Wednesday, February 4, 2015

1 Maccabees, Chapter 10: Some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground

A new Greek king, Alexander, tries to make friends with either a country or a king called Ptolemais. This causes Demetrius to seek peace with Jonathan and ask if they can also write to Ptolemais before he signs his treaty with Alexander. Also, they did some pretty evil shit to Ptolemais and his family and countrymen, and Alexander's pact might make him remember those things.

Jonathan writes back to Demetrius to ask his permission to set up an army. Then he goes to Jerusalem to hold court and collect the prisoners being held in the tower. The people are a little nervous about the whole army thing and immediately release the prisoners. Jonathan decides to settle in Jerusalem and starts rebuilding the city using square bricks in the wall. For some reason this terrifies the Greeks, who leave, along with all the other infidels, except for a few in Bethsura, because it's a refuge city.

Alexdner hears that Demetrius and Jonathan have made up, so he decides his best bet is to also cozy up to Jonathan offering him the high priest's jobs, which comes with a purple robe and a gold crown. Something tells me the Israelites would've loved Disney movies.

Jonathan accepts the clothes, but also raises an army, which makes Demetrius sad and also causes him to up his ante, freeing all the Jews from taxes and slavery, plus half of his land and seeds to plant it with. Furthermore, all Jews will be immune from prosecution for three days before and after their feasts, in addition to being free from all other persecution all the time. He also offers to employ 30 000 Jews in his civil service as well as allowing them self rule. He also forgets that just two letters ago he wanted to make peace with Ptolemais, because now he offers his land to the Israelites. He also offers 20 000 shekels in free money, plus repair expenses for the temple and the city walls.

Jonathan is not fooled and instead goes with Alexander, who then attacks Demetrius and eventually kills him. Then he makes peace with Ptolomee of Egypt, who agrees Alexander can marry his daughter either at Ptolemais the city or in Ptolemais the king's castle. The daughter is called Cleopatra, and we don't get her opinion on this.

Alexander interrupts his honeymoon to go meet Jonathan, who he invites down to meet Ptolemee. Jonathan arrives with gold and silver for the other two kings, but not poor Cleopatra. While he's gone, a rebellion forms against him  in Jerusalem, but the king wins and makes a public announcement that people should stop bothering him, so the rebels leave. The king makes Jonathan a duke.

Another Demetrius takes over Crete and decides to invade. He sends an insulting letter to Jonathan, which ticks him off, so he raises an army and goes to meet him and somehow wears out his horses. The horsemen flee to a place called Azotus, but Jonathan burns the city down and then keeps burning the runaways until he's killed a total of 8000 men. He brings all the loot back to Jerusalem, which causes Alexander to send him a bucket of gold.

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