1 Antiochus son of Demetrius the king sent a letter from the islands of the sea to Simon the priest and* Gr. ethnarch. governor of the Jews, and to all the nation. 2 Its contents follow:
“King Antiochus to Simon the chief priest and† Gr. ethnarch. governor, and to the nation of the Jews, greetings. 3 Whereas certain troublemakers have made themselves masters of the kingdom of our fathers, but my purpose is to claim the kingdom, that I may restore it as it was before; and moreover I have raised a multitude of foreign soldiers, and have prepared warships; 4 moreover I plan to land in the country, that I may punish those who have destroyed our country, and those who have made many cities in the kingdom desolate; 5 now therefore I confirm to you all the tax remissions which the kings who were before me remitted to you, and whatever gifts besides they remitted to you, 6 and I permit you to coin money for your country with your own stamp, 7 but that Jerusalem and the sanctuary should be free. All the weapons that you have prepared, and the strongholds that you have built, which you have in your possession, let them remain yours. 8 Every debt owed to the king, and the things that will be owed to the king from henceforth and for evermore, let them be remitted to you. 9 Moreover, when we have established our kingdom, we will glorify you and your nation and the temple with great glory, so that your glory will be made manifest in all the earth.
10 In the one hundred seventy-fourth year,‡ circa B.C. 139 Antiochus went into the land of his fathers; and all the forces came together to him, so that there were few men with Tryphon. 11 King Antiochus pursued him, and he came, as he fled, to Dor, which is by the sea; 12 for he knew that troubles had come upon him all at once, and that his forces had deserted him. 13 Antiochus encamped against Dor, and with him one hundred twenty thousand men of war and eight thousand cavalry. 14 He surrounded the city, and the ships joined in the attack from the sea. He harassed the city by land and sea, and permitted no one to go out or in.
15 Numenius and his company came from Rome, having letters to the kings and to the countries, in which were written these things:
16 “Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, greetings. 17 The Jews’ ambassadors came to us as our friends and allies, to renew the old friendship and alliance, being sent from Simon the high priest, and from the people of the Jews. 18 Moreover they brought a shield of gold weighing one thousand minas.§ 1,000 minas is about 499 kg. or about 1,098 pounds. 19 It pleased us therefore to write to the kings and to the countries, that they should not seek their harm or fight against them, their cities, and their country, or be allies with those who fight against them. 20 Moreover, it seemed good to us to receive the shield from them. 21 If therefore any troublemakers have fled from their country to you, deliver them to Simon the high priest, that he may take vengeance on them according to their law.”
22 He wrote the same things to King Demetrius, to Attalus, to Arathes, to Arsaces, 23 to all the countries, to* Some authorities read Sampsaces: the Latin versions have Lampsacus. Sampsames, to the Spartans, to Delos, to Myndos, to Sicyon, to Caria, to Samos, to Pamphylia, to Lycia, to Halicarnassus, to Rhodes, to Phaselis, to Cos, to Side, to Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus, and Cyrene. 24 They also wrote this copy to Simon the high priest.
25 But King Antiochus encamped against Dor the second day, bringing his forces up to it continually, and making engines of war; and he shut up Tryphon from going in or out. 26 Simon sent him two thousand chosen men to fight on his side, with silver, gold, and instruments of war in abundance. 27 He would not receive them, but nullified all the covenants which he had made with him before, and was estranged from him. 28 He sent to him Athenobius, one of his friends,† See 1 Maccabees 2:18. to confer with him, saying, “You hold possession of Joppa, Gazara, and the citadel that is in Jerusalem, cities of my kingdom. 29 You have devastated their territory, and done great harm in the land, and control of many places in my kingdom. 30 Now therefore hand over the cities which you have taken, and the tributes of the places which you have taken control of outside of the borders of Judea; 31 or else give me for them five hundred talents of silver; and for the harm that you have done, and the tributes of the cities, another five hundred talents. Otherwise we will come and subdue you.”
32 Athenobius, the king’s friend,‡ See 1 Maccabees 2:18. came to Jerusalem. When he saw the glory of Simon, the cupboard of gold and silver vessels, and his great attendance, he was amazed. He reported to him the king’s words. 33 Simon answered, and said to him, “We have not taken other men’s land nor do we have possession of that which belongs to others, but of the inheritance of our fathers. However, it had been in possession of our enemies wrongfully for a while. 34 But we, having opportunity, firmly hold the inheritance of our fathers. 35 As for Joppa and Gazara, which you demand, they did great harm among the people throughout our country. We will give one hundred talents for them.”
Athenobius didn’t answer even one word, 36 but returned in a rage to the king, and reported to him these words, and the glory of Simon, and all that he had seen; and the king was exceedingly angry. 37 Meanwhile, Tryphon embarked on board a ship, and fled to Orthosia.
38 The king appointed Cendebaeus chief captain of the sea coast, and gave him troops of infantry and cavalry. 39 He commanded him to encamp against Judea, and he commanded him to build up Kidron, and to fortify the gates, and that he should fight against the people; but the king pursued Tryphon. 40 So Cendebaeus came to Jamnia and began to provoke the people, and to invade Judea, and to take the people captive and kill them. 41 He built Kidron and stationed cavalry and infantry there, to the end that going out they might make raids on the highways of Judea, as the king had commanded him.
*15:1 Gr. ethnarch.
†15:2 Gr. ethnarch.
‡15:10 circa B.C. 139
§15:18 1,000 minas is about 499 kg. or about 1,098 pounds.
*15:23 Some authorities read Sampsaces: the Latin versions have Lampsacus.