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Josephus, Antiquities XIII, 179-83: The Ascendancy of Jonathan

Exterior of the North WallAfter receiving Seleucid recognition in 152 B.C.E., Jonathan began to do battle with the Nabatean Arabs and then turned to fortifying Jerusalem.

(179) Jonathan went into Arabia and fought against the Nabateans. He drove away many of their cattle, took [many] captives, and came to Damascus, where he sold off what he had taken.

(180) About the same time Simon, his brother, went through all Judea and Palestine, as far as Askelon, and fortified the strongholds. When he had made them very strong, both in the edifices erected and in the garrisons placed in them, he came to Joppa. When he had taken it, he brought a great garrison into it, for he heard that the people of Joppa were disposed to deliver up the city to Demetrius’ 2 generals.

(181) When Simon and Jonathan had finished these affairs, they returned to Jerusalem where Jonathan gathered all the people together in the temple, and took counsel to restore the walls of Jerusalem, to rebuild the wall that encompassed the temple which had been thrown down, and to make the temple precincts stronger by very high towers; (182) and besides that, to build another wall in the midst of the city in order to keep the garrison which was in the citadel 3 from reaching the city and by that means to cut them off from the supply of provisions; and moreover, to make the fortresses that were in the country much stronger and more defensible than they were before. (183) When these things were approved by the people as proposed, Jonathan himself took care of the building that belonged to the city and sent Simon away to make the fortresses in the country more secure than formerly.

1. All passages from Josephus trans. W. Whiston, The Works of Josephus (Peabody, MA- Hendrickson, 1987), revised by L. H. Schiffman in consultation with H. St. J. Thackeray, Ralph Marcus, Allen Wikgren, and L. H. Feldman, trans., Josephus- in Nine Volumes (Loeb Classical Library; Cambridge- Harvard University Press, 1976-79).

2. Demetrius II Nicator, who ruled 145-138 B.C.E.

3. The Seleucid garrison that remained as a symbol of Seleucid rule. It was expelled by Simon in 142 B.C.E.

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