John Attacks Cendebeus
1Simon's son John went from Gazara at the time and told his father what Cendebeus had done. 2Then Simon met with John and Judas, his two oldest sons, and said to them:
My brothers and I, and everyone else in my father's family, have fought for our people ever since we were young. God blessed us when we fought, and we rescued Israel many times.
3I am an old man now. But God has shown kindness by letting you become mature enough to lead our people in battle, just as my brothers and I have done. I pray that God will be with you as you fight!
4John immediately left to attack Cendebeus with 20,000 foot soldiers and cavalry from Judea. That night, the troops made camp at Modein. 5Then early the next morning, they went out to the valley and stopped beside a flooding stream. On the other side of it, a large number of soldiers and cavalry were moving toward them.
6John lined up his troops for battle. He waded into the stream first, because he knew his soldiers were afraid of the water. They watched John, then followed him across.
7John noticed that Cendebeus had a lot of cavalry. So John divided his men into groups and ordered them to take up positions around their own cavalry. 8Then they blew war trumpets and attacked Cendebeus. His forces ran away, and many of his troops died in the battle. Those who escaped ran back into their fortress.
9During the battle, John's brother Judas was wounded. But John and his troops chased the enemy soldiers. Some of them ran as far as Kedron, the town that Cendebeus had rebuilt. 10Others reached the towers in the open country near the town of Azotus. But John burned the town and killed about 2,000 enemy troops. After this, he led his army safely back to Judea.
The Death of Simon
11Ptolemy the son of Abubus was in command of the valley near Jericho. He was a rich man 12and was married to the daughter of Simon the high priest. 13But Ptolemy was very proud and thought he deserved to be the ruler. So he began plotting to kill Simon and his sons.
14In the year 177#16.14 year 177: That is, 135 b.c. of the Syrian Kingdom, Simon was going from town to town in Judea, trying to help the people. Later that year during the month of Shebat,#16.14 Shebat: The eleventh month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-January to mid-February. he and his sons Mattathias and Judas arrived in Jericho.
15Ptolemy pretended he was glad to see Simon and his sons. Then he invited them to a banquet in their honor at a small fortress that he had built and named Dok.
Some of Ptolemy's soldiers were hiding near the dining room. 16As soon as Simon and his sons were drunk, the soldiers rushed out of their hiding places with swords in their hands. They attacked Simon, his two sons, and some of their servants, killing them all.
17So Ptolemy betrayed a friend and proved that he could not be trusted.
John Becomes the Leader of Israel
18Ptolemy wrote and told King Antiochus that he had killed Simon. He asked the king to give him soldiers and to put him in command of Judea and its towns. 19-20Ptolemy also wrote letters to the Jewish army commanders, promising them silver and gold and other gifts if they would help him.
Some of Ptolemy's troops set out to take over Jerusalem and the temple hill, while others went to murder John in Gazara. 21But someone warned John, “Ptolemy has already murdered your father and brothers. And now he has sent soldiers to kill you!” 22John was shocked by this news. He found out which soldiers had come to kill him, and he had them arrested and put to death.
23-24Everything else John the high priest did is found in his priestly record books that tell about his wars, his victories, and how he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. John began keeping records as soon as he had taken his father's place as high priest.