ページの画像
PDF
ePub

sinined to defend themselves ; which the enemy perceiving marched off; and the Jewish troops returned safely to' Jerusalem, where great lamentations were made for the loss of their governor.'' . ' The heathen nations, on the capture of Jonathan, renewed their hostilities against the Jews; upon' which Simon went up to the Temple, called the people to. gether, and encouraged them by a noble speech which revived their drooping spirits, and they immediately chose him their commander ; and, under his conduct and direction, proceeded to the completion of the fortification which Jonathan had begun at Jerusalem *.

On Tryphon's approach to invade the land, Simon led forth a great army against him; the former not daring to engage, endeavoured to deceive Simon also, by pretending that he had seized Jonathan only be. cause he owed a large sum of money to the king; promising to set him at liberty, if his brother would send the money, and Jonathan's two sons to be hostages for their father's fidelity. Simon perceived that this was mere artifice, but willing to do every thing in his power to save his brother's life, he coniplied with the terms. Shortly after this, the treacherous Tryphon put Jonathan to death, and then returned to Antioch, and caused the young king to be assassinated, reporting that he died suddenly; then seizing the crown, he declared himself king of Syria.

When Simon heard of his brother's death, he sent and fetched his bones, and buried them in the family sepulchre, at Modin, where he erected a very famous monument of white marble to his memory; near this he placed seven pyramids, two for his father and mo

* In Jonathan's days the Jews built a temple in Egypt.

ther, ther, five for his brothers, and one for himself, round which he built a stately portico.

Jonathan's character as a warrior cuts a noble figure in the Jewish history: he likewise laboured for the prosperity of his country, and seems to have been a man of good morals; but, it appears, that he was too fond of pomp and magnificence, for, as high priest of the Jews, he should have disdained the purple robe and the golden buckle, which, so far from adding to his dignity, debased him. The sacred vestment that distinguished him as the minister of God, was the most honourable garment he could wear. He was certainly guilty of an error, as well as Judas Maccabeus, in courting the friendship of the Romans ; for, as they were a great and increasing empire, and the Jews at that time a small people, it appeared as if they thought to strengthen themselves in their strength, and trust to the shadow of ROME*; which was inconsiderately flying from the standard of the LORD JEHOVAH. If there had been prophets at this time, no doubt they would have been sent to reprove Jonathan: or had he properly attended to the written prophecies, and the histories of the kings of Israel and Judah, he would have disco. covered that he ought not to love them that hated Gon to but, at 'all events, to avoid mixing with heathens. Jos nathan's situation, to be sure, was a very difficult one, and he was subject to human infirmities. God, who permitted him to be deceived to his destruction, is a God of infinite compassion : he alone could judge of the motives of Jonathan's actions, and whatever faults were cornmitted by him through mistake, or want of information, were certainly pardoned by the Divine goodness. . * Isai. xxx. . '

+ x Chron. xix. 2. R 2

SECTION SECTION X. shield, of the value of fifty thousand pounds of our inoney. Both the embassy and present were cordially received; and the senate caused letters to be written to the different states who were then dependent on them, styling the Jews their 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 the LORD had been insufficient for them!

SIMON SENDETH AMBASSADORS TO TIIE ROM A NS.

TRYPHON having usurped the throne of Syria, sent a splendid embassy, with costly gifts, to the Romans, 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 it came from him. Simon * likewise sent ambassadors, for the infatuation of sending to the 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 Lacedæmonians, and other nations, were confirmed to the Jews. · All + the pricsts, elders, and people of the Jews, met together in a general assembly at Jerusalem, when it was agreed, by unanimous consent, 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 caused to 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, Simen sent ambassadors to renenew the league with them, and also a present of a golden

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Simon, who had ample cause to desert Tryphon, sent ambassadors to treat for peace and alliance with Deme. trius, and presented him with a golden crown as a token of submission to his government. Demetrius readily granted a confirmation of the priesthood to Simon, with a release of all taxes, tolls, and tributes; and an act of oblivion of all past hostilities, on condition of his join. ing with 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 Hyra canus) to be a very valiant man, made him general of all the forces in Judea, and sent him to live in Gazara, where his presence was most necessary.

Demetrius was taken prisoner in a war with the Pare thians, and carried into Parthia, where he married the king's daughter, which so enraged his queen, that she sent to his brother Antiochus, who was in Crete, and offered to marry him if he would join 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 privileges 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 R3

money,

money, to assist him in carrying on his war; but the peridious king broke through all his promises, rejected his offers, and sent A'thenobius, 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 of fered to give an hundred talents. Athenobius, enraġed at his refusal, made no reply, but hastened båck to report what he had heard and seen. He told the king that Simon lived in a style of the utmost' inagni. ficence, and that he absolutely refused to comply with his demands. Antiochus now considered Simon as * rival, was jealous of his power, and resolved fy hunia ble him; and having made Cenebcus, one of his be bles, captain and governor of the sea-ports of Palestine, ke sent him with one part of his army agamit Simon, and with the other he himself pursuedt Tryphon, who continued to fly from place to place, till att Tength'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 Cenebcus losť two thousand nien, 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 footing as they were before these disturbances began.

About # a year after the war with Antiochus, Simon making à circuit through the cities of Judah, to see that * 1 Macc. xri, 2, 3.

Ibid. 14.

all

« 前へ次へ »