priest's office, allowed to wear the purple and the golden buckle, and to have place among the king's chief friends, with many other privileges. Jonathan and his brother Simon assisted Antiochus against Demetrius, and also drove the heathen out of the fortress of Bethsura.
Jonathan, on his return to Judea, finding all quiet, sent ambassadors to renew the league which the Romans had made with Judas Maccabeus; they were received by the senate with honour, and dismissed with satisfaction and they had likewise orders, in their return from Rome, to address the Lacedæmonians as brethren of the Jews; and Jonathan wrote a letter, to assure them of remembrance and intercession to God in their behalf. Jonathan very justly observed, in this letter, that "the Jews stood in no need of the friendship of other nations, having the holy books of Scripture to comfort them, and help from heaven, to succour and deliver them from their enemies," but his conduct
* 1 Macc. xi. 26.
† Ibid. 58.
Ibid. xii. 1.
in respect to making alliances with other nations, was inconsistent with these expressions of confidence in the LORD. The Lacedæmonians, as well as the Romans, were heathens, and as such at enmity with Gon.
During the absence of his ambassadors, Jonathan and his brother Simon suppressed, in different parts of the land of Judea, the adversaries of Antiochus; and at length obliged the heathens to abandon the fortress of Acra, in Jerusalem, which they had so long kept pos
Tryphon*, the person who had been chiefly instrumental in establishing Antiochus on the throne, with a view of assassinating him, and gaining it for himself, threw off the mask; but despairing of ever being able to persuade Jonathan to join in his wicked plot, he resolved to destroy him; and marched towards Judea with a great army, in order to get him into his power: but Jonathan met him at Bethsan with forty thousand men: this disconcerted Tryphon's scheme; so he changed his measures, and proceeded with flattery and dissimulation to consult him about their common interest, and promising to resign Ptolemais into his hands, prevailed with him to dismiss all his troops excepting three thousand men; two thousaud of whom Jonathan inconsiderably sent into Galilee, and with the remainder went with Tryphon to Ptolemais, expecting to have the place delivered to him: but as soon as he and his company were got within the walls, the gates were shut upon them, Jonathan made prisoner, and all his men put to the sword. Orders were then sent to destroy those in Galilee also; but they having timely notice of the fate of their brethren, resolutely deter
1 Macc. xii. 42.