Thursday, February 5, 2015

1 Maccabees, Chapter 11: War, huh, yeah, what is it good for?

The Egyptian king joins territories with Greece. He then sets up garrisons in all the towns. When he gets to Azotus, he's shown the burn temple and the rotting and burnt bodies and explain it's Jonathan's fault. He holds his tongue until he meets Jonathan in a city called Joppe. We are not privy to the contents of said meeting.

Once Ptolomee has dotted the landscape with soldiers, he starts plotting against Alexander by sending an ambassador to Demetrius and promising to give poor Cleopatra to him in exchange. Then he just goes and takes his daughter back and hands her over to her new husband, which I didn't even know you could do. Anyway, Alexander is smart enough to realise this is an act of hostility.

Ptolomee next travels to Antioch and crowns himself king of Asia and Egypt. Alexander is away dealing with a revolt, but when he hears about Ptolotmee's act, he declares war on him, but gets defeated and flees to Arabia, where the king cuts off his head and sends it to Ptolomee.

Ptolomee doesn't get to savour his victory for very long, though, because three days later he's also dead, clearing the way for Demetrius, whose life is not restful, as Jonathan has started to foment rebellion for some damned reason. He writes to Jonathan to meet him in Ptolemais. He goes, but with a full stock of gold and silver and clothing, which he uses to butter up the king. Dude, you're a king. If you want purple robes for yourself, isn't the point that you have access to the treasury so you can buy them? Anyway, Ptolemee is flattered and renews his position as high priest. Jonathan also asks to be made free from tributes to Demetrius. Demetrius agrees and writes a letter confirming.

For awhile, Demetrius has peace, so he disbands all of his armies except some foreign mercenaries, which pisses off his father's soldiers, who plot to make his kid the king. Meantime, Jonathan is also agitating to get rid of the garrison in Jerusalem. Demetrius agrees, but mentions how he needs soldiers, so Jonathan sends them 3000 men. Unfortunately, 120 000 soldiers are marching on him, but he gets wind of it and flees after sending for more help. They handily defeat 100 000 men, and then the rest surrender. Things go back to being peaceful.

The king's mental state starts deteriorating. He isn't coherent and he won't talk to Jonathan and won't reward him for his service. He leaves for Tryphon with Alexander's son Antioch, whem he crowns, and is immediately attacked. 

Young Antioch writes to Jonathan to say he's still the high priest and sends him some gold and purple robes with a gold buckle. He makes Simon the head of the army. Jonathan starts on a tour and people come to supplicate him for help. Except in Gaza, which isn't very welcoming, so he invades it and burns it. Eventually they sue for peace. Then he heads for Cades, where there is another rebellion, but all his soldiers desert. He covers himself in ashes and prays, then goes off to fight alone, which causes the enemy to flee. This convinces his men to come back and kill another 3000 men.

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