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Josephus, Antiquities XIII, 225-9: The Death of Simon

John HyrcanusSimon, who ruled from 142 to 134 B.C.E., successfully defended the Jews against Seleucid incursions later in his reign, only to fall victim to internecine strife in his own court. His son, John Hyrcanus, survived and became the next Hasmonean ruler.

(225) However, Antiochus forgot the kind assistance that Simon had afforded him in his necessity, and committed an army of soldiers to his friend Cendebeus, and sent him at once to ravage Judea, and to seize Simon. (226) When Simon heard of Antiochus’ breaking his alliance with him, although he was now advanced in years, yet provoked by the unjust treatment he had met with from Antiochus, and showing resolution greater than his age could well bear, he went like a young man to act as general of his army. (227) He also sent his sons ahead among the most hardy of his soldiers, and he himself marched on with his army another way and laid many of his men in ambushes in the narrow valleys between the mountains. Nor did he fail in anyone of his engagements but was too strong for his enemies in every one of them. So he passed the rest of his life in peace, and also made an alliance with the Romans. (228) Now he was ruler of the Jews in all for eight years, 11 but at a feast came to his end. It was caused by the treachery of his son-in-law Ptolemy, who also captured his wife and two of his sons and kept them in bonds. He also sent some men to kill John the third son, whose name was Hyrcanus. (229) But the young man, perceiving them coming, avoided the danger he was in from them and made haste into the city [Jerusalem], relying on the good will of the multitude because of the benefits they had received from his father and because of the hatred the same multitude had for Ptolemy. When Ptolemy tried to enter the city by another gate, they drove him away, having already admitted Hyrcanus.

11. 142-135 B.C.E.

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