Capture of Demetrius

14 In the one hundred seventy-second year 1 King Demetrius assembled his forces and marched into Media to obtain help, so that he could make war against Trypho. 2 When King Arsaces of Persia and Media heard that Demetrius had invaded his territory, he sent one of his generals to take him alive. 3 The general 2 went and defeated the army of Demetrius, and seized him and took him to Arsaces, who put him under guard.

Eulogy of Shimon 

4 The land 3 had rest all the days of Shimon.
He sought the good of his nation;
his rule was pleasing to them,
as was the honor shown him, all his days.
5 To crown all his honors he took Yafo for a harbor,
and opened a way to the isles of the sea.
6 He extended the borders of his nation,
and gained full control of the country.
7 He gathered a host of captives;
he ruled over Gazara and Beth-zur and the citadel,
and he removed its uncleanness from it;
and there was none to oppose him.
8 They tilled their land in peace;
the ground gave its increase,
and the trees of the plains their fruit.
9 Old men sat in the streets;
they all talked together of good things,
and the youths put on splendid military attire.
10 He supplied the towns with food,
and furnished them with the means of defense,
until his renown spread to the ends of the earth.
11 He established peace in the land,
and Israel rejoiced with great joy.
12 All the people sat under their own vines and fig trees,
and there was none to make them afraid.
13 No one was left in the land to fight them,
and the kings were crushed in those days.
14 He gave help to all the humble among his people;
he sought out the Torah,
and did away with all the renegades and outlaws.
15 He made the sanctuary glorious,
and added to the vessels of the sanctuary.

Diplomacy of Rome and Sparta 

16 It was heard in Rome, and as far away as Sparta, that Yonatan had died, and they were deeply grieved. 17 When they heard that his brother Shimon had become high priest in his stead, and that he was ruling over the country and the towns in it, 18 they wrote to him on bronze tablets to renew with him the friendship and alliance that they had established with his brothers Yehudah and Yonatan. 19 And these were read before the assembly in Yerushalayim.

20 This is a copy of the letter that the Spartans sent:
"The rulers and the city of the Spartans to the high priest Shimon and to the elders and the priests and the rest of the Jewish people, our brothers, greetings. 21 The envoys who were sent to our people have told us about your glory and honor, and we rejoiced at their coming. 22 We have recorded what they said in our public decrees, as follows, 'Numenius son of Antiochus and Antipater son of Jason, envoys of the Jews, have come to us to renew their friendship with us. 23 It has pleased our people to receive these men with honor and to put a copy of their words in the public archives, so that the people of the Spartans may have a record of them. And they have sent a copy of this to the high priest Shimon.' "

24 After this Shimon sent Numenius to Rome with a large gold shield weighing one thousand minas, to confirm the alliance with the Romans. 4

Official Honors for Shimon 

25 When the people heard these things they said, "How shall we thank Shimon and his sons? 26 For he and his brothers and the house of his father have stood firm; they have fought and repulsed Israel's enemies and established its freedom." 27 So they made a record on bronze tablets and put it on pillars on Mount Zion.

This is a copy of what they wrote: "On the eighteenth day of Elul, in the one hundred seventy-second year, 5 which is the third year of the great high priest Shimon, 28 in Asaramel, 6 in the great assembly of the priests and the people and the rulers of the nation and the elders of the country, the following was proclaimed to us:

29 "Since wars often occurred in the country, Shimon son of Matityahu, a priest of the sons 7 of Yoarib, and his brothers, exposed themselves to danger and resisted the enemies of their nation, in order that their sanctuary and the Torah might be preserved; and they brought great glory to their nation. 30 Yonatan rallied the 8 nation, became their high priest, and was gathered to his people. 31 When their enemies decided to invade their country and lay hands on their sanctuary, 32 then Shimon rose up and fought for his nation. He spent great sums of his own money; he armed the soldiers of his nation and paid them wages. 33 He fortified the towns of Judea, and Beit-Tzur on the borders of Judea, where formerly the arms of the enemy had been stored, and he placed there a garrison of Jews. 34 He also fortified Yafo, which is by the sea, and Gazara, which is on the borders of Azotus, where the enemy formerly lived. He settled Jews there, and provided in those towns 9 whatever was necessary for their restoration.

35 "The people saw Shimon's faithfulness 10 and the glory that he had resolved to win for his nation, and they made him their leader and high priest, because he had done all these things and because of the justice and loyalty that he had maintained toward his nation. He sought in every way to exalt his people. 36 In his days things prospered in his hands, so that the goyim were put out of the 11 country, as were also those in the city of David in Yerushalayim, who had built themselves a citadel from which they used to sally forth and defile the environs of the sanctuary, doing great damage to its purity. 37 He settled Jews in it and fortified it for the safety of the country and of the city, and built the walls of Yerushalayim higher.

38 "In view of these things King Demetrius confirmed him in the high priesthood, 39 made him one of his friends, and paid him high honors. 40 For he had heard that the Jews were addressed by the Romans as friends and allies and brothers, and that the Romans 12 had received the envoys of Shimon with honor.

41 "The Jews and their priests have resolved that Shimon should be their leader and high priest forever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise, 42 and that he should be governor over them and that he should take charge of the sanctuary and appoint officials over its tasks and over the country and the weapons and the strongholds, and that he should take charge of the sanctuary, 43 and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all contracts in the country should be written in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple and wear gold.

44 "None of the people or priests shall be permitted to nullify any of these decisions or to oppose what he says, or to convene an assembly in the country without his permission, or to be clothed in purple or put on a gold buckle. 45 Whoever acts contrary to these decisions or rejects any of them shall be liable to punishment."

46 All the people agreed to grant Shimon the right to act in accordance with these decisions. 47 So Shimon accepted and agreed to be high priest, to be commander and ethnarch of the Jews and priests, and to be protector of them all. 13 48 And they gave orders to inscribe this decree on bronze tablets, to put them up in a conspicuous place in the precincts of the sanctuary, 49 and to deposit copies of them in the treasury, so that Shimon and his sons might have them.

 

 

Footnotes

1. 140 B.C.E. [back]
2. Greek: He [back]
3. Other ancient authorities add of Judea [back]
4. Greek them [back]
5. 140 B.C.E. [back]
6. This word resembles the Hebrew words for the court of " + "the people of G-d or the prince of the people of G-d [back]
7. The meaning of the Greek is uncertain [back]
8. Greek their [back]
9. Greek them [back]
10. Other ancient authorities read conduct [back]
11. Greek their [back]
12. Greek they [back]
13. Or to preside over them all [back]

Torah Portion

ואתחנן (Va'etchanan)

 

 

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Today is

Yom Sheni, 11 Av, 5778

Monday, July 23, 2018

 

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