The Bible – Old Testament
1 In 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.
2 When Arsaces, king of Persia and Media, heard that Demetrius had invaded his territory, he sent one of his generals to take him alive.
The general went forth and defeated the army of Demetrius; he captured him and brought him to Arsaces, who put him in prison.
The 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.
As his crowning glory he captured the port of Joppa and made it a gateway to the isles of the sea.
He enlarged the borders of his nation and gained control of the country.
He 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.
The people cultivated their land in peace; the land yielded its produce and the trees of the field their fruit.
Old men sat in the squares, all talking about the good times, while the young men wore the glorious apparel of war.
He supplied the cities with food and equipped them with means of defense, till his glorious name reached the ends of the earth.
He brought peace to the land, and Israel was filled with happiness.
Every man sat under his vine and his fig tree, with no one to disturb him.
No one was left to attack them in their land; the kings in those days were crushed.
He strengthened all the lowly among his people and was zealous for the law; he suppressed all the lawless and the wicked.
He made the temple splendid and enriched its equipment.
3 When people heard in Rome and even in Sparta that Jonathan had died, they were deeply grieved.
But 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,
they sent him inscribed tablets of bronze to renew with him the friendship and alliance that they had established with his brothers Judas and Jonathan.
These were read before the assembly in Jerusalem.
This 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.
The envoys you sent to our people have informed us of your glory and fame, and we were happy that they came.
In 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,
the 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.”
After this, Simon sent Numenius to Rome with a great gold shield weighing a thousand minas, to confirm the alliance with the Romans.
When the people heard of these things, they said, “How can we thank Simon and his sons?
He 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.
4 The 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,
in a great assembly of priests, people, rulers of the nation, and elders of the country, the following proclamation was made:
“‘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.
After Jonathan had rallied his nation and become their high priest, he was gathered to his kinsmen.
When the enemies of the Jews sought to invade and devastate their country and to lay hands on their temple,
Simon 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.
He 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.
He 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.
When 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.
“‘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.
In 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.
Consequently, King Demetrius confirmed him in the high priesthood,
made him one of his Friends, and conferred the highest honors on him.
He 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.
“‘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.
He 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,
he 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.
It 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.
Whoever acts otherwise or violates any of these prescriptions shall be liable to punishment.
“‘All the people approved of granting Simon the right to act in accord with these decisions,
5 and 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.'”
It 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,
and that copies of it should be deposited in the treasury, where they would be available to Simon and his sons.
1  The year one hundred and seventy-two: 141-140 B.C. The expedition began most probably in the spring of 140.
2  Arsaces: Arsaces VI, also called Mithridates I, the Parthian king (171-138 B.C.). Parthians had overrun Persia and now held Babylonia, both of which had hitherto belonged to the Seleucid empire. The Greeks and Macedonians in these countries had appealed to Demetrius for help.
3  The embassy to Rome and Sparta was sent soon after Simon’s accession to power, and the replies were received before Demetrius’ expedition (⇒ 1 Macc 14:1-3) – probably in 142 B.C.
4  Eighteenth day of Elul: September 13, 140 B.C. Asaramel: a Hebrew name meaning “court of the people of God.”
5  Ethnarch: a subaltern ruler over a racial group whose office needed confirmation by a higher authority within the empire.